School of Communication & Journalism

Curriculum & Areas of Emphasis

an unidentified female student attending an Auburn football gameStudents accepted to the Journalism Program will be required to follow the curriculum below starting Fall 2013.

In addition, students may choose an area of emphasis to further specialize their journalism training. Students will earn a bachelor's degree in journalism and can select a specialization in the area of their choosing. (Note: an Area of Emphasis is not required for a degree in journalism).

Areas of Emphasis

Broadcast Journalism

  • Dream of working in front or behind the camera in a television newsroom covering local or national news, sports or entertainment news? Want to learn how to gather and report the news for broadcast and digital platforms or how to write and produce a newscast? Students interested in Broadcast Journalism will learn journalism fundamentals, how to deliver the news for various platforms, how to use professional-level broadcast equipment and how to structure and direct a newscast. Students will have hands-on experience with on-air delivery and anchoring a newscast. The digital news courses take place in a state-of-the-art television station with equipment provided through our partnership with Raycom Media.

Community Journalism

  • As a community journalist, one must be ready to cover any issue from local elections, city council, school events to fires and car accidents, as well as report those issues for print, broadcast and digital platforms. Our program’s roots are in community journalism. Community news media outlets, whether they are found in rural or metropolitan areas, have one thing in common – they help strengthen communities by intensely covering local issues and showing citizens they have a voice in our democratic society. The Community Journalism area of emphasis provides students with a solid grounding in journalism basics, expertise in covering a community, ability to research and report breaking news and in-depth feature stories and hands-on experience using the latest digital tools.

Entrepreneurial/Business Journalism

  • Emerging technology brings many challenges to a media business. Digital media have transformed the nation’s news organizations. Journalists and media managers who work for newspapers, magazines, television stations and Web-based publications must know about what drives the audience to various media products, how to market and distribute media content and the financial impact of these products on the bottom line. While traditional newsrooms are adapting to digital media, many journalists are becoming entrepreneurs and launching their own media products. Through the journalism curriculum, students interested in the Entrepreneurial/Business Journalism area of emphasis will receive a solid grounding in journalism basics, how to research and report breaking news and in-depth feature stories, how to create new media products and hands-on experience using the latest digital tools. Through non-journalism electives, many of which are offered in the College of Business, students will have the opportunity to learn about global and domestic consumer culture and behavior, corporate finance, small business finance, sales management, promotion strategy, domestic and international marketing, leadership, management, growth strategies for emerging companies and creating business plans for new ventures.

Health & Science Journalism

  • Health and science journalists play important roles in our society. They take complex and challenging scientific information or medical breakthroughs and create compelling and easy-to-understand journalistic stories for traditional and digital platforms. Those stories can focus on health-care systems, environmental disasters, medical ethics, the spread of disease, climate change, agricultural, the food supply, public health, nutrition and exercise, just to name a few. Health and science writers must critically examine medical and science findings to inform a lay audience about issues that may concern them. The Health and Science Journalism area of emphasis provides students with a solid grounding in journalism basics, how to research and report breaking news and in-depth feature stories and hands-on experience using the latest digital tools.

Magazine Journalism

  • Auburn’s magazine and feature writing courses take student writers a step beyond traditional news reporting story forms. They will learn about the innovative techniques, creative formats and use of a strong narrative “voice” that create the kind of compelling print and digital magazine stories that people can’t stop reading and editors want to publish. Students will learn about interviewing, writing to specific audiences, fact-gathering, fitting content to various multimedia forms, how magazines work and professional freelancing. Students can decide what kind of writer they would like to be through non-journalism courses in such fields as English literature, fashion, sports, health/fitness and business.

Media Law

  • Interested in being a lawyer for a newspaper, broadcast, motion picture, recording or entertainment company? Pre-law students are encouraged to excel academically, think analytically and write critically. Students interested in the Media Law area of emphasis will be solidly prepared for the academic rigors of law school, as well as to be ready to work for a non-profit or government agency that is related to media industry. Through the journalism curriculum, students will understand press rights and responsibilities, First Amendment theories and landmark media law cases, in addition to a solid grounding in journalism basics, research skills, critical analysis and reporting the news for multiple media. Through non-journalism electives, students will learn about business law, contracts, corporations’ legal liability and how the law affects economic relations. The College of Liberal Arts sponsors the Pre-law Scholars Program. The program is interdisciplinary and is open to all students of any major who intend to pursue careers within the legal profession.

Digital Technology Journalism

  • Want to be on the cutting edge of digital technology in a print, broadcast or online newsroom? Want to design media websites, develop apps or create news stories for the Web? Students interested in Digital Technology Journalism will learn journalism fundamentals, how to report the news and how to produce multimedia packages using video, audio and still photography. Through non-journalism electives, students can gain expertise in HTML, Java, Visual Basic, interactive Web application development, information systems, executing business plans, new venture creation, domestic and international marketing and management and growth strategies for emerging companies.

Investigative Journalism

  • Do you question authority? Do you think public officials should be accountable for their promises and taxpayers’ money? Do you want to report stories about true crime, real politics and real people with problems and dreams only you can tell the world about? Our investigative reporting area of emphasis will teach you to how to interview everyone from millionaires to murderers, introduce you to print and digital information-gathering techniques, and give you a basic understanding of the way systems should work and what happens when they don’t.

Sports Journalism

  • Students interested in the Sports Journalism area of emphasis will have a front-row seat at a university in the top-rated Southeastern Conference. Journalism majors who work for student media cover Auburn football, basketball, baseball, gymnastics, soccer, swimming, diving and a host of other collegiate, club and intramural sports. Through their journalism courses, students will learn the art of sports storytelling, how to go behind the players’ stats and game scores to report compelling stories, how to break news across multiple platforms and what sports and media mean to our society.

Visual Journalism

  • Visual journalists tell stories with words, pictures and design. Designers work in every type of media environment, including newspapers, magazines, multimedia, social media, corporate communication and broadcast media. Visual journalists craft compelling designs using color, typography, visual hierarchy, assignment and selection of images and visual organization. Through the journalism curriculum, students interested in the Visual Journalism area of emphasis will receive a solid grounding in journalism basics, how to report news and feature stories across multiple platforms, photography, multimedia reporting, slideshows and hands-on experience using the latest design and digital tools.

Bachelor of Journalism Degree Requirements

Department Core

Required of all CMJN majors (3 hours)

  • CMJN 2100 Concepts of Communication & Journalism (3)

Required Courses

  • JRNL 1100 Journalism Fundamentals (3)
  • JRNL 2210 Newswriting (3)
  • JRNL 2310 Reporting (3)
  • CMJN 4000 Mass Media Law & Regulation (3)
  • JRNL 4920 Journalism Internship (3)

Group 1 - Required Courses

Must select TWO (6 hours) of the specialized reporting courses below

  • JRNL 3020 Digital News Reporting (3)
  • JRNL 3220 Magazine & Feature Writing (3)
  • JRNL 3530 Sports Reporting (3)

Group 2 - Required Courses

Must select TWO (6 hours) of the journalism production courses below

  • JRNL 3010 Digital News Production
  • JRNL 3110 Introduction to Applied Journalism
  • JRNL 3410 Photojournalism
  • JRNL 3470 Editing & Design
  • JRNL 3510 Multimedia Journalism

Group 3 Courses

Select FIVE courses (15 hours) from the following list of Communication and Journalism electives. At least one (3 hours) of the required four courses must be in COMM, CMJN, Media Studies or PR.

  • JRNL 3110 Introduction to Applied Journalism (3)*
  • JRNL 3220 Magazine & Feature Writing (3)*
  • JRNL 3410 Photojournalism (3)*
  • JRNL 3470 Editing & Design (3)*
  • JRNL 3510 Multimedia Journalism (3)*
  • JRNL 3530 Sports Reporting (3)*
  • JRNL 3010 Digital News Production (3)*
  • JRNL 3020 Digital News Reporting (3)*
  • JRNL 4320 Entrepreneurial Journalism (3)
  • JRNL 4410/4417 Journalism History (3)
  • JRNL 4430 Sports, Media & Society (3)
  • JRNL 4480 Advanced Publication Design (3)
  • JRNL 4490 Literary Journalism (3)
  • JRNL 4870 Community Journalism (3)
  • JRNL 4970 Special Topics in Journalism (3)
  • JRNL 4930 Directed Studies (1-4)
  • JRNL 4967 Honors Special Problems (1-3)
  • JRNL 4997 Honors Thesis (1-3)
  • COMM 2010 Message Preparation & Analysis (3)
  • COMM 2400 Communication in Organizations  (3)
  • COMM 2410 Small Group Communication (3)
  • COMM 3100/3113 Speaking Before Audiences (3)
  • COMM 3110/3113/3114 Persuasion (3)
  • COMM 3300 Communication and Conflict (3)
  • COMM 3450/3453 Intercultural Communication (3)
  • COMM 3500 Foundations of Human Communication (3)
  • COMM 3600 Foundations of Rhetoric & Social Influence (3)
  • COMM 3650 The Rhetoric of Sports (3)
  • COMM 3700 Argumentation (3)
  • COMM 3970 Special Topics in Communication (3)
  • CMJN 3350 Visual Communication (3)
  • PRCM 3040 Foundations of PR (3)
  • PRCM 3080 International PR (3)
  • PRCM 3090 PR in the Political Process (3)
  • PRCM 3260 Strategic Communication in PR (3)
  • PRCM 3270 PR in the Not-for-Profit Arena (3)
  • PRCM 3280 Social Media and Public Relations (3)
  • MDIA 2350/2353/2354 Intro to Film Studies (3)
  • MDIA 2800 Multimedia Production (3)
  • MDIA 3210 Soundtracks Music Mass Media (3)
  • MDIA 3300 Foundations of Mass Comm (3)
  • MDIA 3350 Writing for Radio, Television & Film (3)
  • MDIA 3380 Broadcast Newswriting (3)
  • MDIA 3420 Introduction to Filmmaking (3)
  • MDIA 3580 Reproducing Popular Culture (3)
  • MDIA 3970 Special Topics in Media (3)

    *May take this course to fulfill a Group 3 requirement if the course was not taken as one of your required specialized reporting or journalism production courses.

Group 4 Courses

Must take one (3 hours) of the advanced reporting/writing courses listed below

  • JRNL 4230 Advanced Reporting (3) (offered every fall)
  • JRNL 4470 Advanced Magazine and Feature Writing (3) (offered every spring)

University Core Curriculum and Non-Journalism Electives

In addition to the required journalism coursework, all journalism majors take a variety of classes that provide the opportunity for interdisciplinary learning, information literacy, informed citizenship and global awareness. Journalism majors are required to take 23 elective credit hours and 41 hours in Auburn University’s core curriculum. Please consult with your academic adviser as to prerequisites and class standing requirements for these courses before registration.

Students must apply for admission to the Journalism program after 30 hours of AU courses (transfer credits included).

Students who transfer to Auburn University’s Journalism major are required to take a minimum of 21 credit hours in the AU program.

Total Hours Required

University core: 41 hours
College core: 8 hours
Department core: 3 hours
Major Core/Required: 45 hours
Electives: 23 hours
TOTAL: 120 hours

Please consult the Auburn Bulletin for information on the University and College of Liberal Arts Core.

For more information

John Carvalho

John Carvalho
Associate Director of Journalism
220 Tichenor Hall
Auburn University, AL 36849
(334) 844-4454

Last Updated: August 08, 2016