The journalism department offers a degree program, the Bachelor of Arts, and also maintains a commitment to the liberal arts tradition by offering courses in support of the General University Requirements (GURs) and other departments.
Journalism majors and minors pursue theoretical and practical communication studies in a liberal arts setting. Students of journalism gain practical experience on Western’s award-winning student media, and majors additionally take field internships with newspapers, magazines, broadcast stations, public relations agencies and other professional organizations.
Courses in the news-editorial sequence emphasize the gathering, writing and ethical presentation of news. Understanding news processes and learning to report with accuracy, clarity and precision prepares graduates to communicate swiftly and lucidly in a changing world.
Courses in the public relations sequence follow the news-editorial emphasis, adding communication skills important for careers in this rapidly growing field.
Courses in the visual journalism sequence prepare students in the concepts, professional practices and course work applications of visual components of news: photojournalism, information graphics, video and audio clips, mapping and typography.
A combined major, environmental studies/journalism, is offered in cooperation with the College of the Environment.
Students are challenged to explore a range of other disciplines and to seek depth in one or more specialized areas through concentrations, major-minor combinations or even double majors.
Graduates find careers in newspapers, magazines, radio, television, publishing, advertising, public relations, teaching, and throughout government and industry wherever communications skills, with general knowledge, are vital.
Because enrollment in the journalism department is limited, students considering a major should consult a journalism advisor before embarking on classes beyond JOUR 190 and JOUR 207.
BRIAN J. BOWE (2015) Chair and Associate Professor. BA and MS, Grand Valley State University; PhD, Michigan State University.
JOE GOSEN (2014) Associate Professor. BA, San Jose State University; MA, University of Nevada, Reno.
JOHN M. HARRIS (1998) Associate Professor. BA, Wittenberg University; MS, University of Oregon; PhD, University of Washington.
JENNIFER KELLER (2007) Associate Professor. BA, Kenyon College; MA, Salisbury State University; MA, Syracuse University.
MARIA MCLEOD (2012) Associate Professor. BS, Eastern Michigan University; MFA, University of Pittsburgh.
DEREK MOSCATO (2016) Associate Professor. BA, University of Western Ontario; MS, University of Kansas.
CAROLYN NIELSEN (2008) Professor. BS, California Polytechnic State University; MSJ Northwestern University.
BETSY O’DONOVAN (2017) Assistant Professor. BA, Wake Forest University; M.Phil, Trinity College Dublin.
PEGGY WATT (2004) Associate Professor. BA, Western Washington University; MLA, Stanford University.
SHEILA WEBB (2008) Professor. BA, University of Michigan; MA’s, University of Wisconsin; PhD, University of Wisconsin.
Declaration of Major
The Department of Journalism offers three sequences leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree: a news/editorial sequence, a public relations sequence and a visual journalism sequence.
Students seeking admission to the major should see the departmental staff or a member of the journalism faculty for advising and obtain a copy of admission requirements. Admission to the department and to specific courses may be limited.
Students seeking admission to the major must meet the following conditions:
- Have at least 30 college credits with a cumulative 2.50 grade point average
- Pass JOUR 207 with a B- or better (transfer students must meet the same requirement for any course accepted as an equivalent of JOUR 207)
- Complete with a B- or better one journalism staff course
- Submit a letter of application (in correct letter format)
- The letter of application should demonstrate in style and grammar the student’s understanding of writing and AP style. It should also include the following:
- A discussion of what brought the student to the journalism major, with particular emphasis on why the student chose that specific track (News-Ed, PR, VJ). What does the student hope to do with that degree upon graduation?
- An analysis of how the student’s performance in journalism classes and publications demonstrates appropriate aptitude for the field.
- A discussion of the importance of ethics in journalism and the student’s specific track. Why is it important for students to understand ethics prior to beginning an internship or a job? How will the student strive to uphold the ethical code of that particular industry?
- A detailed explanation of any areas that might stand out in review of the student’s files such as failing certain journalism courses, low GPA, etc.
- The letter will be judged based on style and content, including how well the student speaks to the above areas, particularly interest in the major, aptitude and ethics.
Majors must maintain a 2.50 grade point average both overall and in journalism courses. Students below that average for two consecutive quarters will be placed on probation; a third consecutive quarter will result in removal from the major. In addition, academic dishonesty issues in journalism courses may result in dismissal from the major, depending on severity.
For additional details on admission to the major, consult the department manager, program coordinator or any journalism faculty member.
Other Departmental Information
Students seeking to complete a BA degree in journalism within a four-year time span should have completed the following courses by the start of their junior year. Major omissions from this list will make it difficult or impossible to complete this degree within two additional years.
ProgramsUndergraduate MajorUndergraduate Minor
Courses numbered X37; X97; 300, 400 are described in the University Academic Policies section of this catalog.