How Long is Journalism School?

It varies considerably, from one to three years.   

At the stellar University of Missouri School of Journalism, the country’s first (circa 1908), two years are required to complete the Master of Arts degree. The upside here is that two years at this state school can cost less than one year at a private institutions such as Stanford University, which was at least $60,000 for a one-year year program in 2008, whereas in the same academic year, Missouri’s cost for two years was about $60,000.

At Syracuse University’s distinguished Newhouse School of Public Communications, students choose from 11 master’s degree programs that include advertising, arts journalism, broadcast journalism, documentary film and history, magazine, newspaper, and online journalism, media management, new media, photography, public diplomacy, public relations, and television, radio, film. To boot, there’s an academic master's program in media studies. Each of these programs takes a minimum of 12 months to complete.

At Columbia University, students can opt to apply to a highly specialized one-year Master of Arts program while enrolled in the original one-year Master of Science program. Alternatively, some M.S. graduates return to Columbia after a few years in the field with a clear vision of what specialty they want to pursue in the M.A. Program. This is not exactly the same as the two-year gig at, say, UC-Berkeley, in part because you have to re-endure the apply-and-wait game. But it is attractive to those who want to specialize in science/medical, legal, economics, arts or religion reporting.

Some of the most talented aspiring journalists choose the University of California at Berkeley over more traditional powerhouses due to internship opportunities after the first year, not to mention the program’s second year, which gives them a chance to take courses in law, economics, international studies, etc. After all, it's best to know not just how to write, but to understand with as much depth what it is you're covering. To that end, joint degree programs involving journalism (usually with law school) are certainly worth contemplating. All you have to do is get into both programs!