Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) | Master′s Degree | DW | 07.11.2008
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Master's Degree

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The most frequently asked questions from the past are presented here with the appropriate explanations. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have further questions.

Where did the idea for this program and the cooperation between the University of Bonn, Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences and Deutsche Welle come from?

Deutsche Welle has been offering training for media professionals - especially in developing and transition countries - for more than 40 years now. Over that period of time, more than 40,000 students have completed these programs. There are usually two to eight-week seminars offered to partners in other countries. This has made it clear that there is additional need for a more comprehensive and thereby longer academic training program. In the end, we wanted to create an internationally-recognized degree that can be achieved through a master’s program - letting graduates apply for jobs around the world.

We feel that the demand for a specific, internationally-oriented and funded media training program is high. Technological changes, deregulation and privatization have lead to an explosion in the number of broadcasters - especially in the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America. The rapid growth in the number of media companies has created a large demand for well-trained journalists, which can't currently be met. There isn't an academic offer that provides adequate training - qualitatively or quantitatively. If Germany wants to communicate the idea of good governance in developing and transition countries, it needs to provide media training in terms of freedom of the press.

There are already plenty of master’s programs for media in Germany, but they are focused almost exclusively on German students. And even though the range of program offerings is very multifaceted, none of them offer the mix of academics and practical experience while looking at the connection between the media and cooperative development. Even global media development is underrepresented in existing programs - some of which offering just a regional emphasis. None of the programs in Germany are designed for international journalists in training, media managers from abroad or employees from communications departments in developing and transition countries - and none of them are bilingual. 

It was an obvious decision to work with the University of Bonn and the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences. We wanted to create a practice-oriented Master’s Program that offered graduates the possibility to pursue a doctorate afterwards. With its Institute for Communication Science and the Center for Developmental Research, the University of Bonn has a lot of expertise in communication and media science as well as development politics and international cooperation. The Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences is one of the most innovative technical universities in Germany and is the first to develop and establish a program for technological journalism. The three partners were meant to join forces.

What functions will each of the partners take over in this program?

The three partners will mutually agree to everything that has to do with the operational issues like curriculum, test regulations, accreditation, evaluation, selection of the lecturers and students, and organization of the testing procedures.

Deutsche Welle is responsible for developing the lectures for the International Media Studies program and implementing this plan with their own personnel. The framework will be a curriculum developed by Deutsche Welle. In order to guarantee the targeted revision, Deutsche Welle will confer with its partners when developing the curriculum and when selecting teaching staff. Deutsche Welle will also provide professional resources that are required for the lectures taking place at these institutions as well as all of the administrative tasks (infrastructure, personnel management, building management, bookkeeping, etc.).

The Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences will enact the test regulations, apply for the required accreditation and inspect the scheduled tests. It is also responsible for the evaluation of the program and will distribute the degrees. Certificates and report cards for those who graduate will incorporate a design that represents all partners involved. 

The University of Bonn will take part in the approval process for the curriculum as well as the accreditation and evaluation of the program. It will also offer students the opportunity to participate in associated lectures.

Exactly how is the Master's Program structured?

The first and second semesters provide a structured introduction to the analytic relationship between media, politics and society, while further examining media development, journalism, media economics and media management. Presentation, personal and intercultural communication will also be covered in the first year. In the third semester, the syllabus includes topics like empiricism, media planning and market research. This will be complemented by interdisciplinary subjects like project management and leadership training. Students will also have to complete a project dealing with media or communications science. During the fourth semester, students are required to write their Master Thesis, closing with a colloquium. When that has been completed, graduates will receive a Master of Arts.

Who is the target group for this program and what are the goals? What qualifications and professional opportunities will the graduates have?

The program is directed at young journalists, media managers and employees from communication departments from developing countries, especially from Africa, Asia, South America and Eastern Europe. Of course, Germans and other Europeans have the chance to apply. Those interested must have already completed an academic program (bachelor’s or equivalent) and have at least one year of professional media experience.

The four-semester Master's Program has been designed to train students - personally and professionally - to be competent journalists and prepare them for a challenging role as expert or manager in the media sector.

Exactly how will this program combine the topics of media and cooperative development? What hopes/expectations do those involved have for this combination?

The focus will be on what influence media has on democratic development with respect to cooperative development. As a link between the government and the people as well as between the different groups in society, the media has an important task for integration in society. The media can beneficial for the open discourse and development in a country. This power can also lead to the limitation of freedom of the press if it is used by powerful interest groups. With this in mind, the Master’s Program will analyze and discuss the characteristics of "open" and "closed" international media systems in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Western and Eastern Europe.

The Master's Program is based on the belief that there is a connection between democracy and development, between the freedom of opinion and democracy as well as between free media and development. The prerequisite for the establishment of a functioning, free media system are journalists who realize their role as a critical observer and reporter. This can only be guaranteed when they are professionally trained and feel obligated by a set of journalistic ethics. By training journalists academically, the Master's Program is therefore a targeted step towards making the media spokespeople for openness within democracy.