J-School Proposes to Add Two-Year Program

Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism has proposed a new one-year degree program, which, if approved, will allow students the option to add a second year to the current one-year Master of Science program.

This one-year Master of Arts program will begin as a pilot program in 2005 and is projected to grow to include 75 students over five years, according to Nicholas Lemann, who took over as the school’s dean last fall.

The new program is designed to provide students with time for a more intensive academic grounding in specific fields of study in addition to learning the craft of journalism. “We want to teach journalists more substance of the subjects they cover,” said Lemann. “We also want to strengthen the links between the journalism school and the rest of the University. As it is, the links are underutilized.”

Participants would choose one area of specialization from a list of four—arts and culture, science, business and economics, or politics—in which to concentrate, and take a one-year foundation seminar in that field after completing the existing journalism MS degree program. Their master’s thesis, supervised by advisers from both the journalism school and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, would demonstrate a mastery of both journalism skills and the chosen area of specialization. In addition, they would be required to take two new courses: one in the history of journalism and one called “Evidence and Inference.”

To encourage journalism students to stay for an extra year, Lemann says that they will be offered “very generous” scholarships. Helping him to raise money for the school will be Jeffrey Richard, who assumed the position of associate dean for development and alumni relations on March 1.