Undergraduate Studies

Undergraduate Graduation and Retention Rates
MSU JRN Students Job Offers and Preparedness for the Industry
National Accreditation

Critical thinking, excellent writing and superb visual communication skills across all media are the hallmarks of our students. They have won 300 state, regional, national and international awards in just the past four years!

Celebrating more than 100 years of journalism education, MSU's J-School is recognized as one of the best in the nation. Its program is one of the few in the country that has been continuously reaccredited since 1949. Its exemplary faculty range from international Fulbright scholars to Pulitzer-Prize winning professionals who bring cutting-edge knowledge to students in the classroom and work with them on projects.

MSU's School of Journalism is light years ahead of the rest in its creativity and imagination to offer students the needed skills to be leaders and visionaries in this exciting, evolving industry. Just ask anyone.

Our curriculum is designed to prepare students to step out of the classroom today and into a job tomorrow. In addition to teaching valuable and ethical professional skills, our graduates are known as deep thinkers and motivated doers, and as a result, they are rising stars in the industry and highly successful.

Our students are strong in a minimum of five ways:

  1. Critical thinking
  2. Writing
  3. Understanding visual communication
  4. Telling stories across different media
  5. Having a broad foundation while achieving in-depth knowledge of a specific area.

Faculty inspire students to think "outside the box" to succeed in journalism in yet-undefined ways.

Our high-tech computer labs have only 20 stations so that students have more individualized attention in these small classes. Each lab is equipped with digital image projection studios. All major software titles for graphics composition, web authoring, and audio and video media editing are installed in each lab. The list of software is found online for students at: http://infotech.cas.msu.edu/pages/labs. We have fully equipped television production studios, video editing suites and audio recording facilities, in addition to video and audio editing software available in the computer labs. WKAR radio and TV studios and student media labs also are available for classes.

For more information, please see the academic catalog and the admissions process.

Undergraduate Graduation and Retention Rates

Retention Rates

Journalism majors exceed the university's retention rate for majors overall, and in less than four and six years.

The MSU Office of Planning and Budget tracks retention (called "persistence") and graduation rates at MSU as a whole and for individual colleges and departments.

MSU Year JRN Majors Majors Overall
Freshman 93% 91%
Sophomore 90% 86%
Junior 86% 84%
Senior 82% 81%
Graduation Rates
4 Years or Fewer 6 Years or Fewer
JRN Majors 55% 82%
Majors Overall 48% 77%
Average Number of Years to Graduate
Time to Degree
JRN Majors 4 years
Majors Overall 4.2 Years

MSU JRN Students Job Offers and Preparedness for the Industry

Professional Supervisors' Satisfaction with MSU Journalism Interns

  • About 83 percent of the professionals, the supervisors of School of Journalism interns, rated the interns as exceptional or above average in comparison to interns from other programs.
  • About 86 percent of the employers rated their School of Journalism permanent hires as exceptional or above average. 

 Students Satisfaction on Being Prepared for the


 Students also are surveyed after they have completed their internship, asking if they thought they were prepared.

  • About 94 percent said they strongly agreed or agreed that they were prepared for the job market.
  • About 92 percent strongly agreed or agreed that their internship would help launch their career.

Job Offers

 MSU School of Journalism graduates responded to a 2011 national survey conducted annually by the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

  • 76 percent of MSU JRN majors received at least one job offer before graduation, compared to the national average of 73 percent.

Career Path After Graduation

The College surveys alumni the year following their graduation with several follow-up requests throughout the year. Questions include their status on full-time jobs, post-graduate internships and if they were doing work on target with their career plans.

  • Recent graduates reported that they were working in a capacity that directly related to their career path, increasing from 69 percent in 2008 to 92 percent in 2012, with a nearly steady increase in the intervening years.

National Accreditation

The School of Journalism at Michigan State University is a nationally accredited program. This means that we are held to a higher standard than most journalism programs and our curriculum involves more rigor than non-accredited programs.

For example, our skills classes are limited to 18 students per faculty member so that students get individualized attention and their graded assignments returned quickly. We also pay attention to student and faculty diversity, and assess our program to check that our high goals for student success are being met.

Standards of Excellence

These areas are designed to recognize, protect and ensure the integrity of our program.

Standard 1. Mission, Governance and Administration
Standard 2. Curriculum and Instruction
Standard 3. Diversity and Inclusiveness
Standard 4. Full-Time and Part-Time Faculty
Standard 5. Scholarship: Research, Creative and Professional Activity
Standard 6. Student Services
Standard 7. Resources, Facilities and Equipment
Standard 8. Professional and Public Service
Standard 9. Assessment of Learning Outcomes

Professional Values and Competencies

Students learn professional values and competencies in at least 12 areas across our program. Our students . . .

  1. Understand and apply the principles and laws of free speech and press, summarized in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States;
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the history and role of professionals and institutions in shaping communications;
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of gender, race ethnicity, sexual orientation and, as appropriate, other forms of diversity in domestic society in relation to mass communications;
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of the diversity of peoples and cultures and the significance and impact of mass communications in a global society;
  5. Understand concepts and apply theories in the use and presentation of images and information;
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of professional ethical principles in professional work;
  7. Think critically, creatively and independently;
  8. Conduct research and evaluate information with methods appropriate to the communication professions;
  9. Write correctly and clearly, in forms and styles appropriate for the communications professions;
  10. Critically evaluate their own work and that of others;
  11. Apply basic numerical and statistical concepts;
  12. Apply tools and technologies appropriate for the communications professions in which they work.
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