NYU GSAS Personal Statement for Journalism Applicants

The Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute requires applicants to write a personal essay. This essay takes the place of the Statement of Academic Purpose required by the Graduate School. The essay is an extremely important part of your application. Follow the links below for a detailed description of the requirements for your program. Your personal essay should be uploaded on the Applicant Statements page of your online application.

In addition, the Graduate School and the department require other application materials, including writing samples and test scores. Please refer to Application Requirements and Deadlines for complete information.

Cultural Reporting and Criticism

The Cultural Reporting and Criticism (CRC) program in Journalism requires applicants to submit a personal essay that will be judged both as a piece of writing and as an indication of whether your aspirations, abilities, interests, and experience are suited to CRC.

The essay should be specific and detailed enough to give the admissions committee a concrete sense of who you are as a potential cultural reporter and critic. It should address the following questions: What do you expect to get from CRC? What do you think you can contribute to it? What aspects of your background and experience are most relevant to your interest in the program? What kind of writing have you done and what do you aspire to do? Which cultural issues and phenomena most engage you? What publications do you read regularly and why? Which cultural journalists do you admire, which do you dislike, and which have influenced you? Feel free to include any other ideas you consider relevant to your application.

CRC places most emphasis on letters of recommendation from professors or editors with whom you have worked directly and who can assess your intellectual abilities and the quality of your writing.

Please append to your essay a brief statement of your plans for financing your graduate work. This statement must be included, whether or not you are applying for financial aid.


Literary Reportage

Literary Reportage requires applicants to answer the following questions. We will judge both the style and content of your writing. See our website for a more detailed explanation of the application.

  1. Describe the project you want to pursue. Tell us about the stories you want to write, in as much detail as possible. Big ideas, themes and questions are essential, but just as essential are specific stories—real names, real places—through which you explore them. We expect your work to evolve while at NYU, so you are not committing to your agenda now.
  2. Who/what have you read and been inspired by? What, to your mind, are the similarities and differences between creative writing and creative nonfiction? How can "literary technique" be applied to the practice of long-form journalism? What do reporters do? What do you envision “Literary Reportage” to be?
  3. Tell us about your academic degree(s), intellectual interests, work/life experiences, and explain how they inform your project. Describe your "body of work" as a journalist, blogger, or just someone who writes. What are your strengths and weaknesses as a writer? What do you expect to get from Literary Reportage?
  4. Describe how you plan to use the city and the university’s vast resources. We welcome projects of national or international scope, but only if they can be reported effectively from the city and its environs (with the usual extensions of email and telephone) during the school term.
  5. You may answer the above questions separately, or in a single essay.

Please append to your essay a brief statement of your plans for financing your graduate work. This statement must be included, whether or not you are applying for financial aid.


News and Documentary

The News and Documentary Program in Journalism requires applicants to write a personal essay. The essay is an extremely important part of the application, so treat it accordingly. The essay should be 1,000 to 1,500 words in length. In addition, all applicants must submit at least three samples of their work. This can be print or video clips or scripts.

The goal of the essay is to give the Admissions Committee a sense of who you are as someone who aspires to a career as a professional journalist/documentary filmmaker. It should address the following questions: What aspects of your experience are most relevant to your interest in journalism? Tell us about your background--your academic degree, intellectual interests, work experience, life experience, and other sources of inspiration--and explain how this background informs what you want to do as a journalist. What do you expect to get from the program?

Applicants should also describe their existing "body of work." This can be print, video, radio or documentary work you’ve already done. Video experience is not a prerequisite at all so if this is the case, your body of work might be volunteering somewhere, working with an NGO, teaching etc. We’d also like to know what publications you read and news or documentary programming you like, and why. Which journalists do you admire, and which have influenced you?

Please also address what motivates you to pursue the documentary long form in particular. In your third semester, you will be creating a capstone piece of journalism--a half-hour documentary. What might this project be about and how would you approach it? Although experience in documentary is not required, your ideas are.

Please append to your essay a brief statement of your plans for financing your graduate work. This statement must be included, whether or not you are applying for financial aid.


Studio 20

The personal essay will help us to judge your suitability for entrance into a demanding course of study that requires both individual initiative and collaboration, as well as an experimental or "new media" attitude. Applicants should be aware that the program's working philosophy is: "bring skills, share skills, get skills." The personal essay will be judged as a work of writing, as well as an informational statement about the applicant's background and interests.

Studio 20 expects all applicants to have a strong command of written English, a devotion to high standards in reportage and verification, and a familiarity with creative uses of the World Wide Web. It requires applicants to have obtained competence in at least one of the following three skill sets: (1) capturing audio and editing it, (2) video recording, production and editing; or (3) web skills (which could be production, design and coding, or web journalism and blogging).

The personal essay should:

  1. Describe your background, work history and the interests that have led you toward journalism.
  2. Explain your interest in the Studio 20 program, compared to more traditional forms of journalism education.
  3. Specify which of the three skill sets you have competence in (audio, video or web); describe those skills and how they were obtained (self-taught, through school work, during employment, etc.).
  4. Include information about whom we can contact to verify that competence (i.e., references of people who know your work).
  5. Indicate experience you have working as part of a team or in intensely collaborative environments.
  6. Suggest what your aspirations and goals are in journalism and "new media."
  7. Identify a few people or institutions doing the kind of work you would like to do in journalism after graduation.

Feel free to include any other information that would help us understand what you bring to the mix and what you hope to get from your graduate training.

Please append to your essay a brief statement of your plans for financing your graduate work. This statement must be included, whether or not you are applying for financial aid.


Joint Programs (Global and Joint Program Studies)

Africana Studies | European and Mediterranean Studies | French Studies | International Relations
Latin American and Caribbean Studies | Near Eastern Studies | Russian and Slavic Studies

Journalism requires applicants to write a personal essay. The essay is an extremely important part of the application, so treat it accordingly. The essay should be 1,000 to 1,500 words in length. In addition, all applicants must submit at least three samples of their work, whether published or not.

The goal of the essay is to give the Admissions Committee a concrete sense of who you are as someone who aspires to a career as a professional journalist, writing and reporting for print, online or broadcast media. It should address the following questions: What do you expect to get from the program? What aspects of your experience are most relevant to your interest in journalism? Tell us about your background--your academic degree, intellectual interests, work experience, life experience, and other sources of inspiration--and explain how this background informs what you want to do as a journalist.

Applicants should also describe their existing "body of work" as a journalist, critic or just someone who writes. We are mostly interested in published work, but if you have yet to break into print, then tell us what kind of writing you have done. What have been your major themes? What issues and phenomena most engage you? What publications do you read regularly and why? Which journalists do you admire, which do you dislike, and which have influenced you?

For the non-Journalism field of study (Africana Studies, European and Mediterranean Studies, French Studies, International Relations, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Near Eastern Studies, or Russian and Slavic Studies), please briefly describe your past and present work as it relates to your intended field of study, and your reasons for choosing your field of study.

Please append to your essay a brief statement of your plans for financing your graduate work. This statement must be included, whether or not you are applying for financial aid.


Journalism and Religion

Journalism requires applicants to write a personal essay. The essay is an extremely important part of the application, so treat it accordingly. The essay should be 1,000 to 1,500 words in length. In addition, applicants must submit at least two samples of their work, whether published or not.

As part of your personal essay, please include a discussion that provides the Admissions Committee with a sense of who you are as someone who aspires to a career in journalism, writing and reporting about important matters in the news and analysis of religious issues.

Two different writing samples are required. One should be an example of your strongest academic writing, preferably a paper written for an undergraduate course that demonstrates your ability to construct a coherent argument. It should not exceed 25 double-spaced pages. The second should represent your aptitude for journalism. A clip from your college newspaper, a personal essay, and an academic research paper are all acceptable.

Please append to your essay a brief statement of your plans for financing your graduate work. This statement must be included, whether or not you are applying for financial aid.


Other Journalism Programs

Magazine Writing | Reporting New York | Reporting the Nation
Business and Economic Reporting | Science, Health and Environmental Reporting

Journalism requires applicants to write a personal essay. The essay is an extremely important part of the application, so treat it accordingly. The essay should be 1,000 to 1,500 words in length. In addition, all applicants must submit at least three samples of their work, whether published or not.

The goal of the essay is to give the Admissions Committee a concrete sense of who you are as someone who aspires to a career as a professional journalist, writing and reporting for print, online or broadcast media. It should address the following questions: What do you expect to get from the program? What aspects of your experience are most relevant to your interest in journalism? Tell us about your background--your academic degree, intellectual interests, work experience, life experience, and other sources of inspiration--and explain how this background informs what you want to do as a journalist.

Applicants should also describe their existing "body of work" as a journalist, critic or just someone who writes. We are mostly interested in published work, but if you have yet to break into print, then tell us what kind of writing you have done. What have been your major themes? What issues and phenomena most engage you? What publications do you read regularly and why? Which journalists do you admire, which do you dislike, and which have influenced you?

Please append to your essay a brief statement of your plans for financing your graduate work. This statement must be included, whether or not you are applying for financial aid.

Updated on 11/30/2016