USC Annenberg’s School for Communication and Journalism will begin offering a nine-month master’s degree in journalism, which replace the school’s two-year master’s degree.
The announcement coincides with the opening of the opening of the Wallis Annenberg Hall, an 88,000- square-foot facility that has radio, video and vodcast studios.
Michael Parks, director of the School of Journalism, said via email there are two principal reasons why the school switched to a nine-month master’s degree:
The first is that we are changing the way we teach. Instead of weekly classes in newswriting or reporting or producing, we will be teaching students in more intensive newsroom settings, something we can do when the new Wallis Annenberg Hall is completed. While we have taught students to work across all platforms – print, broadcast, and digital – for more than a decade, we now will have a truly converged newsroom in which they will work.
The second reason is that we have listened to our students, our alumni, and industry leaders. They have felt that a shorter, more intensive program would benefit students, who will in turn be ready to go to work sooner. Of course, one year reduces the cost of the program to the students.
In a statement, USC Annenberg dean Ernest J. Wilson III stressed the need for students to develop skills that will better position them for the workforce:
We’re intensifying the instructional program so the journalism students can quickly learn and then put their knowledge into practice. … We want our students to get right to work, and we think our graduates will want to get right to work as well. The internship options in Los Angeles and across the globe reflect our school’s commitment to community engagement, diversity, innovation and doing journalism in the public interest.
Students who pursue the degree will be required to take courses in mass communication law, journalism ethics, news business and quantitative analysis. The degree also includes a three-week digital news immersion class.