Admission Requirements

DIGITAL JOURNALISM AND DESIGN AT USF ST. PETERSBURG
Master’s of Arts (M.A.) Degree in Digital Journalism and Design

RECOMMENDED PROGRAM ADMISSION DEADLINES
We have rolling admissions but recommended, or preferred, dates for receiving applications.
Fall: May 1
Spring: October 15
Minimum Total Hours: 30
Program Level: Masters

CONTACT INFORMATION
General inquiries: djd@usfsp.edu
Program Director: Mark J. Walters
Graduate Program Adviser: Paul Wang
Program Website: djd.usfsp.edu
Graduate Studies Website: http://www.usfsp.edu/spgrad

PROGRAM INFORMATION
This fully-online master’s program will prepare students for the newly emerging and rapidly changing field of digital journalism, which brings new technologies and evolving value to bear on the report of global news and events.

TUITION AND FINANCIAL AID
Currently, our in-state tuition rates are $425.68 per credit hour and out-of-state tuition rates are $871.42 per credit hour. The tuition rates are dependent on your Florida Residency status. An additional $50.00 Distance Learning Fee is assessed per credit hour.
 
Even though it is an online-based program, the tuition rates are the same as if you were applying to a campus-based program. In order to claim in-state tuition, you must demonstrate Florida Residency. A Florida “resident for tuition purposes” is a person who has, or a dependent person whose parent or legal guardian has, established and maintained legal residency in Florida for at least twelve months. Residence in Florida must be as a bonafide domicile rather than for the purpose of maintaining a residence incident to enrollment at an institution of higher education.

To qualify as a Florida “resident for tuition purposes,” you must be a United States Citizen, permanent resident alien, or legal alien granted indefinite stay by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Other persons not meeting the twelve-month legal residence requirement may be classified as Florida residents for tuition purposes only if they fall within one of the limited categories authorized by the Florida Legislature and Board of Trustees. All other persons are ineligible for classification as a Florida “resident for tuition purposes.” Living in or attending school in Florida will not, in itself, establish legal residence. Students who depend on out-of-state parents for support are presumed to be legal residents of the same state as their parents.
 
Regardless of your claimed residency, financial aid may be available to you. The USF St. Petersburg Privately Funded Scholarships application and available scholarships can be found at www.usfsp.edu/finaid. Additional financial aid questions can be directed to finaid@usfsp.edu.
 
If you’d like to check on current tuition rates here and at USF campuses around the state, check here: http://usfweb2.usf.edu/uco/studentaccounting/Current_Tuition.asp

ACCREDITATION
USF St. Petersburg is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

ADMISSION INFORMATION
Must meet University requirements (see Graduate Admissions) as well as requirements listed below.

Program Admission Requirements

  1. A baccalaureate degree in Journalism or related field from a regionally accredited institution, with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 or better in the last two years (60 hours) of undergraduate work or a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or better in undergraduate work. Applicants whose undergraduate GPA is lower than a 3.00 may present professional experience in journalism or a related field for consideration.
  2. One of the following (A or B) is required:
    A. An essay between 800 and 1000 words that describes how this degree will serve the applicant’s future plans. The essay should include references to the applicant’s prior and planned online contributions and demonstrate an understanding of web-based communication and its journalistic potential.
    OR
    B. Scores from a standardized graduate admissions test (GRE, LSAT, GMAT, or MAT).
  3. Three (3) letters of recommendation from qualified people who are familiar with the nature of the work required of graduate students in the social sciences, and knowledgeable in digital content who can address your ability to excel in this type of program.
  4. Three writing or other media such as photographs, graphic designs, videos, etc. that you have created. These may be published or unpublished.
  5. To help us assess where potential students in our program stand in terms of Web-related knowledge and skills, applicants take a pre-admission online assessment offered by Poynter News University: https://www.newsu.org/tools/USFSP. No minimum score is required for applicants to be considered for admission. Applicants will have full access to online Poynter tutorials on all subjects covered by the assessment. Applicants may take the assessment three times. The highest score will become part of the applicant’s application portfolio. Independently of whether they are accepted into the program or not, applicants who score at least 80 percent on the assessment will be awarded a USFSP-Poynter Certificate of Proficiency. The cost of this pre-admission assessment and training is $80.00.
  6. We recommend that applicants download and familiarize themselves with the free publication Journalism 2.0: How to Survive and Thrive A digital literacy guide for the information age (http://www.kcnn.org/resources/journalism_20/).

DEGREE PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS
Requires 30 hours of sequenced, graduate-level coursework, including completion of a Final Project. Students may take up to 6 credit hours of courses in courses offered by the Department of Journalism and Media Studies to supplement summer schedules for purposes of financial aid.

REQUIRED COURSES

  1. JOU 6114 Multimedia Reporting (3 credits): This graduate course teaches the writing and visual skills specific to the practice of journalism across all digital platforms: print, broadcast, and the Web. Students conceptualize and write news stories that conform to presentation in an on-line style, with consideration given to storytelling techniques for emerging digital media such as mobile communication devices. Special emphasis is placed upon converting textual stories to a digital platform for the web.
  2. JOU 6360 Digital Media Technology (3 credits): Traditional newsroom roles are being redefined. The craft of storytelling in news reports of all flavors will survive, but being able to do more than one traditional newsroom job is now the expected norm for both veterans and new employees, and multimedia news stories for the Web are here to stay. This course will provide you with a foundation for the practice or management of digital news reporting and presentation. Every modern journalist needs to learn how to be a digital producer for themselves, a department, or an entire news organization. Through a mix of lecture, discussion, readings, experiences and hands-on learning, you will be given the opportunity to become familiar with current best practices in the industry. Understanding the industry’s past and present will equip you to be an active contributor to change as the future unfolds.
  3. JOU 6606 Photojournalism (1 credit): Digital still photography is now a powerful and common option that every journalist should have in their personal toolbox since visuals are often needed for news stories in print or online. Shrinking staff sizes mean that a journalist dedicated only to photojournalism may not be available to work with a writer on a story. Therefore, writers must be prepared to take their own images. This course will provide you with a foundational overview for taking publishable news photographs for print or online use. Through a mix of lecture, discussion, readings, experiences and hands-on learning, you will be given the opportunity to become familiar with current best practices in the industry.
  4. MMC 6936 Web Publishing (3 credits): Web Publishing teaches students the basics of self publishing work on their own website. Instructors teach basic HTML code, along with more advanced CSS and PHP skills for a well-designed website. Coming in Fall 2013.
  5. MMC 6936 Social Media (3 credits):  This course teaches students how to use social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more to find sources for digital journalism and promote work that has already been completed. Coming in Fall 2013.
  6. JOU 6006 Digital Media and Democracy (3 credits): Vibrant democracies require a free press. This course will explore the implications of online digital journalism for democracies of which a free press are a part. Among other topics, the course will explore the implications of a decentralized press and the role of citizen journalism on democratic governments.
  7. JOU 6361 Digital Video Production (1 credit): Video storytelling is now a powerful and common option that every journalist must have in their personal toolbox since multimedia news stories for the Web are here to stay and preparing news reports for multi-platform delivery are routine. This course will provide you with a foundational overview for the practice or management of digital video news shooting, editing and presentation. Every modern journalist needs to learn how to be a digital video producer for themselves, a department, or an entire news organization. Through a mix of lecture, discussion, readings, experiences and hands-on learning, you will be given the opportunity to become familiar with current best practices in the industry.
  8. JOU 6362 Digital Audio Production (1 credit): Being able to record quality voice and ambient audio is a skill that every journalist should have in their personal toolbox since multimedia news stories for the Web are now commonplace. Audio can be published as stand-alone clips, as podcast radio shows, or as part of a video file. This course will provide you with a foundational overview for the practice or management of digital audio recording at Web quality. Through a combination of lecture, discussion, readings, experiences and hands-on learning, you will be given the opportunity to become familiar with current best practices in the industry. Audacity, which is free, will be the audio editing application covered in this course.
  9. MMC 6936 Digital Media Ethics and Law (3 credits): The Digital Media Ethics and Law course is a core requirement for the master’s in Digital Journalism and Design. Online mass communicators often work independently, without the conventions and traditions of established media organizations. In addition, the law governing online communications is evolving, with little external constraint on how digital communicators gather or present material. Mass communicators have ethical responsibility that evolves from the reach of their messages, which, through digital communication is literally worldwide. The course also concentrates on communications law as it impacts those who communicate news and information through today’s array of electronic, digital and online technologies. The course begins with an introduction to classic First Amendment theory and practice. From that foundation, the course addresses the challenges of applying traditional, print-based legal precedent to the burgeoning means of communication that incorporate wireless, online, digital and global features. The evolving legal landscape includes not only common tort litigation (i.e., defamation, invasion of privacy, wrongful injury) but also domestic and international law covering areas such as copyright, licensing and contracts. Additional subjects include access to information, advertising and government regulation as related to digital media.
  10. MMC 6936 Visual Communication Design and Theory (3 credits): This course explores visual communication theories and case studies of visual representations in mass media in light of the impact of digital technologies that have transformed the creation and delivery of information. The course also teaches theoretical and practical applications of information designs in a digital media environment. Students learn to apply basic typography, digital imaging, page layout and graphic skills to design news publications, information graphics, advertising and public relations projects.
  11. GEB 6118 Business Enterprise (Entrepreneurial Journalism) (3 credits): The course will expose students to some of the richest hands-on teachings about how media management and community business leaders of under-represented markets interact to achieve mutual goals and objectives in the digital age, in which new forms of collaboration are not only possible, but often necessary for economic survival. This course is offered in conjunction with USFSP’s award winning Entrepreneurship Program in the College of Business.
  12. MMC 6950 Final Project (3 credits): This course represents the culminating, or capstone project, for students wishing to focus on digital journalism and design. In the final project, students will integrate the major digital media, including websites, audio and video reporting, and the use of various other technologies where appropriate, such as Twitter or blogs. In terms of content, this project will focus on hard news, documentaries or other journalist genres. The final project must be presented online and will be critically evaluated by the entire faculty.

ADAPT TO YOUR SCHEDULE
The program was designed to be completed in as little as one year (three semesters), but students can schedule courses at their own pace. For more information about which courses run in each semester, see http://djd.usfsp.edu/courses/.

OFF-SITE GRADUATE ASSISTANTSHIPS ARE AVAILABLE
The Department seeks motivated graduate students for our assistantship and fellowship programs. Assistantship possibilities include teaching and research with faculty members in the department, in local high school, middle school and elementary programs, and at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. Exceptional students may receive funds from the St. Petersburg Times Fellowship program.

Graduate assistantships are available on a competative basis for students who qualify. Students must be formally admitted to the M.A. in journalism program and must be full time (nine credit hours) for the term in which the assistantship is held. The duties and responsibilities of graduate assistants vary, and may include research or service support as well as assisting instructors with undergraduate journalism and media studies courses. Graduate assistants receive funding that is roughly equivalent to a full in-state tuition waiver. Assistantships are generally awarded to begin in the fall term. Deadlines for consideration for a graduate assistantship or other departmental support is _March 15_. Graduate assistantships that become available at mid-year are advertised to current and potential graduate students as they become available.

To apply for the assistanship, complete this form and email it to Dr. Xiaopeng Wang by the deadline.