An illustration of a young man climbing a series of large stones.

Academic Schedule

Professional master's programs

All of our professional master's programs begin in July. You'll start off with a six-week summer session, attending classes four to five days a week. Because these summer courses provide the foundation for the rest of the program, you must start in the summer. The two introductory six-week courses—or Boot Camp, as we affectionately call it—are offered only in summer, so it's not possible for the majority of graduate students to start studies in either the fall or spring semesters.

Most of our master's degree programs take 12 to 13 months to complete, but there are two exceptions. Because the photography degree requires a thesis or project, this program takes approximately one-and-a-half to two years to complete. Since public diplomacy is a dual-degree, it takes two years to complete. If you're not in either of these programs, you'll graduate in June or August the year after you begin your studies.

Usually, students take two courses during second summer session (July-August), four courses in the fall semester (late August-December), four courses in the spring semester (January-May) and complete their program with a six-credit capstone experience during first summer session in May and June. If you're a broadcast and digital journalism student, you'll also complete an additional four-credit internship in Washington, July and August.

Academic master's program

The academic master's program (media studies) begins in the fall semester and takes about two years to finish. You can learn more about the program in our media studies degree section.

Generally our programs cannot be completed on a part-time basis. All the programs are designed as full-time, one-or-two-calendar-year programs. Classes are offered both day and night, but there is no way of knowing which classes will be offered when. If you have availability during the day, you can sometimes stretch the program out over two years or so. We suggest that you make an appointment with the program director to see if part-time study is feasible.

Communications management (executive education)

Our communications management program is an independent study, executive education program for mid-career professionals, and operates on a different schedule than the resident programs. Communications management students can pursue their studies off campus while working full-time.