Studies toward the Master of Science in Journalism require 36 units of prescribed courses and approved electives in the student’s field of study. No more than 12 units of 400-level coursework may be applied toward the Master of Science in Journalism.

Students who earn a GPA of below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation and must improve according to established terms if they are to remain in the school. In the case of courses offered on Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) basis, faculty review of competence will be substituted for grades.


Students in the Master of Science in Journalism can complete the program in eleven months by enrolling in the seven-week summer immersion course and enrolling in 14 units in the fall and spring semesters. The School of Journalism will accept only 4 units of approved transferred graduate credit.

Students may waive JOUR 560 if they have taken a similar course at their undergraduate institution. A syllabus must be turned in and approved by the graduate director. 

Foreign Language/Research Tool Requirements

There is no foreign language or research tool requirement for the master’s degree, but fluency in the English language is needed for success in the program.

Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation (GSP)

Journalism students are required to complete an online tutorial about Grammar, Spelling, and Punctuation (GSP) and pass the GSP test before the end of the spring semester. Students who fail to complete the GSP tutorial and pass the test will not receive a degree from the School of Journalism.

Note: Students with disabilities may register with the Office of Student Accessibility Services (OSAS) so the OSAS staff can assess the nature of the students’ disabilities and recommend the appropriate accommodations to be provided for each student.

Capstone Project

MS in Journalism students must enroll in JOUR 598 (4 units) in order to graduate. Completed projects are judged by a committee appointed by the director of the School of Journalism and degrees are conferred based on the committee’s review. 

Course Requirements (36 units)

  • JOUR 505 The Practice: Journalism’s Evolution as a Profession (1 unit)
  • JOUR 510 Special Assignment Reporting (2 units)
  • JOUR 528 Summer Digital Journalism Immersion (3 units)
  • JOUR 531 Fall Digital Journalism Immersion (3 units)
  • JOUR 532 Fall Digital Journalism Immersion Practicum (1 unit)
  • JOUR 539 Introduction to Investigative Reporting (2 units)
  • JOUR 546 News, Numbers and Introduction to Data Journalism (2 units)
  • JOUR 547 Navigating the Media Marketplace (1 unit)
  • JOUR 553 Coding and Programming for Storytelling (2 units)
  • JOUR 560 Seminar in Mass Communication Law (2 units)
  • JOUR 598 Journalism Capstone Project (4 units)

Plus 13 approved elective units (400-level courses and above).


Students interested in specific journalistic platforms are encouraged to select an emphasis and complete the recommended courses for that emphasis:

Long-Form Video

  • JOUR 503 Visual Literacy and Introduction to Documentary Storytelling (1 unit)
  • JOUR 521 Documentary Pre-Production (2 units)
  • JOUR 522 Video Documentary Production (4 units)

News Video

  • JOUR 403 Television News and Sports Production (6 units)
  • JOUR 508 Introduction to Video Reporting (1 unit)
  • JOUR 524 Advanced Video Reporting (4 units)
  • JOUR 552 Video Reporting and Production (2 units)


  • JOUR 409 Radio Storytelling and Podcasts (4 units)
  • JOUR 515 Introduction to Audio Storytelling (1 unit)
  • JOUR 523 Public Radio Reporting (2 units)
  • JOUR 525 This California Life: Storytelling for Radio and Podcasting (4 units)


  • JOUR 448 Government and Public Affairs Reporting (4 units)
  • JOUR 511 Introduction to Narrative Non-Fiction (1 unit)
  • JOUR 512 Advanced Interpretive Writing (2 units)
  • JOUR 517 Advanced Investigative Reporting (4 units)
  • JOUR 519 Advanced Writing and Reporting for Magazine and the Web (4 units)
  • JOUR 542 Foreign Affairs Reporting (3 units)
  • JOUR 577 Monetization and the New Media (3 units)
  • JOUR 585 Specialized Reporting: Religion (4 units)


  • JOUR 475 Print and Digital Design for 21st Century Storytelling (4 units)
  • JOUR 479 Storytelling for Action Sports (4 units)
  • JOUR 489 Hands-on Disruption: Experimenting with Emerging Technology (2 units)
  • JOUR 494 Python Coding for Data Journalism (2 units)
  • JOUR 496 Interactive Media Design for Publishing (4 units)
  • JOUR 527 Advanced Disruption: Innovation with Emerging Technology (2 units)
  • JOUR 555 Advanced Coding for Creative Storytelling (2 units)
  • JOUR 561 Fundamentals of Data Journalism Reporting (2 units)

This page is based on the current 2023-2024 USC Catalogue. The 2024-2025 USC Catalogue will be published in summer 2024.