Knight-Bagehot Curriculum

The core of the Knight­-Bagehot curriculum consists of courses offered by Columbia University. Knight­-Bagehot fellows are allowed to choose from three different tracks: two tracks earn a Certificate in Economics and Business Journalism; one track earns a Master of Arts in Journalism degree.

The fellowship is an academic program. Whichever track they choose, fellows are enrolled in classes and receive grades for their work.

To earn this certificate, fellows must complete at least 30 hours of university credit during their two semesters. Fellows typically take most classes at Columbia Business School  or through the Law School and School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).

The most commonly chosen courses cover such subjects as microeconomics, macroeconomics, accounting, corporate finance, business law, international economics, marketing, business finance, securities analysis and media management. Many of these courses count as credit for those considering applying to the Business School to stay a second year, on their own, to complete a Master’s in Business Administration.

Fellows choose one of two tracks:

  • MBA Experience: Fellows are embedded in the entering class of Columbia Business School. They take core classes such as corporate finance, accounting and economics, along with electives in business and journalism. This is the preferred choice of most Knight-Bagehot fellows, and you must choose this track if you hope to apply to return for a second year to finish the full MBA. 


  • General Business: Fellows take only half their classes in the Business School, and they must find business and economics classes at other schools at Columbia University such as the Law School and SIPA. They might sometimes encounter waiting lists and prerequisites to get into these classes. They must present a plan of study to the Director that indicates which classes they will take. 

Each year one or two fellows choose to pursue a Master of Arts degree and take almost all of their courses at the Journalism School. This is a prescribed course of study that includes classes in reporting and investigative techniques in the Journalism School and requires completing a thesis by the end of the year. M.A. fellows are not allowed to take courses at the Business School or participate in Business School activities. M.A. fellows take accounting and corporate finance at SIPA and can take one additional subject area course outside the Journalism School.

All fellows, no matter which track, attend Knight-Bagehot seminars once a week at the Journalism School and get course credit for doing so. These seminars primarily focus on journalism, the business of journalism, new business models, the role of technology in media and contemporary issues affecting journalism and the media business. The fellows also meet weekly for dinner with CEOs and editors-in-chief of major media organizations to deepen their understanding of journalism and its related business ecosystem.

Because of the demanding nature of the curriculum, fellows are not permitted to take on any outside assignments, including at their current employer or freelance, while classes are in session.

Which Track is Best for You?


  • Most classes (21 credits) in the business school
  • 3 Knight-Bagehot seminar credits
  • 6 subject-related credits anywhere at the University

Who should choose this?

Applicants who want to deepen their technical skills and understanding of fundamental business practices. This track essentially embeds you in the Business School and allows you to take the deepest dive in the core Business School curriculum. You will be part of a Business School cluster and learning team and will be able to take part in Business School trips, clubs and activities. This is the preferred choice of most Knight-Bagehot fellows. If you think you might want to apply to continue for the MBA degree, this is your track.


  • Fewer classes (15 credits) in the business school
  • 3 Knight-Bagehot seminar credits
  • 12 subject-related credits anywhere at the University

Who should choose this?

Applicants who are willing to do more work to hunt down business and economics classes outside the Business School. Just a warning: many classes at the University fill up early, are not open to students outside the major or require prerequisites that you might not have. Because of this, you must present a plan of study to the Director outlining the courses you want to take and how they relate to the overall goals of the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship.


  • Most classes at the journalism school
  • 3 Knight-Bagehot seminar credits
  • Accounting and corporate finance classes at SIPA
  • One subject-related class anywhere at the University
  • Master’s thesis

Who should choose this?

Applicants who want to dive deeper into improving their understanding and practice of business journalism. You will spend most of your time in the Journalism School and are not able to take classes at the Business School or join an MBA cluster or learning team. You earn a master's degree.

Caption: Hear what the 2023 fellows say about their experience.