Stephen Manga / Daily Nexus

A journalism certificate program will be available for students at UC Santa Barbara beginning Fall Quarter 2018, which would allow students to take courses specific to journalism that are taught by trained professionals.

The professional certificate program will be an 18-unit program that can be completed over the course of students’ enrollment at UCSB and will combine journalism classes already offered at UCSB, such as “Journalism News & Writing,” with new courses.

The classes will also be taught by new professors who have been recruited for specialty and expertise courses, according to Gretchen Macchiarella, the new data-driven journalism lecturer.

“They have been really reaching out and finding journalists and educators who have connection to the industry and who are bringing in this breadth of knowledge,” Macchiarella said.

The purpose of the program is to provide students the opportunity to gain specialized and modern training in the journalism field from experienced journalists, according to the program’s website.

Throughout the duration of the program, students will create a professional website that exhibits the skills they have gained, from gathering facts and following leads to presenting news on social media and other platforms, according to the certificate website.

The journalism certificate program was modeled after the Technology Management Certificate program also offered at UCSB Extension, according to Nomi Morris, UCSB lecturer and former international journalist.

UCSB Extension is a program within the school for students pursuing continuing education.

The journalism program will require students to take 12 of the 18 program units through UCSB classes and six units from the Extension program.

Students will be required to pay separately for courses taken through Extension, according to the certificate program’s website. The estimated cost for the total required units needed for the certificate is $1,800.

Each unit of a course offered through the UCSB Extension for this program costs $275, according to the certificate program’s website.

Some of the new courses offered through Extension include “Data-Driven Journalism” and “Visual Journalism,” which aim to incorporate the “cutting-edge” changes in the journalism industry into the certificate program at UCSB, Sorapure said.

The “International Reporting” course at Extension gives students an opportunity to gain “hands-on experience” in international reporting through a three-phase international reporting trip, according to the program’s website.

The course will take place in Spring Quarter 2019 and carry on into the summer. It will begin with a research and story preparation phase, followed by a two-week foreign reporting trip before finishing in Santa Barbara with a presentation ceremony of the coursework to friends and family.

It will count toward four units for the Extension requirement. Next year’s trip is planned to take place in Berlin, Germany during Summer 2019, according to Morris.

Madeleine Sorapure, director of UCSB’s writing program, and Bob York, interim dean at UCSB Extension, began planning for the program during Fall Quarter 2017.

The two began by discussing a possible collaboration between the writing program and UCSB Extension. The potential for a journalism program came up as a natural fit during these discussions, Sorapure said.

“It just seemed like sort of a natural certificate program because of the professional aspect of it … There’s something about it that’s very kind of one foot in UCSB, one foot in the world,” Sorapure said.

Morris said she has noticed a desire among students for opportunities to further an interest in journalism.

“There are opportunities in the campus to work on campus journalism, but there are only a few journalism courses that are offered in the writing program … Part of what we’re doing is trying to address that,” Morris said.

The courses offered in the program can benefit students interested in all types of careers in a professional field, according to Morris.

“It’s so important right now to train people in how to write for media. Even if you don’t end up a professional journalist, these courses that we’re offering, they’re really fundamental to modern communications in the professional world, whatever you go into,” Morris said.

Students can begin registering for the first class available for the certificate program, Writing 24, during their pastimes on G.O.L.D.

A version of this article appeared on pg. 3 of the May 24, 2018 issue of the Daily Nexus.


Sofía Mejías-Pascoe
Sofía Mejías-Pascoe is the deputy news editor for the 2020-2021 school year. She can be reached at or