Journalism capstone units in Australian universities

The document below presents the findings from an Australian Learning and Teaching Fellowship study conducted in 2015 and 2016 by Associate Professor Trevor Cullen from Edith Cowan University in Perth.

The final report was produced in 2019: Journalism capstone units: Capstone units for journalism programmes to facilitate the demonstration of graduate capabilities

Background to the Fellowship
Thirty universities in Australian teach Journalism and there are considerable differences in the structure, content, and delivery of tertiary journalism capstone units. This situation was identified by the author via an Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) research grant (2012-2014). To address these gaps, the Fellow, though an Australian Learning and Teaching Fellowship (2015 – 2017), aimed to produce a series of agreed principles, standards, models and skills to inform the development of capstone units in various types of journalism studies (degrees and majors). The Fellowship involved interviews with 30 senior journalism academics at 18 universities across five States in Australia. The approach was to mine the knowledge and experiences of those actually teaching the discipline of journalism so as to formulate a set of agreed statements about what a graduate in journalism must know and be able to demonstrate. The statement of agreed standards, principles, models and skills was accepted by the Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia (JERAA).

Fellowship resources

Shine, K, and Cullen, T. (2019). Student responses to a model capstone unit in journalism. Australian Journalism Review 42:2 pp, 241-255. DOI 10.1386/ajr_00009_1
Cullen, T. (2017). Capstone units and the transition from university to professional life. Australian Journalism Review. 39(1), 89-99.
Cullen, T. (2016). Journalism capstone units based on agreed principles and standards. Pacific Journalism Review. 22(2), 172 -184.
Cullen, T. (2016). Designing journalism capstone units that demonstrate student skills. Journalism and Mass Communication Educator. 71(3), 360 -370.
Cullen, T. (2015). A capstone Unit for tertiary journalism programs that facilitate the demonstration of Graduate capabilities. Asia Pacific Media Educator. 25(2), 297- 304

Fellowship summary 

About the Fellow
Professor Trevor Cullen is currently Associate Dean – Design, Media, and Communication and Director of CREATEC research Centre at Edith Cowan University, in Perth, Western Australia. He is acknowledged as an expert in journalism curriculum design and health journalism. For further information, click


Real journalists can lead the war against deepfakes
read more
JERAA urges the US to drop charges and return Assange to Australia
read more