Journalism

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Students interact with industry professionals such as Katie Couric, pictured.

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Journalism faculty members have an average of 15 years of pro industry experience.

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Students can gain hands-on experience from day one on the Daily Update news show.

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Journalism offers a B.A. as well as specialty tracks in business and in fashion media.

FAQ

Q. I'm interested in studying journalism. Why should I consider SMU?

A. The SMU Division of Journalism offers intensive, hands-on training that prepares the media professionals of the 21st century. The Division of Journalism reflects exactly SMU's overall student-faculty ratio of 12-1. This means that you will never have a skills class with more than 15 students. Skills classes of 12 or 13 students are common.

Q. What about the facilities?

A. The Journalism Complex has state-of-the-art computer equipment, a dynamic broadcast studio and a convergence newsroom in which student media content is produced. The complex is open to journalism majors 24-7. After hours, swipe access is available for journalism students to work and study in a safe, professional environment. 

Q. I've been thinking about a big university in which I might be anonymous. Like maybe in a class of 200 or 300 students, I might cut class and no one will notice. Is SMU the place for me?

A. No. Apply elsewhere.

Q. OK, seriously now. I'd like a place where I'm not a number. I'd like for my professors to know my name. I'd like to be able to work closely with journalism professors who have professional experience and who know what it takes to perform at the highest levels of professional media. Is SMU the place for me?

A. You bet it is. Apply now. We want highly motivated students interested in developing critical thinking skills. You will learn what news is, how to report it and how to produce it over multiple media platforms.

Q. I know SMU is expensive, and my family isn't wealthy. Do I have any chance of attending?

A. Absolutely. The majority of our students receive some type of financial aid. We also have a wonderful professional staff that can work with you to pursue financing options that are right for you and your family. As well, we have a large number of scholarships available for first-year students who excel academically. Specific to journalism, we have a number of divisional scholarships that are available for current students who are declared journalism majors and who maintain a 3.0 grade point average. Don't be intimidated by the cost. If you want to come to SMU to study journalism, we will work with you.

Q. I see in the catalog that audio-video is required, as is digital technology. I want to work for a magazine when I graduate. Why do I need these classes?

A. We are absolutely convinced that the digital world will rule communications of all kinds in the near future. We are already seeing this. Video skills are a must for every student. We will teach you to shoot professional-quality video, edit it and get it on the Internet in whatever form is required. We started this requirement several years ago, and some of our students complained. Now, every student thanks us, especially when they get into the professional world and see what is required.

Q. I've talked with some schools and I can't really take any journalism or get my hands on equipment until I'm a junior. What happens at SMU?

A. First-year students are welcome to begin classes and begin participating in student media. You can get your hands on professional equipment immediately. We welcome enthusiastic students who want to get an early start on being professionals.

Q. I know a number of journalism programs have very strict standards on curriculum that seem confusing and even limiting. What are the curriculum requirements at SMU?

A. Our requirements are pretty simple. We require 36 hours in journalism for the journalism major, and we require a minor and strongly encourage a double major. And the other major or minor are up to you. They can be in other communications areas, and we will work with you to define your goals and seek the best curriculum to prepare you for the career you want. The other areas of study can also be in education, business or the liberal arts. We encourage all students considering any university to examine closely the curriculum requirements and make sure they are in line with what the student wants. We are a professional program and make no apologies for it.

Q. I know media work is very competitive. What if I'm not sure I want to work as a journalist? Why would I study journalism?

A. Only about a third of our graduates in the last five years have gone into professional media work. But those who have done so continue to do very well. A number of our graduates go to law school. We will teach you to write and think, which is perfect for legal training. Other students go into public relations and governmental relations. Some of our graduates teach. We are very proud of our recent graduates who have gone into Teach for America. Some of our students get sales jobs. Some have gone into marketing. And on and on. The ability to write and communicate with clarity and effectiveness will serve you well in any job you have in the future.

Q. I've heard of the William O'Neil Program in Business Journalism. What is it?

A. It's a program dedicated to preparing the business journalists of the future. We offer our regular journalism core curriculum but also classes in business journalism. In addition, we have an arrangement with the renowned Cox School of Business to provide business as a double major or minor. It is an excellent and demanding program that offers tremendous flexibility for those who participate.

Q. What about internships?

A. SMU is situated in the largest media market in the Southwest and the No. 5 television market nationally. Any student who wants an internship can get one. And because of our location, they're not just summer internships. We have students interning in the fall and spring semesters as well. And it's not just media. We have public relations internships, and we also have governmental internships and other types such as with our professional sports teams, including the Dallas Cowboys. We believe we offer a substantial advantage in this area.

Q. I've started at a university in which I don't really feel comfortable. Can I transfer after my first or even my second year?

A. Absolutely. See the link to the application in the last question. And if you've taken journalism classes we'll work closely with you to make sure you get the transfer credit you deserve.

Q. I'm just finishing my second year at a two-year community college. That seems a long way from what I have always perceived to be SMU. Is there any chance I can make it at SMU?

A. Yes. Some of our best journalism students in recent years have been transfers from two-year community colleges. We find them to be serious students who are committed to professional careers. Also, excellent scholarship opportunities are available for students transferring from North Texas community colleges. Please check our admissions procedures.

Q. OK. You've sold me. Where do I start?

A. Right here: http://www.smu.edu/Admission/Apply/FirstYear.aspx. This site also has links to applications for transfer students. Pick the right application for you, and then get busy. You can also contact Marlonda Malcolm, Meadows School of the Arts assistant director of recruiting. Her email is mmalcom@smu.edu. Her telephone is 214.768.2079.

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