​Photojournalism at CMU

CMU's photojournalism program focuses on practical applications inside and outside the classroom that blend news value with the selection of photographs. You will be able to graduate from the program with concrete proof that you have what it takes to succeed as a professional photographer or photo editor, whether for a weekly newspaper or an up-to-the-minute online news service.​

Your photographic and reporting skills, creativity and knowledge will be exemplified in the photographic portfolio you'll develop through the classroom theory and hands-on learning opportunities CMU's photojournalism program offers. These career-building experiences are guided and provided through:

  • Faculty members who all hold advanced degrees - doctoral or specialized master's degrees - and have significant experience working for media organizations such as the Grand Rapids Press and The Flint Journal
  • A state-of-the-art computer lab equipped with the most advanced photo and graphic design software
  • Internship possibilities with many local, state and national media and agencies that maintain a professional relationship with program faculty
  • Potential college employment as a photographer and photo editor for either CM Life - the award-winning campus newspaper - or the department's online multimedia website.
  • Opportunities for involvement in professional organizations and student affiliates such as the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), the American Advertising Federation, and the Central Press Photographers Association (CPPA)
  • Class sizes small enough to provide individualized student-faculty interaction
Required Courses I (15 hours) for Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science​

JRN 102 - Introduction to Journalism 3(3-0)
An introduction to journalism as a social, cultural, political, technological, and economic force; a professional field; an academic discipline, unit and program.

JRN 202 - Writing for the Mass Media 3(3-0)
Gathering, processing and writing information and opinion on current matters using professional standards and formats in news, public relations and advertising. May be offered as Writing Intensive. Prerequisites: ENG 101 (C or better).

JRN 220 - Basic Media Photography 3(3-0)
Camera operation, producing and processing of photographs for media use.

JRN 340 - Introduction to Online Journalism 3(3-0)
Survey of current theories and issues of new media environment, and introduction of online story reports production using current web development software. Prerequisite: ENG 101 with a C or better.

JRN 404 - Law of Mass Communication 3(3-0)
Principles and case studies. Prerequisites: JRN 101 or 102; junior standing.

Required Courses II (3 hours)

Select one of the following:
JRN 372 - International and Cross-cultural Mass Communication 3(3-0)
Analysis of indigenous and international media systems and their relationship to social, economic and political institutions. (University Program Group IV-A).

JRN 380 - Racial Diversity: Mass Media's Role 3(3-0)
Critical, historical examination of African-American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American and gender stereotypes in mass media. Self-portrayals by these groups using mass media. (Group IV-C)

Required Courses III (21 hours)

JRN 302 - Introduction to Graphics and Visual Communication 3(3-0)
Principles and techniques of publication/advertising graphics and visual communication, including typography and the printing process.

JRN 320 - Photo Editing 3(3-0)
Use and preparation of photographs for the print media. Prerequisite: JRN 220.

JRN 420 - Photography Studio Techniques 3(3-0)
Use of camera in a controlled environment, studio lighting and basic studio operation. Prerequisite: JRN 220.

JRN 422 - The Photographic Process 3(3-0)
Advanced camera operation: light, lighting, optics, and the chemistry of the silver halide process. Prerequisites: JRN 220.

JRN 423 - Online Visual Storytelling 3(3-0)
Online storytelling for the photojournalist. Multimedia production combining still photography, audio, and video with the intended purpose of publishing on the Web. Prerequisites: JRN 220; 56 credits completed.

JRN 445 - Multimedia Reporting 3(3-0)
An advanced multimedia course that focuses on writing and reporting for the Internet, including producing multimedia news packages. Prerequisites: JRN 340, 440.

JRN 521 - Seminar in News Photography 3(3-0)
Field experience of the photograph as a means of communicating information, ideas and opinions.

Required Courses IV (3 hours)

Select one of the following: 
JRN course, 300 level or above, approved by advisor (3 hours) OR

JRN 529 - Photojournalism Internship 1-4(Spec)
Photojournalism experience under professional and faculty supervision. May be applied to journalism major or minor only with permission of faculty advisor. Prerequisites: junior standing; permission of instructor.

Required Courses V (9 hours)

ART 140 - Photography I: Introduction to Digital Photography 3(0-6)
Introduction to the basic technical and conceptual skills of digital photography as a fine art.

ART 239 - Digital Imaging I 3(0-6)
Classroom and lab work emphasizing photography and the fundamentals of digital image making. This class includes input, image adjustments, manipulations, output, and presentation. Prerequisite: ART 140.

ART 240 - Photography II: Digital Montage & Studio Lighting 3(0-6)
Digital photography assignments emphasizing digital compositing and artificial lighting techniques. Prerequisite: ART 140.

Total: 51 semester hours

Career Options

As a graduate of the photojournalism program, you will find numerous career opportunities available as a photographer or photo editor in a variety of areas:

  • Newspapers
  • Advertising Firms
  • Magazines
  • Modeling Agencies
  • Publishing Firms
  • Public Relations Agencies
  • Graphic Design Studios
  • Printing Shops
  • Television Stations
  • Multimedia


Photojournalism is a major within CMU's journalism program, which is accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. This designation is held by only one other university in Michigan.

Special Resources

CMU offers a variety of resources that support your classroom learning

Library Resources
The university's Park Library​ contains more than 850,000 volumes. The library has an on-line computer card catalog to help you locate materials for class reports and research papers. The microfilm division, audiovisual department and interlibrary loan division offer you other resources.

Computer Facilities
Each residence hall is equipped with a computer room, and computer laboratories are in other campus locations. Some labs are open 24 hours a day.

Special Resources
CMU also offers special centers, student organizations and resources to help you prepare for your career.

About the University

CMU is a comprehensive four-year institution that offers degree programs on the bachelor's, master's, specialist's and doctoral levels. It is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Undergraduate students may choose from more than 150 programs of study. Its wealth of resources and its size offer students the academic advantages of a large university with the personal attention provided by smaller private schools.

CMU offers you:

  • A solid academic reputation
  • Respected faculty who make teaching their top priority
  • State-of-the-art equipment
  • Opportunities for internships, study abroad and honors study
  • A variety of active professional organizations
  • Numerous clubs, organizations and extracurricular programs

For More Information

To learn more about the CMU journalism program, contact:

Department of Journalism
Moore 454
Central Michigan University
Mount Pleasant, Michigan 48859
Telephone: (989) 774-3196

To learn more about undergraduate admission to Central Michigan University, contact:

Admissions Office
Warriner Hall 102
Central Michigan University
Mount Pleasant, Michigan 48859
Telephone: (989) 774-3076

Information about Central Michigan University also is available electronically:

World Wide Web: https://www.cmich.edu​​​