Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies

Master of Professional Studies in Journalism

Master of Professional Studies in Journalism

Master of Professional Studies in Journalism


Master of Professional Studies in Journalism Curriculum | Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies

Mission Statement

The Master of Professional Studies in Journalism program at Georgetown University is committed to educating and preparing students to be successful, responsible journalists in the digital age. Through rigorous instruction and intensive practice, each student will build a solid foundation of necessary skills, while reinforcing the core principles of accurate and fair reporting, careful writing, sophisticated storytelling, and sound, ethical judgment. 

Learning Goals

Students who complete the MPS in Journalism program will:
  • Understand the ethical implications of the choices journalists make everyday in routinely doing their jobs and living their lives. Students will develop and exercise a core set of journalistic principles and values.
  • Absorb the fundamentals of accurate and fair reporting. Students will understand what qualifies as news, how to go about gathering and verifying information, and how to effectively provide alternate points of view.  
  • Acquire strong news writing skills that will enable them to write powerful leads, develop characters and tell compelling stories while meeting strict deadlines.
  • Master multimedia storytelling techniques for print, broadcast, and online platforms.   Students will be able to combine the latest reporting and storytelling technology with the time-honored techniques of traditional journalism.

Students may choose from a variety of classes in order to create a well-rounded, multidisciplinary program of study that meets their needs and goals.  Courses are continuously updated to reflect current trends within relevant industries.  Students may apply for the Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Journalism or the Advanced Professional Certificate (APC) in Journalism.

The Master of Professional Studies (MPS)

The MPS in Journalism program is a 30-credit (10-course) program.  Students have 5 years to complete the degree. 

Students entering the MPS Journalism program in Summer 2010 and thereafter must complete the following core and major requirements and receive a grade of solid "B" (3.00) or higher in order to graduate.  Additionally, students who receive a grade of "B-" ("B minus"; 2.67) or below in any of the following classes are required to repeat them with a grade of "B" or higher before qualifying for graduation by the department.  Although students can only count credit for a course one time towards their degree, all grades earned appear on the transcript and are used in determining academic standing.

MPS Journalism Core and Foundation Requirements

  • MPJO 500: Ethics in Journalism (Core Requirement)
  • MPJO 501: Reporting and News Writing (Foundation Requirement)
  • MPJO 505: Video Journalism (Foundation Requirement)
  • MPJO 508: Digital Essentials for Journalists (Foundation Requirement)
  • MPJO 900: Capstone (Core Requirement)

We strongly encourage students to complete the Ethics and Foundation courses within their first 12 credits of study as they serve as pre-requisites for advanced electives.  The Capstone course is a research-and-writing intensive course and serves as the students' culminating experience in the program; as such, students should plan on making this final course their primary academic focus as they near graduation.  We strongly encourage students to enroll in this course alone during their final semester. 

Note: Students enrolled in the program prior to Summer 2010 will not be required to take the major requirements but are strongly encouraged to do so as these classes serve as pre-requisites for advanced electives.  All MPS students are required to complete the Ethics and Capstone courses, regardless of the semester in which they first enrolled.

MPS Sample Part-Time Schedule
First semester:   MPJO 500 (Ethics in Journalism) and MPJO 501 (Reporting and News Writing)
Second semester:   MPJO 508 (Video Journalism) and MPJO Elective
Third semester:   MPJO 505 (Digital Essentials for Journalists) and MPJO Elective
Fourth semester:   MPJO Elective and MPJO Elective
Fifth semester:   MPJO 900 (Capstone) and MPJO Elective 

MPJO 500: Ethics in Journalism: The MPS journalism degree program aims to educate the whole person and believes that this process starts with the study of ethics.  Looking at ethics through a professional lens, this course asks students to explore their own values and challenges them to codify and commit to their own code of ethics in relationship to professional codes of conduct and best practices.  Students seeking an MPS journalism degree will gain a solid foundation in ethics and relate what they learn to their own professional situation through class discussions, case studies, and guest lectures.  This course is required for all MPS and APC students and must be completed by the second semester in the program.  A grade of "B" (3.00) or higher is required in this course.

MPJO 501: Reporting and News Writing: This course teaches students the basics of news reporting:  how to find a story, how to develop sources, and how to evaluate information for newsworthiness.  It also emphasizes different types of news writing: what makes for a powerful lead, how to gather and use quotes effectively, and how to write a script for broadcast or a headline for a web publication.  The goal of the class is to equip students with a clear understanding of the basic tenets of journalism, while providing opportunities to examine the ethical and practical challenges faced by the contemporary journalist.  A grade of "B" (3.00) or higher is required in this course. 

MPJO 505: Digital Essentials for Journalists:  This course will explore the fundamentals of content creation in the digital world.  From creating offline/online content packages for mainstream media, to Web-only content efforts, to multimedia, to creating and marketing your own persona on the Web, this course is intended to give students a broad and deep understanding of the content, technology, marketing and business basics of Web and mobile content.  Students will learn how to communicate effectively online, build content packages that enhance and expand print, radio and television programming, and how to use video and other multimedia.  A grade of "B" (3.00) or higher is required in this course. 

MPJO 508: Video Journalism: This course teaches the skills needed to communicate effectively with video. Students will learn techniques and aesthetics of videography, non-linear editing, basic script writing and segment producing. Students will learn to shoot with professional video camera equipment while working on video projects.  They will have hands-on instruction with the latest video-editing software.  Each student will conceptualize, write, shoot and edit several short video packages, which will reflect his/her creativity and technical abilities as the semester progresses.  A grade of "B" (3.00) or higher is required in this course. 

MPJO 900: The Capstone Course (MPS only): The Master of Professional Studies Journalism degree program culminates in the capstone.  Under the guidance of a faculty advisor, each student produces a substantial piece of work that serves as a centerpiece for his/her portfolio. The finished project is reviewed by a panel of faculty members whose area of expertise falls within the scope of the capstone. A minimum grade of 3.00 (solid "B" or better) must be earned in the capstone course to obtain a Master of Professional Studies Journalism degree from Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies.  

In the unlikely event that a student is unable to complete the capstone course or the student earns a grade lower than a "B" (3.00), the student may request permission to repeat the course on a one-time basis through the Associate Dean.

Failure to complete the capstone in one semester will result in a grade of F.  Incompletes will not be given for capstones except in the instances of documented medical leave or other reasons deemed acceptable by the MPS Journalism Associate Dean and the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.

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