The first group of Tsinghua University students has begun a year of intensive academic study in Los Angeles as part of a new dual-degree master's program created in partnership with the University of Southern California.
The Tsinghua students arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on Aug. 15 for their second year of study in the Tsinghua-USC Dual Degree Program of Data Sciences in Communication. The program, inaugurated last year, is a partnership between the Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication and two USC graduate schools, the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and the Viterbi School of Engineering.
The Chinese students completed their first year of studies on the Tsinghua campus in the 2020-2021 academic year before journeying to the United States to take courses and complete internships over the next year.
The Tsinghua contingent attended orientation sessions at USC on Aug. 16 in the Annenberg School auditorium. Program Co-Director Jessica Neff welcomed the students and introduced the course requirements, career development opportunities, and other details of the program. She said she hoped the students would enjoy living and studying at USC while paying attention to their health and safety during the second year of the global coronavirus pandemic.
The Tsinghua students were exhausted but appreciative of the warm welcome they received.
"After arriving in Los Angeles just two days ago, we were overwhelmed with study and living arrangements," said Wang Chenyang, a member of the program's first class. "However, the students' mutual help and the faculty's warm-hearted answers gave us great confidence, and we are looking forward to the new semester."
The Tsinghua students also met with USC academic advisor Susan Zhang and library liaison Chimene Tucker. Tucker introduced students to literature resources and suggested they take advantage of the library's collection and learn to use various literature management tools to prepare for the new semester. The introduction to USC ended with a group photo featuring the Tsinghua students and USC faculty and staff.
"Warm and pragmatic is my first impression of USC," said Wang Chenyang. "After an academic year of long-distance communication, meeting Dr. Neff in person was a warm feeling. During the orientation lecture, the faculty of the THU-USC program explained the matters needing attention while studying at USC in detail."
The interdisciplinary dual-degree program focuses on the fields of data science, information technology, journalism and communication. The innovative curriculum integrates social science with science and engineering.
Students admitted to the program will study at the School of Journalism and Communication at Tsinghua for the first year, and after an application process, enroll and study at Southern California for the second year. Students who meet the degree requirements of both universities will be awarded a Master of Journalism and Communication degree from Tsinghua and a Master of Science in Communication Data Science degree from USC.
The entire program is taught in English. It is the Tsinghua School of Journalism's second English language master's program, following the Global Business Journalism program, which was created in 2007. Students in the THU-USC dual-degree program enrolled in GBJ programs as part of their Tsinghua studies.
Applications to the program are handled by the Tsinghua University admissions office.
The two universities said the partnership was created "to capitalize on the synergies of the respective curricula and to provide students with the opportunity for a unique transcultural and cross-discipline experience that will position them to be global leaders in their field."
According to the universities:
"Graduates of the Master of Science in Communication Data Science Dual Degree will be experts in the emerging fields of data science for journalism and communication. In the course of their studies, students will learn about theories and principles underlying human communication and their integration into emerging communication technologies. They will also understand the technical underpinnings of a diverse range of emerging communication platforms, including digital newsrooms, social media, enterprise collaboration systems, and virtual and augmented reality. They will have the capability to build these technologies and effectively manage teams to create effective communication frameworks for a variety of goals. Finally, they will master powerful techniques for analyzing large volumes of data generated by digital communication platforms using machine learning and artificial intelligence."