What Is Cal Poly Journalism?

The Journalism Department at Cal Poly is one of 17 programs in Cal Poly’s College of Liberal Arts. The department offers a professional program leading to a bachelor of science degree in journalism with emphases in broadcasting, multimedia, news-editorial, public relations and media innovation.

Why Major In Journalism?

Cal Poly Journalism graduates have reached positions of responsibility and authority nationally in corporations and media outlets, including major publications, networks and affiliates. Founded in the 1920s, the department has thousands of alumni, with many holding high positions in print, broadcast, and public relations journalism for state and national organizations. The Cal Poly Journalism Department is composed of about 300 students and eight full-time faculty members who represent a variety of platforms and disciplines within journalism.


Mission Statement

The mission of the Journalism Department at Cal Poly is to provide excellence in education on fundamental concepts, values and skills in journalism that focus on problem-solving, critical thinking, innovation and communication. We also promote an understanding of the ethical and legal implications of media and the importance of cultural and intellectual diversity, civic engagement and social responsibility in preparing students for leadership roles in journalism.

Vision Statement

The Journalism Department will achieve program growth through the development of undergraduate education, research, continuing education and other services to the profession. The Department will be recognized as a leading center for journalism education in the 21st century.

Journalism faculty and staff members will strive to be recognized authorities in their teaching specialty areas and technical areas of expertise.

The Journalism Department will continue to improve, explore, innovate and implement pedagogical techniques central to Cal Poly’s “learn by doing” philosophy.

The theoretical and applied Cal Poly Journalism program will continue to prepare students for professional and personal success.

The Journalism Department will strive to become the preferred source of journalism education in the California State University system and beyond for undergraduate students and for journalism professionals wanting to advance their education and training.

Program Learning Objectives

Graduates with a BS in journalism will:

  1. Apply the principles and laws of freedom of speech and press, in a global context, and for the United States.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the multicultural history and role of professionals and institutions in shaping communications.
  3. Demonstrate communication that empowers those traditionally disenfranchised in society, especially as grounded in race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability and socioeconomic status, domestically and globally, across communication and media contexts.
  4. Present images and information effectively and creatively, using appropriate tools and technologies.
  5. Write correctly and clearly in forms and styles appropriate for the communications professions, audiences and purposes they serve.
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of professional ethical principles and work ethically in pursuit of truth, accuracy, fairness and equity.
  7. Apply critical thinking skills in conducting research and evaluating information by methods appropriate to the communications professions in which they work.
  8. Effectively and correctly apply basic numerical and statistical concepts.
  9. Critically evaluate their own work and that of others for accuracy and fairness, clarity, appropriate style, grammatical correctness and equity-minded reporting.
  10. Apply tools and technologies appropriate for the communications professions in which they work.

What Can I Focus On?

A focus of study, or concentration, allows you to learn from industry experts, develop specialized knowledge and gain practical skills that can help you apply for specific roles. Concentrations include news, public relations and media innovation. Learn more about our concentrations here.

Click the image below to explore our high-definition television studio where students produce weekly news broadcasts for the web and local cable channels.

What Courses Will I Take?

Journalism courses compose 76 units of the 180 units required for a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism. The remaining units of general education and electives offer insight into government, natural and social sciences, economics, history, philosophy, the arts and other fields, helping to prepare graduates to meet assignments in the world community.

What Are The Current Course Offerings?

Click here to view the catalog of courses.

What Other Opportunities Does Cal Poly Journalism Offer?

Journalism majors can work in student media from the day they start, including the Mustang News student newspaper; KCPR, the FM radio station; CPTV, Cal Poly’s student-run television station and, the online portal for Mustang News. Learn more about student media, and how to get involved, here.

How Do I apply?

Application details can be found on the Admission Office's Undergraduate page. Click here.

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