Student Advising

The 2016 Spring Convocation for the School of Journalism and Mass Communications will be:

Wednesday, May 25th, 5pm, on Tower Hall Lawn.

Graduating seniors will be notified after Spring Break on how to purchase guest tickets for their family and friends.

Importance of Academic Advising

The JMC School wants each student to have a successful college experience.  Academic advising plays a very important role.  Delays in declaring a major or taking required course can create problems and jeopardize a student's plan for graduation.  Students who come in as "undeclared" majors should see an academic advisor and work immediately to get into a campus major by meeting their admission requirements.  Students who want to change their majors may also face challenges to restrictions.  Program advisors are there to help to resolve these issues as quickly as possible.

Advertising, journalism and public relations majors are required to see the JMC School's academic advisor at least once every academic year.  Each JMC school major have a suggested "4 Year Plan" (the links are on the right side top of this page) which suggest how many classes and specific courses majors should take each semester.  Minors should prioritize seeing the JMC school academic advisor for guidance and assistance.  

All freshmen and transfer students admitted as a JMC school since Fall 2015 are required to complete an International Learning experience for academic credit.  More and more global media fields want graduates to have some international experience.  There are a variety of ways to meet this requirement and keep costs under control.  Dr. Matt Cabot oversees this program for the JMC School.  Visit him in DBH220 and discuss what might work for you to meet this requirement.

The goal of academic advising is to help students understand requirements and help them meet them successfully and on schedule.

Bring to advising appointments:

Students should bring to those advising sessions important forms and information including:

A copy of all transcripts

Fully updated Major or Minor forms

(Graduates) Fill out the Courses Completed form

Do not wait to fill out those forms during the advising appointment.  That slows down your session.  Other students may be waiting.  Be as and prepared as possible for academic advising. 

Bring all questions you have, and always be prepared to talk about your specific career goals in the media.  Do some online research in advance and identify specific job titles and companies that interest you.  That helps the advisor understand your thinking and strategic planning for your future.

Avoid indecision about your future goals.

You are at the university now, and its time to move from generic ideas onto a path for career success.

Each student has the responsibility of figuring that out.  Our JMC School academic advisor and each faculty member can help you talk it through.  Go visit them during office hours as soon as possible.

When to see an advisor

Freshmen year is the ideal time to start these very important conversations.  While you focus on successfully completing your university general education requirements, new students should also take full advantage of campus events and other learning opportunities to discover possible career choices.  Along the way to talk about this with the academic advisor or our JMC School faculty.

Transfer students with a declared JMC School major should have done their career research.  See the academic advisor as soon as possible and discuss a specific plan for completing the degree program on schedule.

Internship Requirement

All advertising, journalism and public relations majors must do a media internship.  There are many options, and expect competition for most choices.

After successfully completing nine units in your JMC School major, students are eligible to do a professional media internship.  It is required to all JMC School majors.  Specific procedures must be followed and all deadlines met without exception.  So carefully read the requirements in the JMC School Internship Information Packet.

Next contact the designated JMC School Internship supervisor, not the school academic advisor.

Each semester the faculty internship supervisor changes.  Staff in the JMC School office, DBH105 can direct you to the appropriate faculty member for a full discussion about your internship planning.

How often do students need to see the adviser?

Students must be advised prior to registering for their third semester.

Students with an advising "hold" will not be able to register through online registration.

What is an academic focus?

It is like a minor, but with fewer units taken in a single department. An approved academic focus in a specific discipline/department for 12 units is a requirement for all majors.

At least six of these units must be taken from the list of upper division 100-level courses. An academic focus in traditional liberal arts and social sciences disciplines offers the advantage of ensuring that the student will meet school requirements for 65 units of general study within the framework of 90 units.

Students who select an academic focus in business, technical writing, radio/television/film, art photography, or other professionally oriented disciplines will need to carefully plan their programs in order to complete all graduation requirements for the 120-unit degree.

Students are required to have their academic focus approved by their academic adviser.

Students may also select a minor instead of an academic focus, but "official" minors in most departments typically require 15 to 18 units.

Can students transfer any community college credit?

A maximum of 12 units from community college course work that was completed in California may be transferred to school majors. Courses that are accepted include those equivalent to department lower division offerings as required for a given program or sequence.

Other community college courses in mass communications subjects may be included. A maximum of three units from this category may be transferred for general elective requirements in the major.

Can journalism majors decide to focus in advertising or public relations?

The focus must be in a department outside of the School of Journalism & Mass Communications.

What do students need to know about internships?

There is a 240-hour internship required of all majors in the school. This equals six weeks of full-time work or a minimum of 20 hours per week for 12 weeks.

Internships must be approved by your academic adviser and the school internship supervisor.

Students must work in an off-campus organization and have a qualified professional (in the student's major) supervise their work.

Internships require weekly activity reports, a final letter from the employer, and completion of a questionnaire about the internship. The internship is normally done during the summer between the junior and senior years and must be completed before the last semester of the senior year.

Students may not accept an internship before completing the course prerequisites, gaining approval from the major adviser, and turning in an approved agreement with the host agency. The internship requirement may be waived for students who can document comparable professional experience prior to the senior year. Students who intern without formal enrollment in the MCom111 Internship course will not be permitted to register for retroactive credit.

What are the requirements for graduation?

All majors seeking the BS degree in advertising, journalism, or public relations must meet the following requirements:

Complete 120 semester units which includes all university and school of journalism degree requirements. At least 80 of the 120 units must be taken outside the school areas of advertising, journalism, public relations, or mass communications, whether completed at SJSU or at another college or university. National accreditation requirements call for 90 units outside the school, but also allow students to count six units from MCom 72, Media & Society; MCOM 101, Law & Ethics; or MCOM 106, Global Communications, as part of this 90-units because they are considered general subjects.

A total of 65 of the 90 units must be taken in the liberal arts and sciences. Courses in this area are defined as those offered in the schools of humanities and arts, social science, and science, or by equivalent disciplines at other institutions.

Courses are listed as general education courses in the SJSU schedule of classes except no 100W course is accepted. Courses offering practical instruction in fields closely related to mass communications may not be applied to the liberal arts and sciences requirement, regardless of where offered.

Specifically excluded are laboratory production and skill courses in English, and internships, activity, or independent study courses offered in other departments. Students that are not sure will need to ask the adviser.

Complete a 12-unit academic focus in a single discipline or department outside the fields taught within the school of journalism. At least six of these units must be upper division, and the GPA must be at least 2.0.

The minimum requirement is a 12–unit academic focus, but students may also choose a minor. The academic focus, as well as a minor, must be approved by the student's adviser. Complete an approved internship for academic credit before the final semester of the senior year. (This may be waived for students that can document substantial professional experience prior to their senior year.)

What is the graduation application process?

Complete a major form. All departmental forms are available online or at the department office (DBH105). Complete courses completed form. Carefully read the instructions. Take forms to the student advising office at DBH110 for signatures. Complete the application for graduation from admissions & records. Turn it all in to admissions & records. Students need to list all courses that have been taken outside the school of journalism. Transfer students are required to provide the school with a copy of the transcripts from other institutions as soon as possible. Major forms will not be approved unless such records are on file.

What are the deadlines for graduation?

The deadline for Fall 2016 graduation applications is Friday, April 1, but since that date is during a campus-wide spring break, students should get their applications finished and approved by Larry Sokoloff on Thursday March 24.  
His office hours for Spring 2016 are:
Monday 10:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m and 1:45 to 2:30 p.m.
Tuesday 9:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and 1 to 3:15 p.m.
Wed.      10 a.m. to 11:45 a.m and 1:45 to 5:30 p.m.
Thursdays, only on March 3March 24April 7 and May 510:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and 1 to 4:15 p.m.

You should apply for graduation two semesters in advance of the semester in which you wish to graduate.  Students that want to graduate in May will need to apply by Oct 1 of the year before.  Students that want to graduate in December will need to apply by April 1.  Campus is often closed the last week of March so it is recommended that you apply earlier than April 1.  For more information on the university's graduation policies, go to the SJSU Registrar's Graduation FAQ page at

4 Year Plans

Major Graduation Forms

Minor Graduation Forms

Courses Completed Forms

MCOM 180 Forms

Graduation Application, Change Major/Minor Form, Substitution Form