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Academic Program

Journalism and Professional Writing

The Journalism and Professional Writing (JPW) curriculum is designed to provide intensive study in news and feature writing and editing, as well as corequisite training in ethics, media law, and multimedia/digital skills. JPW also offers two separate minors, one in Journalism and the other in Professional Writing. Any of these programs can be meaningfully combined with majors or minors in fields including communication studies, interactive multimedia, history, international studies, psychology, and marketing, among others.

The Journalism and Professional Writing major is interdisciplinary, so it offers a broad range of courses not only in writing but in other areas of study,  allowing students to design programs appropriate to their goals and interests. JPW is excellent preparation for careers in journalism, professional writing, editing, publishing, communications, public relations, law, management, or any other occupation that requires excellent written and oral communication skills. It is also one of the best preparations for graduate and professional schools; many of our students go on to advanced study at universities across the country.

Learning Goals

Upon completion of their program of study, JPW majors will be able to:

  1. Research, write, edit and create material of entry-level professional quality according to the practices and standards of news organizations, magazines and professional communications. These materials include news stories, features, newsletters, business documents, headlines, photo captions, photos, videos and web/digital content.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of media law and ethical conduct in journalism and professional writing, and other requirements of good journalistic practice.
  3. Demonstrate an awareness of the assumptions about culture and gender implicit in choice of media, representations, and focus in journalism and professional writing.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of the history and traditions of journalism and professional writing.
  5. Perform entry-level work at a professional publication or as a professional writer, as demonstrated by completion of a media experience.

Program Entrance, Retention, and Exit Standards

Every major program at the College has set standards for allowing students to remain in that program, to transfer within the College from one program to another, and to graduate from a program. The following are the standards for Journalism and Professional Writing. Minimum grades are noted in parentheses.

  • Retention in the JPW major is based on the following performance standards in two “critical content” courses: JPW 208/Introduction to Journalism (C) and JPW 250/Writing for Interactive Media (C).
  • Students wishing to transfer into Journalism and Professional Writing from another program within the College are invited to submit an application and Change of Major form by September 15 for the Spring term and by February 15 for the Fall term. The application must include a 500-word essay about why you want to be a JPW major and why you will be successful in our program. It will be helpful to discuss your performance in JPW courses you have already taken, or the classes you look forward to taking the most. If JPW is going to be your second major, you should explain what you hope it will add to your studies. Also include a copy of your unofficial transcript, from PAWS.
  • Graduation requirements: all JPW and correlate courses (C-).

Academic Advisement

Each student is responsible for following JPW advisement procedures, and is assigned an academic adviser whose name will appear in his/her PAWS account. Advisers will publicize the times when they are available for conferences, but students are responsible for taking the initiative to arrange conferences with advisers each semester during the registration period and whenever academic questions arise.

JPW faculty believe that proper advisement is vital to the academic wellbeing of majors. The purposes of these conferences are to assure that:

  • The student is taking the appropriate courses to meet the College’s academic requirements;
  • The student is pursuing those courses best suited to his/her career goals;
  • The student will have a source of mature advice in handling whatever academic difficulties he/she may encounter;
  • Advisers are able to maintain updated files on advisees, containing program planners, transcripts, a record of their attendance at advising sessions, and other relevant data.


Transfer Credit

Each student is required to complete at least seven of the twelve courses for the JPW degree at the College. The 12th course is one that is outside JPW offerings.