Courses & Curriculum

Courses & Curriculum

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 36 hours of journalism courses (or 33 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
Seven journalism courses are required:
JRN 100 Introduction to Journalism 3
JRN 200 Multimedia Storytelling I 3
COM 203 Writing for the Public Media 3
DMA 204 Digital Media Law or COM 351 Media Ethics 3
JRN 301 News Gathering/Reporting I 3
JRN 310 Journalism I 3
JRN 490 Project and Portfolio 3

Major Concentrations

Journalism majors will select an area of concentration for 15 credit hours:

Sports Journalism and Broadcasting

Required Courses Title Credits
JRN 336 Sports Journalism 3
JRN 358 Sports Field Production I 3
JRN 359 Sports Field Production II 3
Sports Communication

(3 credits), select one from:

Concentration Electives Title Credits
COM 359 Communication and Sports 3
SPMT 430 Sports Communication 3
SPMT 412 Sports Marketing 3
Broadcast and Journalism 

(3 credits), select one from:

Concentration Electives Title Credits
JRN 201 Advanced Multimedia Storytelling 3
JRN 311 Advanced Journalism/Newsroom 3
JRN 322 Feature/Magazine Writing 3
COM 361 Introduction to TV Production 3
COM 367 Broadcasting in America  3

Narrative Journalism 

Required Courses Title Credits
JRN 311 Advanced Journalism/Newsroom 3
JRN 322 Feature/Magazine Writing 3
JRN 342 Narrative Journalism 3
Concentration Electives Title Credits
Select two (6 credits) from:
ENG 294  Creative Writing 3
ENG 496  Advanced Creative Writing (Memoir) 3
JRN 201  Advanced Multimedia Storytelling 3
JRN 369  Television Features 3
COM 491 Video Institute 3

Multimedia Journalism 

Required Courses Title Credits
JRN 201  Advanced Multimedia Storytelling 3
DMA 342 or
CSC 108 (3)

Introduction to Web Design
Introduction to Web Computing 

COM 361  Introduction to TV Production 3
Concentration Electives Title Credits
Select two (6 credits) from:
DMA 218 Motion Graphics
DMA 212 2D Graphics 3
JRN 322 Feature/Magazine Writing 3
JRN 369 Television Features 3
JRN 311 Advanced Journalism/Newsroom 3
COM 367 Broadcasting in America 3
COM 491 Video Institute

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.

Recommended Semester Schedule for Major Course Requirements

Year Fall Semester Spring Semester

JRN 100 (3)
COM 203 (3)

JRN 200 (3)
JRN 301 (3)

JRN 310 (3)
DMA 216 or COM 351 (3)

Concentration course (3)
Junior Concentration course (3)

Concentration course (3)

Senior Concentration course (3)
Concentration course (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 33 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.


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, as well as the Canisus chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Journalism Courses 

JRN 100 Intro to Journalism      3 credits
Introduces the history of journalism, its norms and best practices across media platforms. Considers the role of journalism in efforts for social justice over the years.

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. 

JRN 301 News Gathering/Reporting         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         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). 

JRN 490 Project and Portfolio        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 311 Advanced Journalism/Newsroom        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. 

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 358 Sports Field Production I        3 credits
Students learn the skills needed to shoot, direct and produce live sports programming, developing their skills through creating television and web broadcasts of Canisius games in several sports.

JRN 359 Sports Field Production II        3 credits
Students learn advanced skills in writing, directing and producing live sports programming through creating television and web broadcasts of Canisius games in several sports. Pre-requisite: JRN 358.

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. 

There are a number of courses from other disciplines that are also accepted in the Journalism program:

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

DMA 212 2D Digital Graphics        3 credits
This course will familiarize students with techniques, file formats and applications for creation of 2D graphics. Students will develop digital image creation skills along with effective workflow habits.

DMA 218 Motion Graphics        3 credits
This course covers the fundamentals of key-frame based animation in Adobe After Effects. Students produce motion graphics for informational presentations, such as commercials and PSAs, as well as typographic effects and logo spins for movie trailers, video intros and promotional digital marketing projects. 

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 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 software 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).

ENG 294 Introduction to Creative Writing     3 credits
Workshop in the fundamentals of poetry and fiction writing, focusing on the close study and discussion of both student manuscripts and professional texts.

ENG 496 Advanced Creative Writing: Memoir     3 credits
Workshop for experienced writers in memoir. Prerequisite: ENG 294.