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 2012 incoming freshmen had an average GPA of 3.65 with an SAT score of 1885–2125 (middle 50%). Transfer students had an average college GPA of 3.68. 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. 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. 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 commonapp.org. In addition to the university writing samples, a one-page statement of intent is required; instructions are included with the USC Supplement.

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 who entered USC as freshmen must have 32 units completed with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Students who entered USC as transfers must have 16 units completed at USC with a minimum GPA of 3.0. The 3.0 GPA is a minimum standard and does not guarantee admission.

General Education Requirements

The university’s general education program provides 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 requires six courses in different categories, plus writing, foreign language and diversity requirements, which together comprise the USC Core. See The USC Core and the General Education Program for more information.

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 enrolling in JOUR 202 and public relations majors enrolling in JOUR 209 will take a diagnostic exam at the beginning of the semester to prepare for the Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation exam (GSP). The instructors will administer the GSP exam on the last day of class.

Students who do not pass the GSP exam may re-take it in the semester immediately following their enrollment in JOUR 202 or JOUR 209. Students will be notified of the exam dates at the start of the semester.

Students must pass the GSP exam by the completion of that following semester or they will not be allowed to progress in the School of Journalism and will be dismissed from the major.

Note: Students with disabilities may register with the Disabilities 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

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

Public Relations Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts

Required course, Lower division Units
JOUR 209 Effective Writing for Strategic Public Relations 4

Required courses, Upper division Units
JOUR 350 Strategic Public Relations: An Introduction 4
JOUR 351ab Strategic Public Relations Media and Content 4-4
JOUR 353 Theoretical Foundations of Strategic Public Relations 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

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 405 Advertising and Promotion Management 4
MKT 425 Direct Response and Internet Marketing 4
MKT 470 Marketing Research 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 16
Total units 24

Students are urged to choose their 16 upper division units from these classes:
JOUR 373 The Ethics of Television Journalism 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 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 Career Development and 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 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 Bloomsbury, 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 in Ireland

This summer program offers Annenberg undergraduate students the chance to participate in a formal international internship program in Dublin for nine weeks each summer. The aim of the program is to provide students with theoretical as well as practical experiences working, living and navigating within the international global communications environment. The program is designed around a summer-long online Annenberg course and a nine-week full-time unpaid internship in Dublin. Students will receive 1 unit of credit for JOUR 090x.

International Communication Studies — London, Paris, Prague and Istanbul

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 Istanbul. 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 Career Development and International Programs at (213) 821-2717, email ascintl@usc.edu or visit annenberg.usc.edu/international.

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.