The journalism major has a distinguished, award-winning faculty including winners of the Pulitzer Prize and the Freedom Forum Journalism Teacher of the Year Award. It draws a diverse group of students who graduate to jobs in newspapers, magazines, television, on-line journalism, and other fields requiring skills in reporting and writing. The major emphasizes both the theory and practice of journalism. Students receive a thorough grounding in the ethics and traditions of journalism as well as the nuts and bolts of reporting and writing. Although graduates of the program end up in a variety of fields including law, government, public relations, and teaching, the major is geared for students who want to work in journalism: daily or weekly newspapers, magazines, online publications, and broadcast media. Alumni work at The New York Times, The Boston Globe, National Public Radio, Dateline NBC, the Associated Press, and dozens of top media outlets around the world.
Admission to the journalism major is restricted. Although some first-year and transfer honors students are admitted directly into the major when they apply for admission to UMass Amherst, the major is restricted for students already on campus. Students from any major are welcome to apply. Students seeking to become journalism majors should apply during the first or second semester of the sophomore year. Transfer students may be admitted directly to the major during advising or may be asked to complete more coursework at UMass Amherst before applying. Students may obtain application materials and information on deadlines from the journalism office. The application requires a grade transcript, statement of purpose, and other materials. There are no prerequisites.
Journalism majors must complete JOURNAL 300: Newswriting and Reporting, as well at least one advanced writing course offered by the department. Students also choose any two of the following six courses—JOURNAL 312: Journalism and Law, JOURNAL 320: History of American Journalism, JOURNAL 345: Media Criticism, JOURNAL 360: Ethics, JOURNAL 450: Freedom of the Press, JOURNAL 493LJ: Literary Journalism. They must also complete at least four additional elective courses from the department, numbered 200 and above, for a total of at least twenty-six credits in journalism courses, but no more than thirty-six. Finally, students complete a formal minor from outside the Department of Communication. If no formal minor exists, students complete fifteen credits in courses numbered 200 or above in an individual concentration, with the written approval of the Chief Undergraduate Advisor.
No minor is available in Journalism.
Contact the departmental honors coordinator for information on how to pursue honors opportunities within the major.
Internships and Study Abroad
Journalism does not require an internship, but strongly urges students to do at least one. Internships help build skills and professional networks. Students can do an internship after their first year at UMass; it’s recommended that they take Journalism 300 before doing an internship. The journalism website includes much helpful information about internships, as does Career Services.
International study and mastery of a language other than English enrich the academic experience. Students thinking about international study or internships should meet with an academic advisor as soon as possible to schedule requirements for the major during semesters in residence on campus. Go to the journalism website and the International Programs Office for details on study abroad.
Journalism majors acquire qualifications for positions in which reporting, research, writing, and editing are central. These may include work for newspapers and other news organizations, book publishing, public relations, and government agencies. The major is also recognized as strong liberal arts preparation for graduate study in such fields as journalism, mass communication, history, advertising and public relations, or law.
108 Bartlett Hall
Undergraduate Academic Advisor: Razvan Sibii, 110a Bartlett Hall, 413.545.1376