California Journalism Schools with Degree Program Overviews

Sep 25, 2019

Journalism Schools in California

Those pursuing a career in journalism typically need a bachelor's degree in journalism or a related field. California has many colleges and universities that offer journalism degrees and related programs in mass communications. Programs are available at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Journalism degree programs often provide opportunities to specialize in specific types of news media as well as develop broadly applicable journalistic skills. Students earning an associate's degree can transfer to a 4-year school in some instances. Some programs may be available online.

With an associate's, bachelor's or master's in journalism, California students gain hands-on experience through a number of methods, including internships, projects and working for the school newspaper. Students can put together a portfolio, and graduate students may need to complete a thesis. The following are brief descriptions of the 10 largest private not-for-profit and public schools that offer journalism programs.


American River College

Located in Sacramento, this college offers an Associate in Arts (AA) degree program in journalism. Students learn how to write features, editorials and news for a variety of media formats. They also learn how to incorporate multimedia in their writings. The program provides training in research methods and ethical journalism practices, as well. Courses cover editing and production, reporting and mass media. Transfer plans for 4-year universities are available.

California State University - Long Beach

Found in Long Beach, this university has a journalism minor and Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree program. For the minor, students take at least 18 units of basic journalism courses, like mass media ethics and reporting/information gathering. BA students are required to choose a minor and complete an internship for valued practical experience. Students take courses in online media, mass communications and reporting as well as a senior seminar. The BA program offers an optional specialization in public relations.

California State University - Northridge

Located in Northridge, this university offers undergraduate and graduate-level journalism degree programs as well as minors in journalism and Spanish-language journalism. The BA program has specializations in broadcast journalism, general journalism, and journalism/public relations. Undergrad students must also complete a collateral requirement in a field like political science or history.

The journalism department also offers a Master of Arts (MA) in Mass Communication program, which includes core courses in media criticism, mass communication theory and mass communication law. Grad students can complete either a comprehensive exam or a thesis project.

City College of San Francisco

Found in San Francisco, this college offers an AA in Journalism and two certificate programs. AA students learn how to write news features, conduct sound research and design for newspapers. The associate's degree program allows students to transfer to 4-year universities. The certificate program in editorial management/design teaches students about the design of newspapers, typography and journalistic work. The online research certificate program has courses in broadcast writing, news media and feature writing. Students learn to write for a variety of formats and develop a portfolio.

East Los Angeles College

Located in Monterey Park, this college offers a journalism certificate and an AA degree program. Certificate students take 21 units of coursework in topics like mass communications, photography, editing and news writing. AA students complete 60 units of coursework. AA courses include publication laboratory, public relations, news writing and staff editor techniques. Students completing the AA degree program in journalism have the option of transferring to 4-year degree programs at a University of California or California State University campus, as well as private and out-of-state schools, if they meet school-specific preparation requirements.

San Diego State University

Roughly 10 miles from downtown San Diego, this university offers both a journalism minor and a BA degree program. BA students can choose an emphasis in advertising, media studies or public relations. Required journalism courses include media law, research methods, journalism, media writing and multimedia news writing. Students also need to study a foreign language and a discipline related to journalism.

San Jose State University

Found in San Jose, SJSU's journalism options include a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Journalism program, an undergraduate minor in journalism and a Master of Science (MS) in Mass Communications program. In the bachelor's degree program, students choose an emphasis in editing, photojournalism, radio/television news, magazine or reporting. Numerous internship opportunities are available in the Silicon Valley area. Students pursuing the 18-credit minor can specialize in electronic media, reporting/editing, magazine journalism or photojournalism.

The graduate program in mass communications requires students to complete a thesis, project or comprehensive papers. Grad students learn about advanced journalism and media communication topics.

Santa Monica College

This college in Santa Monica offers an AA in Journalism program. Students write news, utilize multimedia and help produce a school newspaper. They may take courses in opinion writing, editing, news photography and public relations. To transfer to a 4-year institution, students must complete the major and general education requirements specified by each school.

University of California - Berkeley

Found in Berkeley, this university offers a 2-year Master of Journalism program. Students are required to take courses in advanced reporting, writing, ethics and journalism law. In addition to core journalism courses, students take courses in specific news areas, like business, environmental or cultural reporting. They also study journalistic techniques, like magazine or investigative reporting. An internship and a professional project are required.

There is also a UC Berkeley journalism minor for undergraduates, available exclusively in the summer. Students will receive hands-on training across a variety of communications media, technologies, and practical skills.

University of Southern California

Located in Los Angeles, USC's journalism program delves into broadcast/digital journalism and print/digital journalism at an undergraduate level. Students may study print reporting, broadcast production, online media and investigative reporting. The MA in Journalism program has tracks in audio, text, digital, news video and long-form video. An MA in Specialized Journalism program is also offered, with an option to specialize in arts reporting. Graduate journalism students can participate in international internships in South Africa, China or the United Kingdom.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type and Setting Journalism Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)
American River College 2-year, public; large suburb AA in Journalism and Mass Communication $1,104 in-state; $8,712 out-of-state*
California State University - Long Beach 4-year, public; large city Minor in Journalism,
BA in Journalism
$6,798 in-state; $18,678 out-of-state*
California State University - Northridge 4-year, public; large city Minor in Journalism or Spanish-Language Journalism,
BA in Journalism,
MA in Mass Communication
$6,893 in-state; $18,773 out-of-state*
City College of San Francisco 2-year, public; large city Certificate in Editorial Management/Design or Online Research,
AA in Journalism
$1,696 in-state; $10,372 out-of-state*
East Los Angeles College 2-year, public; small city Certificate of Achievement in Journalism,
AA in Journalism
$1,220 in-state; $7,746 out-of-state*
San Diego State University 4-year, public; large city Minor in Journalism,
BA in Journalism
$7,488 in-state; $19,340 out-of-state*
San Jose State University 4-year, public; large city Minor in Journalism,
BS in Journalism,
MS in Mass Communications
$7,796 in-state; $19,676 out-of-state*
Santa Monica College 2-year, public; small city AA in Journalism $1,142 in-state; $8,918 out-of-state*
University of California - Berkeley 4-year, public; midsize city Master of Journalism $14,184 in-state; $43,176 out-of-state*
University of Southern California 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city BA in Broadcast/Digital Journalism or Print/Digital Journalism,
MA in Journalism or Specialized Journalism
$56,225*

Source: *College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics.

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