Best Online Bachelor’s in Journalism Programs

by TBS Staff

Updated September 27, 2022

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A bachelor's in journalism prepares students to relay factual information and empower citizens to make informed decisions.

Journalists use their curiosity and persistence to bring truth to communities. They work in various media formats, informing the public about important events. With an online journalism degree, students gain the technical training necessary to enter this profession, as well as a flexible skill set that applies in other disciplines and industries.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an 11% job decline for news reporters and correspondents between 2019 and 2029, but aspiring multimedia journalists can also pursue opportunities with media outlets on new platforms. Overall, the BLS projects media and communications occupations to grow 4% between 2019 and 2029 — approximately the same as the average growth for all occupations.

While COVID-19 accelerated the decline of traditional print journalism, it also accelerated diversification and growth in the field. The industry provides plenty of opportunities for journalism majors, especially those with internet savvy. To help aspiring journalists, we examine the details of a bachelor's in journalism, including career pathways and the best journalism schools in the country.

The Best Online Bachelor's in Journalism Programs

#1

Regent University

School Information
Location Virginia Beach, Virginia
Admission Rate 86%
Graduation Rate 57%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Students looking to earn a flexible college degree should consider Regent University's online BA in journalism. Undergraduates seeking flexible, remote study can choose from one of 32 online bachelor's degree programs. From its campus in Virginia Beach, Virginia, the school offers an online BA in communication studies degree. The journalism program supports flexible study for distance learners.

Enrollees complete both foundational and advanced coursework, granting them the knowledge and skills needed to advance in the journalism field. Students also fulfill general education requirements, gaining additional knowledge. Enrollees can customize their degree by choosing electives, minors, and concentrations.

Graduates greatly benefit from their education, gaining access to more job opportunities and a higher earning potential. At the college, students earn a median salary of $34,800 six years after graduation. To learn more about admission requirements and financial aid opportunities, prospective students should contact the journalism department.

Regent University at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 9,507

Total Online Programs: 137

Online Bachelor's Programs: 32

Admission Rate: 86%

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#2

Colorado State University

School Information
Location Fort Collins, Colorado
Admission Rate 81%
Graduation Rate 70%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 26% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Colorado State University, a public, four-year college, enables study across 39 online degree programs. Three of these online programs offer an undergraduate-level education. Learners seeking competitive, customizable study relevant to the journalism field will find the school's online bachelor's in journalism and media communication to be an attractive option. The program prioritizes flexibility through full- or part-time study options.

Throughout their coursework, students gain industry-relevant knowledge through general and advanced classes. The journalism curriculum, which consists of foundational and advanced coursework, equips students with relevant skills needed to succeed in the journalism field. Students can modify their degree by choosing electives, minors, and concentrations.

After earning their degree, graduates benefit from greater access to employment opportunities and higher earning potential. Graduates who have completed their degree earn a median salary of $39,900 after six years. The college reports that the average undergraduate pays $16,793 in tuition and fees yearly, after aid. Prospective learners can explore funding opportunities, eligibility requirements, and other opportunities by connecting with the Office of Financial Aid.

Colorado State University at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 8,786

Total Online Programs: 39

Online Bachelor's Programs: 3

Admission Rate: 81%

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#3

Southern Illinois University

School Information
Location Carbondale, Illinois
Admission Rate 66%
Graduation Rate 48%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 38% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Looking to earn a flexible online degree in journalism? Consider Southern Illinois University. The college offers 20 fully online bachelor's degree programs to undergraduate students. For students looking to advance in a journalism-adjacent career, the online bachelor's in journalism program is a wise choice. The journalism program prioritizes flexibility through full- and part-time study options.

Enrollees complete industry-relevant classes throughout their studies, gaining broad and specific knowledge of the journalism field. Students also complete general education requirements. Enrollees can work with their academic advisor to customize their degree through electives, minors, and concentrations.

A bachelor's degree connects graduates with numerous job opportunities with higher earning potential. The institution reports that graduates six years out from their degree earn a median salary of $36,700. Undergraduate students at the college can expect to pay $16,299 in tuition and fees yearly. Before applying, prospective students should connect with the journalism department to learn more about admission requirements and application materials.

Southern Illinois University at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 4,417

Total Online Programs: 30

Online Bachelor's Programs: 20

Admission Rate: 66%

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Best Online Bachelor's

Online Bachelor's in Journalism Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

Featured Online Bachelor's in Journalism Programs

What to Expect From a Journalism Major

Online journalism degrees equip students with the skills necessary to responsibly contribute to the public discourse. They gain technical, interpersonal, and communication skills, along with specialized training in common technologies and platforms. While students can choose from many concentrations and courses in a bachelor's program, the most popular options are listed below.

Journalism Concentrations

Broadcast Journalism

In broadcast journalism concentrations, students learn how to report and anchor on camera. They study news coverage strategies, producing on-air content and creating newscasts on traditional and online platforms. Graduates with this training can acquire positions as announcers or reporters and correspondents.

Investigative Journalism

In this concentration, students gain the tools needed to conduct investigative journalism, such as using public records and archives, and interviewing people. Learners also gain an understanding of the laws and regulations regarding information and public access records. Graduates can pursue careers as reporters and correspondents and writers and authors.

Feature and Magazine Journalism

In a feature and magazine journalism concentration, students learn how to employ storytelling strategies to write features in their areas of interest. They also study editing, work with graphic designers, and explore mediums. Graduates can acquire careers as editors or writers and authors.

Multimedia Journalism

Multimedia journalism concentrations cover innovative storytelling strategies that encourage interactivity with readers on various platforms and mediums. Learners look at the changing landscape and audiences and think up new ways to drive readership. Some possible careers with this training include writers and authors and public relations specialists.

International Journalism

In international journalism concentrations, learners examine how professionals report on and present global issues. Training may also explore the ethics, laws, and media landscape for these journalists. With this concentration, graduates can pursue careers as reporters and correspondents and writers and authors.

Sports Journalism

Sports journalism focuses on athletic broadcasts, examining how to cover sports teams in an evolving media landscape. The training may cover sports broadcasts, writing, and social media coverage. Some possible career pathways after graduation may include sports announcers and sports reporters and correspondents.

Journalism Curriculum

  • News Writing and Reporting: In this class, students learn the fundamentals of writing and reporting the news. In addition to gaining writing skills, students learn reporting techniques, media ethics, and strategies to make reports more compelling.
  • Digital Media Production: Digital media production classes teach students how to use digital media to tell the stories people want to read, see, and hear. Along with content creation strategies, students learn to use digital media successfully. They may also study photography and live streaming, or examine marketing and branding tactics.
  • Multimedia Writing: Multimedia writing courses examine the writing craft and how it changes for various digital mediums and platforms. They explore how to adapt storytelling and story reception for different audiences, how to create multisensory experiences, and how to supplement writing with other media.
  • Data Journalism: Data journalism courses teach students how to research and use data to inform their stories. The training looks at ways of interrogating data, analyzing it, and putting it in perspective.
  • Journalism and Mass Communication Ethics: Journalism and mass communication ethics courses cover the journalistic standards and ethical frameworks that guide the profession. Students examine challenges these professionals face, their rights and freedoms, and their responsibility to truth and the community.

What Is the Difference Between a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Journalism and a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Journalism?

Journalism schools typically offer either a bachelor of art (BA) or a bachelor of science (BS) degree, with minor differences between the two. BA degrees emphasize course flexibility and arts training, often including a foreign language requirement, while BS degrees emphasize STEM and more technical aspects of the field. Some institutions may offer both degree types.

While these degrees are similar, the different focuses may lead graduates down varying career paths. For example, BA graduates may pursue traditional reporter and news broadcaster and writer and author careers, whereas BS graduates may be more likely to pursue camera operator or public relations specialist careers.

Choosing an Online Program

When choosing an online journalism degree, aspiring students need to consider factors like program cost, location, and length. They also need to examine the curriculum, ensuring it offers the appropriate courses and specializations for their career interests. Online students should also look into their in-state tuition eligibility and whether programs use an asynchronous or synchronous format.

Finally, learners need to make sure their school and program hold any necessary accreditations. For journalism degrees, schools should have regional accreditation. The most common programmatic accreditation for online journalism degrees comes from the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.

Journalism Careers

After completing an online journalism degree, graduates can pursue an array of journalism careers. While many enter the workforce as reporters and news broadcast analysts, the training also prepares students for jobs in communications, writing, marketing, and public relations. They can also pursue technical writing, content management, and social media management careers.

Throughout their studies, learners can expand their career options through targeted course and concentration selection, or they can choose internships to build experience and get a foot in the door prior to graduation. The data below outlines career options available to journalism graduates and median annual salaries for each.

Career Median Salary (2020)
Public Relations Specialists $118,430
Technical Writers $74,650
Writers and Authors $67,120
Editors $63,400
Radio and Television Broadcasters $49,300
Announcers $41,950
Newspaper, Periodical, Book, and Directory Publishers $49,300
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Journalism Organizations

NAJB supports Black journalists, journalism students, and educators. The association offers advocacy efforts, professional development opportunities, and educational and career support services. The AWM helps women in media careers and related pursuits, providing them access to a professional network, industry events, and career services. Members can also gain industry insights and access professional resources. ASJA represents independent nonfiction writers, offering them access to professional development opportunities, market insights, and a large peer network. The organization also supports the careers of freelancers and the publishing community as a whole. IRE strives to improve the investigative reporter profession and help professionals get ahead. It offers an extensive professional network, provides access to resources, and runs events and training programs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Difference Between a Communications Degree and a Journalism Degree?

Communications degrees typically prepare students to create a variety of media content across mediums and platforms. Journalism training focuses specifically on news reporting, usually in a more limited number of mediums.

How Do I Start Working as a Journalist?

According to the BLS, most reporters and news broadcasters earn a bachelor's degree in journalism. At the start of their careers, they take on internships to gain experience, often while still enrolled at their college or university.

Is a Journalism Career Hard to Get Into?

Journalism can be a challenging career to enter because of declining demand in traditional print mediums. To improve their chances of employment, candidates should pursue practical experience via internships, if possible.


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