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Now accepting applications for 2022/23

The graduate Certificate in Media and Leadership is a 12-credit hour program designed to prepare students for leadership roles in communications organizations. Students will learn about the principles of leadership and results-driven decision-making. The certificate program will educate students in the legal and ethical issues affecting media industries. Students will learn to foster diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Graduates will be prepared to lead communications’ organizations across a variety of sectors.

Program Core

Law & Ethics: Students graduating with this certificate will demonstrate an understanding of practical skills necessary in media law and ethics.

Leadership: Students graduating with this certificate will demonstrate leadership skills necessary in contemporary media fields.

Tech Skills: Students graduating with this certificate will master written and multimedia platforms, including modern tools and technologies, to communicate clearly and effectively to inform and engage audiences in mass communication fields such as journalism or strategic communication.

See the VCU Bulletin for more.


As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Learn More

Where to start?

Apply now! Late consideration through July. Classes begin August 2022.

  1. Start by completing our Prospective Student Form and someone from the program will follow up with you. 
  2. When you’re ready to apply, visit the VCU Admissions website and choose the "Graduate" application type. Then scroll down and click on "Terms beginning in..." (Spring, Summer, Fall)." That will prompt you to create an account, and then you can get started on your application.  

When is the application deadline?

The application opens December 1, and the deadline to apply is May 1. Late applications may be considered on a rolling basis though July. Classes begin in August.

For information related to admission requirements, contact Dr. Karen McIntyre, Director of Graduate Studies, at or (804) 625-4929. 

Do I have to take the GRE?

No, you are not required to take the GRE. Although you will see that requirement on the VCU Graduate School website, the Robertson School chooses to waive that requirement.

Is there a minimum GPA required?

The VCU Graduate School requires a minimum GPA of 3.0., however, the Robertson School does not require a minimum GPA and applications are considered holistically. 

To whom do I mail my application/documents to?

The Robertson School only accepts graduate applications online. 

Can I apply to both the certificate and master’s programs? 

You may only apply to one of our graduate programs at a time. However, if you complete the 12-credit certificate program, you may apply to continue into the master’s program. At that point, you will only have 18 credits remaining to earn a master’s degree in mass communications.

Will there be an orientation for admitted students?

Yes, there are two: One is for the Robertson School and the other is hosted by the VCU Graduate School.

Is there an application fee?

Yes, there is a nonrefundable application fee of $70. 

English is not my primary language, will I need to take an English proficiency test in order to be accepted?

Yes, the VCU Graduate School requires you to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). More information can be found on the Graduate School website

Have questions about financial aid or tuition? 

Follow these links to learn more about the requirements specific to VCU’s Graduate School:

  1. financial aid website
  2. division of strategic enrollment
  3. graduate school funding opportunities

What is the estimated cost of attendance for the entire program?

The estimated cost for our graduate certificate is $9,792 for in-state students.

For additional information regarding VCU’s tuition and fees, please use this link: Or, call 804-828-2228 to speak with Student Accounting.

Is there an application fee?

Yes, there is a nonrefundable application fee of $70. 


How many classes should I take per semester?

In order to complete the certificate in one academic year, students should take two courses each in the fall and spring semesters. 

When are classes offered? 

The program is offered year-round — fall, spring and summer — with a June start date. Classes span a regular 16-week semester during the fall and spring and span 8 to 10 weeks during the summer semesters. All courses are offered online. 

Am I able to take graduate classes without seeking a graduate degree?

Yes, by doing so, you will be considered a non-degree-seeking student. You will need to have graduated (or are in the last semester of your bachelor’s) from an accredited university. More information can be found through this link: non-degree-seeking student 

What courses are included in the program?

Please see the VCU Bulletin to view required courses.

Required and recommended equipment for certificate students

Required Equipment

Personal computer

All incoming graduate students are required to own a personal computer. Please note the following important requirements:

  • Computers must meet the Adobe Premiere Pro system requirements as well as VCU’s requirements. Note that if you plan to do a lot of video editing, you should opt for more than 8GB of RAM.
  • Given that courses are taught online, a reasonable Internet service is very important. Check the Internet for the recommended speed for your living environment based on the number of people and devices.
  • Good quality speakers and microphones are critical. If your laptop speakers are not providing good audio, purchase a headset with headphones and a built-in microphone.
  • A working camera on your laptop is important, to fully participate in online classes, small group discussions and meetings with your instructors or teaching assistants.
  • If purchasing a new computer, a laptop is recommended over a desktop. You may purchase computers at a discount through VCU RAMTech

Recommended Equipment

Note: We provide these recommendations to provide an example of equipment, but there are many options that would work; having comparable equipment is not a problem. Please think about your interests and the compatibility of your devices with one another.

A smartphone or a DSLR camera

  • Phone or camera must be able to shoot 4K video

A lavalier microphone that’s compatible with your smartphone OR DSLR camera

A tripod that’s compatible with your smartphone OR DSLR camera 

Headphones - adapted from UC Berkeley’s Advanced Media Institute

Although you may choose to use your smartphone earbuds throughout the program, we suggest good quality stereo headphones that connect directly to your laptop and the audio recorder or smartphone, especially if you plan to pursue a career involving audio editing. Audio editors typically use over-the-ear headphones as opposed to earbuds. You’ll find many options available—we like the Sony MDR7506, or the less expensive, but equally as popular: Senal SMH-1000.

Audio recorder - adapted from UC Berkeley’s Advanced Media Institute

While you may use a smartphone to record audio in this program, several valid options are available for semi-professional to professional use audio recorders that some of you may find a worthy investment. For the purposes of this program, we recommend the Zoom H1n—it’s a powerhouse for a reasonable price (while the Zoom H5 costs more and offers many advanced features.) The Zoom H1n uses a Micro SD Card of 32 GB. It’s a great recorder for those starting out in audio, and if used correctly, can get really good sound. Depending on your career goals, you may want to invest in a higher-quality recorder down the line.

USB Microphone

The portable microphone allows you to record audio for podcasts, video and audio packages. We recommend the Blue yeti microphone or the Elgato Wave 3 brand. 

A halo/ring light 

This will help improve the lighting in your photography and videos. It’s available on Amazon, Walmart and B&H. 

Gimbal Stabilizer

This tool will help keep your camera steady while you’re moving and allow you to film steady video. Check out this article outlining some options. (Note that this requires a wireless mic.)

MicroSD card

If using a DSLR, you will need a MicroSD card (San Disk) with a minimum of 32GB and, if needed, a MicroSD card reader.

Recommended Software

Microsoft Office, which includes Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access and Publish, is free for VCU students and can be accessed at the following link:

The Adobe Creative Cloud Suite, which includes Indesign, Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere Pro and other programs, is available for VCU students at a discount. ($60/year, $30/6-months or $15/3 months). Subscriptions can be purchased at the following link: