Journalism, B.A.

Program Code: JOURN_BA

Entrance to Major

In order to be eligible for entrance to this major, a student must:

  1. attain at least a C (2.00) cumulative grade-point average for all courses taken at the University; and
  2. have third-semester classification.

READ SENATE POLICY 37-30: ENTRANCE TO AND CHANGES IN MAJOR PROGRAMS OF STUDY

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism, a minimum of 120 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Electives 2
Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements 24
Requirements for the Major 49

3 of the 24 credits for Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements are included in the Requirements for the Major, General Education, or Electives and 0-12 credits are included in Electives if foreign language proficiency is demonstrated by examination.

Students must select at least 80 credits in non-COMM courses, including at least 65 credits in the liberal arts and sciences.

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Knowledge Domains

  • Arts (GA): 6 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 6 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits

Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)

  • Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement    

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

B.A. Degree Requirements

Foreign Language (0-12 credits): Student must attain 12th credit level of proficiency in one foreign language. See the Placement Policy for Penn State Foreign Language Courses.

B.A. Fields (9 credits): Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arts, Foreign Languages, Natural Sciences, Quantification (may not be taken in the area of the student's primary major; foreign language credits in this category must be in a second foreign language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the first language)

Other Cultures (0-3 credits): Select 3 credits from approved list. Students may count courses in this category in order to meet other major, minor, elective, or General Education requirements, except for the General Education US/IL requirement.​

Requirements for the Major

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the major. To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn at least a C grade in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Common Requirements for the Major (All Options)

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
COMM 160Basic News Writing Skills1
COMM 260WNews Writing and Reporting3
COMM 271Principles of Journalism3
COMM 403Law of Mass Communications3
COMM 409News Media Ethics3
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
Select 18 credits for completion of a University-approved minor 118
Requirements for the Option
Requirements for the Option: Require a grade of C or better
Select an option18

Requirements for the Option

Options can be combined but only with the consent of a student's adviser.

Broadcast Journalism Option (18 credits)
Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
COMM 360Radio Reporting3
COMM 465Television Reporting3
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
Select 6 credits of the following:6
In the Game: TV Sports Magazine
International Reporting
Public Affairs Broadcasting
Issues for Newsroom Managers
Television News
Advanced Multimedia Production
Internship 1
Select 6 credits of the following:6
Survey of Electronic Media and Telecommunications Keystone/General Education Course
Gender, Diversity and the Media Keystone/General Education Course
Telecommunications Regulation
Mass Media in History
Political Economy of Communications
Media and Government
Perspectives on American Journalism
Media and World Politics
International Mass Communications
Cultural Aspects of the Mass Media
Sports, Media and Society
World Media Systems
Research Project Courses
Independent Studies
Foreign Study--Mass Communications
Digital and Print Journalism Option (18 credits)
Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
COMM 460WReporting Methods3
COMM 467News Editing and Evaluation3
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
Select 6 credits of the following:6
Photojournalism
International Reporting
Magazine Writing
Feature Writing
Newspaper Design
Editorial, Opinion and Commentary Writing
Depth Reporting
Issues for Newsroom Managers
Advanced Multimedia Production
Internship 1
Select 6 credits of the following:6
Survey of Electronic Media and Telecommunications Keystone/General Education Course
Gender, Diversity and the Media Keystone/General Education Course
Telecommunications Regulation
Mass Media in History
Political Economy of Communications
Media and Government
Perspectives on American Journalism
Media and World Politics
International Mass Communications
Cultural Aspects of the Mass Media
Sports, Media and Society
World Media Systems
Research Project Courses
Independent Studies
Foreign Study--Mass Communications
Photojournalism Option (18 credits)
Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
COMM 269Photojournalism3
COMM 469Photography for the Mass Media3
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
Select 6 credits of the following:6
International Reporting
Newspaper Design
News Editing and Evaluation
Graphic Applications in Print Communications
Issues for Newsroom Managers
Advanced Multimedia Production
Internship 1
Select 6 credits of the following:6
Survey of Electronic Media and Telecommunications Keystone/General Education Course
Gender, Diversity and the Media Keystone/General Education Course
Telecommunications Regulation
Mass Media in History
Political Economy of Communications
Media and Government
Perspectives on American Journalism
Media and World Politics
International Mass Communications
Cultural Aspects of the Mass Media
Sports, Media and Society
World Media Systems
Research Project Courses
Independent Studies
Foreign Study--Mass Communications

Learning Outcomes

Professional Values and Competencies

Individual professions in journalism and mass communication may require certain specialized values and competencies. Irrespective of their particular specialization, all graduates should be aware of certain core values and competencies and be able to:

  1. understand and apply the principles and laws of freedom of speech and press for the country in which the institution that invites ACEJMC is located, as well as receive instruction in and understand the range of systems of freedom of expression around the world, including the right to dissent, to monitor and criticize power, and assemble and to petition for redress of grievances;
  2. demonstrate an understanding of the history and role of professionals and institutions in shaping communications;
  3. demonstrate an understanding of gender, race ethnicity, sexual orientation and, as appropriate, other forms of diversity in domestic society in relation to mass communications;
  4. demonstrate an understanding of the diversity of peoples and cultures and of the significance and impact of mass communications in a global society;
  5. understand concepts and apply theories in the use and presentation of images and information;
  6. demonstrate an understanding of professional ethical principles and work ethically in pursuit of truth, accuracy, fairness and diversity;
  7. think critically, creatively and independently;
  8. conduct research and evaluate information by methods appropriate to the communications professions in which they work;
  9. write correctly and clearly in forms and styles appropriate for the communications professions, audiences and purposes they serve;
  10. critically evaluate their own work and that of others for accuracy and fairness, clarity, appropriate style and grammatical correctness;
  11. apply basic numerical and statistical concepts;
  12. apply basic tools and technologies appropriate for the communications professions in which they work.

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee’s unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.

READ SENATE POLICY 32-00: ADVISING POLICY

University Park

Brenda Johnson
Administrative Support Assistant  
204 Carnegie Building
University Park, PA 16802
814-865-1503
bmj11@psu.edu

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2020-21 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contain suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

Broadcast Option

University Park and Commonwealth Campuses

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
COMM 160*1COMM 271*3
ENGL 15 or ENGL 303General Education (GN)3
General Education (GN)3General Education (GH)3
General Education (GH) (Inter-Domain)3General Education (GS) (Inter-Domain)3
Foreign Language4Foreign Language4
PSU 91 
 15 16
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
COMM 260W*13COMM 360*23
General Education (GN)3Minor Course*3
General Education (GS)3General Education (GQ)3
Other Cultures3General Education (GA)3
Foreign Language4BA Knowledge Domain (US Cultures)3
 16 15
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
COMM 465*3COMM 180, 205, 401, 405, 410, 411, 412, 419, 496, or 499*3
COMM 403 or 409*3Minor Course*3
Minor Course*3CAS 100A, 100B, or 100C3
General Education (GQ)3General Education (GA)3
BA Knowledge Domain (IL Cultures)3BA Knowledge Domain3
 15 15
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
COMM 403 or 409*3COMM 402, 466, 475, 480, 481, or 495*3
COMM 402, 466, 475, 480, 481, or 495*3COMM 180, 205, 401, 405, 410, 411, 412, 419, 496, or 499*3
Minor Course*3Minor Course*3
ENGL 202A, 202B, 202C, or 202D3Minor Course*3
General Education (GHW)1.5General Education (GHW)1.5
Elective1 
 14.5 13.5
Total Credits 120

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL/CAS 137 in the fall semester and ENGL/CAS 138 in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30 and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Bachelor of Arts Requirements:

Bachelor of Arts students must take 9 credits in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Fields (Humanities; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Arts; World Languages [2nd language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the 1st]; Natural Sciences; Quantification). The B.A. Fields courses may not be taken in the area of the student’s primary major. See your adviser and the Degree Requirements section of this Bulletin.

Bachelor of Arts students must take 3 credits in Other Cultures.
See your adviser and the full list of courses approved as Other Cultures courses.

Digital and Print Option

University Park and Commonwealth Campuses

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
COMM 160*1COMM 271*3
ENGL 15 or ENGL 303General Education (GN)3
General Education (GN)3General Education (GH)3
General Education (GH) (Inter-Domain)3General Education (GS) (Inter-Domain)3
Foreign Language 4Foreign Language4
PSU 91 
 15 16
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
COMM 260W*13Minor Course*3
General Education (GN)3General Education (GQ)3
General Education (GS)3General Education (GA)3
Other Cultures*3BA Knowledge Domain (US Cultures)3
Foreign Language4BA Knowledge Domain3
 16 15
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
COMM 460W*3COMM 467*3
COMM 403 or 409*3COMM 180, 205, 401, 405, 410, 411, 412, 419, 496, or 499*3
Minor Course*3Minor Course*3
General Education (GQ)3CAS 100A, 100B, or 100C3
BA Knowledge Domain (IL Cultures)3General Education (GA)3
 15 15
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
COMM 403 or 409*3COMM 269, 402, 461, 462, 463, 464W, 474, 475, 481, or 495*3
COMM 269, 402, 461, 462, 463, 464W, 474, 475, 481, or 495*3COMM 180, 205, 401, 405, 410, 411, 412, 419, 496, or 499*3
Minor Course*3Minor Course*3
ENGL 202A, 202B, 202C, or 202D3Minor Course*3
General Education (GHW)1.5General Education (GHW)1.5
Elective1 
 14.5 13.5
Total Credits 120

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL/CAS 137 in the fall semester and ENGL/CAS 138 in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30 and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Bachelor of Arts Requirements:

Bachelor of Arts students must take 9 credits in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Fields (Humanities; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Arts; World Languages [2nd language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the 1st]; Natural Sciences; Quantification). The B.A. Fields courses may not be taken in the area of the student’s primary major. See your adviser and the Degree Requirements section of this Bulletin.

Bachelor of Arts students must take 3 credits in Other Cultures.
See your adviser and the full list of courses approved as Other Cultures courses.

Photojournalism Option

University Park and Commonwealth Campuses

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
COMM 160*1COMM 271*3
ENGL 15 or ENGL 303General Education (GN)3
General Education (GN)3General Education (GH)3
General Education (GH) (Inter-Domain)3General Education (GS) (Inter-Domain)3
Foreign Language4Foreign Language4
PSU 91 
 15 16
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
COMM 260W*13COMM 269*23
General Education (GN)3Minor Course*3
General Education (GS)3General Education (GQ)3
Other Cultures3General Education (GA)3
Foreign Language4BA Knowledge Domain (US Cultures)3
 16 15
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
COMM 180, 205, 401, 405, 410, 411, 412, 419, 496, or 499*3COMM 469*3
COMM 403 or 409*3Minor Course*3
Minor Course*3CAS 100A, 100B, or 100C3
General Education (GQ)3General Education (GA)3
BA Knowledge Domain (IL Cultures)3BA Knowledge Domain3
 15 15
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
COMM 403 or 409*3COMM 402, 463, 467, 468, 475, 481, or 495*3
COMM 402, 463, 467, 468, 475, 481, or 495*3COMM 180, 205, 401, 405, 410, 411, 412, 419, 496, or 499*3
Minor Course*3Minor Course*3
ENGL 202A, 202B, 202C, or 202D3Minor Course*3
General Education (GHW)1.5General Education (GHW)1.5
Elective1 
 14.5 13.5
Total Credits 120

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL/CAS 137 in the fall semester and ENGL/CAS 138 in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30 and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Bachelor of Arts Requirements:

Bachelor of Arts students must take 9 credits in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Fields (Humanities; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Arts; World Languages [2nd language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the 1st]; Natural Sciences; Quantification). The B.A. Fields courses may not be taken in the area of the student’s primary major. See your adviser and the Degree Requirements section of this Bulletin.

Bachelor of Arts students must take 3 credits in Other Cultures.
See your adviser and the full list of courses approved as Other Cultures courses.

Career Paths

A journalism degree prepares students to enter careers in mass media, business, communications, or any number of related fields that value strong, talented communicators and storytellers. No matter the medium or the task, someone with a journalism degree adds a skill set that makes the organization stronger. Simply put, journalism matters. That might mean career paths that include community-based journalism or positions with national news organizations. It also means careers in emerging and traditional fields. Plus, the valuable skill set transfers to other fields and enables those with journalism degrees to find success in a variety of endeavors.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT POTENTIAL CAREER OPTIONS FOR GRADUATES OF THE JOURNALISM PROGRAM

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

Most undergraduates initially enter the professional world, but the journalism skill set -- a mix of practical information gathering, organization and, ultimately, storytelling -- is valuable in any endeavor. For those interested in graduate studies, a journalism degree provides a strong basis to continue their education.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT OPPORTUNITIES FOR GRADUATE STUDIES

Accreditation

The Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications is evaluated regularly by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, and the Bellisario College has consistently met the high standards of the organization that is dedicated to excellence in professional education in journalism and mass communications. For undergraduate students, accreditation most practically means that upper-level professional classes in each major will be conducted in rooms with 20 or fewer students.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE ACCREDITING COUNCIL ON EDUCATION IN JOURNALISM AND MASS COMMUNICATIONS

Contact

University Park   

DEPARTMENT OF JOURNALISM
20 Carnegie Building
University Park, PA 16802
814-865-0935
ree4@psu.edu

http://bellisario.psu.edu/journ