1998 Annual Survey of Journalism and Mass Communication Enrollments


Lee B. Becker, Gerald M. Kosicki, Heather Hammatt, Wilson Lowrey, S.C. Shin, and Jeffery M. Wilson


Undergraduate enrollments in 1998 increased 5.8% over enrollments in 1997–more than twice the
2.3% growth rate of a year earlier. Such a growth rate was bested in the last 10 years only by the dramatic growth of 6.6% in 1995-96. The 1998 growth offset the declines in enrollments earlier in the decade and resulted in what is very likely the largest number of students in the United States ever studying journalism and mass communication at the undergraduate level (Chart 1). In the autumn of 1998, an estimated 149,188 were studying for a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication in the nation’s fouryear universities.

Graduate enrollments in journalism and mass communication continued their decline in the autumn of
1998, falling 0.4% (Chart 2). The decline in graduate enrollments was the third straight for the field, and
graduate students made up a smaller part of the journalism and mass communication educational scene
in 1998 than at any time since 1991. In the autumn of 1998, only 6.9% of the enrolled students were
studying for an advanced degree. That figure had been 7.1% in the autumn of 1992 and increased to
8.4% in 1995 before graduate enrollments started to decline and undergraduate enrollment started its
dramatic growth.

Enrollments in doctoral programs actually increased quite markedly in 1998 over a year earlier (Chart
2). The estimated 1,267 students enrolled in doctoral programs in journalism and mass communication is
10.4% higher than a year earlier and puts doctoral enrollment at its highest level in at least the last decade and probably ever.

Undergraduate enrollments grew despite the fact that the total number of programs at 448 was an
increase of only two from the number counted a year earlier. (Three of the 451 programs in the population
in 1998 offered only graduate instruction in journalism and mass communication; four of the 450 programs
in 1997 offered no undergraduate program.) The number of master degree programs increased only by
one from 1997 to 1998, but nine more journalism and mass communication doctoral programs reported
doctoral enrollments in 1998 than had been the case a year earlier (Chart 3). In fact, the 40 programs
reporting doctoral enrollments represent the largest number ever reporting active doctoral programs. The
result was a total enrollment of 1,267, up 119 students from a year earlier.

Becker, L. B., Kosicki, G. M., Hammatt, H., Lowrey, W., Shin, S. C., and Wilson, J. M. (1999). 1998 Annual survey of journalism and mass communication enrollments. Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, (3).

The copyrighted full text of the 1998 Enrollment Report is available here.

The PDF version of the supplementary charts is available here.