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Fashion Journalism BA (Hons) - University of Sunderland

Course overview

This course is one of our comprehensive suite of specialist journalism courses that lead to both an honours degree and an NCTJ Diploma in Journalism. This combination of qualifications will significantly boost your employability as a journalist. The course had a 100% pass rate for Fashion Journalism students taking NCTJ Reporting in 2015 – 72% achieved the gold standard.

‌You will develop the core skills of fashion journalism including writing features, styling photoshoots, catwalk reporting and designing fashion spreads.

Work experience

You can increase your practical experience by taking on reporting, editing and/or managerial roles on Fashion North; our student-run website covering fashion across the North East.

In the final year, you will produce your own fashion magazine or website, plus you can carry out a work placement on a fashion publication.

 Work placement JAN 2016

All students studying on-campus undergraduate Fashion Journalism courses can take up a CV-enhancing work placement, a University-led industry initiative, or a professional and business development boot camp. *By the term placement, we mean we are offering you a taste of the industry which might last anything from two days to four weeks on a part-time basis.

Right from the start, you'll notice Sunderland's supportive atmosphere. We make sure that it's easy to receive advice from tutors and there are daily drop-in sessions staffed by a rota of professional journalists.

The course is also accredited by the Professional Publishers Association (PPA), the trade body for magazine companies. Professional Publishers Association (PPA) logo

All our teaching staff have worked as senior journalists. Teaching is enhanced by our department’s cutting-edge research, of which Media has been ranked as 'world-leading' by the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF).

Sunderland has been ranked Best in the North East for Course Satisfaction in fashion and second in journalism, according to The Guardian University Guide 2015.

Fashion Journalism students talk about their website Fashion North - an exciting project in which students report on fashion news, videos, tutorials, events and much more:

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

Course content

Year 1 (national level 4)

Essential Journalism (20 Credits)

Essential journalism toolkit – learn what a journalist does and how you can get started.

Introduction to Fashion Journalism (20 Credits)

Acquire core fashion skills including catwalk reporting, red carpet verdicts, street style photography and trend forecasting.

Fashion History and Culture (20 Credits)

Learn about the most influential fashion designers throughout history and their influence on today’s styles.

Writing and Research for Journalism and PR (20 Credits)

Develop your writing style and learn how to communicate clearly and effectively.

Online Video Journalism (20 Credits)

Find interesting stories, and shoot and edit them into compelling video content for the web.

Optional modules are also available (across all three stages) such as:

Editorial Fashion Styling, Media Photography, Social Media Practice, Public Relations Magazine Writing, Arts and Entertainment Journalism.

Year 2 (national level 5)

Fashion Journalism 1 (20 Credits)

Learn advanced fashion journalism skills including memoirs, fashion news and styling location shoots.

Magazine Design and Production (20 Credits)

Develop a 20-page concept magazine and learn to write killer headlines for print and online.

Newsroom (20 Credits)

Experience the thrill of working in a live newsroom in our state-of-the-art Media Hub.

Essential Media Law (10 Credits)

What you can say and when can you say it. Essential for media professionals.

Essential Public Affairs (10 Credits)

Learn how to report power, how key organisations work and where to go to find the important stories.

Journalism and PR Studies (20 Credits)

Examine various approaches to studying journalism and PR.


Learn the system of rapid handwriting, a skill used by journalists to quickly transcribe the spoken word.

Optional modules are also available (across all three stages) such as:

Editorial Fashion Styling, Media Photography, Social Media Practice, Public Relations Magazine Writing, Arts and Entertainment Journalism.

Final Year (national level 6)

Fashion Journalism 2 (20 Credits)

Take a senior editorial role and hone your real-world fashion journalism skills via our bespoke Fashion North website, based in the Media Hub.

Magazine Practice, including placement (20 Credits)

Develop an advanced understanding of the magazine industry and gain valuable experience during a two-week work placement.

Media Ethics (20 Credits)

Explore the concepts of freedom of expression, looking at the conflicts between public interest and personal privacy. 

Fashion Journalism Practical Project (40 Credits)

Plan and produce a piece of independent work such as a magazine, a series of in-depth articles or a website. 


Learn the system of rapid handwriting, a skill used by journalists to quickly transcribe the spoken word.

Optional modules are also available (across all three stages) such as:

Editorial Fashion Styling, Media Photography, Social Media Practice, Public Relations Magazine Writing, Arts and Entertainment Journalism.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching methods include lectures, demonstrations, seminars, workshops, group projects and practical skills work.

All our teaching staff have worked as journalists and have strong links with regional employers and industry organisations. We also invite experienced industry professionals to carry out regular guest lectures and classes.

Assessment is split between portfolios of practical work, essays, examinations, reports and presentations.

To find out more about modules, credits and how you will be assessed, please see the page how courses are taught. Information about our policies relating to student experience and quality assurance processes can be found on the Academic Services website.

Part-time study

If you study this course on a part-time basis you will typically complete 40-80 Credits in a year, rather than the 120 Credits of full-time students. All modules are taught during the day time and you will be studying alongside full-time students. 

Key Information Sets

All UK Universities and colleges display Key Information Sets (KIS) on their undergraduate courses. The KIS gives you a quick overview of some standard information about a course, and has a link to more detailed information on Unistats.

Facilities & location

The mediaHUB

Throughout your time in Sunderland you will have an outlet for your creative talents in the mediaHUB, a bustling multimedia newsroom on the top floor of our David Puttnam Media Centre that will give you a real taste of life as a working journalist. The mediaHUB runs websites covering sport, news, entertainments and fashion, provides the content for news bulletins on our award-winning Spark Radio and is responsible for writing and editing Spark magazine.

Journalism suites

We have four journalism suites, each with 18 Apple Mac workstations with design applications and video editing. There’s an additional open access project completion suite with 20 more workstations and colour laser printing.

Broadcast Journalism Newsroom

The Broadcast Journalism Newsroom has 20 workstations plus a Sky feed with two 40” plasma screens. Each workstation has industry-standard software including NewsCutter, Burli and ENPS.

Technical support

The Journalism Newsroom has another 20 Mac workstations and offers drop-in sessions run by a rota of working journalists who can advise on projects, assignments and your personal portfolio. These sessions are available every day of the week during term time. In addition, technicians are available to help you use all the software and equipment.

Radio studios

We have six radio studios including a transmission suite for 107 Spark FM, our student-run community radio station and a city centre hub.

TV studios

We have two broadcast-quality TV studios complete with green room and changing facilities. Equipment includes four Steadicam rigs plus dolly, track and mini crane. We have over 40 full HD tapeless field camera systems.

Other media facilities

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

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. Some useful resources for your studies include:

  • Lexis, which provides full-text newspaper articles as well as access to legal information
  • JSTOR (short for ‘Journal Storage’), which provides access to important journals across the humanities, social sciences and sciences
  • Archival Sound Recordings with over 12,000 hours of recordings
  • British Universities Film and Video Council (BUFVC), which provides resources for the production, study and use of film and related media in higher education and research


The David Puttnam Media Centre

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

Entry requirements

Our typical offer is 120 UCAS points from a minimum of two A Levels or equivalent (e.g. 1 x AVCE double award). Read more on the new UCAS Tariff point system for 2017.

We accept a maximum of 6 points from Level 3 Key Skills qualifications.

We also require three passes at GCSE grade C or above, which must include Mathematics and English Language, or a minimum of Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number.

If English is not your first language, please see our English language requirements.

If you are studying a HND or Foundation Degree you may be able to enter onto the final year of our degree courses. For more information, please contact

Other acceptable qualifications

BTEC National: 120 points from a BTEC Certificate or Diploma.

Access Courses: We would require successful completion of an Access to Higher Education course that is accredited by the Quality Assurance Agency. We would also require a minimum of grade C in GCSE in Mathematics and English Language or the equivalent as part of your course.

Scottish Highers: Our typical offer is for 120 points.

Irish Leaving Certificate: Our typical offer is for 120 points.

International qualifications: Please call the Student Helpline for advice on other acceptable qualifications. The number from outside the UK is +44 191 515 3000.

Any other qualifications: If you have any other qualifications not listed here, you may still be eligible. Please contact the Student Helpline for advice: 0191 515 3000.

Returners to Learning: If you are a mature student, you may benefit from our dedicated Returners to Learning Progression Scheme. For further information email or call the Student Helpline: 0191 515 3000.

If you wish to be considered for direct entry to a different year of a course, please contact the Student Helpline: 0191 515 3000.

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

Full-time fees

The annual fee for this course is:

  • £9,250 if you are from the UK / EU
  • £10,750 if you are an International student

The tuition fee includes the NCTJ exam fees. It covers the cost of one attempt at all seven exams required for the NCTJ Diploma, including each shorthand speed.

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

Scholarships and bursaries may be available to you – please see the Fees and Finance section of this website for more information.

Part-time fees

Tuition fees for part-time home and EU students are £4,880 per 120 Credits.

Please note that part-time courses are not available to international students who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

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

Career destinations

 Spark logo‌‌This degree prepares you for writing and talking about fashion in magazines, radio, TV and online media, as well as for retailers or brands.

The industry qualifications also equip you to work as a general magazine or newspaper journalist.

The degree is also highly relevant to many positions in industry, commerce and the Civil Service, as well as to jobs in PR and the arts and voluntary sectors. You could also choose to continue your studies with a Masters degree at the University of Sunderland.

Work placements

‌‌You will undertake a work placement module in your final year though many of our students arrange placements for all three years.

Recent student placements at fashion publications include:

  • Elle
  • Grazia
  • Asos
  • More!
  • Fabulous, the Sun on Sunday’s magazine

In the past, our students have commissioned and styled fashion shoots for magazines and newspapers, worked on catwalk shows and fashion weeks and provided fashion reports for the websites of major retailers in the North East.

Field trips include visits to the Clothes Show in Birmingham.

Other opportunities for real-world experience include Spark online magazine, the Fashion North website, the SR-News website, the Northern Lights website and SportsByte, which are all linked to our Journalism and Media courses. 

Fashion North is a fashion, beauty and shopping website run by Fashion and Magazine Journalism students:

University Language Scheme

It is usually possible to take a module from the free University Language Scheme. This can be studied on top of your 120 credits or in some cases, can earn credits towards your degree.

Language skills increase your international mobility and you can choose between French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese and Arabic at a range of levels. If your first language is not English, please check with your tutor about entry requirements.

Staff and students talk about the benefits of the University Language Scheme: 


The University of Sunderland is committed to ensuring that every student has an impressive range of opportunities to enhance their CV and gain valuable experience:

  • Work placements
  • Graduate internships
  • Studying abroad
  • Student Ambassador Scheme
  • Mentoring
  • Starting your own business
  • Student jobs and volunteering
  • Careers advice

For full details, please see our Employability page.


Support for your learning

You can expect stimulating contact time that includes lectures, workshops, seminars and case studies. There is also a significant amount of time where you will be researching and studying on your own in preparation for assignments and seminars. If you have individual queries or difficulties within subject areas, you can book an appointment with your tutor to gain more in-depth support and guidance.

From the start of the course you will be allocated a Personal Tutor. You’ll meet your Personal Tutor at agreed times throughout each year of the 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.

Further support is provided by our technicians who help you make the most of the University’s equipment and software. Journalists are available every day on a rota basis in the newsroom to give advice and feedback.

We offer extra coaching ahead of NCTJ exams and pay your NCTJ exam fees (excluding any re-sits).

Support for your development

You will have the chance to learn shorthand with three hours a week of free tuition, starting in Year 2. We expect students to reach speeds of at least 100 words per minute.

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.

As a professionally accredited centre for journalism education, we provide you with an opportunity to influence the future teaching of journalism. You can become an NCTJ student representative and attend a national council meeting once a year.

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.

Student work

"You don't have to live in London to be successful in the fashion industry."

Natalie Fadugba

Natalie Fadugba

Student - BA (Hons) Fashion Journalism

Third year student Natalie completed an internship at online fashion store ASOS, working on the company’s magazine.

After completing the internship, Natalie continued working freelance for the magazine fashion team.

Natalie, from Colchester, applied to the University of Sunderland as it is the only fashion journalism course in the UK accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).

“I am enjoying working with and learning from passionate professionals in the North East,” said Natalie.

“People think that to be successful in the fashion industry you have to be living in London, but it has been nice to see people paving their way in the industry up here.”

When asked what advice she would give to new students, Natalie said: “The most important thing I would say is to remember to have fun.

"Hopefully you are doing something which you chose because you have a passion for the subject, so try and remember that when things seem difficult."

"My ambition is to gain the professional knowledge and experience needed to establish a business in the fashion industry, and for my work to be valued."

Raminta Paukstyte - graduate

Raminta Paukstyte

Lives Online Student Blogger 2012/13 - BA (Hons) Fashion Journalism

Raminta was third-year Fashion Journalism student in 2012/13. She was one of six students who blogged about their lives at university throughout 2012/13.

Read Raminta's Lives Online blog to see what it's really like to be a Fashion Journalism student at Sunderland.

"Since graduating I have moved back to Lithuania and am currently living in Vilnius, the capital city. I recently started a working for Laima magazine, which is the most popular monthly magazine for women in Lithuania. I'm enjoying the various tasks given to me so far, from fashion styling, writing and photography, to talking to Lithuanian celebrities and attending various fashion events.

"I'm really happy about landing this job. It's quite rare to get a job in a magazine when you have just graduated. The position wasn't advertised - I simply emailed the Editor-in-chief and told her about myself, my experience, my skills and my passion, and luckily she was interested and invited me in for a chat.

"I'm quite young compared to other people working at Laima, but that is a good thing as it shows that the skills gained at University - understanding social media, understanding multi-platform, video, photography, blogging etc, can help you break through in the industry.

"I remember our Masterclass in London. Those tips I got from editors and fashion writers were really useful and their stories were extremely inspiring. That trip made me realize that I'd really love to work for a magazine."

Apply for this course

Interested in this course? Apply straight away through UCAS, or read our 7-step guide to applying to university.

Part-time study: if you want to study this course on a part-time basis, you need to apply directly to the University of Sunderland by downloading the part-time application form (.pdf).

Want to know more about this course or the University of Sunderland? Download your personalised prospectus or come to our next Open Day to see the facilities and talk to academic staff:

    Next Open Day

  • Date: Saturday 12th November 2016
  • Time: 9:30am-4:00pm
  • Type: University Open Day
  • Location: Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter's

Contact Sunderland

Contact the Programme Leader for specific questions about the course:

Carole Watson
Tel: 0191 515 2155

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.

Contact the Student Helpline for further information about studying at the University of Sunderland:

Tel: 0191 515 3000

The details

Course Name Fashion Journalism
Classification BA (Hons)
Course Mode Full-time/Part-time
Course Level Undergraduate
Duration 3 years
Study Location On-campus (Sunderland)
Starting 18 September 2017
UK/EU Fee £9,250
Intl Fee £10,750

Entry requirements

120 points

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