Looking for a Canadian journalism school that offers instruction in using drones?

Look no further! Here’s what’s on offer* as of June 2019.

*Seneca College contacted every university and college journalism programme in Canada. We conducted our survey in September and October 2018, and February 2019. Each school was contacted twice. If we did not receive a reply after that we’ve indicated a “no information provided”. If you would like to update the information listed here, please contact us at: schoolofmedia@senecacollege.ca

College Programs

Two classes are currently offered in drone journalism as part of the mobile journalism course. One class on regulations, preparing flight plans and other information students need to know before flying a drone for newsgathering. A second class allows students to practice gathering video using drones. Seneca College is currently in the process of creating a full semester drone journalism course, which should be available in the fall of 2021.

Students are taught about the value of drone footage in photo/video journalism classes. Instruction in the use of drones is not provided however students are encouraged to use drones in the field for footage for news or features reporting.

Drone technology and its application to journalism is taught in Video-Journalism and TV News 2 courses. BCIT also offers a generalist drone course in as part of the part-time studies programme, and a UAV course specific to geomatics.

Conestoga offers four hours of instruction woven into their "journalism careers” course. This consists of two hours of hands-on drone flying at a nearby flight school and two hours of classroom time learning the overview of Canadian regulations.

Students learn about the application of drone journalism in the emerging tools and technology course. The topic is also covered in our Radio, Television, Film, and Digital Media programme. Centennial also has a licensed drone operator on staff and students may be able to get some practical experience using drones in journalism.

The College of the North Atlantic was the first journalism programme in Canada to introduce the teaching of drones, in 2012. A full semester drone journalism course is now offered as an elective. The majority of the semester is spent on regulations and other important information students need to know for ground school training. Students then progress to drone simulators, then small drones and in the final weeks of class they are given chances to gather video via drone for resumes. Future plans include expanding the course so that all graduates are Transport Canada certified drone pilots.

Drones are talked about in photo/video courses, but Durham College does not actively teach the use of drones in storytelling.

Bachelor of Journalism refers briefly to drones in one class: video reporting.

One three hour class is offered in drone instruction including policies, procedures, rules, regulations, insurance, uses, and some basic flight training. Mohawk is working with an outside company to expand this training so that, in the near future, students will be able to fly drones at various locations as part of the drone instruction.

Mentioned in a few courses but no dedicated curriculum. One videographer on staff who also pilots drones.

Two classes in drone journalism instruction offered: one class to discuss different types of drones and best uses, and one class dedicated to showing students how to use drones (NSCC owns two professional use drones).

Drones are mentioned briefly in one mobile journalism class.

Use of drones is briefly mentioned in the news shooting and editing course.

SAIT owns a drone and incorporates it into the advanced photojournalism class, demonstrating its capabilities.

Several classes address drone journalism from a number of perspectives: the value of drone shots/or not in a story; the ethical issues that can arise using drones; regulations and policies; whether or not owning a drone makes economic sense for journalism purposes.

Holland College (with University of Prince Edward Island), Langara College, Loyalist College (with Trent University)

Fanshawe College, Lethbridge College, and Luther College

University Programs

Mentioned in a few journalism courses but no dedicated curriculum.

They have drones but haven't incorporated them into the curriculum of the broadcast and journalism programmes yet. Planning to do so in 2019 or 2020.

Thompson Rivers offers intensive instruction as well as practical experience using drones for documentary making. This instruction is not full semester, but offered as an important component of a class dedicated to documentary making. No instruction in using drones for news reporting is offered.

Both undergraduate and graduate journalism courses mention the use of drones in mobile journalism classes.

Not currently teaching the use of drones in undergraduate or graduate journalism courses. However, there are plans to include them in the curriculum in the future.

Students are given an overview of regulations in class. Students are then given an opportunity to work with a licenced and insured drone pilot to get drone footage for specific student news stories. The students get the GPS coordinates and the drone pilot obtains the necessary permissions.

Mentioned as a good way to gather news footage but no formal instruction offered.

Carleton University, Concordia University, Ryerson University, St. Thomas University, University of British Columbia, Université de Montreal, University of Ottawa, Université du Québec à Montréal, Vancouver Island University, and Wilfred Laurier University