JOURNALISM STUDENT SURVIVAL GUIDE
How to graduate with a Journalism degree from CSUN
Read the University Catalog and consult each semester’s Schedule of Classes
The University Catalog is available online. It includes all requirements and policies you will need to know during your years at CSUN. It also lists graduation requirements, course prerequisites and currently offered classes. This information is also available online at the CSUN website.
See Your Adviser Each Semester
The Department will assign you a faculty adviser whose signature you will need on your advisement form each semester and who will help you with your long-range planning. It is mandatory that you see your adviser each semester so you can be cleared to register.
Plan Your Coursework Carefully
The general rule is that each unit of college credit is a commitment of three hours per week – normally one hour in class and two hours studying on your own. Hence, a 15-unit university load is about a 45-hour commitment to your studies. So, schedule you class load and work schedule with this in mind.
Pass the English Placement Test (EPT)
California State University requires that you take this exam prior to your initial enrollment, unless you are exempt. A score of 141 or below on the exam places you in the 097 Developmental Reading Course; a score of 142-150 is required for enrollment in 098 Developmental Writing. A score of 151 or higher allows you to enroll in Freshman Composition. A “C” or better in Freshman Comp is a prerequisite for all Journalism reporting courses.*
Pass the Entry Level Math Test (ELM)
You must take this exam prior to initial enrollment at Cal State Northridge. Your score will determine whether you can go directly into required math courses or need to enroll in Developmental Math courses. A score of 390 or less places you in Math 094A. A score of 400 – 549 places you in Math 094. A score of 550 or higher allows you to enroll in an appropriate General Education math class.
Please note that the University requires that you be enrolled each semester in the appropriate Math and English classes until you complete the General Education requirements in these areas. Students must complete all Basic Subject courses within their first 60 units.
*If you have not applied for admission, please call Admissions and Records for the appropriate deadlines for these tests as part of the application process.
Complete Title V, American Institutions
State law requires each university student in California to complete college coursework in U.S. history, U.S. Constitution, and California state and local government. This is included in the General Education requirements. This requirement can be met by taking six units as specified in the University Catalog.
Complete General Education
All universities require studies in the liberal arts, sciences and humanities. The CSUN requirement is 48 units in seven areas. Most of those courses are taken during the first two years of college. The only journalism class that can fulfill both a major and a GE, Lifelong Learning (Section E) requirement is JOUR 100, Mass Comm.
You can use GE courses to fulfill both the Department’s collateral field requirement and the Department’s requirement of 65 units in liberal arts, sciences or humanities. Both the CSUN Catalog (pages 24-30) and the Schedule of Classes have a complete list of GE courses and requirements. Plan carefully.
Include Upper Division General Education
At least nine units of the General Education requirement (see above) must be met with courses at the upper division level (usually 300- or 400- level courses).They must be from two different areas of General Education. See the Schedule of Classes and Catalog.
Complete Course Prerequisites
All professional Journalism (i.e.skills) courses have prerequisites, which are checked during the registration process. Students without appropriate prerequisites will not be allowed to continue in those courses and must take responsibility for dropping the course(s). Reporting skills classes use computers, so typing proficiency is a required prerequisite, and familiarity with computer word processing is helpful. Also, completion of Freshman Composition or its equivalent with a grade of “C” or better is required for admission to the basic reporting course (JOUR 110). All writing and editing courses require completion of relevant prerequisites with grades of “C” or better. Be sure to check all prerequisites in the Catalog.
Pass the Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam (UDWPE)
All candidates for graduation at CSUN must pass this essay exam after they have completed their lower division writing course (Freshman Composition) and 56 units of credit. It is offered about five times each year. The Schedule of Classes lists the dates on which the exam will be offered. You should take it as soon as possible into your junior year.