Master of Journalism FAQs

Which courses must a student take to fulfill graduation requirements?

As of Fall 2013, MJ students are required to complete the following courses with a grade of B- or better:

JOU 5001 Critical Perspectives on Journalism
JOU 5002 Reporting and Writing 1
JOU 5003 Editing The News 1
JOU 5005 Communication Law (after 20 credits have been completed)
JOU 5012 Reporting and Writing 2
JOU 5013 Editing The News 2

One or two of these requirements may be waived for students with appropriate professional experience or who have successfully and recently completed comparable undergraduate course work. Requests for course waivers must be submitted in writing to the MJ Director during the student’s first semester in the program.

A waiver does not award a student graduate credit, nor does it reduce the number of credits needed for the degree. Plus the comprehensive exam. Students must complete 40 credit hours of graduate work.

How many credit hours must a student take each semester to be considered a full-time student?

Full-time status requires enrollment for nine or more credit hours each semester. Once a student enters the MJ program, continuous enrollment for succeeding fall and spring semesters is required. University policy requires continuous enrollment for at least one semester hour each fall and spring until the degree is completed, unless the MJ Committee and the School of Media and Communication (SMC) grant official leave. Forms for leave of absence or extension of time are available in the MJ Graduate Office in Annenberg Hall 344. International students should be aware that full-time status usually is required for student visas.

Can graduate courses taken at another institution before admission to the MJ program be credited toward the MJ?

Yes, if in the opinion of the MJ Committee the courses are appropriate to the professional objectives of the student. No more than eight graduate credits with a grade of “B” or better may be transferred. Students must request, with written justification, acceptance of graduate credits earned elsewhere.

How many credits may be taken at Temple before being admitted into the MJ program?

Up to two courses—six to eight graduate credits—may  be taken as a nonmatriculated student prior to admission.  On petition, these courses may be applied toward the 40 credits required for the MJ degree.  Nonmatriculated students can register for Journalism courses with the permission of the MJ director.

Can life experience be applied toward academic credit?

Students with professional experience or undergraduate training in journalism may be exempted from certain required courses, but students still must have 36 semester credits of graduate work to satisfy MJ degree requirements.

Can undergraduate courses be taken at Temple for graduate credit?

Yes. Students may take up to two “upper level” undergraduate courses with the approval of and in consultation with the MJ director. The student must register for graduate credit and enroll in these courses after admission to the MJ program. Students must complete, with required signatures, an approval form available in the SMC Graduate Office. The instructor is to assign the graduate student additional reading or project work appropriate to a graduate-level course. The undergraduate history (JOU 3703) and law (JOU 3101) courses cannot be applied to the MJ degree.

Do students have to write a thesis or take an exam to complete the program?

Students do not have to write a thesis, but must take a comprehensive examination. An application form for the exam and an information sheet about the comprehensive exam are available in the MJ Graduate office, Annenberg Hall 344. The application should be filled out during the semester the student is completing course work and at least four weeks prior to the examination date. All incomplete must be resolved before the student takes the comprehensive exam.

For the take-home comprehensive exam, students will have one week to answer questions from three journalism professors in three subject areas. Students may take comprehensive exams during the last semester of course work. Exams should be completed no later than one academic year after completion of course work. Students must pass all three parts of the exam.

Should an MJ student complete coursework and not successfully complete the comprehensive examination in the same semester, continuous enrollment must be maintained by registering for one credit of independent study. Details on this are available in the MJ office.

Where are classes held? At what times?

Classes in Philadelphia are on main campus and in Center City. Most MJ courses are offered once a week on Monday through Thursday evenings.

Do students have a voice in designing their own programs?

Certainly. Required courses make up about half of the MJ degree work; the remainder consists of electives. While completing the seven required courses, students may enroll in other MJ classes, as well as select from departments other than Journalism, courses germane to their career plans.

How are MJ students advised?

All entering MJ students consult the MJ Director as their first advisor. The Director helps students identify other faculty members who can provide academic or career advising. Course work will also introduce students to professors with expertise in specific professional areas.

What academic standards are expected?

All students are expected to maintain satisfactory progress toward the degree. “Satisfactory progress” is defined by the Graduate School and allows no more than two grades of less than “B-” quality earned in courses beginning with the semester in which the student first matriculates in the MJ program at Temple. More than one grade of “F” will result in dismissal from the program.

A matriculated student’s graduate record starts with the first course credited toward the degree and includes all subsequent courses. Grades in undergraduate courses, taken while in the MJ program, also will be considered; but not all undergraduate courses may count toward the 40-credit total required for the degree.

Graduate School requirements stipulate that all graduate students must have at least a 3.0 grade point average at graduation, and no candidate may graduate with a grade of “I” (Incomplete) on his/her record.

The MJ program has a written policy on academic honesty. Incidents of plagiarism will not be tolerated.

How long does a student have to complete the MJ program?

MJ students are to complete their degree within five years of admission. Upon written request to the MJ committee, a one-year extension may be granted. Full-time students should be able to complete the degree within two years. MJ students who have not enrolled in a course during either semester of an academic year will be notified in writing that they will be dropped from the program if they do not file a “leave of absence” form with the SMC graduate office within 30 days. The leave of absence may be for up to one year. If the leave is approved, the University requires payment of a maintenance of records fee during each semester of the leave.

Continuous Enrollment:
Continuous enrollment for fall and spring semesters is required from the initial matriculation to graduation. Leaves of absence may be requested. If 36 credits have been completed, but not the comprehensive exam, when the next semester begins, a student must register for at least one credit of graduate work per semester until satisfactorily completing the exam.

Are internship programs available?

Yes. MJ Students who have completed at least 16 graduate credits are eligible. Students may enroll in an internship for 1, 2, 3 or 4 credits, but not more than one internship for credit during their program. Internships are available with the news media, magazines, public relations and advertising agencies, hospitals, corporations and not-for-profit organizations. Some paid internships are available, and students may receive both a stipend/salary and credit.

Questions about the MJ program may be directed to Dr. Edward Trayes at trayes@temple.edu.