Online Master's Degree for Journalism Educators

From the latest technology for multimedia storytelling to gaining strategies to protect students' First Amendment rights, the range of course content covers what teachers and media advisers need to know to be effective 21st century journalism educators.

In 2007, Kent State University's School of Journalism and Mass Communication (now the School of Media and Journalism) became the first journalism school in the country to offer a Master of Arts degree for journalism educators that is entirely online. The program emphasizes skills and theory teachers can study today and use in their classrooms tomorrow.


Credibility as a teacher in the journalism classroom or as an adviser for student media is vital. A master’s degree from an accredited journalism school offers that, plus the continuing education that school districts demand.


Our School of Media and Journalism is accredited and has a national reputation for excellence.

Rigorous coursework ensures no one can question the validity of your degree. In fact, you may find yourself working harder because of all the resources at your fingertips.

We offer the only completely online master’s degree for educators through a School of Media and Journalism.

Kent State is home to the Center for Scholastic Journalism. Center staff includes a Knight Chair for Scholastic Journalism, Director Candace Perkins Bowen and Assistant Director John Bowen.

Students get to know their instructors and classmates through real-time chats, threaded discussions and interactive technology.

Coursework focuses on concepts and lessons that can be used in participants’ classrooms right away.

Students enrolled in this program pay the in-state tuition rate.

For details of admissions requirements, see the Graduate Admissions website.


For a complete list of the current course requirements, see the university catalog:

Required Course Work (33 Credit Hours)

Required Core Courses (15 Credit Hours)

JMC 60007 Research Methods (3 Credit Hours)

This course investigates social science methods applicable to the study of mass communication, including survey, content analysis, experimental, and focus group approaches. Emphasis is on original and secondary data collection, data analysis, and interpreting and reporting research results for scholarly and lay audiences.

JMC 60011 Theory and Societal Role of Mass Media (3 Credit Hours)

This course reviews theories of the processes and effects of mass communication and how these apply to the work of media professionals or those in the scholastic and collegiate journalism teaching environment. It examines origins, nature and consequences of mass communication and mediated interactions.

JMC 60012 Mass Communication Law & Ethics (3 Credit Hours)

This course offers a general overview of issues and problems in mass communication law and ethics including, libel, privacy, copyright, intellectual property, regulation of advertising and broadcasting, ethical decision making, ethical decision making tools and a simple review of ethical theory.

JMC 60003 Teaching Journalism Ethics (3 Credit Hours)

This course builds on the brief introduction to ethics provided in JMC 60012 Mass Communication Law and Ethics. It delves more deeply into ethical issues faced by scholastic journalism teachers, advisers, their students and school administrators. Due to conflicting court decisions and pressure from society to limit student expression, scholastic media advisers and teachers not only have to understand legal and ethical issues but also how to demonstrate to others the importance of student journalists portraying their roles as responsible and informed citizens, in other words, to clearly make ethical decisions enhancing their program. Knowledge of ethical theories and how those apply to decision-making is a vital skill they will develop.

JMC 60396 Master’s Professional Project (3 Credit Hours)

Professional projects are meant to provide a means for students to demonstrate the application of knowledge and skills learned through study in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication graduate program. Professional projects are flexible and should be designed to help the student now or in the future. They generally identify a question, challenge or problem in the field and offer some response or solution to it. In doing so, they attempt to expand existing knowledge in the field.

* JMC 60199/6029 Thesis I, II are options but not recommended for online students

Required Professional Courses (9 Credit Hours)

JMC 60701 Advising Student Media (3 Credit Hours)

Being a high school journalism adviser is not an easy task. Advisers walk a fine line in order to keep students happy, to keep faculty members happy and to keep parents and other members of the community happy. When advisers complete this course, their job should become easier. They should be able to direct their students to put out a publication that demonstrates students’ understanding of the First Amendment and their understanding of the role of the student press in a free society. Those in this class will create lesson plans, policies and procedures to make the job easier. They should be able to direct their students to put out a publication that demonstrates students’ understanding of the First Amendment and their understanding of the role of the student press in a free society.

JMC 61001 Principles and Practices of Digital Media (3 Credit Hours)

This course explores the history and philosophies of online communities and what makes them work. It examines how professionals integrate digital thinking into an organization’s communication and covers best practices for producing social media content that will lead to effective engagement.

JMC 66011 Reporting, Writing and Editing for Media (3 Credit Hours)

This is a foundation course for all students, covering how to gather, write and edit content to tell stories across multiple platforms. Students will practice interviewing and research techniques, structuring their work in a variety of formats and polishing their grammar, usage and AP style.

Electives ( 9 Credit Hours)

JMC 56006 Opinion Writing (3 Credit Hours)

Good opinion pieces serve the purpose of persuading, an important role for media. They can be the voice of the publication and show leadership in the school community. They can explain or praise, too. Note, though, that was GOOD opinion pieces. Those aren't the personal narratives liberally splattered with “I” and “me.” And they aren't the shoot-¬from-¬the-‐hip rants with no support. Good opinion writing should be found in staff editorials, commentaries, columns and reviews, and that's what this course covers – what these are and how to teach students to write them well. First students will look at background and legal and ethical issues for this kind of material. Then they will see what makes such pieces effective. Finally, students will work through how a good teacher and adviser can help their students be stronger opinion writers. And, yes, along the way, students write some persuasive pieces of their own.

JMC 67082 Teaching Photo Editing (3 Credit Hours)

Photoshop is the industry standard digital image-editing program. It provides users with powerful tools to acquire, manipulate, and output a variety of images, from fine art to instructional and web graphics. The focus of this course is learning the fundamental operations and controls of Photoshop. The course will feature lectures, demonstrations, and tutorial lessons from the Adobe Photoshop CS6 Classroom in a Book. In addition to learning software, students will maintain a weekly dialogue concerning various issues in teaching and learning with Photoshop.

JMC 67083 Teaching News Design (3 Credit Hours)

The course serves as an introduction to the components of news content and design; type and typography; printing processes; photography and illustration; the thought process in creating a news product; and further introductions in the developing field of visual journalism. Design is about how we communicate information to readers. What are we trying to say? How are we saying it? Visual journalists need to be content gatherers, content creators, artists and news editors all at the same time. This course will help show you how a student media staff can accomplish this.

JMC 67085 Teaching Photojournalism (3 Credit Hours)

Visual communication is one of the most important aspects of modern media and photography has been a mainstay of that communication. From phones that capture images to digital SLR cameras, the average person can enhance communication with visuals. This course examines the components of photojournalism and prepares instructors to teach those components to their students. In addition to traditional assignments and projects, instructors and students will maintain a weekly dialog.

JMC 67087 Advising Yearbook (3 Credit Hours)

In this course, students will gain skills and strategies for each part of the yearbook advising experience. From budgetary considerations to theme development, beginning advisers will understand their role in each aspect of the yearbook's planning and production. Students will create materials for use in their own classroom, including forms, handouts and activities appropriate for each unique situation. Students will also gain an understanding of best practices regarding social media use as a part of yearbook reporting, marketing and promotion. Technology tools and time-saving techniques will be part of each lesson with an emphasis on making each adviser's experience as smooth as possible.

JMC 67089 Web Development for High School Journalism Educators (2 Credit Hours)

The main goal of this course is to help students achieve confidence. This course focuses on concepts and terminology and hopefully provide students with skills to aid them in helping students use ever-changing web tools and how to research and implement new tools in the future. Students will learn how to manage a WordPress site, how to utilize it as a content management system and how to guide their students in its use. Aspects of school administration will be covered along with legal aspects of putting student work online.

JMC 60195 News Literacy (3 Credit Hours)*

This course explores the foundations of news literacy, pedagogical applications in the journalism classroom, and its place among concomitant literacies (specifically media and information literacy). By emphasizing the importance of quality information, exploring changes and challenges to the news industry, and advocating for a critical consumer approach to news media, this course prepares journalism educators to better meet the needs of students in a digital world. Students in the course will also develop curriculum and lesson materials in news literacy topics for their own classroom use.

* Some courses are currently being taught as Special Topics but will eventually have a specific course number. Until that time, they are JMC 60195 and then a section number. Other courses will be added when the need/interest arises.


Val Kibler

Val Kibler, teacher/adviser, Harrisonburg (Virginia) High School, JEA Vice President, 2014 graduate

"Being a graduate student in the KSU Master's program for journalism teachers was the best professional development I've ever done. Almost every single lesson in each class could be adapted to my classroom the following day. I loved the practicality of each course I took!





Erinn Harris
Erinn Harris, teacher/adviser, Thomas Jefferson School for Science and Humanities, Fairfax County, Virginia,  2020 graduate

"I have so many favorite things about the Kent State Journalism education master's program, but if I was to pick two (because it is impossible to narrow it down),  I would start with the fact that, no matter where you are in your career, it just makes you better. 

If you’re just starting out, the program will give you all the tools you need to be successful as well as a network of support that will be behind you for your whole career. If you’ve got some experience under your belt, this program will open your eyes to details - big and small - that you never considered while in the day-to-day grind of advising. No matter your experience level, what you'll learn will help you engage and energize your students become skilled and responsible journalists.

One thing I did not expect from the program was how I would come to see my professors not only as mentors, but also friends. It's a community of students and teachers that have come together - and stay together long after graduation - because they share in the knowledge that journalism and journalism education is important. Now more than ever."


Colleen King
Colleen King, former executive producer, MSNBC

"I came to Kent State after 17 years in television news, and through the Journalism Educators program, I've been able to develop my newsroom skills into classroom lessons.  

The professors are incredibly supportive and experts in their fields.  The camaraderie with fellow students is phenomenal.  And by learning online, we can share our experiences and build our networks across the country.

I would recommend this program to anyone interested in this field, and especially to fellow journalists who would someday like to teach their craft to the next generation."



For details about the Master of Arts program, contact:

Candace Perkins Bowen
Director, Center for Scholastic Journalism