Journalism MA (NCTJ accredited)

  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Special Features
  • Teaching & Assessment
  • Employability
  • Fees
  • Entry Criteria

About the Course

MA Journalism (NCTJ-accredited) offers you one of the best ways to launch your journalism career – whatever the medium you hope to work in. Our programme is accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists, ensuring you get a qualification that really counts when you apply for your first position. Unlike on many single-medium Journalism MAs, you will be taught journalism from the basic building blocks of online reporting and writing through to substantial news and feature projects in video, audio and print and multi-platform. Our graduates are highly employable – find out where our graduates are now working. Several have won top industry awards.

You will be studying not only for your prestigious Brunel Masters degree but also the NCTJ Diploma, which examines you in Reporting, Public Affairs, Law, Video, Teeline shorthand and a Portfolio. We work in close consultation with senior journalists, ensuring our syllabus provides a rigorous foundation to a career in this dynamic, challenging and often controversial industry. We have an impressive range of high-profile industry guest speakers, giving you the chance to network with some of the leading journalists in the country.

This programme is distinctive in allowing you to develop your own cutting-edge journalistic practice, whether it's exploring 3G news, or on-screen page make-up. At the same time you learn about the impact of technological change, cultural developments and political issues surrounding different forms of journalism. Particular attention will be paid to factors such as ethics, professionalism, media ownership, the regulation of the media, and the role of journalism in the political process.

Our students benefit from our fantastic links to London and its local, national and global media, not only through expert speakers but also via excellent work placements.

The Journalism Diversity Fund is aimed at people from diverse backgrounds who need help funding their journalism training.

Candidates must be from a socially or ethnically diverse background, be able to demonstrate genuine commitment to becoming a successful journalist and have secured a place on an NCTJ-accredited course. 

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  • To enable students to gain a systematic understanding of the field of contemporary journalism and a critical understanding of the current problems in the field.
  • To give students a comprehensive understanding of the main theoretical approaches to and techniques of journalism, and to encourage them to use these critically, both in their studies of journalism and their own critical practice.
  • To provide students with a critical understanding of the journalistic field that will enable them to use most effectively the skills which they acquire on the programme.


Programme Director: Dr Sarah Niblock

Related Courses

Course Content

MA Journalism consists of a common core of study in journalism, with an offer of specialist study in print or broadcast journalism in the second term, which will facilitate your entry into different aspects of the industry. This is particularly relevant in the context of a converging media industry requiring multi-skilling and the ability to adapt to new media environments.

The programme will consist of five modules - two that provide cutting-edge journalism skills essential for the new entrant to the industry, coupled with two that offer in-depth analysis of the recent history and political economy of the industry, critical evaluation of the cultural, political, ethical and legal frameworks within which journalism operates, and academic interrogation of current and emerging journalistic issues.

The fifth module, a major project, requires a synthesis of practice and theory. Through undertaking these modules, you will be enabled to identify and apply the most useful practical, theoretical and contextual approaches to help you to produce “good” journalism. In this way, you can enter journalism confident of your abilities, with highly-developed research skills, ethical judgement, the necessary contextual knowledge and an ability to navigate successfully an increasingly market-led industry.

Modules (all core)

  • Journalistic Practice 1
    Main topics of study: Practical: news reporting, multiplatform journalism including data journalism, Theoretical: classifications of news: news values, sources and the implied reader: Practical news writing, news language; digital journalism, techniques of news interviewing and research in a new media context; reporting court, local and national government, crime and emergency services;; introduction to layout and on-screen page make-up; image, text and design relationships in a print/online media context.

  • Journalistic Practice 2
    Main topics of study: Video news, feature research, interviewing and investigation for converging media; audience and targeting in the digital journalism context, broadcast journalism, (option 1) or print production journalism. digital manipulation and meaning production; advanced presentation skills and critical strategies in news and feature production (option 2).

  • Journalism in Context
    Main topics of study: the structures of the institutions within which journalism is practiced: public administration; the legal framework within which journalism operates; the professional codes governing journalistic practice; the ownership and control of the institutions within which journalism is practiced; professional ideologies of journalism; the political framework within which journalism operates; journalism in a consumer society.

  • Issues in Journalism
    Main topics of study: current debates about journalism and the political process; the public sphere; journalism as a 'Fourth Estate'; the impact of new technology on journalism; celebrity culture; journalistic ethics; journalism and its others; freedom of information; journalism post 9/11.

  • Dissertation

Contact Hours

  • Full-time: Minimum four days attendance per week (currently Mon, Tues, Thurs and Fri*)
  • Part-time: Three days in year 1 (currently Tues, Thurs, Fri*) and 1-2 days in year two (currently Friday and Monday*) provided the 100wpm Teeline exam has been passed in year 1.

These are the attendance hours for terms 1 and 2. Terms 3/4 are more varied and flexible as this is when you will have have assignments, exams and supervision.

*subject to timetabling confirmation.

Special Features

  • We are industry accredited

    This means you will study for the NCTJ Diploma as well as your Masters degree – two qualifications in one. The NCTJ Diploma doesn’t just prepare you for local media – BBC, Sky and The Guardian are on the Board.

    You will be a multi-platform journalist You will learn how to work in online, print, audio and video journalism in our fantastic, 24-hour, state-of-the-art digital newsroom and studios. You will develop the mindset to find lots of ways to report and present a story or feature to deadline using the very latest techniques.

  • ŽYou will be highly employable

    Editors come to us when recruiting journalists. Brunel Journalists are now working as staff in top newsrooms across the globe, including the BBC, The Guardian, The Independent, news agencies, glossy consumer magazines, business-to-business journals, websites, local and regional press and broadcasting. Several are now award winning journalists.

  • You will receive individual attention

    All full-time lecturers are available at least 4 hours per week for personal consultation on academic issues. A structure of Senior Tutor and Year Tutors provides students with an easily accessible system for addressing queries about the programme. Each student has access to top journalists for career guidance.

  • We have top weekly guest speakers

    You get to network with top names. This year we have speakers from Cosmopolitan, the Guardian, BBC, Sky, Daily Express, C4 News and more...

  • ‘Great work placements

    Brunel Journalists land all the best placements, gain enviable referees and see their names in lights. We have one of the best university Placement and Careers Services in the UK who coach our students not only in CV and application writing but how to win at interview.

  • ’You are taught by top industry names

    Our staff team and visiting lecturers comprise some of the biggest names in the business, such as leading investigative journalist Paul Lashmar (World in Action, The Observer, The Independent), Jacquie Hughes (Granada, BBC) and many more. You get the very best expertise preparing you for your career.

  • “London-based Campus Environment

    Brunel’s Uxbridge campus is a lively and attractive environment that buzzes with creativity and diversity, and is within easy reach of Central London. There is always something going on and a wide variety of amenities ranging from the bars and cafés to the computing clusters and the Library.

  • ”There’s great student media on site

    Whether you fancy going on air, online or in print, you can do it here at Brunel. There’s student radio, a student newspaper as well as a host of online opportunities at your fingertips to enhance to CV and boost your employability as well as competing in national student media awards.

  • •But it’s not all hard work..

    There are days out, screenings, quizzes, networking events to build your contacts, confidence and just to have fun.


Assessments will take the form of practical projects and tasks, essays, exams, case studies, presentations, reflexive reports and dissertations.

Assessing students’ knowledge and understanding of theoretical debates, hermeneutic skills and understanding of the historical and institutional context of different international journalism practices will be undertaken via written essays.

The assessments covering these cognitive skills are practical exercises, written work and productions which test the acquisition of practical skills and strategies; essays which test theoretical and historical knowledge; and the final journalism project (and accompanying written analysis) which requires a summation of the critical, creative and practical skills learned during the programme.

The Major Project will test students’ theoretical knowledge and practical skills (with supporting reflexive practice) to a level commensurate with a Masters qualification. Dissertations are usually agreed in advance with the supervising tutor.


Print, broadcast or on-line journalism.

At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.

» More about Employability

Fees for 2015/16 entry

UK/EU students: £8,300 full-time; £4,150 part-time

International students: £14,750 full-time; £7,375 part-time

Including £300 cost for this course to cover the NCTJ exam fees.

Read about funding opportunities available to postgraduate students

UK/EU students can opt to pay in six equal monthly instalments: the first instalment is payable on enrolment and the remaining five by Direct Debit or credit/debit card.

Overseas students can opt to pay in two instalments: 60% on enrolment, and 40% in January for students who commence their course in September (or the remaining 40% in March for selected courses that start in January).

Fees quoted are per annum and are subject to an annual increase.

Entry Requirements

A UK first or second class (2:1) Honours degree or equivalent internationally recognised qualification and evidence of a commitment to journalism as a career such as student journalism or work experience. Candidates with other qualifications will be considered with substantial prior journalism experience and assessed on an individual basis.

To demonstrate that commitment we would like applicants to provide a statement demonstrating commitment to journalism (including previous experience) and a 200 word article based on an interview with someone interesting from your local area.

Applicants will be required to attend an interview

Entry criteria are subject to change.

English Language Requirements

  • IELTS: 7.5 (min 7W, 7L, 7R, 7S) 
  • Pearson: 73 (64 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 75% (min 70% in all areas)

Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accept a range of other language courses. We also have a range of Pre-sessional English language courses, for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English.

Our International Pathways and Language Centre offers a range of foundation and pre-masters courses to provide you with the academic skills required for your chosen course.

Page last updated: Monday 08 December 2014