Pre-Admission Training and Assessment Program

As an applicant to University of South Florida St. Petersburg master’s degree in Digital Journalism and Design, you stand to gain an immediate professional benefit: a USFSP-Poynter Certificate of Proficiency in Digital Technology for Journalists.

To help University of South Florida St. Petersburg assess the Web-related knowledge and skills of potential students, applicants to the master’s degree in Digital Journalism and Design should take this pre-admission online assessment program, offered by The Poynter Institute. You don’t need to achieve a minimum score in the program in order to be considered for admission to the master’s degree. To earn the certificate, however, you must score an 80 percent or higher.

When you enroll in the online assessment program offered through Poynter's News University, you will have unlimited access to the courses covered by the program. Your highest score will become part of your application package. (The cost of this pre-admission assessment and training is $80.) You will each have three chances to take the assessment program, so you can always review the material again to improve your scores or earn the certificate.

There are three benefits to the USFSP collaboration with The Poynter Institute in offering this assessment:

  1. It can provide all applicants to the master’s degree with a valuable professional benefit—a certificate of proficiency.

  2. Scores from the assessment will help us gauge the overall digital knowledge and skill-level of the applicant pool and give USFSP the information it needs to prepare the courses accordingly.

  3. The courses included in the assessment program will help those accepted into the degree program to successfully complete it—or, for that matter, to enhance their professional success in general.

How to Apply

This training and assessment program is part of the application for the master’s degree in Digital Journalism and Design at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Learn more about the program and submit your application at

There are two ways to participate in the USFSP Digital Journalism and Design: Pre-admission Training and Assessment Program.

  • Enroll in the USFSP Program: Combined Assessment. This is one comprehensive assessment of approximately 150 questions covering the content in nine modules from Poynter's NewsU.
  • Enroll in the USFSP Program: Individual Assessments. This features nine assessments--one for each course from Poynter's NewsU prescribed in this program. Each assessment has approximately 20 questions.

Your scores will not be automatically forwarded to the USFSP graduate admissions office, please be sure to let them know your results upon completion by emailing them to If you score at least 80 percent, you will receive a certificate of proficiency that can become a valuable professional asset.

Questions? Contact Mark J. Walters, Director, M.A. Digital Journalism and Design, University of South Florida St. Petersburg