Pre-Interest Area Advising Guide

Pre-Interest Area Advising Guide

This pre-interest area advising guide provides freshmen and sophomores with information about course sequencing, course load recommendations and related information.

The goal is to balance the various challenges most students face during their first two years of study. Those in the first semester are frequently related to the transition to a new social and academic environment. Students must adjust to increased academic expectations, larger classroom sizes and the opportunity to live independently. Confidence gained in mastering the university environment will prepare students for additional academic and extracurricular challenges.

Curriculum Structure

For most students, the pre-interest area curriculum is completed during the freshman and sophomore years. The curriculum includes a minimum of 47 credits of general education courses and 13 credits of journalism courses. The successful completion of these courses, a 3.0 GPA and a formal application ensures a student’s admission to a journalism interest area. The interest area curriculum is designed for completion during the final two years of the four-year program.

Dual Credit, International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP) Credits

Students earning college credit prior to attending the University of Missouri are required to submit official scores and/or transcripts to the MU Office of Admissions. An academic adviser will work with students during Summer Welcome to determine how the credits may apply to the Bachelor of Journalism degree.

Enrollment Planning

It is imperative that students work with an academic adviser to plan their course work during the first two years. The pre-interest area curriculum has a combination of prerequisites that vary between flexible and highly structured. While many of the required courses can be taken in any of the first four semesters, the lower-level journalism, foreign language and mathematics course sequences require a higher level of attention. The following table shows the required enrollment sequence in the highly structured areas.

  • First: MATH 0110 Intermediate Algebra
  • Second: MATH 1100 College Algebra. This course requires a minimum math placement score to bypass MATH 0110.
  • Third: Statistics
  • First: Foreign Language: Level One
  • Second: Foreign Language: Level Two
  • Third: Foreign Language: Level Three
  • First: JOURN 1100 Principles of American Journalism is the prerequisite to the three required 2000-level journalism courses.
  • Second: JOURN 2150 Fundamentals of Multimedia Journalism or JOURN 2100 News. JOURN 2150 Fundamentals of Multimedia Journalism and JOURN 2100 News cannot be taken concurrently.
  • Third: JOURN 2150 Fundamentals of Multimedia Journalism or JOURN 2100 News, whichever was not taken initially.*JOURN 2000 Cross-Cultural Journalism can be taken along with JOURN 2100 or JOURN 2150.

The requirement categories that have a high degree of flexibility in enrollment planning include government, history, behavioral science, literature, science and humanities. Students can enroll in these courses in virtually any of their first four semesters.

Semester Plans

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

First Semester
ENGLSH 1000 Exposition and Argumentation* 3
Foreign Language I** 4
American History Course*** 3
Behavioral Science*** 3
JOURN 1010 Career Explorations in Journalism 1

Total Credits 14
  • *A minimum grade of B- is required for the Bachelor of Journalism degree. Students earning a C-range grade in ENGLSH 1000 are encouraged to take the Missouri College English Test (MCET) to meet prerequisite criteria for future enrollment in JOURN 2100 News. Students who earn a grade of D or lower are encouraged to retake the course.
  • **Students who are exempt from foreign language can substitute general education or free elective courses. The foreign language exemption requires four years of one foreign language during high school. The MU Office of Admissions is responsible for the determination of the appropriate foreign language course level from information provided on the student’s high school transcript.
  • ***Refer to course choices in this subject area.

During the first semester, students should focus on enrollment in general education courses. Most students enroll in JOURN 1010 Career Explorations in Journalism in the first semester. This course helps student orient themselves to the School of Journalism environment and the professional expectations in the field of journalism. JOURN 1010 is an eight-week course offered on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory grade basis. The grade is not included in the student’s term or cumulative GPA. A satisfactory grade is equivalent to a C- or higher.

ENGLSH 1000 Exposition and Argumentation is a popular course for students in their first semester. Students are encouraged to enroll in MATH 1100 College Algebra if ENGLSH 1000 is at full enrollment capacity. MATH 1100 requires an acceptable math placement score to be eligible for enrollment.

Students with experience in foreign language are eligible to bypass specific courses with an acceptable placement exam score. Placement exams are offered daily during Summer Welcome and on an appointment basis with the respective academic department.

Second Semester
Literature* 3
Humanities Course* 3
Foreign Language II** 4
JOURN 1100 Principles of American Journalism*** 3
MATH 1100 College Algebra**** 3

Total Credits 16
  • *Refer to course choices in this subject area.
  • **Students who are exempt from foreign language can substitute general education or free elective courses.
  • ***Recommended completion of 15 credits and a minimum 2.75 GPA.
  • ****Students who earn a minimum ACT Math score of 29 or SAT Math score of 1290 are exempt from MATH 1100 College Algebra. Credits are not granted despite begin exempt from the course requirement. Students seeking enrollment in MATH 1100 College Algebra must meet minimum math placement assessment score guidelines.
Third Semester
Foreign Language III* 4
Statistics** 3
Lab Science** 4
JOURN 2150 Fundamentals of Multimedia Journalism*** 3
343JOURN 2000 Cross-Cultural Journalism*** 3

Total Credits 17
  • *Students who are exempt from foreign language can substitute General Education or upper level non-journalism electives.
  • **Refer to course choices in this subject area.
  • ***Requires 2.8 GPA and 30 credits.

Students can opt for enrollment in JOURN 2100 News instead of JOURN 2150 Fundamentals of Multimedia Journalism during the third semester. The two courses cannot be taken during the same semester.

Fourth Semester
JOURN 2100 News* 3
Economics** 5
Non-Lab Science 3
Political Science 3

Total Credits 14
  • *Requires a minimum grade of B- in ENGLSH 1000 or C- in ENGLSH 1000 with a passing MCET score, 2.8 GPA and 30 credits.
  • **Refer to course choices in this subject area. Students opting for two economics courses instead of the combined economics course should enroll in the first of two courses no later than the third semester.

Academic Resources

The Learning Center is an especially valuable resource for freshman and sophomore students. They provide tutoring and exam reviews for writing, mathematics and a variety of other subjects. The Study Plan Consultant (SPC) program consists of a three-part toolkit to help students develop time management skills, track course progress and develop plans to study for exams and project completion.

Summer Courses

Students who did not receive a foreign language exemption or dual, AP or IB credit are subject to potentially rigorous semester loads. On occasion students will enroll in summer courses to reduce the fall and/or spring semester course loads.

Transfer Courses

Students seeking to transfer courses from another institution should refer to the transfer equivalency table to see if the course(s) meets MU requirements. If the proposed course is not listed on the transfer equivalency table, students should seek pre-approval through MU Office of Admissions.

Students are not permitted to transfer journalism major courses once they have begun their studies at MU. This includes JOURN 1010, 1100, 2000, 2100, 2150 and interest area courses in journalism.

Upper-Level Non-Journalism Electives

Students who are exempt from foreign language commonly need additional courses to meet the minimum full-time enrollment status of 12 credits. During the third and fourth semester students can consider enrolling in upper-level non-journalism courses. These 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.

Selecting an Interest Area

A portion of the curriculum in JOURN 1010 Career Explorations in Journalism is aimed at providing information for students to learn more about journalism interest areas.

Faculty members are also available to discuss interest area curriculum and career paths. Your adviser can help determine the most appropriate faculty referral. Students can also learn more about interest areas by joining School of Journalism student groups.

Many students volunteer at campus, student-run media outlets such as MUTV, Maneater and KCOU, among others, to help confirm or shift their ideas on a career path. There are some limited opportunities at the School’s professional outlets, such as KOMU-TV, available to freshmen and sophomores.

Resource Contacts

Students are encouraged to work with their assigned academic adviser to tailor their semester plans to fit their unique needs. Advising assignments are listed in the MyZou Student Center and in the MUConnect Success Network. Students can schedule an appointment with their academic adviser through MUConnect.

Students are responsible for selecting and enrolling in courses in MyZou. Advising offices can provide enrollment troubleshooting assistance when necessary.

Direct Admit Journalism

Students who meet the minimum direct admission criteria are advised in the School of Journalism Advising Office.

Honors College

A select group of directly admitted journalism students also qualify for admission to the Honors College. Students are encouraged to collaborate with both their Honors College adviser and their journalism adviser.


Students who do not meet the minimum direct admission criteria are advised in Academic Exploration and Advising Services.