Best Colleges In Journalism

Last Updated on June 12, 2024 by Team College Learners

Believe it or not, journalism is perhaps the most desired major in the country for today’s millennial to pursue. After all, we see journalism school graduates ascend the ranks of top media institutions, making their livings as writers, news analysts, reporters, announcers, correspondents, editors, and more.

Where do you think the top writers of the New York Times went? Where do you think the most-beloved authors of the Huffington Post, Boston Globe, and more got their first-rate writing educations?

Best Colleges In Journalism

So you may be asking: what is the outcome of pursuing a major such as this? As you can gather, journalism programs give students the tools to be influential to a populace consuming entertainment and news from any kind of media.

In the United States alone, there are so many good schools for journalism whose alumni are working at top media corporations. Very few of these schools, however, can claim to be at the very best in their fields.

For this list, we aggregated seven of the most widely read top 10 lists online for the top journalism schools. For each list, we assigned a score to each school in the top 10 list based on its positional ranking, then created a list based on this outcome. Sources are at the end of this piece.

Here are the top 10 colleges for journalism in the US, as well three amazing honorable mention programs:

10. Boston University College of Communication (Boston, MA)

Boston University
Public domain photo by Robmyskis via Wikimedia Commons

Location in one of the nation’s great metropolitan areas, Boston University is one of the best schools in the country for journalism.

A highlight of the program is their Washington Journalism Center; for a single semester, students can study journalism in the nation’s capital, Washington DC.

This opportunity is especially good for students desiring entry into political news, opinion, and analysis, as the program is connected with national news organizations profiling Congress.

The school is also home to the New England Center for Investigative Reporting (NECIR-BU) whose mission is to train journalists for in-depth investigative research. The reporting done at NECIR-BU has reached millions worldwide.

The program offers a Bachelor’s, Master’s, and even a minor in journalism.

9. University of North Carolina School of Media and Journalism (Chapel Hill, NC)

University of North Carolina
BrianMKA, UNC – Carroll Hall, CC BY-SA 3.0

UNC is one of the most well-known schools for prize-winning students. One coveted accolade in particular, known as the Hearst Journalism award, have been awarded more times to students of UNC than any other school in the country.

One common myth of attending college for journalism is not finding gainful employment upon successful graduation. This myth is easily debunked for alumni of this program; the class of 2016 reported well over 90% of alumni were employed or enrolled in Master’s degree or equivalent programs.

The program at UNC can only be described multi-dimensional; students can take classes in advertising, public relations, sports marketing, graphic design, radio, politics, business journalism, and dozens of more broadcasting-related subjects.

With a combination of “labs” and opportunities, the School of Media and Journalism, more often known as the “MJ” school, is exceptionally hands-on.

With over 24 clubs and student organizations in the MJ school alone, students are provided unparalleled opportunity to participate in newscasts, papers, design studios, and more.

Students of the school are exceptionally accomplished – one graduate of the Class of 2018, Doni Holloway, was named Student Journalist of the Year by NABJ, the National Association of Black Journalists.

HONORABLE MENTION: University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication (Iowa City, IA)

The University of Iowa is home to some of the most intriguing journalism personalities working in academia today.

Professor Stephen G. Bloom, a widely published writer and journalist, has had works appear in the most significant of news sources, including the New York Times and Washington Post. His politically-infused work has garnered significant national acclaim.

Another faculty member, Meenakshi Durham, is a noted expert journalist in the fields of gender, race, and women’s studies.

One of the cornerstones of the journalism experience at this school is the school’s newspaper, The Daily Iowan.

Rated as one of the best student newspapers in the country, this paper covers all matters related to University of Iowa as well as news relevant to the greater Iowa community.

In association with the Daily Iowan is the Daily Iowan TV, where students gain significant chops in experiencing broadcasting six days a week.

Alumni of the school ascend the ranks of excellence, having won Pulitzer, Peabody, and Emmy awards.

8. University of Georgia Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication (Athens, GA)

University of Georgia
Ugastudent, Grady’s Front Lawn, CC BY-SA 4.0

Speaking of the Peabody award, the nation’s most heralded accolade for electronic journalism, is housed at the University of Georgia, widely regarded as one of the top journalism schools worldwide.

Some of the nation’s most accomplished journalists graduated from the University of Georgia; they include Fox Sports broadcaster Chip Caray, ESPN analyst Maria Taylor, and even Ryan Seacrest, one of the most recognizable television hosts today.

Students can choose from one of three major concentrations at the Henry W. Grady College: journalism, advertising, and public relations. Within these three concentrations, a number of topics are covered, including media innovation, entrepreneurship, and photojournalism.

The program is quite selective and only available to students who have graduated their sophomore year at the University of Georgia.

7. Syracuse University S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications (Syracuse, NY)

Syracuse University
DASonnenfeld, Newhouse-School-Syracuse-Univ-2014, CC BY-SA 4.0

Syracuse University is home to one of most intriguing, forward-thinking journalism programs in the country.

One attractive element of this major is its partnership with ESPN covering ACC sports. In this partnership, a special program called ACC Network Extra airs on WatchESPN, the official app of ESPN.

This unique program gives students the opportunity to cover ACC games live from the school’s studios.

The school’s faculty is not simply comprised of academics; rather, the school prides itself on having experienced teachers guide students. Broadcasters who have reported live, corresponded internationally, and managed newsroom teams make up the core of the school’s faculty.

One of the best programs in the world for, alumni of the college have obtained jobs in CBS, CNN, ESPN, and Comcast.

6. University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communication (Los Angeles, CA)

University of Southern California
Bobak Ha’Eri, 052707-021-USCAnnenberg, CC BY 3.0

The heart of USC’s Annenberg program is their media center, a hub of activity comprising TV and radio studios as well as other modern journalism technologies.

One of the best opportunities at USC is to study with some of the pre-eminent scholars and journalists of Los Angeles, one of the nation’s top media capitals alongside NYC and DC.

Faculty at the school include Pulitzer-prize winning authors and reporters, as well DuPont and Emmy awardees.

At any given time, the school has about 300 undergraduate students in their program. In 2016 alone, about 40% of all the undergraduate students were participating in an internship, demonstrating how well connected this particular program is to real-world news media outlets.

HONORABLE MENTION: Emerson College (Boston, MA)

Establishing the nation’s first undergraduate broadcasting degree all the way back in 1937, Emerson has become one of the foremost institutions for 21st century journalism in the world.

Located in the heart of downtown Boston, Emerson is focused on tutoring the ethical journalist to produce news for the 21st century media outlets, including stories print, digital, and video means.

Emerson is home to one of the most impressive facilities in the country for news creation based in any college, the Journalism Production Center.

This impressive center is outfitted with all the modern technology required to run a modern television production studio.

Alumni of the school are placed into the top publications worldwide. Some recent positions attained include Correspondent for The Boston Globe, News Associate for NBC, Producer for the Red Sox, and Assistant Producer for Inside Edition.

5. Arizona State University Cronkite School of Journalism (Phoenix, AZ)

Arizona State University
Schwnj, ASUDowntown1, CC BY-SA 3.0

Perhaps the top school in the country for journalism, ASU’s Cronkite School is perhaps the most impressive training center for 21st century news media in all forms.

What we like about the school is its focus on immersion. One example of “immersion learning” at ASU is Arizona PBS, a media outlet larger than any other in the world held within a university.

This news source reaches an astonishing 1.9 million people over three television stations.

Students and faculty in the Cronkite School of Journalism run the school’s Cronkite News, a media operation of digital journalism and broadcasting stationed in Phoenix, Washington, and Los Angeles.

The program is hardly for the student who only want to read books and write papers on media and theory.

Rather, as you can see, this school is exceptionally hands-on in its approach to fostering tomorrow’s broadcasting & journalism professionals.

The school is noted for its high performance at the Hearst Awards, perhaps the most prestigious award for journalism in the world.

In the past 16 years, the school consistently places in the top 10 nationally; frequently, they receive first and second place prizes.

The future of the school is bright, with the recent launch of the Howards Center for Investigative Journalism, a hands-on institution awarding Master’s degrees for students wanting to dive into the genre of watchdog journalism.

Alumni of the school are major contributors to the most reputed publications worldwide.

4. Stanford University (Palo Alto, CA)

Stanford University
Jrissman, Stanford Campus Aerial Photo, CC BY 3.0

A graduate-degree only granting institution for journalism, Stanford is perhaps the most prestigious graduate program worldwide in journalism.

Based in Silicon Valley, the program is particularly noted for its data-driven approach to storytelling.

Indeed, students of the program are tasked with learning Python and coding software, as well as more traditional media tools like Final Cut Pro X.

The location in Silicon Valley also leads to unique student projects profiling life in America’s tech center. Here’s one piece produced from Stanford students outlining communities in transition as new tech campuses are being constructed.

Within 40 miles of Stanford are many tech companies: these include Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pandora, Google, Netflix, and more.

Needless to say, a student interested in covering the latest on big tech companies (e.g. such as a TechCrunch type website) may benefit tremendously from an education in Palo Alto.

3. University of Texas at Austin Moody College of Communication (Austin, TX)

UT Austin
AdrienWikipedia, University of Texas at Austin Fountain and Tower, CC BY-SA 4.0

Perhaps the South’s finest program for journalism in the United States, UT-Austin consistently scores highly on all the top college journalism lists, ranking in the top 10 on nearly every list we sourced to create this list.

A hallmark of the UT-Austin program is its partnership with the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas.

At the Knight Center, students can participate in programs in Latin America, doing a study abroad for a whole semester.

Two NPR affiliate radio stations, KUT and KUTX, are operated at UT-Austin and run primarily by students at the school.

Alumni of the school are among the most active in journalism today; Pulitzer and Emmy winners have come from UT-Austin.

HONORABLE MENTION: Ithaca College (Ithaca, NY)

Kenneth C. Zirkel, Job Hall, Ithaca College campus, CC BY-SA 4.0

Equipped with perhaps the best college newsroom set in the country, Ithaca has one of the very best programs in Journalism in the country.

The faculty at the school are particularly unique in the landscape of college journalism.

Professor Mead Loop, one of the noted professors of the program, is an expert in the niche of fantasy sports journalism.

Another professor, Journalism Department Chair James Rada, is a renowned expert on race and the civil rights movement.

Alumni of the program have gone onto jobs in the New York Times and ESPN. Others have started their own publications, including one entrepreneurial alumnus who started his own online local publication.

One of the media outlets the school hosts is the The Ithacan newspaper, an impressive publication that has been in operation since 1931.

Students in the Journalism program contribute to this highly ranked newspaper, which was named the Best Overall College Newspaper by the New York Press Association.

The school is noted for the excellence of its radio station, rated a top 10 college radio station in the country by Princeton Review.

2. University of Missouri School of Journalism (Columbia, MO)

University of Missouri
Public domain photo by Mojourcomm via Wikimedia Commons

One of the most prestigious journalism programs in the world, the University of Missouri School of Journalism prides itself on providing students hands-on opportunity to dive into the world of broadcasting and journalism known as the “Missouri Method.”

The school itself is home to eight media companies, including two full-service, done-for-you advertising agencies, AdZou and Mojo Ad, a publication founded in 1908 called The Columbia Missourian, and even a modern magazine available in both print and online called Vox Magazine.

One impressive facility this school houses is the Reynolds Journalism Institute. This facility, launched in 2004 under the auspices of a $31,000,000.00 grant, is dedicated researching new journalism methods and technologies.

The program even hosts the “Futures Lab,” an interdisciplinary program in which business, journalism, and computer science come together to test new methods of media and communication.

Alumni of the program include John Anderson, Sportscenter Anchor for ESPN, at least four Pulitzer-Prize winning journalists/writers, and hosts for Fox News, CNN, and CBS News.

1. Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications (Evanston, IL)

Northwestern University
Madcoverboy at English Wikipedia, Northwestern University Evanston campus, CC BY-SA 3.0

Northwestern University, as a whole, is a very appealing school due to its top-15 overall status as a university in the country.

Because of this ranking, many say that Medill is the most prestigious undergraduate journalism program in the country, as well as one of the best graduate programs worldwide.

It is also a Big Ten school, giving it a classic “university” vibe desirable for both undergraduates and graduates alike.

Some of the most recognizable faces in journalism and media started their careers in Northwestern’s program. One such alumnus is J.A. Adande, a 1992 graduate who has been heard by millions on ESPN for nearly a decade. He is now a professor at Northwestern.

Another “star” alum is Sheinelle Jones, an anchor for NBC’s “Today Show.”

Perhaps their most famous alum is George R.R. Martin, author of the acclaimed Game of Thrones books.

One of the highlights of Northwestern’s program is the opportunity for global study-abroad. Northwestern has partnered with news organizations in Qatar, South Argentina, and South Africa. Through this partnership, students work abroad for a semester here.

With one of the largest alumni bases for any journalism school, Medill’s reach is powered by 16,000 alumni. At any time, the program has nearly 1300 students spread out over 5 campuses.

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