Individually Designed Interest Area

Individually Designed Interest Area

Students who find that none of the existing interest areas meet their needs may work with faculty to construct a tailored interest area to meet their educational objectives. To do this, students work with a faculty mentor and at least two other faculty members to design a course plan using existing courses in the School of Journalism, relevant courses outside the School and no more than six credits of Problems, Topics or Communications Practice courses. The student will enroll and be granted a degree in the emphasis area that aligns with their faculty mentor. Because of large enrollment, students are not able to tailor an interest area in Strategic Communication. Students wishing to pursue an individually-designed interest area should start by seeing a journalism adviser in 76 Gannett.

Bachelor of Journalism Degree Requirements

Upper-Division Journalism Core (6)

All Journalism students must take the following courses at the upper-division level:

  • JOURN 3000 History of American Journalism (3 Credits) or JOURN 4568 History of Photojournalism (3 Credits). JOURN 3000 or JOURN 4568 should be taken in the junior year.
  • JOURN 4000 Communications Law (3 Credits). JOURN 4000 also should be taken in the junior year.

Electives to Achieve the Interest Area’s Goal (16)

The student must complete 16 hours of elective journalism courses mutually agreed to in advance by the student and the three supervising faculty members. These courses must form a coherent plan that leads to competency in the targeted area of expertise, and must fit within one of the approved emphasis areas of the School.

Journalism or Non-Journalism Electives (6 Non-Journalism Credits)

In consultation with the faculty mentor, the student should choose a minimum of six non-journalism credits that complement the program’s objectives. For example, if a student were to design a program in some aspect of entrepreneurial journalism, six or more credits in business courses might be desirable. In the absence of relevant courses for the targeted interest area, these credits become general electives for students.

Capstone (3)

Students pursuing this interest area should choose from among the School’s available capstone courses to find one that best meets the model’s objectives. In the absence of a clear choice, Journalism 4990, Journalism and Democracy (3), is recommended. Students also are required to complete an upper-division Writing Intensive course. Some capstones carry Wi designation. Others may be found in the journalism curriculum or outside the school.

Approval Procedure

Students who wish to construct a special interest area may pick up a form for that purpose in Student Services, 76 Gannett. After meeting with the three faculty members chosen to oversee progression through the program, the student will submit the form – complete with the signatures of the student and the three supervising faculty members – to the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies. The student must win approval of the tailored program from the associate dean before beginning the program. Thus, a student must file a proposal for approval by the time he or she has completed no more than 70 total credits. Once approved, the proposal goes to the student’s academic advisor, who places it in the student’s file and uses it to help the student navigate the remainder of the curriculum.

Total Credits for the Degree and Their Breakdown

Students pursuing a tailored program must complete 123 credits to include:

  • The same 60 credits that all students must complete before entering upper-division status.
  • Not more than 44 journalism credits.
  • A total of at least 79 non-journalism credits.