In a digital age, information is increasingly important to all professions, but it's truly at the heart of journalism. As a field of study, journalism stresses the gathering, analysis, and communication of information for all kinds of audiences. The student of journalism learns the many ways news and information are produced, from the traditional practices of professional news outlets to the emerging practices of media start-ups.

Journalism students gain expertise in writing, editing, design, photojournalism, videography, multimedia production, history, law, ethics, and media management. They learn to produce journalism for a variety of topics, from politics and social issues, to sports, food, fashion, and travel. The program’s graduates are prepared for jobs in the journalism industry and for jobs in many other professions. Employers of all sorts, from business to law to education, are desperate for employees who can write well, find and organize information, and present information in engaging and clear ways. A journalism degree gives graduates these skills.

The volume of information in our highly mediated society can be overwhelming, and it is the journalist who ensures that the information we get is trustworthy. While the communication skills and liberal arts knowledge that journalism majors gain is valuable for their future careers, it's also crucial to good citizenship. As our majors learn to produce the news, they also learn to think critically and ethically about journalism and about the role that news plays in society.

In classes, laboratories, and campus media, journalism students emphasize the knowledge, values, and skills of journalism: compelling storytelling, strong writing, accurate reporting, sensitive editing, artful presentation, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. Journalism majors also value critical thinking, teamwork, integrity, public service, the First Amendment, and the appreciation for the free flow of information in a democratic society. The department encourages dual majors when possible and advises that all majors complete internships, work in campus media, and join the department's print and digital publication teams.

University Scholars Program in Journalism

Journalism majors admitted into this program will be able to earn both the BACom and MA in Journalism at The University of Alabama in five years. For the highly motivated and academically gifted student, this program offers a faster, more economical plan than earning the degrees separately; a richer undergraduate experience and more courses in the major; and a stronger mentoring relationship with the faculty. Please contact the department for more information.

Journalism majors must complete 120 hours for graduation, 36 of which are within the major in either the general track, the visual and multimedia track, or the sports news and information track, as outlined below. NOTE: Of the 120 hours required for this degree, 72 hours must be outside of JN/MC/APR/TCF under our national accreditation guidelines.

In addition to the general education requirements in the University Core curriculum, journalism majors are required to complete a 15 hour special requirement (300- and 400-level courses outside of JN/MC/APR/TCF), and either a minor or a second major. Courses taken for a minor or a second major can be used to fulfill the special requirement hours. Journalism majors may not complete a minor offered by the Department of Journalism & Creative Media or the Department of Advertising & Public Relations 

Journalism majors are also required to create an online portfolio in JN 101 Journalistic Principles and Practices and to upload at least one journalistic work (story, photo, video, multimedia project, etc.) from each journalism skills class they take as part of the major. 

University Core Curriculum

Hours
Written Composition
EN 101English Composition3
EN 102 or English Composition (if eligible or by exam)3
EN 103 Advanced English Composition
Credit Hours Subtotal: 6
Computer Science (CS) or Foreign Language (FL) 1
Foreign Language (FL) 18
Computer Science (CS) 26
Credit Hours Subtotal: 14
Humanities (HU) and Fine Arts (FA)
Fine Arts (FA)3
Literature (L)3
Two additional L/HU/FA 36
Credit Hours Subtotal: 12
History (HI) and Social/Behavioral Sciences (SB)
History (HI) 3
Social/Behavioral Sciences (SB)6
Additional History(HI) or Social/Behavioral(SB) 33
Credit Hours Subtotal: 12
Natural Science (N) and Mathematics (MA)
Natural Sciences (must include labs)8
MATH 110 or Finite Mathematics3
MATH 112 Precalculus Algebra
Credit Hours Subtotal: 11
Writing (W) 4
Writing (W)6
Credit Hours Subtotal: 6
Total Hours61
1

Students must complete either CS or FL for core requirements

2

Students must complete a 3-hour prereq course in addition to the 6 credit hours for a total of 9 hours

3

Students must complete either a HI or L sequence

4

Writing requirement fulfilled by required journalism courses

Tracks

General Journalism Track

More InformationHours
MC 101Intro To Mass Communic3
JN 101Journalistic Principles and Practices2
JN 150Mechanics of Media Writing1
JN 311News Writing and Reporting3
JN 261Visual Journalism3
JN 312Editing and Digital Production3
JN 315Advanced News Writing & Reporting3
Upper division JN elective3
Senior-level Depth Writing Course 13
Select one Converged Media Capstone course:3
Internship
Digital Media Workshop
Digital Community Journalism
International Media Production
Or other course approved by the department
MC 401Mass Comm Law & Regultn3
JN 499Journ Issues and Ethics3
Mass Communication elective (any JN/MC/APR/TCF)3
Total Hours36
1

Select any JN course numbered JN 411 to JN 419, except JN 417 Digital Community Journalism.

Visual and Multimedia Journalism Track 

More InformationHours
MC 101Intro To Mass Communic3
JN 101Journalistic Principles and Practices2
JN 150Mechanics of Media Writing1
JN 261Visual Journalism3
JN 311News Writing and Reporting3
JN 312Editing and Digital Production3
MC 401Mass Comm Law & Regultn3
JN 499Journ Issues and Ethics3
Upper Division JN elective3
Mass Communication elective (any JN/MC/APR/TCF)3
Select three of the following (one must be at the 400-level):9
Intermediate Journalism Design
Reporting Writing Across Media
Intermediate Photojournalism
Internship
Digital Community Journalism
Advanced Journalism Design
Digital Media Workshop
Advanced Photojournalism
Special Topics in Journalism
International Media Production
Total Hours36

Sports News and Information Track 

More InformationHours
MC 101Intro To Mass Communic3
JN 101Journalistic Principles and Practices2
JN 150Mechanics of Media Writing1
JN 261Visual Journalism3
JN 311News Writing and Reporting3
JN 312Editing and Digital Production3
APR 231Intro Public Relations (or any MC 400-level course)3
JN 318 or Sports Writing & Reporting3
JN 315 Advanced News Writing & Reporting
JN 382 or Internship (internship coursework must be sports related)3
JN 417 Digital Community Journalism
Upper Division JN elective3
JN 418Advanced Sports Writing & Reporting3
MC 401Mass Comm Law & Regultn3
JN 499 or Journ Issues and Ethics3
JN 496 Issues, Practices and Ethics in Sports Journalism
Total Hours36

Professional Experience

Journalism students should seek a variety of media work experience, exploring opportunities at the campus newspaper and magazines, digital publications, WVUA-TV, campus radio stations, literary magazines, departmental and alumni newsletters and magazines, and in university public relations and sports information offices. Students are strongly encouraged to seek internships with professional media organizations throughout their study at UA. The Department of Journalism & Creative Media has ongoing internship programs with The Tuscaloosa News, WVUA-TV, and several other local media outlets. Internships may be completed for academic credit when the student has completed 45 semester hours and JN 311 News Writing and Reporting with a C- or better. Job and internship listings are posted on the departmental website and outside the departmental office. An internship before senior year makes students more marketable when they graduate.

Journalism Career Options

Graduates can work as writers, reporters, editors, photographers, designers, producers, and content managers at newspapers, magazines, digital publications, wire services, newsletters, and book publishers. Many also work in public relations, corporate communications, electronic news, political communication, or enter law school or graduate school.

  • Magazine Writing and Editing: Our majors go on to write, design, and edit for general circulation print and online magazines, and for magazines that cover specialized subjects, including sports, travel, cooking, hunting and fishing, among many others. Magazines employ managing editors, department editors, content directors, production managers, art designers, photographers, videographers, designers, copy editors, writers, and other staff members for both their print and online editions.
  • Newspaper Reporting and Editing: Print and online newspapers aggressively seek our graduates. Newspapers offer some of the best opportunities for journalism majors who are in school and want internships, or who have graduated and are pursuing their first jobs. Newspapers seek our journalism majors for jobs in reporting, copy editing, photography, online production, and design positions. Newspapers also seek staff for specialty products, including lifestyle magazines and specialized websites.
  • Digital Journalism: Most graduates who work in the news industry also produce for online media: It's the traditional mass media – newspaper, magazine, radio and television – that have taken the lead in online publishing. However, graduates also work for commercial and non-profit online organizations, and increasingly, graduates are starting their own online media ventures. Good writers, editors, designers, photographers, and multimedia producers with a commitment to accuracy and fairness are in demand by any organization with an online presence.
  • Graphics and Design: The visual presentation of news and information is critical to good journalism. This is especially true in a digital information age in which data are wildly abundant, and there is a strong need to make sense of it. News outlets need people who understand the rules and conventions of graphics and design, and who can use them to produce good journalism. Graphic artists and designers gather and synthesize information concisely and present it in ways audiences can understand.
  • Photo and Multimedia Journalism: Photojournalism is a fast-paced, on-the-spot approach to gathering news through still and moving images. News organizations, magazines, sports organizations, corporations, non-profit outlets, and other entities hire photojournalists to gather news and information through digital photos and video, and to produce multimedia presentations that blend visual, audio, and written information. Increasingly, photojournalists and multimedia journalists are starting their own business ventures, producing work for multiple media organizations.
  • Newsletter Editing or Publishing: A fast-growing area of journalism is the specialty newsletter, in print or digital form. These publications are found in business, government, politics, sports, leisure, recreation, and hobbies, covering almost every area of interest. Producing a newsletter takes a combination of reporting, editing, design, photography, and marketing skills, making a journalism degree highly valued in this field.
  • Corporate Communications: Journalism majors find jobs in corporate communications as writers, editors, photographers, multimedia producers, designers, online producers, and advisers on message strategy and communication techniques. Corporate communication offices seek majors skilled in writing, photography, videography, and design to produce newsletters, magazines, websites, press releases, letters, brochures, graphics, and annual reports.
  • Non-Profit Organizations: An increasing number of non-profit organizations are hiring journalists. Funded by private donations or foundation grants, these organizations offer a myriad of opportunities for reporters, editors, photographers, videographers, and multimedia producers who want to make a real difference through journalism without having to work for profit-driven organizations.
  • Graduate Studies, Law School and Business: Journalism majors are well-prepared for professional careers outside of journalism. Specialized training in writing, gathering information, organizing information, critical thinking, and public affairs, coupled with a solid grounding in the social sciences and humanities, opens many doors. The curriculum provides solid groundwork for graduate studies in a number of fields, including law. Students who do well in the journalism curriculum typically perform very well on graduate school and law school examinations because of the emphasis on writing and critical thinking in our courses.

Types of Jobs Accepted

Recent graduates have accepted positions as newspaper reporters, covering sports, news, features, and business. Others have found jobs as editors, writers, and designers at lifestyle and specialty magazines. One of the fastest-growing segments for jobs is online media, including outlets connected with newspapers, magazines, television stations, as well as web-only publications. Our top students, especially those who dual major in fields such as political science and communication studies, have been successful gaining admission to law schools.

Jobs of Experienced Alumni

Our alumni hold top positions in media organizations nationally and internationally. Examples include the U.S. Supreme Court reporter for CBS News, the White House reporter for The Chicago Tribune, the former editor of O Magazine, and presidents and CEOs of online news outlets and public relations firms.

Learn more about opportunities in this field at the Career Center

Sample Curriculum for the Major in Journalism (General Track)

Freshman
Fall Hours Spring Hours
JN 101 2 JN 311 3
JN 150 1 Humanities (HU) or Literature (L) or Fine Arts (FA) course (COM 123 recommended) 3
MC 101 3 EN 102 3
EN 101 3 Social and Behavioral Sciences (SB) 3
History (HI) 3 Natural Science (NS) 4
Math (M) 3  
  15   16
Sophomore
Fall Hours Spring Hours
JN 261 3 JN 315 3
Fine Arts course 3 Literature (L) or (FA) or (HU) 3
History (HI) or Social Behavioral (SB) 3 Social and Behavioral (SB) 3
Foreign Language (FL) or Computer Science (CS) 3-4 Foreign Language (FL) or Computer Science (CS) 3-4
Literature (L) 3 Minor course 3
  15-16   15-16
Junior
Fall Hours Spring Hours
JN 312 3 JN 382 (or other upper division JN elective) 3
Literature (L) or (FA) or (HU) 3 JN/MC/APR/TCF elective 3
Natural Science (NS) 4 Minor course 3
Minor course 3 Special requirement 3
Special requirement 3 Minor or special or requirement 3
  16   15
Senior
Fall Hours Spring Hours
MC 401 3 JN 499 3
Depth writing course:  JN 411-JN 419 3 Converged media capstone course 3
Minor 3 Minor 3
Special requirement 3 Special requirement (as needed) 3
Elective 3 Elective (as needed) 2
  15   14
Total Hours: 120-122