2023 Best Traditional and Online Journalism Programs in America

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Journalists are more than people who show up on camera for the 5:00 news or splashed across the front page of a newspaper. This group of individuals seeks out true stories of interest and shares the details with us across multiple platforms. You might choose a journalism major simply because you love the idea of being in the center of the action. Others might prefer to specialize in more specific topics such as politics, sports, or the arts.

The choices available for those who hold a journalism degree are almost endless. You can consider searching for jobs in any of these fields:

  • Photojournalism
  • Social media management
  • Copywriting
  • Television broadcasting
  • Videography
  • Marketing and public relations

A writer with a bachelor’s degree in journalism is estimated to earn $61,240 annually, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Availability for these positions is currently slated to increase according to the same data.

Best Traditional Bachelor’s in Journalism Programs

  1. Emerson College

Emerson College is at the forefront of a modern-day journalism degree. They have dismantled their previous curriculum that focused on outdated modes of communication in order to develop a new education that encompasses all of the leading journalism trends. Students have opportunities to start reporting right away with plenty of local media outlets, television shows, and the nearby Boston Globe. You must complete 44 journalism-specific credits to graduate.

Emerson is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

  1. University of Texas-Austin

Join others at the prestigious Moody College of Communication found on campus at the University of Texas-Austin. Like many other top schools, a journalism degree here is earned throughout the course of your four-year stint in college. You begin taking courses your very first year so you have time to cover all important items such as print, broadcast, photography, and multimedia. Students will also be required to complete an internship to give them hands-on experience before graduation.

The University of Texas-Austin’s Moody College is accredited by the Council of Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

  1. Northwestern University

Northwestern University offers a journalism program that shapes your future each year, starting with first-year students. The first year of your college experience will begin by covering the basics of reporting, writing, and applying critical thinking skills to your topics. Keep in mind that you will be required to form an outside concentration to create a well-rounded education that better prepares you for the future.

This school does accept the common application for undergraduate students, as well as those who specifically want to apply to the Medill School of Journalism, Media, and Integrated Marketing Communications. Northwestern University’s journalism program allowed their accreditation with the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications to drop.

  1. University of Southern California

Nestled along the sunny west coast, the University of Southern California offers a bachelor’s degree in journalism for students who are ready to move forward into a technologically savvy age. Required course content covers media and digital news, ethics, reporting skills, data journalism, and how to build your own digital footprint.

You must take 120 credit hours to graduate, including 72 non-journalism units and 40 units of upper journalism courses. The Annenberg School of Journalism at the University of Southern California is accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

  1. New York University

Spend a few semesters in the Big Apple with one of the top traditional journalism programs in the country. Academics here will focus on practical writing skills, theoretical scenarios, ethics, cultural implications, and the social role of a journalist. All journalism students must accept a double major with a separate discipline to ensure a very well-rounded education upon graduation.

Admission to the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at NYU isn’t available, so you will need to apply through the undergraduate program at the university. This program is accredited by the voluntary agency of Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.

Best Online Bachelor’s in Journalism Programs

  1. University of Massachusetts-Amherst

The University of Massachusetts-Amherst has a specific program designed to help students receive their degree online through the University Without Walls program. Using this online portal, you can create your own program of study while still graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. You may transfer up to 105 credit hours to this program and you must have a minimum of twelve credit hours to be considered.

The coursework at the UWW program covers hot topics like interviewing skills, reporting and interviewing, journalism ethics, magazine writing, social media management, and more. The school is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

  1. National University

Journalism leaps into the twenty-first century with National University’s digital journalism program. Students will learn how to weave an interesting narrative and apply it to a variety of forms for presentation to the public. Educators here heavily emphasize a reporter’s responsibility to present the facts ethically with every story. At the end of the program, graduates are prepared to work in print, broadcast, or at online news outlets.

Students will need a minimum of 180 quarter units to graduate with their bachelor’s degree in Digital Journalism. National University receives its accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

  1. Regent University

Regent University also offers a detailed program that emphasizes print and broadcast media while touching slightly on digital media concepts. You receive a bachelor’s degree in communication studies with a journalism concentration. This gives students the ability to craft the perfect education for a future career as a reporter, editor, writer, or press secretary.

Graduation requires 120 credits that cover both journalism topics and general liberal arts classes. An internship and a final project are both requirements to receive your official bachelor’s degree. You must be able to submit your transcripts to apply for a spot in the online school at Regent University, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  1. Olivet University

The Olivet School of Media and Communication is dedicated to offering a four-year program that allows students to work as professional journalists through Christian values. The study program includes courses in the Bible, general course requirements, and those specifically geared toward a future in journalism. Topics covered include professional conduct, style and research methods, and technology in journalism.

Admission requirements for the bachelor’s degree in journalism include a high school diploma or GED equivalent, a 2.5 GPA, and an SAT score of 1100 and ACT score of 22. Olivet University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  1. PennState World Campus

Students can earn their bachelor’s degree in digital journalism and media through the PennState World Campus. The studies here focus on a broad understanding of the industry followed by a specialized unit on one of four topics. You may graduate with an emphasis in digital journalism, visual media, media management, or an individualized plan that suits your unique goals.

Graduating from this program requires 120 credit hours and 27.1 or more credit hours from the general undergraduate program. If this does not describe you, you will have to apply through the undergraduate program first before you can apply for the journalism major. PennState is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

How to Choose the Right Program

You can choose the perfect program based on your future career aspirations and the academic course load each school provides. Some will focus more specifically on digital media while others give you a greater opportunity to study outside of the journalism field. After this, you can rank schools by convenience, price, and accreditation.

Who accredits a bachelor’s degree in journalism program?

Understanding the accreditation schools possess is the key to ensuring that you receive a top-notch education that will prepare you for a future in journalism. Every school, including online programs, will have to maintain some type of accreditation with a state, regional or national accrediting agencies.

Beyond this accreditation, many will opt to maintain voluntary status with the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. This helps to hold the schools accountable for offering a well-rounded curriculum that adequately prepares students for the future. Not all of the top schools hold this accreditation but it should be considered before you make a choice.

How long does it typically take to get a degree in journalism?

Most colleges and universities allow you obtain your degree in journalism in four years, just as with a standard bachelor’s degree from other programs. Some course loads will require five years depending on the timing of the courses offered and your enrollment date.

What does the curriculum include?

The modern curriculum should include a brief history of journalism, including a look at more outdated forms of communication like print. Classes should now start looking toward the future with coursework focused on digital platforms and literacy, social media management, ethics, and finding reliable sources of information.

Students should also learn how to communicate more effectively through writing, speaking, and photography. You should be required to take a variety of courses designed to enhance your communication skills.

A well-rounded journalism education should also include plenty of liberal arts core classes and potentially even a minor or double-major in another subject.

How can I finance my education?

Obtaining your bachelor’s degree can be an expensive endeavor. You can finance this dream by applying for financial aid and grants through the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA). Grants offered by the federal government do not need to be repaid upon graduation.

Some of these top universities will also have scholarships available to eligible students on a first-come-first-served basis. These scholarships will not need to be repaid but might be based on your grades, test scores, and other criteria. Similar to a scholarship, some colleges will offer work-study programs that allow you to work off your debt in various positions around campus.

For the remaining amount, you might consider taking out a student loan that can be paid back upon graduation. Look for loans that have a low interest rate and don’t impose a penalty for prepayment. The federal government tends to offer more advantageous loan programs compared to private lenders.

What are the employment prospects for a bachelor’s in journalism graduate?

Understanding the employment prospects for those who receive their bachelor’s degree in journalism can vary based on the unique career path you decide to take. In order to give you an idea of what is expected for this field in the coming years, we will take a look at the most popular careers that many people with this degree choose to pursue. All data is based on the figures available from the United State Department of Labor based on projects made from 2016 to 2026.

Writers and Authors: Writers and authors with a journalism degree should see an eight percent increase in the number of jobs available over the coming decade. It is growing roughly the same as the average employment rates in the country. There are currently 131,200 positions with this title.

Reporters, Correspondents, and Broadcast News Analysts: This form of media is slowly declining, representing an estimated nine percent drop in the number of available jobs. Only 50,400 jobs were available in 2016 with another 4,500 set to disappear by the year 2026. If you are lucky enough to find one of these coveted positions, the annual salary is around $38,870.

Public Relations Specialist: This position is expected to continue to grow by about nine percent over the coming years. There are currently 259,600 positions available in this field, giving you plenty of options. This title would apply to those who want to work in social media management as well. The expected annual salary for a public relations specialist is $58,020.

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