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Photojournalism (Graduate)

M.A. Program: Photojournalism track

Students who are interested in using photography as a communication tool to show others people and situations without staging or controlling the subjects are suited for the Photojournalism track in our Master of Arts (MA6930) program.

A renowned program that is part of VisCom’s legacy, the courses focus on documentary photojournalism and provide students the opportunity to go in-depth in their approach through editorial, essay, picture story, documentary and magazine photography and audio/video storytelling. Alumni of this program work in the news and communication field, taking on roles at magazines, newspapers, media outlets and organizations as well as having successful freelance careers. Alum have had successful careers in the industry in a variety of capacities and have worked and interned at a variety of places, including NPR, Vox Media, The Dubois County Herald, The Cleveland Browns, The Nature Conservancy, Blue Chalk, Boston Red Sox, Getty Images, Snowboarder Magazine, and The Washington Post.

This sequence takes three semesters to complete, and many students opt to continue a fourth to expand coursework and/or work on their Masters Project.

Questions? Please contact Graduate Director Stan Alost,

Learn more about applying to VisCom's M.A. program

Student work

The subject matter photographed by students in the Photojournalism track runs the gamut. What’s key is that students are interacting with other people constantly — and finding unique and compelling ways to tell their stories. See more student work.


Photo by Haiyun Jiang


The coursework

Three of our four tracks are three-semester programs, with most students opting to stay a fourth for additional courses, research, and Masters project defense. The M.A. requires at least 30 credits of graduate coursework, plus a Master’s project (taking an additional 5 credit hours, including 1 hour for the defense).

Course requirements for all VisCom graduate students:

  • VICO 5022, Graduate Seminar
  • VICO 5014, Information Design Basics
  • VICO 5400, Illustration I: Digital Imaging
  • Master’s project (5-15 hours)

Students take 20-24 hours in their field of study. For Photojournalism track, this includes:

  • VICO 5381, Editorial Photography
  • VICO 5382, Photographic Essay
  • VICO 5435, Picture Editing
  • VICO 5387, Advanced Reportage (Magazine)
  • JOUR 5100, Communication Law (depending upon experience/previous coursework)

Photojournalism students are also encouraged to take:

  • VICO 6401, Multimedia Production for Visual Communication
  • VICO 5320, Advanced Video Storytelling
  • VICO 5321, Documentary / Essay Photojournalism

Desired electives both within VisCom and across the university are also available. In the three to four semesters, about 50 percent of the coursework is elective. Photojournalism students often take courses relating to their interest areas, such as environmental science or anthropology, as well as video, commercial photography, journalism and many other options.

A required progress review is held toward the end of the first semester, or completion of 15 credits, to assess the student’s suitability for continued study.

Internships are encouraged for all graduate students, unless significant professional experience within your selected area has been gained prior to entering the program. This internship or practical education is not taken for credit towards your degree.

Download the curriculum for the VisCom Master of Arts program

View the catalog descriptions of all VICO graduate courses


Equipment requirements and facilities

Photojournalism equipment requirements

Photojournalism students are required to have a minimum of the following equipment by the start of their first semester in the Master of Arts program:

  • A professional-level DSLR camera
  • Two lenses with f/2.8 or faster aperture: one 28mm or wider focal length, and one with a 135mm to 200mm focal length (zoom lenses are also acceptable if fixed aperture). The third lens should be in the 50-85mm range, with a maximum aperture of f/2 or larger. Zoom lenses are also acceptable if they meet the maximum aperture requirement of f/2.8 or larger.
  • Dedicated electronic flash
  • Professional tripod
  • The Graduate Photojournalism Majors Camera & Lenses Equipment list

Equipment checkout room

VisCom also has an Equipment Checkout Room with the support of Nikon, Canon, Mamiya Corporation of America and Sony. Students can check out DSLR and mirrorless cameras, lenses, lighting gear, audio and video equipment, tripods and other stabilization tools.

A form will be emailed to students every year to gain access to the equipment room. This opportunity is available ONLY to VisCom students and those taking VisCom classes. Questions can be directed to Josh Birnbaum at or (740)-597-1778.

Computer labs

The School of Visual Communication uses Apple computers and predominantly the Adobe Creative Suite. We are pleased to provide computer labs with Apple computers, the Adobe Creative Suite and other software needed for classes. These labs also have open hours in the evenings, as do other labs on campus, and have color printers and photo printers students can use with purchase of a print card. Graduate students have 24-hour access to the VisCom Graduate Lab which includes printers and desktop computers.

Photography studios

Within the Schoonover building, VisCom also has two photographic studios available, including state of the art lighting equipment, dressing rooms and a cyclorama (“cyc”) wall.

The School of Visual Communication Gallery

On the first floor of Schoonover, the School of Visual Communication runs a gallery. Rotating regularly between student and alumni shows, students can not only show their work, but gain experience participating in the exhibitions.