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Timothy Peck
9 College Lists

The 20 Best Colleges for Journalism

What’s Covered:

 

A degree in journalism can open a number of doors for students. Many journalism majors foresee themselves working in newsrooms and breaking stories for papers and television networks, however, they’re also commonly employed in careers such as public relations, social media, speech writing, and advertising. Journalism is a hands-on major and the best colleges and universities expect their students to build real-world experience while earning their degree—making it an attractive option for students who are as interested in participating in an internship and contributing to student-run media as they are to sit behind a desk. 

 

How We Made This List

 

CollegeVine took a number of factors into consideration when building our list of the 20 best colleges for journalism, including the reputation of the program, overall school quality, and median earnings of graduates of the major. Also weighed were the popularity of the major within the school, the size of the program relative to school size, and the student-faculty ratio of the program.

 

The 20 Best Colleges for Journalism

 

1. Northwestern University

 

Location: Evanston, IL 

Undergrad Enrollment: 8,600

Acceptance Rate: 9%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1490-1550/33-35 

 

Northwestern has a reputation for graduating top-notch nationally acclaimed reporters. Past graduates include:

 

  • Peter Alexander, White House correspondent and co-anchor of Weekend Today at NBC News
  • Michael Wilbon, co-host of ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption
  • Sheinelle Jones, host of the 3rd Hour TODAY
  • Pradnya Joshi, national weekend editor at The Washington Post

 

Northwestern journalism graduates fill more than just high-profile roles in the media; the school boasts an expansive high-quality network of more than 18,000 alumni working in journalism, media, communications, and other industries worldwide. 

 

2. University of Missouri | Mizzou

 

Location: Columbia, MO 

Undergrad Enrollment: 22,400

Acceptance Rate: 82%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1130-1350/23-30 

 

The University of Missouri has the distinction of providing the world’s first undergraduate degree in journalism in 1909, a master’s degree in journalism in 1921, and a doctorate in journalism in 1934. Today, the Missouri School of Journalism, also known as the “J-School,” remains at the top of the field. A core belief of the J School is providing students with first-hand experience in a professional setting, known as the “Missouri Method,” and placing them in professional newsrooms—such as an NBC affiliate, an NPR member station, and a digital-first community newspaper—along with providing opportunities at other outlets, like advertising agencies. 

 

3. Boston University | BU

 

Location: Boston, MA 

Undergrad Enrollment: 18,500

Acceptance Rate: 20% 

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1390-1490/31-34 

 

Boston University journalism students are master storytellers, taught to analyze and explain complex events while upholding journalistic standards. BU journalism students benefit from a faculty of professional reporters who have excelled in their field and have written best-sellers, produced award-winning documentaries, and won awards like the Pulitzer Prize—BU College of Communication alumni and current faculty have been awarded two dozen Pulitzer Prizes. Hands-on learning plays a central role in a journalism degree at BU and students are afforded a variety of excellent experiential opportunities at the school-sponsored television and radio stations, its newspaper, and paid fellowships with WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station. 

 

4. University of Florida

 

Location: Gainesville, FL 

Undergrad Enrollment: 35,400

Acceptance Rate: 31%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1310-1450/29-33 

 

Journalism students at the University of Florida learn foundational skills required to succeed in the field of journalism, such as writing, reporting, and ethics. Journalism students also explore new forms of media, including social media, data journalism, and coding. The University of Florida’s journalism curriculum allows students to pursue two-course specializations in nearly a dozen areas like photojournalism, narrative nonfiction, television, audio, and social media. University of Florida journalism students also have ample opportunity to gain firsthand experience—the college is home to seven broadcast stations with more than 200 students working for them each semester.

 

5. New York University | NYU

 

Location: New York, NY 

Undergrad Enrollment: 26,700

Acceptance Rate: 21% 

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1390-1510/31-34 

 

Students at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute are curious, relentless investigators led by career journalists at the top of their field. NYU journalism students benefit greatly from the school’s location—New York City is a center of culture, power, business, and politics, and is home to numerous national media networks, influential newspapers, and major publishers. NYU believes in developing educated journalists and creating a connection between journalism and the larger study of history, politics, culture, science, literature, economics, modern society, and moral philosophy. Consequently, undergraduate journalism students at NYU are required to pursue a double major.

 

6. University of Texas at Austin | UT Austin

 

Location: Austin, TX

Undergrad Enrollment: 40,800 

Acceptance Rate: 32%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1230-1480/29-34 

 

UT Austin students in the Moody School of Journalism and Media work to develop the skills needed to succeed in the ever-changing world of media—from writing and reporting to the digital skills needed by today’s investigative reporters, social media editors, and data analysts. UT Austin has offered journalism for more than a century—it opened its doors in 1914—and counts 31 Pulitzer Prize winners among its alumni. UT journalism students will find numerous opportunities to gain real-world experience available to them on campus, including:

 

  • The Daily Texan, the campus’s daily newspaper
  • Texas Student Television, the nation’s only student-run, FCC-licensed TV station
  • KVRX, the university’s student-produced radio station
  • Texas Travesty, UT’s official humor publication
  • Cactus Yearbook, the annual university yearbook (and UT’s oldest publication)
  • Burnt X, a digital-first alternative news site

 

7. Arizona State University | ASU

 

Location: Tempe, AZ

Undergrad Enrollment: 42,800 

Acceptance Rate: 88% 

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: N/A 

 

ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication is one of the best colleges for journalism in the country and home to Arizona PBS, the largest media outlet operated by a journalism school in the world—almost two million homes are reached nightly by ASU’s student newscast! ASU journalism employs a “teaching hospital” method of education in which students don’t learn by sitting behind a desk; rather, from day one, they’re provided with hands-on training in real journalistic environments under the supervision of top professional journalists. 

 

8. American University

 

Location: Washington, D.C. 

Undergrad Enrollment: 8,200 

Acceptance Rate: 39%  

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1290-1430/29-33 

 

Helping to make American University one of the best places in the country to study journalism is its location. News breaks every minute of every day in Washington, D.C., and whether it’s from the White House, Capitol Hill, or federal agencies, the policies forged in D.C. have a ripple effect on communities around the world. American University has internships at major news outlets like The Washington Post, USA TODAY, National Public Radio, and Bloomberg. It also features an alumni mentoring program that helps graduates bridge the gap between the classroom and the professional world. 

 

American University offers two journalism tracks: journalism (for those interested in careers in newspapers, magazines, investigative journalism, and long-form reporting) and broadcast journalism (focused more on audio and video storytelling).

 

9. Emerson College 

 

Location: Boston, MA 

Undergrad Enrollment: 3,800

Acceptance Rate: 41% 

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1220-1380/27-32

 

Emerson College provides students with the traditional skills and principles in which journalism is grounded while also preparing them to adapt to the ever-changing field. Emerson journalism students learn to tell compelling stories through a variety of outlets and maintain journalistic integrity. Emerson students build resumes and gain firsthand experience through a variety of coursework, internships, and extracurricular activities, and are taught by faculty who have worked at renowned news outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, CNN, and The Washington Post.

 

10. Ohio State University | OSU

 

Location: Columbus, OH 

Undergrad Enrollment: 46,800 

Acceptance Rate: 68%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1260-1420/26-32 

 

Ohio State University journalism students learn to become strong communicators and storytellers while building traditional skills like writing, reporting, and interviewing, along with familiarizing themselves with more interactive and modern journalistic platforms, like social media, multimedia, and blogging. All journalism students at OSU hone their skills and gain real-world experience by participating in an internship and working on The Lantern—OSU’s award-winning and historic student-run newspaper which has been published since the 1880s. 

 

11. Syracuse University

 

Location: Syracuse, NY 

Undergrad Enrollment: 15,200 

Acceptance Rate: 69% 

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1230-1380/27-32 

 

Journalism students at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School learn the skills needed to work on any story for any platform—both print and digital. NYC Magazine Experience is a unique offering available to Syracuse students in which they spend three days in New York City meeting with editors, networking with alumni, receiving resume critiques, and even getting advice on finding an apartment. Outcomes are an important part of a degree from the Newhouse School and, thanks in part to its enthusiastic and involved alumni, 90% of its students find jobs within six months of graduation.

 

12. University of California, Los Angeles | UCLA

 

Location: Los Angeles, CA 

Undergrad Enrollment: 31,500 

Acceptance Rate: 14%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: N/A

 

UCLA doesn’t offer a specific journalism major, but it does offer a degree in communications which provides an excellent pathway to a career in journalism. A special Field Studies class is available to UCLA communication majors that covers seven areas of communication work, including journalism, through which students attend two-hour seminar sessions and spend seven hours in approved community settings weekly. Ultimately, Field Studies allows students to gain personal experience in real-world settings and expand their professional networks.

 

13. Washington and Lee University

 

Location: Lexington, VA

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,800 

Acceptance Rate: 25% 

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1410-1530/32-35 

 

The education of journalists at Washington and Lee University dates back to the 1860s when the school established printer scholarships. Although media platforms have changed since the mid-1800s, Washington and Lee’s mission remains the same: educate students to inform communities. Washington and Lee journalism students have an opportunity to spotlight their skills on The Rockridge Report, a newscast, and website that has been recognized for its excellence since its inception in 1985. Journalism students at Washington and Lee University are required to complete a summer internship.

 

14. Columbia University

 

Location: New York, NY 

Undergrad Enrollment: 8,200 

Acceptance Rate: 7% 

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1340-1510/32-34 

 

The Columbia Journalism School is one of the most well-known schools in the field. Columbia University is home to the world’s oldest graduate program in journalism and is responsible for awarding the Pulitzer Prize, one of the highest achievements a journalist can attain. Unfortunately, Columbia does not offer an undergraduate degree in journalism, but it does offer undergraduate programs like film and media, political science, and creative writing—all of which build valuable skills that students will find beneficial when pursuing a graduate degree in journalism. 

 

15. George Washington University | GW

 

Location: Washington, D.C. 

Undergrad Enrollment: 12,500 

Acceptance Rate: 43%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1320-1460/30-34 

 

George Washington University’s Journalism and Mass Communication program provides students with the foundation needed to succeed in the constantly changing field of journalism. GW students gain broad experience on campus in everything from digital to broadcast to print journalism. GW Students are also provided with numerous internship opportunities and have interned for notable organizations like the BBC, CNN, and Discovery Communications while GW alumni are found in major newsrooms and broadcast across the country. 

 

16. Indiana University Bloomington | Indiana

 

Location: Bloomington, IN 

Undergrad Enrollment: 33,300 

Acceptance Rate: 80%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1230–1420/27-32

 

Students earning a degree in Journalism from Indiana University Bloomington’s The Media School learn to be the eyes and ears of society. IUB journalism students choose one of two concentrations to pursue: News Reporting and Editing or Public Relations. Experiential learning is central to earning a journalism degree from IUB, with 82.8% of Media School students completing at least one internship and, on average, undertaking two internships by the time they graduate. IUB graduates have gone on to have enormous professional success—more than 40 IUB alumni have won individual or team Pulitzer Prizes. 

 

17. Elon University

 

Location: Elon, NC

Undergrad Enrollment: 6,100 

Acceptance Rate: 72%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1175-1330/25-30 

 

Elon University journalism majors gain the knowledge and technical skills required by contemporary media platforms, along with learning the ethical professional practices needed to tell objective stories for the public good. Elon believes in providing journalism majors with academic depth; they’re encouraged to pursue a double major (if not, they must complete a minor) and also are required to complete an off-campus internship. In the past, Elon students have interned for companies such as CNN, ESPN, Live Nation Entertainment, and NBCUniversal.

 

18. Arizona State University-Downtown Phoenix

 

Location: Phoenix, AZ 

Undergrad Enrollment: 8,700 

Acceptance Rate: N/A 

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: N/A 

 

Students at Arizona State University-Downtown Phoenix are offered many of the same benefits as those attending Arizona State University, the number seven school on our list of best colleges for journalism. Students work with the world-class faculty of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication to build core journalistic skills while also exploring unique courses like audience engagement, social media, public relations, and Spanish-language news. ASU Downtown Phoenix students are also afforded the opportunity to gain experience through activities like hosting the evening news on Arizona PBS and creating digital advertising campaigns.

 

19. University of Southern California | USC

 

Location: Los Angeles, CA 

Undergrad Enrollment: 19,900 

Acceptance Rate: 16%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1330-1520/30-34

 

USC journalism students study at the renowned Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. Los Angeles is a hub for media activity and journalism is a thriving major at USC—the university offers more than 80 undergraduate journalism courses and is home to 300+ undergraduates pursuing a degree in journalism. Outcomes are important at USC and 99% of the class of 2021 was employed within 12 months of graduation—many with notable employers such as NBC News, Vice Media, Entertainment Tonight, and ESPN.  

 

20. Hofstra University

 

Location: Hempstead, NY 

Undergrad Enrollment: 6,700 

Acceptance Rate: 69% 

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1190-1350/27-31 

 

Hofstra University is a leader in preparing students for careers in online, broadcast, or print journalism—81% of students accept a position within six months of graduation, while others continue their education at some of the finest graduate schools in the nation. Hofstra’s accelerated BA/MA Journalism program provides students with the unique opportunity to quickly and cost-effectively earn both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Hofstra is located just 25 miles outside of New York City, which provides students with fantastic opportunities for everything from internships to careers. 

 

What Are Your Chances of Acceptance to these Top Journalism Schools?

 

Curious about what your odds are of getting into one of the nation’s best journalism schools? Collegevine can help! Our free chancing calculator uses factors like GPA, standardized test scores, and extracurricular activities to predict your odds at the best colleges for journalism along with hundreds of other schools across the country. More so, it can help you identify areas of strength and areas in need of improvement on your college profile to help boost your odds of gaining admission to your dream school.


Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.