Cronkite Professional Master's Degree Program

Master's student Adriane Goetz of Phoenix follows a presentation by Cronkite Assistant Professor Leslie-Jean Thornton.
Master's student Adriane Goetz of Phoenix follows a presentation by Cronkite Assistant Professor Leslie-Jean Thornton.

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s 12-month master’s degree centers around real-world journalism experiences that prepare students for careers in today’s rapidly evolving media industry.

The full-time journalism graduate program is unique in scope, focus and intensity. It begins with immersion in the reporting skills, values and principles embodied by Walter Cronkite, the school’s guiding light for the past three decades. But it also is designed with the future in mind. Students learn how to navigate a dramatically different 21st-century media environment through classes and a symposium specifically focused on the future of journalism. And they are able to apply that knowledge through an intensive, practical experience in one of the school’s signature professional programs spanning broadcast journalism, sports journalism and other arenas.

Capstone experiences

Graduate students at the journalism school are required to complete a capstone that immerses them in professional experiences, builds their portfolios and prepares them for careers in media.

Students complete their degrees with a capstone experience in Cronkite News Service in Washington, D.C., or Phoenix, in the Cronkite School’s at the Los Angeles sports broadcasting bureau or in Cronkite NewsWatch. Some students choose to combine one of these with the school’s New Media Innovation Lab or Public Insight Bureau.

  • Cronkite News Service in Phoenix and Washington
  • Students work out of bureaus in Phoenix and Washington, D.C., covering public policy issues for Arizona audiences. Their work is published in newspapers and on news websites and carried on TV and radio stations in Arizona and beyond. This work also is showcased at cronkitenewsonline.com.

  • Cronkite NewsWatch
  • The live, four-day-a-week newscast is regularly honored as the best student newscast in the country. Students work out of newsrooms in Phoenix, Washington and Southern California, reporting and producing everything from breaking news to features, sports and weather. The newscast has the largest reach of any student newscast in the country, reaching 1.9 million homes on Arizona PBS.

  • Cronkite Sports
  • Students cover Major League Baseball spring training for news organizations around the country and spend a semester in Cronkite’s new bureau in Santa Monica, Calif., reporting on professional sports for regional media outlets. Students benefit from the school’s partnerships with ESPN, the Pac-12 Networks, FOX Sports, MLB.com and others.

  • New Media Innovation Lab
  • Journalism students work side by side with computer science, design and business students to create cutting-edge digital media products for regional and national media companies and other organizations. Students also pursue entrepreneurial projects in the digital space.

  • Cronkite Public Insight Bureau
  • In the new PIN bureau, students work with news organizations around the country, mining news sources and generating story ideas and angles. They learn the tools and practices of citizen engagement as well as important research and analytical skills. PIN also provides students with the opportunity to develop their entrepreneurial skills.

Signature programs
Cronkite graduate students can add to their skills and expertise by taking specialized courses in some of the fastest-growing areas of journalism.

  • Carnegie-Knight News21
  • The investigative, multimedia reporting project brings together top journalism students from around the country in a seminar and an immersive 10-week reporting experience. Each year, News21 fellows report in-depth on a topic of national significance, such as voting rights and issues facing post-9/11 veterans. Publication partners include The Washington Post, NBCnews.com and the Center for Public Integrity.

  • Immigration and Border Reporting
  • A Latino seminar immerses students in the history, culture and social and political issues of concern to Latino communities. Students move on to an in-depth, multimedia reporting class that includes an immersive reporting experience abroad. Students have traveled to Mexico, Canada, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, and their work has been recognized three times in the past five years with the prestigious international Robert
    F. Kennedy Journalism Award.

  • Business Journalism
  • Students with an interest in pursuing business journalism on-air, on the Web or in print can take specialized classes in business issues and business reporting. Many students go on to work at high-profile media outlets that include Bloomberg, Reuters, CNN Money, the Los Angeles Times and CNBC.

Students do all of this in a world-class facility in the heart of downtown Phoenix and in the nation’s sixth largest city and 13th largest media market. Student journalists can walk to the state’s largest newspaper, the NBC affiliate and Fox News, or to cover major events at city hall; county, state and federal agencies; and at major sporting and cultural venues. The state’s public television station – one of the largest in the country – is housed inside the school’s state-of-the-art $71 million facility.

Students have the chance to study under a remarkable faculty of national journalism leaders. They include former CNN anchor Aaron Brown, former Minneapolis Star Tribune Editor Tim McGuire, former BET Vice President Retha Hill, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Steve Doig, and Pulitzer-Prize-winning editor Jacquee Petchel, former executive editor of the Sacramento Bee Rick Rodriguez and Leonard Downie Jr., longtime executive editor of The Washington Post.

Other veterans head up the school’s professional immersion programs, which are a cornerstone of the graduate experience.

Justin McHeffey of Montana participates in an online media class for graduate students.
Justin McHeffey of Montana participates in an online media class for graduate students.

For the most part, students come to the master's program with limited or no professional experience. The course of study, which begins with a “boot camp” in basic journalism skills, is designed to prepare those without such training for careers in print, digital media and broadcasting.

The Cronkite School’s graduate journalism program is designed so that each class moves through as a cohort, entering in the fall semester and attending full time for three semesters.

Many students gain their final credits for the graduate degree in journalism in Cronkite News Service in D.C. or in Cronkite Sports in Los Angeles in the summer after entering, enabling them to complete grad school in 12 months. Others take the summer off and complete their studies in the fall of their second year.

Students must meet the admissions requirements of both the Graduate College and the Cronkite School and apply no later than Feb. 1. The admission process with the graduate school and journalism program is conducted on a rolling basis between December and March.

For questions, please email cronkitegrad@asu.edu.