Journalism FAQ's

Will I be able to change jobs within the journalism field with a journalism degree from MSU?
Yes. The Michigan State University Journalism curriculum prepares students with a great foundation in journalism, no matter the particular area in which they choose to work. Writers learn a lot about visual communication. Visual communicators learn to be great writers. Students build on this general foundation by becoming an expert in a particular area of journalism when they choose a concentration or minor. Students are prepared for any number of jobs when they graduate and for changes later in their careers.

Can I get into a journalism class my first semester?
Yes. We have structured the curriculum so that students can begin taking journalism classes their first semester and every semester to graduation.

MSU is pretty big. Will I be lost as a student?
Absolutely not. MSU may have a lot of students, but journalism students get to know one another in their cohort because they continue to take classes together and work on projects in groups. Because MSU's School of Journalism is nationally accredited, we have a ratio of fewer than 20 students to each faculty member in skills courses. Many courses have limits of fewer students.

When can I get start getting advised for journalism classes?
As soon as you step in the door and declare journalism as a pre-major, you will be connected with our great journalism adviser Julie Hagopian. Or, you are welcomed to reach out to her at: hagopia9@msu.edu. Students may formally declare journalism as their major when they have 28 credits.

Can I qualify for a scholarship if I am not taking out a loan for school?
Yes. The School of Journalism gives more than $150, 000 in scholarships each year to journalism majors. Please apply! Generous alumni have given back to journalism to help students with their schooling. Many scholarships do not require financial need. Some do not require a high GPA (grade point average), but want to help students who are working hard in the program or completing unpaid internships or who want to go on a study abroad. The requirements for each scholarship varies, depending on the donor's wishes.

Can I keep up with my journalism program if I am doing an internship or working out of state?
Yes. Michigan State University Journalism faculty try hard to help students take the courses they need to graduate. The complete curriculum is offered online in the summer, and many courses are offered online during the academic year.

Can freshman write and create right from the start of their academic career?
You bet! You just have to volunteer! There are many student media organizations on campus for news websites, newspapers, magazines, radio and TV. Student groups also are always welcoming new members. Faculty often talk about their projects in class and look for students to work with them. If you have your own ideas, then simply ask a faculty member for guidance. Media Sandbox also has some opportunities. These are all important additions to your CV to make you more competitive in the job market.

What percentage of graduates get a job in the field after graduation?
A high percentage! Here are some recent survey results:

  • Readiness for Job Market – About 95% of students said they strongly agreed or agreed they were prepared for their internship/ job market.
  • Careers – 92% of surveyed alumni (from the past 20 years) are in their career-related field. (They often use journalism skills in other industries besides news.)
  • Employer ratings – About 87% of employers rated JRN permanent hires as exceptional or above average.
  • Job Offers – More than 80% have one or more job offers before graduation. The remaining 20% may already have a job or plan for graduate school or receive a job offer after graduation.

How can I gain experience outside of the classroom?
It is good you are thinking about this now. Everything you do outside of the classroom gives you more experience that you should list on your CV. Volunteer with student media simply by showing up. Ask a faculty member if they need help on any of their projects (they’ll say yes!). Or, ask them to help with your ideas. Get one or more internships by talking with our internship director (as required for the JRN major). You get out of your college experience what you put into it, but it takes effort.

How do students find internships?
Our internship coordinator is Amy Haimerl. She is happy to help you get an internship, but, be pro-active. Almost every media organization anywhere has an internship program or is open to considering taking on an intern. Go online and find your dream job at your dream company. See what they offer. Internships often lead to full-time employment with the same company.

What are the admissions requirements for being accepted into MSU?
We are asked this a lot. MSU Admissions (not the School of Journalism) reviews all applications for students who want to become a Spartan. Once a student is accepted at MSU, then they can declare Journalism as their major, and begin taking Journalism courses. The School requires the same admission standards as the University standard—a cumulative GPA of 2.0.

Are there any special requirements to graduate as an MSU Journalism major?
Yes, In addition to the University requirement of achieving a 2.0 to graduate, the School requires that students earn a 2.0 in JRN 200 (Writing and Reporting) and also in JRN 300 (Multimedia Journalism) in any attempt.