Welcome to the Department of Science Journalism

Cancer research, climate change and cloning; from bird flu to swine flu: all the buzzwords from the big media debates. Technology, medicine and science play an ever more prominent role in our everyday lives – and in the media, as we well know from the many magazines and formats. Readers, listeners and viewers are therefore dependent on well-informed, critical reporters: journalists who are not only able to present new developments in an intelligible and stimulating way, but to put them into context, too.

That is why TU Dortmund University introduced a Bachelor’s Programme in Science Journalism in the winter semester 2003/2004. It has a journalism component and a science/technology/medicine/statistics component, both of which can be studied side by side from the very beginning. In the winter semester 2007/2008, a Master’s Programme was launched to complement the Bachelor’s Programme. Both were accredited in June 2006.

Most of the programme is taught at the highly respected Department of Journalism at TU Dortmund University, one of the leading locations for journalism education in Germany. However, its outstanding reputation is also a result of its unique, country-wide work experience modules which enable students to train on the job (integrated traineeship with newspapers, magazines, radio, television or online media).

The journalism component of the science journalism programme covers all the classic aspects of journalism training: media law, ethics and economics as well as fact checking stylistics and interview techniques. In parallel, students choose their second subject: natural sciences (physics or biosciences/medicine), engineering sciences (mechanical or electrical engineering) or data journalism. Wherever possible, the contents covered in the second subject are directly related to those in the journalism component.

The Bachelor's Programme, which takes eight semesters, aims to train journalists in the skills required to present everyday issues in science and technology in a vivid, lively form while taking a critical look at the issues themselves. After all, not every piece of medical news is necessarily a "breakthrough" for patients, not every piece of new technology only has advantages, and the process of combating disease often takes much longer than the fast-moving media business would give us to believe. For more than three decades, journalism training at Dortmund has built up a tradition of communicating reliable information.

In addition to the traditional interlinking of research and teaching with the realities of life in the editorial office, the Department of Science Journalism seeks to promote inner-university exchange between the science/technology departments and the humanities and social sciences. In the medical field it has also cooperated with Witten/Herdecke University and, as of 2011, has initiated a new collaboration with Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB).

The programme has received awards from the Volkswagen Foundation and the Bertelsmann Foundation.