What College Classes Do You Need to Take to Become a Journalist?

A bachelor's degree is typically required to become a journalist.
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Journalists provide the public with the latest news and information via newspaper, television and the Internet. The work involves covering breaking news events and interviewing different sources to obtain information for the news report. As of 2010, there were approximately 58,000 journalists in the United States, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Journalists enter the profession from a variety of backgrounds, but most who are formally educated in hopes of a journalism career earn a degree in journalism or a related subject, such as English, communications or media studies.

General Education

    Students working toward becoming a journalist spend approximately two years obtaining the general education classes needed for a journalism degree. English composition, college algebra, general psychology and public speaking are just a few of the classes students may take as part of the 60 credit hours required for general education courses.

Journalism Classes

    Introduction to mass communication is often the first journalism class students complete in college. Following this, students take writing, layout and design, broadcast journalism, editing and similar courses that teach the knowledge and skills needed to be a journalist. Sixty credit hours of journalism classes are typically required, in addition to the general education classes, to complete a bachelor's degree in journalism.

On-Campus Practicum

    Many colleges and universities provide journalism students with the opportunity to gain experience in the field through an on-campus practicum. Campus newspapers, radios and television stations are typically run by students with a professor serving only as an adviser. This gives students the opportunity to conduct interviews, write and edit news stories, and print or broadcast news on a regular basis.


    Journalism programs across the United States allow students to earn college credit by interning with actual news agencies. The internship typically happens toward the end of the journalism course work and provides real-world experience for the student. Success in an internship can even lead to a job opportunity as a journalist after graduation with the organization at which you have done an internship.

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