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When pursuing a career in Journalism or Communications, is it necessary to get a Master Degree?

Many careers require many years of education. I was just wondering if having a Master Degree benefits you significantly in Journalism like in other fields or is graduate school for Journalism just a financial burden? #communications #entertainment #broadcast-journalism #magazines

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Justin’s Answer

I got a BA in Computer Information Science, but was interested in magazine journalism and design, so went to graduate school for journalism immediately after college.


In my case, gaining a journalism masters was worth it because I had no prior formal journalism background. It helped me create a project and receive internships I otherwise wouldn't have been able to.


But if you already have a journalism degree, I would say a masters is entirely unnecessary, unless you're receiving it for free with enough to cover your other expenses and come out relatively debt-free. It's helped me because I'm a hybrid developer journalist, so I'm able to get jobs in the media industry as a web developer and such, but I don't think it would necessarily help you if you want to pursue journalism.


If you only want to teach journalism, then yes, get a masters. But if you want to practice journalism, it's not necessary. You could spend the money taking a coding class and be better off than getting a masters, in my opinion.

Thank you comment icon Thank you, your answer was very helpful. Kayla
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Brandon’s Answer

I've thought about this question a few times. I graduated with a Bachelor's a little over ten years ago and personally I don't feel like getting a Master's degree in Journalism is worth the extra financial burden. 1) The journalism field is not a traditional lucrative one. 2) I have found work experience in this field to be more valuable than having a stronger degree.

Thank you comment icon Thank you so much. Kayla
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Kerri’s Answer

While I think that it is helpful to have a Masters Degree, I don't think it is an absolute necessity. I find that where it tends to come in handy is when you are up against another candidate with similar experience, and your Masters Degree might differentiate you as the best candidate. Another positive aspect to having a Masters Degree is if you were to get it in another discipline that might supplement your Bachelors Degree in Journalism or Communications.

Thank you comment icon Thank you for the advice. Kayla
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Michela’s Answer

I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Communications about 3 years ago. I found a job at ESPN shortly after because I applied to every and any job that I could find in the communications world. Someday, I may go back to school and get my Master's degree in Production management or Journalism but I didn't feel like it was necessary to get the job I have now. When it comes to school, sometimes you may even be lucky enough to have the company you work for help you pay for your Master's degree. I have also found that work experience is more valuable than having a stronger degree.

Thank you comment icon If your job helped you pay for your Master's degree would you consider getting it or would you still feel like it is not really necessary? Kayla
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Jill’s Answer

I've been at ESPN for over 18 years, and if you are in the behind the scenes tech field, it doesn't seem to matter much. I have watched many of my colleagues get their masters with no apparent reward, other than personal satisfaction of completing it. I'm sure there are careers that do require or benefit from the Master degree, but I would say that work experience in the Communications field is more important that the degree.

Thank you comment icon Thank you for the advice. Kayla
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Celeste’s Answer

I have a successful 25+ year career in Corporate Communications with a Bachelor in Fine Arts and no Master's degree. I've been fortunate to have worked in a Fortune 50 company for the  past 20 years, an organization that has provided me with excellent on-the-job training in media relations, employee communications, event planning, leader and executive communications, corporate culture and engagement programs, and issues management. In sum, it's entirely possible to maximize your work experience, particularly in a large organization, to gain as many skills and experiences you can. I suggest rather than a start-up, try for an entry-level role in an established organization which will allow you to grow and explore new opportunities every couple years. Good luck!

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Caitlin’s Answer

No. I graduated with my bachelor's in journalism and quickly found work in local news. If you aim to get into local news, the pay will never be enough to help you pay back loans for a Masters. It will also at times exclude you from roles because hiring managers will assume you want higher pay, which in local news will never happen. Eventually I moved to internal communications where I have met coworkers with Master degrees, but they tend not to be utilized, don't net you higher pay, and don't save you from a potential layoff.
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Roman’s Answer

It's not necessary. In my opinion, practical experience is much more important than classroom experience. An internship as an undergrad is the most important move you can make.


Get your foot in the door and then work your way up.


When people look at your resume, I believe they'll look at things such as internships, part-time jobs, etc., with much more interest than they will your postgraduate degrees.

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Ashley’s Answer

I am a senior Marketing and communications professional with over 15 years of experience, and went to school for Journalism. Personally, I did not feel that a Masters would help further my career. I am currently working at a Fortune 50 corporation.

I recommend that you weigh the pros and cons of continuing your education (cost, time, etc) vs your career expectations. Many of colleagues have gone back to school for an MBA once they are further along in their careers.
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Michael’s Answer

Just to add some perspective from the other side, I actually did get a Master's Degree in Communications with a focus of broadcast journalism. While I believe it did help me expand my critical thinking and establish my sense of communication ethics, it really didn't do anything for me with regards to my career. It may have made me better at what I do in the long run, but I would probably be further along professionally if I started two years earlier. So basically it's up to what you want for yourself, but if you're strictly looking for what the industry values, two years on the job experience holds more weight than an advanced degree in most settings.

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Spencer’s Answer

I agree with the majority of these comments. A Masters in Journalism is not at all necessary unless you want to some day become a professor. Journalism, in particular, is about learning in the field and using your own experience to become a better journalist.


If you want to further your education, you may want to look at something like an MBA. I think that would certainly give you more bang for your buck and wouldn't necessarily "pigeon hole" you should you look for something outside of journalism as your career progresses.

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