About the PAR master's degree

The Master’s Degree in Public Affairs Reporting provides students with an opportunity for students who wishes to specialize in news coverage of governmental affairs. A primary goal is for graduates to become professional journalists who can report and interpret governmental activity and public policy for news consumers. The program aims to develop news reporters able to understand public affairs and communicate those concepts with the clarity, accuracy and speed demanded of professional journalists of the highest rank. 

PAR is a 10-month master’s degree program that trains students to become journalists who produce intelligent news coverage that helps audiences understand government, politics and other public affairs.

The program concentrates instruction in three areas: journalistic skills (news reporting and writing for digital, broadcast and print), public affairs knowledge and professional responsibility. PAR's centerpiece is a six-month paid internship, where PAR students work for a professional news organization in the Statehouse press room to report on the Illinois General Assembly’s spring session and other aspects of state government.

A new round of the program begins each August and runs over three semesters:

  • Fall semester: Students take two required courses and two electives -- all intended to strengthen their news reporting skills and expand their knowledge of government and public affairs.
  • Spring semester: Students begin work as reporting interns. They also take one required course and one elective to meet the 40-credit-hour requirement.
  • Summer semester: The internship continues as the state legislature wraps up its spring session work.

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