Journalism Bachelor of Science Degree

In RIT’s journalism degree, you’ll interview thoroughly, investigate methodically, write masterfully, edit effectively, report fearlessly, and publish innovatively–all in service to social change.


100%

Outcome Rate of RIT Graduates


Overview

The journalism degree prepares students to gather, critically analyze, and synthesize verbal and visual information to communicate accurate and clear news stories across multiple media platforms. In addition to writing and reporting, students prepare audio and visual content for dissemination in a variety of media, making them a valuable asset to any future employer specializing in news reporting and factual storytelling.

The major is enhanced by RIT's reputation for using cutting-edge technology, yet is grounded in the traditional reporting and writing skills needed by professional journalists. The journalism degree prepares students for a converged digital media world. They learn the conceptual and practical skills demanded by the digital newsroom through a combination of journalism, communication, and applied professional courses, along with a professional core of courses. Students are also required to complete one block of cooperative education experience.

Plan of Study

Students develop skills through a core of required communication courses, which cover news writing, news editing, multi-platform journalism, communication theory, mass communications, law and press ethics, and computer-assisted reporting. A professional core of four courses, chosen from the colleges of Art and Design, Business, or Computing and Information Sciences, introduces students to photojournalism, multimedia, web development, digital entrepreneurship, and building a web business. Journalism electives, free electives, and liberal arts courses complete the curriculum.

Senior Project: In a senior capstone course students apply what they've learned to a project similar to one they would encounter in their profession. Students produce a long-form piece of journalism, a website, and a digital portfolio of selected works.

Advising

Every student is assigned a professional academic advisor and a faculty mentor in the department of communication. The professional advisor assists with course planning and registration; the faculty mentor provides advising about career development and planning, including information about research opportunities, graduate school, and jobs. Peer mentors, who are upper-level journalism students, are available to answer questions about classes, clubs on campus, student-run activities, and other matters from the student’s perspective. For more information, please refer to the college's academic advising page.

RIT/Syracuse University College of Law 3+3 Option

RIT has partnered with Syracuse University’s College of Law to offer an accelerated 3+3 BS/JD option for highly capable students. This option provides a fast-track pathway to law school in which students earn a bachelor’s degree and a juris doctorate degree in six years. In the 3+3 option, students interested in the following RIT majors–advertising and public relations, communication, criminal justice, economics, international and global studies, journalism, philosophy, political science, psychology, public policy, and sociology and anthropology–may apply to the option directly. Successful applicants are offered admission to RIT and given conditional acceptance into Syracuse University’s College of Law. Learn more about the RIT/Syracuse University College of Law 3+3 Option, including admission requirements and frequently asked questions.

Accelerated 4+1 MBA

An accelerated 4+1 MBA option is available to students enrolled in any of RIT’s undergraduate programs. RIT’s Combined Accelerated Pathways can help you prepare for your future faster by enabling you to earn both a bachelor’s and an MBA in as little as five years of study.

Careers and Cooperative Education

Typical Job Titles

Photojournalist General Assignment Reporter
News Editor Social Media Planner
Features Writer Digital-Content Producer
News Producer Marketing Director
Online News Director

Salary and Career Information for Journalism BS

Cooperative Education

Cooperative education, or co-op for short, is full-time, paid work experience in your field of study. And it sets RIT graduates apart from their competitors. It’s exposure–early and often–to a variety of professional work environments, career paths, and industries. RIT co-op is designed for your success.

Students in the journalism degree are required to complete one semester of cooperative education or an internship experience.

Curriculum for Journalism BS

Journalism, BS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
Choose one of the following: 3
   COMM-261
   History of Journalism
This course presents the history of American journalism from colonial times to the present, including the advance of press freedom under the First Amendment and how it has affected the development of American media. The influences of Europe, colonial politics in America, national expansion, urbanization, war, and technology are further developed. Journalism’s relationship to politics, institutions, and culture will be investigated. Newspaper, magazine, and broadcast industries will be examined for ideas that have changed American journalism. Lecture 3 (Spring).
 
   COMM-271
   Introduction to Journalism
The course covers the impact/effect of journalism on American society, with an introduction to the history, freedom, technologies, ethics, and functions of the news media. Students will learn how to assess news value, develop news judgment, and analyze news stories. Lecture 3 (Fall).
 
COMM-272
Reporting and Writing (WI-PR)
This course introduces students to the principles and practices of gathering, evaluating, investigating, and presenting information to general audiences. Rights and responsibilities of the press will be analyzed. Although special emphasis will be given to writing and reporting for print publications, other media will be addressed. Special attention will be given to the qualities of writing, especially organization, accuracy, completeness, brevity, and readability. Assignments must conform to Associated Press style. Lecture 3 (Fall).
3
COMM-280
Community Journalism
Community Journalism emphasizes the local aspects of news, and teaches students how to identify “community” beyond a region and a neighborhood. A co-taught course with Photojournalism faculty in the College of Art and Design, Community Journalism sharpens students’ reporting skills, and guides them in constructing a reporting project as a complete journalistic package, with visual, artistic and written storytelling components in concert with each other. The final project will be a reported (written) piece with corresponding photographs and multimedia. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
3
YOPS-10
RIT 365: RIT Connections
RIT 365 students participate in experiential learning opportunities designed to launch them into their career at RIT, support them in making multiple and varied connections across the university, and immerse them in processes of competency development. Students will plan for and reflect on their first-year experiences, receive feedback, and develop a personal plan for future action in order to develop foundational self-awareness and recognize broad-based professional competencies. Lecture 1 (Fall, Spring).
0
 
General Education – Artistic Perspective
3
 
General Education – Ethical Perspective
3
 
General Education – First-Year Writing (WI)
3
 
General Education – Global Perspective
3
 
General Education – Social Perspective
3
 
General Education – Elective
3
 
Professional Core Course
3
Second Year
COMM-105
Foundations of Communication
An introduction to the discipline of communication and the fields of advertising, journalism, and public relations. Topics include: the history and evolution of the discipline, major theories, principles of ethics, methods of research, writing styles, digital portfolio development, professional organizations, and potential careers. Students meet professors in the School, explore opportunities to engage with the professional and academic community beyond the classroom. (This class is restricted to ADVPUB-BS or PTCOMM-BS, COMM-BS or JOURNAL-BS Major students.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
3
COMM-263
Data Journalism
This course covers how to report on, illustrate, find, and analyze records and databases, with emphasis on investigative reporting. Lecture 3 (Spring).
3
COMM-374
Opinion Media
Opinion Media teaches students how to craft persuasive personal essays, commentary and op-eds, and get them published on news sites, in trade magazines, in newspapers and on influencer blogs. By drawing upon the ethical deployment of evidence, including argument, anecdote and statistical data, student authors will learn how to become influencers and thought leaders through the deployment of the written word and multimedia texts, including writing scripts, and producing video, for their own social media channels. This course is ideally suited for those seeking to sharpen their persuasive writing skills to sell their ideas, vision, expertise and life experience to a targeted media audience. Lecture 3 (Fall).
3
 
General Education – Mathematical Perspective A
3
 
General Education – Mathematical Perspective B
3
 
General Education – Natural Science Inquiry Perspective‡
3
 
General Education – Scientific Principles Perspective
3
 
General Education – Immersion 1, 2
6
 
Professional Core Course
Third Year
COMM-342
Communication Law and Ethics
This course examines major principles and trends in communication law. The course analyzes a broad range of issues related to the First Amendment, intellectual property, and media regulation. Special attention is paid to discussing the major ethical perspectives and issues surrounding contemporary communication behavior. Lecture 3 (Spring).
3
COMM-361
Reporting in Specialized Fields
An in-depth study, analysis, and practicum of a selected advanced and focused subject in professional journalism. Specific subject matter of the course varies according to faculty assigned and is published when the course is offered; students may enroll in this class no more than twice as long as the specific subject matter is different. Examples include education journalism, health journalism, business journalism, reporting public affairs, sports journalism, editorial (or opinion) writing, and reporting for alternative media. (Prerequisites: COMM-272 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Fall Or Spring).
3
COMM-450
Multiplatform Production and Publishing
This course introduces students to the principles and practices of using multiple mediums to tell stories on multiple platforms, including written text, video, photo, audio, immersive media and other new and evolving forms of media. The course familiarizes students with the tools and techniques of a multiplatform storyteller, for example, digital content strategy, story concept ideation, pre-production, production, post-production and dissemination through new and evolving platforms. Additionally, students explore current examples of multiplatform stories. Lec/Lab 3 (Fall Or Spring).
3
COMM-499
Communication Co-Op (summer)
One semester of full-time paid work experience in a professional setting related to the communication major. (This class is restricted to ADVPUB-BS or PTCOMM-BS, COMM-BS or JOURNAL-BS Major students.) CO OP (Fall, Spring, Summer).
0
 
Professional Core Course
3
 
General Education – Immersion 3
3
 
General Education – Electives
9
 
Open Electives
6
Fourth Year
COMM-561
Senior Project
Senior capstone course culminating in the production of a long-form piece of journalism, a website and a digital portfolio of select works. The course brings together each participant's work in journalism and the professional core. (Prerequisites: COMM-461 or equivalent course.) Seminar (Spring).
 
Professional Core Courses
 
General Education – Electives
12
 
Open Electives
9
Total Semester Credit Hours
120

Please see General Education Curriculum (GE) for more information.

(WI-PR) Refers to a writing intensive course within the major.

* Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing bachelor's degrees are required to complete two different Wellness courses.

‡ Students will satisfy this requirement by taking either a 3 or 4 credit hour lab science course. If a science course consists of separate lecture and laboratory sections, the student must take both the lecture and the lab portion.

Professional Core

Required courses
COMM-223
Digital Design in Communication
In an increasingly visual culture, and culture of online user-created content, non-designers are called upon in the professional realm to illustrate their ideas. Graduates entering the workforce will encounter situations where they will benefit from possessing a visual communication sensibility and vocabulary to communicate effectively with a broad range of audiences, including professional designers. Creative approaches to challenges, such as visual thinking, are also shown to improve students’ comprehension and problem-solving abilities. Digital Design in Communication is an opportunity for undergraduates to receive an introduction to principles of visual message design from a critical rhetorical perspective. They will also get the opportunity to apply these principles to a variety of visual products such as advertisements, logos, brochures, resumes, etc. A variety of computer software applications are available to support the research, writing, visualization, and design of messages. Lecture 3 (Fall, Summermr).
COMM-291
Communication for Social Change
The course introduces students to the role of communication, information, and media in social change messaging, particularly in the areas of activism and public advocacy. It takes a critical approach toward understanding the role of communication and communication technologies in the creation and dissemination of messages geared towards social change in a variety of mediated contexts. Students will review relevant theoretical frameworks that commonly inform the study and practice of activism and public advocacy, as well as analyze specific examples and case studies contemporarily, as well as select examples at moments of profound activism since the Civil Rights era of the 20th Century. Students will analyze various forms of activism and examine the role of communication in each. Finally, through the design of a social change communication campaign proposal, students will apply strategic communication approaches that will respond to a social issue that may be local, national or global. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
PHAR-203
Elements of Photojournalism
This course will serve an introduction to visual story telling as it relates to professional photojournalism. It will provide relevant practice in basic technical, compositional and interpersonal skills necessary in all aspects of modern photography. Students will be exposed to photojournalism - documentary, editorial, narrative and editing - as well as explorations of current career possibilities. Lectures, critiques, demonstrations and assignments will provide participants the opportunity to explore the still, audio, and multimedia strategies used for story telling in this era. Students will be expected to meet tight project deadlines and participate in both class discussions, critiques and practices required to be successful in this field. If you are pursuing the Photojournalism option this course is required. (Prerequisites: PHAR-102 or PHAR-161 or equivalent course.) Lab 3, Lecture 2 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
PHPJ-315
Non-Fiction Multimedia
This course will teach students how to tell stories in the digital world. Students will learn the skills necessary to gather and edit audio and how to combine audio, images, and text for compelling online storytelling. In addition to basic technical skills, the course will explore contemporary concepts for effective multimedia storytelling. (Prerequisites: PHAR-203 or equivalent courses.) Lab 3, Lecture 2 (Fall, Spring).
Choose one of the following:
   BUSI-221
   New Venture Development
   COMM-489
   Topics in Communication
An in-depth examination of a selected aspect of the communication discipline (e.g. strategic communication, technical communication, visual communication, computer mediated communication, advertising, public relations, journalism). Topics in Communication can be taken multiple times provided the topic being studied has changed. Lecture 3 (Fall Or Spring).
   DDDD-101
   Intro to 3D Modeling and Animation
This course is an introduction to the representation of form and motion in three-dimensional software. The course focuses on the development of visual and verbal vocabulary as a means of exploring, developing, and understanding composition and motion with digital geometry and in virtual spaces. Topics include the basics of lines, planes, contour, transforming lines into form, composing images with a software camera, interaction of light and surface, perspective, resolution of geometry, and rendering. Perception and visual thinking are emphasized in the development of projects. Projects will include modeling organic and inorganic forms, composition, level of detail, creation of spaces and motion. Structured assignments develop skills in concept generation, basic form making, techniques for creating motion, and craftsmanship. Emphasis is placed on workflow, teamwork, and the technical and aesthetic aspects of each project. Lecture 2, Studio 2 (Fall).
   HIST-301
   Great Debates in US History
This course offers an analysis and interpretation of the main themes in the history of the United States over a broad period of time that extends to the modern era. We will look at how issues such as race, class, gender, and the environment have shaped American history, as well as debates over the multiple meanings of that history. Lecture 3 (Biannual).
   MGIS-360
   Building a Web Business
This course gives students both a conceptual and hands-on understanding of the launching of web businesses. Students will study the full process of web business creation, including domain name registration, frameworks for application creation, hosting of web applications and search engine optimization. Students will apply their knowledge by designing and building a business website that can actually make money. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
   MGMT-360
   Digital Entrepreneurship
Digital Entrepreneurship brings together state-of-the-art knowledge in digital business practices with basic instruction in entrepreneurship and business planning. This highly interactive, applied experience will allow students to develop business ideas, discover RIT resources that support new ventures, network with and learn from industry experts, and complete a professional plan to communicate and advance a digital business venture. Student work for this course will involve research and analysis of electronic marketplaces and, ultimately, the design and development of competitive digital startups. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).

Accelerated Dual-Degree Programs

Today’s careers require advanced degrees grounded in real-world experience. RIT’s Combined Accelerated Pathways enable you to earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in as little as five years of study. You’ll earn two degrees while gaining the valuable, hands-on experience that comes from co-ops, internships, research, study abroad, and more. Learn how a Combined Accelerated Pathway can prepare you for your future, faster.

Journalism, BS degree/Communication, MS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
Choose one of the following:
3
   COMM-261
   History of Journalism
This course presents the history of American journalism from colonial times to the present, including the advance of press freedom under the First Amendment and how it has affected the development of American media. The influences of Europe, colonial politics in America, national expansion, urbanization, war, and technology are further developed. Journalism’s relationship to politics, institutions, and culture will be investigated. Newspaper, magazine, and broadcast industries will be examined for ideas that have changed American journalism. Lecture 3 (Spring).
 
   COMM-271
   Introduction to Journalism
The course covers the impact/effect of journalism on American society, with an introduction to the history, freedom, technologies, ethics, and functions of the news media. Students will learn how to assess news value, develop news judgment, and analyze news stories. Lecture 3 (Fall).
 
COMM-272
Reporting and Writing (WI-PR)
This course introduces students to the principles and practices of gathering, evaluating, investigating, and presenting information to general audiences. Rights and responsibilities of the press will be analyzed. Although special emphasis will be given to writing and reporting for print publications, other media will be addressed. Special attention will be given to the qualities of writing, especially organization, accuracy, completeness, brevity, and readability. Assignments must conform to Associated Press style. Lecture 3 (Fall).
3
COMM-280
Community Journalism (WI-PR)
Community Journalism emphasizes the local aspects of news, and teaches students how to identify “community” beyond a region and a neighborhood. A co-taught course with Photojournalism faculty in the College of Art and Design, Community Journalism sharpens students’ reporting skills, and guides them in constructing a reporting project as a complete journalistic package, with visual, artistic and written storytelling components in concert with each other. The final project will be a reported (written) piece with corresponding photographs and multimedia. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
3
YOPS-10
RIT 365: RIT Connections
RIT 365 students participate in experiential learning opportunities designed to launch them into their career at RIT, support them in making multiple and varied connections across the university, and immerse them in processes of competency development. Students will plan for and reflect on their first-year experiences, receive feedback, and develop a personal plan for future action in order to develop foundational self-awareness and recognize broad-based professional competencies. Lecture 1 (Fall, Spring).
0
 
Professional Core 1
3
 
General Education - First Year Writing (WI)
3
 
General Education - Artistic Perspective
3
 
General Education - Ethical Perspective
3
 
General Education - Global Perspective
3
 
General Education - Social Perspective
3
 
General Education - Elective
3
Second Year
COMM-105
Foundation of Communication
An introduction to the discipline of communication and the fields of advertising, journalism, and public relations. Topics include: the history and evolution of the discipline, major theories, principles of ethics, methods of research, writing styles, digital portfolio development, professional organizations, and potential careers. Students meet professors in the School, explore opportunities to engage with the professional and academic community beyond the classroom. (This class is restricted to ADVPUB-BS or PTCOMM-BS, COMM-BS or JOURNAL-BS Major students.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
3
COMM-263
Data Journalism
This course covers how to report on, illustrate, find, and analyze records and databases, with emphasis on investigative reporting. Lecture 3 (Spring).
3
COMM-374
Opinion Media (WI-PR)
Opinion Media teaches students how to craft persuasive personal essays, commentary and op-eds, and get them published on news sites, in trade magazines, in newspapers and on influencer blogs. By drawing upon the ethical deployment of evidence, including argument, anecdote and statistical data, student authors will learn how to become influencers and thought leaders through the deployment of the written word and multimedia texts, including writing scripts, and producing video, for their own social media channels. This course is ideally suited for those seeking to sharpen their persuasive writing skills to sell their ideas, vision, expertise and life experience to a targeted media audience. Lecture 3 (Fall).
3
 
Professional Core 2
3
 
General Education - Natural Science Inquiry Perspective‡
3
 
General Education - Scientific Principles Perspective
3
 
General Education - Mathematical Perspective A
3
 
General Education - Mathematical Perspective B
3
 
General Education - Immersion 1, 2
6
Third Year
COMM-342
Communication Law and Ethics
This course examines major principles and trends in communication law. The course analyzes a broad range of issues related to the First Amendment, intellectual property, and media regulation. Special attention is paid to discussing the major ethical perspectives and issues surrounding contemporary communication behavior. Lecture 3 (Spring).
3
COMM-361
Reporting in Specialized Fields
An in-depth study, analysis, and practicum of a selected advanced and focused subject in professional journalism. Specific subject matter of the course varies according to faculty assigned and is published when the course is offered; students may enroll in this class no more than twice as long as the specific subject matter is different. Examples include education journalism, health journalism, business journalism, reporting public affairs, sports journalism, editorial (or opinion) writing, and reporting for alternative media. (Prerequisites: COMM-272 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Fall Or Spring).
3
COMM-450
Multiplatform Production and Publishing
This course introduces students to the principles and practices of using multiple mediums to tell stories on multiple platforms, including written text, video, photo, audio, immersive media and other new and evolving forms of media. The course familiarizes students with the tools and techniques of a multiplatform storyteller, for example, digital content strategy, story concept ideation, pre-production, production, post-production and dissemination through new and evolving platforms. Additionally, students explore current examples of multiplatform stories. Lec/Lab 3 (Fall Or Spring).
3
 
Professional Core 3
3
 
General Education - Immersion 3
3
 
General Education - Electives
9
 
Open Electives
6
Fourth Year
COMM-561
Senior Project
Senior capstone course culminating in the production of a long-form piece of journalism, a website and a digital portfolio of select works. The course brings together each participant's work in journalism and the professional core. (Prerequisites: COMM-461 or equivalent course.) Seminar (Spring).
3
COMM-605
Social Media Analytics and Research
This course focuses on social media research and ethics of applying various methodological approaches to study public data, users and messages. Students will be introduced to a variety of techniques and concepts used to obtain, monitor and evaluate social media content with a focus on how the analytics could inform communication strategies. During the course, students will also learn how to design and evaluate social media-based research studies. Lec/Lab 3 (Spring).
3
COMM-606
Digital Storytelling
This course provides students with a comprehensive understanding of digital storytelling through an analysis of current trends as well as by utilizing hands-on workshop experiences. Students will develop skills such as content strategy, digital storytelling best practices, content production, and audience analysis. Students in the course will develop critical skills to conceptualize, develop and execute an effective digital storytelling project. Lec/Lab 3 (Fall).
3
 
Professional Core 4, 5
6
 
General Education - Electives
6
 
Open Electives
9
Fifth Year
COMM-702
Communication Theories
Over the course of this term we will cover mass communication theory from its inception as a field of study, to major trends, followed by current applications of previous paradigms, and finally into the development of new theoretical frameworks. While the main focus of this course is the integration of current mass communication theory with an individual and organizational online presence, we will also focus on how digital platforms can inform the future of theoretical research and vice versa. From a practical perspective, students will be able to apply these theories to their integrative approaches in creative digital communication and design. (This class is restricted to degree-seeking graduate students or those with permission from instructor.) Seminar 3 (Fall).
3
COMM-703
Research Methods in Communication
This course is designed to introduce students to qualitative and quantitative research methods in communication and guide them in choosing the appropriate method for their thesis research project. Topics may include research perspectives, ethics and IRB, variables, sampling methods, reliability and validity, survey, experiments, content analysis, in-depth interview, focus group, observations/ethnography, and mixed methods. (Prerequisites: COMM-702 or equivalent course.) Seminar 3 (Spring).
3
COMM-714
Strategic Communication
This course will introduce students to the theory and practice of strategic communication in advertising, public relations, health communication, crisis/risk communication, and/or political communication. This course will cover problem identification, audience research, message creation, and execution of strategic communication activities. It will also cover ethics and strategic communication through digital media. By the end of the course, students should be able to analyze and execute various components to help solve problems or achieve an organization’s goals and objectives. Seminar 3 (Fall).
3
COMM-720
Thesis Preparation Seminar
An introduction to graduate study and research in communication including the theoretical, conceptual, and methodological parameters of communication and its sub-disciplines. Participants will interact with the faculty teaching required and elective communication courses. Attention will be drawn to scholarly writing and research design. When possible, the course is organized in conjunction with the department’s colloquium series. (This course is restricted to COMMTCH-MS Major students.) Seminar 1 (Spring).
0
COMM-800
Communication Thesis/Project
A guided research project that focuses on designing, conducting, and completing a research project. The project culminates in a public presentation and defense. Thesis (Fall, Spring, Summer).
6
 
MS Specialization Core 1, 2, 3
9
Total Semester Credit Hours
144

Please see General Education Curriculum for more information.

(WI) Refers to a writing intensive course within the major.

* Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing bachelor's degrees are required to complete two different Wellness courses.

‡ Students will satisfy this requirement by taking either a 3- or 4-credit hour lab science course. If a science course consists of separate lecture and laboratory sections, student must take both the lecture and lab portions to satisfy the requirement.

Admission Requirements

Freshman Admission

For all bachelor’s degree programs, a strong performance in a college preparatory program is expected. Generally, this includes 4 years of English, 3-4 years of mathematics, 2-3 years of science, and 3 years of social studies and/or history.

Specific math and science requirements and other recommendations

  • Strong performance in English and social studies is expected

Transfer Admission

Transfer course recommendations without associate degree
Courses in liberal arts, math, science, and computer science

Appropriate associate degree programs for transfer
Liberal arts with emphasis in communication and a technical field such as business, photography, or computer science

Learn about admissions, cost, and financial aid 

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