Curriculum

Master of Specialized Journalism (The Arts) Program Information

The required curriculum is designed to be completed in 10 months (beginning of July to mid-May). You may attend part-time and extend the course of study over one-and-a-half or two academic years.

The program begins with a seven-week intensive summer boot camp (JOUR 528: Summer Digital News Immersion [4 units]) that builds multimedia expertise for students at any level — beginner to an advanced mid-career professional. During the year, arts journalists and other specialized students work together in a newsroom environment at the Annenberg School, preparing to produce editorial content for the online arts and culture magazine, Ampersand.

For the remainder of the program, you will split your coursework between the School of Journalism and USC’s arts schools. Your interest and area of specialty will determine your course plan and it will be designed specifically for you. You will work with your faculty advisor to ensure you are selecting the appropriate coursework.

Arts Journalism course requirements (34 Units)

  • JOUR 528 – Summer Digital Journalism Immersion (4 units)
  • JOUR 560 – Seminar in Mass Communication Law (2 units)
  • JOUR 591 – Arts Writing Practicum (3 units)
  • JOUR 592 – Arts Journalism: Storytelling and Production (3 units)
  • JOUR 593 – Arts Criticism and Commentary (3 units)
  • JOUR 594a – Master’s Thesis (2 units)
  • JOUR 594b – Master’s Thesis (2 units)

Include one journalism course from the following options:

  • JOUR 411 – Broadcast and Digital Writing for Video and Audio for Non-Majors (2 units)
  • JOUR 431 – Feature Writing (4 units)
  • JOUR 512 – Advanced Interpretive Writing (2 units)
  • JOUR 513 – Advanced Newswriting and Reporting (2 units)
  • JOUR 519 – Advanced Writing and Reporting for Magazine and the Web (4 units)
  • JOUR 523 – Public Radio Reporting (2 units)
  • JOUR 552 – Television Reporting and Production (2 units)

In addition to required journalism courses, students select 11-13 approved elective units (400-level courses and above) from five of USC’s arts schools. Your interests and area of specialty will determine your course plan — a balance between required and elective courses. You will work with your faculty adviser to ensure you are selecting the appropriate coursework. 

USC’s arts schools: School of Architecture, Roski School of Art and Design, School of Cinematic Arts, School of Dramatic Arts and Thornton School of Music.

Some of the electives students have recently taken are:

  • ARCH 422L – Architectural Photography, Film and Digital, taught by Michael Arden
  • ARTL 500 – Arts Leadership and Arts Entrepreneurship, taught by Dana Gioia and Helane Anderson
  • CRIT 510 – History and Theory of Art and Exhibitions, taught by Andrew Campbell
  • CTCS 412 – Gender, Sexuality and Media, taught by Lara Bradshaw
  • CTCS 482 – Transmedia Entertainment, taught by Henry Jenkins
  • JOUR 523 – Public Radio Reporting, taught by Willa Seidenberg
  • JOUR 553 – Coding and Programming for Storytelling, taught by Peggy Bustamante
  • MUIN 496 – Music Media Solutions, taught by Ken Lopez
  • THTR 527 – Writing the Pacific Rim: Global and Western Dramatic Writing, taught by Luis Alfaro

The elective course work (400-level courses and above) must be taken from faculty-recommended lists. The number of elective units is based on which elective you select under the second elective category. No more than 10 units of 400-level electives may be taken. These electives must be in at least two arts schools, with at least 8 units from one school. The arts schools are Architecture, Art and Design, Cinematic Arts, Dance, Dramatic Arts and Music.