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  • Journalism BA (Hons)

Journalism BA (Hons)

Why choose this course?

The Guardian University Guide 2019 has ranked us first in London and sixth in the UK for Journalism and Publishing. 

Progression into work or further study stands at 100 per cent. 90 per cent of our students are employed within six months of finishing the course, with half working as media professionals, according to data collected from our graduates in the past two years.  In addition, our graduates' first job salaries after six months of finishing the course reach £25,000 - higher than the UK average of £19,000 for journalism graduates.

Our alumni have progressed to roles such as senior broadcast journalist at the BBC, digital news editor at OK! Magazine, sports journalist at the Daily Star, and picture editor at The Sun. They also work in the business press, broadcasting, PR and media-related roles like fashion copywriter.

Attendance UCAS code/apply Year of entry
3 years full time P500 2019
2020
4 years full time including foundation year P501 2019
2020
6 years part time Apply direct to the University 2019
2020
Location Penrhyn Road

Reasons to choose Kingston

  • Ranked first in London for Journalism and Publishing by the Guardian University Guide 2020.
  • You'll have the opportunity of work experience and internships in London, the hub of the UK's media industry, supported by our work placement scheme.
  • You'll gain hands-on experience at The River newspaper and River Online (a past winner of the Guardian Student Media Award newspaper of the year).

What you will study

This programme is designed to equip you with knowledge and expertise both to understand the world of journalism as consumers and to engage with it as practitioners, as well as providing them with transferable skills that are of use in a variety of professions.

These include the capacity to carry out independent research, and to demonstrate initiative and leadership; teambuilding, interview techniques digital skills; and the ability to produce precise, accurate, engaging written work to tight deadlines.

Modules

Each level is made up of four modules each worth 30 credit points. Typically a student must complete 120 credits at each level.

 

Year 1

Year 2

Optional year

Final year

Year 1 introduces the skills for becoming an effective journalist including digital skills, mobile reporting, video and social media, news and feature writing. You will also study the broader context of journalism in society and the critical issues facing journalists today.

Core modules

Practical Journalism 1

30 credits

Writing is a key communication tool of journalism. This module introduces you to the language, practical conventions, contexts and functions of written journalism in the multimedia environment. Through studying and critically analysing the structure, style and content of articles published on websites, in newspapers and magazines you will begin to develop an understanding of how copy is gathered, put together and directed at specific readerships.

Through lectures and through practice in workshops you will learn to identify a story from raw, diffuse or incomplete information by the application of news values, to write it in appropriate style, to add headlines and online "furniture" and to upload it to a content management system.

Writing clear, accurate and engaging text relies on understanding and applying the rules of grammar, using the right words and constructing coherent prose. This module also helps you to boost your grammar and punctuation skills, choose and use appropriate words and craft effective sentences and paragraphs. You will discover the underlying rules and principles, consider the impact of your writing decisions and develop your own writing and editing skills.

Also, by examining and practising skills needed to develop and write pieces such as: originating ideas, researching, assessing the reliability of sources, interviewing, organising material and adhering to house style, you will aim to produce journalistic news pieces and feature articles that are suitable for publication.

Thinking about Journalism

30 credits

This is a core module for full and half-field Journalism students. It offers a critical introduction to the discipline of journalism in all its forms, with particular emphasis on news. At its heart is a question central to studying journalism: why do journalists approach their trade in the way(s) they do, and what are the values, norms and assumptions underpinning their professional practice? The module commences with an examination of news values - the (often unspoken) 'rules of thumb' that determine the subjects/stories journalists report and the angles they pursue. It adopts a critical approach to examining reporting practice - introducing academic concepts like framing, agenda-setting and active audience theory to consider not only how journalists select and/or construct their narratives but also the increasing contribution of audiences themselves to the shaping of news discourse. 

The module examines two other issues central to the role of the journalist: objectivity and public interest. Students are encouraged to critique the question of objectivity, with reference to real-world examples that both uphold and challenge this idea, including the practice of openly partisan/campaigning journalism. Public interest is examined in light of recent controversies that have exposed legal and ethical issues with contemporary journalism - including the 'phone-hacking' scandal and ensuing Leveson Inquiry and criminal prosecutions.

The module also acts as a more general introduction to the academic strand of the BA Journalism degree - introducing students to Kingston's personal tutor system and the conventions of essay-writing, Harvard referencing and exam technique.

Digital Skills for Journalists

30 credits

This two semester-long module introduces students to the background of the ‘online revolution' and its implications for the role of the journalist and the future of the industry. Through lectures and practical workshops students will gain understanding of the impact of the internet including social media on reporting and writing and an introduction to multimedia reporting including video. Assessment for this module takes the form of a portfolio (100%) of multimedia content including video, some of which is researched and created in students' own time.

Journalism in the Wider World

30 credits

A key part of a journalist's role is to inform readers what is going on in the world. To do this well, journalists have to understand how the world works and why. This module aims to build on existing understanding to provide students with the necessary political, economic, historical social and cultural context to underpin their development as journalists. Areas for exploration and discussion will include Britain's role in the world; the UK's relationship with Europe, the US and the developing world; British institutions and their role and influence (including the monarchy, parliament, the judiciary, Whitehall, religious bodies, universities, local government, banks and finance houses) and the history and emergence of competing ideologies such as capitalism, socialism and liberalism. The module will explore emerging social and cultural trends and the way these are covered in the media. Underpinning the module will be the key questions of "Where does power lie?" "Who has control?" "Who is responsible?" "Who really runs things?"

In Year 2, you will be able to develop your skills in a range of specialist modules including broadcast, and magazine journalism. In the Practical Journalism 2 module you will produce your own live digital and print publications. You will also study core subjects such as video, layout and media law and have the opportunity to pursue a research project. You can also choose to study abroad at one of our partner universities.

Core modules

Practical Journalism 2

30 credits

This is a core module taken by both all second year journalism students. It aims to expand, develop and hone the print and online skills acquired in Practical Journalism 1. The module will also explore how journalism is shaped by the legal and regulatory context in which it is practised. Students will focus on story development, writing and editing in print and online, layout and page design, and video story-telling. They will also learn Teeline shorthand, aiming to reach a speed of 60-100 wpm. They will acquire a working knowledge of libel, contempt and privacy law as well as court reporting skills. 

Optional modules

Journalism Research Paper

30 credits

This module offers students a chance to carry out an in-depth piece of research into an aspect of journalism which interests them and to work independently under the guidance of a tutor. Students will be able to choose their own topic, frame it in the way they want and select the most appropriate primary and secondary sources. Students can use their research not only to gain insight into a chosen topic but also to contact and question journalists working in the industry to find out what is really going on and to start networking. This module provides an excellent foundation for independent empirical research focused within the main course discipline. It will be especially relevant for students planning to do a dissertation or special study in their final year.

 
Magazine Journalism

30 credits

The UK magazine industry has never been more exciting and challenging. Despite digital and economic changes modern magazines devoted to trends and interests endure. This module looks at how these contemporary publications are positioned and how they co-operate to weave together strands of information. In this module you will learn about the contexts within which contemporary magazines operate. You look at the current state of the periodicals sector and reflect on trends and future developments by researching, originating and developing a magazine concept for a specified readership. You will build up effective editorial, team-working skills and adapt these to the needs of differing audiences and objectives through the origination and production of your own magazine. You will apply journalistic skills to create a portfolio of articles and will utilise design and layout skills to produce a dummy magazine.

Journalism in History and Literature

30 credits

This module aims to set the processes and outputs of UK journalism within their historical and literary context. You will develop an understanding of how journalism developed as a commercial activity and a recognisable profession in the nineteenth century and how these beginnings influenced the shape of journalism throughout the twentieth century, with the growth of the tabloid press, the battles of the press barons, the rise and fall of the power of the print unions and the growth of consumer and lifestyle journalism. You will discuss and debate key issues such as the growth of campaigning and investigative journalism and the freedom of the press in a democratic society.

You will be introduced to the journalism of such writers as Defoe, Swift, Steele, Dickens, as well as more modern literary journalists such as George Orwell. You will develop an understanding of how these writers helped shape the course of journalism. You will also have the opportunity of studying two key texts in depth, chosen as examples of literary journalism, and examining them in their historical, cultural and theoretical contexts. 

Broadcast Journalism

30 credits

This module will give students the hands-on editorial experience of news broadcasting using video and audio and provide them with the tools needed to deliver compelling stories. The course will be taught through weekly lectures and technical workshops. At the end of the module students will have a digital portfolio containing a TV package and a radio report.


Students will be supported while they learn how to capture and record news using industry standard equipment. They will develop an ability to write for pictures and to craft sound. They will receive voice coaching and get the chance to read a radio bulletin and present pieces to camera. They will become confident in the language of the broadcast newsroom.
In an increasingly digital media environment broadcast news has had to adapt the way it produces content. These technological advances have also influenced the way people digest news coverage. Therefore, alongside learning traditional methods of broadcast journalism students will also be introduced to podcasts. They will learn what the digital world means for storytelling and what the video-enabled Internet means for live reporting.

Finally although the world of conventional broadcasting is changing rapidly, good ideas will always hold creative currency and students will be required to generate and pitch two original TV and radio ideas with particular audiences in mind.

You have the option to take an additional year to study abroad.

The final year enables you to put your learning into practice through hands-on experience at The River Newspaper and River Online - a past winner of the Guardian Student Media Award newspaper of the year. You will have the opportunity to undertake work experience and internships in London, the hub of the UK's media industry, supported by our work placement scheme. 

You will study key subjects such as ethics and media law to prepare you for the workplace, and specialist modules such as sport, fashion, data or international journalism. You will expand your critical and analytical skills by undertaking a research paper on a specialist module or through a dissertation.

Core modules

Practical Journalism 3

30 credits

The module incorporates involvement in the production of the campus newspaper, The River, and its web-based version, River Online as well as undertaking a period of at least two weeks work experience within a media organisation working in a professional environment producing and practising journalism.
Each student will take on an editorial role on The River as well as contributing news and feature articles. Roles may vary, but will allow students to observe and participate in essential activities which contribute to producing real journalism. Teaching takes place in our dedicated newsroom, equipped with live news feeds, online content management system, and industry-standard software packages including Adobe InDesign and Photoshop.
The placement will typically be for two weeks, although students who show initiative in negotiating more substantial work experience may be allowed to extend this period.

Optional modules

Journalism Dissertation

30 credits

This module aims to encourage independent research and hone study and research skills developed earlier in the degree course. Students will be asked to formulate a specific hypothesis relating to journalism and then conduct a systematic and sustained inquiry focused on that hypothesis. Students will conduct secondary research but great value will also be placed on their own primary research efforts. At the end of this year-long module, students will be assessed on a 10,000 word piece of writing that is expected to demonstrate keen analytical skills and logical thinking and offer a cogent, coherent argument that complies with the dissertation model.

Special Study: Literary Journalism and War

30 credits

In this course you will read closely four exceptional books of journalism dealing with war. In these books -- from George Orwell's account of the Spanish Civil War to Dexter Filkins's reporting on the American invasion of Iraq -- the writers are centre stage, exploring their own feelings and beliefs as they try to makes sense of the chaos of war. Through analysing the texts you will examine the historical, cultural and theoretical contexts of the conflicts themselves and and also how journalism deals with describing war and through close attention to the style of these writers you will become familiar with literary journalism and be given an opportunity to develop your own narrative writing.

Specialist Journalism: Business

30 credits

This highly practical module will allow students to explore in depth and actively engage with the world of business journalism. This course will encourage students to develop their researching, writing and reporting skills to allow them to write professional news, interviews and features for the specialist and national press.

Students will learn how to read balance sheets to take the financial health of companies and institutions. They will learn how to use databases and statistics, to find stories about the health of the economy, and assess the role of big business in the economic and political spheres.

Students will come to understand important economic and financial terms and trends (for example GDP, balance of payments, stockmarket indices, house price indices, retail price indices) and use these to put business stories in context.

Students will use their new found skills in analysing data to dig behind the statistics and find real stories about corporate activity or wrong-doing, and analyse the use and misuse of private and public funds.

Students will demonstrate their skills in a second semester original, independent business journalism project.

At the heart of the course, students will engage with on-going ethical debates about relationships between business and financial journalists and their sources, and the boundaries such journalists need to observe under the Press Complaints Commission and other professional codes of practice.

Specialist Journalism: Sport

30 credits

This module offers an introduction to and broad experience of sports journalism. It is a practical course aimed at helping students to develop their writing and reporting skills to produce professional sports copy, including deadline-driven match reports, running copy, interviews, sports news stories, profiles, factboxes, comment, analysis and newspaper/multi-media sports packages. It also aims to help students understand the context and pressures under which sports journalism is produced in the modern media.
Workshops, alongside live reporting assignments, will be used to explain concepts and develop skills. During project work in the second half of the module, students will produce a publishable sports package. Guidance will be offered though seminars and tutorials.

Journalism, Ethics and the Industry

30 credits

This module aims to build on students' critical understanding of the function of journalism, its place in society and its ethical, legal, technological and commercial framework. It develops material on the nature, history and purpose of journalism covered in earlier modules to critically examine how the UK media has risen to the challenge of reflecting and representing the ever more socially and culturally diverse Britain of today – as well as its duty to accurately and impartially report on foreign affairs and conflicts.

By considering concepts such as truth, objectivity, accountability, a free press, freedom of information and public interest in relation to journalism, students will develop an awareness of the tensions between journalists, readers, sources and proprietors in a changing media landscape and what it means to be an ethically responsible journalist.

Students will also examine the impact of social, technological and commercial changes on the practice and business of journalism, including the decline of conventional advertising, the increasing plurality of media forms, changing audience demands and expectations, and the rise of news aggregating websites and cheap ‘content' over costly original reporting.  

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.

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.

Foundation year

You can also study this course with a Foundation year.

Entry requirements

120 tariff points

Typical offer

120 UCAS points from Level 3 qualifications, not including General Studies (i.e. A Levels, BTEC Diploma, Foundation Diploma in Art & Design, Access Diploma, IB Diploma, etc).

Additional requirements

Entry on to this course does not require an interview, entrance test, audition or portfolio.

International

All non-UK applicants must meet our English Language requirements. For this course it is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall, with 6.5 in Writing and all other elements at 5.5

Teaching and assessment

Teaching methods include workshop-based core skills modules. There are lectures by practitioners, student-led seminars and guided research.

Assessment methods are often based on the production of news stories, features and essays. You may also be appraised on your performance on work placements and work on the campus newspaper.

You will also benefit from weekly guest lectures - in the past year these included senior journalists and editors at The Guardian, Glamour, The Sunday Times, VICE, Vogue, New Statesman and CNN.

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the online virtual learning platform.

Academic support

Our academic support team here at Kingston University provides help in a range of areas.

Dedicated personal tutor

When you arrive, we'll introduce you to your personal tutor. This is the member of academic staff who will provide academic guidance, be a support throughout your time at Kingston and who will show you how to make the best use of all the help and resources that we offer at Kingston University.

Your workload

Time spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity

  • Year 1: 27%
  • Year 2: 44%
  • Year 3: 19%

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

Type of teaching and learning

Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
  • Scheduled teaching
  • Guided independent study
  • Scheduled teaching
  • Guided independent study
  • Scheduled teaching
  • Guided independent study

 

How you will be assessed

Assessment typically comprises exams (eg test or exam), practical (eg presentations, performance) and coursework (eg essays, reports, self-assessment, portfolios and 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

Year 1
Year 2 - Core modules
Year 3 - Core modules
  • Coursework
  • Practical
  • Written exam
  • Coursework
  • Practical
  • Written exam
  • Coursework

Feedback summary

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

Your timetable

Your individualised timetable is normally available to students within 48 hours of enrolment. Whilst we make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week between 9.00am and 6.00pm. For undergraduate students Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities, but there may be occasions when this is not possible. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.

Class sizes

To give you an indication of class sizes, this course normally attracts 40 students and lecture sizes are normally 20-50. However this can vary by module and academic year.

Who teaches this course?

Many of the Journalism teaching team are published writers, reporters, international correspondents and editors, with extensive experience and professional links: they will help you to develop your skills, networks and gain access to industry contacts. Their expertise and knowledge is closely matched to the content of the modules on this course. 

You will also benefit from weekly guest lectures - in the past year these included senior journalists and editors at The Guardian, The Sunday Times, VICE, Vogue, New Statesman and CNN.

Facilities

The campus at Penrhyn Road is a hive of activity, housing the main student restaurant, the learning resources centre (LRC), and a host of teaching rooms and lecture theatres. 

At the heart of the campus is the John Galsworthy building, a six-storey complex that brings together lecture theatres, flexible teaching space and information technology suites around a landscaped courtyard.

Fees and funding

2019/20 fees for this course

The tuition fee you pay depends on whether you are assessed as a 'Home' (UK or EU), 'Islands' or 'International' student. In 2019/20 the fees for this course are:

 Fee category  Amount
Home (UK and EU students) Foundation year: £7,800
£9,250*
International Foundation year: £14,200
Year 1 (2019/20): £14,200
Year 2 (2020/21): £14,600
Year 3 (2021/22): £15,000
Islands (Channel Islands and Isle of Man) To be confirmed by the Island Authorities

* These fees are annual and may increase in line with inflation each year subject to the results of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Eligible UK and EU students can apply to the Government for a tuition loan, which is paid direct to the University. This has a low interest-rate which is charged from the time the first part of the loan is paid to the University until you have repaid it.

Additional costs

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees. 

Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering), security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.

Text books

Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to, or be required to, buy your own copy of key textbooks.

Computer equipment

There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet which you can use around campus and in halls of residences.

Free WiFi is available on each of the campuses.

Printing

In the majority of cases coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees.

Travel

Travel costs are not included but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses and halls of residence. Costs for optional study visits and field trips are not included in your tuition fees.

Shows and exhibitions

Costs of participating at external shows and exhibitions are not included in your tuition fees.

Note for EU students: UK withdrawal from the European Union

EU students starting a programme in the 2019/20 academic year will be charged the same fees as those who began in 2018/19 (subject to any annual increase in accordance with the applicable terms and conditions and the Kingston University fees schedule).

They will also be able to access the same financial support for the duration of their course as students who began in 2018/19, even if their degree concludes after the UK's exit from the EU.

No assurances have yet been made regarding 2020/21 and beyond. Updates will be published here as soon as they become available.

After you graduate

Our graduates have progressed to roles at many of the main media organisations such as Reuters, Cosmopolitan, OK!, Channel 4 News, Sky, the BBC, The Times and Al Jazeera.

Examples of recent first jobs after graduation include:

  • Journalist, Express Newspapers
  • Picture editor/researcher, The Sun, News UK
  • Sub-editor, MailOnline (Snapchat Discover desk)
  • Junior feature writer, Harvey Nichols
  • Junior fashion writer, SecretSales.com
  • Multimedia reporter, Pink News
  • Reporter, Copenhagen Times
  • Reporter, EuroMoney Institutional Investor
  • Trainee reporter, South West News Service
  • Video journalist, RT UK
  • Editorial assistant, HMG Aerospace
  • Copywriter, Health & Care

What our students say

Links with business and industry

Our links with business are key to the course - whether it is the wealth of experience our lecturers bring from their own careers, the top calibre guest speakers who pass on tips every week or the extensive industry work experience you get as part of the course.

A diverse team of journalists teach on the course, all with current or recent experience of either the national press or key local or trade press. This means that teaching is informed by the latest industry expertise and you have access to practical help and career advice from people with insider knowledge.

Our guest speaker programme is a fantastic opportunity for students to listen to and question key media figures from every sphere of the industry. To give you a taste of what our speakers can offer, take a look at this selection of prominent names who have visited recently:

  • Farah Storr, editor in chief of Cosmopolitan
  • David Jenkins, editor of Little White Lies
  • Ben Machell, feature writer at The Times
  • Samira Ahmed, BBC presenter and former Channel 4 news anchor (Samira is currently Visiting Professor at Kingston)
  • Rossalyn Warren, award winning foreign affairs journalist and former Buzzfeed reporter
  • Fatima Manji, presenter at Channel 4 news
  • Alex Whiting, creative producer at Vogue Video
  • Charlotte Duck, deputy editor at Glamour.com
  • Will Dean, commissioning editor at The Guardian
  • Richard Monynihan, head of digital journalism at The Daily Telegraph
  • Anoosh Chakelian, deputy web editor at The New Statesman
  • Radhika Sanghani, features writer for The Daily Telegraph

Course combinations

You can combine a foundation year with the following subjects:

  • Journalism with Foundation Year - UCAS code: P501
  • Journalism and Media - UCAS code: PP53

The courses are 4 years full time including foundation year.

Key information set

The scrolling banner(s) below display some key factual data about this course (including different course combinations or delivery modes of this course where relevant).

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