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The United States Constitution guaranteed freedom of the press for a reason. The dissemination of accurate news, along with the publication of a variety of differing opinions, was viewed by the Framers as essential for a functioning democracy. A free and independent press allows for an informed population and plays an integral role in countless decisions at the local, state, and federal levels.

An online bachelor’s in journalism provides students with the skills and ethics needed for effective journalism. Seasoned journalists and media professionals often teach classes in these programs. Read on to learn more about undergraduate journalism degrees.

What Are the Best Online Bachelor's in Journalism Programs of 2021? Here Are Our Top 10:

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Rank School Location
1 Texas State University San Marcos, TX
2 University of New Mexico Albuquerque, NM
3 Pennsylvania State University-World Campus University Park, PA
4 Colorado State University Fort Collins, CO
5 DePaul University Chicago, IL
6 Mississippi College Clinton, MS
7 Southern Illinois University Carbondale, IL
8 Regent University Virginia Beach, VA
9 National University La Jolla, CA
10 Cameron University Lawton, OK
How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our Ranking Methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

2021 Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Journalism Programs

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Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Texas State University

San Marcos, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 55%

Texas State operates within the Texas State University System and offers over 200 programs — both on campus and online. Enrollment exceeds 30,000 students and more than 70% of attendees receive financial support.

The School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Texas State offers a partially online bachelor's in journalism; participants can complete 25%-49% of degree requirements online. Students typically earn their 120-credit degree in four years with full-time attendance. Courses include introduction to mass communication, media law and ethics, fundamentals of digital and online media, and media writing.

Texas State offers multiple internships and campus media opportunities. Admission requires a 2.5 minimum GPA. Texas State holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

2

University of New Mexico

Albuquerque, NM Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 50%

Founded in 1889, UNM is the state's flagship university. The university emphasizes social responsibility, immersive learning, and research. It also strives to accommodate nontraditional learners by providing online program options.

As an example, the university's Department of Communication and Journalism offers an online bachelor's degree in strategic communication that prepares graduates for careers in multiple fields. Notable courses include multimedia and visual communication, multimedia visual production, introduction to modeling and postproduction, and photojournalism. The program also requires an internship experience and capstone courses.

Online courses follow an asynchronous format and allow students to complete coursework when their schedule permits within deadline dates. UNM utilizes eight-week sessions. Distance learners benefit from flat tuition rates, whether they reside out of state or locally. UNM holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

3

Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

University Park, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 29%

Penn State strives to accommodate nontraditional learners through its World Campus, and students can choose from over 150 online degrees. The school's values include accountability and academic excellence.

Penn State's College of Communications offers an online bachelor's in digital journalism and media that does not require in-person attendance. This degree requires at least 120 credits, including 34 major credits, 45 general education credits, 25 required credits, and up to 28 elective credits. Courses include telecommunications management, strategic communications, media ethics, and digital media metrics.

Online courses follow an asynchronous format. Assignments include group work, readings, and discussion board posts. Penn State is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

4

Colorado State University

Fort Collins, CO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 71%

Established in 1870, CSU prioritizes research, service, and student-centered learning. Students at CSU can access over 200 programs, including 76 bachelor's tracks, many of which can be completed online.

CSU offers an online bachelor's degree in journalism and media communication. This degree requires 120 credits. Students typically graduate after four years of full-time attendance. Courses include online storytelling and audience engagement, writing for specialized magazines, web design and management, and digital photography. Students also complete an internship experience and a senior capstone course.

Distance learners access coursework through the Canvas learning management system. Faculty utilize synchronous and asynchronous formats. Assignments include blog posts, exams, and group projects. Admission requires a 2.5 minimum GPA. CSU holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

5

DePaul University

Chicago, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 72%

DePaul is the largest Catholic university in the nation. The school offers 305 programs to over 22,000 students, including many distance learners.

DePaul offers an online bachelor's in communication and media. This program serves as a degree completion pathway and does not require in-person attendance. Students need at least 30 credits to apply. Participants choose between two-year and three-year tracks. Courses include topics in group communication, deceptive communication, history of rhetoric and communication, and LSP learning domain.

Applicants require a 2.0 minimum GPA. Students access online coursework through the D2L learning management system. Support for distance learners includes academic counseling, online tutoring, and IT help. DePaul holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

6

Mississippi College

Clinton, MS Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 53%

MC is the oldest postsecondary institution in the state and presents coursework through a Christian lens. School values include innovation, leadership, and community involvement.

MC offers an online bachelor's in communication with a journalism focus. This degree includes 49 core university credits, 22 communication credits, 18 journalism credits, 18 minor credits, and general electives. Students typically earn their degree in four years with full-time attendance. Courses include reporting and interviewing, writing for periodicals, communication law, and introduction to graphics software. Students also complete an internship experience.

Online students access coursework through the Moodle learning management system. MC holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

7

Southern Illinois University

Carbondale, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 41%

SIU values innovation and research, ranking among the top 5% of schools nationwide in terms of research expenditure, according to the National Science Foundation. Enrollment exceeds 12,000 students. SIU strives to accommodate nontraditional learners through online programs.

As an example, SIU offers an online bachelor's degree in journalism. This degree requires 120 credits. Especially motivated students can enroll in a three-year curriculum plan to expedite graduation. Courses include basic photojournalism, video and online journalism, images and sound, and principles of advertising.

Admission requires a 2.0 minimum GPA. Transfer students from accredited institutions may also apply. SIU provides distance learners with access to counseling services, an online writing lab, library services, and technical support. SIU holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

8

Regent University

Virginia Beach, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 59%

Founded in 1978, Regent is one of fastest growing Christian schools in the nation. Students at Regent can enroll in many online programs.

The university's online bachelor's in communication studies with a focus in journalism prepares students for today's digital era. In addition to general education requirements, students take 18 communication credits, 21 journalism credits, and 15 credits of biblical worldview classes. Notable major courses include narrative concept and development, communicating in the 21st century, and principles of journalism. Participants also complete a capstone seminar and an internship experience.

Courses follow an eight-week format. Transfer students from accredited institutions may apply. Regent holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

9

National University

La Jolla, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 36%

Located in La Jolla, California, NU values diversity and inclusion. Its students body represents all 50 states and more than 60 countries. Learners also benefit from a 170,000-member alumni network. NU offers over 75 degrees, including many online programs.

Aspiring journalists can earn an online bachelor of arts in strategic communications with no in-person requirements. This degree features 76.5 major-related quarter credits. Courses include communication research methods, strategic writing, interactive and mobile campaigns, and interactive storytelling. Students also complete a communication program capstone.

Online courses utilize four-week sessions. Distance learners access coursework through the Blackboard learning management system. NU holds regional accreditation from the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

10

Cameron University

Lawton, OK Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 23%

CU emphasizes immersive learning and innovation. Students can choose from nearly 50 degrees. The university strives to accommodate diverse learning needs through online programs, including a hybrid bachelor's degree in journalism and media production.

This degree requires 124 credits, including 44-46 general education credits, 40 major credits, 18 minor credits, and elective credits. Students can complete 69% of their coursework online. Classes include audio and visual production, TC studio production and lab, and writing for mass media. Participants also undertake a communication capstone and media practicum experience.

Students access online coursework through the Blackboard learning management system. Transfer students from accredited schools may apply. CU holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Journalism Program?

While traditional journalism is in decline, the need for competent, ethical journalism is as essential today as at any other time in the past.

As journalism adapts to a modernizing digital media landscape, journalism programs have altered their programming to reflect this evolution, resulting in better-prepared graduates. Online bachelor's in journalism programs offer many concentrations, such as TV and radio reporting, international reporting, and investigative journalism.

Undergraduate journalism degrees traditionally require students to complete 120 credits. While full-time learners can finish this degree in four years, part-time students often need longer. Additionally, students who complete general education requirements at other institutions can graduate more quickly.

Journalism coursework covers topics like editorial writing, news reporting, and digital media. Students also learn about journalism ethics, history, and visual media. Through an online format, students have the flexibility to navigate academic requirements while keeping up with personal and professional obligations.

While traditional journalism is in decline, the need for competent, ethical journalism is as essential today as at any other time in the past.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Journalism Program?

Online bachelor’s in journalism coursework varies from program to program. However, most programs cover similar core topics. This section highlights five courses that most schools offer.

History of Media

In this course, degree-seekers examine how oral, graphic, and electronic communications have evolved over time. Rather than a simple historical survey, this course challenges students to explore how communication methods alter the way people consume, use, and share information.

Multiculturalism and the Media

In this course, students explore how individual differences such as class, gender, and race influence both the consumption and dissemination of media. Students also examine the ethics related to responsible news coverage and construct their personal code of ethics.

Journalism Ethics and Issues

Both theoretical and practical in nature, this course explores ethical decision-making and teaches methods of navigating difficult ethical dilemmas. Degree-seekers examine philosophical theories and learn how they can apply these theories to the workplace. Learners consider ethical issues in communication, news, and entertainment media.

News, Truth, and Deception

This course trains journalism students to become discerning consumers of news. Learners gain critical thinking skills alongside research and writing methods. These skills help students find reliable information and disseminate it responsibly. Learners also study myriad historical examples of misinformation, the notion of objectivity, and modern media challenges around truth and fairness.

Newswriting

Covering the theory and practice of news writing, this course places special emphasis on writing for newspapers and popular digital formats. This class examines common newswriting structures, such as inverted pyramid, chronological, and The Wall Street Journal styles. Students also familiarize themselves with the AP Stylebook.

Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Journalism Degree?

Armed with writing and research skills, along with an understanding of the media landscape, graduates with a bachelor's in journalism degree can pursue many career opportunities in a variety of media and communications fields.

Common job titles include newspaper reporter, editor, and copywriter. Journalism graduates can also apply their skills to digital outlets, broadcast news organizations, and freelance writing positions. While traditional journalism careers have declined in recent years, journalistic and writing skills apply to many professions.

See where an online bachelor’s in journalism can take you. Learn more about journalism careers here.

Reporter

Reporters inform the public about international, national, and local news. Working for a variety of news outlets, reporters pitch ideas to editors; research stories and conduct interviews; and write articles for blogs, magazines, and newspapers. These news professionals develop relationships with experts, contacts, and other news professionals.

Editor

These experienced professionals develop, review, and revise content for publication. In addition to editing copy for spelling and grammar issues, editors rewrite text for clarity and ensure that content meets the editorial and factual standards of their publication. Editors also work with writers to develop stories while managing print space for text, photos, and advertisements.

Writer

Often working in a freelance capacity, these creative professionals write for a wide variety of clients, including newspapers, magazines, and blogs. Writers work closely with editors, ensuring published content meets the publication’s standards. Freelance writers are hired for both short-term and long-term assignments, including newspaper and magazine columns.

Technical Writer

Bolstered by the research and writing skills taught in journalism programs, technical writers prepare instruction manuals, journal articles, and other written content that communicates complex, technical information. Technical writers work closely with experts and product developers to ensure instructions are clear and easy to use. These professionals also draft supporting content for products and collect user feedback to improve prior written work.

Public Relations Specialist

Public relations specialists employ various media-based tactics to create and maintain a positive public image for their organization or client. Through a deep knowledge of the media landscape, journalism graduates help clients communicate effectively with the public. PR specialists also work with media organizations to arrange interviews in newspapers, magazines, and other media formats.

Journalism Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Journalism Programs

Is a bachelor's in journalism worth it?

For students interested in a news or media career, accredited journalism programs supply the tools learners need to find success. Online bachelor's in journalism programs provide learners with research and writing skills and provide a broad knowledge of multiple areas within media.

What can I do with a bachelor's in journalism?

Journalism students develop the writing, interviewing, and researching skills needed to work in a variety of media environments, including newspapers, television channels, and digital formats. Additional careers include marketing, public relations, and communications roles.

Are journalism majors in demand?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that traditional journalism roles, including positions for reporters, correspondents, and broadcasters, will decline by 11% between 2019 and 2029. While this field will become increasingly competitive, journalistic skills also apply to other careers, including public relations and technical writing. Additionally, this degree prepares learners for further academic work.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in journalism?

Salaries for journalism professionals can vary greatly depending upon experience and title. Traditional journalists earned a median salary of $46,270 in 2019, while editors earned a median salary of more than $61,000 during the same year. Adjacent professionals like freelance writers and public relations specialists also earned around $60,000.

What are the highest paying jobs with a bachelor's in journalism?

Graduates with a bachelor's in journalism can pursue careers as technical writers, a profession with a median salary of $72,850 as of 2019. During the same year, editors earned a median salary of $61,370. Master's and doctoral programs in journalism can expand both career options and earning potential.