Journalism FAQ

Why study Journalism?

Journalism develops investigative skills and analytical skills. You learn how to interview people, find reliable sources, and research stories. You learn how to think critically and write clearly.

What kind of job can I get with a degree in Journalism?

A degree in journalism prepares you for any job that values critical thinking, clear writing, and media skills. It prepares you to work for newspapers, television, and other media, such as magazines, book publishing, digital imaging, web production and design, public relations, public information and advocacy, and freelance writing, to name a few. The degree also prepares you for a career in law, teaching, political science, and other fields.

How do I become a Journalism major or minor?

You declare journalism as your major or minor and begin taking the courses required for completing your degree. Here are the requirements for a major in Journalism:
General Program B.A.:

A minimum of 36 credits in A JRL courses including:

  • 15 credits from: A JRL 100, 200Z, 201Z, 225, and 490Z
  • 9 credits in Contextual courses from: A JRL 230, 330, 340, 363, 410, 420, 468, 475
  • 9 credits in Skills courses from: A JRL 308Z, 355, 366Z, 380, 385Y, 390, 392, 460Z, 475Z, 480Z, 487Z (one of these courses MUST be 390 or 392)
  • 3 credits in A JRL 495 (Internship) or from A JRL 410, 420, 460Z, 468, 475/475Z, 480Z, 487Z, or 497 (but no course may be repeated)

How do I declare a major or minor in Journalism?

You go to the Advisement Services Center at LI-36 (down the stairs in front of the main library and turn right) or call them at (518) 442-3960.  

I am required to take "skill" and "context" courses to earn my degree in Journalism. What is the difference between these courses?

In general courses that teach the theory, tradition, law, ethics, and history of the field are designated as "context courses." They are typically larger, mostly lecture courses. "Skill" classes are usually smaller and more dedicated to individual and small group writing, research and projects. These are hands-on classes where theory, law and ethics are actually practiced. If you see a "z" as part of a course identification such as 475z, that is usually a skills class. To make things a little complicated, some courses are hybrids and you may use them to satisfy either skills or context requirements.

How do I get into Journalism courses?

You register for them as soon possible. Journalism courses are highly sought after, and they fill up fast. Most of the Program's courses are reserved for majors and minors-with some slots held open for transfer students-but even with these restrictions, competition for seats is fierce. Be persistent. Make a strong case. Register early.


How do I get a Course Permission Number (CPN) to enroll in a Journalism course?

The Program no longer uses CPNs-unless a course is marked "by permission of instructor." Assuming that you have completed the prerequisites, such as Journalism 100, enrollment in the Program's upper-level courses and workshops is on a first-come, first-served basis. One exception is AJRL 499, the Honors Seminar, which has special procedures for admission.   

Is there any way to get into a course that's closed?

You can email the professor and make your case for why you should be admitted. You can attend a course at the beginning of the semester and wait for another student to drop. Because most of the Journalism Program's courses are writing- or equipment-intensive, enrollments are necessarily limited.       

I'm a senior, getting ready to graduate. What should I do?

Make an appointment with Undergraduate Studies Advisor Dan Capogna ( We are now using electronic appointments. To sign up, go to the current link on the advising page. It is always helpful if you review an up-to-date DARS audit and bring it with you to the appointment with your questions. We are not able to accommodate walk-ins at this time. Please make an appointment.   

Does everyone in the program have an mentor?

Yes, every Journalism major is assigned a faculty mentor. Since 1973, the Journalism Program has established a solid reputation for giving students the individual attention required for curricular advising, placement in internships, and career planning. Graduates of the program have secured a wide variety of jobs in broadcasting and reporting or gone on to graduate study at Columbia University, New York University, Syracuse University, and other institutions. Journalism students work with Undergraduate Studies Advisor Dan Capogna, 331 Social Science, to receive advisement and AVN numbers each semester. Each undergraduate major in Journalism is assigned to a full-time faculty member in the Program for academic mentoring throughout the student's career. In addition, faculty members in the Program are available to meet with students who are interested in learning about the program or thinking of majoring in Journalism.

How do I find out who is my mentor?

Beginning in January 2016, all faculty mentors will be listed on your DARS audit. Your advisor is Undergraduate Studies Advisor Dan Capogna.               

How do I get in touch with my mentor?

Office hours and email addresses are posted on faculty members' doors. See the "Resources for Students" button on the left.

What is the difference between the Program's "full-time" faculty members and its "lecturers"?

Because Journalism is a popular major, many of the Program's courses are taught by adjunct, or part-time faculty members. We value their expertise and dedication to our students, which is why we call them Professional Media Lecturers (PMLs). The PMLs are professional journalists, photojournalists, writers, radio and television producers, web designers, and other media specialists from the Capitol District. They are good people to consult when looking for internships or jobs.

How do I obtain an internship and receive credit?

See the Internship Coordinator, Holly McKenna. Check the announcements on the JRL listserv, which include dozens of openings every month. The Capitol District is rich in media outlets, and our students are sought after as talented, hard-working, creative individuals. All internships MUST be coordinated through Professor McKenna before the internship begins.

How do I donate to the Journalism Program?

We are always pleased to see alumni and visitors come through town, as well as prospective students. Official donations to the Program are handled by the UAlbany Foundation website. Tell them you want to donate to the Journalism Program.