Journalism & Computer Science

Explore the frontiers of journalism with cutting-edge tools and techniques.

The dual degree program in Journalism and Computer Science prepares students for robust opportunities in both fields, including designing and building platforms, algorithms and applications for journalism or pursuing research and development work in computer science related to journalism, natural language processing and the digital humanities.

Overview

The program offers the highest caliber of computer science and journalism training at Columbia University. Students enroll for a total of four semesters at the Journalism and Engineering schools, learning the fundamentals of reporting and writing while developing a working background in computer science and software design.

This program aims to provide students with a thorough understanding of how particular fields of computer science relate to journalism practice. Our goal is to train a new generation of computationally literate journalists (or journalistically literate computer scientists) who will redefine journalism as we know it.

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Who Should Apply

The program seeks applicants with outstanding undergraduate records, including a strong background in computer science, extensive mathematics or engineering training. Equally important: applicants should have excellent writing skills and be familiar with the fundamentals of reporting.

Graduates will be poised to become leaders in digital media production and innovation.

Applicants must be accepted into both the Journalism School and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. Applications are submitted to the Fu Foundation School of Engineering.

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Curriculum

Students in the program enroll in the same classes offered to all students at the Journalism and Engineering Schools. Their specialized training allows them to develop technical and editorial skills in all aspects of computer‐supported news gathering and digital media production.

At the Journalism School, the program is administered by the Tow Center for Digital Journalism. Students study the skills, art and ethics of journalism by reporting and writing stories that range from short news pieces to complex narrative features. They learn to think critically and deeply; to be both ethical and street smart, using New York City as their laboratory.

At the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, students receive technical training ranging from data mining to database system design, advanced software engineering, user interface design, computer graphics, security and networking. Faculty and students work together to create technologies that synthesize raw data into relevant content for news organizations to present in an attractive, secure and accessible form for readers.

During the second year, students take the Frontiers of Computational Journalism seminar designed specifically for the dual degree program. The seminar uses a hands‐on approach to delve into areas of computer science that have a direct relevance to journalism. It tackles diverse topics such as information recommendation systems and filter bubbles; the principles of statistical analysis and the human processes that generate data; network analysis and its role in investigative journalism; visualization techniques and the cognitive effects involved in viewing a visualization.

Explore Journalism School classes

Explore Computer Science classes

Class Timeline

First Year / Fall Semester

  • Reporting
  • Journalism Essentials 
  • Written Word module
  • One computer science class

First Year / Spring Semester

  • Four computer science classes
  • One Image & Sound or Investigative Technologies module

Second Year / Fall Semester

  • Frontiers of Computational Journalism
  • Master’s Project
  • One Image & Sound or Investigative Technologies module
  • Two computer science classes

Second Year / Spring Semester

  • Seminar & Production class
  • Master’s Project
  • Two computer science classes

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