Courses & Curriculum


Journalism majors must have a cumulative G.P.A. of at least 2.0, a minimum grade of C- in all journalism courses, and a minimum overall average of 2.0 in all journalism coursework. The performance of all majors is subject to review relative to their continuance in the program. Journalism majors need at least 39 hours of journalism courses (or 36 hours for dual majors) but are limited to a maximum of 54 hours in journalism.


A journalism major is assigned an advisor at the beginning of the freshman year. Those who transfer into the journalism major should contact the Communication Studies office at (716) 888-2115 to be assigned an advisor. Each student should have an advisor and meet with him or her regularly. Canisius College requires all students to meet with their advisors to obtain an alternate PIN number that allows the student to register for courses. 

Curricular Requirements for the Major

Core: All students complete Core Curriculum requirements as part of their overall Canisius education. 

Free Electives

Free electives are courses in addition to the Core Curriculum and major requirements sufficient to reach a minimum of 120 credit hours for graduation. Students may graduate with more but not less than 120 credit hours. 

Major Courses         

Course Title Credits
Nine journalism courses are required:
JRN 200 Multimedia Storytelling I 3
JRN 201 Multimedia Storytelling II 3
COM 203 Writing for the Public Media 3
DMA 204 Digital Media Law 3
JRN 301 News Gathering/Reporting I 3
JRN 310 Journalism I 3
JRN 311  Journalism II 3
COM 351 Media Ethics (Ethics Attribute) 3
JRN 490 Capstone 3


Major Electives

Course Title Credits
JRN 302 News Gathering/Reporting II 3
JRN 322 Feature/Magazine Writing 3
JRN 336 Sports Journalism 3
JRN 342 Narrative Journalism 3
JRN 363 Journalistic Editing 3
JRN 369 Television Features 3
JRN 380 Special Topics in Journalism 3
JRN 450 Entrepreneurial Journalism 3
JRN 491/492/ 493/494 Video Institute I, II, III, IV 3
COM 205 Mass Communication and Society 3
COM 325 Media Literacy 3
COM 361 Introduction to Television Production 3
DMA 205 Digital Graphics 3
DMA 206 Interactive Multimedia 3
DMA 340 Writing for Digital Media 3
DMA 342 Introduction to Web Design 3
DMA 363 Print Design 3
DMA 370 Designing for Mobile Device 3
DMA 442 Advanced Web Design 3
FAS 141 Digital Photography 3

 Internships and Independent Study

Internships (JRN 488, JRN 498), awarding up to a maximum of 12 credit hours, may be earned by qualified journalism majors at approved Buffalo or other locations. The internships are individually arranged, require department approval and are available only to junior or senior candidates with a cumulative G.P.A. of at least 2.5 and a journalism average of at least 2.7. Internships are taken on a pass/fail basis and are counted toward free elective credit. Students are encouraged to plan early to do an internship during their junior or senior year.

Independent Study (JRN 499) provides the opportunity for a student to work under the supervision of a faculty member to complete an academic research project culminating in a scholarly product or news and feature stories, construction of a news web site, etc. The opportunity for independent study (three credits) is open only to junior or senior majors in good standing, with consent of the instructor and chair. Independent study, it should be noted, is granted only in very specific circumstances. Please see the department chair for more information. 

Recommended Semester Schedule for Major Course Requirements

Year Fall Semester Spring Semester

JRN 200 (3)
JRN 201 (3)

COM 203 (3)

JRN 301 (3)

JRN 310 (3)
Junior JRN 311 (3)

COM 351 (3)

Senior DMA 204 (3)
JRN 490 (3) 


Dual Majors

Dual majors with journalism are available with the permission and guidance of both chairs. Students complete a minimum of 36 credit hours of journalism courses. Students may wish to consider developing a foreign language competency, as well as a specialty in a field such as political science, economics, science, or religion.

Each journalism major and dual major is assigned a department faculty advisor to plan an individual program that will satisfy the department’s requirements and the student’s personal goals. Course selections develop from the journalism requirements, prerequisites and electives.

Journalism students who are dual majors and successfully complete 3 or more credit hours in Independent Study or Internships (JRN 488, JRN 498 or JRN 499) are required to complete 33 hours of in-class credit in order to complete the journalism major. 


Students who wish to expand their educational opportunities may decide to declare a minor in addition to their major. The decision may be based on career goals or planned graduate studies. Minors generally range from six to eight required courses. A listing of the minors can be found under the Academic Curricula section of the catalog. Some majors and minors can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement, but in some cases additional course work may be required. Students must complete the appropriate minor request form. 


To gain valuable experience, journalism majors are advised to participate in clubs such as the student newspaper, television station, radio station, and digital media arts clubs.

Journalism Courses 

Journalism Major Required Courses:

JRN 200 Multimedia Storytelling I       3 credits

Introduces the fundamentals of digital systems and technologies as they apply to journalism. Through class lecture and hands-on approaches, students will learn software and hardware used for journalistic applications of web design, multimedia, video production, graphics and audio production.

JRN 201 Multimedia Storytelling II        3 credits

Students will explore multimedia storytelling through class lecture and hand-on experience of the digital systems and technologies used in journalism. The student will develop a better understanding of the nature of multimedia journalism using audio, video, graphics, animation and writing to tell news stories. Prerequisites: JRN 200 or permission of instructor.

COM 203 Writing for the Public Media        3 credits

Intensive writing assignments employing message-design principles provide opportunities to prepare news, features, press releases, advertising copy and opinion pieces. (Writing Intensive Attribute)

DMA 204 Digital Media Law        3 credits

Introduces a wide range of legal issues in today’s evolving and emerging media, including the First Amendment, copyright, fair use, libel, hate speech, pornography/obscenity, privacy, commercial speech and national security. 

JRN 301 News Gathering/Reporting I        3 credits

Grounded in the social responsibility theory of the press, this course covers both traditional methods (e.g., observing, interviewing, listening) and newer methods (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, crowd sourcing) to gather and verify material for news and feature stories, to be distributed via print, broadcast, web and mobile media. Prerequisites: JRN 200, JRN 201 and COM 203 or permission of instructor.

JRN 310 Journalism I        3 credits

Focuses on writing news and features for print and on-line media, using a variety of storytelling designs (e.g., the narrative, the inverted pyramid, the focus approach) combined with a variety of multimedia presentation methods (e.g., video, audio, slideshows). Prerequisites: JRN 200, JRN 201, COM 203 and JRN 301 or permission of instructor.

JRN 311 Journalism II        3 credits

Learn what it is like to step inside the daily inner-workings of a TV newsroom. Act as the assignment editor, reporter, producer, director. Encounter ethical dilemmas. Learn the principles and skills to make resourceful broadcast decisions and how to translate broadcast stories for multiple platforms. 

COM 351 Media Ethics        3 credits

Explores ethics across mass media disciplines through the work of professional communicators—journalists, broadcasters, advertising and public relations practitioners, as well as cyber-communicators. Develop practices of making crucial media decisions based on principles and idealism. (Ethics Attribute)

JRN 490 Capstone        3 credits

Culminating experience for Journalism majors in which they synthesize what they have learned in their program of study. Students work as part of a reporting/writing/editing team to produce a publishable multimedia community journalism project.

Elective Courses

JRN 302 News Gathering/Reporting II        3 credits

Advanced study and practice of all aspects of journalism addressed in News Gathering/Reporting I. Prerequisite: JRN 301

JRN 322 Feature/Magazine Writing        3 credits

Profiles and other human-interest features developed for newspapers, magazines, broadcast. Free-lance writing is introduced.

JRN 336 Sports Journalism        3 credits

Instruction on covering sports in the 21st century, including exposure to cross-platform journalism and the influence of social media. Students will learn practices and theories commonly encountered in locker rooms and press boxes from those in the business. COM elective.

JRN 342 Narrative Journalism        3 credits

The advanced study and practice of long-form, literary-influenced journalism, from magazines and nonfiction books to cross-platform, online media outlets. Students explore methods of conceptualizing, reporting, researching and writing long-form journalism while working on a literary nonfiction project of their own. Prerequisites: JRN 200, JRN 201, COM 203, JRN 301 or permission of instructor.

JRN 363 Journalistic Editing        3 credits

Cultivate the skills and sensibilities necessary for shepherding multimedia news and feature stories from conceptualization to publication. Explore how to shape and sharpen journalism across a variety of media platforms. Develop an eye for reporting deficiencies, inaccuracies and potential legal problems. Explore journalism theory and ethics. Edit for content and style. Write headlines. Design and layout pages using pagination software.

JRN 369 Television Features        3 credits

Design, write and produce special feature reports, multiple-part series, investigative stories and mini-documentaries. Emphasis on field work. 

JRN 380 Special Topics in Journalism        3 credits

Course focus will vary and is designed to provide in-depth study of journalism as it applies to specialized topics and content areas that may include legal, business, health and science, environmental, international, and/or investigative journalism.

JRN 450 Entrepreneurial Journalism        3 credits

The purpose of this course is to prepare students to launch their own news site or develop such content for a media company. Students will plan and develop a multimedia journalism project, including analyzing market need and competition, writing a basic business plan, creating a prototype, and presenting it for critique by professionals in the field.

COM 205 Mass Communication and Society        3 credits

Survey of mass communication processes and the mass media in terms of development, structures, functions, effects and interactive relationships with American society.

COM 325 Media Literacy        3 credits

Focuses on theoretical approaches and practical skills enabling students to analyze, think critically and produce effective mediated messages in a variety of formats and specialized content areas.

COM 361 Introduction to Television Production 3       3 credits

Studio techniques, lighting, sound recording, set design, electronic graphics and editing, and production of live and edited programs in studio. 

COM 491/492/493/494 Video Institute I, II, III, IV 3       3 credits

Students develop individual, original video projects in service to Canisius College and community/ humanitarian agencies. Travel may be involved for some projects.

DMA 205 Digital Graphics        3 credits

This course will familiarize students with digital graphics techniques, file formats and applications. Students will develop digital image creation skills along with effective workflow habits. 

DMA 206 Interactive Multimedia        3 credits

This course will examine the types, processes and applications of Adobe Flash needed to create multimedia content. Emphasis will be on the critical analysis, interface design, organization of content and manipulation of video, sound and animation elements to create interactive computer presentations. Prerequisite: DMA 201 or permission of instructor. 

DMA 340 Writing for Digital Media        3 credits

Intensive writing assignments employing message-design principles/style guidelines for writing for the web, CDs, DVDs, etc.

DMA 342 Introduction to Web Design       3 credits

Introduction to the state of the art in on-line multimedia publishing. Working individually and in teams, students learn to publish well-designed World Wide Web documents that communicate effectively.

DMA 363 Print Design        3 credits

Focuses on critical topics in layout, folding, binding and printing, as well as critical/creative issues in magazine, publication and high-end corporate design. Prerequisites: DMA 203 or DMA 205|

DMA 370 Designing for Mobile Devices        3 credits

Students will learn design strategies to deliver content for mobile devices. The target device for this course will be iPhone/iPod Touch and students will develop websites and applications utilizing javascript and css libraries as well as Adobe Flash.

DMA 442 Advanced Web Design        3 credits

Concentrates on effective website design, practical web programming skills and the understanding of Flash for web development. 

FAS 141 Digital Photography        3 credits

Review basic photo skills as they relate to the operation of digital cameras. Students are introduced to the digital workflow using Photoshop to develop a personal style that is reflected in a printed and digital portfolio. Prerequisites: No prior photo experience, students must have a D-SLR camera (digital single lens reflex camera).