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What Is the Curriculum of a Photojournalism Degree?

Photojournalists capture images for print, broadcast and digital news sources. To become a photojournalist, you'll need technical prowess in photography and an understanding of the journalism field. If you're thinking of pursuing a degree program in photojournalism, read on to find out about the curricula you can expect in associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs.

Photojournalism Degree Programs

If you're interested in a career in photojournalism, you may enroll in a 2-year associate's degree program or 4-year bachelor's degree program. You should know that, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most journalists need a bachelor's degree in order to find employment.

An associate's degree might provide you with a strong portfolio, or it could prepare you to enter into a 4-year program. Both degree levels share similar central courses; however, associate's degree programs may focus more on technical development, while bachelor's programs may be broader in scope. A master's degree in photojournalism will give you the opportunity for advanced study in the field.

Important Facts About These Programs

Possible Careers Fine artist, web designer, camera operator, video editor
Programs Study abroad programs are available (primarily for bachelor's students)
Continuing Education The one-year Documentary Practice and Visual Journalism certificate program is offered by the International Center of Photography.
Online Availability Available in digital photography at the associate's level, and journalism (with photojournalism courses) at the bachelor's level
Median Salary (2018) $57,530 (media and communication workers)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026)6% (media and communication workers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Undergraduate Core Required Courses

While studying in an undergraduate photojournalism degree program, you'll likely take required courses related to the broader field of journalism, such as media communications and ethics in journalism. These courses can provide you with the background, knowledge and skill to work in the journalism field. These courses may include:

  • Journalism and mass communications
  • News writing
  • Media and society
  • Picture editing
  • Reporting
  • News media ethics, regulations and laws
  • Photography fundamentals

Associate's Degrees

A 2-year program in photojournalism or commercial photography can teach you basic skills in photography and journalism during your first year. Advanced photography courses typically follow during your second year. Curricula may include courses in:

  • History of photography
  • Writing and inquiry
  • Digital imaging
  • Small format photography
  • Lighting techniques
  • Multimedia production
  • Digital photography
  • Business of photography

Bachelor's Degrees

The curriculum for a 4-year degree program in photojournalism is comprehensive, including core required courses and electives. Electives may allow you to choose an area of focus in the photojournalism field that complements your personal interests. Courses may include:

  • Photography history
  • Multimedia storytelling
  • Photo essays
  • Digital media production
  • Media law and ethics
  • Photojournalism portfolio development

Graduate Degrees

Master of Arts degree programs are available at the graduate level. Required coursework for these programs focuses on aesthetics and storytelling through photography. You may also be required to complete an internship and thesis project as part of the curriculum.