Sports Journalism with Integrated Foundation Year BA (Hons)

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This is a four-year version of our popular BA (Hons) Sports Journalism course, with an integrated foundation year. Combine your passion for sport with a highly rewarding career working for newspapers, radio, TV or online platforms. Take on reporting, editing and managerial roles on SportsByte. Significantly boost your employability as a journalist with an NCTJ Diploma.

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Overview

Sky Sports News, BBC Sport, West Ham United FC, golf’s European Tour, the Williams F1 team, national newspapers . . . the career path to all these sports media destinations has begun for students on our BA (Hons) Sports Journalism degree course in the last few years. Whether you want to go into broadcasting or print sports journalism, or into the press office of a top-end sporting organisation, our NCTJ-accredited course will give you the employability skills you need to work with, and for, the very best in the business.

Report from the press box at Wembley Stadium, interview Premier League chief executives, visit some of Europe’s finest football stadia, report on professional county cricket and rugby union, produce your own website or series of investigative sports articles - all while learning the latest techniques in digital, video and broadcast sports journalism and studying for UK journalism’s gold standard qualification, the NCTJ Diploma. Our students gain thorough training for life at sports media’s cutting edge while studying Sports Journalism at Sunderland.

In the first year – the foundation year – you will study 4 modules; a subject-related module, a numeracy skills module, a study skills-related module called 'Succeeding at University and Beyond' and a foundation project module. After completion of this foundation year, you will then move onto the Journalism honours degree course.

Throughout your course, you can build both your practical experience and portfolio of published work by taking on reporting and/or editing roles on SportsByte, our student-run website covering sport across the North East, 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). You can also benefit from our exclusive link-ups with Sunderland AFC, Durham County Cricket Club and Newcastle Falcons rugby club to gain invaluable matchday reporting experience of big sporting stages. 

Why us?

  • Course is accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ)
  • 93.9% of our Media and Communications students are in employment or further study within six months of graduating, according to DLHE 2015/16 (based on UK students)
  • We are a University that is nationally recognised for supporting learners particularly from non-traditional backgrounds and many students come to us with no formal qualifications but with valuable work experience
  • Rub shoulders with BBC Newcastle Journalists, based in our innovative mediaHUB
  • Guaranteed placements and excellent job prospects with recent graduates working at Sky Sports News, West Ham United, SAFC, Durham CCC, the Racing Post and many more big names in sport
  • Get experience on Sportsbyte, our student-run sports website, plus produce content for the Sunderland Echo’s website and print edition, with some students landing front – and back - page splashes
  • Cutting edge kit and facilities such as360 degree cameras, the bustling mediaHUB, TV studios, radio studios and our 204-seater cinema

Course structure

During the second year, we’ll set you up with the core skills of sports journalism, including training in writing styles, research and Media Law. You’ll look at both traditional sports reporting techniques and the contemporary skills of digital sports journalism. In the third and fourth years, you’ll study topics in more depth, sampling our state-of-the-art facilities and tackling Multimedia Sports Journalism, Advanced Sports Reporting, and Media Ethics, while training in shorthand – a skill insisted upon by employers such as Sky Sports News - free of charge.

In your final year, you can have your sports content published by the Sunderland Echo each week for an entire semester, and go on work placement – putting what you’ve learnt into practice and also building crucial workplace relationships. You’ll undertake a practical project, which will add significantly to the portfolio of work you can present to prospective employers.

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 Media, Humanities and Creative Industries Integrated Foundation Year includes four modules: 

  • Foundations of Media, Humanities and Creative Industries (40 credits)
  • Practical Numeracy Skills (20 credits)
  • Foundation Project (20 credits)
  • Succeeding at University and Beyond (40 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 – 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.

  • Essential Sports Journalism (20 credits)

Get an introduction to practical sports journalism. Learn the art of match reporting, sports interviews, and covering press conferences.

  • 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.

  • Online Sports Reporting (20 credits)

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

Optional modules are also available (across all three stages) such as Broadcast Sports Journalism, Business of Sport, Media Photography, Arts and Entertainment Journalism, Social Media Practice, Media and Cultural Studies, Media Production - Radio, TV and Video, Film Studies, Foreign Languages.

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.

  • Multimedia Sports Journalism (20 credits)

Revise and develop skills in filming sports and editing sports video, producing audio, writing for broadcast and online copy.

  • Newsroom (20 credits)

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

  • Advanced Sports Reporting (20 credits)

Learn how to write for the various stages of the sports news cycle.

Optional module

  • Shorthand 

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

Final year (national level 6):

  • Sports Portfolio (20 credits)

Pull together a diverse portfolio of work based on your contributions to our sports website SportsByte.

  • 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.

The David Puttnam Media Centre,
Sir Tom Cowie Campus,
St Peter's Way,
Sunderland,
SR6 0DD

54.911899,-1.372815

  • Perfect your craft in our 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.

    In addition, technicians are available to help you use all the software and equipment. Each workstation has industry-standard software including NewsCutter, Burli and ENPS.

  • 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

Facilities

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)
OR
2. Demonstrable evidence of appropriate knowledge and skills acquired from at least three years of post-school work experience.

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

The Foundation Year will be £4,000. 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 three years.

In addition, you will receive free travel across the Tyne and Wear region, and you may be eligible for means-tested scholarships if you are from a low-income household.

Register with StudyPLUS and enjoy up to £200 worth of books and university study essentials.

If you are a full-time UK student you will 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.

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This information was correct at the time of publication.

Student in the Sunderland Futures department

Employment

This degree prepares you for writing and talking about Sports in newspapers, magazines, radio, TV and online media, as well as for clubs or brands. It is also highly relevant to many positions in industry, commerce and the Civil Service, as well as to jobs in the arts and voluntary sectors.

Recent journalism graduates from Sunderland have gained experiences with employers such as Sky, Sky Sports, NFL, 4ThePlayer, The Racing Post, MTV, The Guardian, ITV, 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 Sportsbyte 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 Fashion North, which are all linked to our Journalism and Media courses.

Superb industry links

Our academics are industry experts and have excellent relationships across sports including PFA (Professional Footballers Association) magazine, 4ThePlayer, Sky Sports, ITV and BBC.

Broaden your horizons with inspiring trips – recently students have enjoyed trips to Barcelona, press access to Wembley finals and Europa league games at FC Schalke 04 in Germany.

Our students have attended Premier League matches in the press box to see sportswriters at work and have interviewed sports celebrities themselves. Two of our students even had a FIFA tournament on the pitch at SAFC with Jordan Pickford and Duncan Watmore.

In addition, our students have also covered tennis, golf, boxing, American Football, F1, hockey, gymnastics and many other sports.

Work Placements

All students studying on-campus undergraduate Sports 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
  • Choose modules and a final project that excites and interests you.
    Jamie Orrell, Sports Journalism graduate

    Jamie Orrell