In 2009, we are offering a special programme for sub-editors, leading to a BA Hons in Journalism – Sub-editing specialisation. Since there is strong industry demand for sub-editors, this specialisation offers enhanced internship and work opportunities. A number of scholarships are available.

The Sub-Editing stream is for graduate students who have a three-year first degree in any field and strong language skills. If you already have more than three years working experience in journalism, then please refer to the Mid-Career Honours. If you wish to do our general journalism degree, please see our Career-Entry Honours programme.

Only 10 students per year are accepted into this stream on the basis of their academic record and language skills. Applicants will be required to take a writing and language test and present themselves for an interview.

This is a one-year, full-time degree and is not available part-time. Students are required to be available to work in the mid-year study break and to complete their In-Depth Reporting Project during November.


This degree consists of five courses that provide a thorough grounding in the practical skills necessary for a journalist, as well as the theory, knowledge and command of journalism issues needed to operate effectively in the profession. There will be a special focus on print production and editing skills.

Students will be involved in producing a weekly campus newspaper and an online newspaper. This ensures that students get the hands-on practical experience which will enable them to operate effectively in subs rooms when they graduate.

All our teaching is done by experienced professionals and the curriculum includes regular workshops and seminars with leading journalists and professionals from the media industry.

Students in this stream do five compulsory courses.

First Semester (Feb-June) – Compulsory Courses

  • Journalism Practice A “ This is a practical introduction to the foundation skills needed by a journalist to write news stories. It covers all the basic skills, including research, interviewing and writing, as well as an understanding of how news and newsrooms operate, and related subjects such as media law and ethics. Students in this class also produce our weekly campus newspaper, Vuvuzela, and should expect to be working on this at least 2-3 days a week.
  • Journalism Studies A “ A study of issues and debates in journalism and the role of the media in contemporary South Africa to enable you to understand the context in which you will work and the issues which arise out of it.
  • Sub-Editing. This course provides an introduction to the demands of print production for sub-editors.

Second Semester (July-Nov) – Compulsory Courses

  • Journalism Practice B “ This course provides a practical framework in which students explore different types of reporting for different audiences. It covers a variety of writing specialities such as feature and opinion writing. Classes are held one morning a week and at least two days are spent in production of the student newspaper.
  • In-Depth Reporting “ Students will undertake an in-depth reporting project on a different topical subject every year, involving original research and writing. This course will be concentrated in November.

Mid-year optional course
Students may do any of the following additional courses:

  • Newspaper Design “ This is strongly recommended for Sub-Editors who will find value in developing an understanding of the theory and practice of newspaper layout.
  • Radio Journalism – The course examines the history, practice and theory of radio journalism, teaching students to be able to report, write, research, produce and edit various forms of news stories and documentaries and to critically assess such work.
  • Television Journalism – This course will give students a grounding in the history of television journalism, current analysis and critiques of television journalism and critiques of the practice in South Africa. Students will make a news magazine youth programme for a leading broadcaster as part of their practical training.
  • Online Journalism – This course is designed for students with a basic foundation in journalism skills who want to learn to be effective journalists on online media. The course gives students a background to the structure, development and practice of online journalism, including a survey of current online journalism as well as an examination of the likely future of the field and its demands on the profession. Students will run their own weblog during this course and help produce VuvuzelaOnline, the campus online newspaper.

A number of scholarships and internships are available for aspirant sub-editors.

Applicants require 65 percent average in the final year of an undergraduate degree or 60 percent in previous Honours courses. Applicants are required to take an entrance test (in writing and language skills) and present themselves for an interview. Places are limited and therefore students who meet the technical requirements may not necessarily be accepted.

Applications close at the end of September for the following year. Application forms can be downloaded (pdf file) and should be forwarded directly to the Administrator, Journalism Programme.

Admission tests are scheduled in October and interviews in November.

For details of fees, consult the Fees Office.

The Journalism Programme does have a few scholarships available. Students are invited to apply for these after being accepted.

For details of fees, consult the Fees Office. For general financial assistance, including university merit awards and loans, please contact the Financial Aid Office.

International students: Please pick up an International Students handbook from the Graduate School Reception or the International Office

For further information, please contact the Programme Administrator, on email journinfo@wits.ac.za, or Ph 011 717 4028.