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The Complete Guide to Postgraduate Journalism

Journalism is an exciting, diverse and competitive career. It can offer a route into work for students with a wide variety of skills, including writing, interviewing, researching, public speaking, camera work and more. Studying journalism at a postgraduate level will help students to build their talents in their respective fields, and some courses will even be accredited by relevant journalism bodies like the NCTJ, the PTC or the BJTC. If you’re considering taking a journalism course but aren’t sure where to start, this subject guide will give you all the information you need. 


Why do a journalism degree? 

A postgraduate degree in journalism can help students to achieve lifelong goals of entering the industry, particularly after studying a subject that isn’t related to journalism or after working in a different industry. Employers in journalism value the depth of knowledge and analytical and writing skills gained by students studying another subject at university. 

There are also many skills that journalism courses can develop which will be advantageous when looking for work in the industry. Whether you have an interest in film, photography, radio, the internet, magazines, books, interviews or many other avocations, there are options to develop them into journalistic strengths via postgraduate education.  

What qualifications can you get? 

A variety of postgraduate qualifications are available in journalism, allowing students from all kinds of educational and employment backgrounds to hone their craft. Shorter courses like the PGDip and PGCert will often be taken by people looking to retrain and change their career paths.  

There are many different taught master’s courses which let students focus on a particular element of journalism, like Sports Broadcast Journalism or International Journalism. Alongside these courses, there are also general journalism programmes which give students more broad training in several different areas.  

If you’re looking to delve deeper into journalism, there are research-based courses like PhDs and doctorates available too. These programmes will offer students freedom to explore an aspect of journalism and help the development of the industry. 

What jobs can you do with a journalism degree? 

Journalism courses can build on existing proficiencies, which students can use to propel themselves into a desired career. The programmes can also uncover skills that open new options in terms of careers. Journalism jobs can include... 

  • Journalist 
  • Reporter 
  • Sub-editor 
  • Editorial assistant 
  • Social media executive 
  • Researcher 
  • Producer 
  • Scriptwriter 
  • Presenter 
  • Magazine designer 

What are the journalism degree entry requirements? 

Though entry requirements will vary between universities and courses, many programmes will expect you to have at least a 2:2 bachelor’s degree, though some may ask for a 2:1 grade. Conversely, some may not require you to have a university degree at all and will accept you on the course if you have relevant work experience. It’s best to get in contact with the university providing the course to find out specifics about entry requirements. 

What journalism courses are there? 

An attractive prospect of studying journalism at postgraduate level is that you can take a course which either offers generalised skills development in the area, or focuses on a particular aspect that you are interested in. Here are a few examples of journalism courses available... 

  • Investigative Journalism MA 
  • MA Journalism: Social Justice Journalism 
  • MA International Journalism for Digital Media 
  • MA/PGDip Documentary Journalism 
  • MA Global Football Journalism 

What topics does a journalism degree cover? 

The topics that students learn while taking postgraduate journalism courses can vary between universities. To get an idea of what you could be studying, take a look at these modules which are featured on various journalism courses... 

  • Creating Magazines: Content and Context 
  • Sport and the Media 
  • Multi-Platform Journalism 
  • Journalism Ethics 
  • Writing and Producing News for a Digital Audience 

What do you learn in a journalism degree? 

Journalism courses will provide students the opportunity to undertake different tasks spread across a variety of mediums, genres or topics, developing a skillset that will benefit them when trying to begin their career in the industry.  

Not only will students hone these skills in the classroom, but there are many courses which include work placements. This lets the students see what a job in journalism could really be like, and allows for portfolio building and networking, which will also be useful when finding work. 

Alongside the expected skills involved in creating journalistic pieces, students will also learn about the laws and ethics involved in journalism.  

How will you be taught and assessed? 

Journalism courses can be taught via lectures and workshops, but many will also include lots of practical work. Universities will often invest in specialised facilities for journalism students like radio broadcast booths, television studios and filming equipment to help develop skills that will transfer immediately to real journalism workplaces. 

Assessments on journalism courses with often be portfolio-based, alongside dissertations and presentations. 

How long is a journalism degree? 

Journalism degrees can be different lengths depending on what qualification they award. Shorter courses like PGCerts and PGDips can be under a year, while master’s degrees can last between a year to two years. Doctorates and PhDs can last up to four years if studied full-time. Courses can take twice as long if studied part-time. 

Where can you study journalism? 

There are universities across the UK that offer postgraduate courses in journalism which award various qualifications. To find out where you could study this subject, use our handy course search tool, which can be filtered by start date, qualification and location. 

What similar subjects are there to journalism? 

If journalism isn’t exactly right for you, there are many other postgraduate courses that would be worth looking at, including... 

  • English literature 
  • Creative writing 
  • Media production 
  • Photography 
  • Performing arts 

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