Best Undergraduate Journalism Programs

Welcome back to our college list series. As always, we are highlighting programs with unique and interesting opportunities for students. This post is about students interested in majoring in journalism. There are certainly more journalism schools than the ones listed here, but below you’ll find some of our favorites.

If you’re serious about pursuing a career in journalism, it’s important to graduate with a large portfolio of work. It’s also important to be familiar with various methods of reporting. The way that news is reported has changed a lot in recent years, so we’ve chosen a set of schools that familiarize students with various mediums, and then allow them to choose a specialization.  


The undergraduate journalism program at Northwestern starts with the basics: reporting, writing, and editing. No matter what area of journalism you plan to focus on, you’ll need those skills. (Yes, even for video journalism). Students pick a concentration in a discipline outside of the journalism school: political science, economics, history, foreign language, computer science, and more. Outside of the classroom, Northwestern’s “exclusive opportunities” have a lot to offer. There are global journalism residencies, study abroad programs, and opportunities to meet with journalists currently working in the field. As for electives, there are classes that are hard to find elsewhere such as “Journalism of Empathy.”


Annenberg, the school for communication and journalism at USC, is al for students learning about the laws of freedom of speech and the press. The curriculum emphasizes the importance of understanding the history of journalism in America, and also the impact that mass communications has on the global society.  From there, students can focus on video, audio, text, and/or digital journalism. The media center has all of the bells and whistles needed to edit and produce journalism across an array of fields. There’s a strong network of alumni and classes are often team taught.

UNC Chapel Hill:

There are two journalism programs at UNC: “Media and Journalism” and “Business Journalism.” Liberal arts courses will be the backbone of the curriculum for those who go the media and journalism route. The curriculum is arranged that way for a reason: UNC’s website says that journalists must understand the political, social, and cultural forces at play within society before delving into the field.  

The business journalism program is set up a little differently. This program is a good fit for a student with an interest in business, and would like to eventually report on Wall Street, the landscape of corporations in America, and/or global economic systems. The courses lean more towards corporate finance and business ethics, and you’ll choose from an interesting set of electives.   

Boston University:

BU is a research university, and journalism students in the program conduct research projects with a goal of “furthering a society built on the foundation of free speech.” The curriculum is flexible. After students complete the required courses of BU Hub, they move on to the areas of reporting, writing, editing, production, design, cultural sensitivity, and civic responsibility. Elective courses include sports journalism, narrative journalism, arts criticism, and more. There is also a 16-credit requirement related to reporting, long form journalism, visual journalism, criticism, or data and research methods.  


The goal at Emerson is for all students to graduate with the ability to tell stories and report the news across a variety of mediums. So you’ll get a little bit of everything. They redesigned their curriculum in 2011 and classes are now offered in the following areas:  journalism essentials, daily journalism, analytical journalism, conceptual/examination journalism, advanced reporting / skills, profiles / in-depth journalism, and enterprise journalism. On campus you’ll find two radio stations, a TV station, magazines and literary journals, and an online news service.  


The program is Syracuse is best suited for students interested in radio, broadcast, or digital media – either in front of or behind the camera. You’ll learn about the reporting, editing, writing, and news researching skills required to produce (or star in) radio shows and TV news shows. It’s a broadcast program, so it’s a good fit for someone that wants to be an on-air reporter, news anchor, correspondent or newsroom manager.  

American University:

If you’re interested in politics and journalism, going to college in D.C. is a great place to start. A lot of classes require students to report on capitol hill, the D.C. government, federal agencies, and political policy. American also offers classes about writing, advanced reporting, digital media, journalism ethics, and communication law. The school also has a partnership with The Washington Post where student work is sometimes published. 

Arizona State University:

At ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, students can earn a B.A. in journalism and mass communications. The Cronkite school offers a bilingual specialization, and in the past students have produced video content and written about the U.S./Mexico border. The school is also affiliated with Arizona PBS, where students can apply to work. Their mentorship program matches freshman with professionals currently working in their field of interest. There are a ton of students clubs and organizations, and the school also offers a sports journalism program.

Let us know if you need help putting together a college list.