Science, Health and Environmental Journalism Advising Guide

Science, Health and Environmental Journalism Advising Guide

The science, health and environmental journalism interest area educates students in the skills and theory of journalistic coverage of the specialized fields of science, health, environment and engineering. The program prepares students for jobs as journalism professionals at newspapers, magazines, online publications and radio-television operations.

This advising guide provides science, health and environmental journalism students with information such as course sequencing, special enrollment requirements, course load recommendations, journalism elective recommendations, and contact information.

Interest Area Curriculum Structure

Students begin planning their course schedule for their junior and senior years after being admitted to an interest area. This commonly occurs near the conclusion of the sophomore year. Students beginning their interest area curriculum are required to take 31 credits of journalism courses and 29 credits of upper-level non-journalism courses. Each semester students are encouraged to enroll in a combination of journalism and non-journalism courses. Students should plan to enroll in no more than nine credits of journalism courses per semester.

Enrollment Planning

The first and fourth semester are considered the most challenging semesters for students in science, health and environmental journalism. In these semesters students are expected to increase the amount of hands-on work they perform due to the nature of Missouri Method courses. These courses require students to be resourceful, committed and hard-working to produce professional level work.

The following semester plan may apply to many students’ situations. Students are encouraged to work with a faculty adviser and an academic adviser to create a plan that fits their needs.

First Semester in the Interest Area

Courses Credits
JOURN 3000 History of American Journalism or JOURN 4000 Communications Law* 3
JOURN 4450 News Reporting or JOURN 4804 Convergence Reporting 3
Upper-Level Non-Journalism Electives 9

Total Credits 15

*Students can enroll in JOURN 4568 History of Photojournalism as an alternative to JOURN 3000 History of American Journalism.

All students are required to take JOURN 4450 News Reporting or JOURN 4804 Convergence Reporting during their first semester in science, health and environmental journalism. Each course provides knowledge that lays the foundation for all future science, health and environmental journalism courses. Both courses are prerequisites for other science, health and environmental journalism courses.

Students enrolled in JOURN 4450 News Reporting work for the Columbia Missourian. Assignments are on a daily city newspaper covering community news, city, county and state affairs, sports and lifestyle issues. Students gain experience in gathering and writing news under deadline conditions.

Students enrolled in JOURN 4804 Convergence Reporting work in a variety of news settings, including the Futures Lab, Missourian, KBIA-FM and KOMU-TV to produce feature stories, in-depth pieces and other special reports.

Both courses are offered in the fall and spring semesters. JOURN 4450 News Reporting is also offered in the summer semester.

Students are permitted to enroll in the courses after they have been fully admitted to the interest area. The advising office will email detailed enrollment instructions to each student during the semester prior to beginning the interest area.

Students are encouraged to complete JOURN 3000 History of Journalism or JOURN 4568 History of Photojournalism and JOURN 4000 Communications Law during the first year in the interest area. Students commonly enroll in one of the courses during the first semester in the interest area and pick up the additional course during the second semester.

Students in magazine interest areas frequently take JOURN 3000 History of Journalism due to its broad perspective of the journalism industry.

Second Semester in the Interest Area

Courses Credits
JOURN 3000 History of American Journalism or JOURN 4000 Communications Law* 3
JOURN 4416 Science, Health and Environmental Writing** 3
JOURN Electives 3
Upper-Level Non-Journalism Electives 6

Total Credits 15

*Students can enroll in JOURN 4568 History of Photojournalism as an alternative to JOURN 3000 History of American Journalism.
**JOURN 4416 Science, Health and Environmental Journalism is offered only in the spring semester.

During the second semester in the interest area, students should focus on enrolling in journalism courses and upper-level non-journalism electives.

JOURN 3000 History of Journalism or JOURN 4568 History of Photojournalism and JOURN 4000 Communications Law should be completed by the end of the second semester in the interest area.

Third Semester in the Interest Area

Courses Credits
JOURN Electives 4
JOURN 4428 Health Reporting Skills* 2
Choose one from:
– JOURN 4406 News Editing 3
– JOURN 4408 Magazine Editing 3
– JOURN 4806 Convergence Editing and Producing 3
Upper-Level Non-Journalism Electives 6

Total Credits 15

* Enroll in this course for 2 or 3 credit hours. Offered only in the fall semester.

During the third semester in the interest area, students should focus on enrolling in journalism and upper-level non-journalism electives. Students can choose to specialize in science, health and environmental journalism or choose from a variety of journalism courses.

All University of Missouri students are required to complete a capstone in their major. On occasion, magazine students choose to take two capstones and enroll in a journalism capstone course in both the third and fourth semesters. This approach is for students seeking to maximize their experience in high skill-level courses. In other instances, students pursuing a dual degree will take a journalism capstone during their third semester and the capstone for the additional degree during the fourth semester or vice versa.

Fourth Semester in the Interest Area

Courses Credits
Choose one capstone from the following:
– JOURN 4460 Advanced News Reporting* 3
– JOURN 4984 Magazine Staff 3
– JOURN 4986 Advanced Writing 3
– JOURN 4990 Journalism and Democracy** 3
– JOURN 4992 Reporting, Editing and Marketing of Converged Media 3
JOURN Electives 4
COURSE NUMBER
Upper-Level Non-Journalism Electives 8

Total Credits 15

*JOURN 4460 Advanced News Reporting is for students in print and digital news journalism.
** JOURN 4990 Journalism and Democracy is an option for magazine journalism students. Print and digital news journalism students are not permitted to enroll in this course.

Students typically enroll in a journalism capstone for the fourth semester. Much like the first semester in the interest area, the semester in which a student enrolls in the magazine journalism capstone is considered another challenging semester. In this semester students are expected to, once again, increase the amount of hands-on work they perform due to the hands-on the nature of Missouri Method courses.

Capstone

Students enrolling in a magazine journalism capstone will have demanding workloads as they increase their hands-on skills and critical thinking.

  • JOURN 4460 Advanced Newspaper Reporting: (3)
    [JOURN] [4460] [Advanced Newspaper Reporting]
    Assignments to more difficult beat areas, team reporting and some investigative reporting for community newspaper. Individual conferences and weekly class sessions on contemporary reporting problems. Prerequisite: JOURN 4450.
    • This class is for students in print and digital news journalism. Assignments to more difficult beat areas, team reporting and some investigative reporting for community newspaper. Individual conferences and weekly class sessions on contemporary reporting problems.
  • JOURN 4984 Magazine Staff: (3)
    [JOURN] [4984] [Magazine Staff]
    A laboratory course exploring the role of editorial staff in the magazine editing process. As staff for school-produced magazines, students plan, edit, write display type, proofread and coordinate with writers, photographers and designers. Prerequisites: JOURN 4410, JOURN 4408 and instructor's consent. Restricted to Journalism and Science and Agricultural Journalism majors only.
    • Students will pitch, assign, edit, fact check and package content for Vox magazine and its digital platforms; students will gain multiple clips for their portfolios.
  • JOURN 4986 Advanced Writing: (3)
    [JOURN] [4986] [Advanced Writing]
    For those who wish to emphasize writing as a career. In addition to writing assignments, students discuss writings of well-known magazine and book authors. Prerequisites: JOURN 4450, JOURN 4410 and instructor's consent. Restricted to Journalism and Science and Agricultural Journalism majors only.
    • Students will focus on writing stories for publication with an emphasis on gaining clips for their portfolios.
  • JOURN 4990 Journalism and Democracy: (3)
    [JOURN] [4990] [Journalism and Democracy]
    This course seeks to cultivate critical-thinking skills by helping students synthesize and apply knowledge gained from a journalism education to the evaluation of news media performance in a democratic society. Prerequisites: JOURN 4450 and second-semester senior standing. Undergraduates only. Restricted to Journalism and Science and Agricultural Journalism majors only.
    • This is an option for magazine journalism students. Print and digital news journalism students are not permitted to enroll in this course. Students will cultivate critical-thinking skills by synthesizing and applying knowledge gained from the journalism curriculum to evaluate the news media’s performance in a democratic society. Unlike the other capstone choices, this course is not hands-on.
  • JOURN 4992 Reporting, Editing and Marketing of Converged Media: (3)
    [JOURN] [4992] [Reporting, Editing and Marketing of Converged Media]
    Capstone course brings together the reporting, editing, management and marketing skills gained in previous convergence courses. Students plan, produce, promote and evaluate journalistic content and applications. Graded on A-F basis only. Prerequisites: Consent of instructor required.
    • Students will utilize reporting, editing, management, design, analytics and marketing skills gained in previous courses to plan, produce, promote and evaluate in-depth, highly-creative journalistic content and products. The entire semester is devoted to working on a single project where high levels of critical thinking and professional presentation skills are expected. Class discussions will focus on developing projects, the latest developments in digital media and current ethical and political debates in journalism, especially those influenced by changes in the media landscape. Students will also polish their online portfolio as a tool for personal branding and as a repository for their best work.
  • JOURN 4986 Advanced Writing: (3)
    [JOURN] [4986] [Advanced Writing]
    For those who wish to emphasize writing as a career. In addition to writing assignments, students discuss writings of well-known magazine and book authors. Prerequisites: JOURN 4450, JOURN 4410 and instructor's consent. Restricted to Journalism and Science and Agricultural Journalism majors only.
    • Students will focus on writing stories for publication with an emphasis on gaining clips for their portfolios.

Journalism Electives

In addition to the required journalism courses, 10-11 credits of journalism elective courses are required for graduation. Students enrolling in JOURN 4428 Health Reporting Skills for 2 credits are required to earn 11 credits of journalism electives. Students enrolling in JOURN 4428 Health Reporting Skills for 3 credits are required to earn 10 credits of journalism electives. Choice of electives depends on the student’s career plans.

Students who have a specific focus in their interest area can seek enrollment in the recommended electives listed below. For students who are seeking additional skills for their career path, choosing electives from different areas will provide a well-rounded understanding of the different applications in science, health and environmental journalism industries.

Students who wish to study abroad during a fall or spring semester through the School of Journalism Global Programs can earn up to nine journalism elective credits and 3-6 credits of non-journalism requirements. Summer programs are also available. Students typically earn 3-9 credits during the summer program.

Highly Recommended Journalism Electives

Highly recommended electives are courses that will prepare students for industry work in this interest area.

  • JOURN 4410 Intermediate Writing: (3)
    [JOURN] [4410] [Intermediate Writing]
    In-depth research and writing techniques. Students produce articles for the Missourian and school-produced magazines or other publications. Prerequisites: JOURN 4450 or equivalent and instructor's consent. Restricted to Journalism and Science and Agricultural Journalism majors only.
    • This course is offered each fall and spring semester. Students interested in this course should enroll in it during the second or third semester in the interest area.
  • JOURN 4430 Computer-Assisted Reporting: (3)
    [JOURN] [4430] [Computer-Assisted Reporting]
    How to negotiate for, transfer and process electronic information; the unique opportunities computers provide for analyzing information. Prerequisites: Restricted to Journalism and Science and Agricultural Journalism majors only. Junior Standing.
    • This course is offered each fall and spring semester. Students interested in this course should enroll in it during the second or third semester in the interest area.
  • JOURN 4436 Investigative Reporting: (3)
    [JOURN] [4436] [Investigative Reporting]
    Advanced course designed to acquaint reporters with public issues. Students write two in-depth projects and other shorter assignments. Students meet weekly with instructor for editorial suggestions. Prerequisites: JOURN 4450 and instructor's consent.
    • This course is offered each fall and spring semester. Students interested in this course should enroll in it during the second or third semester in the interest area.
  • JOURN 4986 Advanced Writing: (3)
    [JOURN] [4986] [Advanced Writing]
    For those who wish to emphasize writing as a career. In addition to writing assignments, students discuss writings of well-known magazine and book authors. Prerequisites: JOURN 4450, JOURN 4410 and instructor's consent. Restricted to Journalism and Science and Agricultural Journalism majors only.
    • This course is offered each fall and spring semester. Students interested in this course should enroll in it during the fourth semester in the interest area.

Additional Electives

Other elective suggestions are provided to help students fulfill elective requirements. Students’ choices are based on personal preference. Students can also choose from journalism special topics courses. Check MyZou for course availability.

  • JOURN 4414 Field Reporting on the Food System and Environment: (3)
    [JOURN] [4414] [Field Reporting on the Food System and Environment]
    [same as Agricultural Journalism [AG_JRN] 4414.) Field reporting on the social, political, scientific, economic and ethical dimensions of the food system and environment, with emphasis on explanatory story-telling. Includes multi-day field trip. Prerequisite: instructor's consent. Restricted to Journalism and Agric Journalism majors only. Graded on A/F basis only.
  • JOURN 4730 Journalism and Conflict: (3)
    [JOURN] [4730] [Journalism and Conflict]
    (same as Peace Studies 4830). Introduction to the basic priciples of conflict theory and negotiation, including the sources of conflict, why conflict escalates and what the conditions are for de-escalation, all with a special emphasis on the implications for the working journalist.
  • JOURN 4940 Internship in Journalism: (2)
    [JOURN] [4940] [Internship in Journalism]
    Credit for approved employment in journalism. Specifications for this course appear in the Undergraduate Catalog. Prerequisite: Journalism students only. Graded on S/U basis only.
    • Internships are generally completed during the summer semester.
  • JOURN 4950 Understanding Audiences: (3)
    [JOURN] [4950] [Understanding Audiences]
    Focuses on the recipients of journalistic efforts by teaching students to identify, analyze and address media audiences. Students will learn a variety of research methods and gain hands-on experience with audience analysis through team-based practical projects. Prerequisites: JOURN 2000 and junior standing.

Upper-Level Non-Journalism Requirements

Upper-level non-journalism courses are meant to expand upon general education courses taken during the freshman and sophomore years. These courses can be used to meet dual degree or minor requirements from other academic units. For additional information, visit the Upper-Level Non-Journalism Requirements page.

Special Course Enrollment Requests

Many journalism courses will require an enrollment request due to the hands-on nature of Missouri Method courses. Many of the courses in the magazine interest areas require placement in a media outlet. The professional nature of the work requires an additional level of screening prior to enrollment. Details regarding how to enroll in courses are listed in each course’s notes section in MyZou. The course enrollment coordinator, listed below, plays an instrumental role in the process.

Global Programs

Students can take advantage of extensive study abroad opportunities that include internships in international settings. Students in magazine interest areas commonly choose study abroad programs in London, New York and Italy. Short-term experiences of a few weeks to semester-long programs are available in a variety of countries. More information can be found by visiting Global Programs.

Resource Contacts

  • Course Enrollment Coordinator
    • The course enrollment coordinator is a key contact for course planning, scheduling and processing special enrollment requests for courses requiring faculty consent to enroll.
  • Faculty Advisers
    • Faculty advisers can help students interested in science, health and environmental journalism with questions about course selection, careers and internships.
  • Undergraduate Advising Liaison
    • The advising liaison works closely with science, health and environmental journalism faculty and staff to provide students with timely updates on courses and enrollment troubleshooting.