Dual Master of Science Degree in Journalism and Computer Science


Columbia Journalism School collaborates with Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Tow Center for Digital Journalism to offer the highest caliber Journalism + CompSci training. Columbia’s innovative dual-degree Master of Science Program in Computer Science and Journalism is designed to prepare a new generation of professionals with skills in the technical aspects of both digital media and news production.

Students will enroll for a total of four semesters. In addition to taking classes already offered at Columbia Journalism School and Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, students will attend Frontiers in Computational Journalism, a seminar designed specifically for the dual degree program. Frontiers in Computational Journalism aims to familiarize students with current research and development within computer science that is directly relevant to journalism, so students will become more capable of participating in the design of future public information systems. The course is built around a “design” frame that examines technology from the point of view of its possible applications and social context. Students will learn about both the major unsolved problems of internet-era journalism, and the major areas of research within computer science that are being brought to bear on these problems. The scope is wide enough to include relatively traditional journalistic work, such as computer-assisted investigative reporting, and the broader information systems that we all use every day to inform ourselves, such as search engines. The course will provide students with a thorough understanding of how particular fields of computational research relate to products being developed for journalism, and provoke ideas for their own research and projects. Research-level computer science material will be discussed in class, but the emphasis will be on understanding the capabilities and limitations of this technology. Students with a CS background will have opportunity for algorithmic exploration and innovation, however the primary goal of the course is thoughtful, application-centered research and design.

Students will also engage in projects supervised jointly by professors in Computer Science and Journalism to give them hands-on experience.

What will I study?

Journalism courses:

  • Reporting
  • Essentials of Journalism (law, business, ethics and history)
  • The Written Word
  • Image and Sound (may include classes in video, audio, photography and data visualization)
  • Audience and Engagement (may include topics, such as Aggregation and Curation, Social Media for Journalists, and Digital News Design)
  • Frontiers of Computational Journalism
  • Master’s Project
  • Seminar and Production (may include topics ranging from National Affairs Reporting to Video Storytelling, and from Literary Journalism to Data Visualization)

Engineering and Computer Science courses:

Students take four courses from the following six:

  • Introduction to Databases
  • Programming Languages and Translators
  • Advanced Software Engineering
  • User Interface Design
  • Analysis of Algorithms
  • Artificial Intelligence

Candidates are required to complete three of the following courses:

  • Database System Implementation
  • Computer Networks
  • Computer Graphics
  • Advanced Computer Graphics
  • 3D User Interfaces and Augmented Reality
  • Network Security
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Spoken Language Processing
  • Computer Vision
  • Machine Learning
  • Advanced Machine Learning
  • Computing and the Humanities
  • Topics in CS (if focus in appropriate, needs approval from track advisor)

Candidates are required to complete two courses out of the following list:

  • Advanced Database Systems
  • Topics in Database Systems
  • Web-Enhanced Information Management
  • Interaction Design
  • User Interfaces for Mobile and Wearable Computing
  • 3D Photography
  • Computational Photography
  • Visual Databases
  • Projects in CS
  • Visual Information Systems
  • Topics in CS with appropriate focus