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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 15% of schools 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 take this into account we include a college's overall Best Colleges ranking which itself looks at a combination of different 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 colleges on this list typically results in higher than average wages following 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 complete ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best schools for Journalism students.

Best Schools to Study Journalism in the United States

Below you'll see a list of the best colleges and universities to study journalism. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list.

Top 21 Best Journalism Colleges

#1

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

Any student pursuing a degree in journalism has to check out 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 undergraduates enrolled in this degree at Northwestern U. Journalism students 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 wonderful choice for students pursuing a Journalism degree. Located in the city Columbia, Mizzou is a public school with a very large student population. This school ranks 274th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Missouri.

There are roughly 621 journalism undergraduates studying this degree at Mizzou. Soon after graduation, journalism students typically make around $37,300 at the beginning of their careers.

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It's hard 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 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 undergraduates, Washington and Lee University is one of most popular colleges to study journalism in United States. Washington and Lee University journalism majors receive $6,752 more than the standard journalism student.

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#4

Emerson College

Boston, MA

It's difficult to beat Emerson College if you wish to pursue journalism as a major. Located in the large city Boston, Emerson is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. This school ranks 240th out of 1,715 colleges 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 graduation, journalism students usually earn around $33,900 in their early careers.

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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 colleges nationwide means USC is a great school overall.

University of Southern California is a fairly popular college to study journalism in United States with over 138 graduates last year. Graduates from the journalism major at University of Southern California earn $3,952 above the average college grad with the same degree when they enter the workforce.

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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 colleges nationwide means GWU is a great college 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 average journalism student.

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

A popular choice for journalism undergrads, there are roughly 159 students enrolled in this program at UT Austin. Students who graduate from the journalism program earn around $34,000 in the first couple years of their career.

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Located in the suburb College Park, UMCP is a public college with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 117 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means UMCP is a great college 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. Grads of the journalism program report average early career income of $37,100.

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

A popular major for journalism undergrads, there are approximately 63 individuals studying this program at Northeastern. Northeastern University journalism graduates make $4,952 more than the typical journalism student.

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#10

Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY

Syracuse is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the medium-sized city of Syracuse. A Best Colleges rank of 119 out of 1,715 schools 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 complete this program state that they receive average early career earnings of $36,100.

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Located in the city Phoenix, ASU - Downtown Phoenix is a public school with a fairly large student population. This college ranks 365th out of 1,715 schools 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 state that they receive average early career earnings 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 college with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 49 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Boston U is a great college overall.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, Boston U also offers a Master's Degree in journalism. After graduation, journalism students typically make an average of $33,500 in their early careers.

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#13

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA

Located in the city Iowa City, Iowa is a public college with a fairly large student population. This college ranks 190th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Iowa.

There are roughly 185 journalism undergrads studying this degree at Iowa. Graduates of the journalism program make about $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. Students who graduate from the journalism program make about $37,600 in the first couple years of their career.

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#15

University of Kansas

Lawrence, KS

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

There are about 266 journalism undergrads enrolled in this program at KU. Students who graduate from the journalism program earn around $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 large city of Washington. This school ranks 164th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of District of Columbia.

There are about 106 journalism undergrads studying this program at The American University. Graduates of the journalism program make an average of $33,300 in their early career salary.

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

There are roughly 331 journalism undergrads studying this degree at UMN Twin Cities. Graduates of the journalism program earn about $38,200 in the first couple years of working.

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#18

University of Georgia

Athens, GA

Located in the midsize city Athens, UGA is a public college with a fairly large student population. This college ranks 143rd out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Georgia.

University of Georgia is a fairly popular college to study journalism in United States with over 201 graduations last year. Grads of the journalism program report average early career earnings of $33,000.

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

There are about 167 journalism undergraduates studying this degree at IU Bloomington. Graduates of the journalism program earn around $35,800 for their early career.

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#20

Baylor University

Waco, TX

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

With 81 students enrolled, Baylor University is one of most popular colleges to study journalism in United States. Students who graduate from the journalism program make about $35,500 in their early career salary.

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#21

Chapman University

Orange, CA

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

With 26 students enrolled, Chapman University is one of most popular colleges to study journalism in United States. Students who complete this program state that they receive average early career wages 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
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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