This could be described as breaking news especially to those who have a degree in Mass Communication, or currently studying to get this degree, or you have friends who have something to do with this degree in Nigeria. The era of having Mass Communication as a degree programme in Nigerian universities is now officially over.
The National Universities Commission (NUC) says it has unbundled Mass Communication into seven separate degree programmes to meet present demand and this takes effect from 2020 admissions into Nigerian universities.
In a chat with journalists in Abuja, NUC’s Executive Secretary, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, said Mass Communication has been unbundled into Media Studies, Public Relation Studies, Cinematography, among others.
Recall that professors, professionals and practitioners of communication in Nigeria had presented new communication curricula to National Universities Commission (NUC) seeking the unbundling of mass communication into seven departments. The NUC had approved the Curriculum which resulted in the emergence of seven degree-awarding programmes and the phasing out of the single BSc/BA Degree Programme in Mass Communication currently offered in different Faculties in different universities.
The seven new Programmes/Departments, to be domiciled in a Faculty / School / College of Communication and Media Studies are: Journalism & Media Studies, Public Relations, Advertising, Broadcasting, Film & Multi-Media Studies, Development Communication Studies, Information & Media Studies.
Here are the seven new degree programmes replacing Mass Communication. If you have someone interested in enrolling into any mass communication related discipline just take a look at these seven new degrees and prepare the person effectively for any of them.
Journalism & Media Studies
This is one of the most popular degrees in mass communication schools across the world. It is more all-encompassing than many other degrees. This is why it is among the most sought-after degrees by candidates who wish to gain broad knowledge of activities and emerging trends in journalism and media world.
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.
Journalism and Media studies education explores all forms of media, from print to film to digital communications. The programme focuses on mass communication and its effects on the public.
Media studies degree programmes are usually interdisciplinary in nature. It explores all media forms and their impact on society. Many schools have specific media studies departments while others may offer the programmes through their journalism or mass communications departments. However, the recommendation by Nigerian professors and professionals is to have a degree on Journalism and Media Studies, not to have two separate degree courses.
Journalism and Media degree equips you with a range of interests including advertising, media law and regulation, privacy, digital journalism, broadcast journalism, professional writing, comics, visual culture, live television and media events, gaming and virtual worlds, and hypertexts, film and video, multimedia, global media systems, virtual landscapes, social networks, interactive television, media and representation, cult TV, computer games and documentary.
Bachelor’s degree programme in Journalism and Media Studies is aimed at students interested in the broad range of media, and media theories, the ways in which the media were shaped and the impact they have on culture and society. Some programs may offer a focus, such as film studies or mass communication, but most take a broad approach to cover all areas, including film, television, print and digital communication. The course topics you would find in this programme would include journalism, History of media, Legal issues in communications, Ethics and journalism, Critical approaches to media, Visual culture, New media, among others.
Graduates of a media studies bachelor’s degree programmes are prepared for both traditional and non-traditional media careers. That is why this programme is very lucrative and well-sought-after. Some graduates find work as news journalists, film editors and communication specialists. Other job titles might include Public relations specialist, Advertising account manager, Marketing analyst, Newsroom coordinator, Broadcast journalist, Photojournalist, and a range of other exciting career options. This is definitely a course you would like to study in any Nigerian institution.
Public relations is one of the most sought-after programmes in media and communication training schools in Nigeria across the world. Many Nigerian graduates want to major in public relations primarily due to the exciting, prestigious and lucrative nature of this discipline. Even graduates without a background in communication can major in public relations with basic training in this discipline. People who have written and verbal communications skills needed to be spokespeople for various organizations, have skills for coordinating special events and fundraising campaigns, who have knowledge of how to run a political campaigns, and basic social media management skills, excel as public relations executives within and outside Nigeria. The field of public relations is rapidly evolving.
The basic focus of this course is to develop the skills needed to help people and organizations strategically connect with each other. The programme trains candidates to become public relations professionals capable of adapting to the new ways people consume content, communicate, and connect. The core courses will emphasize, among others, promotions, publicity, community affairs, internal relations, writing, and special events planning, principles of public relations, public relations techniques, campaign and event planning, media relations, interface between social media and public relations, and international public relations. This is among the courses relevant in a dynamic and evolving society.
Advertising is another very popular discipline which most people want to venture into. A degree in this field is a ticket to lucrative, creative career path in Nigeria and other parts of the world. While you don’t necessarily need a degree to get into this field, a successful career in advertising usually begins with a comprehensive undergraduate education. This is a broad field, comprised of creative and business professionals who share one main goal: to motivate customers to buy products or services. The primary focus of this course is to equip candidates with requisite skills with which they can successfully motivate customers to buy products or services. The programme explores methods for learning what customers want and how to develop advertising campaigns that reach and persuade those populations.
Advertising degree programme would provide a foundation in the creative, management, interpersonal and analytical skills required to work in a dynamic and sophisticated corporate world. Coursework focuses on critical thinking, effective communication, writing, editing, and visualizing ideas and incorporates elements of social science research, statistics, multicultural studies, and visual design. It will include areas in business, consumer behaviour and media combined with classes in copywriting and photography which prepares students to develop effective ad campaigns while employed at agencies around the country. Other focus areas are advertising strategies, effective advertising sales, media planning, copywriting and visual design of ads, retail advertising, ethics and law in advertising.
Broadcasting relates to distributing audio-visual content to mass audiences via electronic media such as radio, television and webcasting. Whether you are listening to Political Voices on Dream FM, watching an English Premier League (EPL) analysis on Channels TV or streaming a podcast on Nigeria Info FM, content is being broadcast to you.
The main focus of this course is to engage students in different activities and to hone their skills in radio and television broadcasting. This includes depth knowledge of broadcast journalism and new media interplay in the broadcast world.
Students will be equipped with appropriate skills and knowledge in broadcasting and script writing. The programme would produce good script writers and broadcasters who can compete with graduates from other parts of the world. The course would strengthen ethical values on responsible journalism/broadcast media, enhance skills and competences in script writing, announcing, performance, and other areas in broadcasting.
Film & Multimedia Studies
This is a highly technical but very exciting programme which is very popular in higher institutions across the world. Film and Media Studies Degree programme incorporates courses in film history, aesthetics, and theory; theory and practice in television, popular culture, and new media; and all aspects of 16mm film and digital video production, including narrative, documentary, animated, and experimental film. Students learn the theory, history, and practice of filmmaking and media. Graduates are equipped with relevant skills to adapt to the evolving movies industry in Nigeria, including media practice and business.
If you’re interested in enrolling in this programme you will be prepared with requisite skills to work in the film and media industries after graduation. Those who acquire this degree could have thriving careers as directors, screenwriters, producers, editors, actors, cinematographers, financial and marketing executives, film scholars and curators, entertainment lawyers, agents, digital technicians, and web designers.
The Film and Media Studies programme introduces students to artistic and academic approaches to films and new media. It also provides opportunity for students to make their own films, analyze films from aesthetic, political, social and historical perspectives, and employ their media skills in the contexts of industry, creative production and civic engagement. You will understand and engage diverse concerns and obligations of filmmakers in contemporary local and global contexts. You will be equipped with knowledge of the local and international environment of filmmaking and media.
You will come across introductory and advanced courses in film studies, fiction filmmaking, documentary filmmaking, video editing, cinematography, media studies, screenwriting and directing, film theory, film curating studies, new modes in documentary film, directing actors and non-actors for film and TV, narrating filmmaking workshop, Television theory, study of movie industries (Hollywood, Bollywood, Nollywood, etc.), Film criticism, among others.
If you wish to pursue a career in filmmaking, film and media then this is the most relevant programme for you.
Development Communication Studies
Higher institutions in Nigeria will be among the few places you can get a bachelors degree in Development Communication. What a rare opportunity. Check everywhere, you would notice that this programme is done at the postgraduate level in most schools.
Development Communication Studies is one of the ‘hot’ programmes that will replace mass communication degree in Nigeria. This is definitely a hotcake. The reason is that private and public organizations and governments have since realized the increasing demand for the public to be included in development decisions. Even the corporate private sector in Nigeria and other parts of the world is aware that doing business in any society entails communicating its investment in development. This requires highly skilled development communicator who would employ participatory communication techniques, critical thinking and ability to evaluate outcomes within a structural framework to ensure achievement of development goals in a favourable environment.
Courses in Development Communication Studies proggramme will focus on such areas as participatory communication, behavioural change and social development, development communication theory, use of the mass and social media to disseminate information and encourage participation, development communication in Nigeria and other parts of the world, development media environment and media channels, Overview of commercial and community media for development, evaluating development communication tools, publishing to communicate development, writing features and profiles, communication strategy for development, assessing development communication system, civil society and advocacy in development communication, development journalism theory and practice, writing development case studies, broadcasting and development communication, new media and development communication, among others. If you want to have a career in development communication, this is the best course for you.
Information & Media Studies
Information and Media Studies programme recognizes the importance of connecting media theory learned in the classroom to real-world experiences. Most universities already offering this course have it as Information Science and Media Studies degree programme. It is a programme designed to provide a synergy between the study of information as a science and mediated communication as a practice. The programme draws on advances in information technology and its applications in mass media and media studies.
Media studies is a discipline and field of study that deals with the content, history, and effects of various media, particularly the mass 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. Just like Journalism and Media Studies degree, the primary focus of this Information and Media Studies course is on balancing practical and academic aspects.
Information and Media Studies degree programme is not new to Nigerian higher education system, as some private Universities are already offering it to candidates. The programme emphasizes the need to facilitate, through adequate theoretical and practical training, the emergence of competent professionals in the area of design, production, implementation and administration of digital media systems and information science.
Conventional communication principles and practices would be taught to students in addition to foundational concepts in information technology and design to specialized skills required for industry-standard creative digital design and production. At the end, students would be equipped with appropriate skills excel in careers in any of these very lucrative and sought-after areas: computer software programming; web and mobile applications development; online broadcast design; audio-visual production including sound and visual effects; animation and games for entertainment, advertisement and various forms of instructional content; social network analysis, among others. In today’s sophisticated ICT-driven world, this appears to be among the most relevant of the degrees to that will replace mass communication degree.
By Chinenye Nwabueze