Curriculum for Journalism & Media Studies Degree Programme in Nigerian Universities

Journalism & Media Studies is one of the most popular degree programmes in communication schools across the world. It is among the seven courses to be offered in the school/faculty of communication in Nigerian Universities. This degree course is aimed at students who wish to study Journalism and Media. Media studies programmes take an integrated approach and a broader look at media in all its forms. It is all-inclusive programme which equips candidates with relevant knowledge in print and broadcast journalism, digital journalism, media practice, public relations, and the history, development and ethics of journalism. The primary focus of this course is on balancing practical and academic aspects.

Here’s the course structure contained in the curriculum approved by the National Universities Commission (NUC) for this degree programme. If you’re thinking of going into this interesting area here’s what to expect within the four year-period of study. This information was lifted from the approved curriculum for the programme.

 

Philosophy, Aim and Objectives

In appreciation of the current complex and technology driven nature of the society, the B. Sc. programme in Journalism and Media Studies is designed to produce highly knowledgeable, skilful, socially responsible and entrepreneurial journalists to occupy different positions in traditional and new media organizations.

Course Structure

Course structure at 100-Level

COURSE CODE

COURSE TITLE UNITS STATUS
100 LEVEL  1ST& 2ND SEMESTERS
CMS 101 Introduction to Communication I 2 C
CMS 102 Introduction to Communication II 2 C
CMS 103 History of Nigerian Media 2 C
CMS 104 Writing for the Media 2 C
CMS 105 Traditional African Communication Systems 2 C
CMS 106 Introduction to Computer & Computer Applications 2 C
CMS 107 Introduction to Statistics I 2 C
GST 111 English for Communicators 2 C
GST 112 Logic, Philosophy & Human Communication 2 C
GST 113 Nigerian Peoples & Culture 2 C
GST 121 Use of Library, Study Skills & ICT 2 C
GST 123 Basic Communication in French 2 E
GST 124 Basic Communication in Arabic 2 E
GST 126 Basic Communication in Nigerian languages

(Option of any one Nigerian language)

2 E
Courses from the Faculty of Social Sciences 6 R
Courses from other Faculties 6 E
TOTAL 32

 

Course structure at 200-Level

Course Code Course Title Units Status
200 LEVEL  1ST& 2ND SEMESTERS
CMS 201 Feature Writing 2 C
CMS 202 Critical and Review Writing 2 C
CMS 203 Editing & Graphics of Communication 2 C
CMS 204 Theories of Communication 2 C
CMS 205 Foundations of Communication Research 2 C
CMS 206 Introduction to Statistics II 2 C
CMS 207 Nigerian Constitutional Development 2 C
CMS 209 Media and Information Literacy 2 C
CMS 211 Media Attachment 3 C
GST 222 Peace & Conflict Resolution 2 C
GST 223 Introduction to Entrepreneurial Skills 2 C
GST 224 Leadership Skills 2 C
JMS201 News Writing and Reporting I 2 C
JMS202 News Writing and Reporting II 2 C
JMS203 Photo-Journalism I 2 C
JMS 204 Photo-Journalism II 2 C
JMS205 Media Policy and Regulation 2 R
JMS206 Community Journalism 2 E
JMS207 Peace Journalism 2 E
JMS 208 Media and Democracy 2 E
Courses from other Departments in Communication & Media Studies 4 R
TOTAL 41

Course structure at 300-Level

COURSE CODE COURSE TITLE UNITS STATUS
300 LEVEL  1ST& 2ND SEMESTERS
CMS 301 International Communication 2 C
CMS 302 Communication & Society 2 C
CMS 303 Gender & Communication 2 C
CMS 304 Media Attachment 3 C
JMS301 Newspaper Production I

 

2 C
JMS 302 Newspaper Production II 2 C
JMS303 Scientific & Data Journalism 2 C
JMS 304 Investigative Journalism 2 C
JMS 305 Multimedia and Online Journalism

 

2 C
JMS 306 Foreign Correspondence 2 C
JMS 307 Media Entrepreneurship 2 C
JMS 308 Journalism Ethics & Professionalism 2 C
JMS 309 Editing & Infographics in Journalism 2 C
JMS310 Trends and Issues in Journalism & Media Studies 2 C
JMS311 Introduction to Book Publishing 2 E
JMS 312 New Communication Technologies 2 E
Courses from other Departments in Communication & Media Studies 4 R
TOTAL 35

Course structure at 400-Level

COURSE CODE COURSE TITLE UNITS STATUS
400 LEVEL  1ST& 2ND SEMESTERS
CMS 401 Media Law 2 C
CMS 402 Media Ethics 2 C
CMS 403 Data Analysis in Communication Research 2 C
CMS 404 Safety of Media Professionals 2 C
CMS 405 Media Economics and Sustainability 2 C
CMS 406 Communication for Development 2 C
CMS 499 Original Research Project I & II 6 C
JMS401 Magazine Production 2 C
JMS402 Specialised Reporting 2 C
JMS403 Child Rights Reporting 2 E
JMS 404 Editorial Writing 2 C
JMS405 Media Management 2 C
JMS406 Comparative Media Systems 2 C
JMS408 Business & Organisational Communication 2 E
Courses from other Departments in Communication & Media Studies 4 R
TOTAL 34

Course synopses

 100-Level Courses

 CMS 101        INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNICATION I

A global overview of the history, institutions and functions of communication in human society; an examination of the concepts, levels/categories and elements of human communication; survey of the role and influence of cultural beliefs and practices as well as changing technologies in human communication.

CMS 102        INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNICATION II

Consideration of media communications as a sub-type of human communication; an overview of the progress; models, and elements of media communications; survey of the media, including their adjuncts are discussed. It also presents an examination of the characteristics, functions, contents, operations and impact of the media as well as national media systems and communication between/across nations.

CMS 103        HISTORY OF NIGERIAN MEDIA

This course traces the major trends in the development of the communication and media in Nigeria; as well as their adaptation and contribution to the political, religious, economic and social development in Nigeria.

CMS 104        WRITING FOR THE MEDIA

Instruction and practice in writing for the media with the major emphasis on development of effective styles in professional communications and proficiency in grammar and the use of language.

CMS 105        TRADITIONAL AFRICAN COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS

Survey of African traditional communication forms, channels, contents, technologies and institutions. Students are exposed to the significance and influence of these traditional structures on modern communication systems, as well as on contemporary African Political Culture and development.

CMS 106        INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTER & COMPUTER APPLICATIONS

Instruction and practice in computer operations aimed at enabling the students to acquire the basic knowledge and skills essential for communication professionals.

CMS 107        INTRODUCTION TO STATISTICS I

Role of statistics in social science inquiry; Nature of measurement; presentation of data. Central values measures of deviation, correlation, nature of sampling; Probabilities and normal distribution, inference hypotheses testing.  Test of significance.

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200-Level Courses

CMS 201        FEATURE WRITING

This is a practical course designed to enable students to become proficient in preparing a publishable feature articles. Focus is on writing, analysing and marketing feature articles for offline and online newspapers and magazines. Subject research, investigation of editorial needs, ethical and legal problems and manuscript preparation are also discussed in this course. It provides excellent material from the Nigerian and foreign news media for study and imitation.

CMS 202        CRITICAL AND REVIEW WRITING

Prerequisite; news writing or consent of instructor; theory and practice of reviewing the arts for newspapers. Students write reviews of plays, movies, television programmes, musical and dance events.

CMS 203        EDITING & GRAPHICS OF COMMUNICATION

Students are taught how to write and edit copy in a style appropriate to the news media. Emphasis is placed on the preparation of articles and photographs in photo editing for newspaper publications, online and multimedia. Editing symbols and news proof-reader’s symbols will be used in this course.

CMS 204        THEORIES OF COMMUNICATION

Exploration and analysis of major theories that deal with the nature, uses and effects of media and communication; the relationship between theory and research and the relevance of the latter to the success of the former are discussed.

CMS 205        FOUNDATIONS OF COMMUNICATION RESEARCH

The primary aim of this course is to introduce students to the logic and methods of research in communication. Principles of research design, instrumentation, data collection and analysis are taught to enable students apply them effectively.

CMS 206        INTRODUCTION TO STATISTICS II

The nature of statistical methods. The role and significance of statistics in Social Research; Frequency distribution; Measures of Central Tendency – Mean, Mode, Median; Measures of dispersion – Range, Variance, Standard Deviation; Elementary Probability Theory; Binomial, Normal and Poisson Distributions. Tests of Hypotheses; small sample tests – t – test, x2 – test and F – test; Regression analysis; Analysis of Variance; Time series analysis; Index numbers; Sources of Statistical Data in Nigeria.

CMS 207        NIGERIAN CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT

A chronological and critical survey of the development of the Nigerian Constitution from colonial times to the present; the developmental processes and features of the Richards Constitution, the McPherson Constitution, the Littleton Constitution, the Independence Constitution, The Republican Constitution, and the 1979 Constitution are all highlighted.

CMS 209: MEDIA AND INFORMATION LITERACY

This course empowers students to learn, and to pursue lifelong learning. It aims at educating students to become media and information literate, to be informed and rational citizens. The course also equips students with competencies needed to seek and enjoy the full benefits of media exposure. It embodies essential knowledge about (a) the functions of media, libraries, archives and other information providers in democratic societies, (b) the conditions under which news media and information providers can effectively perform those functions, and (c) how to evaluate the performances of these functions by assessing the content and services they offer.

CMS 211 & CMS 304           MEDIA ATTACHMENT

This is a compulsory course for all Students, who are sent to relevant organizations for practical experience. It is a supervised activity and students must supply a weekly log-book and portfolio for all work carried out during the period of internship, the least should be 12 weeks in each of the two sessions.

JMS 201: NEWS WRITING REPORTING I

This is a practical course designed to enable students to become proficient in preparing a publishable copy under deadline. Focus is on writing, and marketing off actual articles for newspapers, general magazines; Students are taught how to identify a news story. They will be assigned to beats, primarily on campus, to develop stories for publication and encouraged to submit outstanding articles to the metropolitan news media. The course examines various definitions of news as well as the structure of the news stay and other journalistic forms.

JMS202: NEWS WRITING AND REPORTING II

Prerequisite: Introduction to News Reporting or consent of instructor; Students are taught

Theory and practice of News Reporting, made to review the lively arts for a daily newspaper. The course develop students confidence in the act of investigating and writing of publishable stories.

JMS 203: PHOTO-JOURNALISM I

This  is  a practical  introduction  to  news  photography featuring solid  grounding in  basic

Camera and darkroom techniques but placing emphasis on the development of the emerging photojournalist’s sensitivity  to people; Circumstances and events to which he will be expected to take pictures that communicate;  Fundamentals of photography,  operation of different cameras, photography processes and the use of standard photographic equipment and materials in the photo-laboratory. This is a photo-reporting course with emphasis on pictures that communicate with aesthetic as well as technical skills. Portfolios are required.

JMS 204: PHOTO-JOURNALISM II

The course describes how to use pictures to tell graphic stories of events. Students will be taken through the processes of collecting, editing and presenting news materials for publication with the help of photographs. The course will also teach students how to write captions for the pictures they produce.

JMS 205: MEDIA POLICY AND REGULATION

The aim of this course is to expose students to media policies and regulations. Emphasis will

Be drawn from media literature, Nigerian constitution, media laws in exposing students to the fundamental knowledge of what they are expected to know as young professionals.

JMS 206: COMMUNITY JOURNALISM

The course discusses writing, editing and publishing weekly or regular news paper for the

rural   community,   small municipalities   and   urban   neighbourhoods;  Content   analysis, readership research and business and management procedures.

JMS 207: PEACE JOURNALISM

The focus of this course will be on the role of the media in peace building, conflict prevention, conflict resolution and consolidation of peace. The first part of this course introduces students to various theoretical approaches to the study of media and peace-building. The second examines the deliberate use of the media to promote peace and teaches students possible ways of making ethical decisions and choices about what to report, and how to report, a violent, potentially violent or difficult situation so as to create opportunities for society at large to consider and to value non-violent responses to conflict. It uses the concepts of balance, fairness and accuracy in reporting.

JMS 208: MEDIA AND DEMOCRACY

This course will discuss the different strata or various branches of government including the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary and the interactions between media and political institutions, actors and processes. It will also examine the relationship between communication and democracy and the role of media communication practitioners in fostering democracy in Africa. It will examine the concept of democracy; media ownership and control; it will enable students to take a critical look at how the African media report politics at the local, national and international levels.

 

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300-Level Courses

CMS 301        INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATION

This course is an overview of the world’s media systems. The focus will be on the flow of information between the industrialized and advancing nations; how ideology, culture, economy and international market structure have all contributed either in hindering or advancing the international flow of news and entertainment among nations. The scope, characteristics, peculiarities and current issues in international communication  will  be  exhaustively  treated  so  as  to  acquaint  the  student  with  a thorough knowledge of the politics and manipulative nature of international communication.

CMS 302        COMMUNICATION AND SOCIETY

Examination of the media of communication as social institutions with particular attention to pertinent sociological concepts, themes and problems; the role and relationship of the mass media vis-à-vis other major social institutions. Focus on the sociology and professionalism of media communicators, media  contents  and  the  issue  of cultural imperialism and media dependency; internal dynamics and control of media organizations and mass communication politics. The role of communication in development is critically examined.

CMS 303        GENDER & COMMUNICATION

Gender issues are critical to development. Accordingly, the course examines the ways in which gender relations are impacted by culture, conventions, policies, communication and media as well as other  dynamics in society.

JMS 301: NEWSPAPER PRODUCTION I

This is a practical course that teaches all the rudiments of newspaper production and which requires the students to produce a newspaper.

JMS 302: NEWSPAPER PRODUCTION II

This course builds on JMS 301 in providing hand-on instruction in the production of newspaper. Students are required to produce, distribute and market a newspaper.

JMS 303: SCIENTIFIC AND DATA JOURNALISM

Scientific journalism can be considered as a highly specialised branch of investigative reporting, but the majority of techniques can also be put to good use in everyday journalism.This course introduces students to the basic theory, methods and tools of data journalism. In order to work in data journalism, knowledge of its history and the classical examples or paradigms is required.

JMS 304: INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM

The objective of the course is to teach students principles of unearthing hidden facts that are of public interest, positive or negative. Students get insight into how to investigate a wide range criminal, political, corrupt and other vices in society.

JMS 305: MULTIMEDIA AND ONLINE JOURNALISM

The course is designed to train students in the principles, technologies and practice of multimedia journalism and the use of the Internet as a publishing and broadcasting medium. It will focus on web page creation and cover page development, web techniques and major related issues such as site strategy and social context, the nature of Internet journalism and future trends in online publishing.

JMS 306: FOREIGN CORRESPONDENCE

The course emphasizes the need for the development of an elite press corps to survey the international scene for the country. It teaches the students, discusses the politics and economics  of foreign  correspondence and  teaches  skills  that  will  enable the reporter to function effectively as a foreign correspondent.

JMS 307: MEDIA ENTREPRENEURSHIP

The course teaches student the business aspects of media ownership and management. The course encourages students to be entrepreneurial in establishing their media outfits

JMS 308: JOURNALISM ETHICS & PROFESSIONALISM

Ethical and moral standards applicable to the mass media; ethical responsibilities of individuals, groups, and organizations engaged in message construction, transmission or consumption,particularly in the field of news and public affairs. It also evaluates theories of ethics and case studies in ethics.

JMS 309: EDITING AND INFOGRAPHICS IN JOURNALISM

Students are taught how to write and edit copy in a style appropriate to the news media. Emphasis is placed on the preparation of articles and photographs in photo editing for newspaper publication. Editing symbols and news proof reader’s symbols will be used in this case.

JMS 310: TRENDS AND ISSUES IN JOURNALISM AND MEDIA STUDIES

Critical analysis of significant events, issues, trends and personalities that have featured in and characterized the Nigerian media from the political, social and economic points of view; Course underscores the dynamics of the media in Nigeria and their institutional role that leads to development.

JMS 311: INTRODUCTION TO BOOK PUBLISHING

Survey of frontiers in book publishing technology; the advent of xerography and similar

Duplicating processes. The course also evaluates the business of book publishing and the publishing process, activities and associations.

JMS 312: NEW COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES 

This course introduces students to the various technologies of comm.; features, application and impact. It also basic knowledge about the Internet and the various search engines and directories of the World Wide Web and covers such areas as browsing, e-mail, mailing lists, newsgroups, chat and Web publishing,

 

400-Level Courses

CMS 401        MEDIA LAW

Study of the legal framework within which mass media institutions operate in Nigeria; the development and constitutional growth of freedom of expression in Nigeria, the privileges and restraints  affecting  the  mass  media, such as  libel,  sedition,  privacy,  contempt,  obscenity, copyright, etc. and government regulation.

CMS 402        MEDIA ETHICS

Ethical and moral standards applicable to the media and communication professionals; ethical responsibilities of individuals, groups, and organizations engaged in message construction, transmission or consumption, particularly in the field of news and public affairs, entertainment and persuasion.

CMS 403        DATA ANALYSIS IN COMMUNICATION RESEARCH

Students are introduced to data analysis techniques, particularly the use of tables, graphs and other statistical techniques and procedures. They are taught  how  to  present  and  interpret  data,  using  these techniques.

CMS 404        SAFETY OF MEDIA PROFESSIONALS

In today’s environment of violent conflicts, international organized crime, and government impunity, the safety of journalists and media professionals has become of prime concern. This course analyses the issues and challenges involved in safeguarding the lives of journalists whose work put them in harm’s way. Institutional and other remedies are considered and debated.

CMS 405        MEDIA ECONOMICS AND SUSTAINABILITY

Critical issues have arisen over the last few decades on sustainability of the media in the face of a rapidly changing economy and importantly changing media technology. This course will examine principally emerging media occasioned by contemporary realities.

CMS 406        COMMUNICATION FOR DEVELOPMENT

This is an introductory study of the role of communication in the development process.  The role of the   media   in   relation   to   interpersonal   networks,   including   the   multi-media   approach   to communication in the development process is emphasized, along with the dynamics of development and communication variables that influence development.

CMS 499        ORIGINAL RESEARCH PROJECT I & II

Each student is required to select, in consultation with the supervisor, a topic/problem and study this in detail, apply necessary theories/concepts and appropriate methods. Students initiate and execute a project following the steps in the research process, or do a professional production in one of the following areas: journalism, advertising, public relations, radio/television broadcasting, film or multimedia. However, each candidate is advised to orient his/her research project in a relevant area of specialization in Communication and Media Studies. Original Research Project I focuses on at least the first three chapters of the final research project. In Original Research Project II, the final research project is expected to be submitted to the Department for assessment by Internal and External examiners. The project may also be defended before a panel of examiners.

JMS 401: MAGAZINE PRODUCTION

Application of theories of economics and management to the management of general and specialized magazines;  Students  will  process  editorial  materials  and  produce  a magazine.

JMS 402: SPECIALISED REPORTING

This course gives advanced instruction and practice in writing News Stories on specialized subjects such as population, environment, agriculture, medicine, religion, sports, crime, technology, the arts and the like.

JMS 403: CHILD RIGHTS REPORTING

This course exposes students to child right issues. Student are taught the skills of writing and reporting the rights of the child in line with the Child Rights Act

JMS 404: EDITORIAL WRITING

Intensive working the theory and practice of writing editorials and columns based on opinion

with particular emphasis on analysis and interpretation of events.

JMS 405: MEDIA MANAGEMENT

The course will examine economic principles in mass media businesses, including production cost, audience promotion and advertising revenue. It will also discuss the application of economic theory and the principles of management in the media industry. Case studies will be used to help students to deal with ethical work dilemmas. Among the topics to be discussed are: history, theory and practice of management ; media ownership patterns ; characteristics of organisations ; organisation of media newsrooms and the communication structures in media organisations ; leadership styles; public and private ownership of media houses ; staff management; financial management ; advertising and distribution.

JMS 406: COMPARATIVE MEDIA SYSTEMS

The course introduces students to a comparative analysis of the various media systems in terms of their roles, structure and relationships to socio-political systems. This course introduces various academic theories, cases, and models to make sense of global, regional and local media systems and ways stakeholders influence the media environment we live in today.  On local and regional levels, it will discuss how media evolve under economic and political influences. On the global level, it will analyze global media conglomerates’ agendas for international news distribution.  Then, it will critically examine the ways new media technology allows the general population to access and actively contribute to social media content.

JMS 408: BUSINESS AND ORGANISATIONAL COMMUNICATION

This course studies the system of communication in small and large organisations and businesses. It examines the relative merits of communication or information processes adopted, ways and means of improving communication/business concerns, as well as effective business communication in contemporary work place. The course also reviews the field of organisational communication (theories and principles) and selects special topics it the areas of business, management and organisational/corporate communication for special treatment and in-depth analysis.

(Source: DRAFT PROPOSAL OF A REVISED BMAS FOR UNDERGRAGRADUATE PROGRAMMES IN COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA STUDIES SUBMITTED TO THE NATIONAL UNIVERSITIES COMMISSION (NUC), ABUJA)

The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a communication researcher with several years of lecturing experience in Nigerian universities.

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