THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA GRADUATE CATALOG
Table of Contents > College of Communication and Information Sciences

8.4 DEPARTMENT OF JOURNALISM AND CREATIVE MEDIA (JCM)
Chairperson: Cory Armstrong, Office: 490 Reese Phifer Hall
     
        8.4.1 MASTER OF ARTS IN JOURNALISM
        8.4.2 MASTER OF ARTS IN TELECOMMUNICATION AND FILM

8.4.1 MASTER OF ARTS IN JOURNALISM

The Department of Journalism & Creative Media offers the Master of Arts degree with a major in journalism. Students work closely with a faculty dedicated to the principles and practices of sound journalism and scholarly inquiry. The program offers two plans:

  • Individuals who seek in-depth knowledge and mastery of one or more of the subfields and methodologies of journalism ó for example, communication history, communication law, communication theory and methods. These individuals typically follow Plan I (see below) and go on to pursue doctorates. Those with significant experience in the journalism field may teach without the Ph.D. degree.

 

  • Individuals who seek to work professionally in writing, editing, visual journalism and/or digital journalism, and who wish to develop conceptual knowledge of the field, as well as critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. These students typically follow Plan II (see below).

The program serves both recent BA recipients, whether in journalism/mass communication or other fields, and professionals seeking to deepen their knowledge.

Admission Requirements

Admission to graduate work in the Program of Journalism requires a 3.0 or higher undergraduate grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) and a score of at least 1000 on the Graduate Record Examination general test. Applicants not meeting these criteria may be admitted under conditional status if the programís faculty agrees the student is likely to succeed in the program. However, conditionally admitted students are not eligible for university funding and are required to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA the first semester. The program requires a score of 4.5 on the written portion of the GRE as well. The GRE must have been taken within the five years prior to application.

In addition to the online application, applicants must submit other documents to the UA graduate school, including undergraduate transcripts and a statement of purpose addressing how the degree will advance the applicantís professional and educational goals. Applicants should also solicit three letters of recommendation, which may be submitted online to the UA graduate school or sent as hard copies to the Journalism programís graduate coordinator. Applicants should send a resume to the programís graduate coordinator, and they may also submit examples of journalistic to the coordinator Ė e.g., stories, photos or multimedia, via hard copy, disk or website link.

The program faculty may require up to 9 hours of additional coursework for applicants lacking undergraduate classes related to the professional values and competencies that are central to the masterís program.

The application deadline is March 31, but applicants are encouraged to apply by the end of January in order to be considered fully for university funding (assistantships or fellowships). Additional information is in the Admission Criteria section of this catalog.

Degree Requirements

Each student entering the graduate program in journalism must complete 31 semester hours of credit, under Plan I or Plan II. Requirements for each plan are as follows:

Plan I, Master's Thesis

 

Required courses

 

JN 500 Orientation to Graduate Studies

1

MC 551 Seminar in Communication Theory

3

MC 550 Communication Research Methods

3

JN 562 Contemporary Issues

3

JN 563 History of Journalism and the First Amendment

3

JN 599 Thesis Research

6

Electives

12

Total semester hours

31

 

Plan II, Master's Project

 

Required courses

 

JN 500 Orientation to Graduate Studies

1

JN 550 Communication Research Methods

3

JN 551 Seminar in Communication Theory

3

JN 562 Contemporary Issues

3

JN 563 History of Journalism and the First Amendment

3

Journalism Cognate

12

General elective

3

JN 597 Master's Project

3

Total semester hours

31

All students must enroll in JN 500 Orientation to Graduate Studies their first semester.

Initially, the programís graduate coordinator will serve as the studentís adviser. The coordinator will assess studentsí undergraduate transcripts and will help the student establish a plan for cognate or elective courses that will provide students with core values and competencies for the program.

At the completion of 12 credit hours, the student should select a committee chair. The chair will serve as the studentís academic adviser and will help the student select members for the thesis or project committee. The thesis committee must comprise two faculty members from the journalism program and at least one member from outside the program. The project committee must comprise at least two faculty members from the program Ė no outside member is required. An Appointment or Change of Master's Thesis Committee form must be submitted to the Graduate School for the dean's approval of the committee members. 

The student is required to pass a comprehensive examination in conjunction with an oral defense of the thesis or masterís project. Students are questioned on their thesis or project topic, and on core areas of their course of study. For the student to pass the examination, committee members must be satisfied the student has gained sufficient knowledge in core areas of the curriculum and has mastered a specific area of knowledge.

 

The following applies to students pursuing a master's degree under Plan II

Plan II students produce a project rather than a thesis. The successful master's project demonstrates mastery of a knowledge area as well the ability to apply this knowledge through the practice of journalism. The typical project will include (1) an academic component in which the student systematically analyzes some aspect of journalism or its consequences and (2) a rigorous, thorough journalistic work, such as an in-depth multimedia story. The academic analysis should shape the decisions the student makes about the journalistic work. For example, a student may analyze past news coverage of a particular topic, noting shortcomings in the reporting, and then use findings from this analysis to shape the reporting for the student's own in-depth news story.

Prior to the final semester, the student should propose the project in writing to the committee chair, describing how the project will be accomplished and laying out a specific time table. The approved plan will be shared with the other committee member(s).

Students present the project to fellow students, committee faculty and news professionals as part of a comprehensive oral examination. In conjunction with this exam, each student under Plan II will present a portfolio of the studentís best work while enrolled in the program. The final project report should be the first item in the portfolio.

At the time of the student's comprehensive exam, each student under Plan II will present a portfolio of the student's best work while enrolled in the program. The master's project, which includes the academic study and the journalistic work, should be the first item in the portfoilo.

Plan II also includes a one-year option involving a professional immersion experience in a newsroom. In recent years this option has been administered in conjunction with the Anniston (Ala.) Star newspaper. Admission criteria and core curriculum requirements are identical to the traditional Plan II option.

Additional information may be found in the Degree Requirements section of this catalog.


8.4.2 MASTER OF ARTS IN TELECOMMUNICATION AND FILM

The master of arts degree program in telecommunication and film focuses on the electronic media and the cinema as informative, influential, and meaning-producing forms. The program emphasizes the study of these media in terms of law and policy, technological systems, economic and industrial infrastructures, news and public affairs, management leadership, individual and societal effects, history, and cultural criticism.

 

Implementation. The principal goals of the program are to develop students' analytical and interpretive skills through thoughtful and informed consideration of the possibilities, limitations, and responsibilities of the telecommunication and film media. Our students study television, film, the Internet, and other media systems in an attempt to understand how they work and what influences they have upon individuals, societies, and the global community.

 

Specialized application of studies may culminate in a thesis or master's project specific to one of the following: management leadership; law and policy; news and public affairs analysis; telecommunication and society; cinema and television critical studies; or another emphasis in which the student's particular interests match appropriately qualified faculty members', subject to the availability of resources necessary for the proposed study.

 

Courses are selected in consultation with the student's graduate advisor and must be approved by the student's program committee.

 

Admission Requirements

 

In addition to meeting all admission requirements of The University of Alabama Graduate School, the problem requires applicants to provide at least two letters of reference or statements from academic sources who can attest to the applicant's potential for graduate work. We encourage applicants to visit the department and become better acquainted with the program, the faculty, and the current students.

 

Degree Requirements

 

Plan I, master's thesis. Students who write a master's thesis must complete a minimum of 30 graduate credits, including the courses specified below and others stipulated by the student's program committee. In addition, the student must do all of the following:

  • pass a comprehensive written exam (typically eight hours long) and orally defend the answers

  • successfully complete a master's thesis (enrolling in TCF 599 Thesis Research for at least 6 credit hours) and orally defend that thesis

 

Plan II, nonthesis options. Students who choose Plan II must complete a minimum of 30 hours of graduate coursework, including the courses specified below and others stipulated by the student's program committee. Students following the nonthesis option have two plans from which to choose:

 

Plan II, Project: The student must do all of the following:

  • pass a comprehensive written exam (typically eight hours long) and orally defend the answers

  • successfully complete a master's project (enrolling in TCF 598 Master's Research Project for 3 credit hours) and orally defend that project

 

A student choosing this option will create a project appropriate to his or her interests and approved by his or her program committee. Such projects always will include written justification for the undertaking, an explanation of the procedures involved, and a clear rationale for each decision. Substantive documentation to support observations and conclusions is expected.

 

Plan II, Independent Research: The student must do all of the following:

  • pass a comprehensive written exam that is substantially longer than those taken in the other options (typically 12Ė16 hours long) and orally defend the answers

  • successfully complete individual study with a faculty member (enrolling in TCF 597 Independent Research for 3 credit hours).

 

Course requirements. All College of Communication and Information Sciences master's degree candidates must complete MC 550 Communication Research Methods and MC 551 Seminar in Communication Theory. Master's degree candidates in telecommunication and film must also complete TCF 553 Seminar in Telecommunication or TCF 577 Cinema Seminar.

 

Remaining coursework will consist of thesis research (at least 6 hours) and electives (15 hours) or master's project research/study (3 hours) and electives (18 hours), or independent research (3 hours) and electives (18 hours). The student may take no more than 9 hours of electives numbered TCF 500-549; with approval, up to 6 hours of electives outside the problem may be taken (MC courses are not included in these 6 hours). The student must develop a curriculum plan, which must be approved by the student's program committee. Sample curriculum plans might include the following courses:

 

Management leadership

Semester hours

TCF 545 Telecommunication Media Management

3

TCF 547 Telecommunication History and Systems

3

TCF 553 Seminar in Telecommunication

3

 

 

Law and policy

 

MC 501 Mass Media Law and Regulation

3

TCF 533 Seminar in Telecommunication

3

TCF 547 Telecommunication History and Systems

3

TCF 548 Telecommunication Policy and Law

3

 

 

News and public affairs analysis

 

TCF 533 Broadcast News Analysis

3

TCF 541 The Documentary Form

3

TCF 553 Seminar in Telecommunication

3

 

 

Telecommunication and society

 

TCF 520 Telecommunication Effects

3

TCF 553 Seminar in Telecommunication

3

MC 501 Mass Media Law & Regulation

3

 

 

Cinema and television critical studies

 

TCF 511 Seminar in Critical Studies in Television

3

TCF 540 Seminar in American Cinema

3

TCF 541 The Documentary Form

3

TCF 577 Cinema Seminar

3

 


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