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New Brunswick Undergraduate Catalog 2020-2022 School of Communication and Information Programs of Study Journalism and Media Studies  

Journalism and Media Studies

The journalism and media studies (JMS) major provides an opportunity to study print, broadcast, electronic journalism, and new media, including law and ethics as well as media theory, with an emphasis on how the media affects individuals, social groups, and political processes in a democratic society. The major provides undergraduate students with a broad spectrum of courses in the theory and practice of journalism and media, preparing them for professional careers in magazines, the creative industries, television, newspapers, radio, web production, media management, the news agencies and wire services, publishing, and public information service in the government and private sectors. Journalism and media studies students are encouraged to take electives outside the School of Communication and Information (SC&I) to complement both their studies in the major and their career interests.

Graduates who successfully complete the program will be able to:

  • [EXPRESSION] Write fluently, produce content, and tell stories across evolving media platforms.
  • [ANALYSIS] Demonstrate analytical and critical thinking, formulate research questions and use appropriate methods, evaluate and use appropriate sources, identify and gather relevant data in journalism and media contexts.
  • [ETHICS] Develop a critical understanding of the ethical standards and tensions in journalistic and media practices and institutions and apply this understanding to academic and professional activities.
  • [POWER] Critically analyze issues of diversity, difference, social justice, and power in media in a global context.
  • [SYSTEMS] Explain social, political, cultural, and economic dimensions of media technologies, institutions, practices, policies, and regulations.
  • [INNOVATION] Innovate with tools and technologies appropriate for media professions.

Career Opportunities

The program offers a broad spectrum of courses in the theory and practice of journalism and media studies, preparing students for professional careers in print, broadcast, new media, advertising, and public relations and public information services in the government and private sectors. The courses focus on the practice of journalism and mass media and the impact of media on society, new technology and the media, public policy and understanding, and the planning and development of public information systems.

The JMS major also provides strong writing skills and academic preparation for students who are preprofessional for law school, M.B.A. programs, and other advanced degrees.

Admission to the Major

SC&I accepts applications to majors in the fall, spring, and summer semesters.

Admission to the journalism and media studies major is competitive; meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee acceptance. General writing ability and communication skills, as evidenced in both the personal essay of the application and success in relevant courses are required. Minimum requirements for admission include

  • completion of at least 15 credits at Rutgers, or 15 transfer credits, with a grade-point average (GPA) of 2.0 or better;
  • a grade of C or better in the required prerequisite course 04:189:102 Introduction to Media Systems and Processes (or an equivalent transfer course);
  • a grade of C or better in Expository Writing or an equivalent course or placement; and
  • completion of the application including a personal statement.

If students do not earn a grade of C or better in 04:189:102, the course may be retaken one time.

Grades in other journalism and media studies courses will get particular attention, but applicants are not required to have taken such courses before applying. The admissions committee may seek evidence of interest in journalism and media studies including extracurricular involvement. The admissions committee considers the following criteria when reviewing student essays: (a) evidence of your interest in the major; (b) your future plans and their relationship to the major; (c) your strength as a writer; and (d) any other qualities that make you a strong candidate for admission to the journalism and media studies major. Students may be admitted for the fall, spring, and summer semesters; check the website for application deadlines each semester. Students are strongly encouraged to consult the school's website for up-to-date information regarding admissions procedures, program requirements, course offerings, and special programs.

Details about deadlines as well as application forms are available at

Preparation for the Major and School Requirement

Students majoring in journalism and media studies must complete the prerequisite survey requirement of 04:189:102 Introduction to Media Systems and Processes (3) or an equivalent transfer course before admission to the major.

A second major is high advantageous for students preparing for a career in the mass media. Students are strongly encouraged to pursue a second major, or at least a minor, which must be outside of the School of Communication and Information since double majors within the school are not allowed.

The major demands that students carefully formulate their program of coursework. Students should consult an adviser for guidance at least once a year.

SC&I Interdisciplinary Requirement (3 credits)

Students must fulfill an interdisciplinary requirement within the school outside of the major prior to their senior year in order to graduate:

04:189:101  Introduction to Communication and Information Processes (3) or
04:189:103  Information Technology and Informatics (3)

Core Major Requirements

Several pathways in the major allow students to achieve their career goals:

Journalism and Emerging Media: Built upon the foundation of traditional media (broadcasting and print), this path offers students the opportunity to concentrate in newer journalistic pursuits such as online, social media, and citizen journalism.

Media and Society: Students study the impacts and effects of media, politics, social change, diversity, and other topics on the state, country, and world levels. This path is appropriate for students interested in a focus on media studies.

Creative Media Practice:
Students learn different forms of media production, practice, and industry analysis. This path prepares students for careers emphasizing creative, managerial, and entrepreneurial media opportunities, including social media, entertainment media, and strategic communications. Students learn how to work with newer technologies and apply those skills in the ever-changing media environment. Creative media practice classes present the opportunity to analyze the role production plays in the development of media.

All JMS majors must complete 33 credits:

  • 04:567:200  Writing for Media (3)
  • 04:567:201  Media Ethics (3)
  • 1 foundation course (3 credits) from their selected pathway
  • 2 courses (6 credits) in Practice and Innovation
  • 2 courses (6 credits) in Concept and Analysis; at least one of these two courses must be at the 400 level
  • 12 credits of electives

Students may opt to select a specialization in sports journalism or in global media. The program offers a number of study abroad opportunities and financial aid is sometimes available to support participation.

Check the program's website for the most up-to-date list of courses and specializations.

Students may take any course in the major as an elective, including foundation courses from another track.

Students must earn a grade of C or better in all courses in order for those courses to count toward the major.

Internships and Other Educational Opportunities

An internship is a highly recommended capstone experience for JMS majors. Students pursue placements in major media outlets throughout the New Jersey, New York, and Philadelphia markets.

The department internship coordinator assists students in finding an internship. Students must qualify, receive permission, and then register for the 6-credit internship. To qualify, a student must be a major who completed a minimum of 75 overall credits and five journalism (567) courses, at least three of which must be skills courses; have an overall GPA of 2.5 or better; and have a 2.75 GPA or better in the major.

Course Transfers

A maximum of 6 credits from outside the JMS program may be counted toward the major. A maximum of 3 transfer credits (or one course) may be applied to the conceptual requirement and a maximum of 3 transfer credits (or one course) may be applied to the skills requirement.

Courses that students have taken at other New Jersey colleges, which are articulated through the NJ Transfer system and recorded on a student's transcript with a JMS course number, will be counted toward the major. However, such courses do count as transfer courses to the major and therefore a maximum of 6 credits may be applied to the major.

Students who wish to have a course they have taken elsewhere at Rutgers or externally at another university considered as one of their required or elective courses in the journalism and media studies major must submit a request for transfer equivalency in writing to the Office of Student Services. To submit such a request, the letter of petition must include a copy of the full syllabus of the course, a copy of the student's transcript showing the grade achieved, note which JMS course it is requested to replace, and the reasons for consideration. The courses are evaluated in terms of their very close match of content and skills to the JMS course, the level of the course, and the grade achieved, which should typically be a B or better. Students will be notified in writing of the outcome of the petition.

Dual-Bachelor's/Master's Degree Program for Journalism and Media Studies Majors

JMS majors in their junior or senior year may apply to the master's program in communication and media (M.C.M.) for a dual-B.A./M.C.M. program that allows completion of both degrees in as little as five years. If accepted, certain journalism/media studies courses taken in the senior year will count toward both the undergraduate degree and the master's. Once the bachelor's degree is completed, students will be in the master's program and complete requirements.


Admission requirements are the same as for all M.C.M. applicants. Details about the application process and degree requirements are on the school's website.

For additional information, contact RU-info at 848-445-info (4636) or
Comments and corrections to: Campus Information Services.

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