Elective Course Descriptions

Decoding Social Media: Theory and Practice

Social media is transforming the way we work, learn and play. Knowledge and understanding of social media is a critical skill for graduates entering the workplace. This ground-breaking course brings together journalism and business students to build a social media campaign for media partners such as The Walrus, CBC Music, Journalists for Human Rights or Vancouver Magazine. Learn how to create a professional social media portfolio, how to reach audiences and how to be heard at a time when we are sharing more information from more sources with more people, more often and more quickly than ever before.

Feature Writing

When the power of voice and narrative storytelling are joined with strong reporting and the right structure, journalism connects with the reader. This seminar-style class allows students to develop written projects intended to make an impact. Examples: ‘Future-focused’ journalism that explores innovative solutions to social and environmental problems; first-person reported essays that convey a personal connection to a larger, critical issue; and investigative reportage that is clear and compelling in identifying need for change.

International Reporting

This course addresses the need for student journalists to gain experience in the field of international reporting while honing their research, organizational and technical skills. Students will develop video and multimedia projects, and enhance their critical analyses of current global issues as well as their aptitude in digital technologies. The class will be structured around a specific issue. Past projects have focused on development pressures in Brazil, global illegal logging and the role of young environmentalists in China. These topics are selected in preparation for a field reporting trip to a collaboratively chosen global destination. A major objective of the course is to prepare students for reporting through both skill development and studies of best practices. Students are selected through an application process in their second year of studies.

Reporting in Indigenous Communities

This course offers students a unique opportunity to study and practice reporting in Indigenous communities in the Lower Mainland. Students will learn about local First Nations cultures and history; examine representations of Indigenous peoples in Canadian media; and discuss strategies for in-depth coverage of Indigenous issues. Participating First Nations include Squamish Nation, Tsleil-watuth First Nation, Tsawwassen First Nation, Sto:lo Nation and Sto:lo Tribal Council. Students’ work is published in mainstream media outlets and our own multimedia website, www.indigenousreporting.com. Students are admitted to this class by an application process.

Anthropology of Science and Technology

This course will approach science as both a culture and practice, examining how facts are made, how they circulate, and how they come to matter for diverse publics. Such approaches to knowledge production, institutional contexts, and the emergence of new forms of expertise have become increasingly important as complex global problems like climate change present newly configured challenges for both sciences and societies. This course will closely examine and actively discuss ethnographic studies of field sites that range from nuclear weapons laboratories and surgical operating theatres to tech start-ups, activist communities, and responses to recent disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and Fukushima. Students are encouraged to research and reflect on the role of science and technology in politics, policy, social movements, and as represented in media.

New Media and Society (Journalism 100)

Digital communication technologies have transformed the nature of news and information, their circulation and role in democracy. This course will examine how shifts in media technologies, institutional structures and public life are being radically altered alongside the practice and role of journalism. By the end of this course, students will be able to interrogate and discuss how media landscapes have changed, and what implications these changes have for society, politics and culture. This course is offered to undergraduate students only through the Coordinated Arts Program’s Media Studies stream.

Final Research Project or Thesis Project

Students can choose between completing a Final Research Project or an Academic Thesis in their second year of study. Both represent a major project in journalism and journalism studies, jointly supervised by faculty of the UBC Graduate School of Journalism and a journalist or academic expert with a deep background in the subject covered by the project. The Final Research Project and Thesis are an in-depth investigative exploration of a topic, issue or problem considered newsworthy and timely. Final Research Projects may be executed in any journalism format: multimedia, text, audio, video, or online, whereas the Academic Thesis must be formatted as a traditional print based thesis. Both the Final Research Project and Thesis should be a culmination of the student’s program of studies, allowing for a convergence of subject area and medium specialization, research interests and journalism skills.

Learning modules

The School of Journalism is piloting 1.5 credit modules that provide students with applied teaching in specific professional skills and competencies. Modules for the 2016-2017 academic year include:

  • Audio interviewing
  • Data visualisation
  • Video production
  • Virtual reality journalism

* Please note that elective courses are not always offered each year.