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BA and MA in Science Journalism

Climate warming, COVID, autonomous cars—these buzzwords in daily news reveal science and technology play a decisive role in society and everyday life. To be well informed, the general public as well as political and economic leaders need competent and critical science journalists, even in the age of Google. They need to report engagingly and comprehensibly about data and studies from labs and hospitals as well as to contextualize science news. They will know: few new studies are medical breakthroughs; seldom do new technologies bring real progress; and rarely are experts on YouTube as trustworthy as they claim to be.

At the School of Journalism, students receive a profound science journalism education, thoroughly rooted in practical journalism and journalism theory. In our training newsroom, students produce multimedia content for the online magazine KURT digital, which introduces them to the daily routines of an editorial team. They also learn concepts and theory about communication research, as well as about science and media systems. Students also receive a thorough education in a complementary subject (life sciences/medicine, physics, engineering or data journalism/statistics) relevant to science journalism.

Throughout each semester, students combine this knowledge in practical courses to train their science reporting and investigation skills. Furthermore, studying journalism in Dortmund University offers students a unique advantage: practical media training through a traineeship (Volontariat) at our partner media is integrated directly into the study programme. Therefore, our graduates not only obtain a Bachelor or Master’s degree, but also professional editor status.

Curriculum Design BA

The Science Journalism bachelor programme consists of two main parts, which are studied simultaneously. In one part, students get practical training in journalism, science reporting and investigation as well as in communication research at the Institute of Journalism at TU Dortmund University. In the other, students study a complementary subject (life sciences/medicine, physics, engineering or data journalism/statistics) at another faculty. Each of these two parts accounts for 40 to 50 percent of the study time. Courses at the university are complemented with two short traineeships and a one-year traineeship (Volontariat): The two short duration traineeships take place in (a) science public relations and (b) an editorial office of a media house abroad. Both these traineeships occur during the initial six semesters. The Volontariat (arranged by the institute) takes place in renowned media companies at the end of the programme. The programme usually takes four years to complete. Successful students earn a “Bachelor of Arts” degree and 240 ECTS credits.

Study Content BA

The main aim of the programme is to educate students to qualify as science journalists to report on current events and science news. The programme covers reporting for newspapers, news agencies, TV and radio broadcasting as well as online and social media. It aims to convey a mixture of both theory and practical elements:

  • Basics in journalism production for print and electronic media;

  • The ability to understand complicated issues and make such issues accessible to an audience in journalistic form;

  • Communicative and social competencies;

  • Profound knowledge from one field of natural sciences, medicine, engineering or data science & statistics;

  • Knowledge of societal contexts with the ability to report competently and critically on current events across diverse fields and from varying perspectives;

  • Reflective capabilities and ethical competency to be able to review and contextualise events journalistically and to develop a critical attitude towards one’s own actions as a journalist.

Complementary subjects

In addition to their courses in sciences journalism, students take a complementary subject to develop profound knowledge of one field of natural sciences or engineering. Students can choose between natural sciences (specialization in life sciences/medicine or physics), engineering or data journalism. Courses will be taught at the respective faculties at TU Dortmund University (medicine courses are also taught at the Ruhr University of Bochum). Students take courses with students who are science majors. This allows for high quality science education and fosters interdisciplinary cooperation, which is essential in science journalism.

Curriculum Design MA

The consecutive MA programme in Science Journalism takes one year to complete in full time. Here, students who have gained practical experience in Science Journalism (at least a one-year traineeship in journalism and a BA degree equivalent to the Bachelor’s degree in Science Journalism) can qualify for a leading role in newsrooms and for a career in journalism research. During the first semester, students take courses in leadership and management, research methods and a secondary subject from science, medicine, data science or engineering. During the second semester, students work on their own research project for their MA thesis. Successful students earn a “Master of Arts” degree and 60 ECTS credits.

Study Content MA

The Master’s programme in journalism aims to qualify students who have prior practical experience in science journalism for a leadership role in journalism and for a career in communication research. Therefore, students take courses in management and leadership as well as in research methodology and secondary subjects. At the end of the programme, students will have:

  • Dealt with Leadership and team roles, quality management and their own approach to leadership and change processes;

  • Gained further insight and practical knowledge into one field of natural sciences or engineering;

  • Explored comprehensive views on quality discourse and innovation processes in journalism;

  • Learnt quantitative and qualitative social science research methods and the ability to conceptualize and execute research projects relevant to mass media practice


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