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Journalism Degree

Journalism encompasses both the activity and the product of sharing recent news and/or information. It is the methods used to gather information and literary techniques to report on recent events as well as the fruits of those labors in all of its forms—in print, digital, and broadcast, over both television and radio. For all that the word “journalism” includes, it isn’t just any sort of communication. With the online world awash with blogs and emails overrun with spam, it can be hard to discern what’s true journalism. A journalist, practicing sound journalism, verifies accuracy systematically and, not only do they report facts, they discover the truth surrounding them. Journalism degrees are available at multiple levels, include associate, baccalaureate, and master.

Associate Level

At the associate level, a degree in journalism will qualify you for most entry-level positions in the industry, though it won’t necessarily make you a competitive candidate alone. The curriculum will likely include the history of journalism, news writing, verbal communication, and may even touch on advanced subjects within the area of study depending on the program. Completion typically takes two years.

Career paths for graduates with an associate’s in journalism: Journalist, Reporter, Advertiser, Public Relations Employee. The average salary in this field of study is $36,000.


A bachelor’s degree in journalism is the most commonly attained level, and it will feature more advanced classes on the fundamentalism of journalism. Working with informants, mass media law, copy editing and editorial analysis, understanding public versus private figure status, and avoiding slander will be included in the curriculum. At this level, there’s more opportunity to study web, blogging, and social media, which is largely where journalism is moving to.

With news sources becoming largely digital, complementing journalistic skills with some tech-based knowledge becomes crucial. Learning how to create video and audio stories, display data, use basic coding, and take advantage of search engine optimization (SEO) can be particularly useful. Gaining proficiency in programs such as Photoshop is also a marketable skill.

Another way to be competitive in this field is to minor in a subject of interest. Minoring in biology can lead to a job in medical writing. Other great options include: a foreign language, business, graphic design, psychology, business, or marketing. Finding a niche to be passionate about will up competitiveness.

Career paths for graduates with a baccalaureate in journalism include: Broadcast Journalist, Editorial Assistant, Magazine Features Editor, Magazine Journalist, Newspaper Journalist, Press Sub-Editor, Publishing Copy-Editor/Proofreader, Web Content Manager, Writer, Digital Copywriter, Advertising Copywriter, Science Writer, Translator, Multimedia Specialist. The median salary with this level of education is $55,000.

Master Level

A master’s degree in journalism curriculum will include more on journalism law, multimedia storytelling, and often include specialized courses, such as sports journalism or foreign correspondence. Rigorous training in investigative journalism, photojournalism, narrative writing, and documentary work are typically available, as well. Depending on the program, there’s often time spent on the wide variety of software and platforms that can improve journalistic skills, including on Wordpress CMS, Final Cut Pro X, tabula and data line cleaning, and Sublime Text Editor.

This level of education in journalism is typically expensive and the field, especially upon entry, is low-paying, so, depending on specific situations, the benefits may not outweigh the subsequent debt. There aren’t many (if any) journalism careers that require a master’s degree, though it can only increase competitiveness.

Doctorate Level

Largely reserved for academics and those interested in becoming professors, a doctorate in journalism isn’t required for a journalism career outside of academia. There are a minimal number of schools that offer a PhD in Journalism — it’s more typically a PhD in Communications with a focus in journalism. Students will conduct original research, exploring key empirical and theoretical concerns. They will take advanced seminars, complete stints teaching, and often defend a dissertation at this level of education.

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