“The Spartan Daily changed my life... By the time my year on the Daily was up, I was set on a path that would take me all over the western hemisphere as a journalist.”
Steve Lopez
Novelist, columnist
Faculty Advising

Students here can find the information related to Faculty Advising both for graduate as well as undergraduate students. Here, you can find all the forms and the latest feeds from the Faculty Advisors.

Undergraduate Advising


JMC's undergraduate adviser is Cynthia Fernald, who has office hours set aside for advising appointments every week. Students can sign up for advising appointments outside her office, DBH125, on the first floor of Dwight Bentel Hall. Below are answers to some of the most common advising questions:

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 124-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.

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 touch-tone.

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 DBH102 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?

You should apply for graduation two semesters in advance of the semester in which you wish to graduate.Students that want to graduate in June will need to apply by July 1 of the year before. Students that want to graduate in December or summer will need to apply by March 1. For more information on the university's graduation policies, go to the SJSU Registrar's Graduation FAQ page at

Graduate Advising