Wednesday, May 15, 2019

PG in Media - Degree or Diploma?

This is a question I have been often asked during my 16 years in media education. There are benefits and limitations in both. 

So what do you get in a degree course? Well, you get a degree, of course. Along with that you get very good theoretical and conceptual understanding of the subjects. After getting a PG degree, you can further do your NET/SLET and get into the teaching profession, or do your M.Phil., or Ph.D. Teaching is a great profession, and many have made careers in teaching. I too, am a teacher in media! Only, teaching is not just a profession, but a mission. And unless you treat it such, you are bound to fail. And I do make a sincere request. Do spend at least a couple of years in the industry, learn the ropes before you enter the teaching profession. This is for your own good, and more importantly you will do justice to the profession and your students who look up to you.

Alternately, you can enter the industry. But unless you have practical knowledge / training the industry might not treat you well. In many Universities, syllabuses are not updated / revised for years. And then by the time it is, 3 batches are out with outdated knowledge. Secondly, most departments / institutes do not have even the basic infrastructure and equipment to train students even in the basic skills that are necessary along with the knowledge. This is never because the faculty who run the department are not aware, but simply because of budget constraints. Thirdly, faculty who teach are many times hired for their 'degrees' and not for the experience in the industry, or for skills required to teach the new generation of students. Lastly, many Universities have a poor placement record, or actually do not offer placements at all! 

When you look for a degree course, you must check the computer labs, find who is teaching in the courses, how is the industry connect, are there any industry faculty giving the latest 'gyaan' to you, and then choose.

So what about a diploma? Does it have to be a 'recognized' diploma, affiliated to a University, or the AICTE? Well, many students do think so, and parents do too. But does the industry care? Really? Actually, no. The industry cares only about talent, skills, and professionalism. What is the use of a degree or even a diploma if you don't have the basic skills, desperately needed by the industry today? What is the use of a 'Management' diploma in media, if you are not trained to produce it? You can't 'manage' media, or it's people if you don't know how to produce media content in all formats.

Even in diploma courses, you have to be careful in choosing the right one. Institutes with Diplomas have the flexibility of updating the syllabus. Private institutes usually have good equipment as they are not limited by Government budgets. But you need to find out before joining...Ask the following questions:

Who teaches in the institute? 
Are there any faculty with real industry experience?
How is the curriculum? 
Is it updated? When was it last updated? 
Does the institute have a studio? Sound lab? Cameras and lights? Blue/green screen?
Do students get live projects?
What is the percentage of practical knowledge imparted?
Ask these questions. DO NOT get swayed by those beautifully printed brochures. In a degree course many students are happy with the degree. But how many are actually happy with the degree curriculum, teachers, and institute? This is also valid for a diploma course. So also find, search for students from the institute, get in touch with them and ASK. Try and find alumni and ask them. I am sure you are all adept at Facebook and Google search. There are so many other things you can check. Does the institute call industry experts to guide students? Who gets called? Ask.

In conclusion, I would summarize it as follows:
1. The Industry cares more about professionalism, knowledge and skills than a degree or a diploma.
2. If an institute / university does not have equipment, studios, and industry faculty, or faculty who can train you for the industry, your degree will be good for a Ph.D. further, or the teaching profession, unless you are very talented yourself.
3. Check with existing students and alumni about their institute. Probe. Learn, and then decide.
4. It is a myth that to enter the media industry, a degree is required. 
5. The industry requires and respects talent, dedication, and professionalism, not whether you have a degree or a diploma.

The author is Director, MET Institute of Mass Media, Bandra, Mumbai. 
MET IMM offers a 360o  practical, hands-on approach with live projects in all its 

Advanced PG Courses in Mass Media Management in 

  • Advertising
  • Entertainment (Film, Television and Digital Media Production)
  • Digital Marketing
  • Journalism & Public Relations. 

He is  available for counseling students. Do email :


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