Currently, the fields of journalism and PR are undergoing fundamental, historic changes. You, as a graduate of our course, therefore have the opportunity to play a part in nothing less than the redefinition and redesign of your own profession. To help you deal with the structural changes in the media landscape, many innovative approaches and formats will be covered during your studies, such as smartphone apps, social media, and game-based communication, in addition to the usual skills.
As science communication increasingly operates outside traditional borders, we are preparing you specifically for the global job market, as in transnational research-intensive enterprises or publishing houses, and particularly such institutions which simply do not exist on a national level, e.g., the various institutions of the European Commission. For this reason, Science Communication and Bionics is taught in English inside Germany and compares the internationally very different systems of media, culture, science, and policy-making. This transnational approach which is woven into every aspect of the course is one of its unique strengths.
In addition to learning the tools of the trade of science and technology journalism, public relations, and marketing, you are also going to study the political side of science, including risk communication, public affairs, and lobbying.
All students are offered special language training, be it in English, German or other languages in addition to their normal courses on writing and ethics. Our science communicators also study a collection of scientific topics, usually employing biomimetic (bionic) examples. Biomimetics is the idea of transferring concepts from natural systems to artificial ones and spans the sciences and engineering. Students learn enough of the basics to be able to understand what scientists and engineers do. Some students may want to specialise in these areas and carry on in science and engineering with the advantage of also being able to communicate professionally and responsibly. You can also choose whether to take elective courses from the sciences or from communication and from which of the directions to approach your project work.
Educational organisationThe course takes seven semesters, the first two focusing on the basics of science and communication. In one of the subsequent winter semesters (usually the fifth semester of your studies), you go out to a company or another university to gain experience and extend your horizons. After this, you deepen your understanding of the subject, finishing with a Bachelor's project in your seventh semester. The project is as close to real practice as possible and often takes place inside a company.
Study abroad unit(s)Participants spend one semester of the programme at a university abroad or undertake a five-month work placement.
InternshipsFive-month internship at a company in a related field
Forms of assessmentWritten examination, laboratory reports, oral examination
Course objectivesOur Science Communication and Bionics students will be able to enter many careers in the following areas:
- public relations departments in universities, extramural research institutes, government organisations or companies
- communications offices in NGOs, unions and lobby groups
- research communication in companies and for large research projects
- editors and freelance journalists with specialised magazines, newspapers, for television, radio and, of increasing importance, online
- consultants and communicators in PR and marketing agencies, particularly when the customer has a scientific or technical focus
- press offices of charities and foundations sponsoring scientific works, cluster organisations, research councils and similar institutions
- editors for scientific publishers
Language requirementsPlease note that for Bachelor's degree programmes English language skills at level B2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference are required. Please be aware that all applicants' test report form numbers will be checked. The following certificates are accepted:
IELTS: 6.0 - 6.5
TOEFL (Internet-based test): minimum 80
TOEFL (paper-based test): minimum 550
TOEFL (computer-based test): minimum 213
The TOEFL code of our university is: 6962
The only exceptions to these language requirements are a secondary school certificate or a Bachelor's degree achieved in the following countries: USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand. Please understand that no further exceptions can be made, even if you have achieved a Bachelor's degree taught in English in any other country.
Academic requirementsGerman entrance qualification for universities of applied sciences or equivalent
Enrolment feesApprox. 270 EUR per semester. This covers nominal administration fees and includes a semester ticket that allows free travel on most bus and train routes throughout the state of North Rhine-Westphalia as well as to and from Nijmegen in the Netherlands.
Costs of livingThe "Deutsches Studentenwerk" puts the average cost of living for students in Germany at around 700 to 800 EUR per month. This includes rent, utilities, personal expenses, and other nominal costs. For a sample breakdown of living expenses and information about financing your studies in Germany, please see our website: http://www.hochschule-rhein-waal.de/en/academics/students/costs-scholarships-and-grants.
Job opportunitiesInternational students from non-EU countries are legally permitted to work 120 full days or 240 half days per year on a student visa. No additional authorisation from German authorities is required.
Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences often posts job advertisements for students both inside and outside the university on campus noticeboards. Some jobs at the university only require English, but most jobs in Kleve, Kamp-Lintfort, and surrounding areas will require at least conversational fluency in German. Fortunately, our Language Centre offers German courses that students can attend at no charge.
However, due to the intense workload at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, first-year students are strongly advised to dedicate their full attention to their studies. In later semesters, you will have a more open schedule and a better idea of how to balance work and studies. This is also a realistic time frame for acquiring speaking proficiency in German while studying full-time.
Funding opportunities within the universityA limited number of scholarships are available for currently enrolled students at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences. The most prominent scholarship is the Germany Scholarship ("Deutschlandstipendium"). German and international students are both eligible to apply. The Germany Scholarship is a stipend of 300 EUR per month awarded each year to a limited number of students who have demonstrated excellent academic performance or exemplary social commitment to the community. Other scholarships, grants, and fellowships are available through regional and national organisations in Germany. Please see our website for details.
Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences informs all students of important scholarship deadlines in advance so that they don't miss any potential application opportunities.
Arrival supportRhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences is accessible from the international airports Amsterdam (AMS), Düsseldorf (DUS), Cologne/Bonn (CGN), and Weeze (NRN). The university does not offer any pick-up services, but both Kleve and Kamp-Lintfort can be reached by public transportation from any of these airports.
If you anticipate any travel problems, delays, or unexpected changes to your plans, please contact our Welcome Centre so that we can support you with helpful advice.
Services and support for international studentsOur Welcome Centre supports international students during their first few weeks in Germany. The Welcome Centre provides helpful advice and guidance on contracts, opening a bank account, registering your place of residence, applying for a student visa, setting up health insurance, and more.
The student mentors at the Welcome Centre know first-hand what it's like adjusting to life as a student in Germany. They are also an important first contact point for students with personal and social issues, as they can direct students to the right place for their specific needs. The Welcome Centre also promotes student culture at the university by organising trips and excursions to destinations all around the region as well as a range of social events for students such as the annual "Freshtival", the university's week-long orientation festival for new students in the winter semester.
AccommodationRhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences strongly urges you to make accommodation arrangements before your arrival. The university does not have its own residence halls, but the "Studierendenwerk Düsseldorf" runs dormitories near campus in Kleve and Kamp-Lintfort with options for single rooms or two- and three-room flats. Prices start at around 220 EUR per month. Room availability in these dormitories is limited and subject to a waiting list, so it's important to register online for a room as soon as possible. Please note that a security deposit of three months' rent is also required.
Most students choose to share a private flat off campus with fellow students. There are a number of popular online portals for finding a flat in Germany, for example: http://www.wg-gesucht.de. Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences also maintains its own list of available flats and rooms for students on its website. Thanks to the flexibility of the Semester Ticket, students can live in Kleve, Kamp-Lintfort, or one of the many cities and towns nearby and reach campus by public transport. For more information and helpful tips on finding a flat, please see our website: http://www.hochschule-rhein-waal.de/en/academics/prospective-students/housing.