University of Wisconsin–Madison

Journalism Degree Requirements

Requirements for the SJMC undergraduate major are relatively simple. After admission, you must complete:

  • Journalism 202
  • one 300-level skills course
  • one 400-level skills course
  • one 500-level Group B theory course
  • one 600-level Group C theory course (3 credits or more)
  • one additional 500-600 Group B/C course (3 credits or more)

You must take a total of at least 30 journalism credits for the major. If you took J201 at UW-Madison and you select a four-credit course for each requirement beyond J202, you’ll hit exactly 30 credits. Otherwise you’ll need an extra course or additional credits via J697 internship), J699 (directed study), or the one-credit Undergraduate Colloquium course offered each term that entails weekly presentations by professionals.

The courses in our major don’t need to be taken in any specific order aside from observing the prerequisites – you can take theory courses alongside skills courses, and you can take a semester away from the skills courses to go abroad or if the one you want is full. Students admitted to the School of Journalism and Mass Communication early in their academic careers sometimes have to wait for courses, especially on the skills tracks, as students farther along receive priority in UW registration and enroll first. The resources we receive from the college allow enough courses and slots to graduate all majors with one track in a standard four-year schedule.

Additional requirements for the journalism degree (J.B.A./J.B.S.)

Journalism is a degree from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, as well as a major within the College of Letters & Science (you are students in both SJMC and the College of L&S). The J.B.A. or J.B.S. degree entails additional humanities and social science courses outside the Journalism School beyond the regular B.A. and B.S. requirements, as follows:

  • Three introductory (entry-level courses). One must be in political science or economics, and the others may be political science, economics,  anthropology, geography, ILS, philosophy, psychology or sociology.
  • Twelve credits of intermediate- or advanced-level (I, A or D level) humanities or social science (H, S or Z breadth), one of which must be in the history department (not History/Journalism 560, which is a Group B J-School course).

Once your 12 intermediate-advanced credits are filled, you may substitute additional intermediate-advanced courses for the introductory requirement in those social science fields. This is a good idea if you are behind on the 60 intermediate-advanced credits that all L&S students need to graduate. Consult undergraduate advisor Robert Schwoch about making that substitution.