Steps to Becoming a Major

Getting Started

If you are a freshman or are transferring with no courses in journalism, view the student course outline and start with Journalism 190 (Intro to Mass Media) and Journalism 207 (Newswriting).

For transfer students, college courses numbered 100 and 200 may be used to satisfy an equivalent lower-division course in the journalism major or minor, up to a maximum of 15 credits upon approval of the department. A maximum of four credits in staff courses taken elsewhere may be accepted as substitutes for WWU staff courses subject to earning a 3.0 grade or better in a newspaper staff course at Western. In that event, majors and minors must take at least two staff courses at Western. An unofficial transcript from your community college or previous university is required.

Recommended Supporting Courses

Journalists need a solid grounding in public affairs -- particularly the structure and functioning of local, state and national political and economic institutions -- and in the major issues of the day. Historical perspective is important as well.

Journalists also must be conversant with the sciences and the arts. Courses that broaden horizons or deepen insights are recommended.

Basic photography and video skills are recommended.

Declaring as a Pre-Major

We have prepared the following guidelines for pre-major status to help you move toward becoming a major. We urge you to move on to major status as soon as you can so you can graduate on schedule. The key to moving along quickly is to follow the guidelines for being a pre-major and major and to attend advising sessions.

  • Students must have completed at least one quarter at WWU to declare as a pre-major but may be advised during their first quarter. Transfer students will be accepted during their first quarter on campus. When you meet with an adviser or the department manager, be sure you sign up with your e-mail address so we can contact you. Notices regarding our department are sent via e-mail.
  • You must have at least a 2.50 GPA at WWU to declare as a pre-major. If you are transferring to WWU you must have at least a 2.5 GPA from the school you are transferring from. Use this tool to calculate your GPA, or bring in your unofficial WWU transcript when you come in to declare to verify that your GPA meets the minimum requirement.
  • To declare as a pre-major, students must meet with the department manager or program coordinator to fill out pre-major declaration paperwork.
  • Students will then be assigned a faculty advisor who will review and sign a plan of study that the student brings to an advising appointment they schedule. The plan of study outlines a personal course schedule so students know when they need to take courses to graduate on time.
  • After receiving a plan of study signed by a faculty advisor, students will be invited to our Canvas site and the declaration paperwork will be moved forward to become official.
  • Standing as a pre-major does not guarantee a seat in any class at any time.

Declaring as a Major

Decisions on who to accept as a major rest solely with the journalism department faculty. Major status is required before students can take 400-level classes. A student who is not accepted into the major by the time they need 400-level classes will be directed to find a suitable major in another field.


Students seeking admission to the major must meet the following conditions:

  • Complete a minimum of 30 college credits with a cumulative 2.50 grade point average in both WWU courses and journalism courses.
  • Pass JOUR 207 with a B- or better (transfer students must meet the same requirement for any course accepted as an equivalent of JOUR 207).
  • Complete one journalism staff course (JOUR 214, JOUR 314, JOUR 321) with a B- or better.
  • Meet with your faculty advisor to obtain their approval of your plan of study. If your advisor is unable to meet for any reason, then a meeting with the department’s Program Coordinator or Department Manager will satisfy this requirement.

Students who meet the above requirements will be admitted as space allows and subject to the faculty's acceptance.


When all the requirements have been satisfied, message the Program Coordinator to let them know that you are ready to declare as a journalism major. The Program Coordinator will review your record and guide you through the next steps.

Declared majors may request a change from one sequence to another by notifying the department. Acceptance of the change will be based on space availability.

Probation and Removal

While a major, students must maintain a 2.50 GPA, both overall and in journalism and required courses. A student whose GPA drops below 2.50 overall and/or in the major for two consecutive quarters shall be considered to be on probation. If the student completes a third quarter with a GPA below 2.50, they will be removed from the major. Such students may be re-admitted to the major using normal procedures for admission. Struggling students should discuss the situation with their academic advisers early, before the problem grows too large to manage. Students are responsible for monitoring their own GPAs.