The BAMS Survival Guide

Update for 2019:

While valid at the time of writing, I am afraid much of what I wrote here is already outdated and may not be consistent with current policies. For your academic advising needs, please visit the UPOU FICS website and consult the BAMS Program Chair. 

Thank you.

Version 0.21 (May 8, 2016)


0.1 – first draft
0.11 – expanded foreword and corrected a misquote
0.2 – major additions
0.21 – added list of UPOU officials


This guide is not meant to replace whatever official guidelines UPOU has established for students. Much of what lies below are also matters of opinion based on my experiences and observations as a teacher and administrator in the BAMS program for the past six years and are not necessarily shared by the rest of the university.

This is my personal site which UPOU has no control or authority over. It has, and always will be, my intention to help students. Over there at UPOU, I am bound to follow a certain level of decorum in order to do so. But here, I can say anything however the hell I want. Besides, from what I’ve noticed, what you see here seems to be the language most students understand.

If, at any point, you find something in this guide that offends you, then I suggest you stop reading and seek advice elsewhere.

Thank you.

[nextpage title=”Introduction” ]


Contrary to what may be popular belief among BAMS students, there are actually established guidelines and protocols that are meant to be followed as they weave through the program. It just so happens that pretty much all of them are subject to change.

UPOU navigates over capricious waters of the times. Perhaps more so than any other UP campus, UPOU is subject to the rapid changes in trends of technology and society. Since the opening of the BAMS program back in 2008, I have seen prevailing ICTs change, from paper-based correspondence to SMS, to content management systems and mobile platforms. This is huge because ICT is the artery bridging the students to the university. We have also seen student demographics and dynamics dramatically change from the population dominated by full-time professionals to the emergence of UPCAT passers fresh off high school.  These things force us, the UPOU faculty, to never stop moving forward to adapt to these changes. Otherwise, we run the risk of getting left behind and be doomed to irrelevance.

The BAMS Survival Guide is meant to be a supplement for whatever official guide or handbook is issued to you by the UP Open University. It aims to cover issues which any official guide cannot. It is also meant to keep pace with sudden changes to anything that relates to your being a student, unencumbered by the rigorous process an official guidebook has to go through before being approved by the university.

With that said, this is not meant to replace any official guidelines issued by the university. If you find any sort of conflict, unless it is explained clearly in this guide, you, the student have to trust that the official guidelines supersede this survival guide.

At the same time, this guide is only meant to point you to what we feel is the right direction. This guide will never be complete in the sense that everything you need to know will eventually be here. That is what we call spoon-feeding — students expecting it and teachers practicing at are deeply frowned upon around here. As UPOU students, you are expected to practice a certain level of autonomy and proactivity. If you can’t do that, you may have to do a bit of soul-searching and figure out for yourself if you are in the right school.

Lastly, as it is emphasized here, when all else fail, talk to someone with authority and ask for help or perhaps directions. It’s part of why we’re here as mentors in the first place.

Al Francis Librero
BAMS Program Chair, 2014 to present

I, Student

There are generally two types of students – the full-timers and part-timers. Full time students are typically encouraged to take on a full twelve unit load for each trimester. Part-time students, whom we presume to have full-time occupations, are advised to take three or six units.

However, based on what I have seen, classifying students is much more complicated than that. We also have to take educational background into account. That leads us to the following:

  • UPCAT passers coming straight out of high school
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma holders
  • Transferees from other UP campuses
  • Transferees from other schools and universities
  • Admitted students who have finished certificate or ALS programs

These have yet to cover so many other parameters in what is the student demographic. It may take a while to do so. But what this means is that the UPOU studentry is a highly diverse group of people, all of which must be fairly accommodated. Does it sound like a daunting task? You bet.


[nextpage title=”General Pointers” ]

General Pointers

Sooner or later, you are going to have problems. And then I, or whoever the program chair will be when that time comes, will have to go through the repetitive process of helping you out. Now, it’s ok if such things are isolated or are easily resolved. But there are times when neither is the case.

Therefore, it is also in my best interest to help you prepare early on with how to go about your business not just in BAMS, but in UPOU as a whole.

Let me start with the most important thing:


I’m not pertaining to any specific case or person (even though doing so will not be difficult). Being careless about instructions and content is sadly endemic to students as a whole. I think at least half of your potential problems can be avoided just by reading intently, whether it is your course site/manual, the academic calendar, AIMS, or whatnot. Aside from preventing yourself from making mistakes, it also saves you time because you won’t have to needlessly make inquiries to me, your learning center or OUR and move on with whatever you need to do.


Ask me, other faculties-in-charge, the learning center coordinator or your fellow students. Whatever happens, DO NOT keep any questions to yourself hanging and lingering until it’s too late. Whenever there’s a problem, an excuse that starts with I would like to ask that you reconsider [a ruling for whatever it is I screwed up]. I did not know that… is probably one of the worst that you can come up with.


Like I said, excuses are best made before deadlines. It gives us time to figure out how to deal with whatever problem you’re going through.

We have lots of deadlines ourselves. We are pressured to produce grades on time. Heck, some of you even expect your assignments to be marked immediately. Personally, I am usually able to meet those deadlines under most circumstances. But it gets annoying when somebody sends an email asking for reconsideration, making up all sorts of excuses just to get away from a DRP or 5.0 long after I’ve submitted the grades. Do you have any idea how tedious (and potentially embarrassing) it is to modify official records?

Meeting deadlines is only one issue, however. All of us have our problems. We respect your right to privacy. However, when your problems start affecting your performance as a student, it might already be a good time to let us know enough of what’s going on so we can try work with you to come up with a means to make things more bearable.

If that is no longer possible, at least we can advise you to drop your course(s) or file a leave of absence. It sounds harsh, but in my experience, working students with families are usually the ones facing the most problems and studying is almost always the lowest priority among them. Therefore, letting go of their studies, at least for the time-being, is usually the most practical decision. At the very least, an LOA is much more preferable than an array of DRPs and 5.0s.

Communicating with your FICs is also good practice because, eventually, it is something you will have to do constantly, when you make it to the higher major courses, especially MMS 200. If by then, you still don’t know how to approach your profs, you might be in for a difficult time.


The first batch of BAMS graduates marched back in 2012. One of them graduated magna cum laude and delivered the valedictory speech for the entire class. She closed her speech with the following passage:

To the graduates, today is definitely a good time to ask for graduation gifts. This is our day. And today we celebrate that in spite of how much our Professors challenged us, we won over them! Congratulations fellow survivors!

A big difference the ordering of two words can make, no?

Regardless of the speaker’s actual intention, it is a reminder for us teachers of what some think. It’s strange to see students behave as if the university and its professors are roadblocks – antagonists or kontrabidas in the stories of their lives. For the most part, such way of thinking has been tolerated. Truth be told, if it can be a source of motivation to excel and succeed, then all well and good. Unfortunately, there are incidents when students take it too far. Aside from being offensive, such incidents are unnecessary.

So, let’s get it out of the way early on. The institution and the people working for it are not your enemies. It is the course contents which you need to win against. The professors are here to help you achieve that, but only if you let them. Win them over and convince them how good you are.

On the other hand…


With students having to pay for tuition, it is not surprising for some to regard themselves as paying customers. Therefore, we should all abide by the old and misguided adage that the customer is always right. This can be a root of a lot of issues and possible conflicts.

Remember this, and remember it well. You are not in UP buying a degree through the tuition fees your pay. You are in UP paying for a chance to prove yourself and earn a degree. That’s a colossal difference right there…


[nextpage title=”People, Names and Acronyms” ]

People and Names

When communicating with professors, the least a student can do is get their names right. Some of you are probably going duh. But believe it or not, names are gotten wrong more often than it should,even if their email addresses are their actual real names. Whether it is borne of carelessness or ignorance, it is difficult to say. It is awkward, either way (not to mention insulting for some).

Even more awkward and embarrassing is being exposed for not knowing who you are actually addressing. You know the name, but not his or her title, position or responsibility.  I know of incidents where students don’t know who the FICS dean, or worse, who the UPOU Chancellor is. There is no excuse for such levels of ignorance. Do take the time to know about these things.

I’ll make it easy for you.

As of May 2016, the following are the UPOU Officials whom you should know by name:

  • Chancellor – Dr. Melinda dP. Bandalaria
  • Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs – Dr. Melinda F. Lumanta
  • Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration – Dr. Jean A. Saludadez
  • Dean, Faculty of Education – Dr. Ricardo T. Bagarinao
  • Dean, Faculty of Information and Communication Studies – Dr. Alexander G. Flor
  • Dean, Faculty of Management and Development Studies – Dr. Primo G. Garcia
  • University Registrar – aProf. Aurora V. Lacaste
  • Director, Office of Academic Support and Instructional Services – Dr. Sheila R. Bonito
  • OIC, Multimedia Center and Information Office – Dr. Joanne Serrano
  • Director, ICT Development Office – aProf. Al Francis D. Librero
  • Director, Office of Gender Concerns – aProf. Finaflor Taylan


You are in BAMS (not BAMMS, BMS or anything else), the Bachelor of Arts in Multimedia Studies program. It is an undergraduate degree program run by the Faculty of Information and Communication Studies (FICS) at the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU).

FICS is NOT the same as FIC (faculty in charge). Speaking of, there’s what we call Faculty with a capital F, which pertains to the office (FICS, FEd and FMDS), and then there’s faculty with a small f, which pertains to us, the assistant, associate and full professors.

This is quite important to keep in mind, especially when communicating with UPOU staff. Get it wrong, and you will look foolish. Even though most of us will not mind, it’s still best to avoid that. We’ve encountered instances where a student makes it through graduation without even knowing which Faculty they belonged to. That’s just embarrassing and I don’t want any of you to be the same.


[nextpage title=”Transfer of Credits” ]

Transfer of Credits

The program chair is actually the wrong person to ask for regarding which courses you took from your previous school or university can be credited by UPOU. He or she is not involved in this particular process. This is handled by the Faculty Secretary and therefore should be the person for you to contact regarding this matter.

However, there are a few things you can keep in mind prior to contacting the secretary.

  • It is typically automatic for students previously from another UP campus, or those from the Associate in Arts program to have their GE courses get credited, unless they were taken from a long time ago. How long? Course contents have varying degrees of shelf lives. Math lessons can stay relevant for decades or even centuries. On the other hand, content information technology related courses can be rendered obsolete within a year or two. UPOU, therefore has to review requests on a tedious case to case basis.
  • Students who took bachelor’s level courses outside UP will typically have to take validation exams for each course he or she wants transferred. Keep in mind that these exams assess how well you might do in the pertinent UP course, not how well you did in your previous school. Therefore, it will be very much possible for you to encounter types of questions dramatically different from what you have previously encountered. Is that fair? From your perspective, probably not. For everyone else, of course it is.


[nextpage title=”Enrollment” ]


A self-advising checklist is released during registration and can usually be found in the front page of the AIMS student portal. It includes all the courses offered in the trimester.  The instructions in that checklist are fairly straightforward. However, certain questions often come up.

Academic Load

Full-time students normally take on full twelve unit loads for each trimester. Part-time students are often advised to only take three or six units per trimester. However, they are free to take up to twelve as well, if they do so desire.

Under special circumstances, students are allowed to overload and take fifteen units. Permission must be requested from the Program Chair, who will then promptly evaluate the case. Generally speaking, only cases of impending violation of the maximum residency rule (8 years for BAMS) are considered for approval. Otherwise, the request would be denied.

Reality Check:

FICS had become extremely accommodating in as far as allowing for overloads is concerned. This was rooted from the early years of the program when it was in disarray. It was not managed well and left a lot of students without clear directions. It took years to recover from that. Part of the recovery process was to bend the rules a little bit here and there. That also meant allowing students to overload in order to catch up and give some students a chance to graduate on time.

Admittedly, this was taken for granted up to the point when a new generation of students started making use of overloading as a means to accelerate and graduate in less than three years. That is no longer allowed.

Curriculum vs. BAMS Self-advising Checklist

Every now and then, you will find certain conflicts or inconsistencies between the BAMS curriculum found in the FICS website ( and the self-advising checklist made available to you during enrollment period through the Academic Information Management System (AIMS).These are what you need to know in order to understand why.

First, what is found in the website or BAMS program handbook (if available) is the one that is official, as in approved by the UP Board of Regents. That is the one we strive to follow as best we can. However, there are times when it is necessary to bend the rules a little bit, so to speak. This can be manifested through the checklist.


OUR’s AIMS is supposed to follow the curriculum originally approved by the UP Board of Regents, as already stated. The problem is that FICS is often forced to bend the rules a little, when it comes to prerequisites. That is why you will often notice conflicts between the checklist and AIMS when you enroll courses. This happens for two main reasons. First, with BAMS students coming in every trimester with widely varying degrees of previous accomplishments, provisions have been made to make sure they have enough courses to enroll in. Second, there are a number of higher major courses where students would do well taking certain lower courses prior, despite what is included in the original curriculum.

So, these conflicts, in fact, happen not out of incompetence, but of the desire to accommodate students more.

Waiving of Prerequisites

If a program chair has the authority to waive prerequisites, he or she will already do so and indicate it in the BAMS self-advising checklist provided during enrollment. An FIC has the authority to waive prerequisites and allow you to enroll even if you haven’t passed them, but only when what we call COI or the consent of instructor is officially prescribed as a prerequisite in the curriculum.

Again, if a prerequisite has not been pre-waived in the checklist, the program chair can’t do anything about it. You need to directly contact the FIC. If one has not been announced yet who can give a COI, as is sometimes the case, you will have to assume that the prerequisite(s), if any, cannot be waived.

Reality Check:

Perhaps the most important thing to note about prerequisites is that they are there for a very damn good reason.

However, waiving of prerequisites also became a sadly common practice in the early days as well. Again, provisions had to be made to recover from the initial shortcomings of the program and graduate on time. The problem is that again, the reasoning behind doing it in the first place had been taken for granted.

I personally found it alarming, as well as insulting, to see students complain when I deny their requests to waive prerequisites. On the other end, I have also received complaints from the side of the faculty about students struggling (sometimes to the point of failing) in courses whose prerequisites they have not taken yet because they have been fricking waived.

So like overloading again, waiving of prerequisites can only be allowed in dire circumstances.


<sarcasm>Another issue that is dear to my heart.</sarcasm>

Cross-registration allows you to enroll in courses in another UP campus. Take note – another UP campus.

We strongly discourage cross-registering now. Here’s why:

Let’s say you enroll for the first semester in another campus, let’s say in UP Diliman. That will count to your first trimester load here in UPOU. Now, with UPD following a four month schedule, the first semester would still be on-going by the time the second trimester of UPOU commences. That means that 3-unit load at UPD will still count to your second trimester load. That means you can only enroll up to 9 units for the second trimester.

Furthermore, we have no control over whatever happens to cross-registrants in the UPD side, nor can we lend any assistance if anything goes wrong. There are cases where UPOU loses track of students due to cross-registering. It’s actually enough to prevent a student from graduating on schedule.


[nextpage title=”Curriculum” ]

Making Sense of the BAMS Curriculum

The following is a section in-progress. All courses have their official guides and descriptions. However, they do not tell the whole story. This section intends to fill those gaps which the official documents cannot cover. Each course contains annotations from students and teachers alike in the hopes that you, the student thinking about enrolling in any of these courses, see a clear picture off first-hand accounts from those who’ve actually been there.

MMS 120 Communication and Culture

Student notes:

Approaches to the study of communication and culture; comparative analysis of communication variables, patterns, and systems across cultures — this is the why and how of BAMS and whatever you learn here will serve you as a practitioner for years to come even though it is hard to appreciate for the sheer amount of writing required by this course.

MMS 121 Multimedia and Popular Culture

Student notes:

Impact of multimedia on popular culture — this is where you can expose the world to your inner geek or kabaduyan. Expect to get to know your classmates more for better or worse whether you like it or not. Don’t be surprised if you come out of this with either new friends  or old ones that have started to avoid you. Hehehe.

MMS 130 – Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D)

Faculty notes:

It is one among several courses under the program that define the social relevance associated with UPOU’s approach to multimedia studies. Thus, you may find it different from your earlier courses. It covers lessons learned and best practices on the use of information and communication technologies in programs and projects by the international development assistance community. It is composed of three units: Situating ICT4D; Sectoral and Thematic Applications; and State of Play. All three units, in turn, contain three modules.

Student notes:

Application of ICTs and multimedia for sustainable development — probably the most socially conscious course you will take in BAMS, the theories you will encounter are mind-blowing but the knowledge of how we as BAMS people can apply them are mind-numbing.


MMS 131 – Introduction to Knowledge Management

Faculty notes:

Knowledge management was defined in the nineties as a newly emerging discipline that treats intellectual capital as a manageable asset. Since then, the phrase has been misused, abused and has consequently evolved in forms that its intellectual founders would hardly recognize as KM. Nowadays, almost anyone associated with information, knowledge, or management can claim to be a KM expert. This course will provide an appropriate perspective to the discipline by tracing its roots and looking at its application particularly within the development sector. MMS131 is structured into the following: Knowledge; Knowledge Management; and Knowledge Management for Development (KM4D). Each unit contains three modules. The course was so designed that the class will construct the content of these modules collectively. The main readings are contributed by the Faculty In Charge.  In the spirit of constructivism and knowledge sharing, you are likewise expected to contribute to the class resources through a mechanism that we refer to as the learning log.

Student notes:

Foundations, basic principles and applications of knowledge management— this is where interaction with your fellow BAMS students is inevitable so it will be the time to get down from your ivory tower or crawl from under your rock and realize that BAMS people aren’t so bad after all.

The 140 Series of Courses

The 140 series is made up of math and computer science related courses, namely:

MMS 140        Mathematics in Multimedia
MMS 141        Principles of Programming
MMS 142        Internet Technologies and Web Development
MMS 143        Introduction to Multimedia Computing
MMS 144        Principles of Multimedia Information Management
MMS 145        Multimedia Communications and Networking
MMS 146        Object-Oriented Programming

Passing these courses can be a potentially daunting task, especially for those without a firm background on mathematics and computer programming. If you think are one such student, then you are advised to only take one of them at any given trimester. And perhaps more so than in others, FICS is particularly strict about enforcing the prerequisites of these courses.

The Production Courses

The aptly called production courses consist of the 170 series, namely:

MMS 171        Text in Multimedia
MMS 172        Audio in Multimedia
MMS 173        Photography in Multimedia
MMS 174        Graphics in Multimedia
MMS 175        Videography in Multimedia
MMS 176        Animation in Multimedia

Program Chair Notes:

The originally approved BAMS curriculum indicates that there are no prerequisites for these courses. However, if you apply a bit of common sense, you will notice some logic in the sequence of these courses.

All six courses are deeply rooted from MMS 100, the first major course all students should take. Therefore, it makes sense that you take MMS 100 before any of the production courses – not after or even at the same time. Otherwise, prepare for potential difficulties along the way. A student has further argued that the ideal time to start taking any of these production courses is after taking MMS 102. This makes a lot of sense. What adds even more sense is for students to take MMS 100, 101 and 102 during their first year before  starting with production courses in their second year. These three courses can provide all the requisite knowledge on theory and practice in order to fully appreciate these six production courses.

It is also an excellent idea to take these production courses in ascending order, starting with MMS 171, and becomes practically imperative by the time you make it to 175 and 176. In case you’re asking why, if you take a close look, their foundations are actually grounded on the lower production courses. For example, what is video but the combination of sound, moving pictures and a dash of text and additional graphics?

Another thing to note is that while these production courses are potentially the most fun you will have in BAMS, they typically require a considerable amount of work. Therefore, it is recommended that you take no more than one production course for each trimester.

The most common question I get, however, is that regarding required equipment. And yes, it will be necessary to not necessarily own, but have full access to certain hardware and software all throughout these courses.

MMS 198 – Special Topics

Students are often clueless when they enroll in this vaguely titled course. The way UPOU treats this course, it is a springboard for emerging trends and topics in the field of multimedia. It is also the place to tackle topics not covered by any of the other major courses.

The actual topics will vary each time MMS 198 is offered. FICS will go out of its way to announce these topics in advance so that you will have the chance to choose the topic you would be most interested in.

For your reference, the following topics have been covered in the past:

  • New Media Art Practice
  • Mobile Videography
  • Gaming in Education
  • Digital Image Processing
  • Collaborative Online Audio Production

Mobile Videography

Faculty notes:

Mobile Videography tackles the requisite skills required in the craft but, more importantly, underscores a meaningful application of the medium towards a socially beneficial goal. Video is a powerful medium, primarily because it approximates reality. It leverages both the visual and aural senses and exploits the synergies between these two. It captures not only knowledge, but emotions and contexts as well. For so long, the benefits of employing this medium were reserved to the trained professional or the well-endowed artist. Today, technology has allowed anyone with a smart-phone to tap this medium and has equitably decentralized and distributed the power associated with its use. We have become less and less dependent on professional studios and more and more enabled to tell our own stories through video. Personal video stories will be the focus of this course.


MMS 200 – Special Project

Faculty notes:

MMS 200 can’t really be considered as just one of your major courses.  It is your capstone. It is the avenue for you to apply everything you have learned from all the other courses to conduct research on multimedia through a project or a thesis.

It is difficult to set boundaries for what you can or cannot do because of the wide scope encompassed by the term multimedia.  UPOU faculty, therefore, have to evaluate students and their ideas on a case-to-case basis.

Only students of senior standing (or have taken 75% of the courses in the curriculum) should attempt to take MMS 200. It is also strongly recommended that most, if not all, of the production courses and MMS 197 are included in that 75%.

Research is a tricky concept to grasp, hence the necessity of MMS 197. What can or cannot qualify as multimedia research is explained in greater detail in the guide for MMS 200.

As for handling MMS 200 is concerned, it is a 6-unit course, taken three at a time.

The following are to be expected the first time you take it:

  • You will initially be supervised by the MMS 200 coordinator. He or she will address any concerns you have early on.
  • Your immediate job is to come up with one or more ideas on what you want to do and how you can conduct research for it.
  • You are to seek out UPOU faculty who you would want to work with and request that you be taken in as an advisee. You may choose according to whatever criteria you desire. But there are two important things that should always be concerned if you want to get through MMS 200 quickly and smoothly. First, he or she must be a full-time or affiliate UPOU faculty whose background and interests are aligned with what you want to do. And second, it would be ideal if he or she is someone you can comfortably work with (to a certain degree, at least).
  • What faculty requires of you before they agree to be advisers do vary. Sometimes, they agree immediately, while sometimes, they will ask you to clearly present your ideas first.
  • You are to write a project or thesis proposal for the approval of your adviser.
  • There are only two possible grades the first time – S (satisfactory) and U (unsatisfactory). To earn an S, expectations #3 and #5 must be accomplished. Otherwise, you get a U and are required to repeat the first take.

Once you get an S, you can proceed to taking the second half of MMS 200. Expect the following:

  • Typically, this is the time for you to implement your project or experiment, and then write your manuscript.
  • You will be under the direct supervision of your designated adviser the whole time.
  • Under no circumstances should drafting manuscripts be taken lightly. It is not your run-of-the-mill term paper. It is the measure of how you stack up as a BAMS student and practitioner. Prepare to deal with BAMS faculty at their most demanding.

In addition, you still have to understand that the world does not revolve around you. Be considerate and heed the following:

  • Professors do not accept advisees lightly. It is a serious commitment due to the complexity of the work involved. Therefore, do not ask one today and expect to be accepted immediately just like that.
  • The burden of communication and coordination will always rest on you. Do not expect anything to be handed to you freely. You need something, you work for it.

You typically would have one academic year to finish MMS 200. However, the 3-3 distribution was based on a semestral schedule. So if you still want that whole year to work with and not have any grade issues, it is a good idea to have a one-trimester gap when enrolling. For example, as a senior student, you enroll the first time during the first trimester. Assuming you pass, don’t enroll MMS 200 again until the third trimester arrives. You use that break during the second trimester to conduct the implementation of your project or experiment (while still under the supervision of your adviser). So, when the third trimester arrives, you will only have to worry about writing your manuscript (or the finishing touches of your implementation, depending on its extent).


[nextpage title=”From AA to BAMS” ]

From AA to BAMS

It’s fairly common for graduates of the Associate in Arts program at the Faculty of Education to continue studying and take BAMS. If you are one such student, please be guided by the following:


Of course, I have encountered excellent AA graduates over the past eight years. Some of them move on and do well in BAMS. But I have noticed a few trends among the majority.

  1. Complacency – Just because you have 2-4 years worth of study experience in UPOU doesn’t mean you can let up and chill in BAMS. Employing that attitude is an insult to your former professors and a waste of your or your family’s hard-earned money. It also serves as a bad example for new students to see. If you are one such student, you should be ashamed of yourself and might as well donate your tuition money to someone who deserves it more.
  2. Cluelessness – Yet, another thing to be ashamed of. I’ve seen AA students to whom the concept of a discussion is completely lost. Most AA students treat discussions as if they were assignments, which is completely wrong. Then there’s the annoying habit of flooding the forums with posts near or at the final day of classes.
  3. Half-expecting profs to be considerate – I know my colleagues mean well. But I do honestly believe their kindness, at times, have become a detriment to the maturity of some students. They also inadvertently pass on headaches to others such as myself. And that is something I do not appreciate. If a prof doesn’t accept a late submission from you, it doesn’t matter if others before him or her did so. If you rightfully failed a course and your prof refuses to give you consideration, deal with it. Just because some kindly teacher bailed you out doesn’t mean the rest of us have to do the same. It’s your fault and you should be mature enough to own up to it.
  4. Overconfidence – Homaygawddd… I observe this on a painfully regular basis. BAMS major courses are collectively more complex than the GE courses taken in the AA program. The lack of appreciation for that fact has often led to failures, or worse, quitting school altogether. It’s good to believe in ourselves. But there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance that is best left uncrossed. Yes, your prior experience should make all of this easier now, but be mindful that there are higher levels of difficulty for you to deal with now, which AA has not fully prepared you for.
  5. Jadedness – It is possible that this is a primary root of most of the behaviors previously mentioned. Perhaps there were a few profs who did not do their jobs well in the students’ eyes and somehow think everyone else are like those few. Or maybe deep down, they know that distance e-Learning is not for them but for some reason are forced to keep studying at UPOU, anyway. Whatever the reason, even though this is what annoys me the least, it is what saddens me the most.

It’s nothing personal. But the point is, as an AA graduate, there is a good chance that you have lost your way as an online student. I hope you don’t exhibit any of the above behaviors. But if you do, UNLEARN THEM.


[nextpage title=”FAQs” ]

Frequently Asked Questions 

  • Can I enroll more than 12 units in a trimester?

You could be given permission to enroll 15 units (please see the part on Academic Load). But it’s not very likely.

  • How about 18 units?

Are you kidding me?

  • Will the credits from my previous school be transferred?

If you came from a non-UP school, it is not automatic, and therefore must be explicitly requested. Remember that the program chair is NOT the person to ask about this. This is the FICS secretary’s job ( Alternatively, you can inquire through the FICS mailer (

  • I would like to take a course even though I have not taken its prerequisite. Is that possible?

Only if you have COI, or the consent of instructor. The program chair cannot give you the COI, unless he or she is the actual faculty in charge of the course you want to take.

  • … actually I have taken the course, but its FIC hasn’t given me my grade yet…

You still need the COI. However, in such cases, faculties in charge tend to be more lenient since the shortcoming is from the university’s end.

  • What courses can I take?

There’s always a checklist made available for you so you can decide which major courses you can take. For GE courses, you can check out postings from the Faculty of Education. Cross check the available courses with your academic record, while keep in mind of prerequisites. This is something students are expected to figure out for themselves.

If you’re a new student, it’s a good idea to take MMS 100 as soon as possible. Among GE courses, Math 1 is arguably one of the most critical, being the prerequisite of MMS 140 which, in turn, is a prerequisite for other courses in the 140 series.

Also, keep in mind that while we do what we can to ensure that it is possible for any student to be able to enroll twelve units in a trimester, regardless of standing, there will unavoidably times when it is not going to be possible. This is not uncommon, especially for those who are not following the prescribed plan of study, which assumes that you started your life as a BAMS student on a first trimester. Those who don’t start on a first trimester can regard themselves as irregular students. Again, while UPOU does its best, it is not obligated to accommodate irregular students as far as ensuring twelve unit loads is concerned.

  • There’s course Y which, according to the curriculum, has course X as prerequisite. But the checklist says there is no prerequisite. Which one is correct?

Technically, the official curriculum is correct. However, due to circumstances covered in this guide, there are times when prerequisites need to be waived. If a program chair can do so directly, it will be reflected from the checklist. Therefore, if the checklist does not indicate a prerequisite for a given course, it means that its official prerequisite has been waived, at least for the duration of that trimester.

  • I would like to take a production course even if I haven’t taken MMS 100 yet. It’s not listed as a prerequisite, after all. It’s ok, right?

Well, yes and no. Yes, because you are correct. MMS 100 is not officially a prerequisite. But it is crucial is preparing you for what’s to come in all the production courses. If you proceed, you do so at your own risk.

  • I would like to take MMS 200, but I haven’t taken MMS 197 yet. Is it ok?

MMS 197 is to MMS 200 the same way that MMS 100 is to the production courses. So, yes and no…

  • I successfully enrolled in MMS 200 even though I am not yet of senior standing…

Stop right there. Unfortunately, AIMS cannot account for senior standing as prerequisite. It’s a system limitation that has not been addressed as of this writing. Therefore, the coordinator goes through academic records manually and will have your enrollment cancelled if you are actually not qualified to take MMS 200 yet.



  • Cheddar

    January 5, 2018 at 11:46 AM

    I wish I have seen this post earlier. 🙁 I have been reading your blog for quite since I started to consider applying for BAMS in UPOU. Last December, I have enrolled to a production course along with MMS 100, 101 and 102. Hopefully the odds are in my favor hahaha 🙂 Thank you for sharing this straightforward guide to newbies like me. I will keep in mind the tips and pieces of advice as I go through this course.

  • SpartMercado

    December 13, 2018 at 8:44 AM

    Hi Sir Al,

    I really like to read your introduction every start of the trimester, prepares me mentally as well as emotionally. RIght now with the old vs new curriculum, it would be foolish for any BAMS student to not read the survival guide.

    I am taking MMS 173 this term and following your advice to only take one production course. Thanks Sir

    • Al Librero

      December 13, 2018 at 10:28 AM

      Thank you for reading, Spart. That said, I’ll have to caution you that some parts of the guide may already be outdated. I think Diego, the current program chair, is hard at work trying to build a more comprehensive and updated guide. Good luck with MMS 173!

  • Anna

    February 12, 2019 at 7:11 AM

    Hi Prof,

    I finished and passed all the courses under the old BAMS program later last year. I submitted the graduation form too, when and how do I know if I will be part of the commencement exercise this year?

    Thank you.

  • Kim Dela Cruz

    June 5, 2019 at 3:24 AM

    Good day, Sir!
    I just want to ask clarification about the admission requirements for BAMS. I have been dismissed from UPLB and I wish to be admitted to UPOU as I’m not capable of attending physical school at the moment. How does that work? Do I still have to satisfy GWA requirement of 2.5 or better even if I have UPG of 2.8 or better? Thank you very much for your time.

    • Al Librero

      June 20, 2019 at 3:18 PM


      In my time as Program Chair, the UPG matters more than the GWA. But policies may have already changed.Please contact the UPOU Admissions Office. They’re in a better position to answer your questions. Thank you.

  • Danee

    August 15, 2019 at 9:00 PM

    Dear Professor Librero,
    Thank you so much for this post, it’s given me a better look at the BAMS program, which I plan on applying to in 2020. I appreciate your candor. Wishing you all the best in current and future dealings with students.

    • Al Librero

      August 23, 2019 at 11:40 AM

      Hello Danee,

      Thank you so much for reading. However, please proceed to the FICS website ( for much more updated information. While as far as I know, just about everything I wrote here was valid at the time. But it’s been a while and some major changes in the curriculum and policies were implemented last year. I don’t want to unwittingly point you in the wrong direction.

      Best of luck to you!

  • Kim Lumague

    December 10, 2019 at 9:07 AM

    Hello Sir,

    I would like to get your suggestion about whether to take AA or BAMS.

    I used to be a Mass Comm student from Perpetual and FEU, and I have not even finished my first year with both schools because of my working schedule 🙁 I have been working full-time right after high school graduation and I am 25 years old now.

    Should I take AA first then proceed to BAMS
    or should I just take BAMS all the way?

    • Al Librero

      December 10, 2019 at 10:42 AM

      Hello Kim,
      Me personally, I’d rather go ahead with BAMS. That said, going through AA first has value.

      It depends on your goals and how much time you’re willing to commit to continuing your studies. AA is not a full college degree and won’t get you that far on its own, but it does get you a UP diploma with less units earned or time spent. Sometimes that alone is already valued by a company or the student personally. But it will most likely require more time (and money) going through AA, rather than going direct to BAMS.

      I hope that helps.

  • May

    September 9, 2020 at 9:41 PM

    As a freshman from AA, I was surprised with your experience with your former students. Thank you for sharing as I will be mindful of how BAMS works as I will take it in the future. It is good to prepare as early as now so thank you again sir!!!

    • Al Librero

      September 9, 2020 at 10:05 PM

      Thank you for reading. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few things have changed since I last handled a course two years ago, though. I don’t know how old you are, but this new generation of students we currently have do behave differently from many of the students in the past.

      • Anne

        May 7, 2022 at 1:34 AM

        Good day, Sir! I’m a freshman and I’m glad I came across this guide. I was wondering, what possible work can I apply for after finishing my degree in BAMS? Would it be ideal to get a second degree after to strengthen my qualifications?

        • Al Librero

          May 7, 2022 at 7:09 AM

          Hello Anne,
          Before anything else, this blog might be outdated. I believe you have a more updated guide available to you now.

          With that out of the way, to answer your questions… it really depends on your life goals and interests. If you want to focus on production work in the industry, or maybe start a multimedia business, or freelance work as a content creator, then I believe professional certifications are more valuable than a second degree. I am certainly aware that there are those out there in different fields who earn a lot more money than us with multiple degrees. On the other hand, if multimedia to you is just a stepping stone for something new or something bigger, or if you finish BAMS and find yourself thinking whether or not there’s something more to studying multimedia than what you’ve seen so far, or maybe find that staying in the academe appeals to you, then that’s where a second degree could come in handy. Do consider graduate studies rather than staying at the undergrad level, though.

          I hope this helps. Let me know if you have other questions. And do ask for other peoples’ opinion on the matter when you can. Good luck!

  • Rojhin Jon Lofamia

    December 14, 2020 at 12:11 PM

    I know this blog post is 5 years old, but this gave me a whole shot of adrenaline! This post motivated me and properly set my expectations. That being said, I’m currently finishing my Economics program at PLM while working full-time at a call center. After I graduate, I plan to use up some of my savings to apply for this program and buy proper equipment; but continue working full-time (most likely not at a call center). I’ve read the Part-time Plan of Study and I was just wondering if it is possible (or even encouraged) that I study full-time instead of the recommended 6-units for the semester. Also, what are the hardware and software that you recommend I save up for? Thank you so much for this post po Prof. Al. I will surely keep in mind all the tips that you’ve provided in this helpful (albeit outdated) blog post!

    • Al Librero

      December 14, 2020 at 4:00 PM

      Thank you for reading, Rojhin!

      There’s really no stopping you from enrolling the regular 12-unit load per trimester, even if you’re a working student. But we strongly suggest that students not do so. The academic load can get incredibly heavy even for full-time students.

      Recommendations keep changing, especially with hardware, as you might imagine. I’m a little biased as I prefer working on a full desktop with a big monitor. But consider a laptop/desktop that can handle intermediate level video editing (if your computer can do that, it likely means it can handle most other things just as well) and your mobile phone (which can also act as your camera/recording device) as the bare essentials. I have a handful of volunteer students helping to come up with a more detailed recommendation, which should come out by the start of the next trimester.

      Good luck in finishing your current studies and your future application for admission to the BAMS program!


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