Photo and Visual Journalism Track

The photojournalism and visual journalism track at the University of Montana School of Journalism is quickly becoming one of the best in the nation. With ample opportunities to document right in our backyard, the program is especially strong in outdoor, travel and recreation photography. Students in the program regularly compete for national awards while they're in school and big jobs when they graduate.

Jobs and Career Opportunities

Woman on top of snowy mountain looks to sky with camera in hand.The job market for photographers continues to grow. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is forecasting a 9% increase in the job outlook in the next year. When you study photojournalism and visual journalism at the University of Montana School of Journalism, you graduate with a portfolio full of professional clips that will help you stand out from the crowd. 

A few of the jobs that our graduates find after graduation include: 

Breaking news photographer
Feature photographer
Magazine photographer

Commercial photographer
Documentary photographer
Photo editor
Photo director

The Student Experience

Ridley Hudson looks at camera laughing, while holding camera.Photojournalism, including film and video journalism, is a particularly strong program at the University of Montana School of Journalism. UM students regularly compete for top national awards in photojournalism and multimedia categories, including in the national Hearst Awards and Society of Professional Journalists' contests. 

Students get real-world experience starting in their first beginning visual journalism class and then in capstone projects like Native News, Byline Magazine, student documentary and intermediate and advanced visual journalism. 

All that hands-on experience gives students a chance to build impressive portfolios, but also, meaningful connections.

"The biggest thing that I’ve learned is connections are super important," says student Ridley Hudson (pictured here). "The J-School and professors are a great place to start with that. And getting involved in the J-School is really important because getting involved, you make connections, and then connections lead you to connections that lead you to further opportunities down the road."


Two women and a man with cameras look at camera.Brontë Wittpenn, (pictured at right, middle, covering Standing Rock while at UM) staff photojournalist, San Francisco Chronicle

Tommy Martino, photographer, University of Montana

Tailyr Irvine, (pictured at right, right)independent and documentary photographer, 2019 National Geographic Explorer

John Locher, photographer, Associated Press

Louise Johns, documentary photographer

Evan Frost, (pictured at right, left) freelance photographer

Greta Rybus, freelance photographer


Starting in beginning visual journalism students get their hands on cameras and hands-on experience. That stays the same throughout the program with ample opportunities for students to be out shooting in the real world. 

Here's a suggested course plan for photographers and visual journalists:


Lower-Division Required Coursed in Major


Media History and Literacy

JRNL 170

Elements of News Writing

JRNL 257

Beginning Visual Journalism

JRNL 270



Upper-Division Required Courses in the Major

JRNL 300

First Amendment and Journalism Law

JRNL 400

Ethics and Trends in News Media

JRNL 498

Supervised Internship


Upper Division Writing Requirement Suggestion

JRNL 340

Intermediate Audio

JRNL 362

Feature Writing


Five Upper-Division Elective Requirement Suggestions

JRNL 328

Intermediate Photojournalism

JRNL 350

Intermediate Video

JRNL 427

Photo Stories

JRNL 428

Freelance Photography

JRNL 430

Print & Web Editing & Design

JRNL 433

Marketing Your Work

JRNL 494

Pollner Seminar


Capstone Requirement Suggestions                  

JRNL 410

Native News Honors Project

JRNL 412

Magazine Production and Design

JRNL 470

Campaign Coverage

JRNL 488

Student Documentary Unit


Courses Outside JRNL Suggested

MART 255

Photoshop: Art and Design



Courses Outside JRNL Suggested

MART 345

Sound for Film

MART 327

Intro to Cinematography
MAR 252  Screenwriting


 Photo I-Technologies and Processes


 Analog Photography


Alternative Process Photography


 History of Photography