Department of Journalism, Stellenbosch University
Department of Journalism
The Department of Journalism is the oldest specialised postgraduate training institution for this profession in South Africa. In the one-year BA Honours programme, professional, practical skills dovetail with conceptual skills. In the advanced master’s and doctoral programmes the focus shifts to research on journalism in particular, and the media in general.
The University of Stellenbosch’s Department of Journalism has a rich and colourful history that echoes back to the beginning of 1978. This is the year in which newspaper stalwart and retired editor of Die Burger,Prof Piet Cillié, introduced himself to the first ever journalism class to have studied at Protea House. Acting on a proposal made to him by Ebbe Dommisse, the then news editor at Die Burger, Cillié was inspired to launch a journalism degree at his alma mater, the University of Stellenbosch, which he modelled closely on the world-reowned Columbia School of Journalism in New York.
Just like its American counterpart, the department focuses exclusively on a number of different postgraduate degrees and it is currently the only specialised postgraduate training institution for journalists in South Africa.
The department is conveniently situated on campus in Protea House, a neatly renovated Edwardian building and national monument, and offers students an unparalleled working environment as far as scenic beauty and ambience is concerned, allowing them to pursue their studies with the zest it deserves.
As part of the honours level course, the BA Honours in Journalism, two dozen or so apiring journalists with diverse academic and cultural backgrounds are afforded the oppportunity each year to spend a whole year gaining invaluable practical journalistic skills, as well as being exposed to the ethical, technological, marketing, managerial, sociological and historical basis of the media.
This is in stark contrast to the past, when newspapers scarcely believed in any formal training for their rookie reporters, simply throwing them into the deep end where they either had to sink or swim. Since then, the situation has changed dramatically and an academic qualification is now a virtual necessity for any prospective journalist.
When Cillié founded the department in 1978, it was one of his biggest goals to help establish journalism in South Africa as a respected and professional occupation. This ideal was carried forward after Cillié’s retirement at the end of 1983 by his successor and ex-editor of Beeld, Prof. Johannes Grosskopf.
Grosskopf also witnessed how the international communications revolution shook the world and the department had to adapt accordingly in order to survive. Once beloved and trustworthy typewriters were swept aside and replaced by computer screens and keyboards. After Grosskopf’s retirement at the end of 1993 to travel the world, his successor, Prof George Claassen, has seen to it that the department has remained in step with the latest technological advances that could be of benefit to journalists.
Under Claassen’s leadership, the department has placed a high premium on computer literacy, as well as Internet literacy. Students receive intensive training on how to utilise the Internet for research purposes. His successor, Prof Lizette Rabe, also alumnus of the first class of 1978, emphasises the need for multi-skilled journalists for a dynamic, morphing multi-media world where converging technology is the name of the game.
Since 1995, the students also published their own magazine, Stellenbosch Journalism Insight, for a couple of years whilst funding lasted. This will be replaced in 2002 by the launching of a new on-line publication, Stellenbosch Media Forum, for which the students will not only provide the contents, but also do the design of the website. Other practical work include the compiling, writing and reading of a daily news bulletins for MFM, Stellenbosch’s own community radio station, as well as weekly internships at the community newspaper, Eikestadnuus.
The department of Journalism is in the privileged position of having a number of bursaries and awards on offer for its honours students (BA Honours Journalism), sponsored by the department and various media institutions.
The following bursaries are available to students:
- Media24 sponsors a number of bursaries for (mostly previously disadvantaged) journalism students every year. You need to send in your formal application form to the Registrar (see online application form) by 31 August and inform the department that you are interested in the bursary. Media24 selects its candidates after the final class group for a particular year has been announced.
- The Aggrey Klaaste Bursary, co-sponsored by The Sowetan and the Department to a previously disadvantaged student in the BA Honours class; apply to the Chair, Department of Journalism (see contact details). NB: you also need to send in your formal application form to the Registrar (see online application form) by 31 August.
- The Percy Qoboza scholarship to a student in the BA Hons class every year – sponsored by Media24 and the department. Applications will only be accepted after the final class group for a particular year has been announced.
- Students can also apply to the Bursary Department of the University for merit bursaries, etc. See www.sun.ac.za
- The Car prize, sponsored by Ramsay Media for the year’s top student;
- The Rowland Hill award – the Golden Pen – for the best in-depth project;
- The Piet Cillié prize for formulation and style;
- The Ton Vosloo prize for creativity and innovation;
- The ORMS photography prize for the best photography portfolio;
- The Christiana Scott prize for Science Journalism, sponsored by Prof G Claassen, former Head and lecturer in Science and Technology Journalism.
- The Golden Pen Award for the top Master’s student
Master’s in Journalism
Journalism Education for the 21st Century
- have completed your professional training as a journalist, but you’re going to miss the library?
- have been working as a journalist for a number of years, but want to find out more about the story-behind-the-story, the theories and concepts that can help you understand your work better?
- have a background in media studies but want to specialise, do more research, go further on your quest for knowledge?
- are tired of running against deadlines?
- are not able to reflect critically on your profession?
- want to “sharpen the sword”?
- need a new qualification to get ahead?
- Compulsory modules
- Compulsory modules
- Elective modules (one required; one in which the research for the thesis will be conducted)
- Compulsory modules
- Elective modules (two required; NB in one of these the research for the research component will be conducted)
|Programme Coordinator: Ms Marenet Jordaan|
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgThe postgraduate BA Honours course in Journalism is probably the most popular of all the courses offered by the University of Stellenbosch’s post-graduate Department of Journalism. More than 100 applicants apply each year to be admitted to this one-year full-time degree.The course is bilingual and students can hand in all their assignments and exams in either English or Afrikaans.Admission requirements
Students who wish to apply for admission to Honours in Journalism must either have a bachelor degree or be in their final year of study for such a degree. Only 20 to 25 students are admitted to the course each year.Entrance test and interview
All applicants must write an entrance test in September to assess their general knowledge, language skills, interests and cultural literacy. An individual interview will also be conducted with applicants who achieve a sub-minimum in the test. Applicants can choose to write the test and be interviewed in either Stellenbosch or Johannesburg.
Duration of the course
Code 38725 978 (360)
Admission and selection requirements
Admission to the PhD programme in Journalism requires the candidate to be in possession of a recognised Master’s degree in Journalism or Communication or an appropriate qualification acceptable and within the guidelines of the University. Admissions to doctoral studies will be considered on the grounds of a research proposal.
Programme Structure and Content
The writing of a dissertation. Also consult Part 1 (General) of the Year Book.
Components of the Module
- Compulsory module
|Postal Address:Department of JournalismUniversity of Stellenbosch|
Private Bag X1
Visit us at:
26 Crozier Street
Tel: +27 21 808-3488
Fax: +27 21 808-4965