Master Journalism Studies

On air: A graduate student in the Journalism Studies program hones her abilities as part of the editorial staff seminar in radio broadcast.

Journalism is an attractive career option and, as a result, degrees in media studies are particularly in high demand. Nevertheless, few German universities offer a degree in journalism studies as its own subject. And only the University of Leipzig incorporates a one-year integrated apprenticeship into its three-year master’s program. Even though there are many ways to arrive at a career in journalism, the concept behind the Master of Arts in Journalism Studies in Leipzig contains several convincing benefits. The MA Journalism Studies

  • is non-consecutive: the program admits students who have completed a Bachelor’s Degree in a field unrelated to media studies. This enables the program to build upon specialized subject areas relevant to journalism such as politics, business, culture, law, biology, or medicine – important is the combination of special expertise and communicative ability.  
  • teaches competency in scientific research. No compromises are made here, as the capacity for scientific analysis combined with the required methodology is a continual benefit for journalists dealing with increasingly complex information and databanks.
  • is simultaneously practice-oriented. Through participation in one of the editorial staff seminars (TV, Radio, and Print/Online), through practice-significant exercises (news and feature writing, interview training, moderation), and, last but not least, through the journalistic apprenticeship, students are optimally prepared for professional work.

Six semesters of research and journalism practice

The Journalism Studies department purposefully differentiates itself from programs that attempt to teach journalism as a subject of sheer “skill.” Research indicates a methodical process – not just sending an email. Conducting interviews means preparing content and strategically planning the conversation structure – and not just holding a microphone under someone’s nose. The most current state of journalism research is used to optimize the educational curriculum for the profession. For example, scientists in Leipzig investigated how journalists use search engines in their daily research work, and consequently developed and advanced course of studies on improving search engine usage.

Orientation in the journalistic profession is offered throughout the six semesters of the master’s program. Students produce journalistic works in print, radio, television and online during as part of an editorial staff each semester, as well as numerous articles and broadcast news segments under the professional guidance of the instructors. The integrated apprenticeship comes at the end of this practical training period. Over the course of the apprenticeship, the future journalists are exposed to various fields of journalistic work, in particular in news production in different departments such as local news, politics, and culture. The cooperation with media organizations throughout Germany proves the successfulness of the master’s program in its combination of science and practice. The public broadcasting stations WDR (West German Broadcasting) and MDR (Middle German Broadcasting), television station ZDF, the Deutsche Welle, the Berliner Zeitung, the Leipziger Volkszeitung, the taz, and many more renowned daily newspapers cooperate with the Leipzig Journalism Studies program in regard to the integrated apprenticeship.

Scientists and experienced journalists as instructors

The Leipzig program’s educational team 
is taught by two professors as well as from scientific experts who have been formally educated in the field of journalism.  The team of instructors includes, for example, the veteran anchor of the ZDF-Heute-Journal, Ruprecht Eser, as well as the former editori-in-chief of MDR, Wolfgang Kenntemich as honorary professor. Active and former instructors include:

  • Marcel Pott (Middle East expert and former ARD foreign correspondent in Beirut)
  • Ralf Drescher (Managing editor of the 
Wall Street Journal in Germany)
  • Alexander Fritsch (Chairman of the German Journalist Association in Berlin-Brandenburg)
  • Dr. Helmut Osang (Head of the journalist education program at the Deutsche Welle Academy)
  • Karsten Petrzika (Soccer commentator 
at SKY)
  • Thomas Nehls (Correspondent at the main 
WDR studio in Berlin)
  • Torsten Peuker (leading editor of the MDR news magazine "MDR Aktuell")
  • Dr. Helmuth Neupert (Lawyer and member of the Kommission zur Ermittlung des Finanzbedarfs der öffentlichrechtlichen Rundfunkanstalten KEF)

The program is led by Prof. Dr. Marcel Machill, the educated radio broadcast editor (apprenticeship by the Deutsche Welle in Cologne and Berlin) and experienced journalist (including work for WDR, Radio France Internationale, and Euronews). He received his journalism certification in Dortmund and additionally graduated from the journalist school CFJ in Paris. To enhance his expertise in the areas of international relations, international finance, and business & leadership, he was selected s a McCloy Scholar at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University as well as MIT in Cambridge and there completed a Master of Public Administration (MPA).

The search for the best – admission requirements

In order to be accepted into the degree program, applicants must fulfill the following criteria:

1. The applicants must have completed a college or tertiary degree allowing entry into the profession. Because the M.A. in Journalism Studies is a non-consecutive program, the previous degree should come from a field unrelated to communications and media sciences. Exceptions can be made, for example, if the previous degree had an emphasis in media economics or media culture.   

2. Applicants must be able to provide proof of a journalistic internship lasting a minimum of three months or free-lance journalism work in a media organization.  A journalistic internship refers to an internship, traineeship, employment or free-lance work, or apprenticeship at a media organization (daily- or weekly newspapers, magazine, radio, television, profession online news medium), in which current published information is distributed to the general public. During the internship, applicants must have produced journalistic content (e.g. articles, broadcast segments) or have played an active role in their production. An internship in Public Relations is not recognized.

3. The qualification and selection processes takes place each summer. The process consists of a written application and a personal interview. The selection interview serves as a way to introduce the applicants as well as assess them in the following areas:

  • Study and career motivation
  • Knowledgeability
  • Decision-making ability
  • Communication and social competencies

The interviews can take place either individually or in groups

4. Applicants whose native language is a language other than German must provide evidence of German ability at the language level C1 under the European reference guidelines for languages.

Further information on the application process to the M.A. in Journalism Studies can be found under

Professional Outlook

Journalism Studies graduates work in media outlets throughout the country, often in leadership roles.  Some of them have been awarded prizes for their achievements, such as ZDF anchor Maybrit Illner, Spiegel author Alexander Osang, the sports journalists Wolf-Dieter Jacobi (MDR), and Kristin Otto (ZDF). Since the re-opening of the Journalism Studies department after the fall of the Berlin Wall, approximately 1000 students have successfully completed the program.

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