Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in Economics and Business Journalism

Providing mid-career journalists with an intensive academic year to study business, economics and finance

Program Overview

The Knight-Bagehot Fellowship offers journalists the opportunity to enhance their understanding and knowledge of business, economics, finance and technology, as well as gain a strong understanding of the business of journalism itself.

Fellows spend two semesters at Columbia Journalism School and take most of their classes at Columbia Business School. The fellows meet weekly for off-the-record seminars and dinners with top journalists, entrepreneurs and corporate leaders.

In scope and depth, it is the most comprehensive and rigorous business journalism fellowship in the world. As such, Knight-Bagehot fellows are required to have earned a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) from an accredited university. The fellowship is an academic program in which the fellows are enrolled in classes and receive grades for their work. Fellows meet together once a week for a seminar and dinner, and each fellow chooses their own particular set of business and journalism classes. Three academic tracks guide those choices. Two tracks lead to a Certificate in Business and Economics Journalism. The third leads to a Master of Arts in Journalism.

The fellowship runs during Columbia’s academic year from mid-August through May and accepts up to 10 fellows each year. Each fellow receives free tuition plus a stipend to offset living expenses in New York City and healthcare. For the 2021-2022 academic year, fellows received a living stipend of $60,000 and health insurance. They may apply for subsidized housing in a Columbia-affiliated facility.

The fellowship is named for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which established an endowment for the program, and Walter Bagehot, the 19th­-century editor of The Economist. The program also depends on grants from a number of other charitable foundations, corporations and publishing organizations for a significant portion of its annual budget. The sponsors have no role in the selection of fellows or the curriculum, which are both entirely managed by the Director of the Program and the Journalism School.


The core of the Knight­-Bagehot curriculum consists of courses(link is external) offered by Columbia University. Knight­-Bagehot fellows are allowed to choose from three different tracks: two tracks earn a Certificate in Economics and Business Journalism; one track earns a Master of Arts in Journalism degree.


To earn this certificate, fellows must complete at least 30 hours of university credit during their two semesters. Fellows typically take most classes at Columbia Business School(link is external) or through the Law School(link is external) and School of International and Public Affairs(link is external). The most commonly chosen courses cover such subjects as microeconomics, macroeconomics, accounting, corporate finance, business law, international economics, marketing, business finance, securities analysis and media management. Many of these courses count as credit for those considering applying to the Business School to stay a second year, on their own, to complete a Master’s in Business Administration.

Fellows choose one of two tracks:

  • MBA Experience — Fellows are embedded in the entering class of Columbia Business School. They will take core classes such as corporate finance and accounting and economics, along with electives in business and journalism. This is the preferred choice of most Knight-Bagehot fellows, and you must choose this track if you hope to finish your MBA by returning for a second year.
  • General Business — Fellows are only allowed to take half their classes in the Business School, but they may pursue related business and economics classes from other schools at Columbia University. They must present a plan of study that shows how those classes will relate to their business journalism career.


Each year one or two fellows choose to pursue a Master of Arts degree and take almost all of their courses at the Journalism School. This is a prescribed course of study that includes classes in reporting and investigative techniques in the Journalism School and requires completing a thesis by the end of the year. M.A. fellows are not allowed to take courses at the Business School or participate in Business School activities. M.A. fellows take accounting and corporate finance at the School of International and Public Affairs and can take one additional subject area course outside the Journalism School.


All fellows, no matter which track, attend Journalism School seminars once a week and get course credit for doing so. These seminars are primarily focused on journalism, the business of journalism, new business models, role of technology in media and contemporary issues affecting journalism and the media business. The fellows also meet weekly with CEOs and editors-in-chief of major media organizations to deepen their understanding of journalism and its related business ecosystem.

Because of the demanding nature of the curriculum, fellows are not permitted to take on any outside assignments, including at their current employer or freelance, while classes are in session.

MBA Experience


  • Most classes (21 credits) in the business school
  • 3 Knight-Bagehot seminar credits
  • 6 subject-related credits anywhere at the University


Who should choose this?

Applicants who want to deepen their technical skills and understanding of fundamental business practices. This track essentially embeds you in the business school and allows you to take the deepest dive in the core Business School curriculum. You will be part of a Business School cluster and learning team and will be able to take part in Business School trips, clubs and activities. This is the preferred choice of most Knight-Bagehot fellows. If you think you might want to apply for the MBA degree, this is your track.


General Business


  • Fewer classes (15 credits) in the business school
  • 3 Knight-Bagehot seminar credits
  • 13 business or economics related credits anywhere at the University


Who should choose this?

Applicants who want to choose from a broad pool of business and economics classes. Select this track if you want more choices outside the Business School. You must present a plan of study outlining the courses you want to take and how they relate to the overall goals of the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship.

M.A. in Journalism


  • Most classes at the journalism school
  • 3 Knight-Bagehot seminar credits
  • Accounting and corporate finance classes at SIPA
  • One subject-related class anywhere at the University
  • Master’s thesis


Who should choose this?

Applicants who want to dive deeper into improving their understanding and practice of business journalism. You will spend most of your time in the Journalism School and are not able to take classes at the Business School or join an MBA cluster or learning team. You earn a master’s degree.

Applying to the Program

Applications for the 2022-23 fellowship have launched. The fellowship is open to full-time editorial employees of newspapers, magazines, wire services, digital media, television and radio news organizations, as well as to freelance journalists, from anywhere in the world. Admissions decisions are typically announced in March/April. Learn about applying to the fellowship or sign up(link is external) to stay connected.

The application deadline for the 2022-23 academic year is January 31, 2022, 11:59 p.m. Eastern.

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