The Master of Liberal Arts, Journalism degree program is offered online with 1 course required on campus at Harvard University. Weekend options are available for the on-campus requirement.
Online core and elective courses
On-campus active learning elective
12 Graduate Courses (48 credits)
You’ll learn outstanding storytelling techniques that are in demand for many communication careers, including public relations, marketing, and development as well as reporting, feature writing, and first-person journalism.
Our synchronous online format and small class size ensure you’ll receive personal feedback on your writing and experience full engagement with instructors and peers.
Required Core & Elective Courses
- JOUR 100 Proseminar: Introduction to Graduate Studies in Journalism
- JOUR 137 Feature Writing or 137A Feature Writing: First-Person Journalism
- JOUR 140A, B, or C
- JOUR 110 The Constitution and the Media
- 1 applied active learning elective (see on-campus experience)
- JOUR 179 Covering Washington or JOUR 161 Podcasting
- 2 journalism electives
- One may be an internship
- One may be EXPO 42b Writing in the Social Sciences
- 4 general electives
- Use these electives to earn one of the 3 certificates listed below or enroll in additional journalism or general electives.
Optional Graduate Certificates
For the capstone track, you take JOUR 599 Journalism Capstone Project, in which you’ll conduct an in-depth investigation of a single topic and emerge with a portfolio of new work suitable for publishing, posting, or broadcasting.
Recent Capstone Topics:
- Mental Health Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic
- “We’re not surprised”: Physician burnout continues into third year of pandemic
- Neurological effects of long COVID: It “is not only a respiratory disease”
- Age-related differences among negative mental health effects
- The disproportionate affect of negative mental health effects among minorities
- Loving an America That Doesn’t Love Us Back
- The Continuous Legal Fights for Promised Land
- The Fight to Live the American Dream
- LGBTQ+ Rights: The Fight to Live Authentically
- Justice for All
- Opinion: The Fight for Inclusion and Rights for Every Person in America
- Opting Out of Parenthood: Why Having Children is No Longer a Requirement
- Parenthood is not for me: The myriad of reasons some are forgetting having children
- Child-free in the dating scene
- The difficulty of starting a family for LGBTQ couples
- Mental health and the decision not to procreate
- Alternative family structures are not alternative anymore
Choose between Covering Washington or Podcasting.
Learn and network in-person with your classmates.
Nearly all courses can be taken online, but the degree requires an in-person experience. You have two options for your applied active learning elective. Both are online courses with a required on-campus weekend.
Choose between two on-campus weekend options:
- Covering Washington: Spend a weekend in Washington, D.C., where you’ll conceive, develop, report and write an investigative story of your choice under the guidance of two veteran Washington journalists. Then you’ll meet for a weekend in the capital to visit with newsmakers, professionals and journalists.
- Podcasting: Spend a weekend on-campus here at Harvard University where you’ll choose a journalistic topic that you want to explore in a podcast, and you’ll gain the necessary skills — reporting, audio storytelling, scripting, interviewing, and basic audio production and design — to produce it. Short skill-building assignments will culminate in the production of a podcast episode.
International Students Who Need 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 3-week to complete an alternative on-campus journalism elective. For more information, see the important visa information on the International Student Study Options page.
In-Person Co-Curricular Events
Come to Cambridge for Convocation (fall) to celebrate your hard-earned admission, Harvard career fairs offered throughout the year, HES alumni networking events (here at Harvard and around the world), and, of course, Harvard University Commencement (May).
Confirm your initial eligibility with a 4-year bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent.
Take two courses in our unique “earn your way in” admissions process that count toward your degree.
In the semester of your second course, submit the official application for admission to the program.
Below are our initial eligibility requirements and an overview of our unique admissions process to help get you started. Visit the Degree Program Admissions page for more details.
- Prior to enrolling in any degree-applicable courses, you must possess a 4-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.
- If English is your second language, you’ll need to prove English proficiency before registering for a course. We have multiple proficiency options.
Earning Your Way In — Courses Required for Admission
To begin the admission process, you simply register — no application required — for the following two, four-credit, graduate-level degree courses (available online).
These prerequisite courses count toward your degree once you’re admitted; they are not additional courses. They are investments in your studies and help ensure success in the program.
- JOUR 100 Proseminar: Introduction to Graduate Studies in 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 42b Writing in the Social Sciences.
- 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 2 years old at the time of application.
- JOUR 137 Feature Writing, JOUR 137A Feature Writing: First-Person Journalism or JOUR 140C Race, Media and News Writing
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! You must prioritize the two degree courses for admission and apply before completing subsequent courses. By doing so, you’ll:
- Avoid the loss of credit due to expired course work or changes to admission and degree requirements.
- Ensure your enrollment in critical and timely degree-candidate-only courses.
- Avoid the delayed application fee.
- Gain access to exclusive benefits.
Eligible students who submit a complete and timely application will have 10 more courses after admission to earn the degree. Applicants can register for courses in the upcoming semester before they receive their grades and while they await their admission decision.
The Office of Predegree Advising & Admissions makes all final determinations about program eligibility.
Search and Register for Courses
The Division of Continuing Education (DCE) offers degree courses all year round to accelerate degree completion.
- You can study in fall, January, and spring terms through Harvard Extension School (HES) and during the summer through Harvard Summer School (HSS).
- You can enroll full or part time. After qualifying for admission, many of our degree candidates study part time, taking 2 courses per semester (fall/spring) and 1 in the January and summer sessions.
- Most fall and spring courses meet once a week for two hours, while January and summer courses meet more frequently in a condensed format.
To Complete Your Degree
Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Complete your courses in five years.
Earn your Harvard degree and enjoy Harvard Alumni Association benefits upon graduation.
Required GPA, Withdrawal Grades, and Repeat Courses
GPA. You need to earn a B or higher in each of the two degree courses required for admission 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.
Courses Expire: Finish Your Coursework in Under Five Years
Courses over five years old at the point of admission will not count toward the degree. As stated above, the proseminar cannot be more than two years old at the time of application.
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 a 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.