Radio MA - University of Sunderland

Course overview

This Masters develops skills that are relevant not only in radio but also TV, film and multi-platform production. It’s an outstanding way to gain a fast start in any area of production. 

The production modules cover areas such as targeting ideas for audiences, budgeting, research, editing, live studio production and post programme evaluation.

Spark Sunderland logo‌All production material will be broadcast on Spark FM and you can expect to be actively involved in running the 24/7 Community Radio station based in the campus Media Centre. Spark FM has won many awards including four golds at the Student Radio Awards 2012.

We are accredited to teach the industry-leading SADiE6 editing system. We also teach two systems for music playout: RCS Selector and Master Control.

You will be taught by professionals who currently work in radio, producing their own programmes for BBC so you can be sure that the course is completely up-to-date.

The practical work will be supported by contextual studies. The final stage of the course takes the form of research leading to a dissertation, or a major practical project with a contextual report.

Sunderland’s Media Department has been recognised for producing some world-leading and internationally excellent research. Our research expertise includes broadcast technology, radio formats, programming, participatory radio, voice in radio and cinema, radio drama, and women and radio.

MA Radio has been awarded the Creative Skillset Tick, the industry kitemark of quality, following a rigorous assessment process by experts working in the Creative Industries. The Creative Skillset Tick is awarded to practice-based courses which best prepare students for a career in the industry.‌

George talks about the experience of studying at the University of Sunderland and the facilities designed for students from the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media:

Course content

Modules on this course include:

Radio 1 (60 Credits)

  • Radio Studies 1
  • Radio Station Management 1
  • Production Management and Research

Radio 2 (60 Credits)

  • Advanced Radio Production and Broadcasting (40 Credits). This module will include a portfolio of work with a choice from: radio feature, documentary, radio drama, commercials, experimental radio, podcasts and Spark FM production and presentation

Plus either:

  • Radio Studies 2 (20 Credits) or
  • Radio Station Management 2 (20 Credits)

Radio 3 (60 Credits)

You will complete a supervised dissertation on a topic of your choice. As the culmination of the course, it will build on all the skills and knowledge that you have gained up to this point.

Teaching and assessment

Compared to an undergraduate course, you will find that this Masters requires a higher level of independent working.

We use a wide variety of teaching and learning methods which include lectures, seminars, workshops and practical demonstrations. Your active involvement in our on-campus radio station, Spark FM, is integral to your learning experience. Theory and practice will go hand in hand as you plan, undertake and evaluate projects and programmes. You will have high levels of contact with tutors, who give regular feedback and support, and you will also work in groups to develop skills in communication and teamwork.

Sunderland’s tutors have recent experience of working in public service, commercial and community radio. In addition, the University has long-standing links with radio industry organisations such as the UK Radio Academy, Community Media Association and Northern Arts.

Assessment methods include essays, projects, presentations, and a major project/dissertation. Information about our policies relating to student experience and quality assurance processes can be found on the Academic Services website.

Facilities & location

Sunderland is the only university in the North of England with a full-time community radio licence. Spark FM broadcasts from purpose-built studios at the David Puttnam Media Centre. This is a centre for excellence in training students, with continual investment in industry-standard equipment.

Radio studios

We have six radio studios including the transmission suite for 107 Spark FM. It broadcasts 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with a target audience of 15-24 year olds. There is a radio drama/music recording/general purpose studio and four voice over booths.

Digital editing

There are over 30 workstations capable of using Abode Audition and the state-of-the-art SADiE6 editing systems.

Other media facilities

We have two TV studios complete with green rooms and control rooms. Equipment includes four Steadicam rigs plus dolly, track and mini crane and we also have over 40 full HD tapeless field camera systems.

There is a 203-seat cinema with full HD projection, 7.1 surround sound facility and the capability to play 3D feature films. We have a live Sky feed and off-air recording facility, including DVD and Blu-ray recording, plus extensive footage archive/library.

University Library Services

We’ve got a wide range of books, journals and e-books on relevant topics, with many more available through the inter-library loan service. Useful resources for your studies include archival sound recordings with over 12,000 hours of recordings.


The David Puttnam Media Centre

The Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter's,
St Peter's Way, Sunderland, SR6 0DD

Entry requirements

Applications are welcome from holders of an honours degree in a relevant subject. All applicants should be able to demonstrate practical and critical and conceptual skills.

Students requiring the necessary practical skills are encouraged to attend undergraduate modules in radio or the Radio Summer School.

If English is not your first language, you will need a British Council International English Language Testing System (IELTS) overall score of 6.5, with at least 5.5 in each component: reading, writing, listening and speaking (or equivalent). 

After 6 April 2015 you must take your IELTS exams at one of the test centres listed on the UKVI website. If you took your IELTS exam before 6 April 2015 this does not apply, and your qualification is still valid regardless of which test centre you used.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

If you feel you already know some of the topics covered in this course, either due to previous learning or from experience of work, then you may not need to study all of the course.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) is the name given to the process of gaining credit towards a qualification because of something you have learnt in the past. If you are eligible for APL you won't have to learn the same topic again, and so you can be exempt from a module, set of modules or year of a course. 

Read more about APL in the Quality Handbook (.pdf). If you think you may be eligible for APL, please contact the course leader.

Fees & finance


The annual fee for this course is:

  • £4,180 if you are from the UK / EU
  • £10,500 if you are an International student

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or International student, please see the International section of this website.


The annual fee for this course is:

  • £4,500 if you are from the UK / EU
  • £11,000 if you are an International student

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or International student, please see the International section of this website.

Employment & careers

Postgraduates are highly employable and, on average, earn more than individuals whose highest qualification is an undergraduate degree. On completing this course you will be equipped for roles in the radio industry, and also throughout the broader media industry.

Recent Sunderland graduates have moved into jobs at a variety of radio stations and companies, including BBC Radio 1, 6Music, 5live, BBC Radio Drama, Sun FM, Metro Radio and BBC Newcastle. Sunderland graduates are also employed at radio stations in Europe, USA and Australia.

A Masters degree will also enhance career opportunities within Higher Education and prepare you for further postgraduate studies.

The Enterprise Place

If you have a good idea for a new business and have the dedication and motivation to make it happen, then we want to hear from you. The Enterprise Place, based on-campus at St Peter's Gate Business Centre, is the perfect environment for entrepreneurial students and graduates to turn their business ideas into reality. You will have access to free hot desk space, IT facilities, specialist advice and support and business mentors and networking opportunities.

To find out more about how we can help you start a business, please contact the University's Enterprise Team:

Tel: 0191 515 3751

Student jobs, volunteering and paid projects (earn while you learn)

Our Careers & Employability Service (CES) advertises a variety of opportunities to earn money while you study. It also advertises volunteer positions that enable you to help other people while learning about your strengths and what you can offer to future employers.


Support for your learning

From the start of the course you will be allocated a Personal Tutor. You’ll meet your Personal Tutor at agreed times throughout your course. Personal Tutors encourage your personal development and are a useful point of contact for any queries about your course, extracurricular activities and issues where they can point you towards specialist services at the University. These include student counselling, financial advice and chaplaincy support.

The University has a large number of part-time students at postgraduate level and we offer a lot of support and flexibility. Many part-time students are also supported by their employers, who see postgraduate studies at the University of Sunderland as a good investment in a better qualified workforce.

Support for your development

To help ensure the course is meeting aspirations for personal development, we invite students to fill in questionnaires at the end of modules. This provides a structured way for you to keep us up-to-date with your views.

During your course, and particularly towards the end of it, we encourage you to make full use of the resources at our Careers & Employability Service. The Service helps you explore your options, clarify your ideas, develop a career focus and make effective applications.

Extracurricular activities

The University supports student-led initiatives that enhance the extracurricular activities available to you. Some of these are related to particular subjects while others allow you to pursue interests and social activities. It’s all part of the vibrant and life-changing atmosphere at the University of Sunderland.

For more information about all the support services you will have access to as a Sunderland student, please see Student support and guidance.

"I've met so many wonderful people, industry experts and friends alike, and know that my time at Sunderland has been so worthwhile to my life."

Jay Sykes MA Radio case study

Jay Sykes

MA Radio


Seaburn - an original radio drama and final year submission for MA Radio by Jay Sykes.

After studying a BA (Hons) in Media Production (TV & Radio), Jay decided to further his education with an MA in Radio (Production and Management).

Jay said: “The opportunity to work on the University based radio station Spark FM has been like no other. When I’m not in class, I’m often working in the Spark office, presenting shows on the radio, or recording footage in and around Sunderland. Spark offered this opportunity for me to immerse myself with the radio station, and it’s helped me advance both personally and in my media abilities.

“For radio, the facilities are by far the best I’ve visited in the country. Sunderland certainly has some of the most advanced technology and strongest media partnerships. Visitors from other organisations, including the BBC, are envious of what the University has to offer. The software we use, including RCS Master Control and SADiE, is industry standard and we have some of the largest radio studios in the business.

“A huge advantage of my degree is the freedom to make projects which I can utilise outside of university, and which may help me secure a career in the future. This coming semester I’ll be making radio dramas, documentaries, specialist music shows, advertisements and audio branding, whilst managing Spark’s social media accounts. They keep me very busy and I love the environment.

“Some of my lecturers have been absolutely amazing; those that took me under their wing cannot be thanked enough. It’s an amazing course, with an amazing staff at an amazing University. I’ve met so many wonderful people, industry experts and friends alike, and know that my time at Sunderland has been so worthwhile to my life. 

“I have so many ambitions at this point. I love radio, drama, social media and advertising; if my career involves a combination of these I’ll be happy. The University of Sunderland has helped with building contacts to make this feel possible.”

"If you have a passion for something, pursue it, even if it scares you to do so."

Sarah Harrison case study image

Sarah Harrison

Broadcast Assistant, Smooth Operations

Sarah Harrison started a Masters course in Radio (Production and Management) at the University of Sunderland after originally studying a different degree. She graduated in 2011 and was station manager of the award-winning community radio station, Spark FM.

She thoroughly enjoyed her time at Sunderland: "The University of Sunderland gave me a safe environment to try, fail, learn and grow, and I have taken every experience, good and bad, forward with me into the workplace.

"The Masters course was really hands on, which was brilliant, as from day one we were making radio and doing it for ourselves. The course was pretty open and free for you to make what you wanted of it - which meant it suited every member of the MA as we could mould it to fit what we wanted from it.

"When I joined the Masters I felt really inexperienced next to the other students who had years and years worth of broadcasting experience, but the lecturers really went out of their way to help me, both in the course, and also in settling in and meeting new friends.

"A lecturer of mine also suggested I put some of my uni work forward for an international radio award - something which I would never have thought of doing myself - and I ended up winning!

"My main piece of advice is that you have to be really passionate about the course you're choosing otherwise you won't make the most of it. If you have a passion for something, pursue it, even if it scares you to do so."

Apply for this course

Applications to study a postgraduate qualification are submitted directly to the University. You can apply for our taught courses online using the link below, or download and complete a course application form (.pdf).

Information on how to complete the form and where to send it can be found on the form.

Contact Sunderland

For more information, contact the Programme Leader:

Andy Cartwright
Tel: 0191 515 3223

For more general information, contact:

The Recruitment Team
Tel: 0191 515 3592

Find out more information about the staff who teach on this course and the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media.

Social media: To see what events we run and to ask a question about this course, contact the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media on Facebook: and Twitter: @UniOfSunADM

Programme Starts  
Monday 18th September 2017 Apply now

The details

Course Name Radio
Classification MA
Course Mode Full-time
Course Level Postgraduate
Duration 1 year
Study Location On-campus (Sunderland)
Starting See contact & apply tab
UK/EU Fee £See entry requirements page
Intl Fee £See entry requirements page

Entry requirements

Honours degree

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