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Knight Hall

Undergraduate Advising

Undergraduate Advising Office
1100 Knight Hall
Appointments: 301-405-2399

A journalism major’s success depends on academic advising provided by the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Advisors are available year-round for appointments.

Although well-informed advisors are prepared to explain academic policies and to guide you through the process of choosing courses, your progress here is ultimately up to you. It is imperative that you understand the material in the student handbook and that you fulfill the expectations advisors have for you.

The advisors in the college strive to protect your right to quality advising, but it is up to you to bring anything unusual to their attention immediately.

Four-Year Plan

First, save your own copy of the Four-Year Plan Worksheet. First-year students can use this sample plan as a guide to help you see what requirements you need to meet and when you can plan on meeting them. Keep in mind that the four-year plan presented here is just an example. You should individualize your own four-year plan based on your interests. Transfer students can use this sample plan as a guide but must keep in mind that this is an example and an accelerated one that assumes that a student has matriculated with their General Education, Abstract Thinking and Journalism Supporting Course requirements have been completed. Write in your potential classes on the Four-Year Plan Worksheet so that you can see them in a semester-by-semester layout.

After you’ve finished, email a copy of your plan to the journalism advisors. You will be contacted by an advisor once your four-year plan has been reviewed. You must fill out the four-year plan on your own, without the help of an academic advisor. Your four-year plan WILL NOT be graded based on accuracy. An advisor will email you feedback after your plan has been reviewed, at which point you can correct your four-year plan if you would like. However, you are not required to resubmit a revised four-year plan to your instructor or to an advisor.

Completion of a four-year plan cannot substitute for regular advising meetings. The plan does not take into account liberal arts requirements, miscellaneous credits, or requirements for a double-major or minor. If you are double-majoring, minoring or studying abroad, you also must seek appropriate advising.

Files (PDF): For students who started in Fall 2018 or later, download the four-year-plan documents here.

For students who started in Fall 2015-Fall 2017, download the four-year-plan documents here.

For students under the campus' CORE curriculum, download the four-year-plan documents here.

Four-Year Plan Guide

When filling out your four-year plan, you do not have to specify courses in the blanks, only requirements. See examples of this on the four-year academic plan sheet.

First Semester Classes

After your New Student Orientation last summer, you should have your first-semester classes settled and a general understanding of Merrill College’s requirements.

AP/IB/Transfer Credits

If you have not already done so, you should speak with an advisor regarding any AP/IB/Transfer credits that you have received and find out if that credit exempts you from specific required classes.

Taking JOUR181, JOUR200 and JOUR201

Remember that all freshmen in the College take JOUR181 (unless you place out) and JOUR200 during their first semester. To stay on track with your journalism classes, you should have taken JOUR181, JOUR200 and JOUR201 by the end of your second semester.

Meeting the Fundamental Studies English and Math Requirements

Students must complete their Fundamental Studies English and Math requirements by the end of their first 30 credits (usually the end of your freshman year).

Fulfilling Lower-Level General Education Requirements

Second semester is a time to continue to complete lower-level General Education requirements such as your Distributive Studies courses, I-Series courses or Diversity courses.

Working on your Journalism-Required Classes

Second semester is also a time when you can complete many of the journalism required classes such as HIST200 or 201, GVPT170, or COMM107 or 200. Some of these courses overlap with General Education Fundamental Studies or Distributive Studies requirements.

Satisfying Requirements for an Additional Program

If you are in any University program, such as Honors, Civicus, Scholars, Global Communities or FIRE remember that you also have to meet specific requirements for your citation.

Choosing an Abstract Thinking Skills Option

For the College, you also have to meet Abstract Thinking Skills Requirements:

You can either complete the “Foreign Language Option” (2 classes in a foreign language with at least one course at the intermediate level); OR you can take the “Math Option” (MATH107, MATH113, MATH115, MATH120, MATH140, STAT100 or any course that has those courses as a prerequisite and a CMSC course numbered 102 or higher); OR you can take the “Combination Option” (An intermediate foreign language class, and a MATH List class or a CMSC class).

Handling Challenging Courses

Two time-consuming General Education classes are your Natural Science Lab and Economics class (ECON200 or 201). Both of these are time-intensive classes, so plan accordingly to avoid taking the two courses during the same semester.

Finishing your Journalism Classes

In addition to JOUR200 and JOUR201, Journalism students must complete the following JOUR courses:

JOUR152 — Introduction to Storytelling with Code
JOUR320 — News Writing and Reporting II
JOUR352 — Interactive Design and Development
JOUR396 — Supervised Internship
JOUR402 — Law and Ethics
JOUR410-469 — Journalism and Society
JOUR470-479 — Media Research
JOUR Capstone — Capstone Experience

Students also must take:

JOUR262/347 — News Videography OR JOUR370 — Photojournalism
JOUR202 — News Editing OR JOUR262/347 OR JOUR360 — News Writing and Reporting II OR JOUR370 or
JOUR371 — Feature Writing

Two JOUR321-389 skills courses of choice
A third JOUR321-389 course, a second JOUR410-469 course or a second JOUR470-479 course

Completing Upper Level Requirements

After your fourth semester, you will likely be finished with your lower-level General Education requirements, so you can focus on your concentration, upper-level requirements and your other journalism classes. When filling out your four-year plan, you do not have to specifically list certain courses, but can write “Concentration 1” or “Upper Level Elective 1” since you may not know exactly what classes you will be taking.

Choosing a Concentration

Journalism students are required to have a concentration, which consists of a minimum of four upper-level courses (12 credits in the 300s and 400s) in a certain department (not JOUR or COMM).

Some students in the College of Journalism decide to double major or minor in a certain department and these courses can almost always count for a concentration. Check with your advisor.

Wrapping up the Abstract Thinking Skills Requirement- Statistics

For the Abstract Thinking Skills requirement, students also must take a statistics course (usually after their sophomore year).

Professional Writing

All University students are required to take Professional Writing. Students complete Professional Writing once they have earned 60 credits

Undergraduate Advising Office

Portrait of Josh Madden

Josh Madden

Assistant Dean, Undergraduate Studies
Portrait of Rachel Pleatman

Rachel Pleatman

Assistant Director for Undergraduate Studies
Portrait of Elissa Dallimore

Elissa Dallimore

Academic Advisor
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