The skills to tackle any journalistic role
Why take this course?
From learning how to webcast, producing apps, laying out magazine spreads and video reporting, right through to the all-important skills of uncovering and writing breaking stories to deadline, we will equip you for the 24-hour rolling news culture.
You’ll be writing about everything from hard news to fashion, sport, music and lifestyle. This course provides the essential training and access to experience that will send you to the top of editors’ wish lists.
What will I experience?
On this course you can:
- Put your skills into practice in our fully equipped newsroom
- Benefit from studying under expert journalists with experience working on international, national, regional and online publications
- Undertake a formal ten-day journalism-based work placement as part of your study, with further placement opportunities encouraged throughout your degree.
- Spend a 'sandwich' year in industry
BA (Hons) Journalism at Portsmouth is accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ), one of three professional bodies accrediting journalism training in the UK. You will automatically be entered for the examinations leading to the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism, and can study for the NCTJ’s qualifications in multi-media writing, media law, public affairs, sports and video journalism and shorthand.
What opportunities might it lead to?
This is a highly vocational course and you can be expected to find journalistic work in areas including national, regional and local newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations and online publications and companies involved in public relations, corporate communications and marketing - during your study, as well as after.
Our excellent links with the industry ensure your work placements - whether formal or informal - will challenge and inspire you. In addition, you will have the opportunity to sit the National Council for the Training of Journalists' industry-standard exams. Gaining these qualifications will significantly enhance your career prospects since they are considered vital by many journalism employers.
Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:
- editing magazines
- working on fashion blogs
- new media
- further academic study
Lessons sometimes take the format of a working newsroom situation, with tight deadlines and accuracy paramount.
Heather Clark, BA (Hons) Journalism student 2013
Apply for September 2016
If you're still considering your options, we’re here to help you make the right decision.
- UCAS Course Code:
- 3 years full time, 4 years sandwich with work placement
- 240-300 points from 3 A levels or equivalent. Evidence of interest and some relevant experience in Journalism will be required. An admissions test will be set. All applicants are subject to interview. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0. Other qualifications
UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
2016/17 entry: full time: £9,000 p/a*
2016/17 entry: full time: £12,000 p/a**
*Tuition fee may be subject to annual increase.
**Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.
+44 (0)23 9284 8299
- School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies
- Programme specification
- Accreditations & Endorsements
Structure & Teaching
In the first year there is a blend of practical and theoretical learning. You’ll begin practical training in the techniques of journalism, alongside units in theory, law and ethics relating to journalistic practice. Shorthand is also a core topic, and our training will enable you to reach speeds of 100 words per minute.
Core units in this year include:
- Web Research
- The Development, Role and Influence of Modern Journalism
- Law for Journalists
- Theories and Techniques of Journalism
- Introduction to Studying Journalism
- Copywriting and Web Editing
This year allows you to start specialising in the areas that interest you most. Choose to focus on specific media forms such as magazines, videos or the web and also spotlight on certain writing styles.
Core units in this year include:
- Government in Britain
- Newsbeat 24/7
- An Introduction to Editorial Design
- Visual Journalism
- Feature Writing
Options to choose from in this year include:
- Sports Journalism
- Ethical Issues in Modern Journalism
The final year offers you a broad range of options to choose from. Depending on your interests, you also have the choice between a dissertation or undertaking a special exercise that boosts your journalistic skills.
Core units in this year include:
- Writing and Producing Magazines
- Placement and Digital Portfolio
Options to choose from in this year include:
- Stranger than Fiction
- Money, Government and Power
- Journalists and Propagandists at War
- Advanced Editorial Technologies
- Broadcast Journalism
- Press and Public Relations
*You may undertake a sandwich year after year two, spending a year working for a company and returning to complete the course the following year.
Teaching and Assessment
As well as the standard lecture and seminar format of learning, there is also a hugely practical element to your study. Practical workshop sessions and group-based activities will sometimes see you producing magazines, newspapers or web pages to a deadline. We prize this training aspect of the course.
The formal Placement and Digital Portfolio unit in the third year requires students to organise their own placement under the guidance of specialist staff and often drawing on the contacts of journalism lecturers. Extensive guidance is given to students in lectures and seminars on how to obtain the placement and what to do to gain the best possible experience while there. Employers for these placements complete a pre-placement health and safety check and an end of placement report form, highlighting the student’s strengths and weaknesses, and this is discussed in tutorials with each student on their return to university.
How are you assessed?
We assess you in a range of ways, including through:
- essays and close textual analysis
- in-class tests
- media artefacts
- seminar presentations
- a 10,000-word dissertation
At the end of the third year formal placement, students complete an assessed piece of work – an evaluative report analysing the employer’s role in the industry and reflecting on their own personal and professional development.
Our students work on real-life journalism in our state-of-the-art newsrooms under the watchful eye of real journalists. We combine that with rigorous background theory and it's all aimed at preparing them for life as a multi-skilled journalist who can cope with the pressures and demands of employers when they first step into a newsroom.
Facilities & Features
Opened in 2007 by former Times editor Charles Wilson, our industry-standard newsroom is home to Portsmouth's journalism students. It’s equipped with the latest hardware and software used by today’s press, replicating the activity and experience of professional journalists.
You'll also become familiar with the tools and techniques used by correspondents out in the field, from cameras to data connections.
Studying at Portsmouth
Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.
A suite of rooms with a comfy seating area, desks where you can work, printers, Mac workstations and access to the wireless network, so you can log in using your own laptop. There are also several study rooms where you can work on group projects, in addition to the University's 3rd Space.
We encourage our journalism students to gain the work experience in newsrooms that journalistic employers, in particular, expect their new staff to have. Students should expect to gain at least two weeks’ work placement each year while at university, and most gain much more, some obtaining 10 weeks or more by the time they graduate.
A wide range of employers are keen to offer valuable placement opportunities to students on University of Portsmouth programmes. These include national, regional and local newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations and online publications and companies involved in public relations, corporate communications and marketing.
The Macs have been hugely beneficial. They have programs useful for all areas in journalism, ranging from InDesign to Photoshop. There is a wealth of journalistic equipment (such as video cameras, complete with a tripod and mic) for students to borrow for educational use. It saved me from having to spend a lot of money purchasing them myself.
Myron Jobson, Journalism student 2013
Budgeting for your studies
There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.
Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.
Other costs to consider
There may be travel costs for placements undertaken during your course. These will be in the region of £500. You will be required to contribute towards the cost of any repeat examinations to gain professional accreditation. These costs range from £25 - £45.
Careers & Opportunities
Once you’ve completed this degree, you will possess all the required skills to succeed as a journalist. However, this is not the only route open to you. You’ll gain valuable transferable skills in analysis, writing, presentation, editing, design, and so on, which will stand you in good stead to enter a wide range of careers.
You will have already gained a number of NCTJ qualifications, but further academic study is also a popular choice with many of our graduates.
Roles our graduates have taken on include:
- campaign assistant
- editorial assistant
- PR and marketing assistant
- trainee reporter
In your third year, you will complete a ten-day journalism-based work placement. This is a great opportunity to gain relevant work experience, learn more about the professional application of journalism and produce material for your portfolio which may also be used for NCTJ professional qualifications. What’s more, impress future employers by getting some real-life work experience under your belt. Past students have gained work placements on a variety of weekly, evening and national newspapers, national magazines, radio and television stations and web publications.
This course also allows you to take the Learning From Experience (LiFE) option, which means you can earn credits towards your degree for work, volunteer and research placements that you’re involved in alongside your study. A sandwich year is also available, and we positively encourage informal journalism placements in holiday periods. Informal placements are not assessed, but are still added to your CV as they add to employability at the end of the degree.
For all placement opportunities, the team from the Faculty Placement and Internship Centre can help with approaching companies and applications. It also has a jobs board advertising current positions.
To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.
Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.