The Master’s Degree


The program director serves as principal academic advisor for PAR students, although special advising requests may be referred to other faculty members with particular expertise. After students are accepted into the program, they should contact their academic advisors for an appointment before initial registration.

Grading Policy

PAR students must receive a grade of B or better in any required PAR course to receive credit toward the degree (grades of B- or lower will not be accepted).

NOTE: Students also should refer to the campus policy on Grades Acceptable Toward Master’s Degrees, in the Academic Information for Master’s Degree Students section of this catalog.

Degree Requirements

The M.A. in Public Affairs Reporting requires 40 hours of graduate-level course work. In the fall semester, students enroll in two required courses: PAR 501 (six hours), and PAR 510 (four hours). Students choose two other courses after consultation with their academic advisor.

During the spring semester, students begin an internship, PAR 504 (12 hours), with an experienced professional journalist covering state government and the Illinois General Assembly. PAR 503 (two hours) is also required during this semester. After consultation with an academic advisor, the student registers for one other course to maintain a full course load.

Students participate in the second phase of the internship, PAR 505, during the summer term (until July 1). This internship period is considerably more intense, as it coincides with the conclusion of the legislative session. During the six-month internship, students receive a monthly stipend and tuition waiver.

Before graduation, students must complete a professional portfolio that demonstrates mastery of public affairs journalism. The portfolio will include a variety of hard news, analyses, in-depth and feature stories the student has reported and written and that have been published or aired by a professional media outlet, along with project memos detailing the news judgments involved in reporting and writing the longer pieces.

Required Courses

PAR 501 Advanced Public Affairs Reporting 6
PAR 503 Legislative Issues 2
PAR 504 Internship I 12
PAR 505 Internship II 4
PAR 510 Developing Public Policy in Illinois 4
Electives 1 12
Total Hours 40