Preparing for SJMC


To be eligible to apply, 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.


Four workshops will be held in the Nafziger Conference Room (5055 Vilas Hall) prior to the spring 2017 application deadline:

  • Thursday, September 29 – 5:00 to 6:00
  • Tuesday, October 18 – 6:00 to 7:00
  • Tuesday, November 1 – 5:00 to 6:00
  • Wednesday, November 16 – 4:30 to 5:30

Assembling the Online Portfolio

The application process relies on an online portfolio that is evaluated by a five-member committee of the Journalism School faculty and staff. The portfolio should reflect applicant’s interests, experience, and writing ability. You will be asked to enter or upload the following information online, through a secure application website:

  1. Your Name, Student ID, and Phone Number
  2. How many times you’ve applied for admission to the program
  3. Indicate your area of interest as Journalism or Strategic Communications
  4. If you are an international student, upload your TOEFL/IELTS score
  5. If you are a transfer student, upload transcript from previous college
  6. Provide your email address
  7. Upload UW transcript
  8. Upload in one pdf file the following in this order: PERSONAL STATEMENT (one-page, single spaced); RESUME; two WRITING SAMPLES and/or LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION (the combined length of these two items may not exceed 10 pages)

The online program will not allow incomplete applications to be submitted. The School of Journalism requests that you submit all documents in PDF format. The school does not take responsibility for documents that are unreviewable due to improper formatting. The school also does not have computing resources for you to fill out your application in-house. Campus librarians are equipped to teach you how to save and scan documents in PDF format. You may also use campus library computer labs to submit your application. You cannot save and continue your application at a later date.

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. For 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.