You are viewing a past version of the Undergraduate Catalog. For the most recent version, please visit

2002-2004 Undergraduate Catalog
Next Previous Contents Search UA

[College of Communication and Information Sciences]


Dr. Ed Mullins, Chairperson
Office: 490 Phifer Hall

The Department of Journalism offers a curriculum that mixes academics with practice to ensure that students are well schooled in writing and editing and in analyzing the issues, conventions, and practices of modern journalism. The departmental requirements give journalism majors both guidance and flexibility in their selection of courses.

The department's emphasis on writing, reporting, and the practice of journalism — as well as the attention given to the liberal arts — makes those who complete the journalism program qualified for many types of jobs and professions.

Newspaper reporting and editing. The newspaper industry has been the traditional field of choice for the journalism major, but certainly not the only one (see below). Newspapers offer some of the best opportunities for journalism majors who are still in school and want the professional experience of internships, or who have just graduated and are seeking their first jobs. Journalism majors are aggressively sought after by newspapers for reporting, copy editing, graphics, and layout and design positions. Many newspapers are also developing new products, such as weekend magazines or Web site editions, and they need people trained in all aspects of reporting, writing, editing, and design.

Magazine writing and editing. The growth of magazines in the last 30 years has been of major importance in the field of mass communication. More than 10,000 magazines are published in the United States today. There are general circulation publications, along with magazines that cover almost every specialized subject in which Americans have an interest. They employ managing editors, manuscript editors, department editors, production managers, art designers, and other staff members. While few have full-time writers, many staff members are given the opportunity to write, and nearly all magazines solicit work from freelance writers. It is conservatively estimated that American magazines publish 100,000 articles each month.

Graphics journalism. Presenting information through graphic means has become a major part of the news and information business. The appearance of USA Today in 1982, the development of the Macintosh computer, and the Internet explosion of the 1990s have had profound effects on the way journalists and consumers think about information. News organizations need people who understand the rules, conventions, and customs of graphic presentation and who also know how to report and write news.

Photojournalism. All photographs are not necessarily worth a thousand words, but high-quality photographs — those that capture the essence of the moment — are used by newspapers, magazines, and organizational publications around the world. Photojournalism is a fast-paced, on-the-spot approach to gathering the news because the critical moment of action, once lost to the camera, can never be recalled. International news services, daily newspapers, and many pictorial magazines hire staff photojournalists whose primary assignments are gathering the news with a camera. Also, many media and business organizations now prefer writers who also have photographic skills, enabling more efficient and cost-effective operations.

New media journalism. Traditional mass media, including newspapers and magazines, have taken the lead in publishing on the Internet. Journalism graduates have an advantage over experienced journalists in getting jobs in this sector because technology has played a major role throughout their education. Good writers and editors with a strong commitment to accuracy and fairness and a flair for graphics and design are much in demand and will be more so as more publications, institutions, and businesses go online.

Newsletter editing or publishing. One of the fastest growing areas of journalism is the specialty newsletter. These publications exist in business, politics, sports, leisure, recreation, hobbies — in other words, in almost every area of interest. Producing a newsletter takes a combination of reporting, editing, design, and marketing skills, making the journalism major someone who is highly valued by people in this field.

Corporate communications. Many journalism majors find jobs in corporate communications as writers, editors, and advisers to management. Corporations need people skilled in writing, photography, and design to produce newsletters, press releases, letters, brochures, graphics, annual reports, and many other types of material.

Graduate studies, law school, and business. The journalism major provides students with excellent preparation for a variety of careers outside of the journalism field. Solid grounding in the social sciences and humanities — along with specialized journalistic training in writing, gathering information, critical thinking, and public affairs — can open many doors. Students also find that the journalism curriculum provides solid preparation for graduate studies in a number of fields, including law school and other professional studies.

Requirements for Journalism Majors — Upper Division

A journalism major must complete 124 hours for graduation. The following are the University Core Curriculum courses that journalism majors must take:

I. Written composition: Two courses in freshman composition (FC) or the equivalent
II. Humanities (HU) and fine arts (FA) English literature (6 hours)
fine arts (3 hours)
COM 123 (3 hours)
III. Natural sciences (N) and mathematics (MA): natural sciences (8 hours)
mathematics (3 hours)
IV. History (HI) and social and
behavioral sciences (SB): U.S. history sequence (6 hours)
SB courses (6 hours)
V. Preprofessional, major, and
elective courses: foreign language (6 to 8 hours)
MC 101 Introduction to Mass Communication
MC 102 Introduction to Media Writing
PSC 211 State and Local Government

A journalism major must complete 30 hours within the journalism, mass communication, advertising and public relations, and telecommunication and film departments as outlined below.

A journalism major must complete 18 hours of 300- and 400-level courses outside the journalism, mass communication, advertising and public relations, and telecommunication and film departments as outlined below. The major is required to have up to 27 semester hours in a single minor or 22 hours maximum in each of two minors, or hours as required in a second major. The course of study for the minor(s) or second major requires approval by the Department of Journalism.

Minors and electives. Popular minors and upper-level special requirements are found in history, political science, psychology, English, American studies, women's studies, anthropology, art history, classics, human development and family studies, criminal justice, sociology, philosophy, religion, economics, consumer sciences, regional and urban planning, and theatre.

Grades. To receive credit toward graduation, a student must receive a "C-" or higher for all courses required in the major and for the required English literature courses, the required history sequence, and the state and local government course.

Major status. Students should declare their majors as soon as possible by applying in the Department of Journalism office, 490 Phifer Hall.

Advising assistance. Students may make appointments with the academic adviser at any time during the semester for help in understanding requirements and planning curricula. Other faculty members are available for appointments to discuss matters relating to their courses and to provide career guidance.

Professional mentoring. Each student is advised to develop a network of friends in the media professions by joining media-career student organizations, attending lectures and discussions sponsored by the College and University, interviewing prospective employers at career days, and attending receptions honoring visiting professionals. The department has an active professional-in-residence program that has brought many of the top professionals in the field of journalism to the campus. Representatives from news organizations such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, and USA Today have come to campus to speak to student groups and interview students for jobs and internships.

Professional experience. Students should seek a variety of media work experience, exploring opportunities at the campus newspaper, the Web, the yearbook, the lifestyle magazine, literary magazines, departmental and alumni newsletters, and radio and cable television, and in University public relations and sports information offices.

Students are encouraged to seek summer jobs with professional media organizations following the freshman and sophomore years. An internship sometime before the senior year makes students marketable when they graduate. The College placement office, 297 Phifer Hall, assists students with finding internships and jobs.

Minors in journalism. Journalism minors are available to students who wish to study journalism in conjunction with other major areas of coursework. To receive a minor in journalism, a student must take MC 101, MC 102, JN 311, MC 401, and 9 additional hours of journalism courses.


Marie Parsons, Academic Adviser
Office: 309 Phifer Hall

The following sample program of study is offered only as a general guide. Early in each semester, students should meet with the academic adviser to arrange individual programs of study.

First Semester Second Semester
Course Hours Course Hours
EN 101 3 COM 123 3
MC 101 3 EN 102 3
Elective 3 MC 102 3
Fine arts 3 History or social science/behavioral sciences 3
Math 3 Natural science 4
___ ___
15 16
First Semester Second Semester
Course Hours Course Hours
HY 203 3 HY 204 3
PSC 211 3 JN 311 3
English literature 3 English literature 3
Foreign language 3-4 Foreign language 3-4
Natural science 4 Minor 3
___ ___
16-17 15-16
First Semester Second Semester
Course Hours Course Hours
JN 312 3 JN 313 or JN 316 3
(HI) or (SB) course 3 JN, APR, TCF, or MC elective 3
Minor 3 Minor 3
Special requirement 6 Minor 3
___ Special requirement 3
15 ___
First Semester Second Semester
Course Hours Course Hours
JN 261, JN 317, JN 320 JN 420, or JN 426 3 JN 411, JN 412, or JN 415 3
MC 401 3 JN 499 3
Minor 3 Minor (300/400 level) 3
Minor (300/400 level) or special requirement 3 Minor (300/400 level) or special requirements 3
Special requirement 3 Special requirement 3
___ ___
15 15

Top Next Previous Contents Search UA