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Study in New Zealand (University of Canterbury)


University of Canterbury

(Semester 1: February – June)

Cultural programme

  1. Marae visit: Students will spend a day at a Māori meeting house (marae). In bicultural Aotearoa New Zealand, the local tribe holds the status of manawhenua, that is, of being host to all who visit the region and of being the guardians of the land and of the mana (honour/prestige) of the place. Being welcomed onto a marae cements the all-important relationships of host and guest. The marae visit includes speeches, the learning of protocol (kawa) and developing understanding of history, place, culture, politics and identity.
  2. Cultural language programme: A short course on basic Māori pronunciation, vocabulary and speech situations, interwoven with awareness raising on cultural matters. The course will be provided by the School of Māori and Indigenous Studies.

Teaching: 2 hours a week for 4 weeks

Note: no credit or assessment attached to the cultural programme.

COMS401: From proposal to publication: A Media Research Project (30 points)

This course will guide students through the planning and writing of a major independent research project, on a topic of the student’s choice related to media and communication. The course introduces students to the major approaches to media and communication research and the techniques used to produce research findings, including the apparatus of the academic paper, specific research methods and bibliographic skills. Students will apply these skills to develop their topic through a research proposal, literature review, seminar, peer-reviewed draft and a final research paper. For students enrolled in the IJI exchange, journalism practice may form the methodology.


By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • design a research project, using academic literature to define a question and choose an appropriate method
  • gather a suitable body of data
  • apply a range of different research methods, including both quantitative and qualitative ones
  • understand the main practices of academic publication
  • critique the approaches of other researchers
  • understand the main terms in media research, including literature review, methodology, sampling, objectivity and critical research
  • understand the strengths and weaknesses of the major media research methods
  • understand how research is produced, from proposals through to final peer-reviewed publication


  1. Literature review (20%), due 18 March
  2. Research proposal (10%), due 2 April
  3. Seminar reporting on research process, findings, and plans (15%), in second term
  4. Peer review (5%), 22 May
  5. Research essay (50%), due 16 June

Journalism across cultures (seminar series)

This series of seminars will be required for IJI students and assessed via participation and a news item they will produce. It focuses on a key ethical and practical problem in journalism: the potential of journalism to build bridges across cultural boundaries. The seminars are designed to probe the issues in depth and also to bring the university, industry and members of the public together to discuss ways to enrich reporting across cultures, what alternative practices are emerging and how interested parties to work together.

The seminars will be of interest to students from a range of subjects, including students enrolled in the Inclusive Journalism Initiative. They are held in the evenings so that journalists and members of the public can also attend.

All sessions will take place from 7 – 8.30pm, at the University of Canterbury Ilam campus. Topics include: Journalism for an inclusive society, Māori media; Bearing witness to distant suffering; Panel on intercultural dialogue in social media; Alternative media.

In addition, two half-day workshops will be run, managed by experienced practitioners and journalism educators.

Workshop 1: Reporting on and for Pacific communities

Workshop 2: NGOs as journalists

Teaching: 3 seminars + 2 workshops

Credit: part of the COMS401: From proposal to publication: A Media Research Project

Assessment: 2 news items produced for publication

COMS422: Communication ethics (30 points)

This course introduces students to a range of ethical frameworks by which to study the responsibilities of media producers, the tenor of the relationships enabled by their textual practices, the quality of public spaces opened up in public communication and the social impact of mediated communication.


By the end of the course students should be able to:

  • understand ethical frameworks for studying questions of the good, right and true communication, including deontological, utilitarian, virtue, communitarian and dialogic theories of ethics
  • apply a number of these theories to issues in mediated communication
  • reflect upon the ethical dimensions of their own and their society’s communication practices
  • analyse the relationship between ethics and power, using among others theories of public communication and theories of identity politics.


  1. case study essay 1 (25%)
  2. case study essay 2 (25%)
  3. project (40%)
  4. introducing case studies (10%)

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