Online Photojournalism Schools and Colleges: How to Choose

Learn about important considerations when selecting an online photojournalism school. Keep reading to get an overview of the program options, on-campus factors, and common topics offered for the field of study.

It is easier to find online journalism programs available to study online than purely photojournalism programs, but it is beneficial for all budding photojournalists to have a solid background in general journalistic methods. When choosing a photojournalism school, consider the hands-on opportunities that are on offer and what level of study is suitable for your needs.

How to Select an Online Photojournalism School

Photojournalists seek to tell a news story entirely through pictures or to support a news story with appropriate photos. Though entry into the field is varied, careers in photojournalism generally require a combination of hands-on photography skills and journalism training. Online programs are typically focused on journalism studies, with auxiliary discussions of photographic technique. A few colleges and universities, both public and private, offer online journalism programs at the bachelor's and the master's levels. Certificates can also be found.

Technology Investment

Photojournalism has changed significantly since the popularization of Internet-based content. According to the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), the days of traditional film cameras are gone, replaced with digital darkrooms and electronic media ( Students should ensure that their chosen online program embraces the most modern technologies available to photojournalists by performing industry research. Students should also keep in mind that substantial, regular investments in cameras and other equipment may be required to stay at the head of industry demands.

Overall Objective

Few U.S. schools offer photojournalism programs at any degree or certificate level, whether on campus or online. The NPPA suggests that individuals entering the field earn degrees in either journalism or photography, while taking supplementary courses to make up for one or the other. Before selecting an online program, students should consider whether they'd like to focus on journalism, with a few courses in photography, or if they'd prefer to focus on learning photography, while pursuing limited coursework in journalism.

Opportunity for Internships

The path to becoming a photojournalist is different for everyone. In addition to education, many find success through hands-on learning opportunities and the development of a photojournalism portfolio. Students should make every effort to choose an online school that has either an internship requirement or otherwise assists students to engage in extracurricular opportunities; these requirements help insure that students get real-world experience and effective portfolios.

List of Online Photography and Journalism Programs

Certificate in Journalism

Most certificate programs in journalism include a course dedicated to photojournalism. These 4- to 8-course programs are sometimes offered entirely online, through hybrid programs, which combine online and on-campus instruction, are more common. Curriculum includes electives as well as required courses. Examples include:

  • Newswriting and reporting
  • Journalism ethics
  • Intro to journalism
  • Writing for public relations

Bachelor's Degree in Journalism

Although scarce, bachelor's degree programs in journalism are available fully online that offer courses in photojournalism. Such programs are generally designed for working professionals who would like to earn a bachelor's degree and award credits for life and work experience. Students access specialized coursework online and receive training and support to help aid online learning. Specific course topics include:

  • Communication processes and practices
  • Rhetorical criticism
  • Reporting and writing
  • Photojournalism
  • Layout and editing

Schools with Online Photojournalism Programs

An online certificate program in photojournalism is available through the New York Institute of Photography. Students will learn how proper camera techniques and be taught how to create an engaging narrative with their photography. Students will also be assigned a professional photographer as a mentor in order to gain constructive feedback on their work.

At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, students can enroll in an online master's degree program in journalism that can be customized according to the student's learning goals. Students will gain professional journalism skills that will help them produce accurate and engaging content.

The University of Massachusetts offers a bachelor's degree program with a concentration in journalism that can be fully completed online. This program is suitable for both professional journalists and those interested in getting started in the field. This program offers is beneficial for students with a degree of life experience, giving academic credit for evidence of prior coursework and training, relevant portfolio work and professional certifications, among other things.

While specific photojournalism programs may not be widely available online, distance learning journalism programs with the opportunity to focus on photojournalism are relatively easy to find. Real world experience can be extremely beneficial when searching for work in the industry, so consider schools that have an internship component.

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