2019 Best Accredited Online Journalism Degrees
There are 73 online schools offering accredited online journalism degrees. An online degree in journalism focuses on researching, writing, and editing stories for print, broadcast, and online media. Jobs in this field include newspaper, radio, or television reporter, as well as careers in online reporting and social media. Prospective journalism students should look at our list of the best online colleges for journalism degrees, which were ranked based on tuition rates and alumni salaries provided by PayScale.
The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC) is the primary programmatic accrediting body for journalism degrees. Both programmatic and regional accreditation help to ensure that a college or university meets established standards and that your degree will be recognized by future employers.
Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools - Journalism Degrees ( 73)
2019 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's in Journalism Degrees
The five schools on this list offer the best online journalism programs based on tuition and earning potential. The top school on the list, New England College, offers a BA in Communication/Journalism for only $12,150 per year. Journalism graduates of New England College report earning a median salary of $100,777. Valley City State University offers the most affordable program on the list, with a bachelor's in the field costing only $8,880 annually.
- Annual Tuition: $12,150
- Median Salary: $100,777
Located in Henniker, N.H., New England College’s Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a concentration in journalism includes introductory and advanced-level courses, like multimedia news writing and editing, feature writing, and investigative reporting. The program is 100 percent online, meaning distance students are able to enhance their research, reporting, and writing skills across print, web, social, and mobile media platforms. They will also deepen their knowledge of the legal and ethical challenges that go hand-in-hand with this ever-changing field. The undergraduate program requires 120 credit hours, with 40 in general education, 24 in the student's selected major, 16 toward a concentration, and 40 as electives. Up to 90 credits can be transferred toward the bachelor’s degree.
- Annual Tuition: $11,700
- Median Salary: $87,837
The University of Massachusetts Amherst's University Without Walls (UWW) offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Journalism Studies. The university uses the Blackboard Learning Platform, where students can access the syllabus and course content, send messages, locate assignments, participate in discussion boards, and review their grades. The undergraduate program allows students to bring in or earn up to 105 credits from their prior coursework, prior learning, and work and life experience, saving both time and money. Class subjects include news writing and reporting, interviewing skills, visual storytelling, journalism ethics, journalism and law, magazine writing, public relations, social media, food writing, and media and politics. The bachelor’s degree can be earned online or through a blended format of both online and on-campus classes.
- Annual Tuition: $11,815
- Median Salary: $76,311
Students enrolled in Southern Illinois University Carbondale's online Bachelor of Science in Journalism program complete 120 hours of undergraduate coursework over a period of four years, but transfer students (from accredited community colleges in Illinois and some border states) can complete the bachelor’s degree in half that time. Online classes are taught by the same faculty that teaches on-campus classes. The coursework features a combination of video and audio lectures, content, and reading materials. Students will generally have weekly assignments including quizzes, written work, and exams. Courses are offered in four-week, eight-week, and 16-week segments, and students may enroll full-time or part-time. Graduates are prepared to enter the job market in the fields of news reporting, advertising, public relations, and digital media creation.
- Annual Tuition: $22,720
- Median Salary: $77,167
Located in Webster Groves, Mo., Webster University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Media Communications with a concentration in journalism through the School of Communications that can be earned both online and on campus. Core journalism courses teach students media theory, writing, and production. The bachelor’s degree requires a minimum of 128 credit hours and includes required courses, a capstone course, and the 12-credit concentration. Students must also pass a portfolio review, which usually occurs in their junior year.
- Annual Tuition: $8,880
- Median Salary: $55,164
Valley City State University in Valley City, N.D., offers both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Communication with a journalism and media cognate. The bachelor’s program delves into print, broadcast, and digital communication formats, helping students develop their skills in journalism, public relations, digital media, and media convergence. Courses can be taken online or on campus. Along with general education and major requirements, four undergraduate courses comprise the journalism and media cognate: Introduction to Media Writing, Communication and Interviewing, Social Media Management, and Sports Information. Graduates are prepared to enter the workforce as a newspaper reporter, public relations practitioner, advertising and marketing specialist, public affairs officer, director of media relations, multimedia writer, media sales representative, campaign director, research specialist, or columnist.
Online Journalism Degree Overview & Career Information
There are a variety of online degree and certificate programs available for those interested in pursuing a career in journalism. Online degrees in journalism include associate degrees, Bachelor’s of Arts in Journalism, Master’s of Arts in Journalism, and online journalism certificate programs. Some journalism degrees are part of a Bachelor’s of Arts in Communication, which encompasses not only journalism but broader communication topics.
Those seeking entry-level positions in the field of journalism may be interested in obtaining an online associate degree in journalism, which can be completed in two years, or completing an online certificate program, which can be finished in one year. A Bachelor’s of Arts in Journalism is a four-year degree program that will provide a broader liberal arts educational background while focusing on journalism. A Master’s of Arts in Journalism will require an additional two years of coursework after completing a bachelor’s degree but will provide more specialized training.
Journalism programs teach students to write, edit, and report articles for broadcast or publication. Classes also include media and ethics and basic business concepts, such as advertising, communications, marketing, and public relations. A degree or certificate in journalism will prepare students for a variety of careers in media. Students obtaining a degree in journalism may enter the workforce prepared with skills in communication, research, writing, and reporting.
Online associate degrees in journalism are a good starting point for students interested in pursuing careers in media. Jobs in this field include newspaper, radio, or television reporter as well as careers in online reporting and social media.
An associate degree in journalism will focus on teaching students to communicate effectively and write critically, providing a way for them to qualify for entry-level positions open to journalists. Classes include a variety of journalism courses focusing on writing and communication, media and ethics, as well as some basic business concepts such as advertising, marketing, and public relations.
Online associate degrees in journalism can be found at community colleges, technical colleges, online colleges, and universities. The only prerequisite for an associate degree in journalism is a high school diploma or GED. Programs are typically 60 credits and take two years to complete. Classes taken when obtaining an associate degree can often be transferred to a four-year university with the credit applied toward obtaining a bachelor’s degree, should students decide to pursue that at a later date.
An online bachelor's degree in journalism can help prepare students for careers in print, online, and broadcast journalism.
Almost every online bachelor's degree in journalism will have a liberal arts component in addition to journalism-specific coursework. General education requirements typically include courses in math, science, social science, and the arts and humanities. Classes that are specific to journalism often include writing and the ethics of reporting as well as broader topics such as web development, and photo and video editing. Some schools offer internships, allowing you to gain experience in your field as you pursue your degree.
Online bachelor's degrees in journalism typically require the equivalent of around 120 semester hours, or 4 years of study. Such programs can be found at a variety of public and private colleges and universities. Most schools require a high school diploma or GED for admission as well as letters of recommendation and application essays. Students may also be asked to submit SAT or ACT scores, depending on the school.
After completing an online journalism bachelor's degree, some students may go straight into the workforce. Others may pursue a master's degree to further their careers and their journalism expertise.
The online Master’s of Arts in Journalism allows students who already have a bachelor’s degree to focus on a specific area of study and gain greater expertise. Students can expand their critical thinking skills and be able to evaluate situations in a greater context in regard to their reporting. In addition, some schools offer concentrations in specific subjects, such as politics or arts and culture.
Master’s coursework will allow students to expand their critical thinking skills and often focus on a specialized area of study. Examples of areas of concentration include interactive media, media management, and strategic communication. Students in an online master's degree program in journalism can expect to take classes in qualitative and quantitative research methods, journalism theory, content strategy, and multimedia.
Online journalism master’s programs are offered at colleges and universities. Master’s programs typically involve two years of coursework, ranging from 37-48 semester credits, as well as a master’s thesis. A bachelor’s degree is required to apply to a master’s program. The application process usually requires a writing sample or essay, letters of recommendation, as well as GRE scores. A resume may also be required for those students who already have work experience in the field.
Undergraduate and graduate online certificate degrees in journalism are available at a variety of accredited schools. These programs generally take one to two years to complete, depending upon the level of certification and whether the student commits to a full-time or part-time program.
Online journalism certificate programs at the undergraduate level are good choices for students who are majoring in a field that requires writing, such as mass communication, public relations, marketing, or sociology. In these types of certificate programs, students typically will study different styles of journalism and develop their own style and voice. English and media studies may also be included in the coursework. Undergraduate certificate programs generally require completion of an introductory, college-level journalism or English course, and students may need to maintain at least a 2.0 to 2.75 GPA. A passing grade in foreign language and math courses may also be required. To enter a graduate-level certificate program, you must have already obtained a bachelor's degree.
A graduate certificate program is primarily designed for journalist professionals seeking to advance or enhance their current careers. Often these programs focus on a specific journalistic specialty, such as immersion journalism or feature writing. Those enrolled in an online graduate certificate program focus on techniques, research, and analysis in journalism. Program coursework may include copy editing, business journalism, investigative journalism, and more.
The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC) provides accreditation to journalism and mass communication programs. Programmatic accreditation from ACEJMC helps to ensure that a journalism degree program offered by a college or university meets established standards. The curriculum of journalism and communications degrees can vary from school to school. Attending a school that has been ACEJMC-accredited ensures that you are receiving a degree that meets or exceeds the quality level set forth by the ACEJMC.
Regional accreditation is also important to look for when deciding which school to attend. Agencies that offer regional accreditation have been approved by the United States Department of Education and they work to ensure that entire academic institutions are meeting nationally agreed upon standards for higher education. Attending a regionally accredited school will make you eligible for federal financial aid and will help to ensure that you can transfer credits between intsitutions of higher education.
Online Broadcasting Degrees
For individuals interested in working in front of or behind a broadcasting camera, a broadcast journalism degree may be the right fit. With behind-the-scenes career options that include writing, editing, and producing, or center stage careers as a news anchor, broadcast journalism programs provide technical and practical experience. The diversity of the program affords students the ability to combine critical thinking and masterful storytelling to reach diverse audiences through ethical reporting.
Bachelor's coursework includes newsgathering fundamentals, media research and analysis, television news reporting, and information graphics and visualization. Applicants typically must submit documentation of high school transcripts or GED, SAT or ACT scores, and letters of recommendation. This degree, along with an internship, is a good choice for students pursuing positions as news anchors, reporters, content writers, station managers, or production assistants.
Professionals with three or more years of experience may pursue a graduate degree. A master's degree program allows individuals to choose a specialty area to focus on, including long-form audio and video documentaries, online multimedia news production, or app creation, among many others. A doctoral degree in broadcast journalism may prepare a professional for the field of academia and administration, as well as positions in media entities, strategic communication firms, and corporations. Master's and doctoral degree students complete a thesis or a dissertation respectively.
Many students who pursue an online journalism degree look to standard forms of media in hopes of entering the field as a newspaper, television, or magazine reporter. However, with the ever-expanding world of new media, a wide variety of careers are available to those who graduate with a journalism degree.
Editors are often employed by newspapers, magazines, and publishing companies to oversee the overall content and quality of work submitted by reporters and writers. Many times, editors assign stories or articles to their contributors and proceed to suggest new directions in the piece or shape a developing story with new ideas. They are also often responsible for making sure finished work is presented without mistakes and that it meets all necessary guidelines. In addition to checking the work of others, editors may submit their own articles or stories for publication. As mass media steadily expands, there is a growing need for editors at online magazines and newspapers.
News analysts often work closely with editors. They advise journalists about trending subjects and the bigger picture of a story. Analysts work with editors to shape a newspaper or news program with interesting content that will hold audience attention. They often weigh public interest in a story with the media's obligation to keep the public informed of current events. News analysts may also write their own columns or appear on the broadcast to directly share their insight on current events with the public.
Journalists working on the front lines to gather news often either work on regular beats or take assignments from an editor. Reporters follow up on stories, conduct interviews, gather facts, and produce quality research that is transformed into stories by editors and staff writers in the newsroom. Broadcast news reporters, however, often directly deliver their research and findings to the audience via remote broadcasts.
Public Relations Specialist
Publicists manage publicity for individuals, businesses or corporations. The majority of pubic relations specialists handle multiple clients in a private practice. Their primary functions are to present a positive public image for the individual or business, generate press coverage, and serve as a bridge between clients, media, and the public. A successful publicist manages campaigns, writes press releases, and performs a variety of other public relations functions.
Major strides and advances in media have opened up a wide pool of tools and career opportunities to those interested in a journalistic career. This demanding field requires commitment and diligence to be successful. Prospective journalism students would do well to interview local professionals about industry trends, typical work days, and other industry-related issues before deciding if journalism is the right career path.
- Online Certificate. SIU School of Journalism. Accessed March 1, 2018. http://mcma.siu.edu/journalism/undergraduate/onlinecertificate.php.
- Master of Arts in Journalism. Columbia Journalism School. Accessed March 1, 2018. http://www.journalism.columbia.edu/page/199-master-of-arts-in-journalism/200.
- U.S. Department of Education. Accreditation. Accessed March 1, 2018. http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/.
- Bachelor of Communication-Journalism Courses Online. Accessed March 1, 2018. http://www.phoenix.edu/programs/degree-programs/arts-and-sciences/bachelors/bs-com-jrn.html.
- Master of Journalism. Accessed March 1, 2018. http://annenberg.usc.edu/journalism/journalism-ms.
- Miami School of Communication. Accessed March 1, 2018. http://com.miami.edu/broadcast-journalism-bsc.
- Online Master's Program- Missouri School of Journalism. Accessed March 1, 2018. https://journalism.missouri.edu/programs/online/.
- Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. Accessed March 1, 2018. http://www2.ku.edu/~acejmc/.