Among the 77 accredited journalism schools in California, five stand out because of the quality of their instruction and the success of their graduates in finding well-paying jobs. The following five schools offer a variety of journalism curricula, including print and broadcast specialties and literary journalism. These five schools were also ranked high by by College Factual, an organization that works with USA Today to rank schools based on several characteristics including overall quality and salaries of graduates.
1. University of Southern California
The journalism program at the University of Southern California is ranked well above the other California schools. College Factual ranked the USC program as No. 1 on its 2014 list of Top 10 Journalism Colleges in the United States. The site Quality Education and Jobs ranked the school's program as No. 5 on its top 10 list. Based in Los Angeles, USC is home to the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. USC's focus is on journalism of the modern era. Accordingly, Annenberg completed a state-of-the-art digital media center in 2014 to better prepare students for 21st century journalism. USC graduates enjoy the highest earnings of all California journalism majors, with starting salaries around $41,000 and mid-career salaries of $86,000, according to College Factual.
2. Chapman University
Located in the mid-size city of Orange, Chapman University offers journalism studies in two departments. College Factual ranked Chapman as No. 36 on its nationwide list in 2013. The Department of Communications Studies offers a broad-based program focusing on communication theory and research. It is not intended as a training program in journalism but provides a foundation that prepares students for a variety of careers or graduate study. The Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in News and Documentary for the aspiring broadcast journalist.
3. University of California-Irvine
University of California-Irvine offers a degree in literary journalism for students wishing to pursue a career in long-form and creative nonfiction, rather than focus on day-to-day news reporting. The Literary Journalism Department hosts the Digital Storytelling Conference and publishes the literary magazine Kiosk. College Factual ranked UC-Irvine as No. 10 on its 2014 list.
4. Pepperdine University
Pepperdine University's idyllic campus is set on the edge of the Pacific Ocean in sunny Malibu. The journalism program is offered through Pepperdine's Seavey College Communication department. Pepperdine focuses on the the foundations of news gathering and the distribution of the news through traditional print outlets as well as broadcast media and the Internet. College Factual ranked Pepperdine as No. 8 on its 2014 list.
5. California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo
The Cal Poly Journalism Department is a component of the College of Arts and Sciences. College Factual ranked the schools journalism program as No. 47 in 2013. The program focuses on fundamental concepts, critical thinking, problem solving skills, innovation and communication. It also provides students an understanding of the legal and ethical issues in media, the importance of civic involvement, diversity and social responsibility. Journalism majors can get hands-on experience working in student media as soon as they begin the program. Cal Poly students publish a newspaper in print and online, run a radio and television station and a public relations firm.
- College Factual: Top Colleges for Journalism
- USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
- Chapman University Communication Studies
- Chapman University: Dodge College: BFA in News and Documentary
- UC Irvine School of Humanities: Literary Journalism Program
- Pepperdine: Seaver College: Communication: Journalism
- Cal Poly San Luis Obispo: College of Liberal Arts: Journalism
- Cal Poly San Luis Obispo: College of Liberal Arts: Journalism: About Us
Tina Richey Swanson earned a Bachelor of Arts in communications and began her career as an advertising copywriter. She has worked as a journalist, screenwriter and public relations writer. Her current writing focuses on careers, education, the entertainment industry and health and wellness topics.