Get started thinking about the future now.

Use this major map to explore possibilities and plan for success in five overlapping areas of career and academics.

Choose your year below, then see what you can do when you:

  • Learn. Develop the knowledge and skills to complete your major.
  • Engage. Contribute to campus and the community.
  • Network. Build a foundation of professional connections.
  • Transform. Make a positive impact in a diverse world.
  • Prepare. Plan for life after graduation.

The map just offers suggestions - you don’t have to do it all.

  • First Year

    Learn: What foundational courses should I be taking? 

    • Intro to Screen Studies and Fundamentals of Journalism
    • Take prerequisite courses
    • Learn about the differences between the required “Media Tools” and “Genres, Modes and Contexts of
      Storytelling” upper-level courses
    • Plan for the sequence of courses you’d like to take in either journalism or screen studies

    Engage: What kinds of activities and organizations can I explore?

    Network: What are important topics in my field?

    • Visit your professor’s office hours to introduce yourself 
    • Keep up with the latest technology in media production, including video, audio, and online
    • Read industry news or listen to industry-related podcasts
    • Develop a habit of being up to date on the latest legal, ethical, and industry news in both journalism and media production
    • Consume media outside your comfort zone

    Transform: What are the challenges and the strengths in my community?

    • Read your local newspaper, watch local news, or listen to your local radio station

    • Visit your city hall or township hall; attend a city council meeting

    • Get to know your classmates - attend social functions, explore student organizations outside your major

    Prepare: What are the career options for people with my major?

    • Ask to meet with a professional to explore local options
    • Consider jobs outside of the SE Michigan region, especially smaller markets where you can gain experience
    • Don’t forget radio as a large, growing field for both news and creative storytelling
    • Network with JASS alums to better understand their career paths and options available to you
  • Second Year

    Learn: How do I build on  foundational courses?

    • Take Narrative Journalism, Media Law & Ethics, and Digital Film and Television
    • Choose several 300 or 400 level JASS courses that connect well to your goals and interests
    • Explore courses that meet DDC requirements, or a minor or double major, that complement your goals
    • Compile a list of off-campus or study abroad experiential opportunities

    Engage: What activities and organizations will help me develop professional skills? 

    • Join a major-specific club or any of a number of student organizations on campus

    • Produce photography, creative writing or other artwork for Lyceum

    • Participate in on-campus internships that serve the students and community

    Network: How do I connect with faculty and students with similar interests?

    • Attend department colloquium and other research talks on campus

    • Go to on-campus events like JASS receptions, film screenings, and special lectures

    • Attend special off-campus events, like film festivals or Michigan Radio community talks

    • Submit to local student conferences, journals, or competitions such as Meeting of Minds or the Writing Awards

    Transform: What are the challenges and strengths of the Detroit Metro area?

    • Contribute to a community project through the Office of Metropolitan Impact (OMI)
    • Take a course at the University of Michigan Detroit Center (daily bus service available)
    • Make a daily habit of reading the Free Press, Detroit News, Metro Times; listening to Michigan Radio, WDET, or WWJ; or watching local news
    • Do a news story, photo documentary or film about some aspect of the city

    Prepare: What resources are available on campus to help me develop the professional skills I will need?

  • Third Year

    Learn: How do I gain expertise in my major?

    • Enroll in a capstone course like Advanced Media Production or Advanced Reporting
    • Complete an internship or co-op or take a service-learning course like JASS 315 to gain practical experience
    • Begin building your own personal portfolio with samples of your best work
    • Create a professional resume with help from the internship office

    Engage: How can I grow as a leader on campus?

    Network: How can I broaden my professional relationships?

    • Submit your work to national-level student film festivals or conferences
    • Network with alumni in careers of interest
    • Complete a Humanities/History Student Internship to make connections with leaders, mentors, and business professionals in your area of study
    • Consider an internship outside the area, such as in Los Angeles, Chicago or New York

    Transform: How can I prepare to effectively solve local and global challenges?

    • Visit the Office of International Affairs to plan and register for a Study Abroad course
    • Learn a foreign language
    • Volunteer at a local nonprofit
    • Make a habit of consuming media outside your comfort zone - watch foreign-language films and read or listen to news from other countries

    Prepare: What practical things should I do to further my career options?

    • Have a track record of real-world work experience
    • Have a versatile background in media production, including writing, speaking, and video and audio production
    • Produce a portfolio of high-quality work samples
    • Assess what experiences you are lacking for current job postings and fill in those gaps before graduation
  • Fourth Year

    Learn: How do I finish strong?

    • Schedule an advising meeting with a JASS faculty member
    • Consider a second internship or co-op, or take a study abroad course
    • Request letters of recommendation
    • Showcase your best work by participating in the annual Meeting of Minds or entering in a student film festival

    Engage: How can I mentor others to be leaders on campus?

    • Become a peer tutor in the CASL Writing Center
    • Work with a faculty member and apply to become a student mentor
    • Work as an assistant in the JASS Lab or Production Studio
    • Once you’ve done an internship, mentor and share knowledge with current student interns

    Network: How can I demonstrate my readiness for the next steps?

    • Make sure your applications for graduate or professional schools are complete with a writing sample and personal essay
    • Through the Michigan Journal, Campus Video Network, WUMD or another outlet produce independent work
    • Prepare a portfolio of work samples in audio, video, film productions, scripts, news features and articles
    • Explore producing an independent thesis project instead of an internship

    Transform: How can I add to the strengths of my community, the region, and the world?

    • Take JASS 302: Media Law & Ethics

    • Consider a graduate degree

    • Take courses outside of your major and comfort zone - to make you more informed as a journalist, filmmaker or scholar

    • Intern abroad by volunteering at an international film festival, building community resources or contributing to its culture

    Prepare: How do I make the best use of university resources to launch my professional next steps?

    • Take advantage of resources such as equipment and technology, peer review and student organizations
    • Visit the Humanities/History Internship Office for help in developing your resume
    • Develop diverse skills - take courses in topics that might be more difficult to learn outside of school
    • Explore placement within the company or organization in which you have completed your internship
  • Where could I go after graduation?

    JASS graduates have attained employment in a wide range of fields both here in Southeast Michigan and around the world, including broadcast news, photojournalism, film and video production, arts and nonprofit administration, and print journalism. Many students have followed an entrepreneurial path in forming their own production companies. And others have pursued graduate school in creative writing, film directing and law. 

    Some other career paths for JASS majors include: 

    • Jobs in TV, radio, film, print and online as assistant or associate producers, production assistants, copywriters, camera operators, audio/radio producers, reporters, editors, photographers, graphic designers, animation and motion graphics artists. 
    • Positions in advertising, marketing, public relations, social media, events management.
    • Work in nonprofit and arts administration, volunteer coordination, activism, human resources. 
    • Entrepreneurship opportunities such as creating your own production company; freelancing on regional commercials, films, and other productions; working as a freelance journalist or writer.
    • Graduate programs in journalism, film, broadcasting, media arts, internet studies or law.

How to use this Major Map

Use the map on the interior portion of this brochure to review possibilities and plan for success in the five areas listed - Learn, Engage, Network, Transform, Prepare. The map gives options so you can select what best matches your interests and goals. Start thinking about your future now and build a path throughout your UM-Dearborn career that will prepare you for success. 

College is a time for discovering your passions–figuring out who you are and what drives you. UM-Dearborn offers more than 100 majors and minors, so you can find a program that is right for you. We are committed to cultivating a campus community that acknowledges our similarities and celebrates our differences. On campus you’ll find a range of support services and offices that provide the programs you need to be successful both academically and personally.

Back to top of page