Radio MA

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Springboard yourself into a career behind the mic or behind the scenes. Gain experience with our award-winning radio station, Spark Sunderland. Graduate with skills that are relevant not only in radio, but also TV, film and multi-platform production.

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This course is integrated with our award-winning radio station, Spark Sunderland. There are opportunities for practical experience at every stage that cover not only radio but also TV, film and multi-platform production.

The production modules cover a variety of genres including live studio and feature production, podcasting, multiplatform and visualisation skills. You will learn how to pitch ideas to specific audiences, budgeting, research, advanced interviewing, editing and creative post-production techniques. This highly practical vocational coursework will be supported by contextual studies. The final stage of the MA Radio takes the form of research leading to a major practical project or a dissertation with a contextual report and evaluation.

Why us?

  • The course is fully integrated into Spark Sunderland, the Ofcom licensed, multi-award winning community radio station for young people in Sunderland - giving you broadcast outcomes for all elements of the course and excellent opportunities for gaining first-hand production and management experience
  • Sunderland is the only university in the North of England with a full-time community radio licence
  • Our former students are now working professionally in the radio/audio world as reporters, producers, presenters and programme controllers both in the BBC, commercial radio and independent production sectors - some even work in high profile TV roles such as BBC News Sports Correspondent Katie Gornall
  • The only MA Radio course in the UK to be accredited by ScreenSkills - the quality mark for excellence in training within the Creative Industries - identifying this degree as the UK’s most industry-focused course using professional industry standard equipment and software
  • You will be given your own copy of a SADiE6 - a high-end professional digital editing system, for the duration of the course
  • Benefit from the University's industry contacts including Community Media Association, The Royal Television Society and The Radio Academy
  • Our Mass Communications and Documentation courses, which include MA Radio, 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.

Course structure

Compared to an undergraduate course, you will find that this Masters requires a higher level of independent working. We use a wide variety of teaching and learning methods which include lectures, seminars, workshops and practical demonstrations. Your active involvement in our on-campus radio station, Spark Sunderland, is integral to your learning experience. Theory and practice will go hand in hand as you plan, undertake and evaluate projects and programmes.

You will have high levels of contact with tutors, who give regular feedback and support, and you will also work in groups to develop skills in communication and teamwork.

Our academics are currently working in public service, commercial and community radio. In addition, the University has long-standing links with radio industry organisations such as the UK Radio Academy, Community Media Association and Northern Arts.

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

Radio 1 (60 credits):

  • Understanding Radio (30 credits)
  • Radio Programme Making (30 credits)

Radio 2 (60 credits):

  • Radio Management Projects (30 credits)
  • Advanced Radio and Audio Production (30 credits)

Radio 3 (60 credits):

You will complete a supervised Radio Practical Project or a Radio Dissertation on a topic of your choice. As the culmination of the course, it will build on all the skills and knowledge that you have gained up to this point.


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

More about MA Radio at Sunderland

Discover more articles
  • Develop your skills in one of our 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.

    You’ll also access our digital audio postproduction area with voiceover booths.

    Digital editing
  • 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. We are the is the only university in the North of England with a full-time community radio licence. Spark Sunderland broadcasts from our purpose-built studios. 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

in a subject related area. All applicants should be able to demonstrate practical and critical and conceptual skills.

Students requiring the necessary practical skills are encouraged to attend undergraduate modules in radio or the Radio Summer School.

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.

Applicants whose first language is not English must achieve a minimum IELTS band score of 6.5, with no less than 5.5 in any element.

Fees and finance

The annual fee for this course is:

  • £6,500 if you are from the UK / EU
  • £13,000 if you are an international student

The part-time fee for this course 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


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 in the radio industry, and also throughout the broader media industry.

Career opportunities

Recent Sunderland graduates have moved into jobs at a variety of radio stations and companies, including BBC Radio 1, 6Music, 5live, BBC Radio Drama, Sun FM, Metro Radio and BBC Newcastle.

Our former students are also employed at radio stations in Europe, USA and Australia.

Industry-relevant teaching

The only MA Radio course in the UK to be accredited by ScreenSkills who awards the quality mark of the Tick to practice-based degree courses that most effectively provide students with the skills and knowledge required by employers in the screen industries.

For employers, the Tick signposts work-ready graduates and apprentices from creative courses that have proven to understand and have links with the screen industry.

Graduates from Tick courses have privileged access to Trainee Finder, a service that matches trainees with companies across the UK’s animation, film, games, high-end TV and VFX industries.

ScreenSkills logo

Meet the students

  • For radio, the facilities are by far the best I’ve visited in the country.
    Jay Sykes

    Jay Sykes

  • The Masters course was really hands on, which was brilliant.
    Sarah Harrison, MA Radio graduate

    Sarah Harrison

Meet the team

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