Program Requirements

Overview

The journalism major consists of 8 courses (5 core courses and 3 electives) for a total of 32 credits. The five core courses are:

  • Investigating Journalism: Ethics and Practice
  • Journalistic Inquiry: The Written Word
  • Journalistic Inquiry: Multimedia
  • The Beat
  • Advanced Reporting

Although students are generally encouraged to complete the five core courses in sequence, many courses can be completed out of sequence and/or concurrently. Please see the information in the Core Courses section below for details about course prerequisites and sequencing.

This diagram provides an overview of the undergraduate journalism major. The major consists of 8 courses (9, in the case of the Honors Program). Students typically begin by taking the following three courses in sequence: Investigating Journalism (JOUR-UA 50), Journalistic Inquiry: The Written Word (JOUR-UA 101), and Journalistic Inquiry: Multimedia (JOUR-UA 102). Before completing the last two core courses, students choose to specialize by pursuing either a Print/Online journalism track or a Broadcast journalism track. For both tracks, students will then take The Beat (JOUR-UA 201) followed by Advanced Reporting (JOUR-UA 301). In addition to these 5 core courses, students complete 3 electives. Finally, students who wish to pursue the Honors Program will take an Honors version of Advanced Reporting (JOUR-UA 351) followed by an Honors Senior Seminar (JOUR-UA 352). For details about the curriculum, including course prerequisites and sequencing options, please read on.

Tracks

Before completing the last two core courses in the major, Journalism majors specialize by pursuing one of two tracks:

  • The Print/Online Track is designed for students who want to focus on writing and reporting for print and online media.
  • The Broadcast Track is for students who wish to focus on reporting and video production for broadcast media.

Although students are not required to formally declare their track (and it will not be specified in Albert or on their diploma or transcript), they will need to choose which track they want to pursue before taking The Beat and Advanced Reporting.


Core Courses

Investigating Journalism: Ethics and Practice (JOUR-UA 50)*

*Formerly Foundations of Journalism (JOUR-UA 501)

This lecture course introduces students to issues in journalistic writing and reporting, such as the choices journalists face in method, style, and form; the political impact of the news media; questions of sensationalism, bias, and diversity, and the current digital upheaval. To better understand what journalism has been and might be, students are also introduced to a selection of the best journalism, from Edward R. Murrow on migrant farm workers to Adrian Nicole LeBlanc on family life around the drug trade in the Bronx.

Your work will be to read the assigned pieces, come to class ready to comment on and question them, prepare for some tests, and produce a paper of two during the semester. Unlike most courses in the Journalism major, this is not a reporting and writing course, although reporting and writing will often be discussed.

Prerequisites
  • Expository writing or the equivalent.
Course Planning and Sequencing
  • Timing: Although students are encouraged to complete this course early on, you can complete Investigating Journalism: Ethics and Practice (JOUR-UA 50) at any time before graduation.
  • Concurrent courses: Students can take Investigating Journalism at the same time as any other core or elective journalism course.

Journalistic Inquiry: The Written Word (JOUR-UA 101)

This introductory reporting class introduces students to the basics of journalistic writing, reporting, and research. In this introductory skills course, you will learn about a variety of journalistic forms, including the reported essay, the newspaper pyramid style, magazine and newspaper feature style, and broadcast news writing style.

Research and reporting projects will involve analyzing stories from the ground up, beginning with idea generation, continuing to interviewing fundamentals, all the way up to writing, rewriting and the editing process. By the end of the semester, you will have learned to pitch ideas in class and on paper, produce a story on deadline and approaching strangers and expert sources for comment.

Prerequisites
  • Expository writing or the equivalent.
Course Planning and Sequencing
  • Timing: Students are encouraged to complete this course early on (and no later than the first semester of their junior year) as it is a prerequisite for most higher-level journalism courses.
  • Concurrent courses: Students may take Journalistic Inquiry: The Written Word (JOUR-UA 101) at the same time as Investigating Journalism: Ethics and Practice (JOUR-UA 50), as well as at the same time as any elective course that does not have The Written Word as a prerequisite.

Journalistic Inquiry: Multimedia (JOUR-UA 102)

In Multimedia, students learn how to report news and feature stories using photographs, video, and audio, with an emphasis on storytelling techniques. The course covers how to develop story ideas, reporting techniques, scripting, audio and visual digital editing, and multimedia storytelling structures. The class is divided into three segments: audio, photography, and video designed for web production. Classes will incorporate lectures, including the “best practices” in audio and video; class discussion; and in and out-of-class assignments. Ethical and copyright issues involved in multimedia reporting will also be explored.

Prerequisites
  • Journalistic Inquiry: The Written Word (JOUR-UA 101)
Course Planning and Sequencing
  • Timing for Print/Online students: Students pursuing the Print/Online track can take this course at any time before graduation after completing Journalistic Inquiry: The Written Word (JOUR-UA 101). You are, however, encouraged to complete Multimedia early on.
  • Timing for Broadcast students: Students pursuing the Broadcast track must complete Journalistic Inquiry: Multimedia (JOUR-UA 102) before taking any higher-level core journalism courses (i.e. The Beat).
  • Concurrent courses: Students can take Journalistic Inquiry: Multimedia (JOUR-UA 102) at the same time as any other core or elective journalism course, provided they have met all the course prerequisites. For example, you can take Multimedia at the same time as Investigating Journalism (JOUR-UA 50).

The Beat (JOUR-UA 201)

This is the Journalism department’s intermediate skills course. The Beat is designed to cultivate students’ ability to research and report deeply. You will be asked to imagine and develop fresh ideas, test them with the strength your reporting and research, and then to present them in story form.

Students will be expected to keep weekly beat notes or blogs, exploring what is current in the topic and demonstrating the “shoe leather” they have worn in pursuit of their subject matter. The result of this work will be four or five stories in a narrative, explanatory, or investigative style, depending on the instructor and the specific assignment.

Syllabi differ by the content of the course, but all sections emphasize idea development, interview technique, reporting, background research, and writing skills across genres. Broadcast sections vary only by the medium.

Prerequisite(s)

Print/Online sections:

  • Journalistic Inquiry: The Written Word (JOUR-UA 101)

Broadcast sections:

  • Journalistic Inquiry: The Written Word (JOUR-UA 101)
  • Journalistic Inquiry: Multimedia (JOUR-UA 102)
Course Planning and Sequencing
  • Timing: All students must take this course before taking Advanced Reporting (JOUR-UA 301). Students are encouraged to take The Beat (JOUR-UA 201) no later than the first semester of their senior year.
  • Timing for Honors: Students who are interested in the journalism department’s Honors Program must complete The Beat (JOUR-UA 201) no later than the second semester of their junior year.

Advanced Reporting (JOUR-UA 301)

This is the capstone course for the journalism major. In this advanced skills course, Print/Online students will produce a major piece of narrative, explanatory, or investigative writing of 3,000 to 5,000 words in length, whereas Broadcast students will produce a longer, more complex broadcast piece. For either track, the goal is for students to produce a publishable piece with a sophisticated story structure.

Prerequisite(s)

Print/Online sections:

  • The Beat – Print/Online sections (JOUR-UA 201)

Broadcast sections:

  • The Beat – Broadcast sections (JOUR-UA 201)

Notes

  • As of Fall 2017, Journalism Ethics and First Amendment Law (JOUR-UA 502) is no longer a required lecture course for the Journalism major. For students who took this course when it was once a required lecture course, this course will now count as an elective.

Electives

The Journalism department offers a rich selection of electives designed to provide students the opportunity to gain additional breadth and depth in their journalistic training. Typically, 10 to 15 electives are offered each semester in a variety of areas. While students are encouraged to take each of their three electives in different categories, it is not required.

Prerequisites for Electives

Please note that most electives have Journalistic Inquiry: The Written Word (JOUR-UA 101) as a prerequisite. Exceptions include:

  • Journalism Ethics and First Amendment Law (JOUR-UA 502)
  • Journalism and Society: Women and the Media (JOUR-UA 503)
  • Journalism and Society: Minorities in the Media (JOUR-UA 503)
  • Journalism and Society: Culture Vulture (JOUR-UA 503)

Methods and Practice (JOUR-UA 202)

Courses in this category are intermediate elective skills classes designed to provide a laboratory to help students improve their skill level in a variety of specific writing and reporting forms. Recent offerings include Audio Storytelling; Experimental Journalism; and Writing For Reporters.

Methods and Practice: Visual Reporting (JOUR-UA 203)

Multimedia and photojournalism courses are offered under this category.

Elective Reporting Topics (JOUR-UA 204)

This category includes a variety of “back-of-the-book” reporting topics. Recent offerings include Data Journalism; Computer Programming for Journalists; Reporting Racial Justice; and Profiles and Biography.

Production and Publication (JOUR-UA 302)

This category includes advanced elective skills courses that produce work for publication or broadcast. TV Newscast–where students are involved in every aspect of producing a television newscast–has been the main offering in the category.

Journalism Ethics and First Amendment Law (JOUR-UA 502)

This lecture course provides a critical examination of the development of ethical standards for journalists and an understanding of the need to balance absolute freedoms of speech and press with other societal rights.

Journalism and Society (JOUR-UA 503)

A variety of lectures and seminars that examine the role of journalists and journalism itself as they function in the wider culture. Recent offerings include Women and the Media and Minorities in the Media, among others.

Journalism as Literature (JOUR-UA 504)

Reading seminars in courses that explore the intersection of literature and journalism through various prisms. Recent offerings include Writing the City, History and the Novel, and Storied New York.

Issues and Ideas (JOUR-UA 505)

Experimental seminars that examine contemporary issues in relation to the field. Recent offerings include Covering Sub-Saharan Africa.

Advanced Individualized Study (JOUR-UA 997)

Notes

  • As of Fall 2017, students no longer need to choose an elective from each of three different categories (i.e. Elective Reporting Topics, Methods and Practice, etc.). Although students are encouraged to take electives in different categories in order to gain breadth, you may take any three electives you wish.

Declaring the Major

To declare the journalism major, students need to complete Investigating Journalism (JOUR-UA 50) or Journalistic Inquiry: The Written Word (JOUR-UA 101) with a grade of C or better.

Once you are ready to declare, please submit an online Journalism Major Declaration Form. The Undergraduate Student Advisor, Andrea Brown, will use this information to declare you in Albert within one week and will contact you if there are questions about your plans.

You are also welcome to schedule an appointment with Andrea to discuss your academic plans, although this is not required.

College Guidelines for Declaring a Major

Students in the College of Arts and Science are expected to declare a major upon completing 64 credits, or by the end of their sophomore year. Students who have decided on a major before reaching 64 credits can also declare a major early.

Students in other schools and colleges should consult their college advisor for guidelines on when to declare a major.


Course Substitutions

Courses at NYU Washington Square

The Institute puts a high value on numeric literacy for its Journalism graduates, and students pursuing coursework in sociology, politics, psychology or politics that focuses on quantitative research methods or statistics can count one of the following courses towards their three required journalism electives:

Economics

  • Statistics (ECON-UA 18)

Politics

  • Quantitative Methods in Political Science (POL-UA 800)
  • Introduction to Research methods for Politics (POL-UA 850)

Psychology

  • Statistical Reasoning for the Behavioral Sciences (PSYCH-UA 10)

Sociology

  • Statistics for Social Research (SOC-UA 302)

If you have taken any of the courses above, they will automatically be counted as electives in Albert and will be reflected as such in your Degree Progress Report.

Societies and the Social Sciences CAS Requirement

Students in the College of Arts and Science (CAS) can also satisfy the Societies & Social Science (R1007) component by majoring in journalism.

Study Away Courses

If you have taken journalism courses at any of NYU’s 13 study away sites (i.e., courses listed as JOUR-UA), Albert will automatically count them towards the journalism major.

For more information about studying away as a journalism major visit the Study Away section of the website.

Other Courses

Students can submit a Journalism Course Substitution Petition to request that other courses (i.e. transfer courses from another institution) be substituted for journalism requirements.

Petitions will be reviewed by the Undergraduate Student Advisor, Andrea Brown, and final decisions will be made by the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Adam Penenberg. Please allow 2-3 weeks from the time you submit your request to be notified of a decision and have the course substitutions posted in Albert.

If you have any questions about the petition process or other types of petitions or requests, please contact Andrea Brown at andrea.brown@nyu.edu.