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Journalism PgDip/MA

Mode Duration Start date
Full time 1 year September 2020
Full time 2 years including professional placement September 2020
Part time 2 years September 2020

Choose Kingston's Journalism MA

Accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) for over a decade, these courses will equip you for a career in journalism by offering the industry's most sought-after qualification alongside your PgDip or masters degree. They combine professional training and academic study with the skills you will need to succeed in this intensely competitive industry.

"The Journalism Masters degree at Kingston continues to offer students an excellent post-graduate education. It combines intellectual rigour with practical work." Comment from external examiner, 2017

Kingston University was ranked 1st in London and 4th in the UK for Journalism and Publishing in the Guardian University Guide 2018.  In the last reaccreditation report from the NCTJ, it was noted that "this course .... plays a valuable role in producing industry-ready early career journalists."

Key features

  • You will take the NCTJ's exams as part of your course, providing you with a qualification considered to be a passport to a wide range of journalism jobs (we are one of only two NCTJ-accredited MAs in Journalism in the capital)
  • As well as providing practical skills, this course will engage you in discussion and debate about the state and future of the industry, and the legal, political and ethical context in which journalists operate.
  • You will go on field trips to real-life settings like the Houses of Parliament (for the module, Journalism and Power)
  • You'll enjoy hands-on experience working with audio and video, as well as learning the principles and practice of broadcast journalism through the optional module on the topic
  • You will be taught by practising journalists with a range of experience and contacts and will have access to our newsroom equipped with industry-standard software.

Hear from Kate Beioley, a graduate of Kingston University's Journalism MA who now works for Investors Chronicle as a Personal Finance Reporter:

What will you study?

You will develop a range of professional and practical skills and knowledge that will equip you for a job in journalism, including news and feature writing, public affairs, online journalism, media law and shorthand. In addition, you will have the opportunity to write for and edit an online edition of our newspaper, The River, and will undertake at least one industry work placement. You'll also produce the news website, The Kingston Courier and use your design skills to create a regular supplement to The River.

Once you have achieved the PgDip, which runs over two semesters, from September to May, you can continue on to the MA degree by researching and writing a dissertation or carrying out an equivalent work-based practical project. This will develop your critical thinking and analytical skills, and give you the chance to carry out independent academic research.


Coursework, NCTJ examinations and coursework portfolio, and 12,000-15,000-word dissertation or practical project (MA only).

Work placement scheme

Many postgraduate courses at Kingston University allow students to do a 12-month work placement as part of their course. The responsibility for finding the work placement is with the student; we cannot guarantee the work placement, just the opportunity to undertake it. As the work placement is an assessed part of the course, it is covered by a student's tier 4 visa.

Invoicing on the placement courses is split into two stages. The standard course fee is payable in year 1 with the placement fee invoiced in year 2. Therefore, students starting in September 2018 would therefore be charged the placement fee of £1,230 in September 2019. Students commencing the course in September 2019 will be invoiced the placement fee in 2020 (provisionally £1,350).

This amount will only be charged to your account after you find a placement and are enrolled on the module. You will not be charged this fee if you do not manage to secure a work placement.

Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme.

Course structure

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list.

Core modules

  • This module - which includes a two-week work placement outside the university - aims to give students the practical skills needed to work as a journalist. You'll get a chance to practise your core skills of researching, writing, interviewing and editing, running a live news website, the Kingston Courier as a team. You'll learn how to design newspaper pages, and will also learn a wide range of multimedia skills, including video, audio and live broadcast using online and social media platforms. During the course of the module, you will build a wide-ranging portfolio to showcase all of the skills learned on the MA.

    As well as counting towards your MA, this module leads to the NCTJ's Essential Journalism exam.

  • This year-long module aims to provide students with a thorough understanding of the legal and regulatory structure within which journalists operate. In recent decades, the industry has changed significantly as it adapts to the opportunities and challenges of the internet age. You will be invited to examine and debate the direction and future of journalism, thinking about everything from legal restrictions on reporting to fake news to the public's perception of journalists.

    As well as counting towards your MA, this module leads to the NCTJ's Essential Law and Ethics exams.

  • This module will explore the origins, purpose and present-day structure/composition of local and central government in Britain and its devolved nations – and the news media's role as a ‘fourth estate' with a public duty to hold the political establishment and its institutions/agencies to account and expose abuses of power and privilege.

    At its core will be an examination of the UK's constitutional framework; its global position in relation to pan-national organisations like the European Union, Nato, United Nations and G8/G20; and the shifting balance of power (and responsibility) between state and individual in Britain today. Key themes to be explored include the relationship between elected politicians, voters and sectional interest groups/lobbyists - and the tension between ‘big-state' solutions to managing/delivering public services and the more ‘consumer-driven' models favoured by advocates of privatisation, voluntarism, and ‘Big Society' localism.

    Underpinning the factual content will be a focus on relevant theoretical paradigms – including the principles of liberal pluralism and representative democracy; role and importance of journalists/journalism in civil society; and impact of recent trends in the public sphere on the evolving UK/global political economy. More practical aspects will explore how journalists can hold the system to account – e.g. by reporting on parliamentary debates, poring over council papers, circumventing spin, and lodging Freedom of Information Act requests. Workshops will equip students with the research and writing skills necessary to apply their background knowledge to producing publishable features.

    The module encompasses the syllabus leading to the NCTJ's Essential Public Affairs exam.

  • The Professional Placement module is a core module for those students following a Master's programme that incorporates professional placement learning, following completion of 120 credits. It provides students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in an appropriate working environment, and to develop and enhance key employability skills and subject specific professional skills in their chosen subject. You may wish to use the placement experience as a platform for their subsequent major project module, and would be expected to use it to help inform their decisions about future careers.


Then choose either the Journalism Dissertation or the Practical Project

  • Students wishing to undertake a substantial piece of academic work can opt to take the dissertation module, which is carried out between May and September, after core teaching has finished. Once you have narrowed down your area of interest, you will be given a supervisor who will work individually with you to help you develop your ideas, frame a hypothesis and conduct appropriate primary and secondary research. The MA dissertation is a good bridge for any students wishing to pursue further study, at PhD level or beyond.

  • Students who wish to go straight into the workplace can opt to do a Practical Journalism Project module while they work, in lieu of a dissertation. This module includes a piece of academic research as well as a portfolio of journalism produced as a working journalist. You will also be asked to reflect on your practice, considering how you can learn from your experience and develop as a journalist. This module takes place between May and September, after core teaching has finished.


Optional modules

  • Whatever the type of magazine - from quality Sunday paper supplements to women's lifestyle monthlies - features dominate content. This module encourages students to look critically at feature writing in all its forms and to analyse exactly what makes a great feature. You will learn how to generate winning ideas, research those ideas thoroughly, and turn that research into eye-catching copy. You will also learn how to pitch ideas to publications, and be encouraged to pitch for real during the course.

  • In this module, you will build practical skills in searching for and developing original investigative stories from online datasets as well as learning how to make use of basic digital tools to visualise your findings in dynamic graphic formats. An understanding of the role and context of data journalism in the light of developments in online ‘data dumping' by ‘hacktivists' is paramount. You will consider accompanying changes to the role of the professional journalist as the traditional ‘gatekeeper' to news and information.

    These are exciting times to be involved in data journalism and the module will equip you with the skills necessary for the newsroom and beyond.

  • This module offers an introduction to and broad experience of sports journalism. It will help you develop your writing and reporting skills to produce professional sports copy, including match reports, interviews, sports news stories, profiles and comment. You will also explore the context and pressures under which sports journalism is produced in the modern media. During project work in the second half of the module, you will produce a publishable sports package.

  • This module aims to teach students the principles and practice of broadcast journalism. You will learn to use a variety of industry-standard software and hardware, and acquire the technical skills necessary to produce quality radio and television packages. You'll learn about broadcast regulation, find out how to pitch stories to potential employers, and develop your presentation skills, receiving voice coaching and taking part in radio and television news days. Alongside traditional methods of broadcast, you will consider what opportunities the internet offers for both storytelling and live reporting.

    As well as counting towards your MA, this module leads to the NCTJ's Broadcast Journalism exams.


Non credit-bearing modules

  • This module will give you an understanding of how the UK court system works, and get you ready to report from a variety of courts and hearings, including magistrates and crown courts, county courts and inquests. You'll get a chance to visit Kingston Crown Court - just across the road from campus - and practise your legal, shorthand and reporting skills. The module, which is not-for-credit, is taken by all students studying for the MA Journalism, and may also be of interest to MA Magazine Journalism students. It culminates in the NCTJ Court Reporting exam.

  • All students on the MA Journalism course study Teeline shorthand, and the module is also available to those studying MA Magazine Journalism. Shorthand is an extremely useful skill for journalists, and one prized by employers: it generates trust with interviewees and increases the speed and efficiency of reporting. You will be taught Teeline, which uses written outlines derived from consonants, by a teacher of longstanding experience; the aim is to reach a speed of 100 words per minute (wpm) by the end of the course.

    Shorthand exams at 60, 80 and 100 wpm, count towards the NCTJ diploma.


You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

We aim to ensure that all courses and modules advertised are delivered. However in some cases courses and modules may not be offered. For more information about why, and when you can expect to be notified, read our Changes to Academic Provision.

Regulations governing this course are available here

Details of term dates for this course can be found here

Contact our admissions team

Submit an enquiry

020 3308 9930*

*Calls cost 7p per minute from a UK landline plus your phone company's access charge. Calls to this number from mobiles are normally deductible from your inclusive minutes.


This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

View Penrhyn Road on our Google Maps

Contact our admissions team

Submit an enquiry

020 3308 9930*

*Calls cost 7p per minute from a UK landline plus your phone company's access charge. Calls to this number from mobiles are normally deductible from your inclusive minutes.


This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

View Penrhyn Road on our Google Maps
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NCTJ logoBoth the MA and the Postgraduate Diploma are accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).
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Work placements

As a student of this course, you will do at least one industry work placement.
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Writers' Centre Kingston

As a student on this course you will be part of the Writers' Centre Kingston, a vibrant community of outstanding writers, journalists and publishers.

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