Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Journalism Degrees

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With today’s rapidly evolving news cycle and turbulent political landscape, more and more people rely on the news media to keep them informed; as a result, many journalism jobs are in demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 27,400 new jobs will be added to the field of media and communication between 2014 and 2024.

Although traditional print media is in decline, digital platforms for news and entertainment are on the rise. Graduates from online colleges for journalism fulfil this growing need for content production. An online bachelor’s degree in journalism prepares you to write and edit the news or pursue a job in a related field, such as public relations. This degree is useful for the advancement of many types of career goals, whether you aspire to work in television, radio, or behind the scenes in the communications industry.

Online Bachelor’s in Journalism at a Glance

Fast Facts

Time to Complete Four years for a full-time student
Credit Hours 120 credit hours total (30 per year)
Core Courses
  • Mass Communication
  • Media Law and Ethics
  • Television Production
  • Global/International Journalism
  • Newswriting and Reporting
  • Public Relations
  • Social Media
  • Editing
  • Opinion Writing
Accreditation Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications
Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Journalism Degrees
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1

University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Value Score 7.03
Average Tuition $
Students Receiving Financial Aid 91%
Net Price $9,941
Graduation Rate 78%
Student to Faculty Ratio 18:1
Admissions Rate 58.32%%
Enrollment Rate 20.09%%
Retention Rate 20.09%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 24%
Number of Online Programs 9

Located in the majestic New England town of Amherst, the University of Massachusetts has an extensive catalogue of distance learning programs, including a popular and affordable bachelor of arts in journalism studies. Requiring 120 credits, the program is designed for adults who are willing to commit significant time each week to their studies.

This online journalism bachelor’s degree utilizes asynchronous learning to allow working professionals to access course materials at their convenience. Since the program is a subsidiary of the school’s University Without Walls, all students pay in-state tuition. All transfer students may apply up to 100 approved credits toward their online bachelor’s degree in journalism. Additionally, students can receive credit for previous trainings and experience. Applicants may start courses in the fall or spring semesters.


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2

Louisiana State University-Shreveport

Value Score 5.87
Average Tuition $
Students Receiving Financial Aid 65%
Net Price $5,758
Graduation Rate 36%
Student to Faculty Ratio 20:1
Admissions Rate 75.55%%
Enrollment Rate 73.61%%
Retention Rate 73.61%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 63%
Number of Online Programs 1

Best known for its LSU Tigers football team, Louisiana State University operates four undergraduate distance education programs from its Shreveport campus. One of these programs is the bachelor of arts in mass communication, which requires students to complete 120 credits. The program caters to a diverse audience, ranging from new students to working communications professionals, so completion times vary. Students can opt for concentrations in public relations or journalism. Coursework includes news writing, communication theories, and multiple journalism and public relations seminars. Students complete 16 credits of core courses, 15 credits in their concentration, and 89 credits of general education and electives.

This program utilizes synchronous learning, so students must log in during designated lecture times. Sherveport also prides itself on providing an affordable education; students earning their online bachelor’s degree in journalism can pay in-state tuition regardless of residency status.


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3

Drexel University

Value Score 5.66
Average Tuition $
Students Receiving Financial Aid 84%
Net Price $29,355
Graduation Rate 68%
Student to Faculty Ratio 10:1
Admissions Rate 74.74%%
Enrollment Rate 12.70%%
Retention Rate 12.70%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 39%
Number of Online Programs 13

One of Philadelphia’s largest universities, Drexel University offers an extensive array of distance education programs. The school’s bachelor of science in communication combines a broad foundation in communications with specific study in one of five concentrations: journalism, mass media and society, new technologies in communication, public relations, and publication design. Notable courses include studies in mass media and society, human communications, and linguistics. The program aims to prepare students for senior-level corporate communications positions.

This program requires students to complete a total of 180 quarter credits. Transfer students may apply up to 135 approved credits toward their online bachelor’s degree in journalism. Students must also complete methodology coursework in quantitative research.


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4

California State University-Bakersfield

Value Score 5.48
Average Tuition $
Students Receiving Financial Aid 76%
Net Price $4,005
Graduation Rate 39%
Student to Faculty Ratio 27:1
Admissions Rate 68.75%%
Enrollment Rate 25.25%%
Retention Rate 25.25%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 38%

California State University - Bakersfield’s online bachelor of arts in communications is a career-focused degree for aspiring journalists. This online bachelor’s prepares graduates to work as professionals in the communications field with possible careers in public relations or social media. Since the school offers a completion program, students must have completed at least 60 transferable credits or an associate degree to gain admission. Once students enter the program, they can usually finish in two years.

Students in the program may choose between a concentration in journalism or public relations. They must also complete a 10 credit core curriculum in communications studies, which includes coursework in gender and communication, intercultural communication, and the history of film. Applicants may seek admission in the fall, spring, or summer semesters.


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5

Cameron University

Value Score 5.15
Average Tuition $
Students Receiving Financial Aid 65%
Net Price $8,283
Graduation Rate 24%
Student to Faculty Ratio 18:1
Admissions Rate 100.00%%
Enrollment Rate 33.93%%
Retention Rate 33.93%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 46%
Number of Online Programs 3

One of the best online colleges for journalism, Cameron University offers a 141 credit bachelor’s degree in journalism and media production. Cameron describes the program as 69% online, as some coursework must be completed on campus in Oklahoma. The curriculum includes 45 credits of major coursework in journalism and media production. All students in the program must create, maintain, and present a portfolio of their work before graduating. Students in the program have the opportunity to participate in a number of hands-on learning options, including writing for the school’s AggieCentral.com news site, participating in broadcasts contests on Cameron University Television (CUTV), and working for the school’s KCCU radio station.

Graduates of the program can find work in the communications field or continue their studies in graduate programs. Coursework is delivered asynchronously through Blackboard. Cameron policy dictates that each course in the online bachelor’s degree in journalism must contain at least one proctored exam per semester.


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6

Immaculata University

Value Score 5.14
Average Tuition $
Students Receiving Financial Aid 83%
Net Price $28,967
Graduation Rate 70%
Student to Faculty Ratio 9:1
Admissions Rate 78.61%%
Enrollment Rate 15.12%%
Retention Rate 15.12%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 31%
Number of Online Programs 6

A Roman Catholic affiliated liberal arts school, Immaculata University caters primarily to working professionals, who make up about 64% of the school’s population. The school’s BA in communications allows students to find careers in public relations, digital communications, and journalism. The program offers three different tracks: organizational communication, public relations and journalism, and digital communication. Each track requires the completion of two internships. The public relations and journalism concentration usually takes students about eight semesters - or four years - to complete. Students in the online journalism school take introductory courses in public relations and journalism before progressing to advanced studies in reporting and feature writing, writing for public relations, and media ethics. The entire program consists of 122-129 credits, depending on the courses that students choose.


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7

Mississippi College

Value Score 5.10
Average Tuition $
Students Receiving Financial Aid 79%
Net Price $13,475
Graduation Rate 54%
Student to Faculty Ratio 15:1
Admissions Rate 82.48%%
Enrollment Rate 37.40%%
Retention Rate 37.40%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 23%
Number of Online Programs 5

Students looking to enter a fast-paced program to earn their online degree in journalism should consider Mississippi College’s online Accelerated Degree Program (ADP) in communications. MC offers over 80 undergraduate and 50 graduate programs, but communications is one of the few accelerated options. In the accelerated format, students take as many as 12 credits each semester, delivered in two eight-week sessions each fall and spring. Students in the communications program choose between concentrations in interpersonal and public communication, journalism, mass media, public relations, and sports media.

The curriculum combines foundational and theoretical coursework in communications with practical application. Each student creates and maintains a professional portfolio while completing the program. Coursework is delivered asynchronously, structured to fit into the schedules of busy, working professionals. Coursework is delivered through the Moodle platform.


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8

Regent University

Value Score 5.02
Average Tuition $
Students Receiving Financial Aid 80%
Net Price $16,437
Graduation Rate 47%
Student to Faculty Ratio 28:1
Admissions Rate 84.11%%
Enrollment Rate 29.39%%
Retention Rate 29.39%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 86%
Number of Online Programs 2

Best known as the Evangelical school founded by Pat Robertson, Regent University prides itself on producing the next generation of Christian leaders. The school has recently extended its reach nationwide by offering a number of distance education programs, including a BA in communication studies with a concentration in journalism. Career opportunities for graduates include working as a journalist, editor, press secretary, or digital media producer.

The 120 credit program includes studies in interpersonal communication, public speaking, and a relevant internship in the field. Regent takes its Christian roots seriously, and students must also complete one course in Old Testament studies and one course in New Testament studies, in addition to studies in the Bible and in Christian worldview. Admission requirements vary based on age. Most notably, all Regent students must be at least 24 years old to participate in an online program.


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9

DePaul University

Value Score 5.01
Average Tuition $
Students Receiving Financial Aid 84%
Net Price $24,636
Graduation Rate 73%
Student to Faculty Ratio 16:1
Admissions Rate 71.98%%
Enrollment Rate 17.83%%
Retention Rate 17.83%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 24%
Number of Online Programs 2

The largest Catholic university in the United States, DePaul University has multiple campuses in downtown Chicago. The Vincentian-founded university’s College of Communication now offers several programs and courses online, including an online bachelor’s in journalism. Designed as an online completion program for students who have already have an associate degree and some knowledge in journalism, students complete the third and fourth year of their degree online at DePaul. All applicants to the program should have completed at least 45 quarter hours or 30 semester hours at a regionally accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 2.0.

Journalism courses in the program include introduction to journalism, news reporting, and journalism, law, and ethics. Students also complete general media studies and communication coursework in areas such as mass communication and human communication. The program does not require a thesis, but all students must complete a senior capstone. Graduates who earn their online bachelor’s degree in journalism at DePaul can find work as media professionals, journalists, or public relations representatives. Students may complete a concentration in Latino media and communication.


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10

Washington University in St Louis

Value Score 5.01
Average Tuition $
Students Receiving Financial Aid 96%
Net Price $11,457
Graduation Rate 93%
Student to Faculty Ratio 8:1
Admissions Rate 16.74%%
Enrollment Rate 35.34%%
Retention Rate 35.34%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 3%

A selective university located in the St. Louis suburb of Clayton, Washington University in St. Louis is one of the most prestigious schools in the midwest. The school’s positive reputation extends its online courses, including an online bachelor of science in journalism. WashU’s program focuses on continuing education for working professionals. Mixing theoretical and academic coursework with experiential learning, WashU’s online bachelor’s in journalism consists of 45 units. The curriculum includes 18 units of core courses (foundations of journalism, copy editing) and 12 units of electives with two elements unique to WashU’s program. The first unique element is a 12 unit concentration in any arts and sciences field (i.e. anthropology, economics, English, healthcare) with the goal of exploring the applications and contextual value of journalism. The second is a mandatory 3 unit internship. There are no prerequisites for admission to WashU, but all students should submit a personal statement.


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What Can I Do With a Bachelor’s in Journalism Degree?

A graduate with an online bachelor’s degree in journalism is qualified for a variety of career paths. Although traditional forms of print media are decreasing in popularity, their digital counterparts are experiencing significant growth. Journalists work for online newspapers or news media sites as well as radio and television stations. An online degree in journalism can also help students work in other related fields like public relations. Individuals pursuing these types of jobs should be committed to journalistic integrity, have strong writing skills, and be able to meet deadlines in fast-paced environments.

Career Paths

Reporter, Correspondent, or Broadcast News Analyst

$38,870 Avg Annual Salary
Bachelor's Degree Degree Required

Reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts generally spend time in the field directly observing events and then reporting news to the public. Their responsibilities often include conducting interviews and investigations.

Projected Growth Rate -9%

Writer or Author

$61,240 Avg Annual Salary
Bachelor's Degree Degree Required

Writers and authors work in a broad range of capacities, producing content for newspapers, magazines, and television and radio programs. They may also work on advertisements, blogs, books, movie scripts, songs, or other forms of media.

Projected Growth Rate 2%

Public Relations Specialist

$58,020 Avg Annual Salary
Bachelor's Degree Degree Required

Public relations specialists work to manage the public image of a company or organization. They construct press releases to create and maintain a desired perception. They also focus on increasing awareness of the efforts and goals of a company.

Projected Growth Rate 6%

Editor

$57,210 Avg Annual Salary
Bachelor's Degree Degree Required

Editors play an important role in the refinement of content across all forms of media. They plan, revise, and review output for accuracy and clarity, all while preserving the intended style of the journalistic organizations they represent.

Projected Growth Rate -5%

Educational Paths for Graduates of Online Journalism Programs

Some students who earn an online bachelor’s degree in journalism choose to continue their education and pursue a master’s degree. According to a study conducted by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, earning a graduate degree increases a journalism student’s average salary by 28% compared to individuals who only hold an undergraduate degree. A master’s program can also allow a student to focus on a specialization in a particular field, such as marketing, sports, science, business, or online media. As such, graduates with a specialized degree from an online journalism school tend to have better employment prospects.

What Will I Learn in My Bachelor’s in Journalism Program?

  • Media Law and Ethics Students become familiar with the concepts of free press/fair trial, libel, privacy, censorship, obscenity, and other legal aspects related to mass communication. Ethical considerations include accuracy, fairness, conflicts of interest, and the protection of sources.
  • Newswriting and Reporting In this class, students learn the basic principles involved in writing and reporting the news. Students explore writing styles and structures for news-based journalism and learn how to pursue leads and meet deadlines.
  • Public Relations A public relations course gives learners an overview and history of the field. Students learn the fundamentals of crisis communication, campaign-based skills, event management, and media relations.
  • Opinion Writing In opinion writing courses, students learn to conduct research and write persuasively and analytically. They are also introduced to the professional and ethical standards demanded in journalism.
  • Television Production Students are educated about the process of producing a journalistic program for the television medium. This may cover interviewing and listening skills, profiling, and covering news events.

Employment Outlook for Bachelor’s in Journalism Graduates

Bachelor’s in Journalism Salary

In addition to the type of workplace, an individual’s professional experience impacts their annual earnings within the field of journalism. The table below features data from PayScale regarding expected salaries for news reporters, content writers, public relations specialists, and editors at different stages of their respective careers.

Journalism Careers by Experience
Job Title Overall Median Salary Median Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 years) Median Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years) Median Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ years)
News Reporter $39,684 $33,864 $48,925 $60,678
Content Writer $42,402 $40,254 $49,782 $77,670
Public Relations Specialist $45,727 $42,406 $55,924 $58,983
Editor $50,516 $44,047 $54,123 $60,303

Accreditation for Online Bachelor’s in Journalism Degrees

National and/or regional accreditation means that a school’s program has passed inspection by an approved, external agency. National accreditation agencies typically award certification to trade and vocational schools; however, these standards may not be as rigorous as those imposed by regional accreditation bodies. Employers often look for regional accreditation when evaluating a prospective employee’s education. Therefore, to avoid difficulties when it comes to transferring credits or applying for jobs, students may favor regional accreditation status when choosing a college or university. Additionally, professional licensure in many fields requires a degree from an accredited institution.

According to U.S. News & World Report, accreditation standards are comparably demanding for online schools and traditional on-campus institutions. However, there may be special considerations for online programs that do not apply to on-campus schools, such as the quality of resources available to distance learners and how students and instructors interact in an online environment. Students who wish to attend an accredited online school should look for evidence that the school has been approved by the Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Journalism students should also check to see if their school is accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC). The ACEJMC certifies “professional education that recognizes and incorporates technological advances, changing professional and economic practice, and public interests and demands.”

Financing Your Online Bachelor’s in Journalism Program

Although many students choose to enroll in relatively affordable online journalism degree programs, the majority still require some assistance in paying for their education. Students may be eligible for several financial aid options, including scholarships, grants, work-study programs, and loans. All students should fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to find out what types of federal aid they qualify for. Earning a degree can be incredibly expensive, so students should do their best to apply for all possible forms of assistance while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in journalism online.

Scholarships for Online Journalism Bachelor’s Programs

Journalism Scholarships

Radio Television Digital News Association Ed Bradley Scholarship $10,000

The RTDNA offers this scholarship to college students pursuing careers in radio, television, or digital journalism.

Scholarship Deadline: January 15

Eligibility Requirements: Student must be entering their sophomore year in college or above and be in good academic standing.

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AQHA Journalism or Communications Scholarship $32,000

The American Quarter Horse Association offers this scholarship to undergraduate students pursuing a degree in journalism or communications.

Scholarship Deadline: December 1

Eligibility Requirements: Students must have been an AQHA member for at least a year and maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.5.

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Peter Agris Memorial Journalism Scholarship $5,000

This scholarship is available to full-time undergraduate or graduate students majoring in journalism or communications at an accredited U.S. institution.

Scholarship Deadline: March 1

Eligibility Requirements: Student must be an American citizen of Greek descent with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

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Dr. Abdus Saleem Family Scholarship $10,000

This scholarship is offered to students pursuing degrees in a number of fields, including journalism.

Scholarship Deadline: March 1

Eligibility Requirements: Student must have a 3.5 GPA and be entering their freshman year of college.

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