University of Iowa

Journalism

As a journalism major, you are probably aware that opinions vary as to what defines “good journalism.” As a media professional, it will be important for you to appreciate the relationship between your own culturally-informed communication methods and those of your increasingly global (and globally aware) audience. There are many ways of presenting the news and many ways of consuming it, and study abroad provides a great opportunity to experience that diversity firsthand. 

To aid you in coordinating study abroad with your major requirements, this page offers advice about when to study abroad (see the "Timing" tab), how to fulfill your academic requirements abroad (see "Academics"), and how to choose a study abroad program best suited to your needs (see "Programs"). 

As a journalism major, there are many study abroad options available to you. From short-term, faculty-led programs to full-year direct enrollment in an international university, there are plenty of opportunities for you to pursue your academic interests abroad.

In general, the best time for you to study abroad is during the summer before your junior and/or senior year. If you would like to study abroad during the academic year, junior year is the best time.

Since most Journalism students apply for jobs during the spring semester of their senior year, it is not recommended that you study abroad at that time. However, if your intention is to immediately continue your education in graduate school, senior year is a good time to study abroad.

Ideally, you should begin to plan your study abroad experience at least two semesters in advance of your departure date. Be in touch with advisors in Study Abroad and your advisor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication early on in the planning process.

If you would like to study abroad during the academic year but can’t seem to find the time, it may be possible to complete some of your course requirements during a summer at the UI, thereby freeing up a semester to study abroad. If you are interested in completing some of your course requirements during the summer, consult with the academic advisor for your department about which courses are typically offered during summer sessions. They will be able to help you decide if you can take enough summer coursework to manage studying abroad during the academic year.

There are many opportunities for journalism students to fulfill academic requirements abroad. In general, courses taken abroad can be substituted for UI courses with approval from the appropriate UI department. Consult with a study abroad advisor about getting overseas courses approved for UI requirements. Once you select a program of interest, your study abroad advisor will give you a Credit Approval Form to complete with the academic advisor for your department.

Journalism Courses

Finding overseas equivalents for your journalism course requirements can be difficult. In general, it is easier to find overseas course equivalents for your intermediate-level reporting and writing courses, your workshops, and some of your less specific conceptual courses (e.g. “Visual Communication”). Overseas courses that have to do with writing on a specific culture (e.g. travel writing courses) are often approved as equivalents for some journalism course requirements. Your two foundation courses (JMC:1100 “Media Uses and Effects” and JMC:1200 “Media History and Culture”) along with your two introductory professional skills courses (JMC:2010 “Journalistic Reporting and Writing” and JMC:2020 “Introduction to Multimedia Storytelling”) must be taken at the University of Iowa. All courses having to do with U.S. media law must also be taken at the UI.

As you develop your study abroad plan, be sure to consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies and the academic advisor for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication to ensure the courses you choose will count toward your major. Keep in mind the total number of allowable transfer credits is 7 s.h. However, some study abroad programs offer UI resident credit that will not count toward the 7 s.h. limit. (For more information about resident credit, talk to an advisor in Study Abroad.)

Second Major or Concentration Area Courses

All journalism majors have to complete either a second major or 24 semester hours of coursework in another department. You are encouraged to find overseas course equivalents for your second major and/or concentration area requirements so long as you get approval from the corresponding department. Information about study abroad opportunities related to other majors and concentration areas is offered on the MAPs.

Internships

It may be possible to earn credit for an internship completed overseas through the UI course, JMC:2100 "Journalism Internship." This course does not fulfill any requirements for the journalism major, but it does count toward the maximum 48 s.h. of journalism and mass communication credit you may apply toward your degree. Journalism students interested in completing an internship abroad should consult with the Internship Coordinator in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Also be sure to consult the SMJC’s internship web page. Recommendations for a few overseas internships relevant to journalism majors are provided under the “Programs” tab.

General Education Courses

Since your General Education requirements are typically lower-level, non-specialized courses, it may be easier to find overseas equivalents for your Gen Ed courses than for some of your upper-level journalism and second discipline courses. The World Language requirement is an especially good Gen Ed requirement to complete or work toward abroad. If you are interested in taking language courses overseas, information about language-intensive study abroad programs that can be used toward your World Languages requirement is provided under the “Programs” tab of the General Education advising page.

You might also consider finding overseas equivalents for Gen Ed courses that include a cultural component. You could likely find equivalents for several of the courses approved for the “Culture, Society, & the Arts” areas of the Gen Ed curriculum—and many of these would be interesting to take in a new cultural context. (See the “Cultural, Society, & the Arts” tab on the College of Liberal Arts and Science’s General Education web page.)

General Electives

Study abroad can be a great opportunity to explore disciplines beyond your required coursework. While you will not receive credit toward your major requirements for general elective courses taken abroad, it’s possible to receive credit toward graduation. Talk to an advisor in Study Abroad for information about earning credit for general electives completed overseas.

Worried about funding your trip? International Programs offers various scholarships to UI students for study abroad. For more information, visit the scholarship web page.

The SJMC also offers a Study Abroad Scholarship to students who plan to study journalism overseas.

Faculty in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication say the most important thing for journalism majors to do abroad is observe how journalism is practiced in different cultures. Many of the study abroad programs listed below are in locations where journalism is practiced differently than in the United States. (You are especially encouraged to consider programs located in Asia and in the Middle East.) All of these programs are geared toward journalism students and offer journalism courses. Most offer summer sessions in addition to semester and year-long sessions, so a few options are available in terms of timing. A few summer-only programs are also listed.

In addition to taking courses abroad, journalism majors are highly encouraged to complete internships. Information about interning overseas—along with a few recommended internship opportunities—is provided below.

If you are interested in taking courses related to your second major or concentration area while abroad, see the advising page corresponding with your second discipline.

If you would like to take language courses abroad, information about language-intensive study abroad programs is available under the “Programs” tab of the General Education advising page. You can also search our programs database (using the language filter) for information about overseas language programs.

In addition to the programs listed here, students are encouraged to browse our programs database and consult our Steps to Studying Abroad advising page. You are also encouraged to visit the Study Abroad Resource Room (located in the International Programs Office, 1111 University Capitol Centre), where a peer assistant can help you research study abroad programs. Once you have a few programs in mind, consult with a study abroad advisor and the academic advisor for your department.

Academic Programs 

Internships

ACADEMIC PROGRAMS

Europe

CIMBA Italy Program

CIMBA offers a semester program (fall or spring) and a four-week summer program in Paderno del Grappa, Italy. Courses are available in journalism, communication studies, business, economics, beginning Italian, and engineering. (Typically, the program offers 1 or 2 journalism courses.) Current course offerings are available on the CIMBA website. All courses are taught in English by faculty drawn from various U.S. universities and are available to program participants only. The University of Iowa offers resident credit for the CIMBA Italy Program—12-18 credits for the semester program and 6 for the summer program. Field trips are included in the program fee!

Irish Writing Program

The Irish Writing Program in Dublin is a six-week creative writing summer program directed by an on-site UI affiliate. Students take writing workshops and an interdisciplinary Irish Literature & Culture course. The program offers six semester hours of resident credit. Several local tours are included in the program fee.

CIEE Seville: Communications, New Media, & Journalism (for students with advanced Spanish language proficiency)

CIEE Seville: Communications, New Media, & Journalism English (for students with beginning or lower-level Spanish language proficiency)

This program is offered for a semester or for the academic year. Participants enroll in 5 courses per semester—some at the CIEE Study Center in Seville (for program participants only), and some at local universities. The other courses are electives within the Communications, New Media, & Journalism program. Students enrolled in the year-long program have the option to complete a for-credit internship in the spring—offered in the areas of audiovisual communication, new media, visual art, media management, journalism, radio, and TV broadcasting.

CIEE Prague: Communications, New Media, & Journalism

Students take courses at the CIEE Study Center in Prague for a semester (fall or spring) with other program participants. All courses (except a required Czech language course) are taught in English by faculty from Charles University. In addition to the Czech language course, participants complete an internship with a local media company, publishing firm, or film company—all of which are pre-screened and set up by CIEE. Students must also take three elective courses, two of which must focus on journalism, media, or communication. See the website (linked above) for course descriptions and more information about the required internship. Excursions are included in the program fee, including visits to local media companies and radio stations.

This program is also offered as three 4-week summer sessions. Participants can enroll in one session, a combination of two, or all three. Three different courses are offered, and students take one per session. Typically the courses offered include a media communication course, a course on international reporting, and a course on propaganda. (These courses sometimes change, though, so see the program’s website for an updated list.) An optional survival Czech language course is also offered. Students take all courses at the CIEE Study Center in Prague, again taught by Charles University faculty in English. Weekend excursions are included in the program fee.

CIEE Global Institute in London: Communications, Journalism, and New Media

Students take courses at the CIEE Global Institute with other program participants. This program operates on the block system, so participants choose to enroll in two or three 6-week blocks over the course of the academic year, taking two courses per block. (See the website for specific block dates.) When applying, you’ll choose the “Communications, Journalism, and New Media” academic track. Current course offerings in this track include a British media course, a course on intercultural communication and leadership, a course on mass media in Europe, and more. Participants can also complete one of three optional academic projects—an internship, a directed research project, or a service-learning project. The courses in this program are taught by faculty from local institutions as well as visiting faculty from around the world. Excursions and study tours (tours related to your coursework) are included in the program fee. 

USAC Program in Växjö/Kalmar, Sweden

Students directly enroll in courses at one of two Linnaeus University campuses for a semester or for the academic year. The courses available vary by term, but several relevant journalism courses have been offered in the past—including “Analyzing Digital Journalism” and “Media in Sweden.” See current course offerings on the USAC website. All courses are taught in English. Swedish language courses for exchange students (offered at all levels) are also available and are included in the program fee. 

Africa & the Middle East

SIT Morocco Field Studies in Journalism and New Media

This is a semester-long program (fall or spring) during which participants take four courses at the Center for Cross Cultural Learning in Morocco’s capital city, Rabat. Coursework includes a Moroccan culture course, a field ethics course on doing journalism in Morocco, a language course (in French or Arabic), and an independent study during which students complete a major feature story. Courses are taught in English. Rabat itself is located near many important cultural sites, but excursions are also included. More information is available on the SIT website.

INTERNSHIPS

General advice about interning abroad is available on the Internships Abroad page. Journalism students interested in interning abroad should consult with the Internship Coordinator in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication before accepting an internship. Also be sure to consult the SJMC’s internship webpage.

IES Internships        

The Institute for the International Education of Students (IES) offers internships relevant to journalism students in several locations, including Barcelona, Dublin, London, Milan, Rome, Santiago, and Sydney. More information for each of these programs is available on our website (linked above). All IES interns enroll in an internship seminar for advising about professionalism and cultural awareness in the workplace.