Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - Admissions | Columbia Journalism School

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Journalism School look for in applicants for the M.S. and M.A. degrees?

We seek students who are skilled writers, curious about the world, interested in searching for the truth, determined and resourceful. Applicants should be motivated to dedicate their careers to journalism and exhibit leadership potential.

Do I need a degree in a specific major to be considered for admission? Are there any prerequisite courses that I need to have taken?

The Journalism School does not require applicants to have a specific major or take prerequisite courses to apply. You will need a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university or its equivalent outside the country. 

If you've begun graduate-level work in journalism or a related field, please note our Transfer of Credit Policy (only available for Ph.D. candidates).


What counts as journalism experience?

The Journalism School provides journalists with a unique opportunity to hone and deepen their skills at any point in their careers. Journalism experience is paid or unpaid work that has been completed in any media‐related field, such as newspaper, television, radio, photojournalism, digital publications or freelance work; work produced generally for a public audience.

If I don’t have any journalism experience, do I have a chance of being admitted?

We take a holistic approach to each application. Journalism experience is one element that the admissions committee will consider. Many applicants who may not have significant experience in journalism show strong potential in writing and can thoughtfully articulate and explain their goals and passion for working in the journalism industry. For students with little or no journalism experience, the Master of Science program is the most appropriate fit.

What is the required GPA to be considered for admission?

The Journalism School has no minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) requirement and accounts for different grading systems around the world in its admission process.

Is the GRE required for admission?

The GRE is not required for admission to the following programs: Master of Science, Master of Arts and dual degree programs with Columbia Law, Sciences Po and the University of Witwatersrand.

The GRE is optional for the Ph.D. in Communication & Dual Degree/Computer Science. You will not be penalized if you submit an application without scores; it will be considered on the same terms as those with current scores.

The GRE is required for admission if you are applying for the dual degree Master of Science with Religion or International and Public Affairs. The Law School requires the LSAT. The Business School and School of International and Public Affairs require either the GRE or GMAT.

Only currently valid test scores will be accepted. GRE scores are valid up to five years from the original test date.

Which code should I use to send my GRE score?

The school code is 2120.

Will letters, transcripts or test scores that arrive after the deadline be considered?

Applicants should plan ahead to ensure that all letters, transcripts and test scores arrive by the deadline. Only complete applications will be sent to the admission committee.

I applied last year but did not complete my application and/or was not offered admission. Do you still have my materials?

No, we do not keep your materials on file. Applicants must submit a new online application, fee, updated resume, essays, transcripts, references and TOEFL/IELTS scores (if applicable). M.S. students must retake the Journalism School writing test. Non‐native speakers of English whose TOEFL or IELTS scores did not meet our required minimums should retake the test.

I'm applying to the M.S. program. When will I be notified about taking the writing test?

M.S. applicants and M.A. applicants (who have elected to be considered for the M.S. program) will be notified to set up their writing test via email after they submit their online application. The writing test, administered by ProctorU, is required of all Master of Science degree applicants. The two hour exercise will examine analytical and critical thinking skills, along with reporting and writing skills. The test format is short answer and uses open-ended questions. We do not have a sample test online. All students will take the test remotely, regardless of location. You do not need to travel to New York City to take the test.

Are interviews required as a part of the application process?

We do not require an interview for M.S., M.A. or Ph.D. candidates.

I'm graduating in the spring. Am I eligible to apply for the fall?

You are eligible to apply for fall admission provided that you will have received your bachelor's degree by July 15 of the year in which you are applying. You must upload your "in progress" transcripts with your online application. If you are admitted and enroll, you must submit a final, official transcript that shows all of your courses, grades and the confirmed date for your degree.

Does the Journalism School accept transfer credits from other institutions?

The Journalism School does not accept transfer credits from other institutions for students in the M.S. or M.A. degree programs. Students enrolled in the doctoral program may request that prior graduate‐level work be considered for transfer or advanced standing credit. Prior graduate work is reviewed during the second semester of the first year of entrance coursework.

After I've enrolled, can I switch to being a part-time student or vice versa?

We offer the M.S. degree on a part‐time basis for domestic students only. Students who begin in a part‐time cohort may switch to full‐time status and vice versa – space permitting.