Journalism students need 120 credits to graduate. Journalism courses account for a minimum of 30 (and a maximum of 45) of those credits; General Education courses account for another 34 to 40; the rest of your credits are in Elective courses. Two other graduation requirements are that 42 of your 120 credits must be courses numbered 300 and above, and your grade point average must be at least 2.00.
Because a Journalism degree from URI is a liberal arts degree, students do about 75 percent of their course work in areas outside of journalism. Because we believe the best undergraduate preparation for journalism is breadth, we discourage you from taking more than 36 credits in journalism. Some students choose a second major to complement Journalism or fulfill personal interests. That, of course, reduces the number of elective courses they can take. We encourage students to have a minor field of study, which generally requires 18 credits.
The university has identified four areas where it is focusing resources, and these provide especially creative areas for minors or second majors: marine and environmental programs; health sciences; family, children and communities; and advanced technology, business and engineering. Traditionally popular fields include political science, history and English. Interdepartmental programs such as Women's Studies also are possible. Thus, journalism students can acquire a bit of a "specialty" in a variety of ways. Doing so might give you a leg up in the job market, might satisfy a special interest you have, or might prove to be an area you pursue with graduate study someday.
During your freshman and sophomore years, you will concentrate on meeting General Education requirements. Several years ago, the Journalism faculty identified some academic experiences we believe are important for all Journalism majors. Thus, our majors are restricted in some of their General Education selections. These are detailed on our Worksheet. Exceptions are made rarely, and only with the approval of the department chair.
Freshmen and new transfer students should take JOR 115 (Foundations of American Journalism) as soon as possible. JOR 220 (Media Writing) requires that you have passed a WRT course with a grade of B or better. JOR 220 usually is taken in the sophomore year; you can take it as late as the first semester of your junior year and graduate in eight semesters, providing other requirements are being met in a timely fashion.
A first-year curriculum, then, might look like this:
|Fall Semester||Spring Semester|
|URI 101||Arts/ Lit line 1 (or JOR 115)|
|JOR 115 (or Arts/Lit line l)||PHL 101 (or WRT 101)|
|WRT (or PHL 101)||Language|
|Language||Letters (or PSC 116)|
|PSC 113 (or Letters)||Natural Science|
The Worksheet also tracks the requirements for the Journalism major, elective courses and 300+ courses. While all students earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism, you have options for constructing your major. You can choose to concentrate on print or broadcast journalism. You also can mix courses from those skills areas or public relations, but doing so is unlikely to give you enough job-market depth in any area.
The required courses are designed to be taken one per year (JOR 115 freshman, JOR 220 sophomore, JOR 310 junior, JOR 410 senior), but it does not always work out that way: JOR 115 and JOR 220 can be taken the same year or semester; JOR 310 can be taken in the fall of your senior year.
Skills courses build on one another, and JOR 220 provides the foundation. In all skills courses, you must earn a grade of C or better to move on. Here is the sequence of skills courses in each area of concentration.
Print-oriented students JOR 220, JOR 320, JOR 341 and/or JOR 321, JOR 420 and/or JOR 442
Broadcast-oriented students JOR 220, JOR 320 and JOR 230, JOR 330 and/or JOR 331, JOR 430
Public Relations students Journalism majors can take JOR 340 (PRS 340) and JOR 441 (PRS 441) as electives.
As you think about which courses you want to take, you will find it useful to review the department's Goals for each course, along with the course description (which can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin). The goals are not the only ones a faculty member might have when she/he teaches a specific course, but they do reflect the major things we expect you to know or know how to do at the completion of a course. And if you take the next-level course in a sequence, these are things with which you will be expected to be familiar.
Note: JOR 110-Introduction to the Mass Media is designed for non-majors and students unsure about a journalism major. Journalism majors cannot use it as a General Education course or as a Journalism elective.