Journalism Requirements

Main Content

The School of Journalism at Southern Illinois University Carbondale occupies a national leadership role in mass 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 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. Students acquire specific skills necessary to become professionals in advertising, news editorial, sports journalism, photojournalism or other communication fields. Students develop in-depth knowledge by completing the requirements of a structured minor in a subject area outside the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts and related fields. The curriculum prepares students for positions of responsibility in a broad array of fields in which the ability to communicate is essential. New specializations include Journalism and Mass Communication, and Sports Media. The School is now offering an Online Degree and Certificate Programs in Journalism and Mass Communications for non-resident students. The School of Journalism 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 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, applicants must meet the following requirements: Beginning freshmen must meet the University’s regular admission requirements. Transfer students who have completed fewer than 26 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). Transfer students who have completed more than 26 semester hours must have earned an overall collegiate grade point average of at least 2.00.

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 26 semester hours they must have an overall grade point average of at least 2.00. Students with fewer than 26 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 by using all grades earned at SIU and other collegiate institutions.

Retention Policies

Students majoring in journalism must meet these retention requirements to continue their enrollment in the major: Students who have completed 26 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: JRNL 302 or JRNL 310. Students may demonstrate proficiency in the use of the English language with an English ACTE subscore of 22 or higher, or by earning a grade of C or higher in ENGL 300 or JRN 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 main office.

Students who are unable to meet retention requirements will be placed in probationary status within the School of Journalism. These students will be given one semester to correct their deficiency prior to dismissal. Those who are dismissed from the School of Journalism 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. Graduates are prepared to enter a wide variety of positions with marketing communications firms; including advertising, sales promotion, public relations and direct marketing agencies.

Journalism And Mass Communications Specialization

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.

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 editorial 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 and apply these skills in our converged newsroom. The Daily Egyptian is over a 100-year-old student run newspaper.

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 the Radio, Television, & Digital Media Department have joined forces to establish specializations in both academic units. The School of Journalism’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) six hours of journalism: JRNL 160 and JRNL 202 and (2) 33 hours in journalism specialization coursework. Students will also complete a minor in an area approved by the School of Journalism.

A major must complete a minimum of 72 semester hours outside of journalism and mass communication related courses. The student, with the assistance of the journalism academic advisor, should exercise care in course selection to assure that these requirements are met.

B.S. Journalism Degree Requirements

Degree RequirementsCredit Hours
University Core Curriculum Requirements 39
Journalism Core Courses 6
JRNL 160 or approved JRNL elective and JRNL 202
Specialization Requirements: 33 credit hours
Advertising and Integrated Marketing Communications Specialization: 33
JRNL 301, JRNL 302, JRNL 304, JRNL 335, JRNL 405, JRNL 406, JRNL 407, CMST 281, plus three approved JRNL electives.
Journalism and Mass Communication Specialization: 33
JRNL 160, JRNL 301, JRNL 302, JRNL 310, JRNL 332 or JRNL 405, JRNL 407 or JRNL 434, plus five approved JRNL electives.
News Editorial Specialization: 33
JRNL 310, JRNL 311, JRNL 312, JRNL 332, JRNL 335, JRNL 434, two of either JRNL 313, JRNL 337, JRNL 396, or JRNL 435 and three approved JRNL electives (two must be at 400 level).
Photojournalism Specialization: 33
JRNL 310, JRNL 311, JRNL 313, JRNL 332, JRNL 337, JRNL 412, JRNL 413, JRNL 434, JRNL 495, and two JRNL electives.
Sports Media Specialization: 33
Sports Media Reporting: RTD 321, JRNL 310, JRNL 311, JRNL 312, JRNL 332, JRNL 335 or JRNL 396, JRNL 434, JRNL 481, JRNL 488 plus two JRNL electives. Sports Media Promotion: RTD 321, JRNL 301, JRNL 302, JRNL 304, JRNL 310, JRNL 335 or JRNL 396, JRNL 407, JRNL 481, JRNL 488 plus two JRNL electives.
Minor 15
General electives 27
Total 1 120

1 (72 must be outside mass communications fields)

Three-Year Curriculum Plan

The School of Journalism 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 academic advisor.

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 nonjournalism 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, i.e. Advertising and Integrated Marketing Communications, News Editorial, Photojournalism, Sports Media, or Journalism and Mass Communication. The School’s academic advisor is available to assist students in designing a minor emphasis.