Choosing the right university to study journalism is the first step in kick-starting a successful career as a journalist. But whether you want to specialise in print or pursue a radio presenting gig, knowing what journalism course is right for you is essential in taking those first steps into studying your chosen subject.
With job growth in the journalism industry increasing year on year, now has never been a more thriving time to study and pursue a career in journalism. Based on Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings for communication and media studies, we run down the 10 best schools to study at and kick-start your journalism career.
10. University of California, Berkeley
Location: Berkeley, CA, USA
Located on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism is a graduate school that boosts custom training perfect for school or college undergraduates exploring their options in the field of journalism. Students can enrol on a two-year Master of Journalism (MJ) course in which classes are small and instructors act as mentors, as they learn everything from how to report and produce local news stories to getting to grips with powerful multimedia tools and digital technologies.
Undergrads can also take part in the university’s summer minor programme, in which students will gain first-hand experience of the techniques of reporting and writing while learning how to attract and engage an audience in the world of social media. Students who choose to study journalism at UCB will certainly have more to offer on their résumé than just Californian gold.
9. University of California, Los Angeles
Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
The media of Los Angeles are distinguished and include some of the most prominent news networks in the world, including ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC. Though the University of California, Los Angeles, also known as UCLA, doesn’t offer a dedicated journalism degree course, they do offer prospective students the opportunity to major in communication as part of an interdisciplinary curriculum leading to a BA, which is offered at the UCLA College of Letters and Science.
Additionally, master programmes are available in a wide variety of more specialised subjects, including integrated marketing, sociology of mass communication and public diplomacy.
8. University College London (UCL)
Location: London, UK
Boasting noticeable alumni from broadcaster and natural historian David Attenborough to Indian political ethicist Mahatma Gandhi, the University College of London, also commonly referred to as UCL, is ranked among the top 20 ‘super-elite’ universities in the world.
Offering a variety of journalism courses ranging from media sociology to more specialised topics covering alternative journalism practices in European countries such as Scandinavia and Italy, UCL allows students to study and learn using a combination of theory and practice while providing a broad understanding of the exhilarating possibilities of journalism in the digital era.
UCL also offer students a wide range of apprenticeship opportunities where those seeking more hands-on experience can develop their skillset in a variety of positions, including marketing, social media, public relations and communications.
7. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Location: Ann Arbor, MI, USA
While the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor doesn’t currently offer a degree programme in journalism, there are a wide variety of resources and alternative programmes available that would benefit any budding journalism student, including creative nonfiction and story-making courses.
With popstar Madonna as one of its many noteworthy alumni, Michigan's oldest university certainly has a lot of star power to its name and is seemingly more accustomed to its student being the subject of news rather than reporting it – which isn’t to say that those looking to study journalism should necessarily rule out this university altogether.
The University of Michigan provides students with a diverse and vibrant community where they can develop their ideas and expand their skill set to further pursue their journalism career.
6. Yale University
Location: New Haven, CT, USA
A private Ivy League research university, Yale University has the prestige of being the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States.
Yale doesn’t offer a journalism major but instead offers students a broad, liberal-arts education and the opportunity to study writing, as well as a chance to work for its various student publications. Various fellowship openings are also available for students interested in gaining editing skills in digital media, which can be found at the university’s Office of Career Strategy.
Living by the university’s mission statement ‘improving the world today and for future generations through outstanding research and scholarship, education, preservation, and practice,’ students can expect a wide range of internship opportunities – ideal for those who wish to pursue a more practicable and on-the-job approach to their learning and education.
5. London School of Economics and Political Science
Location: London, UK
A public research university and a member institution of the federal University of London, the London School of Economics and Political Science (or the LSE, for short) and its department of media and communications is ranked #1 in the UK for its master’s level and doctoral research training, and is renowned for studying real-world issues from economics, politics and law to sociology, accounting and finance.
Students can enrol on a 12- or 24-month media and communications course, or even take part in a variety of specialised short courses covering the role of the media in the modern world and citizens and cultural politics in journalism.
Students will also have the opportunity to research modern journalism and its impact on society while participating in talks with pioneering media professionals, from large public lectures to smaller seminars, across a broad spectrum of topics relating to media and communications.
4. Stanford University
Location: Stanford, CA, USA
Located in Stanford, California, this private research university boosts a graduate programme in journalism with specialised writing courses covering a diverse range of subjects including journalism law and multimedia storytelling. Stanford University and its journalism programme also host a discussion forum for students to present and exchange views on the most current and emerging trends in the journalism field, and provide students with the platform to form and put forward their ideas in discussion and debates.
Renowned the world over for its interdisciplinary work and academic excellence, students looking to study journalism at Stanford University will gain and develop the necessary skills required to report, analyse and write authoritatively about public issues and digital media.
3. Harvard University
Location: Cambridge, MA, USA
A private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University is one of the most renowned universities in the world and boasts a comprehensive journalism degree programme equipped with the resources in acquiring the skills necessary for success as a journalist in the digital age. Expanding over 12 assorted courses, students will develop a deeper understanding of the field of journalism while building greater confidence in their writing and reporting skills.
In an often-criticised industry in which modern journalism is lambasted as ‘fake news’ and accused of being impartial and, at times, biased, it is fitting that the over 200-year-old Harvard University’s motto is simply ‘Truth’.
2. University of Oxford
Location: Oxford, UK
Renowned for its long list of famous Oxonians, including 28 British Prime Ministers, this collegiate research university based in Oxford, England is as prestigious as it comes. The oldest university in the English-speaking world, the University of Oxford with its many student publications and radio stations has been the honing ground for some of Britain’s most successful journalists and broadcasters.
While the university doesn’t offer journalism courses, the experience gained by working on student journals and publications is indispensable. Some of the more noteworthy of these publications include The Isis Magazine (its website was shortlisted in the ‘Student website of the year’ category at the 2015 Guardian Student Media Awards) and Onyx Magazine, a creative magazine which showcases the voices of British students of African and Caribbean heritage.
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Location: Cambridge, MA, USA
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is best known for its extensive programmes in engineering and the physical sciences. However, students looking to study journalism should also take a look at the university’s communication and journalism programme, which offers a comparative media studies and writing course where students can learn and apply critical analysis, collaborative research and design across media arts and various other practices.
Also of note is the knight science journalism programme. Based at its headquarters at the MIT School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, this nine-month programme offers students a research fellowship specialising in the reporting and coverage of science and technology, medicine, and the environment, and is the perfect opportunity for those looking to pursue a more specialised path in journalism.
Leaving school and deciding whether to start work or pursue further education can always be a daunting and often challenging decision to make. For those with the clear goal and intent of pursuing a career as a journalist, these 10 best journalism schools in the world will equip you with the skills and knowledge to forge a successful profession in the field of journalism. Good luck!
Are you considering a career in journalism? Which of these universities would you like to attend for a world-class education? Let us know in the comments section below!