PAR admission requirements

Qualifications needed to be accepted into the program

  • Bachelor’s degree with a good academic record.
  • Solid writing skills and a desire to report on government, politics and other public affairs topics. Some journalism experience, such as with a college news organization, is a plus.
  • The Graduate Record Exam is not required.

Ready to apply? Here are the steps

Submit an online application: A PAR-specific portion of this application will require you to provide samples of written work,  write a narrative statement about your qualifications and interest in the program and a career in journalism. Three letters of reference are also required. Application deadline for this fall’s class is April 1.

In-person interview: After the April 1 deadline, the director will select a number of finalists to visit UIS (usually on a weekend in late April) for an interview with the PAR Admissions Committee. Travel costs are to be covered by the applicant. If an in-person visit is impossible during the specified weekend, the program director will attempt to make other arrangements to accommodate those applicants. In addition to an interview, finalists are required to take a literacy/competency/current events test and complete a writing exercise on deadline. Admissions decisions are typically made by early May.

Have more questions? Fill out this form or contact PAR director Jason Piscia at or (217) 206-7494.