WHAT IS COMMUNICATION SCIENCE ABOUT?
The subject is primarily concerned with the functions and effects of public communication. The focus of communication science at the IfK is on the public sphere, recipient research, media change, communicator research and journalism research. The Münster department is one of the leading research departments in the German-speaking world. In terms of content, the professors at the Department of Communication (IfK) cover a wide range of subjects within communication studies. Their work focuses on both basic and applied research.
Due to its subject matter, (primarily public) communication, communication science overlaps with many other academic disciplines (sociology, political science, psychology, economics, law, engineering). This orientation promotes interdisciplinarity.
Attention: All course relevant lectures and seminars are held in German!
The degree course in Communication Studies teaches methods, knowledge and skills that qualify students for independent, reflective and responsible work in media and communication professions as well as in applied and university research. It deals with the conditions, structures, functions and possible effects of media and communication and their historical development in modern society. On the one hand, it deals with the media and communication-related aspects of public communication and, on the other, with the social and individual realities that develop under the influence and use of media and communication.
This academic training is supplemented at the IfK by initial practical professional orientation. In contrast to a traineeship or journalism school, a degree in communication studies is not primarily aimed at comprehensively practicing the practical skills of the media professions. Rather, in addition to central practical media basics (such as research and news writing), it systematically teaches media knowledge, methodological skills and the ability to reflect, which are essential for successful work in the changing media and communications industry.
An advanced Master's degree and, if applicable, a doctoral degree based on this enable students to expand and deepen their academic qualifications. Research activities in university institutions, larger media companies and state media authorities generally require such a postgraduate Master's degree, and often also a doctorate. With its strong focus on research, the Bachelor's degree in Communication Studies is an excellent preparation for this further qualification and career path.
Further information on communication science and other media-related degree courses can also be found in the medienstudienfuehrer.
The media and communications industry has developed into one of the most important sectors of the economy in recent decades. Accordingly, there is a need for qualified workers in the industry, which has also increased the demand from first-year students for an education in communication studies.
A large proportion of graduates from the Institute of Communication Studies at the University of Münster chose the following fields of work for their career entry:
- Journalism (editorial work in print (newspaper, magazine), news agency, radio, television and online media)
- PR/press and public relations (activities in the field of external and internal corporate communications/organizational communications, PR agencies, press offices in NGOS, political parties, public sector organizations, as well as culture, sports, science)
- Advertising (creative and conceptual activities in the field of advertising communication. Brand communication, media agencies)
- Media economics, media management, communication marketing, event communication and publishing (activities in the field of marketing, media economics and media management in media companies, publishing houses, media distributors and other institutions)
- Multimedia and online communication (activities in the conception of multimedia presentations, online editorial offices; film and/or television production companies, activities in the field of undefined)
- Media, opinion and social research (companies and institutions that use empirical methods, especially institutes and companies in market, opinion and media research as well as research departments in media companies)
- Other research and service institutions that deal with questions of media policy and communication culture, observation, analysis and evaluation of media offerings and developments (e.g. state media authorities, Grimme Institute, foundations).
In addition to a good degree practical experience is of great importance for starting a career later on. Initial basic knowledge and practical skills are taught in the 'Media Practice I' module, which is part of both Bachelor's degree courses. These courses generally focus on the professional fields of journalism, market research, PR and advertising. Students practise creating their own presentations, writing reports, producing radio and television reports or designing websites. Some of the seminar products are stored here to give an insight into the practical media offerings of the IfK.
The Institute of Communication Studies also offers its students workshops during their studies, which they can attend voluntarily and in which they can deepen and expand their practical knowledge. The workshops are intended to give students the opportunity to deepen their practical interests and skills in addition to the theories and methods learned during their studies. This includes, for example, practising specific software applications (undefined, MAXQDA, etc.) that will later be relevant in professional practice as well as practical core skills in future professional fields (e.g. writing press releases, the basics of search engine optimization, photography, web design, etc.). The workshops are usually designed as one-day workshops and last between three and a maximum of eight hours, depending on the topic.
For students of the single-subject model, it is also compulsory to complete an internship of at least eight weeks with an accompanying seminar in order to consciously reflect on their own skills and make initial contact with potential future employers. However, IfK students are generally motivated - even beyond the mandatory internship - to gain practical experience alongside their academic studies (for example by working freelance for media and agencies or in student organizations affiliated with the university such as Radio Q, Campus Relations, move, etc.).
When looking for an internship or a job offer, students can use our Jobportal. MedienAlumni, the association of active and former students, also offers contact with former students who are now working in the communications industry.
Career-relevant skills through the study of communication science
The Institute of Communication Studies focuses on teaching the following professionally relevant skills:
COMMUNICATION SCIENCE EXPERTISE
The Bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies deals with the conditions, structures, functions and possible effects of media and communication and their historical development in modern society. You will acquire fundamental knowledge of the functioning of the media and their significance for politics, culture and the economy in the media society. The breadth of topics covered in teaching at the IfK will also benefit you in a number of ways when preparing for your career. In the Bachelor's degree program, the three specialization modules "Journalism Research", "PR and Advertising Research" and "Usage and Impact Research" correspond to important professional fields for graduates of communication studies. In these modules, you will learn to understand the historical development of these professional fields, as well as the opportunities and problems that arise from them in the present and future. This will later enable you to place your own actions and decisions in a wider context in the respective professional field and thus better assess their consequences.
PRACTICAL MEDIA SKILLS
The practical media courses give you the opportunity to get to know specific media-related activities and sample your chosen field while you are still at university. This gives you the opportunity to discover your personal interests and strengths before deepening them in subsequent internships. The range is broad and offers freedom of choice, so that you can gain initial impressions of several different fields of activity.
You can usually choose from courses on TV or radio production, in which editorial processes and sound or video editing techniques are tested, print journalism courses, in which research strategies, layout and journalistic writing are taught in particular, as well as courses in which the planning and implementation of PR and market research campaigns are practiced using case studies. Finally, the internship in the module "Communication and Media Practice II" helps you to develop these skills, reflect on your own abilities and make initial contacts with potential future employers.
DEALING WITH DATA
In the method modules I and II, data collection and data analysis, you will acquire the skills to collect, analyze, interpret and communicate statistical data yourself. In the subsequent practical research modules, this knowledge and skills are deepened through practical applications. These methods not only prepare you for activities in the professional field of applied communication research, especially in market and opinion research, they are also necessary for later activities outside of research: In our world, which is increasingly determined by the internet and the collection of data, these skills are also of great value, for example, in the field of journalism (keyword data journalism).
The theoretical and research-oriented focus of the degree program enables you to work scientifically and solve problems as well as to critically reflect on scientific findings. Working through and comprehending complex, sometimes abstract arguments in the seminar materials trains analytical thinking and ultimately enables you to take justifiable, responsible action.
You will learn (e.g. through homework and presentations) how to deal with specialist literature and how to deal with communication science issues. You are able to independently analyze media contexts using scientific methods and independently prepare scientific papers based on these (e.g. in the "Research Practice" module). During your studies, targeted information gathering becomes routine. As a result, you will be able to familiarize yourself with new topics within a short period of time, prepare them in a well-founded manner and make complex thought processes more tangible - a skill that is particularly required of university graduates in many professional contexts. At the end of your studies, you will prove that you have acquired this skill by writing your Bachelor's thesis.
When writing term papers, presentations and research reports, you will learn how to obtain and process information on various topics in an efficient and targeted manner. In the increasingly mediatized, information-flooded world of work, this competence is highly relevant for both independent and supporting activities in order to prepare reflected decisions. In addition, this skill is directly beneficial to 'lifelong learning': research skills enable you to acquire further knowledge at a scientific level - whether in your own subject area or in a different one.
Presentations, term papers, research reports or self-presented radio and video contributions: During the Bachelor's degree course, you will learn and practise how to prepare and present information you have researched yourself, both orally and in writing, in a way that is appropriate for the target audience. The Institute's good media technology facilities also enable you to become proficient in using modern presentation media or production equipment, giving you important qualifications for editorial work or public relations, for example. With your Bachelor's thesis, you will show that you can research your chosen topic at a high level and present your results convincingly.
ORGANIZATIONAL AND TIME MANAGEMENT
During your studies, you will learn to manage your own time resources. You will learn to plan sufficient time for the preparation and follow-up of seminars and to organize longer-term projects such as your seminar papers and Bachelor's thesis so that they are completed successfully and on time. Through group presentations and research projects, you will also practise not only planning individually, but also agreeing and coordinating your time planning with others so that team processes are organized efficiently.
Time-efficient working is an important skill in almost all fields of work. In particular, people often underestimate its importance for their own well-being. After all, only those who are organized enough to work efficiently on their tasks and at the same time have enough free time will remain motivated and productive in the long term.
Through group presentations, project work (e.g. in the two methods modules) and working on joint texts and media products (e.g. in the practice modules), you will gain experience in working in changing teams. You will also learn how to efficiently design longer-term projects, such as the team processes for your seminar papers and research reports, and how to organize them so that they are completed successfully and on time. The ability to work in a team is highly relevant for numerous professional fields and especially for project-based activities.
INTERDISCIPLINARY THINKING AND ACTING
In introductory courses (in the foreign module), you will acquire basic knowledge from neighboring disciplines, e.g. sociology, psychology, political science, cultural studies, law, economics or education, depending on your personal interests. In this way, you will explore specific fields of application for communication science issues and learn to adopt different perspectives. Interdisciplinary thinking and acting is particularly relevant for interdisciplinary tasks, e.g. for cross-departmental activities in a company, for project activities and for professions with a generally broad range of tasks.