Faculty of Information and Communication Studies

University of the Philippines Open University

This article serves as the living Program Handbook for the Bachelor of Arts in Multimedia Studies (BAMS). If you are just considering applying to the BAMS program, please also see the information about the BAMS program on the FICS website.

If you have already been admitted to the BAMS program, welcome to the BAMS Program and to UPOU! This handbook will help you get started on your journey through BAMS and UPOU.  

What should I know about learning at UPOU?

UPOU employs the distance education (DE) mode of teaching and learning. The key features of DE, as practiced at UPOU, are:

  • Students and teachers are physically separated from each other. They do not meet face-to-face in a physical classroom.
  • Students undertake guided independent study of carefully selected as well as specially designed learning materials in various media—print, video, and multimedia.
  • Interaction between teachers and students, and among students, takes place through online tutorials in a virtual classroom. Other forms of communication between teacher and student are email, text, and videoconferencing.
  • Final examinations are conducted either face-to-face at designated learning centers, or online.

You need to be absolutely self-driven and capable of managing your time and attention to succeed at UPOU. If you do not consider yourself as possessing these skills, then you will need to find ways to develop these. Dr. Alexander G. Flor, the former Dean of the FICS, has the following to say about the learning experience at UPOU:

I would like to share with you a few thoughts about open learning. UPOU adopts a specific type of open learning which we call Open and Distance Learning or ODeL. All courses under the BAMS program are conducted online. However, there are certain activities in the program that requires face-to-face interaction and, thus, your physical presence.

As you may know, open learning is based upon educational philosophies that are quite different from those of residential instruction. Open education believes that learning is a cooperative endeavor between the teacher and the learner, in fact, it may adopt circumstances attendant to lifelong learning wherein you can take the teacher out of the equation and the student learns nevertheless. It believes that the main actor in the teacher-learning process is the learner not the teacher. The learner takes the initiative and learns on his own terms. Thus, learning is not determined by a teacher but the learner himself. These philosophies make an open university, not just the adoption of distance and eLearning delivery systems. Without these philosophies embedded in its pedagogy and assessment, an open university becomes a poor substitute of a residential campus.

However, UPOU operates within policies and guidelines set out by the University of the Philippines, some of which may not be entirely consistent with open education. Thus, we are guided by semestral calendars and prerequisites. Nevertheless, UPOU is an open university and this carries some implications for you, the learner. 

Firstly, the responsibility for learning falls squarely upon your shoulders. If you succeed, the credit belongs to you exclusively. If you fail, you have no one to blame but yourself. However, this does not mean that learning should be an individual activity. You are fully encouraged to form support groups or online study groups among yourselves, using social media. 

Secondly, it means that you require specific qualities in order to succeed. Paramount among these qualities are discipline, focus, and determination. You should likewise possess an analytical or critical mind. 

We realize that to many of you, this open learning style may pose a bit of a culture shock. Three decades of teacher-centered education at the primary, secondary and higher education levels have made us dependent on a teacher who decides for us and who dictates out learning preferences. Please note that here at UPOU, we recognize that learning decisions and preferences, including scheduling, pacing, sequencing and focus, reside primarily upon the learner within limits set by the UP system. Thus, take the initiative. 

There will be no “hand-holding” from the dean, the secretary, the program chair nor your professors. Consider further that you are under an undergraduate program where independent thought is the hallmark of progress. Celebrate your independence.


What is the BAMS program about?

The BAMS program aims to produce graduates who are knowledgeable in the range and use of multimedia information and communication technologies; articulate in philosophical and theoretical underpinnings of developments in the field and their social implications in multimedia; knowledgeable in hardware operation and software development; able to produce multimedia knowledge products; able to contribute to the body of research and development in multimedia; and capable of keeping abreast with emerging trends, protocols, procedures, and their implications on practice.

What courses will I be taking?

The BAMS program consists of 142 academic units in courses related to media, computation, society, and technology, as well as 8 non-academic units of Physical Education (PE) and 6 non-academic units worth of Civic Welfare and Training Service (CWTS) courses. The BAMS Curriculum includes courses that are offered by the Faculty of Education. Go to the BAMS page and click on the "Curriculum" tab to learn more about the BAMS curriculum. Go to the end of this article to download sample plans of study for both full-time and part-time students. 

What courses should I first enroll?

If this is your first term in BAMS and have not taken any university-level classes in the past, you are advised to enroll in the following:

  • Full-time students
    • MMS 100
    • WIKA 1 
    • COMP ED 10
    • COMM 2
    • (CWTS 1)
  • Part-time students
    • MMS 100
    • MMS 102
    • (CWTS 1)

If you are an AA graduate, please use the directions given on mapping your Plan of Study

How long will it take me to finish the program?

It depends on how much time and attention you are able to allocate to your studies. We have drafted sample Plans of Study you can follow depending on whether you are a full-time or part-time student.  Full-time students who remain in good academic standing throughout the program can graduate within 4 years. Part-time students will take longer. Go to the BAMS page and click on the "Plan of Study" tab to learn more. You can switch at any time between being a full-time student and a part-time student. However, there is a limit to the number of terms it takes for you to complete; this is your Maximum Residency

There is no "typical time" for a BAMS student to graduate;  at UPOU, the idea of a "batch" does not really apply. Many choose to study at UPOU because it provides them the flexibility to take the time they need with their studies. Students in graduate school think like this; every student pursuing a Master's or PhD takes the time they need to finish their research and study, no more and no less, and the time they need differs between all students. While it may be advantageous for you to finish your studies within four years, as long as you finish within your maximum residency, you will graduate "on time".

Go to the end of this article to download sample plans of study (as PDF files) for both full-time and part-time students. Regularly revisiting and updating your Plan of Study will help you gauge how much time you need to finish the program. 

I previously took university-level courses in the past; can those be used toward my degree?

It depends. See the article Can courses I took from a previous institution or UP campus unit count towards my BAMS degree?  and apply for a Transfer of Credits as soon as you can.

I would like to meet other students in the program; is there a Facebook group or other platform that I can join?

There is an unofficial Discord server that a BAMS student had for all UPOU undergraduate students. See Are there any student organizations or associations I can join? for directions on how to join it. For the 2021-1T term, an independent group of students have organized an unofficial welcome event, which you can learn more about on


When can I enroll in classes?  

The enrollment period for each Trimester is listed in the Academic Calendar

I have more questions about the BAMS program or studying at UPOU. Where can I get answers?

Student orientations: New student orientations are held on a regular basis. If you are a new student, you should have received a notice about an upcoming orientation. Recordings of student orientation talks as also archived in the UPOU Networks site, including the following:

2021 General Student Orientation (archived from a Facebook live event) 

Recording of BAMS student orientation from 2020

Getting Started guides in the BAMS Helpdesk: A set of online resources on getting started with the BAMS program is available in this helpdesk knowledge base. They include guides on the following topics:

Other articles in the BAMS Helpdesk: Because UPOU is a dynamic institution and the BAMS program is always evolving, this site serves as a knowledge base of useful, updated information that can help you throughout your time in the program. To access the knowledge base, click or tap the Sign up link at the top of this page, then follow the directions on the screen to set up your account. Once you have logged in, we recommend that you read the following articles to get started:

These are but suggested articles with which you can start; you can explore the knowledge base at your leisure.

Who are the people behind the BAMS program?

The BAMS Program is under the Faculty of Information and Communication Studies (FICS).  Dr. Emely M. Amoloza is the Chair of the BAMS Program. Asst. Prof. Joyce Mae A. Manalo is Secretary to the Faculty. Dr. Diego S. Maranan is the Dean of the FICS.  Please remember their names as you might need them for requests later on.

Sample Plans of Study

Example Plans of Study can be downloaded below as PDF files. Please note that alternative Plans of Study are possible, and unless you have been explicitly instructed to follow a specific Plan, you should review, update, and (if needed) revise your Plan at least once a term using the BAMS Planner. The Plans provided here are merely ones that have been optimized for full-time and part-time students.

We hope this introduction to the BAMS program has been helpful!