Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications


For students who want to research, report and produce journalism that matters, Medill offers the combination of a top-ranked university and a best-in-class journalism education.

At Medill, reporting and writing are just the start. Students experiment with emerging media, explore global journalism and prepare not only to work in a changing media world but to lead it.

Students learn by doing, turning passions like social justice, politics, global affairs, entrepreneurship, technology, the arts or sports into expertise.

Medill's curriculum allows students to solidify their writing and editing skills and comprises three components:

  • The core curriculum is built to put all first-year students on the same page. In these core courses, Medill faculty teach reporting, writing, editing and thinking critically.
  • In addition to those core classes, every student selects a concentration in a discipline outside Medill. This allows them to explore political science, history, economics, a foreign language, computer science and much more. Students take a wide variety of courses to ensure a well-rounded education.
  • Finally, Medill offers a wide variety of journalism electives. Choose courses that will help you build expertise in the areas you are most passionate about.

Medill also offers a certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications. This allows students to learn how to use data and consumer insights to engage with customers today.

Developed at Medill, the IMC field includes marketing, strategic communications, advertising, digital strategy, social media, marketing analytics and more. Medill offers all Northwestern undergraduates the opportunity to learn more about integrated marketing communications by earning an IMC certificate. You will be eligible for an even wider range of career opportunities because business skills you will learn in the certificate program are applicable to journalism, media and many other fields. 

Requirements for the Degree of Bachelor of Science in Journalism

All Medill undergraduates pursue the bachelor of science in journalism degree. They must complete a minimum of 45 units to earn the BSJ. In addition to their studies in journalism, they acquire a strong background in the arts and sciences. The following policies apply:

  • Independent of the requirements set by Medill, all students must satisfy the Undergraduate Registration Requirement.
  • Of the 45 units, at least 27 must be earned in courses outside Medill and at least 14 Medill courses.
  • Journalism students must acquire significant professional experience to earn the BSJ. The requirement may be satisfied through a 4-unit Journalism Residency.
  • No course may be counted in more than one require­ment category, with one exception: Medill students completing a double major in Weinberg College may apply courses used to meet Medill’s distribution requirements toward the second major.
  • Exceptions to any degree requirements must be approved by the Medill Student Affairs. Petitions and rules for filing them are available on the Medill Canvas site.

Grade Requirements

Students must achieve a minimum GPA of 2.0 (C) in all nonjournalism courses taken for a letter grade and a minimum GPA of 2.25 (C+) in journalism courses. In addition, all journalism students are subject to the following grade requirements:

  • The journalism GPA is an average of the grades (including F’s) in all journalism courses attempted.
  • Students who earn a grade of D or worse in a journalism course must retake the course until they have earned a C– or better.
  • When courses, including journalism courses, are repeated, both grades are computed in the GPA; one course does not substitute for another.
  • Before starting Journalism Residency, students must earn a grade of C+ or better in JOUR 201-1 Fundamentals of Reporting & Writing News, JOUR 201-2 Fundamentals of Video JournalismJOUR 202-0 Journalism Values, Practice & TrendsJOUR 301-0 Journalism in Practice or JOUR 301-1 Journalism in Practice, a history, representation or business understanding course, JOUR 370-0 Media Law & Ethics and at least two 300-level advanced journalism in practice courses outside the core requirement.
  • Students may earn grades of D or worse in no more than one-fifth of the courses taken at Northwestern and offered for graduation.
  • Students who do not meet the minimum GPA requirements are placed on academic probation. Continued poor performance will result in further academic disciplinary action, including academic probation, suspension, or dismissal.
  • Medill undergraduates are required to take the fol­low­ing courses for letter grades (A, A–, B+, B, B–, C+, C, C–, D, F):
    • All distribution requirements
    • All journalism courses except Journalism Residency
    • Courses for the foreign language requirement
    • WCAS concentration courses
  • Other courses may be taken pass/no credit (P/N) if that option is available. No more than 3 courses taken P/N may be counted toward the 45 units required for graduation (excluding Journalism Residency). Only 1 course per quarter may be taken P/N.

Academic Policies

Academic Warning, Probation, and Dismissal

The University’s policies about academic probation and dismissal are on the Academic Standing page. Medill adheres to these policies with the following exceptions and additions:

  • A warning letter is sent by email when the student
    • Has a GPA below a C (2.0) for one quarter but a cumulative GPA above 2.5.
    • Receives a grade of D, F, W, X, or Y.
    • Merits probation for any reason during his or her first two quarters at Northwestern.
  • Academic probation occurs when the student
    • Fails to maintain a C+ average (2.25) in journalism courses.
    • Receives a D or an F in a journalism course.
    • Fails to fulfill the journalism curriculum requirements.
    • Receives more than one grade of W, X, or Y in any one quarter.
    • Has earned consistently low grades over multiple quarters.
  • Students receiving academic warning or probation must meet with their academic adviser and/or the Associate Dean for journalism to develop a plan for improvement.
  • Academic standing may affect a student’s eligibility to participate in any of Medill’s off-campus programming.

Medill Integrity Code

All Medill students are required to uphold the Medill Integrity Code, which, among others things, requires adherence to prin­ciples of honesty, fairness, and integrity in academic efforts and related professional media, journalism, and marketing communications work, whether students are in school, on an internship or a job, or acting as volunteers in a professional or academic activity.

Academic Options

Dual Bachelor’s Degree Program

Northwestern offers talented students the opportunity to earn in five years both a BSJ from Medill and a BMus degree from the Bienen School of Music. This dual bachelor’s degree program prepares exceptional students for journalism careers emphasizing music and arts reporting. Prospective students typically apply to this joint program when they apply for undergraduate admission to Northwestern. For a detailed description of the dual-degree program, see the Dual Bachelor's Degrees page.

Integrated Marketing Communications Certificate Program

The Integrated Marketing Communications Certificate Program focuses on effective marketing communications strategies, tactics, and tools for an increasingly consumer-controlled environment. It prepares students for entry-level marketing communications positions in such fields as advertising, public relations, corporate communications, and direct, database, e-commerce, and interactive marketing. Students who receive the undergraduate IMC certificate and are admitted into the full-time MSIMC program within five years of their undergraduate graduation can complete the master’s program in just four quarters, rather than the five quarters required for students without the certificate.  See the Integrated Marketing Communications Certificate page and the Medill website for more information.

Bay Area Immersion Experience

At the new Northwestern educational space based in downtown San Francisco and anchored by Medill and McCormick, students learn from and contribute to the Bay Area’s entrepreneurial culture through a customized immersion experience. Students who apply and are accepted into the program take four courses that focus on experiential learning in, and critical thinking about, areas such as design innovation, digital communication, and the intersection of technology and culture.

Medill Investigative Lab

Through real-time, on-the-ground reporting in Chicago, Washington, D.C. and beyond, students in the Medill Investigative Lab probe power brokers and programs that promise to provide a safety net to tens of millions of vulnerable Americans. Through this high-profile program, students learn to think, research and write like an investigative reporter, publishing groundbreaking social justice stories from the ground up.  Undergraduate and graduate students at Medill apply to take part in the lab and spend two terms–one in Evanston or Chicago and one in Washington, D.C.–working side-by-side with veteran journalists on an investigation of national importance.

Medill on the Hill Program

A select group of Medill students may study for one quarter in Medill’s Washington, DC, news bureau. These students take two intensive journalism electives and a political science course approved by Weinberg College.

Medill on the Hill is an interdisciplinary program that exposes students to the challenging dynamics of Capitol Hill, public policy, political organizations, think tanks, and federal agencies. It is best suited to students interested in learning more about the political process and covering important national and global issues from the nation’s capital in a rigorous, web-driven reporting environment.


Internship employment may be available to Medill students, particularly during the summer. Many employers look to Medill for talented journalists who can be introduced to their organizations through internships. The school encourages these opportunities as a means of enriching students’ education but gives academic credit only for Journalism Residency.

ROTC Course Credits

ROTC course credits may be used as part of the 45 units required for graduation. They are considered elective courses.

Early Graduation

Students who plan to graduate early must meet with an academic adviser at least three quarters before the expected date of graduation. These students also should check with the Office of the Registrar to make sure they have fulfilled the Undergraduate Registration Requirement.

Academic Advising

Each entering student is assigned an academic adviser in Medill Student Affairs.  They assist students with a variety of issues, including course planning, degree requirements, registration, study abroad, interschool transfers, petitions to graduate, and resources within and outside Medill.


Through student publications, student broadcast media, and professional organizations, Medill students have many journalism-related opportunities outside the classroom.

Professional organizations that promote high standards among journalists maintain chapters on campus, including the Society of Professional Journalists, the Native American Journalists Association, the Asian American Student Journalists student group, the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. Top scholars in the senior and graduate classes are initiated into Kappa Tau Alpha, the national journalism honor society.