How to Apply
Preparing your application to the School of Journalism takes time. We urge you to line up the people who will write your letters of recommendation at least a few months in advance. Personal essays and work samples also require careful preparation. The entirety of your application should reflect your earnest desire, capacity and aptitude to succeed in a career in journalism.
Our application system is online and is accessible from September 6 through December 1. To begin an application, you will need to set up a login and password-protected account on the Berkeley Graduate Division Admissions Website. Once you've started your account, you can upload your materials (including transcripts, resume, work samples and essays) at any time before midnight on December 1st.
- Bachelor's degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or equivalent
- Demonstrated aptitude for news reporting and/or nonfiction narrative writing
- Completed online application submitted by December 1 at 11:59pm PST
Overview and Timeline
Application available September 6: UC Berkeley Graduate Admissions
Key Components of the Application:
- Statement of Purpose (no more than 500 words)
- Personal History Statement (no more than 500 words)
- Letters of Recommendation (3)
- Journalistic Work Samples (3)
See "Application Instructions" below for detailed instructions for completing each section.
September - November:
- Begin drafting your Statement of Purpose and Personal History Statement.
- Request letters of recommendation.
- Select/publish your three best journalistic work samples.
- Obtain an official copy of your transcripts.
- Polish your resume.
- Begin working on the online application.
Deadline: December 1:
All components of the online application need to be submitted by December 1 at 11:59 p.m. PST. Urge recommenders to submit their letters of recommendation by this time.
December - February:
Interviews and writing tests are conducted.
Selected candidates will be contacted for interviews. Personal interviews are required to complete the review process and are conducted by J-School alumni in your area. If an in-person interview cannot be scheduled, the interview will be conducted by phone or videoconference. After the interview is completed, a timed writing test will be administered.
All applicants are notified of their admission status.
Spring Welcome Visit for all newly admitted students. Spring Welcome Visit is an all-school event designed to give newly admitted candidates a foretaste of life as a Berkeley J-School student.
Begin your online application by creating a user account and password. Review the entire application so you know what is needed for each component. You can add and edit sections at any time before deadline, so you’ll want to save the link to your application for easy access to the Berkeley Graduate Division website.
Parts of the Application:
Personal information, contact information, educational background, GPA, program interests, foreign language proficiency, financial aid.
Statement of Purpose (no more than 500 words)
Please describe your aptitude and motivation for graduate study in your area of specialization, including your preparation for this field of study, your academic plans or research interests, and your future career goals. Please be specific about why UC Berkeley would be a good intellectual fit for you. You may also want to include the reasons you would like to attend the Graduate School of Journalism at this point in your career.
Personal History Statement (no more than 500 words)
Please describe how your personal background and experiences shaped your decision to pursue a journalism graduate degree. In this section, you may also include any relevant information on how you overcame barriers to access higher education, evidence of how you have come to understand the barriers faced by others, evidence of your academic service to advance equitable access to higher education for women, racial minorities, and individuals from other groups that have been historically underrepresented in higher education, evidence of your research focusing on underserved populations or related issues of inequality, or evidence of your leadership among such groups. The Personal History Statement is required for all applicants. Please note that the Personal History Statement should not duplicate the Statement of Purpose. You may want to include the reasons that you have decided to become a reporter.
We require a PDF copy of transcripts from the undergraduate institution that awarded your bachelor's degree. Transcripts from other institutions are required if they include credits towards your bachelor’s degree that are not reflected on the same transcript that shows the completion of your degree. Request a copy of your transcripts, scan and upload the PDF document in the transcript section of the application. Hard copies will be required if admission is offered.
Letters of Recommendation (3):
We prefer recommendations from professional journalists who know your work and can comment on your work ethic, reporting proficiency, and commitment to journalism. We do not accept paper letters of recommendations. Requests for letters of recommendation are sent automatically through the online application. Recommenders will respond to this request and submit their letters directly to your online file. You will be able to view the status of the receipt of your recommendations through your online account, but you will not be able to see the content of the letters. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.
Journalistic Work Samples (3):
Work samples can be written pieces, such as news, non-fiction writing, feature writing, profiles, or research papers; video pieces like documentary films or broadcast news reels; radio/audio/podcast pieces; multimedia forms like video, audio, or photo essays/photo portfolio; online projects like data-driven stories, in-depth interactive graphics, or interactive documentaries; or other abstract new media forms, such as VR, apps, or similar projects.
Work samples can be unpublished.
Work samples can be uploaded as PDF documents, or submitted online as a URL to the project. If submitting a URL, be sure to include any additional information needed to access the materials online (e.g. if password-protected or behind a paywall). It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure a working link and full accessibility to materials during the review period of the application.
Upload a PDF of your current resume.
Visit the Cost and Financial Aid page for more information about federal grants, loans, and work-study qualification.
Be sure all sections of your application are complete before you click the "Submit" button.
Be sure you click the "Submit" button by the deadline of December 1 at 11:59 p.m.
Re-applicants must submit new online applications and fees.
It is highly recommended that all components of the new application are fresh. Transcripts from your previous application can be used upon request.
If you were not admitted when you applied before, the admissions committee will be looking for evidence that your candidacy is stronger this time.
Concurrent Degree Applicants
For students who are interested in the flourishing field of health-related journalism and communications, the J-School offers a joint degree with the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. It enables students to satisfy the requirements of the Master of Journalism and the Master of Public Health concurrently, completing both two-year programs in three years instead of the four that would be required if the degrees were pursued separately. Candidates should be sure they are ready to undertake both demanding programs in a condensed time period before they select this option. Concurrent degree applicants are reviewed by the admissions committees from each of the two schools, and must be sure they are following all the application requirements for both programs.
Visit our Concurrent Degree Page for more information.
We welcome applications from international students. Admission is competitive. Candidates who have demonstrated professional journalism experience and fluency in English are favored. All work samples should be in English.
Resources for International Students
Berkeley Graduate Division
Please review Berkeley Graduate Division's information for international applicants
Berkeley International Office
BIO can help international applicants with questions about visas, travel, and housing in the U.S.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Berkeley offers both need- and merit-based aid, but funding is limited. Some financial aid options are available from the Berkeley International Office (BIO). Additionally, internship information is available at the Career Center.
Establishing California Residency to receive the lower tuition available for in-state students is unfortunately not an option for international students. However, students who qualify under the provisions of the Dream Act are eligible for in-state residency tuition.
TOEFL and Transcripts
International students must demonstrate language proficiency through either the TOEFL or IELTS test. All classes at the school are conducted in English. Please review the Graduate Division website for more details about the TOEFL / IELTS tests.