Journalism Requirements

Main Content

The School of Journalism and Advertising at Southern Illinois University Carbondale occupies a national leadership role in communication education at a time of revolutionary change. The technology of communication is changing faster than any time since the invention of movable type. The School of Journalism and Advertising is keeping pace with these historic changes by expanding coursework in areas including web, video, audio and multimedia skills, while continuing to reinforce knowledge vital to journalists of all areas - clear writing, clear thinking, law, ethics and history.

The program combines a detailed understanding of the practice of journalism in modern society with a broad knowledge of the liberal arts. The School of Journalism and Advertising emphasizes both rigorous classroom and valuable experiential learning through hands-on laboratory instruction. Students acquire specific skills necessary to become professionals in the media industry. Students develop in-depth knowledge by completing the requirements of a structured minor. The curriculum prepares students for positions of responsibility in a broad array of fields in which the ability to communicate is essential. The School offers an Online Degree program in Journalism and Mass Communications for non-resident students. The School of Journalism and Advertising also prepares students for graduate studies in mass communication, the social sciences, and law.

Prospective students should be aware that excellent written and oral language skills are essential for successful careers in the journalism field. With this in mind, the School of Journalism and Advertising has adopted admission and retention standards that emphasize language facility and academic proficiency.

While most students are best served by one of the following specializations, other programs of study in the major may be designed to meet specific needs.

Admission Standards

To be admitted to the School of Journalism and Advertising, applicants must meet the following requirements: Beginning freshmen must meet the University’s regular admission requirements. Transfer students who have completed fewer than 12 semester hours must meet the requirements for beginning freshmen and have earned an overall collegiate grade point average of at least 2.00 (4.0 scale and based on the transfer institution's grading policies). Transfer students who have completed more than 12 semester hours must have earned an overall collegiate grade point average of at least 2.00 based on the transfer institution's grading policies.

Students currently enrolled or who were previously enrolled at SIU in another major must meet the same requirements as transfer students. If they have completed more than 12 semester hours they must have an overall grade point average of at least 2.00. Students with fewer than 12 semester hours must meet beginning freshmen requirements as well as have a grade point average of at least 2.00. Grade point average is calculated for purposes of admission to the School of Journalism and Advertising by using all grades earned at SIU and other collegiate institutions (using institution's grading policies).

Retention Policies

Students majoring in journalism must meet these retention requirements to continue their enrollment in the major: Students who have completed 12 semester hours or more must have an accumulative SIU grade point average of 2.00 or higher.

A grade of C or better is required in all journalism courses in order to be counted toward the major or minor and to satisfy prerequisite requirements.

Strong skills in the use of the English language are required to enter the first upper level writing courses in the School of Journalism and Advertising: JRNL 302 or JRNL 310. Students may demonstrate proficiency in the use of the English language with an English ACTE sub score of 22 or higher, or by earning a grade of C or higher in ENGL 300 or JRNL 201. This prerequisite must be successfully completed prior to registration for any course for which the prerequisite is required. Students must pass a grammar test prior to admission to either JRNL 310 or JRNL 302 as well. Information concerning the grammar test is available by contacting the School of Journalism and Advertising main office.

Students who are unable to meet retention requirements will be placed in probationary status within the School of Journalism and Advertising. These students will be given one semester to correct their deficiency prior to dismissal. Those who are dismissed from the School of Journalism and Advertising but are eligible to continue in the University will be placed in Pre-Major advisement or may request permission to enter another collegiate unit.

Other Requirements

Enrollment in Journalism courses may be canceled for students who do not attend the initial class session of the semester. Fees will be assessed for supplies and materials in some courses. Students should inquire about amounts before registering. Subject to the approval of the School’s director, undergraduate students may receive as many as nine hours of transfer credit toward journalism course requirements.

Academic Advisement

A student planning to major in Journalism should consult the school’s academic advisor as early as possible in order to discuss the degree requirements for the specialization chosen. After admission to the major in journalism, the student will be expected to visit the academic advisor each semester until all major requirements have been completed.

Advertising and Integrated Marketing Communications Specialization

Students in the advertising and integrated marketing communications specialization learn to analyze problems in, and identify solutions for, the promotion of goods and services. They develop skills in verbal and visual communication and presentation of materials. Instruction emphasizes copywriting, branding, new media mobile advertising, media planning, consumer research, account planning and campaign planning. Coursework is enhanced with lab-based, experiential learning opportunities. Students are encouraged to participate in the annual National Student Advertising Competition sponsored by the American Advertising Federation. Graduates are prepared to enter a wide variety of positions with marketing communications firms; including advertising, sales promotion, public relations and direct marketing agencies.

Electronic Journalism Specialization

Classes are taught by industry professionals who incorporate history, ethics, legal issues and in-depth reporting into the wide-ranging curriculum. Students report, shoot, and edit their own stories using the latest equipment and software programs. Most students in Electronic Journalism work as “one man band” reporters. They produce a live half hour newscast on our PBS station, including weather and sports. Students also produce in depth and investigative reports which air on the news show. Stories also run on our online site which students also produce. Many students take advantage of the department’s excellent internship programs.

Journalism And Mass Communications Specialization - Online Only

The Journalism and Mass Communication specialization is designed to give students a broad knowledge base and set skill in advertising and news editorial areas. Diversification and entrepreneurial competence are highly valued in today’s media industry. Coursework in fundamentals in writing and new media are required in the field. This specialization allows students a more flexible path in choosing the other areas of journalism they want to advance in for the variety of ever changing professions emerging in media today. The specialization also provides students with the needed foundations of ethical, legal and research oriented coursework to make sure they maintain a high level of professionalism.

Media Industries Specialization

As the communication revolution expands, the need increases for individuals with the ability to work across multiple platforms who have a solid understanding of the media business. Students in Media Industries work at the intersection of media creativity, technology and business and learn about the broad structures and specific practices of the media industry. Classes are taught by industry professionals who incorporate history, ethics, legal issues and an in-depth understanding of the business aspects of the media into the curriculum. Students receive practical training in the theory and practice of media operations and management. Students may also participate in numerous registered student organizations which focus on the media. The Media Industries students will have opportunities to work in a variety of laboratory facilities within the School of Journalism and the College, many of which will be incorporated into the curriculum of the courses.

News Editorial Specialization

As the communication revolution expands the ways in which news and information can be presented, the need increases for individuals with the ability to prepare and present news and information precisely and accurately for a variety of media. Students in the news specialization receive practical training in the theory and practice of identifying, gathering, processing, interpreting, writing and presenting news for traditional print, broadcast and new media. News students are encouraged to take photo, video and audio classes. Students in the news specialization are required to take specific experiential laboratory-oriented courses to develop their own skills by practicing what has been learned in the classroom. The Daily Egyptian is over a 100-year-old student run newspaper, and the River Region Evening Edition student television newscast is regularly broadcast over WSIU-TV across five states. The converged newsroom creates news content for all platforms and functions as an experiential learning experience.

Photojournalism Specialization

Students in the photojournalism specialization develop the photographic and news reporting skills necessary to communicate visually with a mass audience through contemporary media outlets - both printed and electronic. Photojournalism students receive practical training in gathering, writing, photographing, editing and presenting news and feature stories in which the essential information is photographic. The program remains on the cutting edge by integrating traditional instruction in a digital environment with new media skills in website development, audio and video production. Graduating students are fully aware of the power of photography, are well grounded in the legal and ethical traditions of the profession and are practically prepared to make a significant contribution to contemporary journalism.

Sports Media Specialization

The proliferation of sports programming in both traditional and new media is triggering an increasing demand for graduates with sports production, sports promotion and sports journalism backgrounds. The School of Journalism and Advertising and the School of Media Arts have joined forces to establish specializations in both academic units. The School of Journalism and Advertising’s specialization has two tracks. One prepares students for sports reporting, the other for sports promotion. The reporting track includes new sports courses and essentials from the news/editorial specialization. The promotions track adds new sports courses to essentials of the advertising specialization.

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Journalism

The academic requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree in journalism include: (1) nine hours of journalism: JRNL 160, JRNL 201, and JRNL 202 and (2) 39 hours in journalism specialization coursework. Students will also complete a minor in an area approved by the School of Journalism and Advertising.

B.S. Journalism Degree Requirements

Degree RequirementsCredit Hours
University Core Curriculum Requirements 39
Journalism Core Courses 9
JRNL 160, JRNL 201, JRNL 202
Specialization Requirements: 39 credit hours
Advertising Specialization: 39
JRNL 301, JRNL 302, JRNL 304, JRNL 335, JRNL 390, JRNL 405, JRNL 406, JRNL 407, CMST 281, and four approved JRNL electives.
Electronic Journalism Specialization: 39
JRNL 160, JRNL 202, JRNL 316, JRNL 317, JRNL 332, JRNL 370, JRNL 470, JRNL 4__ (3 hours) or an approved 3 credit hour elective, plus 9 hours of JRNL electives.
Journalism and Mass Communication Specialization - Online Only: 39
JRNL 160, JRNL 170, JRNL 301, JRNL 302, JRNL 310, JRNL 332, JRNL 405, JRNL 407 or JRNL 434, plus five approved JRNL electives.
Media Industries 39

Required Courses: JRNL 160, JRNL 202, JRNL 332, JRNL 4__ or an approved 3 credit hour elective.

Required Media Industry Courses: Three approved JRNL courses at the 300 level, one approved JRNL course at the 400 level, plus 9 hours of Journalism or Media Industries electives.

News Specialization: 39
JRNL 310, JRNL 311, JRNL 312, JRNL 332, JRNL 335, JRNL 337, JRNL 419, JRNL 434, JRNL 494, and four approved JRNL electives (two must be at 400 level).
Photojournalism Specialization: 39
JRNL 310, JRNL 311, JRNL 313, JRNL 332, JRNL 337, JRNL 412, JRNL 413, JRNL 434, JRNL 495, and four approved JRNL electives.
Sports Media Specialization: 39

Sports Media Reporting Track: RTD 321, JRNL 310, JRNL 311, JRNL 312, JRNL 313, JRNL 332, JRNL 335 or JRNL 396, JRNL 434, JRNL 481, JRNL 488, plus three approved JRNL electives.

Sports Media Promotion Track: RTD 321, JRNL 301, JRNL 302, JRNL 304, JRNL 310, JRNL 335 or JRNL 396, JRNL 357, JRNL 407, JRNL 481, JRNL 488, plus three approved JRNL electives.

Minor 15
General electives 18
Total 120

Journalism Minor

A total of 15 hours of journalism courses at the 300 level or higher, at least one of which must be a writing course (JRNL 302 or JRNL 310), constitutes a minor for non-journalism majors. All courses for minors in Journalism must be completed with a grade of C or higher.

Journalism minors can emphasize any of our specializations. The School’s academic advisor is available to assist students in designing a minor emphasis.

Three-Year Curriculum Plan

The School of Journalism and Advertising offers a three-year graduation plan for students entering the program as freshmen. Students who attempt to pursue this plan will successfully complete an average of 40 credit hours per academic year. For more information, please contact the School of Journalism and Advertising academic advisor.