Bachelor’s Degrees in Journalism
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 5 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 5 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.
Featured Online Schools
#1 THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN
AUSTIN, TX | BACHELOR OF ARTS IN JOURNALISM
Website | Score: 100
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
#2 NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY
EVANSTON, IL | BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN JOURNALISM
Website | Score: 99.6
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
#3 UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
LOS ANGELES, CA | BACHELOR OF ARTS IN PRINT AND DIGITAL JOURNALISM, BROADCAST & DIGITAL JOURNALISM
Website | Score: 97.1
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
#4 THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL
CHAPEL HILL, NC | BACHELOR OF ARTS IN MEDIA AND JOURNALISM
Website | Score: 96
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
#5 UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON
MADISON, WI | BACHELOR OF ARTS IN JOURNALISM
Website | Score: 94.6
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