The School of Journalism & Media Studies envisions a global society where citizens are engaged in their communities; where media professionals are ethical and committed to social justice, and embrace technology to serve the public good; and where people from all backgrounds think critically about the media.

The School’s curricula reflect these very important themes. All students, regardless of which major within JMS, are required to take a set of core classes that cover a range of important topics, from an understanding of media ethics and law to understanding the principles of design to courses that critically examine intersectional representations in the media. These create the foundation upon which student can then build as they dive deep into their chosen major. Students also complement their in-class work with internships and service-learning projects in the community, enabling them to take what they have learned inside the school and apply it to real-world scenarios outside of it.

Areas of Undergraduate Study

The School of Journalism & Media Studies offers four programs leading to the B.A. degree in liberal arts and sciences. Students may major in journalism, advertising, public relations or media studies. For a more in depth look at the JMS undergraduate areas of study, please follow the links below.

In preparation for acceptance to a major in the School of Journalism and Media Studies, several requirements must be met. These pre-major requirements are uniform across undergraduate majors in the school: advertising, journalism, media studies and public relations. 


  • Minimum of 45 units earned
  • Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • Passing score on the School's Grammar, Spelling, and Punctuation exam EGUMPP (please see the JMS Homeroom on Canvas or contact the advisors for more information).
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA AND grades of C or better (C/NC not allowed) in the following courses:
    • JMS 200 - Introduction to Contemporary Media
    • JMS 210 - Social Media in the Digital Age
    • JMS 220 - Writing for the Mass Media
    • JMS 250 - Introduction to Intersectional Representation in the Media

What is Advertising?

Advertising is used by businesses and non-profit organizations to communicate messages about themselves, their products, their services and their causes. Advertisers create dynamic promotional communication to inform, persuade and remind their audiences.


Students in the advertising emphasis, within the School of Journalism & Media Studies, will learn:

  • To understand the basic principles and theories of advertising
  • To write copy and design messages for distribution through multiple media channels
  • To apply appropriate research methods to plan, monitor and evaluate advertising
  • To develop strategic thinking skills applied to targeting audiences
  • To create and implement advertising campaigns that are responsible to both consumers’ as well as corporate needs
  • To critically analyze issues related to advertising
  • To communicate effectively with diverse audiences
  • To practice ethical communication

Study begins with a survey course encompassing all aspects of advertising. Study of these theories and practices continues through courses in creative design and advertising research methods. Senior students complete a capstone course in which they apply all of their skills in creating a complete advertising campaign. Through electives such as International Advertising and Advertising and Society, students have the opportunity to broaden their learning experiences. Students obtain real-world learning experiences through an advertising internship.

What can I do with an Advertising Degree?

Advertising graduates are employed in advertising agencies and marketing departments in the areas of media ad sales, sales promotions, research, creative development, account services, sales management, and digital and social media.

Please visit the SDSU Catalog for detailed information on the degree requirements.

What is Journalism?

Are you curious? Are you good with words and can you spell and punctuate? Can you construct an argument and convey information and emotion with words? Are you flexible and adaptable? Can you write on almost anything? Is it important to you to keep up with current events? Are you interested in other people’s lives? Are you persistent and willing to dig for information?

You may be interested in a career in journalism — reporting events at the local, regional, national and international levels. Journalists gather information through interviewing and research to create a variety of stories for publication in newspapers, television or radio broadcasts, or distribution through digital media.


The journalism program emphasizes the training of writers, reporters and editors for the news media — newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and digital media. The program also seeks to prepare and guide students interested in pursuing careers in a wide range of informational and interpretive multimedia environments. The courses offered in the journalism major are designed to give students a working knowledge of the skills, concepts, values and ethics needed to succeed as professional communicators. Classes focus on factual and analytical writing, editing, producing and designing content; history; communication law, theory and responsibility; and ethics in the news media.

What can I do with a Journalism Degree?

Career opportunities for journalism graduates are diverse, including news agencies, newspapers, magazines, radio, television, digital and social media, book editing and publishing, freelance writing, industrial journalism, teaching and communication research.

Please visit the SDSU Catalog for detailed information on degree requirements.

What is Media Studies?

The emphasis in media studies prepares students to be successful in the ever-evolving globalized world and the many opportunities that communication technologies enable. Classes emphasize both conceptual and practical knowledge, and explore the wide range of phenomena that constitute media in the modern world. Specific courses focus on digital media analytics, social media leadership, media innovation, and fundamentals of multi-media development. Students have the flexibility to focus on their particular areas of interest. Courses are taught by core faculty with both academic and pragmatic experience, as well as adjunct lecturers with professional media experience.


Students in the media studies emphasis, part of the School of Journalism & Media Studies, will learn:

  • Established and emerging theories of mass communication effects
  • Structure and concentration of media ownership
  • Tools required to become a sophisticated and critical consumer of media content
  • Convergence of traditional media organizations/industries into hybrid structures
  • Emerging media industries and job opportunities

Students in the media studies emphasis begin with a survey course that reviews the processes, effects, and industries in mass/mediated communication. Students learn contemporary theories about how media content and platforms affect audiences and society. In the second semester, media studies students learn about the development of media technologies in the past while simultaneously gaining insight into the latest tools for digital communication. The program culminates in the third semester with a course on the convergence of media industries into new hybrid models that transform the structure and function of traditional media.

What can I do with a Degree in Media Studies?

The emphasis in media studies is not geared towards any specific career, as the knowledge that students acquire is applicable to a wide range of industries. Some graduates have found jobs in the traditional media industries (television, radio, print), while others are working in emerging areas, such as social media community leader, online content manager, and search engine optimization specialist. Given the rapidly changing nature of technology, it is likely media studies graduates will invent new career paths for themselves as media industries evolve.

Please visit the SDSU Catalog for detailed information on the degree requirements.

What is Public Relations?

Public relations is the management of relationships between organizations and their stakeholders, meaning any group of people who have a stake in the success or failure of that organization. Professional and ethical public relations practitioners counsel organizations to behave in socially responsible ways that will enable them to earn a positive reputation with their stakeholders. The strategic management of public relations is a four-step process that includes research, planning, implementation and evaluation. Students in the nationally ranked public relations emphasis at San Diego State University will learn about and actually execute these steps of the strategic planning process as they progress through the program’s rigorous classes.


Public relations students learn the theories and skills necessary to help them execute each stage of the strategic planning process. Specifically, students learn mass communication and public relations theories and principles; research methods; journalistic writing; public relations techniques and tactics; and strategic planning. A selective internship program also gives students the opportunity to try out their skills in the workplace, under the supervision of faculty and on-the-job mentors.

A recent national ranking of public relations programs placed SDSU’s program sixth in the United States. It is the only top-ten public relations program west of the Mississippi River and also the only one without a Ph.D. program, which means that faculty members, rather than doctoral students, teach undergraduate and master’s students. In studies that examine whose scholarly research gets cited by other scholars, the collective work of SDSU’s public relations faculty is the second-most cited in the country, additional evidence of the prestige and national stature of the program.

What can I do with a Degree in Public Relations?

Public relations graduates work as media relations specialists and strategic planners in public relations departments and firms, as internal and external communication specialists in corporations, as public information specialists in government agencies and the military, and in fund-raising and membership development for not-for-profit organizations.

Please visit the SDSU Catalog for detailed information on the degree requirements.

Because undergraduate programs in the School of Journalism & Media Studies are accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, we have adopted the ACEJMC competencies as our degree-learning outcomes, to which all course learning outcomes are aligned:

  1. Understand and apply the principles and laws of freedom of speech and press, including the right to dissent, to monitor and criticize power and to assemble and petition for redress of grievances.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the history and role of professionals and institutions in shaping communications.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the diversity of groups in a global society in relationship to communications.
  4. Understand concepts and apply theories in the use and presentation of images and information.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of professional ethical principles and work ethically in pursuit of truth, accuracy, fairness and diversity.
  6. Think critically, creatively and independently.
  7. Conduct research and evaluate information by methods appropriate to the communications professions in which they work.
  8. Write correctly and clearly in forms and styles appropriate for the communications professions, audiences and purposes they serve.
  9. Critically evaluate their own work and that of others for accuracy and fairness, clarity, appropriate style and grammatical correctness.
  10. Apply basic numerical and statistical concepts.
  11. Apply tools and technologies appropriate for the communications professions in which they work.

More information about ACEJMC can be found on their website.