M.A. Professional Emphasis

About the Program

This program is well suited to those who obtained bachelor’s degrees in other fields and want to become journalists, as well as for those who recently received a journalism degree and are seeking more advanced training.

We also welcome mid-career professionals who want to gain greater knowledge of the legal, ethical, technological and management challenges that confront 21st-century journalists. Opportunities exist to tailor a program suited to your interests, such as science or environmental journalism.


The skills-oriented curriculum includes writing, multimedia and on-the-street reporting for print, television and online media serving communities in southern Arizona. Those interested in the professional emphasis program are expected to demonstrate outstanding English and writing skills because of the rigor of the assignments and the expectation that after graduation they may begin working immediately in a news organization. 

The program typically requires four semesters for full-time students. Students also can enroll part-time.

Course Requirements

You must complete a minimum of 33 units to graduate. This includes four required courses, including a thesis or final project, plus three highly recommended skills courses and a choice of four electives. Most electives allow you to specialize in your choice of an area of interest. These other electives can be drawn from journalism or, with permission from the director of graduate studies, from other disciplines.

We highly recommend taking an internship, apprenticeship or fellowship as an elective. It is recommended that students enrolled in the two-year master’s program earn no more than 3 units of internship credit for JOUR 593. Up to 6 units may be allowed in consultation with the director of graduate studies.

No 400-level credits will be accepted toward graduate degrees. All course work will be based on graduate-level work. Credits earned in the 500-level section of a co-convened course (400/500) will be accepted toward graduate degrees.

Required Courses

  • Complete four courses (12 units)
  • You can choose to complete either a master's project (JOUR 909) or thesis (JOUR 910)

Skills Courses (Highly Recommended)

  • Complete 9 units
  • Choose between 590C or 590F


  • Complete 12 units
  • Some courses are offered only occasionally
  • See lists below for options; other courses in journalism or outside the school may be counted with permission

At least one elective must be from the following list of professional emphasis courses:

Other electives include the following courses:


  • JOUR 593 Internship
  • POL 593L Legislative Internship
  • JOUR 596D Environmental Journalism (Costa Rica summer study abroad)
  • JOUR 597B Advanced Photojournalism (Italy summer study abroad)

Suggested Schedule

First Year

Fall Semester

  • JOUR 506 Introductory and Advanced Reporting (3 units)
  • JOUR 507 Reporting with Multimedia (3 units)
  • JOUR 508 Journalism Theory and Practice (3 units)

Spring semester

  • JOUR 509 Media Law and Ethics (3 units)
  • JOUR 589 Research Methods (3 units)
  • Elective: Professional skills course (3 units)

Second Year

Fall Semester

  • JOUR 590C or 590F (Choose either Arizona Sonoran News or Arizona Cat's Eye) (3 units)
  • Elective (6 units)

Spring semester

  • Electives (3 units)
  • JOUR 909 Project or JOUR 910 Thesis (3 units)