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Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Digital Communication

Develop real-world practical and critical thinking skills to allow you to contribute right away as a journalism graduate

Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Digital Communication
NFQ Level 8 major Award Honours Bachelor Degree

CAO points history:
402
Course code:
LM039
Duration:
4 Years

Course leader:
Henry Silke
Email: Tel:
Admissions:
Tel: 00 353 61 202015
Queries: www.ul.ie/admissions-askus
 
 

Are you naturally curious? Do you find yourself interested in conversations about events that are happening locally, nationally or globally? Do you want to learn how to ask the right questions and explain to an audience what is happening using multimedia platforms? If you want to be at the heart of telling stories that matter in society, and you want to make a difference, then journalism is the career for you. Your natural skills should be in writing, storytelling and communicating.

Why Study Journalism and Digital Communication at UL?

Journalism is an important, exciting and dynamic field. It tells us about ourselves. The platforms through which we tell our stories are evolving, and in UL we offer students a chance to engage with and deliver stories across all digital and social media platforms. We help develop real-world practical and critical thinking skills in students so that their journalism is informed by a balanced sense of justice, accuracy and life-experience. Over the four years our students will:

  • Produce their own radio reports and TV bulletins, in our state of the art studios
  • Work on the awarding winning Limerick Voice news website, social media platforms and local newspaper (www.limerickvoice.com)
  • Produce and design an online magazine
  • Work with the latest digital publishing and editing software programmes including Adobe Audition, Final Cut Pro and Indesign
  • Use social media to self-publish and promote work
  • Learn key fact-checking and online verification skills

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What you will study

We provide a range of core practical modules designed to produce leading multimedia journalists capable of working across all digital platforms.

Our journalism subjects include:

  • Radio and Television broadcasting
  • Writing and publishing for digital media
  • Social Media and Society
  • Interviewing and Reporting
  • Sports Journalism
  • Magazine Journalism
  • Limerick Voice news website and newspaper production

Our lecturers combine academic expertise with significant professional industry experience in a number of national and international news organisations, including The Irish Times, The Irish Examiner, Ireland’s state broadcaster RTE and The Cambodia Daily International. Our adjunct professors include Fergal Keane, BBC Africa Editor. In a special seminar series, editors, correspondents, reporters and other media-interested professionals visit the University of Limerick to talk to journalism students about the media industry and employment opportunities. Our four-year programme includes a six-month work placement opportunity in a national or regional news organisation and an international study abroad placement.

Electives in Journalism and Digital Communications

For a general overview of Ba in Journalism and Digital Communication and the various options available through the course, click here.

You will study a core set of journalism modules throughout your 4 years on the course.

You will also have the opportunity to study 2 electives in your first year of the course, and then you will choose 1 of these to continue studying to the end of the course. There is more information on this in the Course Structure tab below. 

The pathways available are listed below. More information is available by clicking on each pathway. 

For more information, visit www.ul.ie/journalism

Year 1 Semester 1   Semester 2 Summer
JM4011 Introduction to Journalism and Writing for News JM4031 Sub-editing and Design 1  
CS4031 Introduction to Digital Media JM4013 Radio Journalism  
PO4013 Gov & Politics of Ireland TW4006 Writing for New Media  
  Elective:   Elective:  
  Choose Two from Economics, English Literature, History, Law, Politics, Sociology or Language Studies†   Choose Two from Economics, English Literature, History, Law, Politics, Sociology or Language Studies†  
Year 2 Semester 3   Semester 4 Summer
JM4051 TV and Digital Broadcasting JM4034 Journalism and writing 2: breaking news and features  
JM4003 Interviewing & Reporting JM4024 Sports Journalism (core elective) OR  
JM4044 Magazine Journalism (core elective)
LA4013 Media Law JM4006 Social Media and Society  
SO4033 Sociology of Media CU4014 Analysing Media Discourse  
  Elective:   Elective:  
  Choose one from English, Economics, History, Law, Politics, Sociology, or Language Studies   Choose one from English, Economics, History, Law, Politics, Sociology, or Language Studies  

 

Year 3 Semester 5   Semester 6 Summer
  External Placement   External Academic Placement  
Year 4 Semester 7   Semester 8 Summer
JM4008 Investigative Journalism JM4042 Limerick Voice Digital News Project 2  
JM4041 Limerick Voice Digital News Project 1
 
JM4018 Individual Journalism Project 2  
JM4037 Individual Journalism Project 1 JM4052 Media Challenges in the Digital Age  
CU4128 New Media, Language and Globalization JM4058 Broadcast Week  
  Elective:   Elective:  
  Choose one from English, Economics, History, Law, Politics, Sociology, or Language Studies   Choose one from English, Economics, History, Law, Politics, Sociology, or Language Studies  

Entry requirements

CAO points history 402
Minimum grades

Applicants are required to hold at the time of enrolment the established Leaving Certificate (or an approved equivalent) with a minimum of six subjects which must include:

Two H5 (Higher level) grades and Four O6 (Ordinary level) grades

or

Four H7 (Higher Level) grades.

Subjects must include Mathematics, Irish or another language, and English.

Note: Grade F6 in Foundation Mathematics also satisfies the minimum entry requirements. Foundation Maths is not reckonable for scoring purposes.

Subject requirements

Students must hold a minimum of H4 grade in English.

Students wishing to take a Language Studies elective must hold a minimum H3 grade in that language.

Additional considerations

We welcome applications from mature students. Mature applicants must apply through the Central Applications Office (CAO) by 1 February.

QQI Entry

Certain QQI Awards are acceptable in fulfilling admission requirements for this programme. Go to the UL Admissions QQI page for a full list of modules.

How to apply

Fees & funding

Student course fees are broken into three components - Student contribution, Student Centre Levy and Tuition Fees.

A number of illustrative examples of fees for this course based on the current fee levels have been set out in the tables below.

An explanation of the components, how to determine status and the criteria involved is provided below the examples as is a list of possible scholarships and funding available.

EU Students with Free fees status in receipt of a SUSI grant

HEA paysTuition Fees€2,558
SUSI paysStudent contribution€3,000
Student paysStudent Centre Levy€92
€5,650

EU Students with Free fees status not in receipt of a grant

HEA paysTuition Fees€2,558
Student paysStudent contribution€3,000
Student paysStudent Centre Levy€92
€5,650

Students with EU fee status not in receipt of a grant

Student paysTuition Fees€2,558
Student paysStudent contribution€3,000
Student paysStudent Centre Levy€92
€5,650

Non-EU Students

Student paysTuition Fees€12,178
Student paysStudent Centre Levy€92
€12,270

Student course fees are comprised of three components:

Student Contribution

Annual charge set by the government for all full-time third level students. All students are liable unless they have been approved for a grant by Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI). Please refer to https://www.studentfinance.ie to determine your eligibility for a grant and for instructions on how to apply. The curent student contribution is set at €3000.

Student Centre Levy

All students are liable to pay the Student Centre Levy of €90. Please note the Student Centre Levy is not covered by the SUSI Grant.

Tuition Fees

These are based on Residency, Citizenship, Course requirements.

Review the three groups of criteria to determine your fee status as follows

  1. Residency
    • You must have been living in an EU/EEA member state or Switzerland for at least 3 of the 5 years before starting your course
  2. Citizenship
    • You must be a citizen of an EU/EEA member state or Switzerland or have official refugee status
  3. Course Requirements (all must be met)
    • You must be a first time full-time undergraduate (Exceptions are provided for students who hold a Level 6 or Level 7 qualification and are progressing to a Level 8 course in the same general area of study).
    • You must be undertaking a full-time undergraduate course of at least 2 year’s duration
    • You cannot be undertaking a repeat year of study at the same level unless evidence of exceptional circumstances eg serious illness is provided (in which case this condition may be waived)

Depending on how you meet these criteria your status will be one of the following -

More information about fees can be found on the Finance website

 

These scholarships are available for this course

Title Award Scholarships available
The Noel Ryan Scholarship
€2,000 per year for 4 years
1 per year
Live 95 Radio Journalism Award
€500 and your documentary will be broadcast on the radio
1
Irish Examiner Video Journalism Award
€500 of video-journalism equipment
1

These scholarships are available for all courses

Title Award Scholarships available
Plassey Campus Centre Scholarship Programme
All Ireland Scholarships - sponsored by J.P. McManus
€6,750
125
Higher Education Grants & VEC Grants
Financial Aid Fund
Elaine Fagan Scholarship
€5,000
5
Stuart Mangan Scholarship
Provincial GAA Bursaries Scheme
€750
The Michael Hillery and Jacinta O’Brien Athletics Scholarship
Various benefits equating to over €7,000 in value
Paddy Dooley Rowing Scholarship
€2,500
UL Sports Scholarships
Varies depending on level of Scholarship
Multiple
Cooperative Education Award
1 award per faculty
UL 40 Entrance Scholarship
€2,000
40

Your future career

Employability skills from this degree

  • Researching
  • Investigating
  • Interviewing
  • Reporting
  • Writing
  • Listening
  • Working productively in a team
  • Communicating information effectively and clearly
  • Technical skills: video editing, audio, content management, and web design
  • Critical analysis
  • Resourcefulness
  • Self-management
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Leadership
  • A flexible, creative and independent approach to tasks
  • Meeting deadlines

The year after graduating with this degree

The University of Limerick Graduate Outcomes Survey (GOS) is a detailed review of the employment outcomes of UL graduates conducted annually by the University and supported by the Higher Education Authority (HEA). The survey forms part of a nationwide review of the employment outcomes of Irish University Graduates. The table below illustrates a five-year trend for UL graduate employment levels and location the year after graduation.

Employed in Ireland Employed abroad Further study Not available Seeking employment No. of responses Total no. of graduates Year
48% 19% 11% 0% 22% 27 29 2014
65% 9% 13% 9% 4% 23 23 2015
68% 18% 9% 0% 5% 22 31 2016
55% 28% 6% 0% 11% 18 29 2017
57% 14% 19% 0% 10% 21 25 2018

Further Study Options

Job titles for graduates with this degree

Graduates progressing directly into employment take up a wide variety of roles. The following provides a sample of initial roles listed on the Graduate Outcomes Survey by graduates approximately one year after graduation:

  • Copywriter
  • Data Entry Server
  • Development Researcher
  • Digital Media Editor
  • Digital Operations Specialist
  • Editorial Assistant
  • Fashion Intern
  • Journalist
  • Media Assistant
  • Newsreader
  • Online Journalist
  • PR Intern
  • Reporter
  • Reporter/Subeditor
  • Researcher
  • Staff Writer

Student Profile - Mark Boylan

Getting to experience a real-life newspaper environment was undoubtedly the most beneficial element of my education at UL. For my co-op placement, I worked as a reporter with The Racing Post. I worked alongside horse racing’s leading writers including RTÉ’s Tony O’Hehir, former Irish Independent horse racing correspondent Richard Forristal and leading sports writer David Jennings.

Every day offered a new challenge, it was always exciting. I got the opportunity to report from racing meetings around the country, generating news stories for print and online, and recording videos and podcasts. I feel the portfolio of articles, video packages and radio features I have accumulated is a testament of my abilities ahead of seeking employment.

Every step of the way I had excellent guidance from my Editor and every facet of my journalistic skills improved through this experience. In particular, I learned how to get the best out of people for stories and how to tackle sensitive topics. I couldn’t have received a better helping hand for my future career. The grounding I got at UL helped me to win the Sports Writer of the Year prize at the National Student Media Awards in 2018.

Several opportunities involving racing media have arisen as a result of this placement. Since completing Co-Op I have continued working for the Racing Post at the weekends and on my college holidays. I look forward to hopefully continuing to play a part in the paper upon graduating.

Graduate Profile - Lisa Blake 

My favourite subject in school was always English. When I began writing workshops as an extra-curricular activity in fifth year, I knew this was something I had to pursue at third level. There were so many courses that appealed to me but I wanted to choose one which incorporated a modern use of the language which is why Journalism and New Media stood out to me. Breaking news excited me and I loved current affairs, so it seemed like a no-brainer. Four years on, I know I made the right choice.

My favourite thing about this course was the emphasis put on the practical application of what we learn in the newsroom; be it editing for radio, practicing a piece to camera, or writing a court report. Journalism is not just about writing for a newspaper, and this course recognises that. Upon graduation, I am equipped with the skills needed for working as a “multi-platform journalist” – something that all employers are looking for nowadays.

Choosing this course also allowed me to delve deeper into my personal interests, such as Law and Irish. As a self-confessed Gaeilgeoir, this course has allowed me to specialise in the area of Irish language journalism, lending me that competitive edge that “specialising” provides. Having chosen Law as my second elective, this gave me a superior understanding when it came to covering Media Law – an area that is crucial for all journalists to be well versed in.

The lecturers in Journalism at the University of Limerick understand that it is an ever-changing profession that requires dynamic and highly-skilled graduate journalists, and it is because of their expertise and hands-on approach coupled with the excellent facilities available to us at the university that I have completed this course feeling very satisfied with my CAO choice.

Graduate Profile - Anne O’Donoghue

On my first day in Journalism & New Media I stood in a classroom with 40 strangers; classmates, lecturers and teachers. What did I know about journalism? To my surprise, it turned out not a lot; I think all I knew was that I wanted to be a journalist and had wanted to be one for quite some time.

I had quite an idealistic image of what journalism was. This was quickly rectified as the course is all about practical industry-based training. The pace of the work is fast and I learned very quickly to respect ‘the deadline’ - there are a lot of them and they come around fast.

I know myself that I was very lucky that I got a place on this course; its practical nature and constant work ethic suited me. For the most part, I was never up endless nights cramming for huge exams, but there is a sense of urgency about the work as the pressure and the workload are constant.

Coming into journalism, I think there were a few character traits that helped me. Being outgoing is one; but however outgoing I was before this course, this has definitely trebled. Also it is important to have a questioning spirit and be curious about the world around you.

My favourite aspect of this course is how industry-focused it is; everything we do is set as if we are working as real journalists. I think also it was very important to me that from the beginning we were educated in online journalism and given the skills to cope with the move to online in the industry.

Now I stand again in the classroom, confident enough to say that I not only know how the journalism industry works but have also acquired the skills to work in print, electronic and broadcast journalism. I can now say that I stand in the classroom not with 40 strangers, but with 40 colleagues and friends.

Graduate Profile - Hillary McGann

I’m very grateful that in my job there is no such thing as a typical day of work.  For the most part I work as a news desk producer, sifting through newslines and alerting the network (both TV and digital) on what is reportable. The interesting thing is that you can read the coverage plans in the morning and then all of a sudden something happens and your entire day has changed. There’s also a real adrenaline rush when it comes to chasing a news story, getting something confirmed and seeing an anchor read out your work within a matter of seconds. When I’m not on the news desk, I work in the field quite a bit where I get to work closely with a correspondent on interviews.

The real benefit and joy of working with a company like CNN is that you are expected to be both a print and broadcast journalist with an understanding and respect for the different needs of each platform. Studying Journalism at UL has really prepared me for my job here. During the course, I remember being struck by the unexpected differences with how a story should be told on TV in comparison to how it should be read in a newspaper. That being said, while they are two different platforms, the core principles of journalism that I learned in UL are invaluable on any media platform.

Hilary received The Sunday Times Young Journalist of the Year award in 2015. She is currently employed as a reporter with CNN International and based in London.

Graduate Profile - Cillian Sherlock

Occupation/Employer: TV Presenter and Reporter with RTÉ News

UL programme of study and year of graduation: Graduated in 2017 from LM039 - Journalism and New Media with a minor in Law.

Why did you choose UL/this course? This course appealed to me because I was always very interested in news and current affairs. I wanted to advance my writing and broadcast skills so that I could tell stories in a creative and effective manor. I was also excited about the opportunity to study and work abroad during Third Year.

Describe your typical day: I need to get on the road to travel to whatever event I’m reporting on for that day. You’re always covering something different and get to talk to lots of people every day, and share their stories. A lot of research will generally have been done beforehand so by the time I meet up with a camera operator, we’ll have an idea of how we want to approach things - but the joy of the job is finding the unexpected and being creative on the fly. After filming and doing all the interviews, it’s time to get back to RTÉ to edit the video files. It needs to be a quick turnaround to make sure everything is done in time to be ready to present the show live in studio. After the show, its straight back to setting up the next report!

In what way did your course prepare you for your career? The course allowed me to develop my abilities in print and broadcast journalism. In job interviews after graduating, I was able to point back to a large body of work from my time at UL, as well as my Cooperative Education semester. Projects like the radio show or the Limerick Voice newspaper help students get a sense of what working in a real newsroom is like, as well as the opportunity to try out lots of different roles. You learn from the working experience of the lecturers and guest speakers and they have also given me plenty of advice since graduating.

Any advice for school leavers? Take time to be open to new people and new experiences. You don’t need to figure your whole life out now, you have loads of time! It can feel like there’s a lot of pressure on you to live up to the expectations of others, and it is very easy to get stressed out about that. But my advice would be to make sure you’re enjoying yourself and feeling fulfilled by doing what is right for you.