Journalism MA

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Course starts: 16 September 2019Apply now

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Receive a postgraduate degree which is accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ). Gain qualifications that will make you stand out from others. Train, write and research like a journalist.

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Overview

Journalism is an intensive course that trains you to write and research like a journalist. It covers media ethics and law, reporting and public affairs, shorthand, sub-editing and production. You will develop your own specialist areas of interest such as crime, health or political journalism. In the final stage of the course you can produce your own newspaper or series of in-depth articles, with support from our professional journalists.

NCTJ accreditation is widely recognised as a gold standard for courses that turn out highly skilled, highly motivated and highly employable trainee journalists. Previous study of journalism is not a requirement. If necessary, we may ask you to undertake a short course that covers essential skills and knowledge, before you join the main Masters course.

Why us?

  • 'World-leading' research in Media according to the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF)
  • Course offers high levels of contact time with tutors with vast industry experience, regular news days with professional editors and master-classes from visiting journalists and media practitioners
  • Students on this course can apply for the Journalism Diversity Fund. Administered by the NCTJ, the Journalism Diversity Fund awards bursaries to aspiring journalists from socially or ethnically-diverse backgrounds who do not have the financial means to support themselves through an NCTJ-accredited course. Read more about the Journalism Diversity Fund
  • 95.3% of our graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduating, according to DLHE 2016/17 (based on UK postgraduate students)
  • Accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) for over a decade, ensuring industry-standard skills and knowledge are at the centre of the teaching with a national reputation for excellence and career advancement
  • Real-world learning takes place as you report live through our range of mediaHUB sites, from SR News to Fashion North to Sportsbyte, putting your Media Law, Shorthand, Public Affairs and specialist skills to the test from day one
  • Our Mass Communications and Documentation courses, which include MA Journalism, were ranked 1st for Information and 3rd for Overall Satisfaction out of 22 institutions in the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2019 (PTES)

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A city brimming with creative potential

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.

#WeAreCreativeIndustries

Get to know Spark, Fashion North, Northern Lights, SR News, and Sportsbyte, our students' award-winning websites for local news, local sport, fashion and arts and entertainment.

Our partners, accreditations and networks

  • National Council Training logo
  • Journalism diversity fund log
  • BBC Newcastle logo

Course structure

Compared to an undergraduate course, you will find that this Masters requires a higher level of independent working. The course aims to stretch your creativity and maximise your sense of personal fulfilment.

In Stage 1 and Stage 2, you will have approx 22/23hrs teaching per week. This is arranged so that you have Friday off each week.
The course is taught by respected academics and journalism professionals through a combination of newsroom workshops, seminars and tutorials. You will work on projects both on your own and with others, developing skills in communication and teamwork.

Part-time students can expect around eight hours per week of contact time in the first year and around 14 hours per week in the second year. 

We encourage you to publish your work. The department has strong relationships with local and national media including Johnston Press, NCJ Media and Room 501 Publishing.

Assessment methods include essays, projects, presentations, and a major project/dissertation.

Journalism – Stage 1 (60 credits):

  • Journalism: Principles and Practice 1

Learn the art of journalism from interviewing to reporting on breaking stories, via mobile platforms and social media integrated newsroom workshops with a team of fellow trainee and professional journalists live from our Media Hub.

  • Essential Media Law and Regulation

Prepare yourself for the profession of journalism with our widely praised media law and regulation lecturers and seminars with ex-Mirror and Grazia journalist Carole Watson.

  • Essential Public Affairs

Get to grips with the world of government, local accountability and the ways in which politics affects our entire society, from who empties the bins to the halls of Parliament.

 

Journalism – Stage 2 (60 credits):

  • Journalism: Principles and Practice 2

Build on your skills with advanced training in photography, mobile journalism, design and production, and the investigative craft of going deeper into your specialist areas whatever they might be, from crime to health to fashion to travel.

  • News Reporting

Preparation for the notorious NCTJ Reporting exam, this module hones your everyday craft of finding sources and getting the angle under time pressure while paying attention to SEO, analytics and social media, run as live news days in our Media Hub.

  • Media Ethics and Research

Enjoy immersing yourself within the complex world of media ethics and focus your analytical and investigative skills on a mini-dissertation project tailored to your own interests, working with key media lecturers such as John Price, and journalism professionals such as Rob Lawson (ex-Sunderland Echo), to fully explore the interrelation of media and society.

 

Journalism – Stage 3 (60 credits):

You will complete a supervised dissertation on a topic of your choice, or you will complete a practical project which can be either a series of articles, a magazine, a newspaper or a website. As the culmination of the course, it will build on all the skills and knowledge that you have gained in the previous stages. 

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

More about MA Journalism at Sunderland

Discover more articles
  • 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
  • The mediaHUB is a bustling multimedia newsroom on the top floor of our David Puttnam Media Centre where you will get a real taste of life as a working journalist.

    BBC Newcastle have a team of journalists based here, and they are joined by visiting journalists from organisations such as Trinity Mirror (Newcastle Chronicle, Journal) and Johnston Press (Sunderland Echo).

    The mediaHUB runs websites covering sport, news, entertainments and fashion, provides the content for news bulletins on our award-winning radio station Spark, and is responsible for writing and editing Spark magazine.

    The ground-breaking workspace is designed to be a professional environment and even has a cloud filled sky line, funky colour scheme and a shed for a meeting room. It includes plenty of workstations each with industry-standard software including NewsCutter, Burli and ENPS, and a Sky feed with two 40” plasma screens. The whole space is managed by an ex-Sky Journalist, who is on hand, with her team to point you in the right direction.

    The mediaHUB
  • 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

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

Our typical offer is


  • 2:1 classification or equivalent from a Canadian bachelor's degree
  • 2:1 classification or equivalent from a USA bachelor's degree

.We will consider applicants with professional and vocational experience.

If you are suitably qualified, we will invite you to an interview to assess whether this is the right course for you.

We may ask you to undertake a short course that covers essential skills and knowledge, before you join the main Masters course.

We also require three passes at GCSE grade C or above, which must include Mathematics and English Language, or an equivalent qualification, for example; a minimum of Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have studied for a new GCSE for which you will be awarded a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above.

If English is not your first language, you should have an IELTS (or equivalent) score of at least 7.0.

Fees and finance

The annual fee for this course is:

  • £6,000 if you are from the UK / EU
  • £12,500 if you are an international student

The part-time fee is £361 per 10 credits. 

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.

The Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter's by night

Employment

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 throughout the journalism industries.

Career opportunities

Recent Sunderland graduates have gone on to work for BBC Devon, The Essex Chronicle, The Huddersfield Gazette, Spark Magazine, See Tickets, The Socialist Worker, The Prague Post, What Culture, and BBC Relish Magazine.

During the course we encourage you to gain industry experience which will enhance your skills, build up a valuable network of contacts and boost your employability. A Masters degree will also enhance career opportunities within Higher Education and prepare you for further postgraduate studies.

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.

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