In an age of so-called “fake news,” good journalism is needed now more than ever. A central plank of American Democracy is a free press whose responsibility is to inform society about public events and issues so that people can make informed decisions. To pursue one of the 15 Best Bachelor’s Degrees in Journalism, then, is to seek a body of knowledge linked to public trust. If that’s too dramatic for you, then just remember how the heart of what a journalist does is to tell stories—— which is why there are many possible doors that a journalism major can open for you.
Careers for students who pursue a journalism major may vary. Aside from the traditional journalism positions, they can also include career titles such as corporate communications specialist, an occupation used to inform employees of internal company policies and events. Students who major in journalism could also become: copywriters, editors, and grant writers; or even work as a public relations specialist, sports information director, a technical writer, or a social media specialist. Journalists have also found successful careers in law, business, web production, and filmmaking.
The job outlook for more traditional forms of journalism is shrinking. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for reporters are expected to decline by around nine percent over the next seven years. This is in large measure due to new technologies displacing older methods of newsgathering and dissemination. However, the new forms of technology will also open new avenues for enterprising individuals who still believe that a free press is essential for a democracy to work.
Best College Reviews provides degree rankings, such as the 15 Best Bachelor Degrees in Journalism 2020, from carefully researched data sets published from government and nonprofit organizations across the United States. Five primary factors affect how we rank degrees:
- 25% Student Satisfaction
- 30% Earning Potential
- 15% Retention Data
- 20% Affordability
- 10% Acceptance Rates
For an in-depth breakdown of how we calculate each ranking, check out our Methodology page.
#15 SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY
BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN BROADCAST AND DIGITAL JOURNALISM
Syracuse University is a private research university with an enrollment of over 22,000 students annually. SU offers degrees in over 200 different majors through its nine different undergraduate schools and colleges, and through its S.I Newhouse School of Public Communications, students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast and Digital Journalism. The degree is designed to equip students to work in a variety of environments — television, radio, online, or print. BSBDJ students study the critical practices of journalists like writing, information gathering, editing, anchoring, and reporting, as well as critical issues and questions facing the field of journalism.
The major consists of courses such as Television and Digital News Reporting, Multimedia Storytelling, Diversity and Media Issues, Communications Law for Journalists, and Videography for Broadcast Journalism. Students finish a capstone experience where they research, write, make editorial decisions, and ultimately deliver an entire news program. There are also six additional electives available from other programs in NSPC. The size of the major makes it very easy to add a second major in a variety of fields like history, sociology, psychology, or political science. SU offers also offers a robust study abroad program where journalism majors have studied in London, Madrid, Florence, and Santiago. Students are encouraged to hone their skills by working in one of the three campus radio stations, student newspapers, or the student-operated television station on campus. The NSPC strongly encourages students to pursue internships in journalism whether locally, nationally, or globally.
Net Price: $35,306
#14 EMERSON COLLEGE
BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN JOURNALISM
Emerson College’s Department of Journalism is located in the School of Communications and offers a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. EC delivers its general education program through a Liberal Arts core classes which deal with topics like language, mathematics, the social and natural sciences, history, and interdisciplinary studies. Students are also encouraged to get involved in various co-curricular activities such as participating in the Berkeley Beacon, one of two radio stations run by EC, or the EC television station WEBN. Each these opportunities provide invaluable experience for students as they work in their field with other students, faculty, and professional journalists.
The Journalism major consists of 44 credits and classes are organized around four broad principles: discovery, adapt, illuminate, and respect. Discovery courses train students on the various methods and journalistic mindsets necessary for investigative reporting. Adaptation refers to the need for journalists to be constant lifelong learners who are inquisitive about new ideas, tools, and methods. The illumination principle refers to the necessity of journalists to expose and clarify issues for the larger public good. The principle of respect deals with the ever-evolving relationship between journalists and the public, as well as the need to consider other views, to keep confidentiality, and to protect privacy in their journalistic endeavors. Students complete three basic required courses and choose from clusters such as Daily Journalism, Conceptual Journalism, Reporting Skills, In-depth Journalism, and Enterprise Journalism. Students also have a capstone experience where they create a professional portfolio for potential employers.
Net Price: $42,070
#13 CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY-DOMINGUEZ HILLS
BACHELOR OF ARTS IN COMMUNICATIONS: JOURNALISM OPTION
California State University—Dominguez Hills is a public university with enrollment that annually exceeds 14,000 students. Located in the College of Arts and Humanities, the Department of Communications offers a Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a Journalism concentration. The program gives students an excellent grounding in the skills, practices, and key concepts in journalism and strongly emphasizes critical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical reasoning. The program is also adept at engaging the new media landscape and its implications for the profession, as well as bringing students into touch with one of the basic impulses of journalism, to speak truth to power.
The BACJ major builds on the general education curriculum which is 55-62 credits. Required courses include News and Information Literacy, Media Industries, Writing for the Media, News Gathering and Reporting, and New Production. The department offers 19 different electives including Photojournalism, Sports Journalism, Multi-Media Interviewing Practices, Digital Magazine Production, and Media Psychology. Capstone experiences include a student project and an internship, which requires 120 hours of work at their job site.
Net Price: $4,957
#12 LEHMAN COLLEGE
BACHELOR OF ARTS IN JOURNALISM
Lehman College is part of the City University of New York and is located in the Bronx. The college regularly enrolls over 10,000 students a year and offers more than 90 undergraduate and graduate degrees in various formats. Located in the School of Arts and Humanities, the Department of Journalism and Media Studies offers a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. LC has a flexible general education program of around 55 credits which forms the base for the major. The JMS department is intimately involved in The Bronx Journal, which is a well-respected online student-run news publication. The publication offers features, breaking news, photo galleries, and other news stories focused on the Bronx neighborhood. The Bronx Journal provides a ready context in a laboratory setting where students can hone their journalistic skills.
The major consists of 42-43 with required courses such as Introduction to Multilingual Media, Journalism Ethics, Multimedia Editing and Proofreading, and Reporting. Students can choose a concentration in Journalism or Multilingual Media consisting of 18-19 credits. The Journalism concentration features courses like Interviewing for Mainstream and Ethnic Media; Covering Race, Gender, and Ethnicity; and Online News Page Design and Editing. The MM concentration offers other similar classes, but with advanced language studies in French, Italian, or Spanish. All students complete a faculty-directed capstone experience.
Net Price: $2,939
#11 UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN JOURNALISM
The main campus of the University of Illinois is located in Urbana-Champaign in the wind-swept fields of central Illinois. UI is comprised of 16 colleges and schools including the College of Media where the Department of Journalism is located. The department offers a 124-credit Bachelor of Science in Journalism to prepare students for a wide variety of careers in journalism. Students take 39 credits of required courses like Newsgathering Across Platforms; Journalism Ethics and Diversity; Multimedia Editing and Design; and Media and Public Opinion.
Elective courses include Crisis Communications, Great Books in Journalism, Propaganda and the News Media, International Reporting, and Science Journalism. The CM also offers Media Career Services to work with students to develop their vision and portfolio for prospective employers. MCS sponsors a Media Career Night where students can meet with alumni as well as working professionals in various media-related fields to hear about their experience getting into the job market and what they have learned in terms of the kinds of skills that are needed to succeed in journalism.
Net Price: $16,638
#10 UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND
COLLEGE PARK, MD
BACHELOR OF ARTS IN JOURNALISM
The University of Maryland offers over 200 different degree programs including a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism through the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Journalism students at UMD are required to finish courses such as Journalism History, Roles, and Structures, Interactive Design and Development, Media Research, Journalism and Society, and Journalism Law and Ethics. Within the major, students can also choose to tailor their coursework around a specific specialization. Options include a Broadcast specialization, an Investigative Reporting specialization, and a Sports specialization. These give students the flexibility to shape their degree according to their interests and needs.
The PMCJ program also emphasizes the need for journalism students to be well-rounded and develop abstract, critical thinking skills through upper-level concentrations. Potential concentrations include Art History, Black Women’s Studies, Law and Society, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Global Studies. The PMCJ has additional resources and experiences that students are encouraged to take advantage of for building networks, developing friendships, and furthering their education. These include the National Association of Black Journalists, the International Center for Media and the Public Agenda, and Capital News Service.
Net Price: $17,241
#9 NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY
BACHELOR OF ARTS IN JOURNALISM
A private research university, Northeastern University is comprised of over 18 colleges and schools including the School of Journalism which offers a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. Students can enter a four-year or five-year co-op program to complete their degree. NU has been consistently ranked in the top for its internship programs and is currently listed as No. 1 for the Best Schools for Internships by Princeton Review. Some of their co-op partners include The Boston Globe, NBC Universal Television, CBS Television, Boston.com, Reebok, and 360 Public Relations. Though students do not receive college credit for their co-op experiences, they do receive invaluable professional experience.
The BAJ requires 49 credits of courses such as Fundamentals of Reporting, Visual Storytelling in Journalism, Digital Storytelling and Social Media, The First Amendment and the Media, and The History of Journalism: How the News Became the News. The degree is flexible and easily paired with several other majors including English, Political Science, Media and Screen Studies, Information Science, and Interaction Design. In fact, Journalism majors can also graduate with a Bachelor of Science instead of a BA If they double major with Information Science, Computer Science, or Interaction Design.
Net Price: $30,784
#8 THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
BACHELOR OF ARTS IN JOURNALISM AND MASS COMMUNICATION
George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs is a subset of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences and currently offers a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication. The JMC major consists of 56 credits with courses such as Journalism: Theory and Practice, Introduction to News Writing and Reporting, Data Analysis for Journalism and Political Communication, Media Law, and Journalism Ethics. JMC students also complete five advanced courses for writing and reporting. The program at GWU also provides 30 different classes like Media History; Editing and Design for Print and Web; Washington Reporting; Editorial and Persuasive Writing; and Media in the Developing World.
GWU is among a select few schools to have been recognized for facilitating internships, where students can simultaneously earn college credits. Through the Center for Career Services, students can not only find leads for internships but can also apply for the Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund, which is a grant to help students pursue unpaid internships. The KACIF fund has dispersed over $440,000 to students since 2013. The SMPA also offers several prizes and scholarships for continuing and incoming students including the White House Correspondents’ Association Scholarship. SMPA disbursed over $150,000 worth of prizes and scholarships to students during the 2017-18 school year.
Net Price: $37,638
#7 CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY—FULLERTON
BACHELOR OF ARTS IN COMMUNICATION, JOURNALISM CONCENTRATION
California State University-Fullerton offers over 109 degrees and has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, Journalism Concentration through the College of Communications. The JC major requires courses like History and Philosophy of American Mass Communication, Writing for Mass Media, and Reporting for Mass Media. Students also have nine credits of elective courses that can be taken from 17 different courses including Working in the Magazine Industry; Reporting on the Entertainment Industry; Magazine Editing and Production; Interactive Media Design; and Feature Article Writing.
Students also have two capstone options as well as an internship. One capstone places students on the editorial staff of the university newspaper where they receive training in print, online, and magazine-style journalism. The second capstone requires students to work with OC News, which provides daily television, radio, and web newscasts to local news consumers. Students are required to complete a minimum of 120 hours at an approved site which they work out with the Titan Communications office, which is the CSUF digital media center. TC also offers academic support as well as several experiential learning opportunities through the course of the year.
Net Price: $8,562
#6 BOSTON UNIVERSITY
BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN JOURNALISM
Boston University’s Department of Journalism is located in the College of Communication and offers a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. The Journalism major consists of 48 credits divided into four broad areas. Students take four credits worth of communications requirements, and between four and eight credits for professional core classes which focus on internship and internship experiences. There are also 24 credits in basic journalism courses including Introduction to Communication Writing, History and Principles of Journalism, Visual Storytelling, Reporting in Depth, and Law and Ethics in Journalism. Then students take 16 credits in upper-level journalism courses which include classes like Business and Economics Reporting, Sports Journalism, Art of the Interview, Covering Politics, and Radio Station Management.
The BU journalism program has already produced 24 Pulitzer Prize winners and boasts several prominent names in journalism are alumni of the program, including Erica Hill, Tyler Hicks, and Kase Wickman. The COM Career Services department is also a great resource for students whether they are the end of their college career, or just beginning. The CCS offers services like helping students find internships, offering a place to practice interview skills, improving your online profile, and writing a stellar cover letter. Students can also take advantage of opportunities at WTBU, the student-run radio station, which has also received national recognition for its work as a student-run college station.
Net Price: $33,728
#5 UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON
BACHELOR OF ARTS IN JOURNALISM
The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications offers a 120-credit Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Journalism. Journalism students at UW Madison complete introductory courses like Mass Communication Practices and Information for Communication, before moving on to take upper-level courses. Students are required to choose between tracks within the program: either a Journalism track or a Strategic Communication track. JT classes include Principles and Practices of Reporting, In-Depth Reporting, Investigative Reporting, Community-Based Reporting, or Emerging Media and the News. For the SCT, students complete Strategic Media Planning, Strategic Media Relations, Long Form Video, and Public Relations Strategies.
Students have other class options to broaden their journalistic approach. Options include International Communication, Literary Aspects of Journalism, History of Mass Communication, Social Networks in Communication, and Communication and Public Opinion. The CLS also offers career services through the SuccessWorks program, which helps current students find internships, employment, prepare for interviews, and career prospects. In addition, there are also several student-run media outlets at UW Madison, including The Daily Cardinal, The Badger Herald, and WSUM radio where students can get involved to learn new skills and develop friendships. SJMC also has a chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists where students can network and gain access to experiential learning events.
Net Price: $15,910
#4 THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL
CHAPEL HILL, NC
BACHELOR OF ARTS IN MEDIA AND JOURNALISM
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers a Bachelor of Arts in Media and Journalism through the School of Media and Journalism. The degree requires 120 credits of which 39 credits are in the major. The major is broken down into four areas, which include a School core, concentration classes, conceptual courses, and a capstone. School core classes embrace both, the Media and Journalism concentration and the Advertising and Public Relations concentration. Either concentration addresses various issues related to the practice and theory of journalism, such as Introduction to Public Affairs Reporting’ Special Skills in Mass Communication; Television News Reporting and Producing; Broadcasting News and Production Management; and Environmental and Science Documentary Television.
Conceptual courses broaden student perspectives and knowledge by giving them the contextual knowledge necessary for quality journalistic analysis. Classes include The Black Press and United States History; Global Communication and Comparative Journalism; Freedom of Expression in the United States; The Branding of Me, and New Media Technologies: Their Impact on the Future of Advertising, Marketing; and Public Relations. Capstone courses industry-specific and include classes like Photojournalism Project; Leadership in a Time of Change; Magazine Writing and Editing; Business Journalism Management; and Business News Wire. Students at UNC-Chapel Hill are additionally encouraged to pursue internships and participate in various on-campus publications such as The Daily Tar Heel, Black Ink, Blue and White, The Siren, and the Her Campus website.
Net Price: $11,100
#3 UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
LOS ANGELES, CA
BACHELOR OF ARTS IN PRINT AND DIGITAL JOURNALISM, BROADCAST & DIGITAL JOURNALISM
Through the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, the University of Southern California offers a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast and Digital Journalism, and Print and Digital Journalism. ASCJ is a highly competitive program, with incoming freshman entering the program with a 3.7 GPA. Both majors require students to take lower-level courses–– such as History of News in Modern America, Newswriting: Print, and Newswriting: Broadcast–– in addition to upper-level courses, which are Investigative Reporting, Law of Mass Communication, Introduction to Online Media, and Reporting: Print.
There are, however, two upper-level courses that outline the main differences between each major. For BABDJ students can take classes like Advanced Television Reporting, Television News Production, Non-Fiction Television, and Radio News Production. BAPDJ majors can take classes such as Feature Writing; Writing Magazine Non-Fiction; Environmental Journalism; or Government and Public Affairs Reporting. Rounding out the major are six credits of electives in upper-level courses in the division of journalism. The ASCJ also offers several exceptional international experiences for journalism students in locations such as London or New Zealand during the Spring semesters. The major only consists of 44 credits, which makes it ideal for combining with a minor or major such as Public Relations, Political Science, or English.
Net Price: $32,892
#2 NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY
BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN JOURNALISM
Located in the Evanston, IL, a northern suburb of Chicago, Northwestern University is a private comprehensive research university with an 8.4 percent acceptance rate. The Medill School of Journalism, Media, and Integrated Marketing Communications offers a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. The major includes a core curriculum as well as electives and a requirement to have a concentration in a subject outside Medill which is meant to ensure that all majors are well rounded. Core classes include Journalism in Practice; Media Law and Ethics; Multimedia Storytelling; Philosophy of Modern Journalism; and Reporting and Writing. Journalism majors at Northwestern can take electives such as The Googlization of America; Heath and Science Reporting; Introduction to Investigative Reporting; Journalism in a Networked World; and Journalism Research Methods: Collecting and Analyzing Audience Data in the Digital News Age.
In addition, Northwestern’s journalism students are required to finish an internship experience through one of the many NU partners, traditionally including CNN, Instagram, and SI.com. Students can also take advantage of NU’s Knight Lab which is an interdisciplinary and collaborative environment that brings together students, working journalists, designers, and developers to create new spaces for the practice of journalism. Students admitted to the program will study with one of the best faculty in the world of journalism. Among former and present faculty are some 38 different Pulitzer Prize winners, and alumni from the program are also well known, including Mara Brock Akil, Peter Alexander, Kai Bird, Sheinelle Jones, and George R.R. Martin, many of whom are regularly invited back to NU to speak to current students about their experiences in the field.
Net Price: $26,099
#1 THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN
BACHELOR OF ARTS IN JOURNALISM
The University of Texas at Austin’s School of Journalism is located in the Moody College of Communication and offers a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. The major requires 36 credits in the SJ as well as 12 credits in the MCC. UT Austin also provides several opportunities to study abroad and gain journalistic experiences through programs at the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, Texas Newswatch, Texas Program in Sports and Media, and a variety of student media publications including The Daily Texan, Texas Travesty, KVRX 91.7, and TSTV.
Students proceed through the major by completing four levels of instruction, which includes two levels of six-credit fundamentals, 18 credits of specializations, and six credits involving professional practices. Fundamental courses include Digital Storytelling Basics, Reporting: Words, and Reporting: Images. The specializations level — which is the heart of the program — requires Media Law and courses organized as Concept Courses and Skills Courses. The CC specialization addresses broader issues for classes such as Understanding African-Americans and the Media, News for a Mobile Audience, and Media and Minorities. The SC specialization alternatively deals with the actual practices of journalism with courses like Reporting Social Justice, Navigating State Government, and Education Reporting.
Net Price: $14,356