Writing careers come in many forms, such as TV, radio, newspapers, books, magazines, or mobile apps. With an online bachelor’s degree in journalism, you’ll become an expert at sharing local, national, and international news, events, and information with the public. With strong communication skills, journalists make excellent storytellers. Students can choose from a variety of specializations within journalism, including public relations, entertainment, sports, science, and health. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, reporters and correspondents can earn more than $85,000 annually in this ever-evolving industry.
Choosing a Program
A journalism degree online provides a foundation of knowledge about local and global print, broadcast, and web-based media. Students often take basic liberal arts classes in humanities, anthropology, history, political science, and psychology as part of a journalism curriculum. Journalism students sharpen their writing skills with classes in English, research methods, copy editing, editorial commentary, and freelance writing. They also learn about the digital transformation of journalism through classes in online media, storytelling with cell phones, and design for web and mobile devices.
Popular concentrations in journalism include writing and editing, international reporting, media design, photojournalism, sports journalism, and broadcast journalism. Some online programs require students to complete an independent study or an internship to gain hands-on experience in their subfield.
Students examine strategies to enhance their critical thinking skills, writing and communication abilities, and ethical decision making. Typically, a journalism degree requires 120 credits, with 18 credits being core courses, 12 credits of concentration courses, and 15 elective credits.
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Online Bachelor’s in Journalism Degree Program Ranking Guidelines
We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.
The Best Online Bachelor’s in Journalism Programs
1 University of Massachusetts–Amherst
UMass Amherst provides a bachelor’s degree completion program through its online school, the University Without Walls (UWW). A journalism studies concentration is available for the BA degree. Courses within the study aim to expand student writing skills for a variety of careers in journalism, marketing, and communications, and include writing for public relations, food reviews, and columns. Other courses focus on media relations, reporting, and social media communication. The required writing courses result in a portfolio of essays about student-life experiences for degree credit (an average of 15, with the potential of 30). Full-time faculty teach all courses.
This 120-credit online journalism degree is intended for transfer students and those pursuing their first bachelor’s degree. Up to 100 credits are accepted for transfer, and applicants must have a minimum of 12 credits with a 2.0 cumulative GPA. Work, military experience, and professional certifications all count toward credit. There are two program start dates per year.
Please note that residents of Arkansas and Alabama are exempt from applying.
The UWW provides scholarships of $500-$2,500 for qualifying adult students, and new applications can be submitted each semester. Loans, grants, and aid for military service members and veterans are also available. Most UWW students are eligible for financial aid if enrolled in at least two courses during both the fall and spring semesters.
UMass Amherst is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC-CIHE).
2 DePaul University
Chicago’s DePaul University has a fully online degree completion program in communications and media. This 192-quarter hour bachelor’s degree is open to transfer students with at least 45-quarter hours (equal to 30 semester hours) completed in liberal arts courses and electives holding a minimum of a 2.0 GPA. Some requirements may be fulfilled by exam.
Applicants must pass at least two English composition courses and a college algebra course to fully enroll. Then, all communication courses should be taken through DePaul. Courses include introduction to journalism, intercultural communications, storytelling and style in cinema, and persuasion. Internships also earn credit, which commonly take place during the final year of the program. Capstone courses also occur near program completion.
DePaul’s College of Communication provides dedicated advisors to students in this degree program. They assist with course selection and internship placement.
In 2016, DePaul founded its Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence, which connects students with network opportunities and internships within media companies and publications. It also works with the university’s journalism department on course development and promotes ethical reporting practices.
Depaul University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Immaculata University offers a journalism degree online with its BA in communications, public relations or journalism. This hybrid program requires some courses to be taken in-person at the Immaculata, Pennsylvania campus. An accelerated degree option is also available, which shortens the degree completion time to two years.
The program prepares students for a variety of career paths by honing communication skills. Courses include advanced reporting and feature writing, media ethics and law, and writing for public relations. Graduation requirements mandate two internships available on-campus or locally at area marketing agencies, media outlets, and private companies. University staff assist with identifying opportunities and securing placement. Students may also choose to conduct independent research with a faculty member and present their findings at communication conferences.
Admissions are rolling, and applicants can transfer up to 64 credits. Immaculata’s Associate Degree Grant program provides $1,500 to graduates of community colleges who enroll. The student-to-faculty ratio is 9:1, and 75% of faculty members hold the highest degrees in their fields. The University is home to approximately 900 undergraduate students, or recent high school graduates, and 600 adult undergraduates.
Immaculata is a Catholic university founded in 1920 by the Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as a women’s college. It became co-educational in 2005.
Immaculata University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission of Higher Education (MSCHE).
4 National University
La Jolla, California
National University is a nonprofit school for adult students. Its fully online bachelor’s degree in digital journalism prepares students for employment immediately after graduation. Coursework covers story development, including research and fact-checking, and writing and copyediting for various media outlets. It also emphasizes the importance of following ethical reporting practices and understanding legal aspects of the profession.
Thirteen major courses are required within this 180-quarter credit program. They include global journalism, investigative reporting, and documentary techniques. Students must also choose three electives in their area of interest and participate in a journalism capstone course. Students will develop portfolios of news stories throughout the program, which may assist in obtaining employment post-graduation. The program is administered through the Department of Journalism, Film, and Entertainment Arts within the School of Professional Studies.
Prerequisites for this journalism degree include two courses in college English, a course in the history of journalism, and a mass communication course. The $5,000 Transfer to Success Scholarship is available to qualified transfer students. Other scholarships and military tuition discounts are additional options to reduce tuition.
National University’s main campus is in San Diego, California, with more than 20 other locations in California and Nevada. Nevada residents must take a course on Nevada’s constitution to graduate from any online or on-campus program. NU was founded in 1971 by retired U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander David Chigos and offers courses at numerous military bases.
National University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
5Texas State University
San Marcos, Texas
Founded as a teacher’s college in 1851, Texas State is now home to more than 34,000 undergraduate students. Located in San Marcos, Texas, it is part of the Texas State University System. Its online bachelor’s degree in journalism is administered by its School of Journalism and Mass Communication, which is accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.
The BS in journalism and mass communication is delivered in hybrid format, with 25 to 49% of courses available online. The remainder must be taken on campus. The program requires 120 credit hours, comprised of 40 in the major, 72 in general core courses (not related to communication, per standards set by ACEJMC), and a minor in another subject area. Major courses include news writing and reporting (a minimum of a “C” must be earned in this course), media law and ethics, and editing for clear communication. While not required for graduation, internships are recommended. The University Star student newspaper provides students with journalism experience. A senior portfolio and final exam are necessary for degree completion.
Students may choose to participate in a media practicum, a 60-hour commitment to working with a faculty member that includes laboratory time.
Participants of this online degree journalism program must begin under “pre-mass communication status” until earning 30 credit hours. This includes a minimum of a C earned in two college writing courses, a human communication course, a mass communication course, and a grammar for journalists course (which may be substituted for an on-campus exam).
Texas State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Regent University is a Christian school established by Dr. Pat Robertson in 1978. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Regent has 95 online and on-campus programs, including a bachelor’s degree in communication studies with a journalism concentration. Along with educating students about communication theories and best practices, this journalism degree provides strategies for developing effective messaging across media platforms, exploring print, broadcast, and digital journalism. Internships and campus publications offer opportunities to hone skills obtained during coursework. Graduates are well-prepared for careers in broadcasting, marketing, business, and public relations.
Online students have access to tutoring, library, and career services. Weekly chapel is available online, and Regent’s Online Peer Mentorship Program delivers virtual student-to-student support.
The Council for Christian Colleges and Universities conducted a tuition survey and included Regent within the top 5% of the most affordable Christian higher education institutions. The University counts former U.S. attorney general John Ashcroft and Steve Forbes, CEO of Forbes, Inc. among influencers that have participated in campus courses or events as faculty or guests.
Regent works to develop “Christian leadership to change the world,” so all degree programs maintain a Christian context.
Regent University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
7 Cameron University
Established in 1908 as an agricultural high school, Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma now has approximately 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including a journalism bachelor’s degree. The BA in journalism and media production takes place 69% online. It requires 124 credit hours for graduation, including a minor. All general education courses are available online, but major courses and electives are typically delivered on-campus. Blackboard is the online course management system for asynchronous online courses, using interactive television technology.
Please note that residents of California, Massachusetts, and Florida are not eligible to participate in Cameron’s online courses.
Faculty advisors assist students with creating a portfolio throughout the program. There are a variety of organizations available to journalism students within Cameron’s Department of Communication, such as the Broadcast Club and the Society for Professional Journalism. Students may also participate in developing news for the campus website, AggieCentral.com, and for the CUTV station.
Free tutoring is available at labs on campus, and each student receives ten free hours of tutoring in specific subject areas at Tutor.com. Students also enjoy small class sizes, and 64% graduate without student debt.
Cameron University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
8 Louisiana State University–Shreveport
LSUS has a bachelor degree of journalism available 100% online. It includes 40 courses totaling 120 credits. The BA in mass communication with a journalism concentration has 16 core credits, including news writing, intro to new media, and seminars specific to the sophomore and senior years. There are six journalism credits required through the copy editing and opinion writing courses. Students can opt to take nine elective credits in public relations or new media. The remaining 89 credits are general liberal arts courses including English, science, humanities, and a foreign language.
While not necessary for graduation, many students in this program opt to participate in an internship. Faculty members assist with placement, and work closely with students to expand their professional networks and improve employment opportunities. The same faculty members teach on-campus and online courses, and 80% of faculty hold a degree in their field, which attests to the quality of education delivered.
Online students pair with enrollment specialists who assist with the application, registration, and financial aid processes. Financial aid opportunities are the same for online and on-campus students. Students in online programs can virtually access the LSUS library, research center, career services, and university publications. Moodle is the online learning platform used by LSUS.
There are a variety of start dates throughout the year for online students, which offers additional flexibility to the program.
Louisiana State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
9Southern Illinois University–Carbondale
Located in Carbondale, Illinois, SIU has a journalism bachelor’s degree online. This BS in Journalism is part of the SIU School of Journalism within the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts. The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications has accredited SIU’s School of Journalism.
The degree program requires 120 credit hours, which can be completed in four years or less, depending on student schedules and transfer credits. Those holding associate of arts degrees can typically start the program as juniors. Online courses are offered in four, eight, and 16-week options, and can be pursued in any order. Advertising principles, media ethics, and copywriting are other available program courses, and 15 credit hours of electives must be taken. Enrollment and admissions are continuous throughout the academic year.
SIU distributes $10 million in scholarships to undergraduates annually. Through a partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, students may earn scholarships to travel internationally to report on issues not typically addressed in the media. Reduced tuition may be provided to students from states near Illinois.
SIU media opportunities include the student-run Daily Egyptian newspaper and website, which started in 1916 when SIU was a teachers’ college. It was one of the first college newspapers to go online in 1994. Journalism students may also join the SIU Chapter of the National Press Photographers Association.
Southern Illinois University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
10 California State University, Bakersfield
CSU-Bakersfield has a degree completion journalism program for adult students. The BA in communications with a journalism emphasis is a 50- to 60-credit program that requires two years to complete. It is a hybrid course, meaning that some classes are offered online. The remainder must be taken at CSU’s College of the Canyons campus in Santa Clarita, California. All in-person and online courses are taught by CSU faculty.
Students must have all general education requirements completed upon application, which includes at least 60 credits with a minimum GPA of 2.0. This includes foreign language coursework. If not previously earned, students may take a foreign language course at the College of the Canyons campus. The mass media and society course is a prerequisite of the journalism program.
There are four core courses, including communication theories, technical and report writing, mass media law, and a capstone seminar. Journalism major courses require 15 credits and include public affairs reporting, feature writing, and convergence journalism. Students must also take 12 credits as a minor, which must be selected from among CSU’s sociology subjects.
Students in this hybrid program are eligible for financial aid.
CSU uses Blackboard for its online learning management system. CSU is a public university that was established in 1965 and offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
California State University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
Online Bachelor’s in Journalism Careers
With an online bachelor’s degree in journalism, you can go on to pursue a career as a reporter, editor, writer, correspondent, or news analyst. Responsible for reporting the news for newspapers, TV, magazines, websites, and radio, journalists research stories, investigate topics, conduct interviews, write and edit articles, and provide updates as they become available for the public.
- Reporter/Broadcast News Analyst: Reporters share local, national, and global information through various media outlets. Broadcast news analysts host news shows on both TV or radio. As experts in areas like politics, sports, business, and health, news analysts provide commentary, analysis, and opinions on specific topics.
- Median Annual Salary: $38,870
- Projected Growth Rate: -10%
- Writer: Writers create content for various types of media, including books, magazines, websites, movies, and blogs. Conducting research and using accurate sourcing, writers are often experts on a specific topic or subject matter. Some writers prefer to create fictional stories.
- Median Annual Salary: $61,240
- Projected Growth Rate: 8%
- Editor: Editors prepare content for publication by providing proofreading, copy editing, fact-checking, and revisions. They ensure written content is clear of grammatical errors and misspellings and rewrite content for optimal flow.
- Median Annual Salary: $57,210
- Projected Growth Rate: 0%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics