Journalism Track FAQs

What is the Professional Writing Minor?

The Professional Writing Minor in UCSB’s Writing Program consists of six distinct tracks. Undergraduate students in the various tracks of the Minor have the opportunity to expand their communication skills through two capstone courses and a writing internship during their senior year. Think of the Minor as an apprenticeship in the world of professional writing – not simply as a set of courses in which someone will tell you what to do.


Professional Writing Minors must be more than good students – they must be excellent writers and editors. They must be able and willing to function in a professional internship environment, to accept responsibility, to demonstrate initiative, to complete assignments, to meet deadlines, and to work collegially in group projects. They graduate in a cohort of 25 classmate colleagues, who become networking connections beyond their university years. 


Students who wish to apply to the Minor must take three courses from the Writing Program’s 105, 107 or 109 group of upper division courses. These courses are prerequisites to the Minor and must be taken before or during the quarter that the application is due, near the beginning of the Fall quarter of their final, or second last year at UCSB. 

What is the Preferred Path of Courses to the Journalism Minor?

Check out the Minor tab to understand the preferred path to the journalism minor.

Who should apply?

This track of the minor is of particular benefit to students heading for careers in journalism, public relations, and communications. The skills taught in the journalism minor are relevant to digital and media work across industries and fields including business, technology, nonprofits, and government agencies. Priority will be given to students who can demonstrate an interest in journalism.

When is the application due?

The application for the Writing Minor is due just after the beginning of the Fall quarter of your final year, or the year prior. 

What does the application consist of?

  • You can find the complete application via this google form
  • You will need to write one cover letter, one to two pages long, including the following information: 
    • 1) What are your professional goals? 
    • 2) What skills do you hope to develop in the Professional Writing Minor? 
    • 3) What tracks do you feel would help you develop these skills and why? 
  • Your preferred tracks within the Professional Writing Minor, ranked. 
  • A resume showcasing relevant experience 
  • An assessment of Writing Samples: Write one short reflection (250-300 words) that explains all of your writing samples: 
    • 1) the context of each writing sample 
    • 2) which skills are showcased in these writing samples 
    • 3) what skills you still hope to improve upon in the minor
  • The Three Writing Samples themselves.

All three writing samples combined should not exceed 15-20 pages total and should consist of work selected from a range of projects created for both class and non-academic work settings that are preferably journalistic in nature (i.e. jobs, internships, volunteer work, student organizations, etc.). Portions or excerpts of larger projects and electronic documents such as websites or PowerPoint slides are acceptable and recommended. Academic essays are highly discouraged as your writing sample for the journalism track. Choose what you believe is closest to media writing. 

What are some tips for developing a strong application?

  • First of all, we recommend that you try to follow the Preferred Path to the Journalism minor and take those three upper division journalism courses, particularly 107J (Journalism & News Writing), as soon as you can. 107J will give you the foundation to write and compose effectively for all of the other recommended courses.
  • Get your portfolio started early! You don’t have to wait. Here are some resources to get started on building a solid writer’s portfolio. It can be simple – and you’ll be surprised at how much you may have already written throughout your years that can be polished up or adapted and used.
Avoid submitting academic essays and research papers to the journalism track. If you have no extra-curricular journalism experience, please choose writing samples that are the closest to journalistic writing, such as assignments from classes in journalism or creative nonfiction. This can include personal essays and other research-based first-person accounts or opinion pieces.

You may also want to pursue an outside program like the Op-Ed Project “Write To 

Change the World,” which offers generous scholarship opportunities. This weekend-long 

virtual workshop will teach you the foundations of op-ed writing and connect you to a 

network of writers, and you will come out with an op-ed piece for your portfolio and a 

great experience with other writers.

Work for campus journalism outlets such as The Daily Nexus and The Bottom Line Notice that while they usually have formal orientations in winter, they recruit year-round, and you can join at any time.

What are the courses in the actual Journalism Minor?

The Minor itself consists of two Capstone Courses (152A and 152B) and one internship, Writing 150. 

The rest of the Minor credential is achieved prior to reaching the Minor track with the three prerequisite upper division writing courses listed on the main Minor page. The Preferred Path to the Minor is for students to take 107J (News) → 107M (Magazine) → 107DJ (Digital Journalism), in that order, so that students build a foundation of journalistic writing skills.

However, anyone may apply to the Journalism track with the prerequisite writing courses that are not recommended for journalism. Students may apply with 1, 2 or 3 courses that are not journalism, and still have a strong potential for acceptance.

What do we do in the Journalism Minor Capstone courses?

Students produce news and feature articles, taking a multimedia approach. The two Capstone courses equip students with knowledge of the following areas:


Journalism in society — history, law and ethics,  current challenges

– Research, including interviewing (primary) and online sources (secondary)

– Beat reporting and engaging with the community

– Writing, revising and editing

– Accuracy and verification tools

– Visual, digital and social media

– Creating an online portfolio for one’s career

Explain the internship, please!

One of the requirements for completing the minor is that students do a relevant internship of approximately 10 weeks during Winter and/or Spring quarter. Students will also take Writing 150 during the Spring quarter for academic credit of 2-4 units, depending how many hours per week students work in the internship.


Writing 150 meets 3-5 times during the quarter with minimal assignments and is taken P/NP. 


Students in the minor who can’t secure an appropriate internship can earn the required units by taking Writing 161: Digital Storytelling as an elective in the Spring.

Students who already have full year internships that are related to their minor track may seek approval from the track director to use that internship for Writing 150.

Where can students find internships in Journalism?

Local magazines, newspapers, broadcast outlets and online publications, such as The Independent, Pacific Coast Business Times and NPR all work with UCSB students. Other non-traditional online publications may receive instructor approval. 

Is there help for me to find an internship?

Students are expected to secure their own internship. A list of local publications you may wish to approach is made available to students in the second half of the fall quarter. 

Who is the Director of this Track?

Nomi Morris transferred to teaching journalism 15 years ago after two decades as a professional journalist, and she has been in UCSB’s Writing Program since 2017. She covered the 1989 opening of the Berlin Wall for the Toronto Star newspaper then spent five years reporting from Berlin for outlets such as the San Francisco Chronicle CBC Radio and TIME Magazine. She was based in Jerusalem in the late 1990s as Middle East Bureau Chief for Knight Ridder Newspapers (now McClatchy). In California she has written for Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. She holds an MFA in nonfiction writing. Before joining UCSB, Morris taught at the USC Annenberg School for Journalism in Los Angeles.

Who do I reach out to for more information?

For more information about the Journalism minor track, please contact Nomi Morris,

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