2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog

Department of Journalism

The mission of the Department of Journalism is to educate journalism students to think and act as responsible professionals and ethical citizens in a global community. The Department of Journalism helps students develop competencies that prepare them for employment and advanced studies. It seeks to create skilled professional communicators who understand their social, legal and ethical responsibilities in a rapidly changing media landscape that connects societies around the world.

The degree program in the school prepares students to communicate to diverse audiences in a free society through critical thinking, analytical writing, real-time reporting and compelling multi-media presentations.

Founded in 1927, the Department of Journalism requires versatility and performance. The Department of Journalism is one of 18 programs at private universities in the nation accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC). About 10 percent of the journalism programs at U.S. public and private universities are accredited by the council. The school fully subscribes to ACEJMC guidelines that at least 72 semester hours be taken outside journalism classes. The department strongly recommends that students use these hours to ensure a broad liberal arts education.

Experiential learning is emphasized through a vibrant student media, hosted internships and coursework that include real-life assignments with commercial media. An internship at the Washington Center is offered to a select group of students in the fall semester of their senior year.

Students majoring in journalism should master the elements of written, oral and visual presentation of the news, as well as understand the First Amendment in a democracy and the ethical standards that accompany the gathering and distribution of news. This includes theory, history and concepts of journalism, as well as practical skills.

Classes in which journalism skills are taught and practiced are limited to 15 students. Classes that address reporting specialties such as public affairs, business, visual and sports journalism often have fewer students and are platform-agnostic. Through other courses, students are encouraged to use their enthusiasm for a subject, such as politics or the arts, in their assignments.

Through the skills classes emerges a portfolio, or body of work, that becomes the basis for graduates entering the job market. As part of their coursework, students produce professional-quality newscasts in the school's high-definition broadcast journalism studio and practice real-time journalism in the Department of Journalism Convergence Center. First-year students are encouraged to volunteer for student media.

Journalism professors and instructors have both academic credentials and professional experience. The faculty include an Emmy Award winner, authors of books and other scholarly research, a lawyer specializing in freedom of information and issues an editor of an award-winning hyperlocal news website. Full professors teach entry-level courses in the journalism major.

Specialization in storytelling techniques is supported by faculty, but not before the future journalist is exposed to newsgathering skills across online, print and video platforms. This focus on cross-training is a distinction of the school.

Students must develop the ability to write clearly, distinctively and correctly. The first writing course, JOUR 10113, has a grammar/spelling/punctuation module that must be passed with a "C" or better before students can take any course for which JOUR 10113 is a prerequisite. Journalism majors and minors must make a C or better in any course that is a prerequisite for another journalism course before enrolling in the course for which the prerequisite is required. Skills courses must be taken sequentially.

No course applied to the student's major, minor or associated requirement may be taken on a pass/no-credit basis. Journalism courses taken in those sequences must be passed with "C" (2.0) or better to fulfill prerequisite requirements for any journalism course and for graduation requirements for the majors or minors. Note: A "C-" (1.67) does not meet that requirement.

Professional organizations that have chapters affiliated with the Department of Journalism include the Society of Professional Journalists. The school also has a chapter of Kappa Tau Alpha, the national honor society for journalism students.

Journalism majors are eligible for the endowed Jay Milner Distinguished Student Journalism Award for work in TCU student media, with amounts of up to $1,000.

Declaring Journalism as a Major

Incoming first-year and transfer students may declare journalism as a major upon entering the University. Students of sophomore standing or above who wish to declare a major offered by the Department of Journalism must have achieved a TCU cumulative GPA of 2.5 before they can declare a major inside the school. A journalism minor is offered through the school.

Honors College

Candidates for Departmental Honors should take JOUR 30003 their junior year and JOUR 40003 during the fall semester of their senior year.

Journalism Degrees

The Department of Journalism offers a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and a Bachelor Science in news and media studies.