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Journalism Degree Requirements

The Master of Liberal Arts, Journalism degree field consists of 12 courses (48 credits), with one required on-campus course. Weekend options are available.

  1. Review the details below to learn more about the curriculum and course selection.
  2. Determine your initial admissions eligibility.
  3. Complete the 2 courses for admission.

Required Courses

12 Graduate Courses

The journalism program is customizable. Within the program curriculum, you choose the journalism and general electives that support your learning goals.

  • Proseminar
  • Feature Writing
  • News Reporting for the Web, Print, and Other Platforms
  • The Constitution and the Media
  • 3 journalism electives
    • One may be an internship
    • One may be EXPO 42a, b or c (choose just one)
  • 4 general electives
  • Capstone

General Elective Advising Tip

You can use the four general electives to earn any of our graduate certificates to gain in-depth knowledge of a particular field or “beat.”  If we don’t offer a certificate in your area of interest, work with your academic advisor to choose general electives from any of our 50+ subject areas.

Admissions

Below are our initial eligibility requirements and an overview of our unique admissions process to help get you started. Be sure to visit Degree Program Admissions for full details.

Initial Eligibility

  • Prior to enrolling in any degree-applicable courses, you must possess a four-year regionally accredited US bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent. Foreign bachelor’s degrees must be evaluated for equivalency.
  • You cannot already have or be in the process of earning a master’s degree in journalism or a related field. Check your eligibility.

The Office of Predegree Advising & Admissions makes all final determinations about program eligibility

Earning Your Way In

To begin the admission process, you simply register—no application needed—for the following two, graduate-level degree courses (available online):

  • JOUR 100 Proseminar: Fundamentals and Practices of Journalism
    • Before registering, you’ll need to pass our online test of critical reading and writing skills or earn a B or higher in EXPO 42a, b, or c.
    • You have two attempts to earn the minimum grade of B in the proseminar (a withdrawal grade counts as an attempt). The proseminar cannot be more than two years old at the time of application.
  • JOUR 137 Feature Writing or JOUR 140a News Reporting for the Web, Print, and Other Platforms

The two courses don’t need to be taken in a particular order or in the same semester, but each course must be completed with a grade of B or higher, without letting your overall Harvard cumulative GPA dip below 3.0.

Applying to the Degree Program

During the semester of your second degree course, submit the official application to the program. 

Don’t delay! It is critical to prioritize the two degree courses for admission and apply before completing subsequent courses. By doing so, you’ll avoid the delayed application fee or the loss of credit for expired course work, while gaining access to exclusive benefits (see below).

Eligible students who submit a complete and timely application will have 10 more courses after admission to earn the degree. 

For details about full eligibility, the application process, and application fees, visit Degree Program Admissions.

The Harvard On-Campus Experience

Many courses can be taken online, but the degree requires a Harvard campus experience. You come to Cambridge for at least one course (4 credits), which offers you in-person access to faculty, campus resources, and the academic community.

On-campus requirements are completed through:

  • 15-week fall or spring semester courses that meet only on campus. Courses with the format “on campus or online” do not fulfill this requirement.
  • Courses that combine weekly online classes over a semester with an intensive weekend on campus.
  • Three-week January courses that meet only on campus.
  • Seven- or three-week summer courses that meet only on campus.
  • Active-learning weekend courses (two credits each; complete two to earn full course credit).

Accelerated on-campus path: one or two weekends.

International Students Needing a Student Visa

To meet the on-campus requirement, you study with us in the summer. You can easily request an I-20 for the F-1 student visa through Harvard Summer School’s three- or seven-week sessions. The accelerated option is typically one three-week session. For more information, see the important visa information on the International Student Study Options page.

To Complete Your Degree

Required GPA, Withdrawal Grades, and Repeat Courses

GPA. You need to earn a B or higher in the proseminar, news reporting, and feature writing and a B– or higher in each of the subsequent courses. In addition, your cumulative GPA cannot dip below 3.0.

Withdrawal Grades. You are allowed to receive two withdrawal (WD) grades without them affecting your GPA. Any additional WD grades count as zero in your cumulative GPA. See Academic Standing.

Repeat Courses. We advise you to review the ALM program’s strict policies about repeating courses. Generally speaking, you may not repeat a course to improve your GPA or to fulfill a degree requirement (if the minimum grade was not initially achieved). Nor can you repeat a course for graduate credit that you’ve previously completed at Harvard Extension School or Harvard Summer School at the undergraduate level.

Finish Your Coursework in Under Five Years

Courses over five years old at the point of admission will not count toward the degree.

Further, you have five years to complete your degree requirements. The five-year timeline begins at the end of the term in which you complete any two degree-applicable courses, regardless of whether or not you have been admitted to the degree program.

Potential degree candidates must plan accordingly and submit their applications to comply with the five-year course expiration policy or they risk losing degree credit for completed course work. Additionally, admission eligibility will be jeopardized if, at the point of application to the program, the five-year degree completion policy cannot be satisfied (i.e., too many courses to complete in the time remaining).

Graduate with Your Harvard Degree

When you have fulfilled all degree requirements, you will earn your Harvard University degree: Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in Extension Studies, Field: Journalism. Degrees are awarded in November, March, and May, with the annual Harvard Commencement ceremony in May.

Degree Candidate Exclusive Benefits

When you become an officially admitted degree candidate, you have access to a rich variety of exclusive benefits to support your academic journey. To learn more, visit degree candidate academic opportunities and privileges.