Computational Journalism

The program prepares students to be data journalists, able to work with big data sets to organize and communicate the compelling and important news stories that might be hidden in the numbers.

An illustration of an open notebook featuring the words "big data."

Data is everywhere. Governments use data to justify big expenses and manage our lives, but the people we have traditionally trusted to watch over government—journalists—are discovering challenges in gathering, organizing and then disseminating that data to readers and viewers.

Reporters are great interviewers and observers, but most haven’t learned how to find, digest, dissect, reorganize and then present—in a clear, compelling and objective way—a story told by ratios, complex numbers, dates, years, names or locations. That’s why the Newhouse School, in partnership with the Syracuse University College of Engineering and Computer Science, has launched a new master’s degree program to address that need.

What is the focus of the program?

Computational Journalism prepares students for the demands of 21st century reporting. This new program prepares students to be data journalists, able to work with big data sets to organize, and communicate the stories hidden in the numbers.

The program teaches computing skills and techniques required for data-based journalism practices such as information gathering, organization, processing, and dissemination of information, while upholding the values of journalism such as accuracy and verifiability.

Classes include:

  • Visual communication theory and practice
  • News writing and reporting
  • Advanced reporting and writing
  • Principles of journalism
  • Media law
  • Programming and computing fundamentals
  • Web journalism and innovation
  • Explorations in computing and programming
  • Applied research in content management
  • Introduction to statistics and probability through programming


See the 2017-2018 computational journalism master’s program course list for more information.

For complete program requirements and a list of available computational journalism graduate courses see the Syracuse University Course Catalog.

This is a professional master’s program. There is an emphasis on learning principles and tools that serve both professional and public service needs. Students will learn Python programming (the emerging scripting standard for data science) as well as how to visualize data to communicate important trends or hidden details for the public good.

What type of student will be in the program and what will I experience?

The program has two curricular tracks. In track 1, students with a degree in computer science or a related undergraduate degree such as information studies focus on advanced data scraping techniques while taking classes in the practices of journalism and ethical communications. Students with an undergraduate degree in journalism will enter track 2 and take more computer-focused classes including fundamentals of programming and understanding data structure.

What type of a job can I expect to get after completing this program?

The degree prepares students to apply various computation techniques (and the related networking, information technology, data mining, information visualization skills) to the key aspects of journalism. These include newsgathering, investigative journalism, verification/fact-finding, authoring/printing/publication/broadcasting of news, sharing and distribution of news information, editing and commenting on news.

How can I apply?

You may find all of the deadlines and details on how to apply here. Questions? Email or call 315-443-4039.

Who can I talk to if I have questions about the program?

Find an in-depth master’s program FAQ here. You may contact program director Stephen Masiclat at or 315-443-9243. You may also email the general grad program at or call 315-443-4039.

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