Journalism Concentration

Catalog Year: 2022-2023

Banner Code: LA-BA-COM-JNL

Communication is the study of basic human social processes: the creation and dissemination of meaning and information. The major prepares students for graduate study or professional positions in such fields as interpersonal and organizational communication, journalism, media production and criticism, political communication, and public relations. Students develop skills and knowledge that put them at the edge of a rapidly changing communication industry. Majors learn to construct and evaluate messages across platforms—web, print, audio and visual.

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on program requirements and courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes. Requirements may be different for earlier catalog years. See the University Catalog archives.

Honors in the Major

Highly-qualified students may pursue advanced coursework leading to graduation with honors in the major.


Students are eligible to apply for honors coursework if they meet the following requirements:

  • Completion of a minimum of 75 credit hours, including COMM 200 Communication Theory and two of COMM 300 Rhetorical Theory and CriticismCOMM 301 Relational Communication TheoryCOMM 302 Media TheoryCOMM 305 Foundations of Intercultural Communication (Mason Core).
  • Minimum GPA of 3.25 in all coursework completed at George Mason.
  • GPA of 3.50 in all communication coursework completed at George Mason and applied to the major.

Honors coursework in communication is a fall-spring sequence. Applications may be submitted by eligible students for fall semester enrollment. The deadline is March 15 each spring, for the sequence beginning the following fall. Student eligibility will be dependent on the GPA at the time of application. If accepted to pursue honors coursework, the student must then enroll in COMM 490 Honors Research Methods in Communication. Under the guidance of the COMM 490 Honors Research Methods in Communication instructor, the student will complete a research prospectus for an honors project to be implemented in the following semester in COMM 491 RS: Honors Research Project in Communication.

Honors Requirements

To remain eligible for honors coursework, the student must

  • receive a grade of 3.00 (no lower than B) in COMM 490 Honors Research Methods in Communication;
  • have the research prospectus approved by the COMM 490 Honors Research Methods in Communication instructor and the honors director; and
  • maintain an overall GPA of 3.25 and a minimum GPA of 3.50 in all COMM coursework completed at George Mason University and applied to the major.

In the following semester, the student enrolls in COMM 491 RS: Honors Research Project in Communication. The student conducts his/her research and prepares a written project conforming to the standards set by the instructor. Upon completion of the project, the COMM 491 RS: Honors Research Project in Communication instructor and the honors director will determine if the project is of honors quality, which is then indicated by the grade earned in COMM 491 RS: Honors Research Project in Communication. For honors designation, the student must achieve an average grade of 3.50 across COMM 490 Honors Research Methods in Communication and COMM 491 RS: Honors Research Project in Communication and must also maintain minimum GPA eligibility requirements outlined above.

Degree Requirements

Total credits: minimum 120

Students should be aware of the specific policies associated with this program, located on the Admissions & Policies tab.

Core Courses

COMM 200 Communication Theory 3
COMM 300 Rhetorical Theory and Criticism 1 3
COMM 305 Foundations of Intercultural Communication (Mason Core) 3
COMM 400 Research Methods in Communication 2 3
Total Credits 12


Students must complete coursework in one concentration. Students may also declare a second concentration. No more than six credits can count between the two declared concentrations and no credits used within the declared concentration(s) can be used to satisfy communication elective credits. Students must declare a concentration before they earn more than 75 credits. Transfer students with 60 or more credits are encouraged to declare a concentration by the end of their first semester. COMM 399 Special Topics in Communication or other special topics courses from other concentrations may be applied toward a concentration when the topic is relevant to the concentration with prior written approval of the undergraduate director.

Concentration in Journalism (JNL)

Required Courses  
COMM 203 Introduction to Journalism 3
COMM 303 Writing across the Media 3
COMM 475 Journalism Law 3
Select three credits from the following: 3
News Writing and Reporting  
News Editing  
Select 9 credits from the following: 9
Newspaper Workshop I  
Radio Workshop I  
Digital Media Workshop  
Introduction to Media Production  
Media Theory  
Newspaper Workshop II  
News Writing and Reporting (if not taken as a required course)  
News Editing (if not taken as a required course)  
Broadcast Journalism  
Video: Performance and Writing  
Online Journalism  
Multimedia Storytelling  
Feature Writing  
Sports Writing and Reporting  
Political Journalism  
Special Topics in Journalism  
Free Speech and Ethics (Mason Core)  
Total Credits 21


Select six credits of COMM courses in consultation with an advisor 1 6
Total Credits 6

Courses Limited to 10 Credits

Of the 39 credits applied to the major, no more than 10 credits may be in these courses. In addition, no more than 6 credits of COMM 450 Internship in Communication or 3 credits of COMM 452 Media Production Practicum may be applied to the major.

Forensics Seminar I  
Forensics Seminar II  
Debate Seminar I  
Debate Seminar II  
Newspaper Workshop I  
Radio Workshop I  
Digital Media Workshop  
Forensics Seminar III  
Forensics Seminar IV  
Debate Seminar III  
Debate Seminar IV  
Newspaper Workshop II  
Yearbook Workshop  
Radio Workshop II  
Research Practicum in Communication  
Internship in Communication  
Facilitating Communication Education  
Media Production Practicum  
RS: Honors Research Project in Communication  
RS: Research Projects in Communication  
Independent Study in Communication  

Writing-Intensive Requirement

The university requires all students to complete at least one course designated as writing intensive in their majors at the 300 level or above. Students majoring in communication fulfill this requirement by successfully completing COMM 300 Rhetorical Theory and Criticism.

Additional Electives

Any remaining credits may be completed with elective courses to bring the degree total to 120.

Upper Level Requirement

Students seeking a bachelor’s degree must apply at least 45 credits of upper-level courses (numbered 300 or above) toward graduation requirements.

College Level Requirements for the BA Degree

In addition to the Mason Core program, students pursuing a BA degree must complete the coursework below. Except where expressly prohibited, a course used to fulfill a college level requirement may also be used simultaneously to satisfy other requirements (Mason Core requirements or requirements for the major).

Philosophy or Religious Studies
Select 3 credits from the following: 3
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Select 3 credits of social and behavioral sciences from the following (additional to the Mason Core social and behavioral sciences requirement) 1 3
HIST 2  
Or choose from the following GGS courses:  
Major World Regions (Mason Core)  
Human Geography (Mason Core)  
Introduction to Geoinformation Technologies  
Political Geography (Mason Core)  
Geography of Resource Conservation (Mason Core)  
GGS 304
Population Geography (Mason Core)  
GGS 305
Economic Geography  
Urban Geography  
Geography of the United States  
Geography of Latin America  
Geography of Europe  
Geography of North Africa and the Middle East  
Geography of Eastern Europe and Russia  
Urban Planning  
Geography of Virginia  
Foreign Language
Intermediate-level proficiency in one foreign language, fulfilled by: 1  
Or achieving a satisfactory score on an approved proficiency test
Or completing the following ASL three course sequence:
EDSE 115
American Sign Language (ASL) I  
EDSE 116
American Sign Language (ASL) II  
EDSE 219
American Sign Language (ASL) III  
Non-Western Culture

Select 3 credits of an approved course in the study of a non-Western culture (additional to the Mason Core requirement in global understanding)

Select 3 credits (additional to Mason Core Global Understanding requirement) 1  
ANTH 114 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 300 Civilizations 3
ANTH 302 Peoples and Cultures of Latin America (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 307 Ancient Mesoamerica (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 308 Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 309 Peoples and Cultures of India (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 313 Myth, Magic, and Mind (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 314 Zombies 3
ANTH 317 East Asian Cultures 3
ANTH 330 Peoples and Cultures of Selected Regions: Non-Western 3
ANTH 332 Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Globalization (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 381 Medical Anthropology 3
ANTH 396 Issues in Anthropology: Social Sciences (Mason Core) 3
ARAB 360 Topics in Arabic Cultural Production 3
ARAB 420 Survey of Arabic Literature 3
ARAB 440 Topics in Arabic Religious Thought and Texts (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 203 Survey of Asian Art (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 204 Survey of Latin American Art (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 206 Survey of African Art (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 318 Art and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt 3
ARTH 319 Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 320 Art of the Islamic World (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 382 Arts of India (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 383 Arts of Southeast Asia (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 384 Arts of China (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 385 Arts of Japan (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 386 The Silk Road (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 482 RS: Advanced Studies in Asian Art 3
CHIN 318 Introduction to Classical Chinese (Mason Core) 3
CHIN 320 Contemporary Chinese Film 3
CHIN 325 Major Chinese Writers (Mason Core) 3
CHIN 470 Special Topics in Chinese Studies 3
DANC 118 Global Dance Perspectives I (Mason Core) 3
ECON 361 Economic Development of Latin America (Mason Core) 3
ECON 362 African Economic Development (Mason Core) 3
FREN 454 Topics in Caribbean Francophone Literature and Culture 3
GGS 101 Major World Regions (Mason Core) 3
GGS 316 Geography of Latin America 3
GGS 317 Geography of China (Mason Core) 3
GGS 325 Geography of North Africa and the Middle East 3
GGS 399 Select Topics in GGS 3
GOVT 328 Global Political Theory 3
GOVT 332 Government and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa 3
GOVT 333 Government and Politics of Asia 3
GOVT 338 Government and Politics of Russia 3
GOVT 340 Central Asian Politics 3
GOVT 341 Chinese Foreign Policy 3
GOVT 345 Islam and Politics 3
GOVT 433 Political Economy of East Asia 3
HIST 251 Survey of East Asian History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 252 Survey of East Asian History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 261 Survey of African History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 262 Survey of African History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 271 Survey of Latin American History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 272 Survey of Latin American History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 281 Survey of Middle Eastern Civilization (Mason Core) 3
HIST 282 Survey of Middle Eastern Civilization (Mason Core) 3
HIST 326 Stalinism 3
HIST 327 The Soviet Union and Russia Since World War II 3
HIST 328 Rise of Russia (Mason Core) 3
HIST 329 Modern Russia and the Soviet Union (Mason Core) 3
HIST 353 History of Traditional China 3
HIST 354 Modern China (Mason Core) 3
HIST 356 Modern Japan (Mason Core) 3
HIST 357 Postwar Japan (Mason Core) 3
HIST 358 Post-1949 China (Mason Core) 3
HIST 360 History of South Africa (Mason Core) 3
HIST 364 Revolution and Radical Politics in Latin America (Mason Core) 3
HIST 365 Conquest and Colonization in Latin America (Mason Core) 3
HIST 366 Comparative Slavery 3
HIST 367 History, Fiction, and Film in Latin America 3
HIST 387 Topics in Global History (Mason Core) 3-6
HIST 461 Arab-Israeli Conflict 3
HIST 462 Women in Islamic Society (Mason Core) 3
HIST 465 The Middle East in the 20th Century 3
JAPA 310 Japanese Culture in a Global World (Mason Core) 3
JAPA 340 Topics in Japanese Literature (Mason Core) 3
JAPA 380 Japan in Motion 3
KORE 300 Korean Culture and Society 3
KORE 320 Korean Popular Culture in a Global World 3
KORE 385 Introduction to Korean Linguistics 3
MUSI 103 Musics of the World (Mason Core) 3
RELI 211 Introduction to Religions of the "West" (Mason Core) 3
RELI 212 Introduction to Religions of Asia (Mason Core) 3
RELI 272 Islam 3
RELI 312 Islam 3
RELI 313 Hinduism (Mason Core) 3
RELI 314 Chinese Philosophies and Religious Traditions 3
RELI 315 Buddhism (Mason Core) 3
RELI 317 Daoism 3
RELI 318 Korean Philosophy and Religions 3
RELI 338 Qur'an and Hadith 3
RELI 342 Comparative Study of Mysticism 3
RELI 344 Muhammad: Life and Legacy 3
RELI 358 Islamic Thought (Mason Core) 3
RELI 367 Islamic Law, Society, and Ethics 3
RELI 368 Islam, Democracy, and Human Rights 3
RELI 490 Comparative Study of Religions (Mason Core) 3
RUSS 353 Russian Civilization (Mason Core) 3
RUSS 354 Contemporary Post-Soviet Life (Mason Core) 3

Mason Core

Some Mason Core requirements may already be fulfilled by the major requirements listed above. Students are strongly encouraged to consult their advisors to ensure they fulfill all remaining Mason Core requirements.

Foundation Requirements  
Written Communication (ENGH 101) 3
Oral Communication 3
Quantitative Reasoning 3
Information Technology and Computing 3
Exploration Requirements  
Arts 3
Global Understanding 3
Literature 3
Natural Science 7
Social and Behavioral Sciences 3
Western Civilization/World History 3
Integration Requirements  
Written Communications (ENGH 302) 3
Writing-Intensive 1 3
Synthesis/Capstone 2 3
Total Credits 40