Master of Arts in Specialized Journalism

Specialized Journalism at USC Annenberg

Now is your moment to acquire the training and skills you need to produce in-depth journalism in the public interest. With the advent of multi-platform reporting, the demand for innovative journalists has never been stronger as media outlets and content providers seek fresh and inventive ways to satisfy their audiences’ curiosity.

Writing features for magazines like The Atlantic. Reporting on the Olympics for a major sports network. Producing a documentary series that addresses societal challenges like global warming. Exploring new methods for delivering and packaging extended news content. Our M.A. in Specialized Journalism program is designed for students with specific professional goals. It is also flexible: you can enroll full-time and complete the program in nine and a half months, or part-time and proceed at your own pace. Whether you are an early-career journalist or an experienced professional in another field looking to make a career change, you will forge relationships with our expert faculty that allow you to achieve your vision.

Students work together with our faculty to craft customized programs of study across a range of subjects and specializations. In addition, students have the opportunity to take courses from across USC’s 19 schools and to benefit from USC Annenberg’s position in Los Angeles, the world’s creative capital. Popular specializations include: The Arts, International Reporting, Innovation, Social Justice Reporting, and Sports and Entertainment.

Popular Specializations

International Reporting


To report on the world, you must know the world. Students who opt to specialize in international reporting explore international relations, public policy, religion, health, immigration and environmental studies across the university in tandem with their journalism courses at USC Annenberg. Students have traveled to and reported from countries like Greece, Ireland and Indonesia. As extension of their coursework, students have also partnered with various media organizations like The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Daily Beast and Public Radio International to have their stories published.

Innovative Journalism


Journalism is at the midst of a bold transformation. The innovative journalism specialization is designed for students who are seeking to embrace the technologies that have opened up new frontiers for the profession and to capitalize on this moment by charting the next phase of the communications revolution. Students work closely with leading players in the industry to: (1) enhance new forms of storytelling; (2) develop smarter platforms to deliver news; (3) improve reporting techniques and data mining; and (4) work on new business models to increase the value of journalistic content.

Social Justice Reporting


Students seeking to explore contemporary social issues — including immigration, homelessness, gentrification, poverty and environmental justice — will thrive in social justice reporting specialization. Building on USC Annenberg’s rich history of issue-oriented reporting projects like “Hunger in the Golden State,” for the Los Angeles Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting and “24 Hours: A Day in the Working Life,” for KCRW’s Unfictional and the Public Radio Exchange, this specialization combines critical analysis, extensive contact with experts in relevant fields, and most of all, in-depth, on-the-ground reporting produced for multiple platforms. Students will work with a cohort of journalist peers in project-oriented, newsroom-style classes collaborating with professional print and broadcast outlets.

Entertainment and Sports Reporting


USC Annenberg’s location in Los Angeles not only positions students at the heart of the entertainment industry, but at the hub of sports broadcasting and the home of 10 professional sports franchises. Students who select this specialization want to pursue careers covering music, TV, film, the arts, pop culture, and sports. They get to experience the entertainment and sports industries firsthand as they do on-site, field reporting and meet leaders and executives from Amazon, Hulu, Warner Bros., the L.A. Kings and the L.A. Dodgers, to name a few.

Master of Specialized Journalism Program Information

Master of Arts in Specialized Journalism

The M.A. in Specialized Journalism is an intensive nine and a half month program that prepares you to produce high-level reporting and long-form narrative journalism on topics of your choosing. Specialized reporting courses are offered in business, economics, entertainment, climate change and the environment, immigration, international affairs, sports, religion and spirituality, science, and other topics.