If you are a curious individual with a knack for storytelling, earning an online journalism degree may be a fitting path for you.
Journalism majors have the opportunity to develop skills in logical reasoning, content creation, reporting, and investigative journalism. They can also build strong interpersonal and presentation skills.
Editorial Listing ShortCode:
Many graduates go on to pursue careers that allow plenty of room for flexibility and creativity, often helping inform and change communities in significant ways.
Online Journalism Degrees
A journalism degree program teaches you the necessary skills to uncover, write, and report news stories for a target audience. You can also learn best practices for conducting research and interviewing people as well as checking facts and sources.
Individuals who are drawn to journalism as a major are often detail-oriented, curious, and self-driven. They typically have strong interpersonal skills, allowing them to find the heart of a good story through interviewing others. Journalists generally have a strong understanding of what makes a compelling story. They use their knowledge of narrative to communicate a specific story to an audience in an engaging way.
During a typical bachelor’s degree in journalism program, you may take courses such as:
- Multimedia storytelling
- Investigative reporting techniques
- Feature storytelling
- First amendment law
- Long-form narrative
- Media law and ethics
- Audio storytelling
- Writing and reporting
These courses are designed to help you build a strong foundation in storytelling, communication, and reporting. They also explore the role of free speech in journalism and provide an opportunity to analyze ethical debates in the media.
Editorial Listing ShortCode:
Many journalism bachelor degree programs also include an internship requirement. This provides a hands-on opportunity to develop skills in a real-world professional environment. After graduation, many journalism majors pursue work in journalism as well as other media and communications industries. Others continue their educations in either on-campus or online masters in journalism programs.
Professionals with a journalism degree may pursue careers like the following:
- Content manager
- Public relations manager
A journalism degree program can help you develop many transferable skills that are applicable in a number of industries, including journalism, advertising, and public relations.
Some of these versatile skills include:
- Active listening
The ability to connect with others, persevere when things are difficult, and reflect on professional successes or shortcomings are beneficial skills in any industry.
Common Online Journalism Degree Concentrations
The field of journalism is broad, and it encompasses many subtopics. Journalism majors often have the opportunity to select a concentration to focus their studies on a specialty area. Common concentrations include:
- Public Relations. This concentration combines key concepts from journalism, public relations, and multimedia. Topics studied may include writing, research, public speaking, and strategic planning.
- Sports Journalism. Designed for anyone with an interest in sports writing and reporting, this concentration prepares students for work in sports journalism. You can learn how to write feature pieces, shoot sports photos, and analyze political issues in sports.
- Photojournalism. This concentration focuses on using images to tell a story. You may take courses in photography, digital editing, composition, and storytelling.
- Broadcast Journalism. In this concentration, you can learn the foundations of radio and television reporting. Typical topics covered include news production, broadcast news writing, multimedia storytelling, and audio and video editing.
- Writing and Publishing. This concentration focuses on the writing and publishing aspect of print journalism. You might study copyediting, accounting, book production, and distribution.
Selecting a concentration can help you focus on a specific area, allowing you to learn the skills for your preferred industry or career path.
Journalism Careers & Salaries
There’s a wide variety of job opportunities available to individuals with a BA in Journalism. Many careers related to journalism require strong communication and problem-solving skills. They also require a deep understanding of ethical and professional boundaries, especially when interviewing others.
Management positions often require several years of professional experience, but journalism studies can help you enter the fields of advertising, public relations, and other communication sectors. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, here are the median salaries for some of the career paths related to journalism.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers||$133,380|
|Writers and Authors||$69,510|
|Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists||$63,920|
|Public Relations Specialists||$62,800|
|Broadcast, Sound, and Video Technicians||$49,050|
|News Analysts, Reporters, and Journalists||$48,370|
|Announcers and DJs||$45,810|
It can be helpful to choose a degree concentration that aligns with your professional goals. That could allow you to learn the specific skills needed to be successful in a certain industry, such as public relations or broadcasting.
Editorial Listing ShortCode:
It should be noted that a bachelor’s degree in journalism can help you qualify for jobs in the field, but it does not promise a specific position or salary. The jobs you are eligible for and the amount you earn may be impacted by factors such as your geographic location, previous work experience, and area of academic study.
Bachelor of Journalism Curriculum & Courses
A bachelor degree program in journalism will combine traditional journalism courses with current topics in the field, such as social media.
Curricula at journalism major colleges may include courses similar to the following:
- Multimedia Storytelling: In this course, you’ll learn how to tell a story using different media formats and platforms.
- Investigative Reporting Techniques: This course teaches you necessary investigative tools and techniques, exploring topics like analyzing data, cultivating sources, and using public records to inform reporting.
- Feature Storytelling: In this course, you’ll learn how to craft a compelling feature story by using elements of narrative to bring a nonfiction or factual experience to life.
- First Amendment Law: This course examines the importance of the first amendment in journalism and explores potential issues, covering topics like commercial speech, political expression, and free exercise of religion.
- Modern Journalism: This course explores the ways in which journalism has changed and evolved with the advent of new technology, impacting the way people consume information.
- Media Law and Ethics: In this course, you’ll learn about the legal rules guiding journalism, including freedoms and restrictions, trademark laws, and copyright issues.
- Audio Storytelling: This course covers the fundamentals of telling audio stories, exploring topics such as pitching stories, editing software, and podcast development.
- Writing and Reporting: This is an introductory course that includes the basics of accurate journalism, covering topics like editing and presentation, visual literacy, and information gathering.
- Data Analysis and Visualization: In this course, you’ll explore the role of data in modern journalism, learning how to create interactive data representations, analyze data, and anticipate how people will make sense of infographics.
- Social Media Video: This course examines the algorithms and business models of social media news posts, exploring innovative examples, necessary applications, and current trends.
Throughout a journalism degree program, you can also develop your interpersonal and problem-solving skills.
How to Choose an Online Bachelor Degree in Journalism Program
Selecting the right journalism degree program for you will depend on your educational and professional goals. As you make your decision, it is also helpful to consider factors such as:
- Cost. Journalism degree programs are offered at a range of prices. You can search for one within your budget or consider applying for financial aid.
- Concentrations. If you are eager to enter into a specific subfield of journalism, such as sports or broadcasting, it is important to find a school that offers a concentration in that area.
- Format. Online schools typically offer asynchronous (pre-recorded), synchronous (live), or blended courses. Depending on your personal schedule and learning preferences, you can select a program that teaches the majority of classes in your preferred style.
- Location. While most online programs do not have an in-person requirement, some do ask that you attend events on campus a few times a year. If that is going to be an issue for you, you can look for online programs close to home or without any physical attendance requirements.
Keeping these factors in mind could help make the program selection process a little bit easier.
Admissions requirements will vary between online schools for journalism, but you may expect to find some of the following items in an admissions packet:
- SAT or ACT scores (only some schools require them)
- Personal statement
- Academic transcripts
- Letters of recommendation
A growing number of schools are no longer relying on standardized test scores to determine eligibility. Instead, admissions teams are often more interested in your academic transcripts, extracurricular activities, personal achievements, and motivation for applying to their particular school.
Attending a regionally accredited school is beneficial for several reasons. In order to become accredited, a school must undergo a thorough review process. A team of assessors will evaluate its staff, facilities, and programs to ensure that it provides a high quality education in a safe environment.
Editorial Listing ShortCode:
Attending an accredited college or university can also impact the way others view the degree you earn. Hiring managers, for example, often look for candidates who earned their degree at an accredited institution, as an accredited degree is considered credible.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Financial aid options can help make college more accessible to students who qualify. By filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you can determine how much federal aid you are eligible to receive.
If you are interested in applying for scholarship opportunities, these can often be accessed through your school or outside companies or organizations. Scholarships can be applied for in addition to federal and state aid. If you are employed while you attend school, you can also check to see if your employer offers tuition reimbursement.
Journalism Professional Organizations
Joining a professional organization can help you expand your network. Some common journalism organizations include:
- American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA): This organization is made for independent writers and offers opportunities for professional development, client networking, and advocacy.
- Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE): IRE is a nonprofit organization that works to educate and connect journalists in order to improve the overall quality of journalism around the world.
- Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ): This organization offers professional development, journalism advocacy, and local connections to its journalist members.
Being a member of a professional organization is also a way to stay up to date on developments in the field of journalism.
Is Journalism a Good Major?
Yes, journalism is a good major for many undergraduate students. Journalism majors often develop strong skills in critical thinking, researching, and writing. They learn to communicate their ideas in engaging and exciting ways, allowing them to reach a wide range of audiences.
These transferable skills can be applied to jobs outside the field of journalism as well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for media and communication workers is $62,340. Many journalists also have the opportunity to travel over the course of their career. They might get to explore new locations, meet diverse groups of people, and become knowledgeable about many cultures.
What Can You Do with a Journalism Degree?
An online journalism bachelor’s degree can lead to many exciting job opportunities, both in the field of journalism and in other fields as well.
Many students who earn a degree in journalism go on to become news analysts, reporters, and journalists. These career paths allow graduates to directly apply the writing and storytelling skills they can develop during their degree program.
Some individuals who study journalism choose to become public relations specialists, editors, technical writers, or authors. Others choose to enter into broadcasting, advertising, or marketing. With experience, they can also pursue leadership positions.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Journalism Degree Online?
If you follow a traditional 16 week semester and attend school full-time, it will generally take 4 years to earn a bachelors degree in journalism online.
Editorial Listing ShortCode:
If you follow an 8 week semester and stay continuously enrolled year-round, including over the summer, you may be able to complete your degree in less time. One of the benefits of attending school online is the flexibility it permits. Many online degree programs have alternative timelines available for students with professional or personal commitments.
What Jobs Can You Get with a Journalism Degree?
Earning a degree in journalism may help prepare you for creative job opportunities after college. Some professionals with a bachelors in journalism work in roles such as:
- Public relations specialist
- Technical writer
- Broadcast, sound, or video technician
Many of these jobs require strong interpersonal and technical skills, both of which are emphasized in a journalism degree program. While earning a bachelor’s degree does not guarantee that you will find employment in a specific position or industry, it can help you develop professional qualifications and skill sets.
How Much Does a Journalist Make?
The amount that journalists make can vary depending a number of factors, including their job title, location, employer, and level of experience. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for news analysts, reporters, and journalists is $48,370. Top earners in the field, though, make more than $120,590 per year.
Professionals with a degree in journalism may also pursue related communication careers. For instance, the median salary for public relations specialists is $62,800. Similarly, the median for writers and authors is $69,510 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
What’s the Difference Between a Communications vs. Journalism Bachelor Degree Online?
While journalism and communications have many similarities, communications has a broader scope than journalism.
- Communications: This degree field encompasses different forms of communication, including advertising, film, and public relations.
- Journalism: This subfield of communications focuses on sharing news and information with an intended audience.
A degree in communications or journalism could lead to similar career paths, but it’s helpful to research their coursework and concentration offerings to see which one best aligns with your personal goals. For example, if you prefer to focus on news stories, you might consider pursuing a degree in journalism.
What’s the Difference Between a Journalist vs. Reporter?
Reporting is part of journalism. Most journalists do some reporting, but not every reporter works as a journalist.
Journalists are responsible for the research and creation of a news story, while reporters tend to gain information for a story by conducting interviews in the field.
Is a Journalism Degree Worth It?
Yes, a journalism degree is worth it for many students. Journalists often have the opportunity to be creative in the work that they do. Not only do they use their research and interpersonal skills to discover a story, but they employ their writing and storytelling abilities to make it come to life. This can keep work exciting and fresh.
Editorial Listing ShortCode:
Many careers related to journalism are also experiencing employment growth at a rate as fast or faster than the national average for all occupations. For media and communication occupations overall, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 14% job growth over the next ten years.
Universities Offering Online Bachelors in Journalism Degree Programs
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
Arizona State University’s online Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication and Media Studies program requires the completion of 41 classes. Each class is 7.5 weeks long. The online degree program is taught by the same faculty and includes all the same course content as the on-campus program. Graduates often pursue careers in marketing, advertising, news reporting, and more.
Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Colorado State University’s online Bachelor’s in Journalism and Media Communication program has a student-to-faculty ratio of just 17-to-1. Students may enjoy the flexibility of online learning while still getting to collaborate with peers through live chats and video conferencing. The program also offers opportunities to build web-based portfolios and participate in internships.
Colorado State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Drake University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication with a concentration in Digital Communication that can be earned 100% online. The program consists of asynchronous courses that are each 6 weeks long, which can help students study according to their own schedules. Coursework includes Mass Media in a Global Society, Financial Fundamentals for Communication Professionals, and more.
Drake University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Liberty University offers a BS in English and Writing—Journalism that can be earned completely online. Each course is just 8 weeks long. On average, students can graduate from the program in 3.5 years. Liberty teaches from a Christian worldview. It provides electronic textbooks for undergraduate courses at no extra cost.
Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
New Mexico State University offers a fully online program for a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Media Studies that is designed to accommodate adult learners. The curriculum consists of courses such as Newswriting and Reporting, Media Law, Introduction to Public Relations, Social Media Management and Analytics, and more. Students in the program are also required to complete internships.
NMSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Ohio University offers a highly customizable program for a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. The degree can be earned 100% online through asynchronous coursework, and classes may be taken part-time or full-time. Graduates often pursue a wide range of careers in media and related fields, such as publishing, public relations, and marketing.
Ohio University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Pennsylvania State University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Journalism and Media that can be earned 100% online. The curriculum consists of courses such as Basic News Writing Skills, Principles of Multimedia Journalism, Law of Mass Communications, and Digital Media Metrics. Penn State’s online courses are academically equivalent to its on-campus courses.
Pennsylvania State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Regent University offers a BA in Communication Studies—Journalism that can be earned online and on campus. The program provides opportunities for students to participate in internships and work for on-campus publications. The curriculum is taught from a Christian perspective and includes courses such as Reporting, Principles of Journalism, Writing for Strategic Communication, and more.
Regent University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Southern Illinois University—Carbondale offers a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. Specializations are available in Journalism and Mass Communications, Advertising, Photojournalism, Sports Media, and News-Editorial.
The program’s classes provide hands-on learning opportunities and are taught by the same faculty as those on campus. Graduates often pursue careers as news reporters, book editors, public relations specialists, and more.
SIU – Carbondale is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Florida offers an online program for a Bachelor of Science in Journalism with a specialization in Sports and Media. The program offers courses such as Data Literacy for Communicators, Reporting, Special Study in Journalism, and more. Students culminate their studies with a capstone course that is designed to help them develop professional portfolios.
The University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Maine—Presque Isle offers a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in Professional Communication and Journalism. Students in the program build portfolios and take courses in an 8 week, self-paced format. The curriculum includes courses such as Contemporary World Literature, Graphic Design, Business Communications, and more. The program also includes a practicum.
The University of Maine at Presque Isle is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
The University of Massachusetts—Amherst offers a Bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in Journalism. The degree can be earned 100% online, or classes can be taken on campus. Most online courses are asynchronous. The curriculum consists of courses such as Principles of Public Relations and News Literacy, Newswriting, and Reporting.
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
The University of North Dakota offers a Bachelor of Arts in Communication that can be earned online or on campus. Some of UND’s online courses follow a traditional schedule, and others are self-paced. Specializations are available in Digital Analytics, Social Media Strategy, Public Relations, Advertising, Digital Journalism, and Strategic Communication.
UND is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Utah State University’s BS in Journalism can be earned 100% online. Online students at USU have access to a variety of online services, including tutoring, IT support, and a library of electronic journals and e-books. Classes are taught by faculty members with real-world experience in the field. The program offers three start dates every year.
Utah State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Wilmington University offers a Bachelor of Science in Communication that can be earned online and on campus. The curriculum emphasizes cooperative learning and job-ready skills. Classes start every 8 weeks. Students may choose a specialized concentration in Visual Communication, Public Relations, and Strategic Communication, or Digital Journalism.
Wilmington University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Getting Your Bachelors in Journalism Online
If you are inquisitive with a passion for storytelling and an eye for detail, you might consider earning your bachelors degree in journalism.
In an online journalism bachelors degree program, you have the opportunity to build your research, digital literacy, communication, and presentation skills. You may also have the chance to practice interviewing, creating headlines, editing, and designing websites. The knowledge and skills you develop could help you qualify for communication careers in a variety of sectors, including advertising, public relations, and broadcasting.
If you’re ready to start your educational journey, you can begin researching accredited schools to find the journalism program and concentration that best matches your goals and interests.