Bachelor of Arts in Journalism: Concentration in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography

The Bachelor of Arts in Journalism: Concentration in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography prepares students for careers as visual journalists specializing in conveying information, ideas and emotion through still photography, video, and other authentic visual forms. 

The 45-unit degree includes a 15-unit Skills Core offering instruction in newswriting, reporting, editing, multimedia, a 12-unit Equity Core exploring cultural diversity, ethics, media law, and the social impact of journalism and media, and a 12-unit concentration with courses covering staff photojournalism, editorial photography and business practices, and a documentary capstone. Majors culminate their experience as staff on our student publications, Golden Gate Xpress or Xpress Magazine.

To ensure that every journalism student's education is as rich and varied as possible, majors must complete a minor or certificate program (12-unit minimum) alongside their degree to fulfill the complementary studies requirement.

Journalism majors must also complete a minimum of 72 non-journalism units within the 120 minimum overall units required for graduation. This requirement is consistent with the department's philosophy that a well-rounded education is crucial preparation for journalism, and complies with standards established by The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC). The Department of Journalism has been accredited by ACEJMC since 1967, marking a longstanding commitment to excellence in journalism education.


To educate students and provide leadership in an evolving media landscape by promoting integrity, creativity, innovation, and social responsibility in accurately telling the stories of a multicultural world.


Up to 12 units of lower-division coursework may be completed via equivalent courses at California community colleges. The equivalents of JOUR 205, JOUR 221, JOUR 226 and JOUR 235 may be completed at institutions with eligible transferrable courses.


Journalism majors are required to receive major academic advising each year after reaching upper-division status. Juniors are notified to seek major academic advising each Spring semester, with Seniors required to seek advising each Fall.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. News Media Law: Apply principles and laws of freedom of speech and press, in a global context.
  2. History: Demonstrate an understanding of the multicultural history and role of professionals and institutions in shaping communications.
  3. Cultural Proficiency: Demonstrate culturally proficient communication that empowers those traditionally disenfranchised in society, especially as grounded in race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and ability, domestically and globally, across communication and media contexts.
  4. Visual Competence: Present images and information effectively and creatively, using appropriate tools and technologies.
  5. Writing: Write correctly and clearly in forms and styles appropriate for the communications professions, audiences and purposes they serve.
  6. Ethics: demonstrate an understanding of professional ethical principles and work ethically in pursuit of truth, accuracy, fairness and diversity.
  7. Critical Thinking and Research: Apply critical thinking skills in conducting research and evaluating information by methods appropriate to the communications professions in which they work.
  8. Use Data and Numbers: Effectively and correctly apply basic numerical and statistical concepts.
  9. Critical Evaluation: Critically evaluate their own work and that of others for accuracy and fairness, clarity, appropriate style and grammatical correctness.
  10. Appropriate Use of Technology: Apply tools and technologies appropriate for the communications professions in which they work.

Journalism (B.A.): Concentration in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography - 45 units

Core: Equity (12 Units)

JOUR 205Social Impact of Journalism3
JOUR 304Cultural Diversity and News Media3
JOUR 307News Media Law3
JOUR 310Journalism Ethics3

Core: Skills (15 Units)

JOUR 221Newswriting3
JOUR 226Introduction to Multimedia Journalism3
JOUR 250Deadline Journalism3
JOUR 300GWReporting - GWAR3
JOUR 400Video Journalism3

Concentration Requirements (9 units)

JOUR 235Photojournalism I: Foundations of Photojournalism3
JOUR 335Photojournalism II: Staff Photojournalism3
JOUR 435Photojournalism III: Editorial Photography and Business Practices3

Multimedia (3 units)

Select One:

JOUR 426Data Journalism3
JOUR 450Publication Design and Graphics3
JOUR 480Audio Journalism3
JOUR 582Social Media Journalism3

Practicum (3 units)

JOUR 609Newspaper Publication Laboratory3

Capstone (3 units)

JOUR 535Photojournalism IV: Documentary Capstone3

Complementary Studies

Twelve units of Complementary Studies are required of all candidates for the Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism. Students completing the Bachelor of Arts in Journalism must complete a minor that has been approved by the department. The minor fulfills the Complementary Studies Requirement.

First-Time Student Roadmap (4 Year)

The roadmaps presented in this Bulletin are intended as suggested plans of study and do not replace meeting with an advisor. For a more personalized roadmap, please use the Degree Planner tool found in your Student Center.

First-Time Student Roadmap

Transfer Student Roadmap (2 Year)

Suggested path of study for students transferring in.
Photojournalism and Documentary Photography ADT Roadmap

General Advising Information for Transfer Students

  1. Before transfer, complete as many lower-division requirements or electives for this major as possible.
  2. The following courses are not required for admission but are required for graduation. Students are strongly encouraged to complete these units before transfer; doing so will provide more flexibility in course selection after transfer.
    • a course in U.S. History
    • a course in U.S. & California Government

For information about satisfying the requirements described in (1) and (2) above at a California Community College (CCC), please visit Check any geographically accessible CCCs; sometimes options include more than one college. Use ASSIST to determine:

  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy any lower-division major requirements for this major;
  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy CSU GE, US History, and US & CA Government requirements.

Remedial courses are not transferable and do not apply to the minimum 60 semester units/90 quarter units required for admission.

Additional units for courses that are repeated do not apply to the minimum 60 units required for upper-division transfer (for example, if a course was not passed on the first attempt or was taken to earn a better grade).

Before leaving the last California Community College of attendance, obtain a summary of completion of lower-division General Education units (IGETC or CSU GE Breadth). This is often referred to as a GE certification worksheet. SF State does not require delivery of this certification to Admissions, but students should retain this document for verifying degree progress after transfer.

Credit for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or College-Level Examination Program courses: AP/IB/CLEP credit is not automatically transferred from the previous institution. Units are transferred only when an official score report is delivered to SF State. Credit is based on the academic year during which exams were taken. Refer to the University Bulletin in effect during the year of AP/IB/CLEP examination(s) for details regarding the award of credit for AP/IB/CLEP.

Students pursuing majors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines often defer 6-9 units of lower-division General Education in Areas C and D until after transfer to focus on preparation courses for the major. This advice does not apply to students pursuing associate degree completion before transfer.

Transferring From Institutions Other Than CCCs or CSUs

Review SF State's lower-division General Education requirements. Note that, as described below, the four basic skills courses required for admission meet A1, A2, A3, and B4 in the SF State GE pattern. Courses that fulfill the remaining areas of SF State’s lower-division GE pattern are available at most two-year and four-year colleges and universities.

Of the four required basic skills courses, a course in critical thinking (A3) may not be widely offered outside the CCC and CSU systems. Students should attempt to identify and take an appropriate course no later than the term of application to the CSU. To review more information about the A3 requirement, please visit

Waiting until after transfer to take a single course at SF State that meets both US and CA/local government requirements may be an appropriate option, particularly if transferring from outside of California.