The University of Hong Kong is launching a degree programme in journalism next year that involves multi-disciplinary studies. The new programme will devote only one-third of its curriculum to journalism training. Students are expected to do a major in another area. Chan Yuen-ying, director of HKU's Journalism and Media Studies Centre, which will be running the programme, said it was common in American institutions to give journalism students wide training. 'I don't believe in just studying journalism or communications. We need to provide students with some areas of substantial knowledge. This is what employers would like,' Professor Chan said. 'The undergraduate training would give students the groundwork in journalism, a professional orientation. They will learn the basic skills and also be expected to have a very good language level in both English and Chinese.' There was strong interest among HKU students in getting media-related training. About 180 students are enrolled in an undergraduate course on journalism and the news media taught by her. Professor Chan's centre received 130 applications from students from various faculties this year for internships in the print and electronic media over the summer, out of which she selected 30. Some were placed in media companies in Bangkok and Beijing. 'Some others took a writing course with us, learning also to how to think like a reporter,' said Professor Chan, who is also dean of the newly-set up journalism school in Shantou University. She believes journalism training is also good pre-job training. She added: 'In this information age, the ability to get to know the world and communicate complex ideas into messages that can be understood by the public is a skill required of many professionals. It is much more than communications skill.' The government-funded programme will have 20 places. Professor Chan added that it was also geared towards producing graduates for the international market.