Bachelor course (B.A.)
The Bachelor of Arts course "Science Journalism" is characterized by the combination of theory (research orientation) and practice (job orientation). Its objective is to enable the students to work in journalism, especially in news media. Particularly, the students learn to investigate topics in natural sciences, medicine and technology and to report about these subjects appropriately. Besides, the bachelor’s degree provides the basis for the master studies, in which the technical knowledge and the journalistic skills are extended.
The bachelor course always starts once a year in winter term - up to 15 people can begin with their studies.
The admission to the studies depends on a university course entrance restriction (numerus clausus) which varies each year according to the number of applications. The offers of editorial traineeships (in German: "Volontariat") are rare and the number of applicants for such places exceeds the number of such jobs offered by the media many times over. To guarantee that every student gets a traineeship, the number of regular university places in this course is restricted to ten to twelve each year. There are up to five additional university places reserved for applicants who already completed an editorial traineeship which is accepted by the examination board of the Institute and School of Journalism.
Application deadline is usually July, 15th of the year in which you want to begin with the studies. Deadlines, instructions and forms for the application procedure can be found at the "Studierendensekretariat" of the Technical University Dortmund. The online application form will be available as soon as the application process started.
Two important requirements need to be fulfilled:
- You must have a general qulification for university entrance / high school graduation ("Abitur").
- You must have passed a six-week internship in an editorial office of mass media before enrolling in the course. (That means: The internship needs to be finished until inscription, thus the certificate of this internship is not yet necessary for the application but has to be presented while the inscription.)
- Journalistic skills
Journalistic skills are imparted in both the bachelor course and the master course Science Journalism. The integration of practice into the journalistic education distinguishes the courses at the Institute and School of Journalism in Dortmund. In this respect the courses stand out from many rather theoretic-oriented communication science courses, which often have the reputation not to meet the editorial offices’ demands.
In the bachelor phase, the study unit Journalism offers all classic basics of journalism: investigation technique and stylistics, forms of journalistic statements from news to reportages, media law, media economy and ethics. Besides, the students work in the educational editorial offices ("Lehrredaktionen") of the institute. Beyond the university they get to know the journalistic practice in external internships and a one-year editorial traineeship ("Volontariat").
Despite the practice-oriented education basic knowledge about communication sciences as well as the basics of scientific work are still an integral part of the studies in Dortmund. Knowledge of empirical social research is imparted in the bachelor course yet. In the master phase these techniques are extended with regard to the final scientific exam. Anyway, the knowledge about scientific standards is indispensable for the practical work in science journalism.
- Second subject
Both the bachelor and the master course Science Journalism combine journalistic and natural-scientific, medical and technical matters. The bachelor course deals simultaneously and equivalently with journalism and second subject right from the beginning. During the studies at the university the ratio of the second subject is about 40 to 50 percent.
The second subject can be selected out of the following matters:
- natural sciences,
either with focus on biosciences/medicine or with focus on physics
- engineering sciences,
either with focus on mechanical engineering or with focus on electrical engineering
- data journalism
The choice is orientated towards a classic topic segmentation or standard in many editorial offices for science. With regard to the science department often a specialization in biological/medical matters, physics and astronomy or "technique" (engineering science) can be observed. The minor subject "data analysis/statistics" is supposed to close a qualification gap in many editorial offices and to support the development of investigation tools in the field "computer assisted reporting" (CAR). The bachelor students can choose a focus at the beginning of their studies. It is recommended to continue the studies of the second subject once chosen during the master phase.
- Second subject "natural sciences"
The second subject "natural sciences" is divided into a general introduction and a focus, which can be either biosciences/medicine or physics. The general introduction includes basic courses in physics, chemistry (including math for chemists) and biosciences. The focus biosciences/medicine is subdivided into chemistry (inorganic, organic and physical chemistry), biology (general biology, cell biology, biochemistry) and medicine (basics of medicine, central medical subjects). The focus physics consists of (more) mathematical basics, physical measuring methods, quantum physics and some elective courses.
- Second subject "engineering sciences"
The second subject "engineering science" consists of common technical basic studies and advanced studies of electrical or mechanical engineering. The common technical basic studies consist of the modules mathematics and natural scientific basics as well as basics of electrical and mechanical engineering. The advanced studies in the field of mechanical engineering include technical system management, manufacturing technologies and elective courses. The advanced studies in electrical engineering deal with more general basics, micro technology, microstructure technology and elective courses in power engineering and information technology.
- Second subject "data journalism"
The second subject "data analysis/statistics" consists of the following modules: basics of statistics (descriptive statistics, probability theory), mathematical basics, estimation and testing, linear models, case studies, data survey, and elective courses (e.g. knowledge discovery, statistical methods in clinical trials, and demographics).
- natural sciences,
- Practical training
Integrating a high degree of practice into the journalistic education has been a tradition at the Institute and School of Journalism for three decades. The following paragraphs give an overview of the practical training in the bachelor course Science Journalism. These practical experiences are an indispensable prerequisite for the rather science-oriented master course. Briefly, there are three practical components:
- education in the editorial offices at our Institute and School of Journalism
- two internships in journalistic mass media
- one-year editorial traineeship.
Educational editorial office
During two terms of the bachelor studies the students work in the educational editorial offices ("Lehrredaktionen") of the Institute and School of Journalism. They can choose two out of four educational media: the print magazine "pflichtlektüre", its online branch, the radio station "eldoradio*", and the TV broadcast "do1".
There are two internships to realize during the bachelor studies: The students must pass a two-month internship in a research institute or an organization for the advancement or promotion of science. As science and research have a high degree of internationalization an at least four-week stay abroad is obligatory during the bachelor phase. Here students get the chance to gather international experiences in media, journalist schools or other universities.
One-year editorial traineeship
The bachelor course Science Journalism is completed by a one-year editorial traineeship ("Volontariat") after the six-term studies at the university. This external practical phase in the media has proven to be very successful in the diploma study course Journalism. The fact that the Institute and School of Journalism finds these traineeships for its students has increased the attractiveness of the course and forced the institute itself to continuously measure up to the qualifications demanded in practice. That is why the editorial traineeship is an integral part of the bachelor course Science Journalism, too. Since editorial traineeships are rare, this component of the bachelor studies restricts the number of students to be accepted.
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