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2021 Best Colleges for Journalism

Approximately 15,239 journalism degrees were awarded to students last year in the United States. With so many choices it can be a challenge finding the best choice. This year's Best Colleges for Journalism ranking analyzed 143 colleges and universities that offer a bachelor's degree in journalism. We look at over 20 factors to determine the top 21 colleges for Journalism students.

Choosing a Great Journalism School

Best Colleges for Journalism Your choice of journalism school matters. Important measures of a quality journalism program can vary widely even among the top schools. Below we explain some of the most important factors to consider before making your choice:

Quality Overall is Important

The overall quality of a school is important to ensure a good education, not just how well they do in a particular major. To account for this we consider a college's overall Best Colleges ranking which itself looks at a collection of various factors like degree completion, educational resources, student body caliber and post-graduation earnings for the school as a whole.

Over 80% of the schools in this list are in the top 13% of our overall quality ranking while the lowest ranked school on the list is still in the top 21%.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 212 to 35 )
Lowest Ranked Overall
Top Ranked Overall

Graduates Earn More After College

A journalism degree from schools on this list typically translates into above average salaries after graduation. While the average journalism bachelors degree from U.S. colleges results in an average starting salary of $29,851, graduates of colleges on this list average $37,052.

Starting Salary  ( 33570 to 40029 )
$0
$43,400

Other Factors We Consider

In addition to the above, you should consider some of the following factors:

  • Major Focus - How much a school focuses on Journalism students vs. other majors.
  • Major Popularity - How many other journalism students choose this school.
  • Accreditation - Whether a school is regionally accredited and/or a recognized journalism related accrediting body.

Our full ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best colleges for Journalism students.

Best Schools to Study Journalism in United States

The following list ranks the best colleges and universities in the U.S. for a Journalism degree. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list. Of the 143 schools analyzed, only 21 earned the distinction of being on this list.

Top 21 Best Journalism Colleges

#1

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

Every student pursuing a degree in journalism needs to take a look at Northwestern University. Located in the city Evanston, Northwestern U is a private not-for-profit school with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 12 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Northwestern U is a great college overall.

There are approximately 317 journalism undergrads enrolled in this degree at Northwestern U. Journalism graduates from Northwestern University receive an earnings boost of about $5,352 over the typical income of journalism majors.

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University of Missouri - Columbia is a good option for individuals pursuing a Journalism major. Located in the midsize city Columbia, Mizzou is a public school with a very large student population. This college ranks 274th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Missouri.

There are about 621 journalism undergrads enrolled in this degree at Mizzou. After graduating, journalism students generally make around $37,300 at the beginning of their careers.

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It is difficult to beat Washington and Lee University if you want to pursue journalism as a major. Washington and Lee is a small private not-for-profit school located in the distant town of Lexington. A Best Colleges rank of 25 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Washington and Lee is a great college overall.

With 14 undergrads, Washington and Lee University is one of most popular colleges to study journalism in United States. Washington and Lee University journalism graduates make $6,752 more than the typical journalism student.

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#4

Emerson College

Boston, MA

It is difficult to beat Emerson College if you want to study journalism. Located in the city Boston, Emerson is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. This college ranks 240th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, Emerson also offers a Master's Degree in journalism. Soon after graduating, journalism students typically make about $33,900 in the first five years of their career.

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USC is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Los Angeles. A Best Colleges rank of 40 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means USC is a great college overall.

University of Southern California is a fairly popular school to study journalism in United States with over 138 graduates last year. Graduates from the journalism degree program at University of Southern California make $3,952 above the average college graduate with the same degree shortly after graduation.

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GWU is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Washington. A Best Colleges rank of 115 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means GWU is a great school overall.

In addition to its bachelor's programs, GWU offers a Master's Degree in journalism. George Washington University journalism majors make $5,352 more than the typical journalism graduate.

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UT Austin is a fairly large public school located in the city of Austin. A Best Colleges rank of 91 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means UT Austin is a great college overall.

A popular major for journalism undergrads, there are about 159 students studying this degree at UT Austin. Graduates of the journalism program make about $34,000 for their early career.

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Located in the suburb College Park, UMCP is a public school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 117 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means UMCP is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, UMCP also offers 2 different higher degree levels in journalism, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Students who graduate from this program report average early career earnings of $37,100.

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Located in the large city Boston, Northeastern is a private not-for-profit school with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 81 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Northeastern is a great college overall.

A popular major for journalism undergraduates, there are roughly 63 learners enrolled in this program at Northeastern. Northeastern University journalism majors earn $4,952 more than the average journalism grad.

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#10

Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY

Syracuse is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the midsize city of Syracuse. A Best Colleges rank of 119 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Syracuse is a great school overall.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, Syracuse also offers a Master's Degree in journalism. Students who graduate from this program report average early career earnings of $36,100.

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Located in the city Phoenix, ASU - Downtown Phoenix is a public college with a fairly large student population. This college ranks 365th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Arizona.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, ASU - Downtown Phoenix also offers a Master's Degree in journalism. Graduates of the journalism program report average early career wages of $35,900.

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#12

Boston University

Boston, MA

Located in the large city Boston, Boston U is a private not-for-profit school with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 49 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Boston U is a great school overall.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, Boston U also offers a Master's Degree in journalism. Soon after getting their bachelor's degree, journalism students typically make about $33,500 at the beginning of their careers.

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#13

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA

Located in the small city Iowa City, Iowa is a public school with a very large student population. This school ranks 190th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Iowa.

There are about 185 journalism undergrads enrolled in this degree at Iowa. Graduates of the journalism program earn around $33,100 in the first couple years of working.

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Wisconsin is a fairly large public school located in the large city of Madison. A Best Colleges rank of 76 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Wisconsin is a great college overall.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, Wisconsin also offers a Master's Degree in journalism. Graduates of the journalism program earn about $37,600 for their early career.

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#15

University of Kansas

Lawrence, KS

Located in the small city Lawrence, KU is a public school with a fairly large student population. This school ranks 254th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Kansas.

There are roughly 266 journalism undergraduates studying this degree at KU. Graduates of the journalism program make about $37,400 for their early career.

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#16

American University

Washington, DC

The American University is a large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Washington. This school ranks 164th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of District of Columbia.

There are roughly 106 journalism undergraduates studying this degree at The American University. Students who graduate from the journalism program earn an average of $33,300 in their early career salary.

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Located in the city Minneapolis, UMN Twin Cities is a public college with a fairly large student population. This college ranks 124th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Minnesota.

There are roughly 331 journalism undergrads studying this program at UMN Twin Cities. Students who graduate from the journalism program earn around $38,200 in the first couple years of their career.

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#18

University of Georgia

Athens, GA

Located in the medium-sized city Athens, UGA is a public college with a very large student population. This school ranks 143rd out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Georgia.

University of Georgia is one of the most popular school to study journalism in United States with over 201 graduates last year. Grads of the journalism program report average early career wages of $33,000.

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Located in the small city Bloomington, IU Bloomington is a public college with a very large student population. This school ranks 141st out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Indiana.

There are approximately 167 journalism undergrads enrolled in this program at IU Bloomington. Graduates of the journalism program make around $35,800 in their early career salary.

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#20

Baylor University

Waco, TX

Baylor is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the midsize city of Waco. This college ranks 153rd out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Texas.

With 81 students enrolled, Baylor University is one of most popular schools to study journalism in United States. Students who graduate from the journalism program earn about $35,500 in the first couple years of their career.

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#21

Chapman University

Orange, CA

Located in the midsize city Orange, Chapman is a private not-for-profit school with a medium-sized student population. This school ranks 197th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

With 26 undergraduates, Chapman University is one of most popular colleges to study journalism in United States. Graduates of the journalism program report average early career income of $36,800.

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Rest of the Top Best Colleges for Journalism

Honorable Mentions

Here are some additional great schools for Journalism students that almost earned our Best Colleges for Journalism award.

Rank College Location
26 University of Colorado Boulder Boulder, CO
27 Hofstra University Hempstead, NY
28 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
22 Quinnipiac University Hamden, CT
23 Southern Methodist University Dallas, TX
24 Drake University Des Moines, IA
25 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI

Journalism by Region

View the Best Colleges for Journalism for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
The Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

One of 5 majors within the Communication & Journalism area of study, Journalism has other similar majors worth exploring.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Communication & Media Studies 68,301
Public Relations & Advertising 20,156
Radio, Television & Digital Communication 16,150
Communication & Journalism (Other) 1,784
Publishing 297

View All Journalism Related Majors >

Notes and References

  • The bars on the spread charts above show the distribution of the schools on this list +/- one standard deviation from the mean.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to Jfurrer. More about our data sources and methodologies.

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