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Programs / Journalism

Program Summary

Journalists are the eyes, ears and voices for their communities and the country.

From war zones to capital cities, from courtrooms to boardrooms, and in hospitals, police stations, sports arenas and church basements, journalists rush to places where events occur. They ask questions, report what they see and hear, and offer analysis of the changes and issues that shape our society.

As key players in the workings of every democracy, journalists should be well educated, thoughtful, analytical, conscious of the responsibility that comes with their job, and equipped with a moral compass to guide their decisions.

Carleton University’s Bachelor of Journalism program is offered through the School of Journalism and Communication, one of Carleton’s flagship departments, and the oldest, largest and best-known Journalism School in the country.

For more than 70 years, our graduates, benefiting from a demanding and intense curriculum that combines professional course work with traditional academic studies, have filled the ranks of the media and related occupations in Canada and around the world.

Since it began, our Bachelor of Journalism program has attracted elite students from across the country and overseas.

As a Carleton Journalism student, you will be taught by some of the finest journalists in the country—men and women whose teaching careers are backed by years of first-hand experience as high-profile journalists reporting from Canada and abroad. In addition to teaching, they are still on the frontlines of the profession. They write books, produce award-winning long-form feature stories, publish opinion columns, conduct research into the state and conduct of the Canadian media, and appear regularly in national and international media as experts in everything from journalism education to politics and business.

You will gain additional insight from our adjunct faculty, contract instructors and guest lecturers, many of whom are journalists currently working for major news organizations.

Your Journalism workshops will take place in our state-of-the-art digital labs in Richcraft Hall, where you’ll work with the latest in equipment and related technological tools as you become skilled 21st century storytellers.

Our School’s Reader’s Digest Resource Centre, a study space and meeting area specifically designed for our students, offers quiet corners when you have reading or writing to do, and small conference rooms when you have group work. It also carries a range of current magazines, newspapers, academic journals, books and the work of past graduates.

Carleton is located in the nation’s capital—the centre of political and public policy journalism for the country. But we’re not just about politics. Ottawa is also home to vibrant arts and culture, social justice, business, and high tech sectors.  Professional sports teams, international organizations, NGOs, research institutes and national museums are headquartered here. Our location is a living laboratory in which to hone your reporting skills—in politics, business, government, social affairs, international relations, the arts, sports, information technology and science and research.

Bachelor of Journalism (Honours)

At Carleton, there are three elements to our Journalism program. First, we emphasize professional skills: everything from grammatical fluency to the production of multimedia story packages. Second, we focus on the role of the media in a free society. Third, we ensure you get a broad-based university education. With this last element in mind, you will choose more than half of your courses from fields outside journalism, including at least 4.0 credits in one particular discipline of your choosing—such as English, Business, History, Political Science or Law—to give you a strong grounding in another academic field.

To graduate, you must also complete at least one credit in Canadian history.

Bachelor of Journalism with a Concentration in Health Sciences

In partnership with the Faculty of Science, Carleton offers a Bachelor of Journalism with a Concentration in Health Sciences. This unique collaboration, not offered anywhere else in Canada, allows students to explore journalism and science communication. The combination is increasingly relevant in a world driven by public expectations for clear explanations and justifications for health science policy.

Journalism “and” – our Combined Honours option

If you want to combine your journalism studies with another field of study, you can do that without adding any additional credits to your program. You can focus on another subject area with your elective courses and earn a minor or a Combined Honours degree in Journalism and another area of interest. With a combined degree, you must fulfill the mandatory course requirements for both the Bachelor of Journalism and the Combined Honours option of the other discipline. Students may choose from Combined Honours programs offered in a range of Bachelor of Arts disciplines, including Art History, Indigenous and Canadian Studies, English, European and Russian Studies, Film Studies, French, Geography, Greek and Roman Studies, History, Human Rights, Law, Linguistics, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, Sociology, Anthropology, and Women’s and Gender Studies.

Bachelor of Journalism and Humanities

For those who wish to gain an in-depth understanding of world culture and history while studying journalism, Carleton offers a Bachelor of Journalism and Humanities degree. Students in this intensive degree program spend about 40 per cent of their time taking core journalism courses, and the rest studying art history, classics, literature, philosophy, political science and religion.

The curriculum

First year
In your first year, you will take two introductory courses that give you a clear understanding of journalism’s role in modern Canadian society, how the media industry developed through the years and how it is shifting today. You’ll also be introduced to basic journalistic principles and professional practices. You’ll produce a short video, and get out and about for your basic journalism assignments. Your classes will range from large lecture to small tutorial groups.

You will choose your remaining 4.0 credits from courses offered by other departments in the university.

Second year
In your second year, you’ll do more hands-on work in your introductory digital journalism course, where you’ll learn how to use tools such as social media and photography. Small class sizes allow for intensive instruction in your year-long reporting workshop, which will teach you how to gather, organize, write and report information—the fundamental elements of any form of journalism. Your other second-year journalism course will focus on the laws connected to your work in the media, from freedom of speech to rules governing such things as privacy and libel.

Third year
In third year, you will do more specialized work in news writing, feature writing, multimedia storytelling, and journalism ethics. You will also participate in intensive newsroom workshops to learn the basics of radio news reporting, podcasting and television/video storytelling.

Fourth year
In fourth year, you can choose from a range of options that include digital, audio and video publication workshops; specialized journalism courses (from business to health sciences to arts); and professional skills courses (from data to long-form writing). You can take a step back to study and think about issues involving journalism (from Gender, Identity and Inequality to journalism’s role in conflict).

Practical work experience

The Journalism program emphasizes experiential learning from year one. In particular, your senior workshops will give you hands-on experience with our professional student-led publications.

Capital Current is our flagship digital publication. It engages Ottawa’s communities, telling stories and sparking conversations about issues and ideas that matter to them.  You will work on multimedia stories, honing your writing and digital skills and connecting to the city’s citizens through the latest social media tools.

Midweek, a weekly ninety-minute current affairs program that covers everything that happens in Ottawa, and which airs on Carleton’s community radio station CKCU-FM 93.1, will introduce you to all aspects of radio production—from recording an interview to split-second editing, script writing and live-to-air reporting.

The 25th Hour, a television current affairs program broadcast online, will teach you the fundamentals of short documentary production and in-studio interviews, while providing hands-on experience both in front of and behind the camera.

You will also do more specialized work in one field of journalism, choosing from politics, business, the arts, international affairs, social issues sports or science. You can see the work of our science journalism students in their showcase publication Catalyst.

Apprenticeship program

Our apprenticeship program provides you with additional opportunities to develop professional experience, add to your portfolio and build relationships that for many Carleton Journalism students lead to employment after graduation. It places third- and fourth-year students with media organizations, NGOs and communications firms from coast to coast—or helps you set up a custom placement.

The one- to two-week placements let you experience the day-to-day life of a working journalist in a newsroom or a public relations specialist in a government department, NGO or private-sector organization. Apprenticeships involve organizations as diverse as CTV News, CBC radio and television, the Ottawa Citizen, CPAC, arts organizations, federal government departments and agencies, Canadian Geographic magazine, and many other publications, agencies and radio and television stations scattered across the country.

If you are hungry for more hands-on learning opportunities, Carleton’s student newspaper The Charlatan and the campus-based community radio station CKCU-FM are always looking for volunteer staff. Many of our students also volunteer at the Ottawa Rogers Community Access channel or launch their own web-based publications and sites.

Special lectures and conferences

In addition to your required Journalism courses, the School regularly offers lectures and conferences focused on the role and conduct of the media in Canadian society.

Every year we host the Kesterton Lecture, a public event featuring accomplished journalists, writers, broadcasters or academics. Past speakers include Marty Baron, the executive editor of The Washington Post; Nahlah Ayed, a foreign correspondent with the CBC; author Margaret Atwood; pollster and broadcaster Allan Gregg; Greg Ip of The Economist’s Washington bureau; and, Mark MacKinnon, the Globe and Mail’s Senior International Correspondent based in London, England.

There are also regular extracurricular sessions on career planning and job interviewing, and special film screenings and social events—many organized by the Journalism Society, our student-run organization.

The workplace

Carleton Journalism graduates have distinguished themselves in virtually every aspect of journalism and in a wide range of related fields including public relations, marketing, communications and government service.

Every year, news organizations from across the country visit the school to recruit our graduates. We alert you to employment opportunities—full-time, part-time and during the summer—and we organize career seminars to help you land that all-important first job.

Program graduates

Some of our noteworthy alumni include:

  • Rosemary Barton and Andrew Chang, hosts of The National, CBC
  • Heba Aly, Director of IRIN
  • Jennifer Copestake, BBC, London
  • James Duthie, sportscaster, TSN
  • Geoff York, Africa correspondent, Globe and Mail
  • Mark MacKinnon, Beijing correspondent, Globe and Mail
  • Susan Ormiston, Senior International Correspondent based in London, Globe and Mail
  • Susan Ormiston, Senior Correspondent, CBC Television
  • Joel Eastwood, Wall Street Journal
  • Andree Lau, Editor-in-Chief, HuffPostCanada
  • Emma Loop, Capitol Hill Reporter, BuzzFeed News

Graduate studies

Graduates of our program are well qualified to go on to graduate studies in a variety of fields including political science, communication, history, film studies and English.

If you want to pursue an advanced degree after you complete your Bachelor of Journalism program, you should investigate graduate programs early to ensure that your course selection at Carleton, outside your required Journalism courses, meets the relevant graduate admission requirements.

Professional programs

Many professional programs including law, public relations and education encourage well-rounded applicants from a variety of backgrounds. Journalism provides a strong foundation for such programs and you are encouraged to pursue interests you may have in these fields after completing an undergraduate degree in Journalism.

What students are saying about Journalism


The resources at Carleton’s School of Journalism are incredible. From the rows of soundproof video editing suites, to the faculty that teaches powerful techniques to write poignantly, this school provides every tool and technique necessary to become a world-class journalist. Professors impart the science and art of good writing, the theory and practice of journalism, and the rush of piecing together a perfect story under a strict deadline. The future of media will be redefined by the upcoming generation of journalists; Carleton graduates will most certainly be at the forefront of this new era of news.
Brett Ruskin, Journalism student

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