The Department of Journalism at Johannesburg's University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) has announced a new dual-degree programme with the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York, allowing students to study and receive degrees from both institutions.
The programme, which the Wits department says "reflects the global nature of journalism in the 21st century", kicks off in August 2010 and will offer students top-tier training from both an African and an international perspective. It will aim to encourage mastery of journalistic techniques and offer the opportunity to develop a career with an international background.
"This arrangement will enrich our university experience," says Anton Harber, Caxton Professor of Journalism and head of Wits Journalism.
“Our students will gain a wider perspective on the world and on journalism, and will bring this vision back to Africa. I am confident, too, that the knowledge and experience of Africa that the Columbia students will gain will be equally enhancing.”
Students who participate in the programme will be selected by a joint committee made up of two representatives from each school to select a maximum of five students a year from each institution for the exchange programme.
“We are delighted to form a partnership with Wits University, one of Africa’s leading academic institutions," says Nicholas Lemann, dean of Columbia’s Journalism School.
"Wits shares our belief in the value of graduate-level university professional education for journalists and in the importance of giving journalists an international perspective.”
While in Columbia, Wits students can add a Masters to their Wits Honours degree or get a Columbia Masters alongside their Wits one.
The initial agreement will last for three years. Students will be responsible for covering the cost of tuition with the understanding that the host institution will try to offer some financial assistance.