Student fees refunded on concern over quality of course

Journalism undergraduates at NUI Galway lodge complaints about placements

Dozens of journalism students at NUI Galway have been refunded their fees due to concerns over the quality of the course they were studying.

Between 30 and 40 third- and fourth-year students on the undergraduate journalism programme have been refunded at a cost of more than €100,000 to the college.

It follows complaints from students over issues such as lack of access to work placements and poor communication from course leaders.

The university’s complaints board upheld the complaints relating to the students’ third year and found the shortcomings “negatively impacted on the educational experience of students”.


It added that there had been evidence of a “significant lack of leadership” and the shortcomings had been acknowledged by staff in the journalism course.

The college has since appointed a new director of the course who, it said, would significantly enhance feedback and communication with students.

Students involved in the course in recent days received letters confirming their fees would be refunded.

NUI Galway confirmed in a statement that following a quality review, it has revised its journalism programmes.

“The ambitions of the relaunched programme are to produce graduates with up to date skills and specialisations suited to the contemporary world of journalism,” it said.

Formal complaints had been submitted by third- and fourth-year students during the last academic year across a range of areas. They were concerned about the quality of the degree programme in general, as well as the lack of access to work placements.

The journalism programmes at NUI Galway have been reorganised and a new MA in Journalism will launch in September, with a new focus on digital skills such as verification, social media, analytics and data journalism.

A new MA in Sports Journalism will launch in 2019. The BA Journalism programme is being reformed and a new joint honours BA Journalism will replace the current structure.

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent