Journalism Degrees in San Francisco, CA with Course Summaries

Dec 24, 2018

The San Francisco area has nine colleges and universities that offer journalism programs. Learn about the degree programs, admission info and program requirements for three schools within 15 miles of downtown and make an informed education decision.

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San Francisco Schools with Journalism Degrees

The San Francisco Bay Area has many colleges and universities that offer different levels of journalism education in several specializations. This article looks at three schools that are no more than a half-hour from the city center and the programs they offer. There is also a table of information about each school, with statistics such as enrollment, tuition, the percentage of applicants who are accepted and the percentage of students who graduate in a reasonable time. A listing of a few other Bay Area schools with journalism programs is at the end of this article.

  • The City College of San Francisco offers an associate's degree in journalism and a certificate in editorial management and design. This school is just over four miles from downtown San Francisco.
  • About five miles from downtown, San Francisco State University has a bachelor's degree program in journalism with concentrations in online and print journalism as well as photojournalism. Students there can also minor in journalism.
  • Students who want to continue their education with a master's degree in journalism can apply to the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California - Berkeley. UC-Berkeley is on the east side of the bay, about 11 miles from downtown San Francisco.

Comparison of Schools

The following table contains information that could help prospective students decide which of these schools is their best option.

City College of San Francisco San Francisco State University University of California Berkeley
School Type Public, 2-year Public, 4-year Public, 4-year
Total Enrollment (2017) 26,299* 29,758* 41,891*
Campus Setting Large city Large city Midsize city
Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $1,598 in-state;
$9,010 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
$7,254 in-state;
$19,134 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
$14,170 in-state;
$29,272 out-of-state (graduate)*
% of First-Time Students Receiving Grants or Scholarships (2016-2017) 59%* 69%* 48% *
Undergraduate Acceptance Rate (Fall 2017) Open admissions* 70%* 17%*
Undergraduate Retention Rate (2016-2017) 72% full-time,
44% part-time*
81% full-time,
52% part-time*
97% full-time,
89% part-time*
Undergraduate Graduation Rate 32% (11% transfer-out rate) for students who began in Fall 2014* 54% (7% transfer-out rate) for students who began in Fall 2011* 91% for students who began in Fall 2011*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

City College of San Francisco

The journalism department at the City College of San Francisco (CCSF) is located on the college's Ocean and Mission campuses. All of the journalism programs are taught by experienced professional journalists.

Associate of Arts in Journalism

By the time they finish the CCSF journalism degree program, students should be able to think critically about the role and impact of journalism and mass media, as well as write and edit feature articles and design layouts. Examples of class topics include digital visual media skills, journalism on the Internet, and copy editing electronic materials. Students in their third and fourth semesters contribute to the college's newspaper, The Guardsman, and/or the college's Etc. Magazine. Students can immerse themselves further in journalism by joining the City College Press Club, which attends journalism conferences, invites guest speakers, and organizes social events and job fairs.

Editorial Management and Design Certificate

This 42-credit certificate program can be completed over the course of four semesters. Some of the required classes examine visual media and today's news media in the first semester, feature writing and Internet research in the second semester, graphic design in the third semester, and a newspaper laboratory in the fourth semester.

San Francisco State University

The Journalism Department at San Francisco State University (SFSU) is housed within the College of Liberal and Creative Arts. The department maintains the Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism, which strives to keep journalism relevant in today's society by focusing on journalism entrepreneurship.

Bachelor of Arts in Journalism

In order to be awarded the bachelor's degree from SFSU, students must complete at least 43 journalism units - only 13 of which may be lower division. Students must complete a minor in a subject approved by the journalism department. Journalism students can choose between two concentrations: print and online journalism or photojournalism. Both concentrations require students to complete core courses in newswriting, news media law and ethics, multimedia journalism and digital news gathering. The print and online concentration curriculum includes a number of elective courses in topics like feature and magazine writing, while the photojournalism concentration primarily consists of a core series of photojournalism courses and labs.

Minor in Journalism

Students wishing to earn a minor in journalism at SFSU must complete 21 units in the field. They're required to take five courses, exploring topics like news writing, journalism's social impact and digital news gathering. Students can also choose two additional journalism electives.

University of California - Berkeley

The Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, or J-School, is part of the University of California - Berkeley. In addition to getting journalistic practice while in school, J-School students can help their surrounding communities by staffing community reporting websites for under-represented Bay Area communities.

Master of Journalism

In order to receive a Master of Journalism, graduate students must complete 36 or more units as well as a master's project. Students are required to take courses in news reporting, law and ethics, introductory multimedia, and visual journalism. Required internships also count as credit toward the degree. The rest of the credits must be from graduate-level or upper-division courses, and up to 12 can be from relevant departments other than journalism. Journalism students can choose the courses within a curriculum that are specific to what interests them most. The different journalism curricula include documentary, video journalism, new media, photojournalism, narrative writing or audio journalism.

Other School Options

Contra Costa College in San Pablo - 14 miles outside of San Francisco - offers an associate's degree program in journalism. Dominican University in San Rafael (about 18 miles away) offers a bachelor's degree program and a minor in digital journalism.

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