The Cultural Reporting and Criticism concentration in the Journalism Institute accepts candidates with bachelor’s degrees in any field and with a wide variety of experience. We prefer candidates with a strong liberal arts background and at least a year of work or travel experience after graduation. We look for evidence of writing talent, the intellectual ability and motivation to handle a demanding graduate program, and engagement with the cultural issues and phenomena on which this specific concentration is focused. We look carefully at the whole of each candidate’s application, but place particular importance on the essay and writing samples.
Along with the completed application, the applicant must provide one copy of the official transcript from her/his undergraduate institution, three letters of recommendation, and three writing samples. Cultural Reporting and Criticism applicants must complete the CRC essay in lieu of the required statement of purpose.
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: Which cultural, social, or political issues and phenomena most engage you? Which cultural journalists do you admire, which do you dislike, which have influenced you–and why? What draws you to cultural reporting and criticism, and what do you expect to get from the program itself? Which particular courses attract you, and why? What kind of writing have you done and what do you aspire to do? What publications do you read regularly and why? Feel free to discuss any other ideas, or include any other details, that you consider relevant to your application. There is no required minimum or maximum length for the essay, though many are in the 1500 to 2000-word range.
CRC also requires that you append to your essay a brief statement of your plans for financing your graduate work. All CRC applicants must include this statement, whether or not you are applying for financial aid.
While we accept clips (published articles) as writing samples, and recommend that applicants submit any clips they have, samples need not be limited to published work. Essays, reviews, travel narratives, reported pieces, memoirs, op/eds may be submitted, whether or not they have been published. (Poetry and fiction should not be submitted.) Overall, the writing samples should represent the best the applicant has to offer and the work most indicative of her/his aptitude for cultural reporting and criticism.
We strongly urge you to submit letters of recommendation from professors with whom you have studied, and who can speak specifically to your intellectual and writing abilities. Letters from employers should be submitted only if they can address those abilities (i.e. if you have been working in journalism, publishing, etc.). Letters from personal or family friends should not be submitted.
Applicants should have an undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0. CRC has previously recommended a score of 600 or higher on the GRE Verbal reasoning test. The updated GRE now scores on a 130-170 scale, and, accordingly, the program now recommends a verbal score of 160 or higher. (There has been no change to the scoring of the Analytic Writing portion of the GRE.) A “concordance table” to translate between the two scoring systems can be found here. No specific subject test is necessary.
Non-native English speakers must also take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the test of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) unless English is their native language or they have completed their undergraduate education at an institution where English is the primary language of instruction. A minimum TOEFL score of 100 on the Internet-based test, 250 on the computer-based test, or 600 on the paper test is required with a score of 6.0 on the Test of Written English (TWE). International applicants MUST have a fluent command of written English. For the IELTS, a score of 7 or above is needed.
Applications are accepted for fall admission only and must be received by January 4, though the Graduate Enrollment Services of NYU prefers that you meet the December 18 deadline if possible. Candidates for admission to the Cultural Reporting and Criticism concentration must apply directly to CRC. No transfers into CRC from other areas of study in the Institute are permitted.
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Need an application?
Applications are available from the GSAS application resource center starting in late September.
Note: All application materials (including test score reports) should be sent directly to GSAS, not to the Carter Journalism Institute or CRC. Please visit the application resource center for further instructions.
Frequently asked questions
Q: Is there a word limit for the CRC personal statement?
A: There is no formal word limit; however, most personal statements are in the 1500-2000 word range.
Q: Do you need me to provide my major GPA? What if my undergraduate institution did not calculate a major GPA?
A: We ask that you self report your GPA in the application. However, official transcripts must also be included in your application.
Q: I took the GRE (or TOEFL) test one year ago and the score is not my best. Can I report the former score first and then make arrangements for a new test?
A: This decision would be entirely up to you; however, we must receive the new scores no later than mid-February.
Q: How much does the GRE or TOEFL score weigh in the assessment for admittance and scholarship granting of the applicant?
A: There are many elements that make up a complete application. The admissions committee reviews all materials, supporting documents, and test scores in reaching a decision. There is no one item that is decisive.
Q: Can I submit test scores and supplementary materials after the application deadline?
A: Scores and other supplementary materials may be sent in after the application deadline, but should be received no later than mid-February.
Q: What is the difference between the December 18th recommended deadline and the January deadline?
A: Either deadline is fine.
Q: My recommender hasn’t yet posted a letter to the online application; will you still receive the recommendation letter if I submit the application now?
A: As long as you have registered your recommenders before you submit the online application, the letters will be added once they are submitted by your recommender.
Q: I’ve worked mainly in TV and radio. Can I send a transcript of a TV or radio piece that I’ve worked on?
A: Unfortunately, CRC cannot accept transcripts as writing samples.
Q: What is the code for sending GRE test scores? Is there a department code?
A: The code for sending GRE scores is 2596 (NYU GSAS). You do not need to include a department code. Please see the testing FAQ at http://gsas.nyu.edu/page/grad.admissionsapplication for more information on the GRE test requirement, and let me know if you have any additional questions. You can self-report your scores, but we will also need an official report.
Q: Have my application materials arrived at your office?
A: Applications are sent to GSAS, and are not received directly by CRC or the journalism department. Please contact GSAS at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on the status of your materials.
Q: Are published journalistic writings in languages other than English acceptable as writing samples?
A: All essays and writing samples submitted to CRC must be in English, either in the original or in translation.
Q: Can I send my transcript and letters of recommendation by mail?
A: The University does accept letters of recommendation by mail, although electronic submission is preferred. Just be sure to register your recommender on the online application. More information on letters of recommendation may be found on the “Letters of Recommendation FAQ” page, available here.
Any additional questions about the online application or other application-related questions should be directed to GSAS at email@example.com. For more information about the CRC program, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.