Feb 21, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog

Journalism (B.A. or B.S.)

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The non-journalism requirements comply with standards of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. To reflect the move towards convergence in the journalism professions, as well as the types of skills news media professionals value most, the journalism program offers students the opportunity to gain experience working in specific media (such as print journalism, broadcast journalism, and digital photography) and encourages them to develop expertise in more than one area of the field. The curriculum also emphasizes ethics, critical thinking skills, and the important role journalists play in society. Students who double major in Communication and Journalism must take JOUR 480 or either COMS 455 or COMS 403. In no case will the COMS or JOUR law/ethics course count towards the same law/ethics block required for each major.

The student learning outcomes for this degree are located at http://www.niu.edu/assessment/clearinghouse/outcomes/index.shtml.

Check departmental information for any additional requirements.

Requirements in Department (36-37)

Required courses (6)

Constructing Media Narratives: Choose 5 of the following (15-16):

News in Society: Choose 5 of the following (15):

Requirements outside Department (B.A., 0-12; B.S., 12-17)

For the B.A. degree
Fulfillment of B.A. foreign language requirement (0-12)
See “Foreign Language Requirement for the B.A. Degree” in the Other Graduation Requirements section of this catalog.

For the B.S. degree
Mathematics/laboratory science sequence (12-17)
See “College Requirement for the B.S. Degree” in the Other Graduation Requirements section of this catalog.

Special Requirements

At least 80 semester hours of the total hours required for the baccalaureate degree must be taken in subjects other than journalism, with at least 65 of those hours in the liberal arts. The department currently considers liberal arts courses to be most of the courses offered in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and courses in art history and appreciation, music history and literature, and theater history and criticism. Students considering courses in communication studies or computer science should consult a department advisor to determine whether the courses can be included in the liberal arts category.

Students must also fulfill the requirements of a minor or a second major, which must be selected in consultation with a department advisor. Since disciplinary academic standards limit the number of professional courses that journalism majors may take, students thinking of including major or minor work in communication studies (with courses, for example, in media studies or organizational/ corporate communication) are particularly urged to see a department advisor before proceeding.

Journalism majors must earn a grade of C or S or better in all required journalism courses. Journalism prerequisites are deemed to be met only by obtaining a grade of C or S or better. It is necessary to repeat a journalism course in which a grade below C or S is earned before taking any course for which it is a prerequisite.

A student’s program of courses must be designed in consultation with, and periodically reviewed by, a department advisor.


Students interested in international affairs are advised to develop a high degree of competence in one or more foreign languages, to become familiar with political systems other than that found in the United States, to take JOUR 482, International News Communications, and to enroll in the interdisciplinary global studies minor. Students interested in ethnic studies are advised to take JOUR 490, Ethnic Minorities and the News Media, and to enroll in a minor such as black studies, Latino/Latin American studies, or Southeast Asian studies.

The following courses are recommended for all journalism majors and students are advised to include at least four of them among their elective courses.


General Education Requirements (12-33)

In addition to completing the above major requirements students must complete the remaining general education requirements. If major requirements fulfill any of the general education requirements, they are listed below and subtracted from the general education credit requirements.

The required minimum of 21 semester hours in Knowledge Domain studies cannot include more than two courses in any one department. (A course with an affiliated laboratory course shall be counted as a single course.)

Foundational Studies (0-12)

Writing Requirement (0-6)
Oral Communication Requirement (0-3)
Quantitative Literacy Requirements (0-3)

For additional information about these requirements, please visit Foundational Studies .

Knowledge Domain Requirements (12-21)

Creativity and Critical Analysis (3-6)

Nature and Technology (6)

Society and Culture (0-6)

  • Two 3-credit courses selected from approved general education list. Society and Culture Course List  
  • Program elective recommendations, ECON 261, PSYC 102, and SOCI 170 are all general education courses under this domain.

Knowledge Domain Elective (3)

  • One additional 3-credit course from any Knowledge Domain.

Graduation Requirements (3-9)

In addition to completing the above major requirements students must complete the remaining graduation requirements. If major requirements fulfill any of the graduation requirements, they are listed below and subtracted from the graduation credit requirements.

Human Diversity Requirement (3)

  • One course from the approved Human Diversity course list; may be fulfilled by extracurricular activities. Human Diversity Course List  

Writing Infused Requirements (0-6)

  • Two courses from the approved Writing Infused course list. Writing Infused Course List  
  • Program electives JOUR 301, JOUR 360, JOUR 401, and JOUR 460 are all Writing Infused courses.




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