University of Southern California

USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

School of Journalism

Undergraduate Degrees

The School of Journalism offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in Print and Digital Journalism, Broadcast and Digital Journalism and Public Relations. The school also offers minors in Advertising and News Media and Society. Journalism students are encouraged to pursue double majors or minors in other areas of study. They must consult with an undergraduate journalism adviser at least once each semester to receive academic advisement covering major course selection and university degree requirements.

To meet accrediting guidelines, a minimum of 72 units must be completed outside the major area of journalism. A maximum of 16 units of course work taken prior to high school graduation and a combined 32 units of AP, IB and pre-high school graduation course work will count toward this requirement. Journalism and public relations majors can take up to a maximum of 48 journalism units; however, the major unit total (44 units) cannot be exceeded, unless the student has fulfilled the accreditation requirement.

A grade point average of at least C (2.0) on all baccalaureate units attempted at USC, as well as on the combined USC-transfer GPA, is required for undergraduate degrees. A minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 in all upper division courses applied toward the major is also required. Students must complete each journalism class with at least a grade of C- in order to count the course toward a major requirement. Journalism courses with a grade of D+ or below must be repeated; courses may only be retaken once.

Admission Requirements

Admission is competitive. Fall 2014 incoming freshmen had an average GPA of 3.94 with an SAT score of 2120-2250 (middle 50%). Transfer students had an average college GPA of 3.70. For admission information and deadlines, refer to the USC Admission Website. All transfer applicants must review the transfer admission application guidelines on the Annenberg Website; contact the Annenberg Admissions Office for more information. USC exclusively uses the Common Application for freshman and transfer admission. Applicants must submit the Common Application and the USC Supplement, both of which can be accessed at In addition to the university writing samples, a 250-word statement of intent is required; instructions are included with the USC Supplement. Upon admission to the School of Journalism, students will lose transfer credits earned in journalism and public relations course work completed at another college or university.

Students currently enrolled at USC who wish to change their major to journalism must file a formal application with all supporting documents through the Annenberg Student Services Office. Students must have 16 units completed at USC with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in order to be eligible to apply to journalism major. The 3.0 GPA is a minimum standard and does not guarantee admission. Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.0 and a declared major in order to be eligible to apply to journalism minor.

General Education Requirements

The university’s general education program provides a coherent, integrated introduction to the breadth of knowledge you will need to consider yourself (and to be considered by other people) a generally well-educated person. This program is effective for all students entering USC in fall 2015 or later, or transfer students beginning college elsewhere at that time and subsequently transferring to USC. It requires eight courses in six Core Literacies, plus two courses in Global Perspectives (which may double-count with courses in the Core Literacies) and two courses in writing. For more information about USC’s general education requirements, see here.

Core Curriculum

The School of Journalism’s core curriculum prepares students to write and report for print, broadcast and online media. Print and digital journalism, and broadcast and digital journalism students are required to complete both print and broadcast newswriting and print and broadcast reporting classes. Print and digital journalism majors must complete a newspaper editing and design class; broadcast and digital journalism majors must complete a broadcast production class. In addition to the online media elements integrated into the newswriting and reporting classes, print and digital journalism and broadcast and digital journalism majors must complete an introduction to online media course.

Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation (GSP) Requirement

Journalism majors enrolled in JOUR 202 and public relations majors enrolled in JOUR 209 are required to complete the Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation (GSP) online tutorial before the end of the semester. This test must be taken and passed by the last day of class. Students who do not pass the test will be allowed to retake it once. Students who fail to complete the GSP tutorial within the allotted time frame will not be allowed to progress in the program and will be dismissed from the major.

Note: Students with disabilities may register with the Disability Services and Programs office (DSP) so the DSP staff can assess the nature of the students’ disabilities and recommend the appropriate accommodations to be provided for each student.

Broadcast and Digital Journalism Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts

Required courses, Lower division Units
JOUR 201 History of News in Modern America 4
JOUR 202 Newswriting: Print 3
JOUR 203 Newswriting: Broadcast 3
Required courses, Upper division Units
JOUR 302 Reporting: Print 3
JOUR 303 Reporting: Broadcast 3
JOUR 306 Production: Broadcast 3
JOUR 309 Introduction to Online Media 3
JOUR 310 Investigative Reporting 4
JOUR 462 Law of Mass Communication 4
Two courses from:
JOUR 402 Advanced Television Reporting 4
JOUR 403 Television News Production 4
JOUR 405 Non-Fiction Television 4
JOUR 409 Radio News Production 4
Plus 6 upper-division journalism elective units chosen in consultation with an adviser 6
Total units 44

Print and Digital Journalism Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts

Required courses, Lower division Units
JOUR 201 History of News in Modern America 4
JOUR 202 Newswriting: Print 3
JOUR 203 Newswriting: Broadcast 3
Required courses, Upper division Units
JOUR 302 Reporting: Print 3
JOUR 303 Reporting: Broadcast 3
JOUR 308 Newspaper Editing and Design 3
JOUR 309 Introduction to Online Media 3
JOUR 310 Investigative Reporting 4
JOUR 462 Law of Mass Communication 4
Two courses from:
JOUR 431 Feature Writing 4
JOUR 435 Writing Magazine Non-Fiction 4
JOUR 440 Environmental Journalism 4
JOUR 448 Government and Public Affairs Reporting 4
Plus 6 upper-division journalism elective units chosen in consultation with an adviser 6
Total units 44

Public Relations Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts

Required courses, Lower division Units
JOUR 209 Effective Writing for Strategic Public Relations 4
JOUR 250 Strategic Public Relations: An Introduction 4
JOUR 253 Theoretical Foundations of Strategic Public Relations 4
Required courses, Upper division Units
JOUR 351ab Strategic Public Relations Media and Content 4-4
JOUR 428 Social, Legal and Ethical Foundations of Public Relations 4
JOUR 429 Business and Economic Foundations of Public Relations 4
JOUR 450 Advanced Strategic Public Relations 4
JOUR 463 Strategic Public Relations Research, Analysis and Insights 4
Plus 8 upper division journalism elective units chosen in consultation with an adviser 8
Total units 44

Advertising Minor

The advertising minor is designed for students interested in building a career in, or developing a better understanding of, the field of advertising. It explores the key role played by advertising in today’s global economy. At no time has advertising been more successful or more controversial than it is today, and this program will explore both the positives and the negatives. Emphasis is placed throughout the program on both the practical skills required to meet the demands of the marketplace and the theoretical underpinnings of those practices. Program content includes: the history of advertising; creation of written and visual advertising elements; the measurement, selection and analysis of media; the concept of “branding;” the role of advertising in creating and maintaining successful brands; the analysis of advertising campaign case studies; and the creation of integrated marketing communications campaigns.

required courses units
JOUR 340 Introduction to Advertising 4
JOUR 341 Advertising Copywriting 4
JOUR 342 Advertising Media and Analysis 4
JOUR 343 Advertising Design and Production 4
MKT 406 Practicum in Advertising and Promotion Design 4
Select one additional course from the following:
MKT 402 Research Skills for Marketing Insights 4
MKT 405 Advertising and Promotion Management 4
MKT 425 Marketing on the Internet 4
Total units 24

News Media and Society Minor

News media and society is a journalism minor that explores the responsibilities, the influence, the ethics and the diversity of the news media. It explores the myths about news media in the United States and explains what the news media are, how they work, what they do wrong and what they do right, and why they are important to a society whose citizens depend on the free and unfettered flow of information. This minor will help all students in all majors to understand one of the most important and misunderstood forces in American society: the news media.

News media and society benefits every student at the university because it gives students a new appreciation and understanding of the news media that so much influence their lives on a daily basis.

Required course, Lower division Units
JOUR 201 History of News in Modern America 4
Required courses, Upper division Units
COMM 371 Censorship and the Law: From the Press to Cyberspace 4
16 upper division journalism units chosen in consultation with an adviser 16
Total units 24
Students are urged to choose their 16 upper division units from these classes:
JOUR 373 Journalism Ethics Goes to the Movies 4
JOUR 375 The Image of the Journalist in Popular Culture 4
JOUR 460 Social Responsibility of the News Media 4
JOUR 466 People of Color and the News Media 4
JOUR 467 Gender and the News Media 4

Minor in Media Economics and Entrepreneurship

The interdisciplinary minor in media economics and entrepreneurship is available to students in all schools and departments. It introduces students to the trends of the contemporary media and information industries and gives them an understanding of the role that entrepreneurship plays in the new economy. Students with professional media industry aspirations will learn basic economic literacy and discover the key factors that shape competition in information markets. Further, the minor fosters an entrepreneurial mindset in students and helps them to develop the entrepreneurial skills required to build successful careers and ventures in the media and information sector. For more details see the School of Communication.

Minor in Nonprofits, Philanthropy and Volunteerism

This four course minor enables students to learn about the nonprofit sector — its organizations, philanthropy and voluntary action. See complete description in the USC Price School of Public Policy section.

Annenberg International Programs

Spring Semester in London (Journalism)

The semester program offers students the opportunity to study at City University in London. Participants will be close observers of the British media and will have an opportunity for personal and direct comparison between the more structured and governmentally controlled media system of the United Kingdom and the laissez faire approach to media regulation in the United States. Students earn 8 USC journalism elective units and 8 social sciences units.

Spring Semester in London (Public Relations)

In the spring of their junior year, USC Annenberg public relations students can spend a spring semester at the University of Westminster in London, one of the leading British institutions for the academic and professional study of public relations and media, culture and society. Students will be integrated into the University of Westminster, and will take courses across the four Westminster campus locations around central London. Students will live in the central London district of Marylebone, and will be immersed into the public relations and media hub that is London.

Students earn a total of 16 units at Westminster; up to 8 USC upper division journalism elective units toward their public relations major and 8 general electives units.

Spring Semester in New Zealand (Journalism and Public Relations)

The semester program offers students the opportunity to study at the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, a leading southern hemisphere school of journalism and media studies. Fully integrated into the university and its vibrant urban surroundings with strong connections to the nation’s indigenous heritage, the program allows students to earn 8 units that fulfill journalism electives and 8 units of general electives.

Summer Internship in South Africa (Advanced Journalism Majors)

Students participating in this three-week program will report extensively on the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa. The festival is the largest of its kind on the continent and attracts performers from all over the world. Students report for Cue Magazine, a publication managed and run by Rhodes University. Students will receive one unit of internship credit.

International Communication Studies — London, Paris, Prague and Rome

The International Communication Studies program (ICS) allows undergraduate students to study a range of approaches to public communication media across Europe.

Students divide the five-week course into stays in Los Angeles, London, Paris, Prague and Rome. In addition to regular class meetings, students discuss the interplay of current world issues and international media practices with communication practitioners from international news and public relations media, government institutions, private industry and global organizations.

Students enroll in JOUR 482 Comparative Media in Europe (4 units).

For further information, contact Annenberg International Programs at (213) 821-1276, email or visit

Honor Society

Lambda Pi Eta is a national communication/journalism honor society that is open to declared communication, journalism and public relations majors who have completed (or are currently registered for) at least 60 units, at least 12 of which are in the major. To be eligible, students must have a USC GPA and a major GPA of 3.5 or higher.

Academic Integrity Policy

Since its founding in 1971, the USC School of Journalism has maintained a commitment to the highest standards of ethical conduct and academic excellence. Any student found plagiarizing, fabricating, cheating on examinations, and/or purchasing papers or other assignments faces sanctions ranging from an “F” on the assignment to dismissal from the School of Journalism.