Digital Journalism Degree Programs in U.S.

The first and only of its kind, this project provides an overview of the emerging – and growing – undergraduate digital or multimedia journalism education in U.S.

By September 2012, through a comprehensive examination of more than 500 journalism and communication programs in U.S., 111 programs are identified as digital or multimedia journalism programs.

How I categorize a digital/multimedia journalism program

This project is based on an examination of 483 journalism and communication programs in the “2010 Annual Survey of Journalism & Mass Communication Enrollments” published by Journalism & Mass Communication Educator (winter 2011), as well as online searches for programs not included in that survey.

Each category is indicated with a color marker on the map. The legend is as follows:

  • Fully integrated: All students must take dedicated courses in digital or multimedia journalism, and must take reporting and production courses for both print and broadcast platforms.
  • Partly integrated: All students must take dedicated courses in digital/multimedia journalism, and choose a concentration in, or multiple courses that focus on, a specific print or broadcast platform.
  • Silo: Students choose a concentration or track that is focused on digital/multimedia journalism. Separate tracks exist for other platforms such as broadcast or print.
  • Electives only: Students may choose dedicated courses in digital/multimedia journalism, but they are not required. (This category is not plotted on the map)

Findings: Digital/multimedia journalism education in U.S.

Limitations of this survey

The primary research method was to examine degree requirements, curriculum and syllabi posted on the website of a journalism program. It has the following limitations:

  • Programs that may be “digital/multimedia” but do not have a posted online degree requirement are not included in this survey.
  • This project only examines courses that have an explicit title which indicates the digital contents or nature of the course; the course content indicators include “digital,” “multimedia,” “online,” “multi-platform,” “cross-platform,” “convergence,” etc.
  • This project does not include programs that offer conventional journalism courses with built-in digital/multimedia components.
  • This project is not able to differentiate the scope of digital journalism training that a program offers: per current definition, a “fully integrated” program may be a program that offers one (and only one) digital journalism class, and it may also be a program that offers multiple digital courses.

Thus programs on this list should not be construed as the only schools/programs teaching digital or multimedia journalism in U.S.

Mu Lin, Ph.D.
Twitter: @mututemple