Columbia Journalism School

M.S. Part-Time Program

A Flexible Program for Working Professionals

The Part-time Program is a more flexible (but no less rigorous) version of our 10-month degree program. The curriculum is the same as that taught to full-time students, and classes are taught by the same professors. In most cases, full-time and part-time students take the courses together. Part-time students may apply for specializations in data, documentary or investigative reporting. These specializations require additional time commitments from students.

The Part-time Program is completed in two years, beginning the summer after students are admitted. Students are required to take 6 points each semester to finish the required courses in the M.S. program within this time frame. The order and combination of classes students must take to finish the program looks like this:






6 points

Course completed in the first summer. You must have taken and passed Reporting before enrolling in any other classes.

Module 1: The Written Word

3 points

7-week course completed in the first fall semester.

Module 2: Audience & Engagement OR Image & Sound

3 points

7-week course completed in the first fall semester (whichever course is not completed this semester will be completed in the second Fall semester).

Seminar & Production

6 points

15-week course completed in the first spring semester

Master's Project

6 points

Completed in the second summer for PT students

Critical Issues in Journalism

2 points

Completed in the second fall semester. Evening classes offered in the fall semester

Journalism, Law & Society

2 points

Completed in the second fall semester. Evening classes are offered in the fall semester

Module 3: Audience & Engagement OR Image & Sound

3 points

7-week course completed in the second fall semester (whichever course was not completed in the first fall semester will be completed this semester).

Seminar & Production


6 points

15-week course completed in the second spring semester



*The Law class and the Critcal Issues class are each offered at night in the fall on separate days. 

If a student finds it necessary to deviate from this program for any reason (whether it is to take fewer or more than 6 points in a semester), he or she must request permission before beginning the program from Elena Cabral, Administrator of the Part-time Program. The student will be required to map out in advance the number of points and types of classes he or she will be taking each semester.

Time and Scheduling Considerations

Ideally part-time students should have one weekday available to prepare class work or to attend class. Having a free week day is required for the first class, Reporting.

Students who are taking courses that teach skills in broadcasting or in digital media should expect those classes to require significant in-school time commitments. This means you should be prepared during a spring semester to spend at least one full weekday at the school or on assignment. The one-day requirement usually occurs on a Friday, but schedules can vary from one academic year to another.

Courses that focus on print media skills require significant time commitments as well, but generally are somewhat more flexible.

Students in the part-time program come from a variety of backgrounds. They include doctors, lawyers, freelancers, police officers, teachers, scientists, publicists, bankers, civil servants and more.

M.S. Required Courses
Part-Time Student Handbook
Watch a video about Laurah '13 and Angela '13 who are both "All In"

Master's Project

In its scope and duration, the Master's Project is the student's major effort of the year. In terms of relative importance, credits and priority, however, it should be kept in proper perspective with the rest of the curriculum. Part-time students do the Master's Project during their second summer of enrollment.

The project is not a master's thesis in the traditional academic sense, but rather an in-depth exploration of a topic as a journalist would pursue it. Master's Projects may be executed in the following formats:

  • Print: 4,500-6,000 words

  • Audio: 20-30 minutes

  • Photo/Print Hybrid: 2,500-word print piece accompanied by a significant portfolio of photographs

  • Video/Print Hybrid: 2,500-word print piece accompanied by a six minute video piece.

There is a pitch and approval process for all non-print options.

The student receives guidance from an assigned instructor who offers advice in selecting a topic, fixing its focus and working through an approach, conducting the research and doing the reporting and interviewing, and organizing, writing, rewriting (and recording and re-recording, where appropriate) and polishing the various versions.

Completed Master's Projects

Recent projects (1996-05) are available in the Journalism Library (lobby level). Lehman Library in SIPA has projects from 1957-1995, plus selected older ones.

Index of Master's Projects & Theses
Audio Projects (Columbia Journalist - student work)


Advisors are assigned by the Dean of Students Office. 

Administrator of the Part-Time Program
Elena Cabral
(212) 854-1124

The school reserves the right to make changes in curriculum, standards for advancement and graduation, and rules and regulations. Any changes will be reflected on this website.

Select the academic degree that interests you: