Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the jobs available to the students who graduate from your program?
A recent survey of our graduates shows that job duties of the alumni are diverse and often cross over different specialties. Many of our graduates work as advertising copywriters, business managers, graphic designers, marketing coordinators, news editors, photographers, reporters, project directors, public relations specialists, Web designers and sales representatives. A number of graduates remain in the Fox Valley. Many are scattered around Wisconsin, neighboring states, and metropolitan areas including Milwaukee, Chicago, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington.
A number of graduates are working at large advertising, public relations, media outlets and businesses including ESPN.com, Politico.com, Harley Davidson, Leo Burnett, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Ogilvy & Mather, Shandwick International, Target, TBWA/Chiat Day, and Bader Rutter, to name a few. To learn more about some of these careers, check past issues of the Journalism Alumni Newsletter.
- I would like to know more about an advertising agency, public relations company, or a news organization. Where do I find the information?
For advertising agencies, check the book Standard Directory of Advertising Agencies, available at Polk Library, UW Oshkosh. You may also check online resources at www.aaaa.org.
For public relations companies, check the website of the Public Relations Society of America at www.prsa.org.
For news media, you may find the information in Bacon’s, Editor & Publisher International Yearbook or log on to www.newslink.org, which provides links to newspapers with websites.
Choosing a journalism emphasis:
- How should I choose my emphasis in advertising, public relations, writing/editing, visual, or media studies?
To complete the paperwork, you need to meet with an academic adviser in the Student Success Center, Suite 202, to fill out a form. We strongly recommend that you meet with a journalism adviser before or after you decide on your emphasis. For most journalism classes, you need to see a journalism professor to register for those classes. For more information about journalism advising, please see our advising Web page or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Computer and computer skills:
- Do I need to buy a computer if I will be majoring in journalism?
No, personal computers are not required. However, purchasing a laptop computer or tablet is recommended due to the convenient usage. The Department of Journalism has three fully equipped computer labs, and there are several general access computer labs on campus.
- What types of computers and software are used in journalism classes?
The department’s three state-of-the-art computer labs are equipped with Macintosh computers. Software programs on the computers include Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, PhotoShop, Flash, iMovie, GarageBand, Audacity and the Microft Office Suite.
- Does the department offer a course focusing on different computer skills, such as PhotoShop, InDesign, DreamWeaver, etc.?
The department does not offer a course entirely focusing on computer skills. However, computer skills are taught as part of many journalism courses. The courses focusing on hands-on skills enable students to learn many different computer functions progressively. We also offer an Online Publishing class, and New and Emerging Media courses. Consultants at the Instructional Resources Center at Polk Library can also assist students. Their contact number is 920-424-7361.
- How many journalism credits are required to graduate?
Students need 36 credits of journalism courses to graduate with a degree in journalism.
- What are the positions of work-study/student assistant offered by the department?
The department employs several work-study/student assistants each year. Check with the department’s program assistant in Sage Hall 3003 or call 920-424-1042 for application information.
- Does the department provide students a career placement program
The main resource available to students is the University-wide Career Services in the Student Success Center, Suite 125. It offers a number of forms of assistance for students seeking to begin their careers.
The journalism department enhances placement opportunities for graduates in a number of ways. For example, department faculty pass along information about job possibilities to seniors. (Much of this information comes by way of faculty–alumni contact.) This is accomplished by announcements in classes and by posting printed versions on departmental bulletin boards.
Faculty also advise students on the job-finding process, on an individual basis and in a number of classes, making suggestions like how to prepare for a job interview or putting together a portfolio. Exercises in many journalism classes, specifically the Internship class, produce appropriate portfolio materials.
- What is the GPA requirement to major in journalism?
Students wishing to major in journalism must maintain an overall 2.5 out of 4.0.
- My university cumulative GPA is below 2.5. Can I still sign up for journalism courses?
Only three journalism courses do not require at least a 2.5 GPA. The courses are Introduction to Journalism & Mass Communication, Principles of Advertising and Principles of Public Relations.
High school students:
- Does your program offer any activities to high school students?
The Department of Journalism sponsors an annual spring conference of the Northeastern Wisconsin Scholastic Press Association (NEWSPA), where more than 500 high school students and school publications advisers travel to UW Oshkosh to participate in more than 50 sessions and panels led by prominent professionals and academics in the journalism field.
NEWSPA also offers adviser training sessions, yearbook and newspaper competitions, and produces two newsletters a year. Check with the adviser of your school newspaper or yearbook, or visit our NEWSPA page for more information.
- How can I apply for internship credits?
For information, please visit our internships page.
- How can I find an internship opportunity?
Students learn about the opportunities in a variety of ways. Notices of openings are posted on bulletin boards in the journalism area and on the department website in our internship section.
A newsletter produced by students in the internship class and describing their experiences is available to view. Notices of internship openings also are kept in a binder in the department as a reference source, and one-page descriptions of internships recently completed by journalism students are kept in another binder.
In addition, among the responsibilities of those in the internship class is a requirement that they make presentations of their internships to journalism classes. Typically about a dozen classes have presentations each semester. At the instructor’s request, an attempt is made to match the intern’s experience with the skills focus of the class.
Journalism advising and course enrollment:
- When does journalism advising begin each semester?
The department’s advising for the following semester normally begins in the third or fourth week of each semester. The department attempts to complete its advising process in a one-week period. The department makes announcements of the advising schedule in advance of the advising week of each semester. Students also receive email notices of the advising dates.
- How can I sign up for journalism classes?
All students wanting to take a course in journalism must meet with a faculty adviser to sign up for courses, except for Introduction to Journalism & Mass Communication, Principles of Advertising, and Principles of Public Relations.
An attempt is made to match journalism advisers with advisees based on faculty teaching area and student interest in the profession. Students may select any adviser at any time, however. The list of advisees and their advisers is posted on a bulletin board in the department one week prior to the advising week. Detailed instructions for advising are posted on the department’s website.
- May I take more than three journalism courses in one semester?
Students may take no more than three journalism courses (excluding interim courses) in one semester.
- What is the normal enrollment of each journalism class?
The maximum enrollment for hands-on courses that require the use of computer labs is 15 students. Most of the conceptual courses vary from 30 to 50 students. Introduction to Journalism & Mass Communication is the only class that has an enrollment exceeding 50 students.
- Are summer classes in journalism offered?
The department offers courses when sufficient funding is available. Courses offered in the past include Writing for the Media, Editing, and Media Photo I. Check with your journalism adviser about what courses might be offered in the coming summer sessions.
- I am interested in advertising or public relations, but why am I required to take the writing and editing courses?
The department believes that a well-rounded journalism curriculum with the strong media writing and editing skills is a correct approach. This approach has been supported by a recent alumni survey showing that Writing for the Media and Editing are two of the top four courses that were most frequently named as having been the most helpful by graduates of all emphases.
More importantly, the frequent crossover of job specialties between advertising/public relations and writing/editing graduates indicates that writing and editing skills provide the foundation that allows them to be more marketable and to successfully cross over.
- What is the value of taking conceptual courses like History of Journalism in the United States, Media Ethics, and Media & Society?
A well-rounded journalism student not only can write stories and design advertisements, but also can think and articulate regarding many journalism issues and subjects. We expect our students to not only be good at hands-on skills, but also be able to draw upon their liberal arts education and critical thinking skills in their journalism career.
In other words, we are training journalism leadership and professionalism in addition to craftsmanship. The success of many graduates attests to the right direction of journalism education.
- I don’t have any specific questions, but I would like to see a journalism adviser to seek advice in general. Whom should I contact?
You may set up an appointment with a journalism adviser. Contact your adviser, or the department’s program assistant at 920-424-1042.
- What scholarships does the department offer?
The department offers several scholarships to journalism majors. A list is available on our website.
- How can I apply for journalism scholarships? What is the deadline for journalism scholarships?
Visit the scholarships page on our website, or go to the department’s reading room where applications are available in a special display.
- Can I take radio/TV/film as a minor, while studying journalism as my major?
Guidelines defined by the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, of which the UW Oshkosh journalism program is an accredited member, require students to take at least 80 credits of non-journalism classes. Many courses in RTF are not considered to be non-journalism/mass communication courses. As a result, students will have to take more non-communication credits to fulfill the requirement for graduation. This will delay the student’s graduation schedule.
- Do I need to choose a minor while majoring in journalism?
The department does not require journalism majors to select a minor. However, it is strongly recommended that majors select a minor in an area in which they have a special interest.
- If I would like to choose a minor, what field would you recommend?
It depends on your interest areas. Many students chose a minor that could enhance their academic emphasis. For example, a student might select political science as a minor, while another writing/editing student might choose economics due to the student’s interest in economic issues. A student pursuing advertising creativity as a career might select English as a minor. A public relations student might take physical education and health promotion as a minor to prepare for a career in health promotions.
These are just examples. Many journalism students choose business administration, marketing, art, or other humanities and social sciences as their minors, depending on their interest areas.
- I am not a student of UW Oshkosh. How can I transfer my credits to your program?
Contact a transfer adviser at the Student Success Center for more information.
Strengths of the program:
- Can you tell me a few brief reasons why I should choose your program instead of others?
The following bullets highlight some strengths of the UW Oshkosh journalism program:
- A faculty that is well-balanced between those with a doctorate and those offering exceptionally strong professional credentials, all of whom are active in scholarly and professional pursuits
- Up-to-date computer and photography labs and access through them to a variety of new multimedia technologies
- Recruitment of high-quality majors and minors by means of a strict and continuing program of student advisement and a reasonable program of enrollment management supplemented by a close connection between the department and high schools in the area.
- A continuing program of recognition of outstanding students at the University level by means of significant University-level alumni awards, supplemented by the development of department awards and scholarships for students
- A continuing concern that students in the program be exposed to the diverse ideas of a diverse population and multiculturalism, both at the University, within the state, nationally and internationally
- Good relations with media and related organizations in Wisconsin, both through contacts with alumni and through departmental initiatives, such as recruitment of academic staff, field trips to area-related communications businesses, visits to the program by professionals, faculty participation in state professional organizations and extra-departmental campus organizations
- A continuing and close relationship between the program and its graduates, built on relationships between faculty and alumni. This is achieved via newsletters, surveys, reunions, video conferencing and other more personal means
- Outstanding achievements by students as indicated by their success in both local and national competitions, receipt of scholarships, and success of alumni at high-profile companies
- Opportunities for students to join professional organizations, obtain significant internship experiences and compete with other schools and departments in regional and national competitions
- What are the student organizations in the journalism program?
The department has the following student organizations.
- Advertising Club
- Kappa Tau Alpha national honor society
- Photo Club
- Public Relations Student Society of America
- Society of Professional Journalists
For more information, go to the Department of Journalism's student clubs and organizations page.
- Is there a student newspaper I can work for?
Journalism students are encouraged to work for the Advance-Titan and contribute to this student newspaper, which is independent of the Department of Journalism.
It has received the prestigious Pacemaker Award, given to the top college newspapers in the country. Valuable experience can be gained in virtually all aspects of journalism by working on the A-T. Students can write stories, edit copy, take photos, sell ads, draw cartoons and design pages and advertisements.