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Our Mission Statement is to prepare students for a changing media environment by focusing on content, ethics and technology.



Do you enjoy telling stories about people? Are you interested in using your skills as a photojournalist to make a difference in your community? Then Western Kentucky University's Photojournalism program may be the right place for you.

We appreciate your interest in our program that has produced students who have jobs across the country, from small-town communities to metropolitan newspapers. Our students have won the William Randolph Hearst national photojournalism championship 19 out of 21 years and win numerous awards every year in the College Photographer of the Year national competition. Our graduates have covered international events in Afghanistan, Iraq, Taiwan, Haiti and other locations. Five of our graduates from three different newspapers (The New York Times, the Rocky Mountain News and the Dallas Morning News) have been a part of winning the Pulitzer Prize in the last several years. Rick Loomis, a graduate who works for the Los Angeles Times, was named the National Press Photographers Association Photographer of the year for 2003.

Ours is a documentary photography major, with a curriculum designed to prepare students to produce content-driven images for paper and electronic publications. Four faculty and one staff, all of whom spent several years working in the photojournalism field (and continue to do so) serve as mentors to students to help develop their photography, writing, design and multimedia skills.

You can find requirements for the Photojournalism major below. You can also go to http://www.mountainworkshops.org to see and hear stories from a photography and picture editing workshop the WKU Photojournalism program hosts every October. This will give you a good idea of the kind of work we produce.

If you have specific questions, you can address them to James H. Kenney. His telephone number is 270.745.6307 and his email address is james.kenney@wku.edu.

We would like to have you visit WKU to see our facilities. A tour can be arranged by calling the Office of Admissions at 270.745.2551 or make a reservation at https://www.wku.edu/pcal/tour/tour_sjb.php.

Admission and expense information is available at http://www.wku.edu/Info/Admissions/

Note: We do not offer a photojournalism graduate program in the School of Media. We do have a number of students who came here for a second undergraduate degree.


 Course descriptions can be found at https://www.wku.edu/undergraduatecatalog/.



Major in Photojournalism* – 45 hours (Reference #750) (effective for catalog year Fall 2021 and thereafter) 

Specific objectives are to:

  • develop the artistic, technical, and personal qualities of those who pursue a professional career in photojournalism
  • develop a background for understanding the role of photojournalism in shaping and reflecting contemporary society
  • provide instruction in photographic theory, principles and practice for the student in any area of scholarly pursuit where such knowledge is needed to improve understanding and abilities
Prospective majors may take no more than 15 hours in the major before admission. Students must meet the following requirements before they can be admitted:
  1. Completion of a minimum of 24 hours of course work applicable to a baccalaureate degree;
  2. A minimum overall grade point average of 2.5;
  3.   Completion of ENG 100 with a grade of ‘C’ or better and 9 additional hours in the Colonnade Program,
  4. Completion of the following courses with a grade of ‘C’ or better: SOM 101, SOM 102, PJ 131, and PJ 331.
Students not meeting the above admission requirements will not be admitted to the Photojournalism major and cannot register for any additional courses in the major.  
The major in photojournalism (reference number 750) requires 45 semester hours and leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree. No course with a grade of “D” or below may be counted toward the major or fulfill prerequisite requirements. One-half of the hours in the major must be at the 300- or 400-level. Students must take a minimum of 72 semester hours in courses outside of the School of Media, including the Colonnade Program. In addition to meeting institutional requirements for graduation, the photojournalism major must have a minor or second major outside of the School of Media and the Film studies that is approved by the major faculty advisor.  Students may not select a minor in film studies, or those offered within the School, unless taken as a second minor.   One-half of the hours must be at the 300- or 400-level.
(prerequisites in italics)SOM     101      Understanding Media Content, Ethics and TechnologySOM     102      Media Content, Collaboration and CommunityJOUR     202      Introduction to News WritingPJ          131      Fundamentals of PhotographyPJ          331      Photojournalism (PJ 131; or permission)One of the following two law classes     JOUR     301     Press Law & Ethics (junior standing, PS 110, SOM 101 and JOUR 202; or permission)     BCOM   301    Mass Communication Law & Ethics (PS 110 and BCOM 201 OR permission)JOUR     302      Intermediate Reporting (SOM 101 and JOUR 202; or permission)PJ          330      Intro to Short Form Documentary (PJ 131 or permission of instruction)PJ          333      Lighting Technologies (PJ 330 or PJ 331; or permission)PJ          431      Advanced Photojournalism (PJ 330 and PJ 331; or permission)PJ          430      Advanced Short Form Documentary (PJ 330 and PJ 331; or permission)Capstone Course - 3 hours
PJ         436      Photojournalism Projects (PJ 430 and PJ431; or permission)
 DIVERSITY ELECTIVE – 3 HOURS Select one course from the following list: SOM 310-Media Diversity, ANTH 448-Visual Anthropology, COMM 463-lntercultural Communication, CRIM 446-Gender, Crime, and Justice, FLK 330-Cultural Connections and Diversity, SOCL 355-Sociology of Gender, SOCL 362-Social Institutions: Race, Class, and Gender, SOCL 375-Diversity in American Society, SPAN 345-Hispanic Representation in the Media,
Or a diversity class approved by an academic advisor. (Courses may have prerequisites.) RESTRICTED ELECTIVE – SELECT 6 HOURS (some courses may have prerequisites)JOUR 323 News Editing (JOUR 202)JOUR 325 Feature Writing (JOUR 302 and JOUR 323; or permission)PJ       336  Picture Editing (SOM 102 and PJ 131; or permission)PJ       390  Cultural History of PhotographyPJ      439  Advanced Lighting and Contract Photography (PJ 333)FILM 376 Cinematography (BCOM 366 or FILM 282)FILM 377 Film Sound (FILM 282 and BCOM 366)SOM 399  Special Topics in Media – Study AbroadSOM 402  First Amendment Research and Reporting (permission)


View/Print Major Information Sheet and Four-Year Plan


Minor in PhotojournalismRef. #443 – 21 Hours

The minor in Photojournalism, requiring a minimum of 21 credit hours, will enable students to obtain technical and aesthetic skills in visual communication. Emphasis will be placed on mastering the functions of the camera; learning software pertaining to digital image management, image processing, and design; using documentary photographs to tell stories; developing writing skills in journalistic form; surveying the historical aspects of photography; and discussing the ethical implications of the visual medium. There are two electives in the minor that will enable students to further apply the foundational principles established in the five core courses.

A minor in Photojournalism will enable students to obtain technical and aesthetic skills in visual storytelling. Emphasis will be placed on mastering the functions of the camera; learning software pertaining to digital image management, processing, and design; using documentary photographs to tell stories; practicing lighting techniques that contribute to visual content; surveying the historical and cultural aspects of photography; and analyzing the ethical implications of the visual medium. There are five core courses and two electives required for a total of 21 hours to complete the minor.Core Courses (15 hours) PJ 131 Fundamentals of Photography (3)
PJ 331 Photojournalism (3)
PJ 333 Lighting Technologies (3)
PJ 336 Picture Editing (3)
PJ 390 Cultural History of Photography (3)Elective Courses (6 hours):PJ 261 Mobile Media Storytelling (3)
PJ 330 Short Form Documentary (3)
PJ 431 Advanced Photojournalism (3)
PJ 439 Advanced Lighting and Contract Photography (3)One elective must be chosen from the PJ courses above. The second elective can either be taken from this list or chosen from a 200-level or above School of Media course approved by a Photojournalism faculty advisor (3)
Photojournalism Minor Total Credit Hours: 21
For more information on the Photojournalism minor, contact Professor James Kenney at james.kenney@wku.edu. in the School of Media.


View/Print Minor Information Sheet


*ACEJMC Accredited 

Mountain Workshops         







The School of Media at WKU is ACEJMC accredited for majors in Broadcasting, Journalism and Photojournalism.



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 Last Modified 8/27/21