What do subjects like History, Political Science, Sociology, English, and Economics have in common? According to several Delhi University (DU) professors, students graduating in these subjects often move to take up a career in journalism.

The varsity, which began its registration process for undergraduate programmes last week, offers four courses in journalism.

The honours course in English or Hindi journalism requires an aggregate of 45% marks or more in English or Hindi with a combination of best three other elective subjects mentioned in the bulletin of information. Admission for the other two — BAMMC (BA Multi-Media & Mass Communication) and FYIP — is based on a combination of entrance and class 12 marks.

Before 2013, the honours course too had an entrance test. “These days, commerce students often have higher scores than those from humanities streams, and hence have higher chance of getting this course,” said professor Tarjeet Sabharwal, head of the journalism department at Delhi College of Arts and Commerce. “Students are now beginning to use this (journalism courses) as a stopgap arrangement instead of genuinely being interested in the field. The university must go back to the previous mode of entrance tests.”

In the honours course, students are taught about media influence on culture, multimedia journalism, new media techniques, advertising and public relations, among other interdisciplinary courses.

The FYIP is taught in Hindi as well as English. Applicants require an aggregate of 50% or more on the basis of all five subjects in the previous qualifying examination. “The entrance is based on general knowledge, English comprehension, grammar and analytical skills, and basic mathematics, along with knowledge of different subject areas,” said professor JP Dubey, honorary director at Delhi School of Journalism (DSJ). Students will learn four foreign and two regional languages.

When questioned on the purpose of an entrance test, Dubey said, “Not many students study these subjects in school. The entrance tests allow a wider platform for students to pursue these courses despite what they have studied in schools.”

Last year the institute’s students had protested over alleged lack of amenities, non-availability of media labs, and no permanent faculty. “We have only 36 teaching positions. It is not possible to recruit permanent faculty for all positions,” Dubey said.

“Since the college is in the heart of north campus, students can closely observe how different ‘groups’ function in a society: an experience which will help them get an exposure to the society,” said Alishan Jafri, a third-year student at the institute, who plans to avail the “exit option” and walk out with a graduate degree. Only students who complete five years at the institute be awarded the Masters in Journalism (MJ) degree.

Unlike DSJ, the focus of the BAMMC course is not just towards journalism but towards a variety of communication theories. “We offer unique and specialised papers on fashion communication, disability and communication, and communication and plastic arts,” said principal Babli Moitra Saraf, who is also the head of multi-media and mass communication department.

In  order to be eligible for the course, which has been running for 20 years now, applicants must have an aggregate of 75% or more in the best four (including 85% or more in English) in the qualifying examination.

“For the entrance test, applicants need to brush up their general knowledge, current affairs and basic English. The question paper will have some questions on logical reasoning as well,” said Drishti Verma, a third-year student at the college. “Students applying for the course should not take it lightly since there are a lot of assignments and we have compulsory 75% attendance as well. This is a demanding course but if you invest yourself in it, the returns can be really good.”

~Preksha Mishra

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