Sports Journalism BA (Hons)

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Course starts: 17 September 2018Apply now

If you are applying for the full-time course from within the UK/EU, click apply now.

Course starts: 17 September 2018Apply now

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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 a NCTJ Diploma.

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Gain core skills of sports journalism. Write previews, features, sports news stories and match reports. Access industry experts, placements, publishing opportunities field trips – students recently enjoyed press access to Wembley finals and Europa league games at FC Schalke 04 in Germany! Graduate with both an honours degree in Sports Journalism and the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism, the nationally recognised industry entry qualification, significantly boosting your employability as a Sports journalist.

During the first year, we’ll set you up with Journalism essentials – writing styles, research, Media Law and online skills. You’ll look at online sports reporting and be introduced to the fascinating world of Sports Journalism.  In the second and third years, you’ll study topics in more depth, you’ll experience our Newsroom in action, consider Multimedia Sports Journalism, Advanced Sports Reporting, and Media Ethics, and undertake a shorthand course free of charge.

Increase your practical experience by taking on reporting, editing and/or managerial roles on Sportbyte; our student-run website covering Sport, 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 – putting what you’ve learnt into practice. You’ll undertake a project, producing your own sports magazine, newspaper or series of in-depth articles which will add significantly to the portfolio of work you can present to prospective employers.

Why us?

  • Course is accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ)
  • 94.2% of our graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduating, according to DLHE 2015/16 (based on UK undergraduate students)
  • 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
  • Rub shoulders with BBC Newcastle Journalists, based in our innovative mediaHUB
  • Get experience on Sportsbyte our student-run sports website in the mediaHUB, plus produce content for the Sunderland Echo website and print with some students landing front – and back-page splashes
  • Cutting edge kit and facilities such as 360 degree cameras, the bustling mediaHUB, TV studios, radio studios and our 204-seater cinema

Course structure

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.

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.

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.


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

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 mediaHUB.

  • 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,


  • 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.

    Journalism suites and newsroom
  • 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 Spark Sunderland, 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 with full HD projection and a 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 Sunderland, 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


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.

Entry requirements

Our typical offer is 112-120 UCAS points from a minimum of two A Levels or equivalent (e.g. 1 x AVCE double award). 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 you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above.

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

As part of our NCTJ accreditation we will also invite you to an informal interview. We’d like to hear about you, why you’re interested in sports journalism, and tell you a bit more about our course and what makes us special.

Fees and 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.

Part-time fees

Tuition fees for part-time students are £5,000 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, 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


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 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

Meet our academics