Magazine Journalism MA

Why choose this course?

Kingston University is ranked No 1 in London for journalism, publishing and public relations (Guardian University Guide League tables 2020).

Do you aspire to work on magazines? This course will give you the best possible start on the road to success. It addresses subjects such as writing, subediting, production and design techniques, research skills and how to generate lively, interactive content for the web.

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
Location Penrhyn Road

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • Kingston has a successful partnership with magazine publisher Haymarket, which offers placements, joint projects, and job opportunities.
  • You will produce an online and print magazine. For the last three years it has won, or been shortlisted for, the national Student Publication Awards (SPAs).

Experience and hands-on learning

Our tutors are practising journalists who share their wide range of experience. This course also features guest speakers from national magazines and newspapers in both print and online. Past speakers have included Rachel Rodriguez – social media producer at CNN International, Zing Tsjeng – UK editor of the feminist channel Broadly, Guardian feature writer, Simon Hattenstone and Jon Snow of Channel 4 News.

Work placements, leading to job offers, have been at GQ, Grazia, Hello! and Spindle online. We have a successful partnership with Haymarket Network – the award-winning customer publishing division of the largest private magazine publisher in the UK. This offers the opportunity to work on joint projects, which have included programmes for the London Olympics.

Award-winning journalism

In 2017 our MA Magazine Journalism students won a prestigious national Student Publication Award in the Best Newcomer magazine section for the Kingston University magazine, Woke (online). And in 2018 the student magazine Persist was shortlisted for the Best Design category. Persist (in 2018) and fellow student magazine Loudly (in 2019) were shortlisted for Best Magazine Design at the Student Publication Association Awards.

What you will study

Our Magazine Journalism MA prepares you to work in the magazine industry. It gets you ready for anything you might come across: from writing features for a women's weekly or putting together a news story for a trade publication to making a video or building a brand.  It offers detailed, hands-on grounding in core journalistic skills, including feature writing, news gathering and writing, design, production and media law. Context is provided through the study of the business of magazines, ethics and journalistic practices. You can choose to study shorthand as an optional extra.

You'll be expected to take five core modules, four of which are worth 30 credits each; the other one worth 60 credits. You can choose from three Specialist Journalism modules, but you must choose one. Altogether you'll need to complete 180 credits.

You can also study shorthand in order to assist with your NCTJ exams.

Year 1

Optional placement year

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and practical workshops covering writing, interviewing, subediting, magazine production, blogging, and writing and uploading copy for the web. You will produce a magazine (print and online), and undertake at least one placement on a published title.

You will also write a 12–15,000-word dissertation or carry out a related practical project.

Core modules

Journalism in Context: Law, Ethics and the Industry

30 credits

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.

Creating Magazines: Content and Context

30 credits

This module aims to provide you with the practical skills necessary to work as successful journalists, underpinned by an understanding of the constraints and tensions inherent in magazine offices, and online operations developing in a changing industry. You will examine the structure of this fast-expanding sector, with a particular emphasis on the role played by freelance journalists and production staff in generating content.

You will have the opportunity to acquire the core skills for producing online and print publications which will include the use of social media/analytics/branding/research and interview techniques. You will be equipped with multimedia reporting, production and design skills in demand in the journalism industry and will be confident about telling stories through video and audio as well as the written word.

The module offers valuable opportunities for you to work together to produce and run your own group website, and magazine, developing your teamwork skills and experiencing the reality of different job roles in a multimedia operation. This classroom experience will provide a valuable introduction to the two-week work placement all students will be required to undertake as part of the module.

Feature Writing

30 credits

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.

MA Journalism Dissertation

60 credits

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.

Practical Journalism Project

60 credits

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.

Not for credit

Shorthand (Postgraduate)

0 credits

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.

Option modules (choose one)

Specialist Journalism: Digital detectives: Data journalism

30 credits

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.

Specialist Journalism: Fashion

30 credits

This highly practical module allows students to explore in depth and actively engage with the world of fashion journalism. Students will develop their researching, writing and reporting skills to allow them to write professional fashion news, catwalk and trend reports, interviews and features for specialist fashion and mainstream press and websites. They will also explore different fashion forums and build a range of digital skills such as blogging, vlogging and social media networking. They will learn about editorial styling – putting together shopping pages, makeovers and get-the-look pieces – and gain an understanding of main fashion and photoshoots. They will apply their newly-gained skills to the production of a portfolio of cutting-edge fashion journalism.

The practices of fashion journalism will be placed in a context throughout the module. Through a series of lectures and in-class discussions students will gain insight into the fashion industry and how it works: the designers, brands, seasons and how clothes are made. They will acquire an appreciation of the fashion industry's relationship with the media, the role and function of fashion PR, and the historical, cultural and global economic issues which fashion journalists must understand.

Students will demonstrate their skills and knowledge in an original, independent fashion journalism project.

Specialist Journalism: Sport

30 credits

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.

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.

Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme.

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

Events and lectures

There are always interesting activities taking place at Kingston and exciting opportunities to take advantage of. The Journalism department holds lunchtime lectures every Wednesday, delivered by accomplished professionals in their fields. Recent guest speakers include:

  • Rachel Rodriguez – social media producer at CNN International.
  • Zing Tsjeng – UK editor of feminist channel Broadly.
  • Bruno Bayley – editor of Vice magazine UK, a youth-oriented publication with edge.
  • Richard James – UK news editor of BuzzFeed, the hugely popular news and entertainment site with a global audience of some 150 million. Richard, formerly deputy online editor at Metro, talked about how to create news people want to engage with and share.
  • David Lindsell – web editor for 10 Newsquest local websites including the Surrey Comet and the Richmond and Twickenham Times. David examined whether the internet is killing off local/regional journalism as we know it and discussed the tools journalists need in a digital newsroom.
  • Hannah Gale – freelance fashion and lifestyle journalist and blogger, who has worked online for Metro, LOOK, Marie Claire and InStyle. Hannah, a Kingston journalism graduate, spoke about how important it is for journalists to develop their own brand.
  • Michelle Hather – deputy editor at Good Housekeeping, having previously worked at Best magazine, the Liverpool Daily Post and the Sunday People. Michelle suggested ways to make your mark in journalism – especially magazine journalism – including some of the weird things you get to do along the way.
  • Ollie Gillman – a Kingston journalism graduate, Ollie earned a coveted place on the Daily Mail trainee programme and has worked around the country covering local and national issues as well as sport and entertainment.
  • William Fairman – VICE's supervising producer. VICE is an international news organisation "created by and for a connected generation". It prides itself on covering under-reported stories. William talked about online documentary making, VICE's original editorial style and the organisation's evolution from magazine to digital first media publisher.
  • Vanessa Baffoe – Vanessa helped launch LondonLive, the local news channel for London set up by the Evening Standard. She is a video maker, a TV presenter and a producer who previously worked for ITV's Tyne Tees and Border news. Vanessa was one of Kingston journalism's first graduates.
  • Simon Hattenstone – award-winning Guardian writer Simon Hattenstone spoke on the craft of feature writing and interviewing.
  • John Crowley – digital editor at the Wall Street Journal. John looked at technological innovation in storytelling and the presentation of news.
  • Bill Schomberg – chief economics correspondent at Reuters. Bill has worked on some of the biggest stories in some of the world's biggest cities, covering financial, general and sports news from Brussels to Brasilia.
  • Mukul Devichand – works on BBC trending looking at social media trending stories.
  • Adrian Warner – ex-BBC, Evening Standard and Reuters on multi-platform reporting and sports news reporting.
  • James Jones – BBC undercover reporter. James talked about getting into North Korea and working in Ukraine.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

We normally expect candidates to have:

  • a good honours degree (2:1 or above) or equivalent in an essay-writing subject, demonstrating high standards of literacy; and/or
  • evidence of substantial and demonstrable professional commitment to journalism.

Additional requirements

Interviews

We normally invite candidates for an interview with the course director or another senior member of the team. Students who are based overseas can arrange for an interview by email or telephone.

English language requirements

All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirement, which is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall with 7.5 in Writing and at least 5.5 in each other element. Make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we consider.

Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements could be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.

Applicants from a recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Teaching and assessment

You will be taught and assessed through working on articles, features, news, portfolios, case studies, presentations, essays, dissertation and work-based learning.

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically involves reading and analysing articles, regulations, policy document and key texts, documenting individual projects, preparing coursework assignments and completing your PEDRs, etc.

Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the University's online virtual learning platform.

Support for postgraduate students

At Kingston University, we know that postgraduate students have particular needs and therefore we have a range of support available to help you during your time here.

Your workload

11% of your time will be spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.

  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 267 hours
  • Guided independent study: 2,053 hours

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

Type of teaching and learning

Type of teaching and learning
  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 267 hours
  • Guided independent study: 2053 hours

How you will be assessed

Assessment typically comprises exams and coursework (such as essays, reports, self-assessment, portfolios, dissertation). The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows, though depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose.

Type of assessment

Type of assessment
  • Coursework: 92%
  • Exams: 8%

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Class sizes

To give you an indication of class sizes, this course normally enrols 8 - 10 students and lecture sizes are normally 10 - 20. However this can vary by module and academic year.

Who teaches this course?

This course is delivered by Kingston School of Art and you'll be based at Penrhyn Road campus for most of your teaching. It is a lively environment in which to further your studies and career, thanks to the wide range of courses and the combination of academics and practitioners.

The University provides:

  • courses designed in collaboration with industry professionals – keeping you up to date with the latest developments;
  • established connections with the London arts and media scene – with a range of guest speakers, professors and lecturers visiting the University; and
  • teaching staff who are active journalists, authors and writers.

Postgraduate students may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader.

Fees for this course

Home and European Union 2020/21

  • MA full time £10,200
  • MA part time £5,610

Overseas (not EU) 2020/21

  • MA full time £16,600
  • MA part time £9,130

Fees for the optional placement year

If you choose to take a placement as part of this course, you will be invoiced for the placement fee in Year 2. Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme and the costs for the placement year.


Funding and bursaries

Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:

If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.

We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni:


Bursaries from the NCTJ

The National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) offers bursaries under its Journalism Diversity Fund to students applying for NCTJ-accredited courses who can demonstrate a commitment to journalism and who meet the fund's criteria.

Kingston graduates have been awarded full bursaries from the scheme to continue their postgraduate studies at the University.


International postgraduate deposit

International students from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) are required to pay a deposit in order to receive a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from Kingston University. This applies to all full-time postgraduate taught masters courses.

Facilities

The journalism department has a dedicated newsroom, fully equipped with dual-booting iMacs, professional newswires from Rex Images and the Press Association, 24-hour news channels and industry standard software such as Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Premiere Pro.

You will have access to a modern environment with the latest equipment, including the Learning Resource Centre. This offers:

  • subject libraries, plus a free inter-library loan scheme to other libraries in the Greater London area – the large journalism section at Kingston features a range of specialist books, periodicals, journals, videos and DVDs
  • online database subscriptions
  • a growing selection of resource materials – including online archives of national newspapers going back 30 years and microfiche cuttings dating back a century

Resources in London

Kingston is just a 30 minute train journey away from central London, where you will find the biggest concentration of press and publishing in the UK. This gives you the opportunity to undertake work experience in high-profile media environments.

What our students and graduates say

The Magazine Journalism MA at Kingston has been an incredible and valuable experience that will without a doubt help me in my career as a journalist. 

The module I was most excited to begin was Features Writing. Each assignment provided me with a new challenge, especially when it came to interviewing subjects. I also wrote features on the #MeToo movement and about the relationship between college students and on-campus police.

The module that had the most benefit to me was Creating Magazines: Content and Context. We took an in-depth look at magazines, understanding how each section works to build the magazine as a whole. I acted as editor, deputy editor, and art & pictures editor of our student magazine, Persist. Acting in those positions taught me even more about magazine journalism and was the most exciting part of the process.

Shana Lynch

Studying at Kingston University gave me a wealth of opportunities to learn about journalism through practice. I served as editor of our masters student-run magazine, which introduced me to all aspects of producing a publication: pitching, writing, editing, designing and more editing. Walking away with a magazine of which I was very proud made it all worth it. I've shown it to employers, who have been quite impressed with the quality of the work. But, for me, the highlight of the whole experience was winning an award from the Student Publication Association, naming our magazine a Highly Commendable Newcomer Publication.

As I enter the journalism industry, I won't serve as a magazine editor just yet. But I can aspire to that role. I have honed my skills and feel as though I have what it takes to succeed, thanks to the MA Magazine Journalism course.

Andrea Marchiano

Although I had a BA in English, I had no experience as a journalist before I started at Kingston. I decided on the Magazine Journalism MA because it seemed extremely practical. I felt it would prepare me for a career in the industry better than other courses.

Once I started the course I knew I had made the right choice. I loved learning from lecturers who also worked as journalists in the national press. Producing MOUTH with my peers offered real insight into what it takes to create a magazine.

The best part of the course for me was the month-long internship. I completed mine at Zest. Once I finished, I was offered a part-time position as a features assistant. And now, less than a year after graduation, I work at Zest full-time. Kingston definitely set me on the right track for what I hope will be a long and successful career as a journalist.

Taylor Anderson

Studying an MA at Kingston is the perfect way to begin a career in the media. From features and news writing, to advertising knowledge, design experience and a focus on online experience, you will graduate well-equipped to apply for many more jobs than just being a news reporter.

Without that broad training, I couldn't have secured the three jobs I've had since graduating – staff writer at Haymarket Media Group, web shifts at the Daily Express and writing the Harrods Style Guide. I also worked freelance for The Telegraph – something I was never brave enough to try before my MA.

I enjoyed the practical aspects of the course the most, from crafting our own magazine to designing layouts and writing investigative features. It is a really hands-on course. You learn about teamwork, delegation, tackling real-life press day dilemmas – everything I've been required to know was taught to me at some point during my MA.

Emma Day

After you graduate

Our Magazine Journalism MA prepares you to work in the magazine industry. It gets you ready for anything you might come across: from writing features for a women's weekly or putting together a news story for a trade publication to making a video or building a brand. It offers detailed, hands-on grounding in core journalistic skills, including feature writing, news gathering and writing, design, production and media law. Context is provided through the study of the business of magazines, ethics and journalistic practices. You can choose to study Teeline Shorthand as an optional extra.

After you graduate
Haymarket runs an annual scheme for students in which you can apply to take part in specific projects

Links with business and industry

You will benefit from guest speakers from national magazines and newspapers in both print and online. Past speakers have included:

  • Rachel Rodriguez – social media producer at CNN International
  • Zing Tsjeng – UK editor of feminist channel, Broadly 
  • Simon Hattenstone – Guardian feature writer
  • Jon Snow – Channel 4 News

You'll also have chance to undertake work placements on professional publications which have previously included:

  • Marie Claire
  • Cosmopolitan
  • Press Gazette
  • Publishing Business
  • Travel Weekly
  • Reed Business Information
  • Surrey Life
  • SW Magazine
  • Wanderlust
  • Haymarket projects

The department has a successful partnership with Haymarket Network, the customer publishing division of Haymarket Publishing. Haymarket runs an annual scheme for students in which you can apply to take part in specific projects. In the past these have involved:

  • developing a magazine for the British youth market
  • producing a magazine to launch a band for Universal Music
  • conceiving a website for travellers in association with The Rough Guides

Participants can compete for Haymarket Fellowships, which come with a substantial cash prize. Several students who have worked on the projects have secured jobs at Haymarket after graduation.