Academic Programs Catalog

College of Communication Arts and Sciences

School of Journalism

Lucinda Davenport, Director

 


Undergraduate Programs

Students become experts in content in written or visual forms for publishing news and other information on the web, mobile apps, social media, magazines, newspapers, books, radio, TV, public relations and other media.  Whatever way consumers get their news and information, journalists provide the content and storytelling in words and/or visuals.

Students may go different routes for written, visual or audio communication in media: 1) choose writing courses on many topics, such as features and human interest, sports, environment, science, health, entertainment, public affairs, international, public relations and more; 2) select classes for visual or audio content in video, broadcast, documentary, photography, design, information graphics, animation and comics, for example; 3) learn to be creative and entrepreneurial on how promote you and your work to different audiences, using various media, and understanding media management.

They work in various student-produced media, are members of student organizations, have internships, win tons of professional awards and get job offers.

Using the nation’s newest, state-of-the-art newsroom, students produce stories for news websites (news.jrn.msu.edu, for example) and for radio and TV news shows. Some students create stories with avatars and virtual reality and learn motion capture to place audiences inside issues and events.

Our students learn valuable storytelling skills across media, and become critical thinkers, excellent writers and superb visual communicators. You will be prepared for the future of media and to be a leader in the field because of your flexibility. You can become an effective communicator in almost any industry.

Undergraduate programs include a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and thematic areas for writing and editing; broadcast; environment, science and health; international; sports; design; photojournalism; and information graphics. Students can choose optional minors in Animation and Comics Storytelling in Media, Public Relations, Documentary Production and Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Our undergraduate and graduate programs train students in storytelling skills and media technology that place them in high demand. They learn how media and society influence each other.

Admission

In addition to the university and college requirements, minimal criteria for admission are:

  1. Completion of Journalism 108 and 200 with a minimum combined 2.5 grade-point average and a minimum grade of 2.0 in each course. Any applicant who does not meet this requirement may reapply or contact the school regarding the appeal process.

Transfer students may transfer a maximum of two journalism classes. These classes cannot substitute for core courses unless they are from an accredited journalism program.

For additional information about admission, please contact the Undergraduate Student Affairs Office, College of Communication Arts and Sciences, 1-517-355-1794.

Admission to a Second Bachelor's Degree Program or an Additional Major

Students seeking admission to a second bachelor's degree program or an additional major must meet the same requirements as for admission to the journalism major as a junior.


Journalism

Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism

  1. The University requirements for bachelor's degrees as described in the Undergraduate Education section of this catalog; 120 credits, including general elective credits, are required for the Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism.

    The University's Tier II writing requirement for the Journalism major is met by completing Journalism 300. The University’s Tier II writing requirement for Journalism majors pursuing teacher certification is met by completing Journalism 409.  Those courses are referenced in item 3. a. (2) below.
  2. The requirements of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences for the Bachelor of Arts degree.
  3. The following requirements for the major:
                         
    a. The following Journalism courses (25 credits):  
      (1) Journalism 108 (3 credits).        
      (2) Journalism 200 and Journalism 300 with a minimum grade–point average of 2.0 or higher for these two courses in all credits attempted (6 credits).  
        Students pursuing teacher certification must complete Journalism 108, 200, 203, 310, 336, 400, 409, 430;, one topical course chosen from 375, 415, 417, 418, 420, 425, 445, 450, 472, 473, 475, 490, 491; and one elective (30 credits).  An average minimum grade-point of 2.0 is required for Journalism 200 in combination with either Journalism 310 or 336 or 409.  
      (3) One of the following, (a) or (b) (3 or 6 credits):      
        (a)  Journalism 203 (3 credits)      
        (b)  Communication Arts and Sciences 110 (2 credits)    
              Communication Arts and Sciences 111 (2 credits)    
              Communication Arts and Sciences 112 (2 credits)    
      (4) Journalism 430 (3 credits).        
      (5) Journalism 400 (3 credits).
     
      (6) One Journalism skills course selected from 306, 310, 336, 338, 403, 405, 406, 407, 410, 432, 436, 438, 491 (3 credits).
     
      (7) One Journalism topical course selected from 375, 415, 417, 418, 420, 425, 445, 450, 472, 473, 475, 490, 491 (3 credits).  
      (8) Journalism 493 (1 credit).  
    b. The following courses in departments outside the College of Communication Arts and Sciences (9 credits):  
      (1) Literature: One course (3 credits).
     
      (2) History: One course (3 credits).
     
      (3) Economics 201 (3 credits).
     
    c. Concentration: Four related/thematic courses outside of the Journalism core, of which no more than two may be Journalism, selected from the following themes: business reporting, editorial reporting, electronic news, environmental reporting, international reporting, journalism history, media marketing, public affairs reporting, sports reporting, visual communication (12 to16 credits).  
    d. Journalism majors must complete a minimum of 80 credits in courses outside of the School of Journalism with no fewer than 65 credits in the liberal arts and sciences.  
    e.

    Journalism majors must complete a minimum of 25 credits in Journalism, but may take up to 40.

     
    f. Only credits in courses graded on the numerical or Pass-No Pass Grade system may be counted toward the requirements for the Journalism major.  Journalism students may not enroll in courses required for the major, including courses in other departments, on a Credit-No Credit basis.  

The School of Journalism stresses the importance of gaining professional experience while pursuing a degree in journalism. Students who have combined classroom work with internships usually find employment. The school and college coordinates internships for students, provides career counseling, and assists seniors and graduate students with job placement.

Other Programs

Environmental Studies and Agriscience - Communication concentration:  see the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources section of this catalog for courses in Journalism appropriate to this major.

Engineering Arts:  see the College of Engineering section of this catalog for courses appropriate to this major.

Suggestions for Program Success

Students should pursue the University’s Integrative Studies requirements during their freshman and sophomore years. Students should complete Journalism 108 in the freshman year and Journalism 200, 203 and 300 and Economics 201 before the end of the sophomore year.

In order to ensure enrollment in required courses, majors should plan their sophomore, junior and senior year programs with the advice and assistance of academic advisors and faculty.

Today’s journalists should have a broad education in the liberal arts, social sciences, and physical and natural sciences.  Many courses in literature, history, economics and foreign languages are open to freshmen and sophomores.

 


Minor in Animation and Comics Storytelling in Media

The Minor in Animation and Comics Storytelling in Media, administered by the School of Journalism, provides a strong foundation in history, theory and production of storytelling using animation and comics. Students acquire production skills to visually represent issues, events, narrative, instruction, history and entertainment and use critical thinking as they study storytelling content, context, ethics and the cultural, global and historical impacts of these forms for various media platforms and audiences. Upon completion of the minor, students will have gained necessary skills to research, create and produce digital, interactive and immersive 2D/3D animation, comics, graphic novels, and cartoons.

The minor is available as an elective to students who are enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs at Michigan State University. With the approval of the department and college that administer the student’s degree program, the courses that are used to satisfy the minor may also be used to satisfy the requirements for the bachelor’s degree.

Students who plan to complete the requirements of the minor should consult the undergraduate adviser in the School of Journalism to apply. Applications will be reviewed prior to semester enrollment.

Requirements for the Minor in Animation and Comics Storytelling in Media

Complete 15 credits from the following:

1. Both of the following courses (6 credits):
JRN 212 2D Animation Storytelling 3
JRN 213 Animation, Comics, Culture and Graphic Novels in Media 3
2. One of the following courses (3 credits):
JRN 338 Visualizing Data with Information Graphics 3
JRN 413 3D Animation Storytelling 3
3. Two of the following courses (6 credits):
ENG 325 Readings in Graphic Narrative 3
JRN 312 Stop Motion Animation Storytelling 3
JRN 313 Political Cartoons 3
JRN 338 Visualizing Data with Information Graphics 3
JRN 413 3D Animation Storytelling 3
JRN 445 Images and Messages 3
Journalism 338 and 413 may not be used to fulfill both requirement 2. and 3.


 

Teacher Certification Options

The journalism disciplinary major leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree is available for teacher certification.
A journalism disciplinary minor is also available for teacher certification.

Students who elect the journalism disciplinary major or the journalism disciplinary minor must contact the School of Journalism.
For additional information, refer to the statement on TEACHER CERTIFICATION in the Department of Teacher Education section of this catalog.

 


Minor in Public Relations

Students who are enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts degree program with a major in journalism may elect a Minor in Public Relations. For additional information, refer to the Minor in Public Relations statement.


Linked Bachelor's-Master's Degree in Health and Risk Communication

Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism
Master of Arts Degree in Health and Risk Communication

The department welcomes applications from Michigan State University undergraduate Journalism majors with at least 86 credits.  Admission applications must be made prior to the final semester as a Journalism undergraduate.  The number of students admitted to this linked program will be limited by availability. Admission to the program requires a minimum undergraduate grade-point average of 3.50, a statement of goals for the master’s degree, Graduate Record Examination scores, at least two letters of recommendation from faculty in the School of Journalism or Health and Risk Communication faculty, a resume, and an approved program of study for the master’s degree at the time of admission.  It is recommended that students complete a special topic in the area of health and risk communication through COM 399 Special Topics. Admission to the Linked Bachelor’s-Master’s Program allows the application of up to 9 credits toward the master’s program for qualifying 400-level and above course work taken at the undergraduate level at Michigan State University or an external accredited institution.  The number of approved credits, not to exceed 9, are applied toward the credit requirement of the master’s degree.  No 400-level courses with a grade lower than 3.0 will count toward the master’s degree.  Credit obtained from 400-level pass-fail courses and internships will not count toward the degree.  Credits applied to the Linked Bachelor’s-Master’s Program are not eligible to be applied to any other graduate degree program.

 


Linked Bachelor's-Master's Degree in Journalism

Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism
Master of Arts Degree in Journalism

The department welcomes applications from Michigan State University undergraduates majoring in Journalism with at least 86 credits. Application for admission must be made prior to the final semester as a Journalism undergraduate major. Admission to the program requires the following: a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.5 based on all courses taken at MSU, a statement of goals for the master’s degree, a statement of the applicant’s background, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, at least two letters of recommendation from  faculty in the School of Journalism, and an approved program of study for the master’s degree at the time of admission.  Applicants must have already completed JRN 108, 200, 203,300, 400, and 430 with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 in these courses.  The number of Journalism majors admitted into this linked degree program will be limited by availability. Admission to the Linked Bachelor's-Master's program allows the application of up to 9 credits toward the master's program for qualifying 400-level and above course work taken at Michigan State University. No 400-level courses with a grade lower than 3.0 will count toward the master’s degree. Credit obtained from 400-level pass/fail courses and internships will not count toward the degree.



Graduate Study

Graduate programs include a Master of Arts degree in Journalism to learn skills and/or research, a linked bachelor's-master's degrees, professional and graduate certificates in journalism that help professionals and graduates brush up on skills to keep up with the industry, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Information and Media where students study journalism and news, audiences, media technology, media effects or other subjects of their choice related to journalism and media.
 


Journalism - Master of Arts

The Master of Arts degree program provides students with the exciting opportunity to acquire lifelong skills and knowledge as critical thinkers, excellent writers, and visual communicators in preparation for journalism careers in new media technologies and traditional mass media anywhere in the world. It provides flexibility to adapt to the needs of individuals for advanced study or for those without prior media experience or journalism education. It also encourages students to gain expertise in an area of study outside journalism that coincides with their future goals.

The program appeals to applicants who seek employment in related areas of innovative journalism including mobile or online media, radio and TV news, documentaries, newspapers, magazines, photojournalism and other visual communication, media management, public relations, and journalism for domestic or international markets. It serves applicants who seek fundamental, advanced and specialized courses in journalism and related fields, who wish to pursue doctoral study, who are professional journalists planning to advance in the industry, and those who will seek opportunities in fields such as environmental journalism and teaching.

The Master of Arts Degree program in Journalism is available under either Plan A (with thesis), usually for those who plan a career in research or to pursue doctoral study, or Plan B (without thesis), usually for those who seek a professional career in journalism or a related area. Students work closely with an academic advisor to successfully complete a program plan for this master’s degree.

In addition to the requirements of the University and of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Admission

In addition to meeting the established standards required for admission to graduate study in the college, applicants for admission are asked to provide the Journalism Graduate Committee with the following:

  1. An official transcript of all undergraduate and graduate work.
  2. Three letters of recommendation from persons who are familiar with the applicant's academic and professional work.
  3. Scores on the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
  4. A 750–word autobiography.
  5. A 1000–word statement of goals for the master's degree.

Requirements for the Master of Arts Degree in Journalism

               
A minimum of 30 credits is required for the master’s degree in journalism under either Plan A or Plan B.
Requirements for Plan A (with thesis)  
1. All of the following courses (13 to 15 credits):  
  COM 803 Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods

3

  JRN 815 Media, Society and Theory

3

  JRN 825 Journalism History and Qualitative Methods 3
  JRN 899 Master’s Thesis Research

4 to 6

2. Complete 15 to 17 additional credits of elective course work approved by a program plan committee which may include a 9 credit concentration in: Environmental, Science, and Health Journalism; Scholastic Journalism; or International Journalism.  
               
Requirements for Plan B (without thesis)  
1. All of the following courses (12 credits): 3
  JRN 800 Multiple Media Reporting I 3
  JRN 801 Multiple Media Reporting II 3
  JRN 815 Media, Society and Theory 3
  JRN 816 Applied Research Methods in Journalism

3

  Journalism 800 may be waived for students with appropriate background.  
2. One of the following courses (3 credits):
 
  JRN 808 Journalism Education Visual Topics 3
  JRN 821 Social Media News and Information 3
  JRN 873 Environment, Science and Health Journalism Seminars 3
  JRN 875 Global Affairs Reporting 3
3. One of the following courses (3 credits):
 
  JRN 493 Journalism Professional Field Experience 3
  JRN 896 Journalism Professional Project 3
4. Complete 12 additional credits of elective course work approved by a program plan committee which may include a 9 credit concentration in: Environmental, Science, and Health Journalism; Scholastic Journalism; or International Journalism.  
               
Optional Concentrations        
The following concentrations will fulfill elective requirements in either Plan A or Plan B.  
Environmental, Science and Health Journalism  
All of the following courses (9 credits):  
JRN 872 Environment, Science and Health Reporting Topics 3
JRN 873 Environment, Science and Health Journalism Seminars 3
Any advisor approved environmental, science, health or risk course.  
Journalism Education          
All of the following courses (9 credits):  
JRN 808 Journalism Education Visual Topics 3
JRN 809 Journalism Education Advising Topics 3
Any advisor approved education course.  
International Journalism        
Select 9 credits from the following:    
JRN 475 International News and Government Regional Dynamics 3
JRN 875 Global Affairs Reporting 3
JRN 887 Journalism Study Abroad Topics 6
Any advisor approved international course.  

 


Journalism - Doctor of Philosophy

The School of Journalism participates in the interdepartmental doctoral program in Information and Media and in the interdisciplinary doctoral emphasis in American Studies.

The doctoral program in Information and Media is described under the College of Communication Arts and Sciences listing.

A description of the American Studies emphasis may be found under Interdepartmental and Interdisciplinary Programs in the College of Arts and Letters section of this catalog.

Additional information about graduate study in Journalism and Information and Media may be obtained from the School of Journalism.


Journalism/Law Institute

The Journalism/Law Institute was established in the School of Journalism to study areas of common interest to the mass media, the courts, and the legal profession. The Institute holds seminars and workshops and fosters research and study into First Amendment concerns.

 


Journalism - Graduate Certificate

The Graduate Certificate in Journalism is designed to help students understand the fundamental processes of gathering, organizing, presenting and disseminating news and information in various text and visual forms for different news media platforms. Students learn about the newest innovative media technology and develop an understanding of the influence and effects of media in society.

Admission

To be considered for admission into the Graduate Certificate in Journalism, applicants must have completed a bachelor's degree. For additional information, refer to the Admission section in the Graduate Education section of this catalog.

Requirements for the Graduate Certificate in Journalism

               
Students must complete all of the following courses (9 credits):  
JRN 800 Multiple Media Reporting I 3
JRN 815 Media, Society and Theory 3
JRN 821 Social Media News and Information 3