Master's Degree in Media Innovation at the Reynolds School of Journalism & Center for Advanced Media Studies banner

Master’s Degree In Media Innovation

We offer a three-semester intensive graduate program for students who have a journalism, writing, communication, or digital media background, and who want to hone their skills to become the next-generation’s communicators. For students without journalism (or related) experience, we offer classes to prepare you for work in our graduate program.

Our program looks to the future, based on these observations

  • The evolution of mass media to networked media requires new practices and new skills that merge the enduring values of professional journalism with the emerging practices of networked communication.
  • Effective communicators are able to use digital technologies to engage participants, tell stories, analyze and visualize data and enable new forms of interactivity between citizens, journalists, media communicators and institutions.
  • Journalistic work now requires much more than an emphasis on producing stories: it requires empathy, participation, a sense of service and a keen appreciation for experimentation and entrepreneurship.

Students who complete this program will

  • Gain a deep understanding of how journalism is changing
  • Master a range of interactive new media tools
  • Practice user centered design thinking to develop new ways of doing journalism
  • Become proficient at social media and participatory communication
  • Gain valuable experience in thinking entrepreneurially about networked communication
  • Research, envision, and prototype a unique and innovative communication platform as a program option


The degree requires completing 33 credits of graduate credit. Students may select the thesis or the non-thesis option. With the thesis option, students enroll in a 6-credit thesis course; with the non-thesis option, students enroll in a 3-credit professional project or research paper course, and also sign up for a 3-hour summer internship. The program features seven specific graduate courses and an additional four electives. Most of our required courses are scheduled late in the day (4-7 p.m.) to make the program manageable for students with full-time employment. Read more about our curriculum.

Graduate students register for three required courses. In the program’s foundational course, students analyze the democratic implications of journalism and its networked future. Students take an intensive reporting and writing class and an intensive multimedia narrative course:

  • Journalism 720: The Future of Media, taught by Ben Birkinbine.
  • Journalism 707: Storytelling I: Writing, taught by either a full-time faculty member or a practicing media professional.
  • Journalism 756: Storytelling II: Multimedia, taught by Kari Barber, an award-winner documentary filmmaker.

This hands-on semester introduces the concepts and tools of participatory journalism (Engagement) with a focus on social media and interactive multimedia. Students study innovation and, as a cohort, build a new product.  Students take one or two electives in their area of specialization:

  • Journalism 703: Innovation.
  • Journalism 755: Engagement.
  • Electives

Journalism 695: Students apply the concepts and tools they have learned in the classroom while performing a professional internship. Information about the practicum, both for students and for employers, may be found here.

Students complete their final semester in an area of specialization. For the final project, each student develops an innovative prototype that requires integration and application of the tools and theories of advanced interactive journalism and media innovation. Alternatively, with the Thesis Option, students complete their work on a research project resulting in their Master’s Thesis.

  • Journalism 796: Professional Project; OR Journalism 797: Thesis
  • Electives
  • JOUR 432/632 – Creative Solutions for Strategic Communications
  • JOUR 442/642 – Advanced Strategic Communications
  • JOUR 443/643 – Campaigns Studio
  • JOUR 652 – Web Design for Media Professionals
  • JOUR 680 – Communicating Innovation
  • JOUR 6XX – Health Communication (proposed course)
  • BADM 726 – Personal Branding
  • COM 604 – Principles of Persuasion
  • COM 700 – Research Methods
  • JOUR 681 – Race, Gender and Media
  • JOUR 601 – First Amendment & Society
  • JOUR 646 – Crisis Communication
  • JOUR 652 – Web Design for Media Professionals
  • COM 612 – Intercultural Communication
  • COM 664 – Communication and Leadership
  • COM 700 – Research Methods
  • COM 740 – Public Communication
  • JOUR 601 – First Amendment & Society
  • JOUR 613 – History Of Journalism
  • JOUR 618 – Magazine Writing
  • JOUR 621 – Video/Audio Field Reporting
  • JOUR 625 – Audio: Radio, Podcasting, and Beyond
  • JOUR 652 – Web Design for Media Professionals
  • JOUR 660 – News Studio
  • JOUR 723 – Media Entrepreneurship
  • COM 700 – Research Methods
  • JOUR 652 – Web Design for Media Professionals
  • JOUR 723 – Media Entrepreneurship
  • BADM 726 – Personal Branding
  • COM 604 – Principles of Persuasion
  • COM 664 – Communication and Leadership
  • COM 700 – Research Methods
Trees on a mountain through a lense

Affordable Program

Tuition at the University of Nevada is more affordable than at many other schools in the country. For the most current financial aid information, please visit the Graduate School’s webpage or the Graduate Student Tuition and Fees webpage.

The University of Nevada offers an excellent value for graduate work. In-state tuition and mandatory fees for the three-semester master’s degree in journalism totals approximately $11,227 for 3 semesters as a graduate student with an average semester course load of 9 credits.


A limited number of graduate assistantships, requiring either teaching or research assistance or both, are available for qualified students. Historically, we’ve been able to offer assistantships to qualified students who have applied by the February 1 deadline. There may also be assistantships available at subsequent deadlines. Graduate assistants work between 10 and 20 hours per week and earn between $775 and $1,550 a month (subject to change each year). Students on assistantships receive reduced rates for tuition and out-of-state fees are waived. Other mandatory fees and international student fees are not waived, however, nor do assistantships cover differential costs for specialized classes.

If you are interested in applying for a graduate assistantship please so indicate in the “statement of purpose” essay within your graduate application.

Paul Mitchell


At the Reynolds School you will find a dedicated faculty committed to creating journalism that matters. We have a small program so you will have individualized study and plenty of contact with faculty. You will work closely with a select cadre of students who support one another within a collaborative and cooperative work environment.

Ariel photo of Nevada Campus

Rich Outdoor Environment

Our campus is less than an hour away from some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, like the Black Rock desert and Lake Tahoe. We learn in an environment that encourages exploration and recreation. Outside magazine, called UNR one of the top places to study, saying “with 79 percent possible sunny days per year and a trove of places to ski, hike, raft, paddle, sail, and tube, Nevada’s student body gets out a lot…”

Reynolds School of Journalism

Excellent Facilities

You will work in a beautiful building in a lab specifically set aside for graduate students, a part of our recent $8 million renovation project. Each student is assigned a dedicated lab computer during the program as well as a Nikon DSLR camera, with video cameras and audio equipment available for check out during the program.

For more information about the program, contact:

Kari Barber, director of graduate studies / 775-784-1791, or complete the form below.