Academic Programs Catalog

College of Communication Arts and Sciences

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 (, 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.


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.


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.  

    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.