Fashion Journalism with Integrated Foundation Year BA (Hons)

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This is a four-year version of our popular BA (Hons) Fashion Journalism course, with an integrated foundation year. Share your passion for fashion with readers both online and in print. Write features, style photoshoots, report on catwalks and design fashion spreads. Graduate with a portfolio of published work to impress prospective employers.

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Develop the core skills of fashion journalism. Learn specialist skills such as catwalk reporting, styling, red carpet verdicts, street style photography, style icons and subcultures, social media, beauty and video journalism

Access industry experts, placements, publishing opportunities and field trips within the fashion industry – recent trips include our London Fashion Masterclasses. Graduate with both an honours degree in Fashion Journalism and the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism, the nationally recognised industry entry qualification significantly boosting your employability as a Fashion journalist.

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. Get involved in award winning Spark Radio or Spark magazine, all based in our innovative mediaHUB, BBC Newcastle’s home in Sunderland and host to visiting Journalists from organisations such as Trinity Mirror (Newcastle Chronicle, Journal) and Johnston Press (Sunderland Echo).

In your final year, you’ll go on placement on a fashion publication at the likes of Grazia, Elle, Asos and Glamour - putting what you’ve learnt into practice. You’ll undertake a project to produce your own fashion magazine or website which will add significantly to the portfolio of work you can present to prospective employers.

Why us?

  • Graduates working at Victoria Beckham, Vogue, Mail on Sunday’s You magazine and Asos
  • Placements include Elle, Hello! Fashion monthly, Grazia, InStyle, and Fabulous magazine at the Sun on Sunday
  • The only fashion journalism degree in the UK to be accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ), giving you an extra qualification desired by editors
  • "Your facilities are second-to-none, especially the incredible mediaHUB and Fashion North. The course produces extremely capable and competent graduates equipped with the skills to succeed in magazine media,” according to The Professional Publishers Association, the national body for the magazine industry
  • Our Journalism courses are in the top 25% in the UK for Student voice, according to the National Student Survey 2018
  • Led by former Grazia deputy editor Carole Watson whose contacts on glossy fashion publications keep the course at the cutting edge
  • Enjoy bespoke styling challenges in high street department stores, fashion trips and exciting masterclasses and newsdays run by Sky News, Sky Sports News, BBC, ITV and Guardian journalists
  • Create your very own fashion magazine or website and hone your social media, video, photography, styling and writing skills
  • Gain real-world experience on our website Fashion North, attend weekly fashion conferences and take a senior editorial role in our innovative mediaHUB

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Offering a year-round programme of exhibitions, events and performances, Sunderland Culture brings big-name artists from the worlds of contemporary visual arts, glass, ceramics and performance to the city, alongside showcasing the best and most exciting local talent. There is a huge range of opportunities for students to visit the venues, take part in events and get involved in the programme. Learn more about Sunderland Culture.

Course structure

In the first year – the foundation year – you will study five modules: a module about the foundations of humanities, journalism and media theory, an essential study skills module, a foundation project module, practical numeracy skills, and a multimedia communications module or a new century module depending on your degree choice. After completion of this foundation year, you will then move onto the Fashion Journalism honours degree course.

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.

Foundation Year

The Humanities, Journalism and Media Theory Integrated Foundation Year includes five modules: 

  • Foundations of Humanities, Journalism and Media Theory (40 credits)
  • Essential Study Skills (20 credits)
  • Foundation Project (20 credits)
  • Practical Numeracy Skills (20 credits)


Depending on the degree you wish to study after the Foundation Year, you will also take one of the following modules:

  • Multimedia Communications (20 credits)
  •  The New Century (20 credits)

Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

Year 1 (national level 4):

  • Essential Journalism (20 credits) - Essential journalism toolkit – learn what a journalist does and how you can get started.
  • Media Histories (20 credits) - Understand the development of the mass media from inception to present day.
  • Style Icons and Subcultures (20 credits) -Learn about the most influential fashion designers throughout history and their influence on today’s styles.
  • Essential Media Law and Regulation (20 credits) - What you can say and when can you say it. Essential for media professionals.
  • Digital Storytelling (20 credits) - Develop skills in non-traditional storytelling techniques for an online audience.
  • Introduction to Fashion Journalism (20 credits) - Acquire core fashion skills including catwalk reporting, red carpet verdicts, street style photography and trend forecasting.

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):

  • Journalism and PR Studies (20 credits) - Examine various approaches to studying journalism and PR. Shorthand Learn the system of rapid handwriting, a skill used by journalists to quickly transcribe the spoken word.
  • Video Journalism (20 credits) - Find interesting stories, and shoot and edit them into compelling video content.
  • Fashion Journalism 1 (20 credits) -Learn advanced fashion journalism skills including memoirs, fashion news and styling location shoots.
  • Newsroom (20 credits) -Experience the thrill of working in a live newsroom in our state-of-the-art Media Hub.
  • Design and Production Journalism (20 credits) - use professional tools and software, experiment with design for print and digital platforms.
  • Styling for Fashion Editorial (20 credits) - explore the techniques and processes of creative imagery for fashion media.

Shorthand (additional module) - Learn the system of rapid handwriting, a skill used by journalists to quickly transcribe the spoken word.

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.
  • Journalism Practice, including placement (20 credits) - Gain valuable experience during a two-week work placement and learn how news organisations work.
  • Media Ethics (20 credits) - Explore the concepts of freedom of expression, looking at the conflicts between public interest and personal privacy.
  • 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.

Optional modules (choose one):

  • Business of Magazines (20 credits)
  • Public Relations (20 credits
  • Styling for Editorial II (20 credits)
  • We’ve got thousands of relevant books and e-books, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. We also subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals so you can access the most reliable and up-to-date academic and industry articles.

    Resources which will be particularly useful for Journalism and Media 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
    • Screen Online (BFI), which is an online encyclopaedia of British film and television, featuring clips from the vast collections of the BFI National Archive
    Library Services - journalism and media
  • Learn in our 203 seat cinema and 7.1 surround sound facility. Get hands-on in our two broadcast-quality production studios complete with green room and changing facilities. Access four Steadicam rigs plus dolly, track and mini crane. Our field camera systems, comprises Blackmagic Ursa, Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro, Blackmagic 4K Production Camera and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, with associated location kits, lighting, field monitors and audio mixers.

    Get experience with Made in Tyne & Wear, based in the Media Centre providing placements to students and jobs to several of our graduates.

    Go on-air in one of five radio studios, including a larger radio drama studio and a transmission suite for Spark, our award winning student-run community radio station. Spark has a target audience of 15 to 24 year-olds and broadcasts 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

    Develop your skills in our digital audio post-production area with voice-over booths and 70 workstations with state-of-the-art HD Edit systems, including Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer and Premier Pro. You'll also use DaVinci Resolve for colour correction. 

    TV and radio studios
  • Map and directions


The David Puttnam Media Centre is a thriving place to study and experience media. Rub shoulders with BBC Newcastle and Made in Tyne & Wear, who are both based in the building.  Volunteer with award winning Spark Sunderland, write for one of our suite of websites, or edit Spark Magazine in our MediaHUB. Get hands on in TV and Radio Studios, Journalism and Digital editing suites.  Learn from experts in this centre of excellence for training.

Entry requirements

The Integrated Foundation Year is specially designed to support you where you have just missed the grades required for direct entry onto a three-year degree, or if you have relevant work experience and are now looking to broaden your subject knowledge but want more time to develop study skills before starting your degree.

Entry requirements are provided for guidance only and we may offer you an entrance interview which will help us determine your eligibility for your chosen degree. This enables us to consider making you an offer if you are perhaps a mature student who has been out of education for a period of time, or you have gained significant knowledge and skills through employment rather than traditional education.

Eligible entry qualifications:

1. Normally a minimum of three Level 2 qualifications (NVQ, GCSE or equivalent ), including Maths and English at grade C or above** and a minimum of 40 UCAS tariff points from Level 3 qualifications (e.g. A or AS Levels, BTEC certificates/diplomas, access courses or equivalent)
2. Demonstrable evidence of appropriate knowledge and skills acquired from at least three years of post-school work experience.

Find out how many points your qualifications are worth using the UCAS Tariff calculator.

If you are unsure of whether you think you might be suitable for the course, please contact us!

** If you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above. Equivalent alternative qualifications are also accepted, such as Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have not achieved a grade C in Maths and English we may be able to work with you to ensure that you are able to gain these in the first year of the course, depending on your experience.

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

For more information about Integrated Foundation Year programmes, including more detailed module information, please see our Help and Advice articles.

Fees and finance

If you join us in September 2020, the foundation year will be £5,000.

For the following three years, the annual fee will be £9,250 but you will receive £1,250 cash-back in the first and final year of the full-undergraduate course.

In addition, you may receive free travel across the Tyne and Wear region and a University of Sunderland StudyPLUS Card loaded with additional offers up to the value of £200, plus a bundle of study skills books worth £80.

If you are a full-time UK student you may be eligible to receive financial support to cover your fee and maintenance loan for the full four years.

Please note, this course is not available to international students.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

Use our scholarships calculator to see what you may be entitled to.

Scholarships calculator

This information was correct at the time of publication.

A student with graduation scroll


This 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.

Recent journalism graduates from Sunderland have gained jobs with employers such as Sky, MTV, The Guardian, Grazia, Elle, regional newspapers and PR companies.

Real-world experience – right on campus

Rub shoulders with BBC Newcastle Journalists, get advice from former Sky News Journalists and see a Newsroom in action in our innovative mediaHUB.

You’ll be actively involved in the Fashion North website and have the opportunity to get involved in Spark Sunderland, the 24/7 Community Radio station based in the Media Centre. Spark has won many awards including four golds at the Student Radio Awards 2012, and holds the Nations and Regions Award for Best Radio Station in the North East. Students are responsible for all news-gathering, programme production and advertising.

Sunderland’s daily newspaper, The Sunderland Echo, has a weekly page called 'On Campus' that is written entirely by students at the University. It’s an opportunity to find and research your own stories, take photographs, meet deadlines and see your name in print.

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

Superb industry links

Our academics are industry experts and have excellent relationships across the fashion industry including Vogue, Grazia, ITV and BBC.

Broaden your horizons with inspiring trips – recently students have enjoyed visits to the Clothes Show in Birmingham and Fashion Masterclasses in London with speakers from across the industry. The Student Style challenge with John Lewis Retail, inspired students with an industry talk with stylist Josta Wood, followed by a styling challenge in-store.

Professional Publishers Association (PPA)

The Professional Publishers Association (PPA) represents the consumer publishing sector and helps students with access to world-famous media brands. Their endorsement is a great badge of honour for our students.

During their 2018 reaccreditation visit the PPA said:

  • An already excellent course has improved from two years ago thanks to the passion and drive of staff
  • The recent revalidation introduced logical, simple but significant changes that will really strengthen student employability
  • The Hub facilities are second to none - we need to promote, protect and develop that. The continuous publishing model is also a source of great pride for students
  • The course is moving with the times, keeping up with the fast-moving needs of the publishing industry
  • The skills being taught are seen by PPA members as essential to modern journalism and to a broader range of companies, not just media companies but brands publishing content
  • Use of real-life deadlines and insistence on sources is excellent

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! and Fabulous - the Sun on Sunday’s magazine.

Here, Candice Farrow shares her experience of her two-week placement at the Sun newspaper in London in the autumn of 2018, working on their Fabulous fashion pages.

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.

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.

Join award winners

Our students and graduates have been making a splash, winning awards and prizes across the board.

  • Ben Holden won the NCTJ Sports Journalism award 2016, winning a space in the NFL press box at Wembley match to see the Washington Redskins and Cincinnati Bengals
  • Eve Conlon, took Bronze at The Charles Parker Prize 2016 for her piece Student Gamblers. and featured in a special programme on BBC Radio 4 Extra
  • Alice Winney, won the Royal Television Society North East Student Award for News 2017 for her story about flooding in Corbridge
  • Bethany Elsey, shortlisted for Royal Television Society North East Student Award for Best Documentary
  • Amy Stark, won NCTJ Best Student Project 2016 for her project Weird and Wonderful Subcultures
  • Luke Bidwell, highly commended NCTJ Student Sports Journalism Award 2016
  • Sophie Dishman, highly commended for Best Reporter in the National Student Publication Association (SPA) Awards 2017
  • Ryan Lim, shortlisted for Best Photographer in the National Student Publication Association (SPA) Awards 2017
  • Emily Parker, highly commended in the 2017 NCTJ awards for excellence for her fashion magazine Bold

Meet the team

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