To be eligible to apply for the School, you must meet the following requirements:
- Completion of Journalism 201, Introduction to Mass Communication by the end of the current semester
- Completion of at least 24 credits by the end of the current semester excluding advanced placement (AP) or retroactive language credits. Transfer students must also have completed at least one academic semester at UW-Madison by the end of the current semester
- A minimum UW GPA of 2.0
NOTE: These requirements allow students to explore the opportunities presented by UW-Madison before committing to a single program, and give the School a chance to see how applicants perform academically in a broad selection of courses.
Assembling the Portfolio
The application process relies on a portfolio that is evaluated by a six-member committee of the School faculty and staff. The portfolio should reflect applicant’s interests, experience and writing ability. It will contain:
- An application form
- A UW–Madison transcript (NOT a DARS report). Transcripts are available at the Office of the Registrar or can be ordered online. Campus copies (unofficial transcripts) are acceptable.
- If you are a transfer student, a transcript(s) from your previous college(s) in addition to your UW transcript
- A résumé
- A one-page, typed, personal statement (may be single-spaced)
- Two pieces of supporting materials—letters of reference or writing samples. Together they may add up to no more than 10 pages.
Note: Applicants who would like the School of Journalism to be aware that they have or had a documented medical condition (such as attention deficit disorder) may submit documentation from their physicians or the McBurney Disability Resource Center. These documents will not count toward the page limits listed above.
Admissions decisions are based on all of these materials together. Students have been admitted into the program with GPAs as low as 2.2 and as high as a 4.0. Conversely, students with GPAs as high as 3.8 have been turned down because of weak elements in other areas.
Students who present applications with evidence of academic success, strong writing skills, commitment to the field of communication (through student activities or internships) and a compelling personal statement stand the best chances for admission.
Application Review Criteria
The Undergraduate Admissions Committee reviews each application carefully and bases its decisions on the following factors:
Academics: While professional in nature, the School is still an academic program and needs to see evidence of academic success before admitting a student. Overall grades as well as work done in courses specifically relevant to journalism are considered.
Communications Experience: Experience can be gained through campus outlets, volunteer efforts or internships. Experience need not have been with a communications organization in order to be relevant. Fore example, previous applicants have served on special events committees for their sororities, written newsletters for community organizations and even helped market a friend’s baseball lessons.
Writing Ability: The School expects to see evidence of strong basic writing skills such as spelling, grammar and sentence structure.
Personal Intent: Through a one-page personal statement, students may articulate their career goals, attitudes about the industry and general desire to pursue a journalism education.