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University of Maryland, College Park

Philip Merrill College of Journalism

College Park, MD


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University of Maryland, College Park


The Philip Merrill College of Journalism

Located just a few miles from Washington, D.C., the journalism capital of the world, and driven by award-winning faculty and students, a real-world news service, a multi-disciplinary approach and an emphasis on public affairs journalism, sports journalism, investigative reporting, global security, and data and computational journalism, the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism is preparing students to define the journalism profession of tomorrow.

As one of the top journalism schools in the United States, Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism has created a professional master's program that successfully combines instruction from some of the nation's top professionals with real-world experience to produce graduates who are ready to work in one of today's most exciting fields. Students' real-world work is seen and published in professional outlets across the country, as well as through the college's award-winning Capital News Service, long before they finish their program.

For veteran journalists, the college offers a returning journalist master's degree more tailored to their specific needs.

The doctoral program prepares teachers and scholars, who can take advantage of both the award-winning research faculty, as well as the resources offered by a world-class university in the nation's capital.

Master of Journalism Degree

The college offers a non-thesis Master of Journalism that can be completed in as little as 12 months, or can be extended for students interested in sharpening more specialized skills. Students focus in broadcast, sports, data, or investigative journalism, and are provided a grounding in the immutable tenets of the field, as well as the training needed to work on ever-changing digital platforms.

The program is small, with fewer than 40 students per year, allowing for individualized attention from experienced, dedicated faculty members with strong ties to top media companies.

Capital News Service is the program's capstone. It enables students to put their classroom training to use in the real world, and their best work is seen nationwide. Students spend semesters working at bureaus and with news teams in Washington, Baltimore, Annapolis, and College Park, where they work closely with instructors/editors as journalists. CNS produces a thrice-weekly newscast that is broadcast and streamed live. Student work is published on the news service's website, as well as by dozens of news clients in Maryland and Washington. CNS is also carried by the Associated Press, putting students' work on news sites across the country.

In addition to covering Congress and the state legislature, CNS is credentialed to cover a number of professional sports teams, including the Baltimore Ravens and Washington Redskins, the Washington Wizards, and more. Students cover beats, develop sources, generate story ideas, and write, shoot, and design on deadlines. CNS' data lab produces visualizations and data projects on everything from health disparities to home run records.

Capital News Service also provides students with unique opportunities for covering news stories well beyond Maryland and Washington. CNS reporters covered the Republican and Democratic national conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia. The service also covered a military trial at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. They were also live at the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis last year, and in London, England, on Election Day.

Through The Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism, students have an opportunity to cover Super Bowl and The Friendship Games in Eilat, Israel. The Howard Center for Investigative Journalism allows students to dig deep into subjects of national importance.

Recent graduates of the master's program have gone on to jobs at The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, NBC News, CNN, NPR, Vice, Reuters,, Snapchat, and many other organizations.

Master of Arts in Journalism

The M.A. program is designed for journalists with considerable professional experience. These journalists may be looking to enhance their skills, learn new techniques, or specialize in a particular area. Coursework is tailored to each student's academic requirements so they can gain the expertise needed to achieve their professional goals. For example, an experienced general assignment reporter who has decided to specialize in environmental issues may, with the help of an adviser, create a course load that includes classes within the environmental sciences program. The program requires the completion of 30 credit hours of graduate coursework, six of which must be in thesis preparation.

Doctorate in Journalism Studies

The Philip Merrill College of Journalism's Ph.D. program prepares students for distinguished careers in teaching and research. Nearly 80 percent of the Ph.D graduates from the past 10 years work in academia, the media, or agencies such as the World Bank. The program offers courses in cultural, social, and business-related subjects, including data journalism, multimedia and mobile journalism, audience analytics, social media, gender, and history. Ph.D. students can also tap a network of colleagues across the campus in information sciences, communication, political science, history, sociology, psychology, and public policy. Doctoral students become a key component in the teaching and research environment at the college.

Although not required, a master's degree is preferred before entering the program. During the first two years, students complete courses in theory, qualitative and quantitative research methods, and areas of research interest outside of the college. Students then take comprehensive exams to advance to candidacy. Finally, candidates conduct independent research on their chosen topic and work with a chosen advisor to write the dissertation. Most Merrill students complete their Ph.D. in about five years.

Multimedia Certificate

The Graduate Certificate of Professional Studies in Multimedia Journalism teaches the skills most in demand today for communication professionals in news organizations, nonprofits and business. The 12-credit, four-course graduate certificate program is designed for working professionals, with classes that meet on Saturdays. Classes may be taken individually over a two-year period, or two at a time, enrollment permitting. Completion of all four courses provides media professionals with a strong understanding of digital communication, including the fundamentals of web production, shooting and editing photos, video and audio, and use of mobile and social media tools.

Degrees & Awards

Degrees Offered

Degree Concentration Sub-concentration
Master of Arts (MA) Journalism
Master of Arts (MA) Broadcast journalism
Master of Arts (MA) Public affairs reporting
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Journalism and media studies
Master of Arts (MA) Online news

Degrees Awarded

Degree Number Awarded
Master's Degrees 22
Doctoral Degrees 6

Earning Your Degree

Part-time study available? Yes
Evening/weekend programs available? Yes
Distance learning programs available? No
Terminal master's degree available? No

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirement
Doctoral Degrees Entrance Exam GRE General Test
Thesis Required
Preliminary written and oral comprehensive exams


Acceptance Rate



Application Fee - Domestic
applications accepted?

Application Deadlines

Type Domestic International Priority date
Fall deadline February 1st February 1st No

Entrance Requirements

Exam Details
Master's Degree Exam GRE General Test
Master's Degree Requirements Minimum GPA of 3.0, 3 letters of recommendation
Doctoral Degree Exam GRE General Test
Doctoral Degree Requirements Minimum GPA of 3.0, 3 letters of recommendation

International Students

Exam Details
TOEFL: Required

Tuition & Fees

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Financial Support

Financial award applicants must submit: FAFSA
Types of financial support available Fellowships
Scholarship and/or loans

Student Body

Total Graduate Students
International Breakout (representing other countries)


Hispanic/Latino 4.35%
Black or African American 13.04%
White or Caucasian 53%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 5.8%
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 0%
Unknown 2.9%


Male (46%)
Female (53%)


Total faculty
Full-time - 22
Part-time - 53
Male (39)
Female (36)


Focus of faculty research: Mass communication theory, specialized journalism, new telecommunication technologies, press integration
Externally sponsored research expenditures last year:

Location & Contact

Address College Park, MD  20742
United States
Contact Lucy A. Dalglish
Phone: 301-405-8806
Fax: 301-314-1978