University of South Carolina


Journalism: What to Expect

Journalism majors at the University of South Carolina are exposed to professional courses that allow them to sharpen their writing and editing skills and express their creativity. As a Journalism major you will choose an area of emphasis from either Print Journalism or Mass Communications.

Journalism students will be exposed to challenging courses that aim to prepare students for careers with newspapers or magazines. As a senior, you will produce a weekly newspaper, The Carolina Reporter, as a part of your practicum. Print media professionals will critique each issue of the newspaper. Students choosing the Mass Communications Concentration will gain an overview of all areas of mass communication. You will develop the skills necessary to conduct research, gather information, write clearly and correctly, and present relevant news or persuasive information at the professional level.

The following courses fulfill some of the course requirements for a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communications with a major in Journalism. Additional course requirements vary depending on the concentration you choose to pursue.

  • Survey of Mass Communications
  • Writing for Mass Communications
  • Law and Ethics of the Mass Media
  • Mass Communications Research
  • Introduction to Visual Communications

On average, there is a 12 to 1 student-faculty ratio in major-specific courses for the Print Journalism Concentration and an average 20 to 1 student-faculty ratio in major-specific courses for the Mass Communications Concentration. A detailed list of degree requirements can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Enhancing your Experience

Study Abroad allows you to earn academic credits toward your USC degree while seeing the world! Overseas study can complement any academic program or major. During Maymester, SJMC students travel to Munich, Germany for a unique and cultural experience. Print Journalism, Electronic Journalism, Public Relations, Advertising, and Visual Communications majors team up across traditional curriculum boundaries to produce stories across all media – old and new. Spring Break trips include Community, Culture and Communication in Jamaica and Public Relations Campaigns in Spain. SJMC also offers Freedom’s Messenger, a summer trip to various capitals across Europe. SJMC students can also enjoy semester-long study abroad experiences in England, Ireland, and Australia. Study abroad trips offer SJMC students academic courses, which will satisfy University graduation requirements. You are encouraged to visit the Study Abroad Web site for more information on opportunities to broaden and extend your knowledge and perspectives.
Student Organizations can be instrumental in helping you adjust to life on campus and network within your field. The University of South Carolina has a family of nearly 300 student organizations. SJMC has a number of student organizations that can help enhance your experiences while at the University. In addition to writing for The Carolina Reporter, you can get involved with the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). As a student, SPJ can help you develop networking and internship opportunities. Students may also get involved in other campus media by writing for The Daily Gamecock. Find a student organization on campus that interests you!
Distinguished Faculty can help enhance your overall academic experience while at the University. Dr. Erik Collins is professor for Media Law. He previously served as a senior public relations manager for major corporations including Miller Brewing Company and Philip Morris. He brings a wide-range of expertise to the classroom and effectively engages students through challenging and interactive assignments.
Departmental Scholarships may be awarded to outstanding entering freshmen or current students. Each year the School of Journalism and Mass Communications awards a handful of scholarships to entering freshman. These include the Joseph W. and Dorothy Shoquist Fund, Journalism Scholarships, Rocky D. Harwood Scholarship, School of Journalism and Mass Communications Alumni Freshman Scholarship, and the School of Journalism and Mass Communications Freshman Scholarship. The School of Journalism and Mass Communications awards more than 65 additional scholarships each year.
Associated Learning Communities are an integral part of the university experience, providing you with the opportunity to live in an environment that promotes diversity, embraces excellence, encourages insightful faculty-student interaction and works to develop a strong sense of community. These academically themed communities also emphasize active service-learning experiences, study-abroad opportunities and undergraduate research. Freshman students interested in an exciting and ever-changing career in the field of journalism and mass communications will benefit from the first-hand experience of professors in the fields of advertising, broadcast, print, public relations, and visual communications, all while taking a journalism section of University 101 and Journalism 201, an introduction to Mass Communications. The Journalism and Mass Communications Community hosts events including a welcome reception, etiquette dinner, discussion nights, and an interactive blog.

Internship and Research Opportunities

Internships can be an important asset to your overall educational experience. Internship experiences often help you confirm your career interests, give you hands on experience in a professional setting, help build your resume, reinforce what you’ve learned in class and can often lead to full-time employment. Likewise, pursuing professional research opportunities as an undergraduate student can also help enrich your academic experience while at the University. As an undergraduate student, you can work closely with faculty research mentors and explore a discipline that interests you. Both internship and research opportunities help you build a competitive edge in the job market.

As a USC student you will have numerous resources at your disposal to assist you with locating internship and research opportunities. The USC Career Center is the central location at USC for assisting students with internship preparation and finding an internship. In addition, be sure to visit your academic department as many programs offer supplemental internship guidance specific to your major. The School of Journalism has a searchable database of internship opportunities for their majors. The Office of Undergraduate Research assists all USC undergraduates by providing research and scholarly experiences in their chosen fields.

Student Spotlight

Journalism major, Kara Apel, traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio, for the summer to gain some experience as a web intern for WCPO-TV newsroom and the corporate offices of the E.W. Scripps Company. Kara was a Scripps Howard Foundation Intern and chosen by the School of Journalism and Mass Communication to represent the University for this prestigious program. During her internship, Kara spent time compiling information to build an internal company Wiki, writing web-based stories, cutting broadcasts into clips for YouTube, and working to launch a new segment called Cincinnati Stories. “We traveled to different parts of the city and encouraged those passing by to sit down and tell us their stories. After we recoded the stories, we added short introductions and added them to the web site,” she explained. Kara enjoyed watching Cincinnati Stories develop into a successful program. “Not only did we have to pitch our ideas and concepts to the corporate and newsroom leadership, but we had to figure out what we wanted it to become,” she said. “It was so exciting to have so much creativity and watch the project grow over time. It’s an amazing feeling to add this project to my portfolio and I am extremely proud of this accomplishment.” Kara was able to learn the difference between how broadcast stations and newspaper functions, which helped determine her career interests. She encourages current students to do the same.  “Take any opportunity you can find, paid or unpaid, because it adds to your resume and portfolio,” she said. “It also helps you realize if this is the field you really want to spend the rest of your life in. The real world experience you gain from an internship is nothing compared to what you learn in class. In class, you learn the basics, but you need practice applying the concepts.” Kara said her courses at USC, specifically her involvement in Student Media, helped prepare her for her internship experience. 

Career Opportunities

Journalism majors often seek careers as reporters and copy editors in newsrooms and for magazines across the country. University of South Carolina graduates have landed jobs with The Oregonian, The Charlotte Observer, The Birmingham News, The State and The New York Times. Other career opportunities include reporters or layout and design specialists. Many graduates also pursue careers with online reporting and blogging.

You can find more information about career options in the US Department of Laborís Occupational Outlook Handbook.

The USC Career Center offers numerous resources which provide more information about career opportunities for students in this major. Once admitted, a Career Development Coach is available to help you assess your interest areas, make decisions about your career path, and identify the experiences and skills that will help you accomplish your goals. Spur Connections will help you locate mentors from among USC alumni, employers and community members who can provide insights based on their careers and experiences. Early planning and preparation are keys to success.

About the School of Journalism and Mass Communications

The School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) at the University of South Carolina is one of 113 programs approved by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. The School’s curriculum begins with a strong liberal arts base that expands into cutting-edge journalism and mass communication. The School’s primary focus is on educating students in developing professional skills in all areas of mass communications. Undergraduate students are able to specialize in one of five programs of study: Advertising, Public Relations, Electronic Journalism, Journalism and Visual Communications.

Points of Pride

  • We are the headquarters for the South Carolina Broadcasters Association, the South Carolina Scholastic Press Association, the South Carolina Scholastic Broadcasters Association, and the Southern Interscholastic Press Association.
  • We are recognized as one of the leading journalism programs in the nation, offering the first nationally accredited degree program and the only nationally accredited graduate degree program in mass communications in South Carolina.
  • Our facilities include television studios, digital stereo radio control rooms and studios, and the Associated Press broadcast news service, plus complete photojournalism studios and print production facilities for electronic editing, graphics, and photocomposition. We also jointly operate Newsplex, a $2 million multimedia newsroom of the future, with Ifra, a German-based consortium of news publishers and news technology vendors.

Additional Resources
Journalism Website
School of Journalism and Mass Communication Website
University Career Center
Undergraduate Bulletin