Journalism BA (Hons) (Single Honours)
2017 - 2018
Bachelor of Arts (Single Honours)
University of Chester
University of Chester
Undergraduate Modular Programme
Classroom / Laboratory,
Annual - September
Arts and Humanities
Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies
Wednesday 20th March 2013
To provide a degree that fulfils the criteria suggested in the relevant QAA subject standards and benchmarks.
To offer a programme in Journalism that combines theoretical and practical approaches.
To encourage critical reflection on the profession and political influence of journalism.
To develop the cognitive potential of undergraduates through degree-level education in the role of journalism in society, media law and government.
To provide an education that highlights the role played by journalism in the information society.
To provide an education that emphasises a comparative, international approach to journalism in different global contexts.
To offer a degree that encourages an examination of the wider media industries.
To provide the necessary practical, transferable and subject skills to enable the graduate to work in journalism.
To provide the transferable communication skills applicable in a range of related professional contexts, including PR, advertising, marketing and corporate communications.
Students will be assessed throughout and at the end of each module as appropriate, on their knowledge and understanding of the subject area in the context of practice. Evidence reflection on the wider political implications of journalism and adopt a comparative international perspective on the subject (ME4742, ME4717, ME4718, ME4713, ME4715)
A knowledge and understanding of the political and legal contexts for journalism practice, organizational and institutional frameworks, and ethical constraints and influences on journalism (ME4717)
An understanding of, and ability to analyse, journalistic processes. An ability to place journalism in a broader historical context (ME5710, ME5711, ME5712, ME5713, ME5730, WB5008, WB5101)
Reflect critically on the relationship between theory and practice while producing a major journalism project. Engage with modules focused on more specific theoretical subject areas (ME6716, ME6717, ME6718, ME6722, ME6723, ME6713, ME6714)
Combine practice and the broader academic understanding of journalism in relation to ethical and legal frameworks. Reflect critically on the relationship between theory and practice (ME4742, ME4713, ME4715, ME4717, ME4718)
The ability to analyse and evaluate areas of knowledge and production practices. Placing these practices in a broader context and analysing its implications (ME5703, ME5710, ME5711, ME5712, ME5713, MEW5730, WB5008, WB5101)
Demonstrate a conceptual understanding of texts, with an associated ability to respond critically to these texts, personal performance and experiences. (ME6713, ME6714, ME6716, ME6717, ME6718, ME6722, ME6723)
Written and communication skills assessed through production processes and reflection. (ME4742, ME4717)
Transferable skills including proofreading and editing, interviewing techniques and working in a team on practical journalism projects. Professional news gathering and writing skills together with a critical approach to journalistic practice.
Working independently on advanced practical journalism projects, working with different software, as well as transferable skills including communication, information literacy and technology, problem solving, working with others and critical and functional writing. (ME6716, ME6718, ME6722, ME6723)
The nurturing of confidence, both oral and written, appropriate to the level of study linked to the core demands of the discipline. (ME4742, ME4717)
Oral and written skills encompassing presentations, essays and journalistic portfolios, developing the core demands of the discipline to encompass a broader suite of skills (ME5710, ME5711, ME5712, ME5713, ME5730, WB5008, WB5101)
Advanced application of oral and written skills encompassing essays, journalistic portfolios and dissertations. (ME6716, ME6717, ME6718, ME6722, ME6723, ME6713, ME6714)
The programme offered is a Single Honours programme studied over three years on a full-time basis. At levels 4 and 5, all modules are worth 20 credits with 200 hours of associated teaching and learning, and are studied over the course of the entire academic year. At level 6, the programme also offers 40 credit dissertation and project modules, with 400 hours of associated teaching and learning.
The programme takes into account the benchmarking statements for Communication, Media, Film and Cultural studies and the National Qualifications Framework.
The structure has at its core the establishment and development of journalistic skills and practices situated within an understanding of the political, social and economic factors which impact upon them and upon which they impact.
Assessment of these modules will be through vocationally orientated outcomes designed to prepare the student for work and /or further study, as well as by theoretical approaches intended to address and develop students' aptitude for critical questioning, analysis and application. The emphasis is on the education of the would-be journalist as well as on vocational training. The graduate will understand the context and ethical, moral, societal and legal frameworks in which the journalist operates and the responsibilities that are the legacies of the profession.
At level 4 the student will gain exposure to a wide range of skills, practices and theories underpinning the practice of journalism. Practical skills include news reporting, subediting, web production, layout and design. The curriculum allows students to examine and analyse the regulatory frameworks of law and local government as they impact on journalism today. In addition, students will have the opportunity to examine comparative international contexts and to reflect on the links between journalism and democracy.
Level 5 will see the development of these skills into more extensive journalistic projects and will give students the opportunity to take their skills into the workplace as part of the Enhancing your Employability through Work-Based Learning module. Students will also be required to critically analyse and reflect upon their practice in relation to audience, the market, sourcing news, the historical context, and the implications of new media technology.
WB5004 (Learning in the Wider World) is similar in ambition to WB5101 but facilitates undertaking the work based learning placement at a location outside the United Kingdom. WB5004, although available to all students as an alternative to WB5101, must be applied for and participation is restricted to students who meet the criteria of interview, attendance and behaviour during Level 5. All students will be required to receive clearance from their PAT prior to departing on their overseas placement. Students must complete and have a Risk Assessment approved before they are eligible for this module.
WB5008, The Study Abroad Experience, will be offered as a complementary year of study abroad to students who have successfully completed their second-year of study (Level 5). Application will occur in January of Level 5. As such, students may be required to present evidence of successful completion of Level 4, satisfactory on-going assessment, academic references and attendance in order for their application to be accepted. Students must also complete a Risk Assessment to indicate that they are fully aware of the requirements for the exchange, university/college and destination that they are applying for.
At level 6 students produce more ambitious projects which test the skills, practices and theories learned over the duration of the course, as well as exploring the newest innovations of the information society. Modules encourage the journalism student to examine the profession's central place within the wider economic, cultural and political sphere and provide students with the opportunity to articulate the implications of the centrality of the modern media, and to analyse the diversity of approaches to understanding media in both historic and contemporary contexts.
Problem-solving skills and analytical techniques will be developed that can be applied in many types of employment. The Journalism graduate will be able to evaluate evidence, arguments and assumptions, to reach sound judgements, to communicate effectively, and will have developed both subject specific and key-transferable skills applicable to a wide range of contexts - including journalism.
The incremental approach to the development of print journalism skills through the three levels of the degree programme within a context of critical questioning, reflection and application will reassure employers that students will be ready, both academically and practically, to enter the workplace and meet their need for graduates who can contribute from day one.
Please note that ME5716 and ME6719 are only available for transnational delivery.
120 credits at Level 4 entitles the student to a Certificate of Higher Education
240 credits by the end of Level 5 entitles the student to a Diploma of Higher Education
360 credits by the end of Level 6 entitles the student to a Bachelor’s degree
• 112 UCAS points from GCE A Levels or equivalent. Typical offer - BCC/BBC • BTEC National Diploma/Certificate: merit/distinction profile • OCR National Extended Diploma/Diploma: merit/distinction profile • Irish Highers/Scottish Highers: B in 4 subjects • International Baccalaureate: 26 points • QAA recognised Access to HE Diploma, Open College Units or Open University Credits • The Advanced Diploma: acceptable on its own
Please note: A BTEC National Award, OCR National Certificate or the Welsh Baccalaureate (core) will be recognised in our tariff offer.
The Subject Benchmark Statements for Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies are available on the QAA website (www.qaa.ac.uk). The team have taken cognisance of the benchmark statements throughout the crafting of this degree programme.
Journalism graduates are expected to engage with a range of texts and genres, as well as forms of critical analysis, argument and debate, expressed through a competent command of appropriate communication and production forms. An awareness of the diversity of approaches to communication via journalism is encouraged throughout the three years of the degree.
The balance between theory and practice is maintained via a range of different assessment criteria, related to each module. For example, level four requires students to engage with the realities of contemporary news gathering and writing. Such practical modules subsequently allow students to apply their knowledge of media processes to an examination of policy and ethical issues as they affect democratic participation and issues of citizenship.
Journalism graduates will have demonstrated a broad knowledge of the centrality of the media at all levels of political, economic and social organisation and will have the ability to articulate media influence and its implications. At level 4, modules encourage students to appreciate the wider socio-cultural and political context in which journalists operate. At level 6, students have the opportunity to analyse the relationship between media, public opinion and government policy by way of optional modules and their Dissertation topic.
In addition, modules contribute to the understanding of both comparative international perspectives and the historical formation of journalism, allowing students to place the modern profession in a wider context.
Students will be required to apply their knowledge of media processes to an examination of policy and ethical issues as they affect democratic participation and issues of citizenship. Students must prove their ability to work across a range of group and independent modes of study, and must demonstrate flexibility, creativity and the capacity for critical self reflection within them.
The general learning, teaching and assessment strategy of the media department and journalism programme is to enable students to develop knowledge, skills and understanding in their chosen areas of study, to become progressively more independent in their learning and to develop a range of transferable skills. Tutors view themselves as supporters and facilitators of active learning rather than didactic transmitters of fixed bodies of knowledge.
Learning opportunities on all programmes are designed to achieve the knowledge, skills and personal development stated in the module descriptors. On undergraduate programmes learning experiences are geared to progression and integration through the levels of the programmes. On both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes students are encouraged to critically reflect upon their consumption and production of media products. Tutors teaching both individually and collectively use a wide range of teaching methods including lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops and production projects.
The emphasis is on early diagnosis of students' strengths and weaknesses, followed by interactive learning and increasing autonomy as students progress through their programmes. Departmental staff support the development of transferable skills and encourage the development of capabilities which students can later apply in a range of occupations. The first of these is undertaken through embedding appropriate skills into the Department's modules and these are clearly identified through learning outcomes and assessment criteria.
Students will progress through the programme, developing from a position of reliance and dependency on tutor guidance and support in the initial stages to a self-supporting, self-directed and autonomous approach to their studies. Students will increasingly be expected to demonstrate the ability to originate, research, assimilate, develop and critically review ideas across a range of practically and academically focused modules, in accordance with level-related assessment criteria. Level four study will provide opportunity for students to develop key and core skills, knowledge and understanding, thereby creating an effective platform from which greater autonomy, academic awareness and production skill may be evolved.
Students, typically, will not work with external bodies at level four but will be evolving skills and practices relevant to a workplace environment. At level five and six, students will engage with external companies through their production modules and experiential/work based learning, forging working relationships between themselves, the media creative industries and the college. Level six study may also require the writing of an 8,000 word dissertation based upon independent research or practice. Students will experience a range of teaching and learning methods related, and relevant to the acquisition of key and subject specific knowledge and skills.
The curriculum and learning experiences offered to students will be designed to reflect the specific aims, emphases and learning outcomes of the programme. Students will be made aware of these at the outset from the programme and individual modules. Students of this programme will reap the benefits of exploring a wide range materials and sources, from both academic and non-academic contexts cognate with the field of study.
Learning opportunities will be via a selection of lectures, seminars and tutorials given by lecturers, visiting lecturers, external contacts and practicing media professionals from across the media industries, who would have first hand and current experience of the opportunities in the discipline for potential graduates and an ability to relate the course to prevalent contemporary practices and trends. Opportunities for active assimilation, application, questioning, debate and critical reflection are therefore provided. The Work Based Learning module at level five will also afford students the opportunity to develop skills in the workplace and other relevant environments. Reflection on their own and industry practices should enhance the student's portfolio of knowledge and experience, enabling them to think critically and objectively about their chosen field.
As students progress through the levels of the programme they will be expected to become more independent in their learning and to develop the capacity for critical reflection. From the student point of view, the three levels of study can be considered to be foundational, developmental and independent in their nature. The increasing emphasis on student self-direction and self-responsibility will be reflected in the learning and teaching strategies and methods deployed. The variety of methods employed will include the following: Lectures, demonstrations, screenings, seminars, workshops, work-simulations, tutorials, group and individual project work, live projects, supervised independent learning, computer aided research, open and resource-based learning activities such as digital photography and edit techniques, field activities such as location recording and news gathering, group and individual presentations, media visits, small group tutorials, independent study, dissertation and work based or experiential learning.
Students will be expected to work independently outside timetabled teaching sessions. They will be provided with structured reading for seminars and expected to work individually and within groups, to successfully complete both academic and practical assignments. Students will be expected to keep up to date with current affairs and developments, especially in the area of media and communications and they will, naturally, be expected to read critically a wide range of media-related academic texts, newspapers, journals and magazines and engage with broad and narrowcast media, print and online publications.
Assessment on this programme is designed to provide feedback to students on their performance in order to shape future learning, to verify achievement in order that students can progress through and beyond the programme and to evidence for internal and external use the maintenance and enhancement of the quality of the programme.
In the early stages of the programme, the formative role of assessment to help students learn may be as important as the summative assessment for certification. As students progress through the programme more emphasis may be placed on the verification of achievement. More traditional methods of assessment such as examinations and formal essays predominate on this programme, but are balanced by presentations, web logs, portfolios, reports, and critical reviews of media texts.
Written assignments provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to study independently and involve locating, organising and critically assessing material. Seen and unseen exam papers provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge under time constrained conditions.
Seminar presentations help students to develop their ability to articulate ideas and arguments orally, providing the opportunity for students to develop presentation skills and use appropriate technology. Combined, these and other methods of assessment are both formative and summative. The success of these methods is confirmed by external examiners' reports and is demonstrated in student assignments.
Methods of assessment are communicated to students at the beginning of each module and details of the form of assessment and associated criteria are clearly stated in each module handbook. The department uses anonymous marking for projects, assignments and dissertations where this is practical. All examination scripts are anonymously marked. Although examination papers are not returned to students, they are offered the opportunity to discuss their scripts with tutors. Feedback forms based on the published assessment criteria are used to provide feedback for all assignments. Feedback on all assessments is used to provide guidance to students on how to boost future learning as well as to clarify current achievement. Formative feedback is used on all programmes. Students are entitled to personal guidance on feedback given, which may be supplied by the module tutor or an academic advisor.
The assessment strategy of this programme is based on the following assumptions and practices:
Assessment is acknowledged to be a major driver of student learning.
A variety of assessment practices will be employed in order to provide students with a range of opportunities to display intellectual, practical and transferable skills, and to accommodate the different learning styles of individual students.
Clear criteria for grading and the rules and regulations for assessment and awards will be available for all students throughout their programme.
Assessment at early stages of the programme will focus on evidencing the acquisition and development of foundation undergraduate knowledge, skills and understanding: later stages of the programme will focus on the demonstration of students' ability to independently synthesize advanced knowledge and skills. Assignments and projects at the start of the programme will be largely tutor determined. By level 6 students will have significant elements of self-determination in their coursework assessments and dissertation.
Tutors delivering the programme have explored and discussed maps of module aims, learning outcomes and assessments across the programme during the programme's design process in order to understand how their module assessments complement others in the programme and to develop equivalences in assessment weightings and balances.
An honours graduate of this programme will have developed an understanding of a complex body of knowledge, some of it at the current boundaries of an academic discipline. Through this, the graduate will have developed analytical techniques and problem-solving skills that can be applied in many different types of employment. The graduate will be able to evaluate evidence, arguments and assumptions, to reach sound judgements and to communicate effectively.
An honours graduate should have the necessary qualities for employment in situations requiring the exercise of personal responsibility and decision-making in complex and unpredictable circumstances. Through specific module demands and the work-based or experiential learning scheme the programme will draw upon and develop students' capabilities in analysis, critique, and synthesis. This will enable students to analyse, contextualise and apply skills, theories and practices in an informed and intelligent manner.
Throughout the writing of this programme, the team has been mindful of the graduate characteristics detailed in the benchmarking statement for Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies. Though these are specific aims, it is understood that it would be unlikely for any one programme of study to achieve all of them. However a course which has, at its core, the synergy between theory and practice, relating education to the work place, is likely to achieve most of them.
The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.
The value and relevance of our programmes is recognised through the relationship we have with a large range of media and related employers, through our work experience programme and through our liaison with professional organisations and media organisations. These include the Chester Chronicle, the Warrington Guardian and their related publications.
The University enjoys very close links with a number of broadcasting companies, including the BBC and Granada Media Group.
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