B.A. Program in Journalism and Media Studies

The Department of Journalism and Digital Communication offers approximately 25 courses each semester varying in content from the highly technical and field-specialized to an essential liberal arts orientation. The program introduces students to the theories, principles, and problems of communications, emphasizing the concept of freedom of information as the cornerstone of constitutional democracy and preparing students for future leadership roles in communications media. Journalism, with the role-related responsibility of providing citizens information for self-governance, serves as the core of our mission. But, the department recognizes the importance of educating practices for responsible mass communication throughout virtual and physical world settings.

Our students acquire skills and aptitudes to succeed in today’s expanding world of news, including Web-based, interactive, digital journalism. Classes blend theory and practice to explore legal rights and ethical responsibilities while teaching students to cover the news and produce other material for mass communication under realistic deadlines and conditions. Seniors graduate with a diverse portfolio of professional work and the confidence to compete for a challenging range of jobs as reporters, editors, photojournalists, video storytellers, news researchers, page designers for print and on-line publications and organizations. Students also build skills for entrepreneurial mass communication initiatives.

The Department of Journalism and Digital Communication operates our own working newsroom: the Neighborhood News Bureau, which provides educational opportunities for students and service to the community.

Requirements for the B.A. in Journalism and Media Studies (JMS)

Undergraduate Degree RequirementsTo be admitted as a major in Journalism and Media Studies, students must have completed general education requirements or a minimum of 45 hours with a 2.75 minimum overall grade-point average, including ENC 1101 and 1102 with a grade of “C” or higher (no “C-”) in each. Applicants must establish a minimum score of 70 percent on the Department of Journalism and Digital Communication’s English Diagnostic Test (EDT) prior to being permitted to enroll in JOU 2100 (Introduction to Reporting). Students who take the pre-core MMC 2100 (Writing for the Mass Media) at USFSP will take the EDT as part of that curriculum. (Students who transfer MMC 2100 or its equivalent from another school must pass the EDT at USFSP with a score of at least 70 percent.) All three courses in the mass communications pre-core curriculum (MMC 2100, MMC 3602* and VIC 3001) must be completed with a minimum grade of “C” before any other JMS course may be taken. Students failing to achieve a minimum grade of “C” in MMC 2100, MMC 3602 and VIC 3001 will not be allowed to major in the department. A 2.5 GPA in JMS courses is required for graduation.

The JMS major requires nine hours of pre-core curriculum courses (MMC 2100, MMC 3602 and VIC 3001) and 35 hours that include required and selective sequence courses in the department for a total of 44 hours in JMS. Six hours in JMS writing courses (six hours in addition to MMC 2100) are a part of the graduation requirement.

Students in the JMS concentration are required to take a minimum of 72 hours in courses outside the journalism department, with no fewer than 65 of those hours in the basic liberal arts and sciences. (Liberal Arts courses are listed in materials available from the undergraduate adviser at the Academic Advising Center in Davis Hall.) No more than 44 hours of JMS courses may be applied toward the bachelor’s degree.

Journalism majors taking more than 44 hours of coursework in the content areas of journalism and media studies, regardless of the departments in which those courses are listed, must add those to the hours required for graduation, which may result in raised tuition fees. Advisers help students ensure that they meet this accreditation-required role.

At least 22 hours of courses taken in residence (online or on-campus) within the JDC department at USFSP. All material submitted by students as assignments in writing, reporting, editing, photography and electronic newsgathering or production classes is assumed to be available for publication or broadcast. The Department of Journalism and Digital Communication publishes material on our web pages and submits material to professional and campus affiliates.

Sign Language may be used as an option by JMS majors to fulfill the language requirement.

Most JDC courses have prerequisites as specified in the catalog course description (these prerequisites are separate from the State-mandated Common Prerequisites for program admission listed in the USF St. Petersburg catalog). The JMS major takes at least four semesters to complete. Some courses are offered only during the day or evening one time each academic year. Students are assigned faculty advisers within the department to ensure that students are making progress toward graduation.

Prerequisites (State-mandated Common Prerequisites)

Transfer students wishing to become majors in JMS should complete the A.A. degree at a Florida state community college. Some courses required for the major may also meet General Education Requirements thereby transferring maximum hours to the university. If students transfer without an A.A. degree and have fewer than 60 semester hours of acceptable credit, the students must meet the university’s entering freshman requirements including ACT or SAT test scores, GPA, and course requirements.

A maximum of nine semester hours in JMS courses will be accepted from a community college or other lower-level program toward a degree in journalism at USFSP. It is suggested that the nine hours include the equivalent of the department core curriculum. Approval by an academic adviser is required.

All students should also be aware of the immunization, foreign language, and continuous enrollment policies of the university.

Students should complete 18 semester hours outside the JMS curriculum and beyond the 36 hours of General Education requirements prior to entering the university or becoming a major. If these courses are not taken at the community college, they must be completed at USFSP before the degree is granted. A grade of “C” is the minimum acceptable grade. Students are encouraged to complete the following prerequisites, or major, support, or elective courses if available, during the program of study at the community college or in the freshman/sophomore years, and when feasible in General Education/Gordon Rule courses.

  • English Composition (minimum grade of “C”) (6 credits)
  • MMC 3602 Mass Communications and Society (3 credits)

Prior to being admitted to the Department of Journalism and Media Studies, a student must:

  • Complete a minimum of 45 semester hours including all General Education requirements and six hours of English composition (with a minimum grade of “C”)
  • Earn a 2.7 overall GPA
  • Pass a departmental-administered English Diagnostic Test

Required Coursework for the JMS Major

Pre-Core Curriculum   9 hours

  • MMC 2100 Writing for the Mass Media (3)
  • MMC 3602 Mass Comm and Society (3)
  • VIC 3001 Introduction to Visual Communication (3)

Foundation Core   9 hours (taken concurrently with Professional Core and Electives)

  • MMC 4200   Communications Law (3)
  • MMC 4203   Media Ethics (3)
  • MMC 4420   Research Methods (3)

Professional Core   11 hours (taken concurrently with Foundation Core and Electives)

  • JOU 2100    Beginning Reporting (3)
  • JOU 4200    News Editing I (3)
  • JOU 4188    Neighborhood News Bureau (3)
  • JOU 4938    Senior Seminar (2, to be completed within final 3 semesters of study)

Electives   15 hours (taken concurrently with Professional Core and Foundation Core)

  • JOU 3308   Magazine Article/Feature Writing (3)
  • JOU 4181   Public Affairs Reporting (3)
  • JOU 4206   News Editing and Design (3)
  • JOU 4212   Magazine Design and Production (3)
  • MMC 3141  Web Publishing (3)
  • MMC 4106  Science Writing (3)
  • MMC 4120  Media Convergence (3)
  • MMC 4131  Video Storytelling (3)
  • MMC 4503  Literary Journalism (3)
  • MMC 4900  Directed Reading (with adviser approval) (1-3)
  • MMC 4936  Entrepreneurial Blogging (3)
  • MMC 4945  Media Internship Seminar (3)
  • MMC 4936  Food Writing
  • MMC 4936  Race, Gender & Class in the Media (3)
  • MMC 4936  Sizzling Images
  • MMC 4936  Special Topics (with adviser approval, can be repeated for credit) (3)
  • MMC 4936  Video Storytelling II (3)
  • MMC 4936: Telling Stories with Data (3)
  • MMC 4936: Data Visualization (3)
  • MMC 4936: Virtual Reality and Alternative Storytelling (3)
  • PGY 3610   Photojournalism I (3)
  • PGY 3620   Photojournalism II (3)

Outside Requirements   9 hours

  • ANT 2410  Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (3 credits)

Choose 2 from among the following electives

  • ECO 2013  Macro Economics (3)
    ECO 2023  Micro Economics (3)
  • PHI 1103  Critical Thinking (3)
  • POS 2112 State and Local Government and Politics (3)
    POS 3142 Intro to Urban Politics & Government (3)
  • CCJ 3024   Survey of Criminal Justice System (3)
  • ARH 4724   History of Graphic Design (3)
  • PUP 4203   Environmental Politics and Policy (3)
  • BSC 2050   Environment (3)
  • PHI 3640   Environmental Ethics (3)
  • ANT 4462   Health, Illness and Culture (3)

Requirements for the Minor in Journalism and Media Studies

The minor in JMS is available to students pursuing any other major at USF St. Petersburg. Students who wish to minor must apply for admission to the JMS program and must meet all admission standards required of majors.

The minor in MC/JMS requires a minimum of 18 hours of program coursework, including:

  • MMC 2100 (3)
  • MMC 3602 (3)
  • VIC 3001 (3)

The other 9 hours may be selected from among the program course offerings. Nine of the 18 hours must include a minimum of 9 hours at the 3000-level or higher. All major course prerequisites must be met. A grade of “D” or “F” will not be counted toward a Journalism and Media Studies minor and a 2.5 grade point average in all minor coursework must be maintained. All minor hours must be completed at USF St. Petersburg.