BA (Hons) Journalism - University of Portsmouth
A Gold rating in teaching excellence Read more
BA (Hons)


UCAS codeP500

full time3yrs

placement option1yr

Top three NCTJ accredited course

Course Overview

Why take this course?

From learning how to webcast, produce apps, layout 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 today’s 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.

Our BA (Hons) Journalism is accredited by the industry-backed National Council for the Training of Journalists. Portsmouth hit third spot in the country in the 2016 NCTJ results league table for accredited undergraduate courses.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Put your skills into practice in our industry-standard 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

NCTJ Accreditation

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. These include multi-media writing, media law, public affairs, sports and video journalism and shorthand.

Gaining these qualifications will significantly enhance your career prospects since they are considered vital by many journalism employers.

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. Students also regularly hear from, and meet, speakers from major media employers like Sky, the BBC, The Press Association and ITN. Staff from national newspapers including The Sun and The Daily Mail, regional media groups such as Johnston Press, Newsquest and Trinity Mirror and national public relations agencies are also all involved in the delivery and development of our journalism course. 

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:

  • editing magazines
  • working on fashion blogs
  • social media editing and marketing
  • reporting for regional newspapers
  • public relations
  • further academic study

Students also get the opportunity to produce material for a range of publishers throughout their course. These include local and regional news publishers and university student publications.


Byron Melton, BA (Hons) Journalism 2017

The university’s journalism course was exciting, enjoyable and everything I needed to walk straight into a full-time reporter’s role at a daily newspaper.

Byron Melton, BA (Hons) Journalism 2017


English and Journalism

Find out what our students say about studying at Portsmouth, including:

  • Getting the chance to develop practical skills alongside learning the theory
  • The high-quality teaching and flexibility of options that enables you to tailor your course to your own interests
  • The passion and knowledge of the lecturers that makes studying so enjoyable

Browse all courses in English and Journalism

Back to top

Structure & Teaching

Year one

The blend of practical and theoretical learning begins in the first year. You’ll start practical training in the techniques of journalism across a range of platforms, alongside finding out more about the broader aspects of journalism, its history, its place in society, developments in digital and social media, and how journalists hold authority to account.

Core units in this year include:

  • Reporting
  • Digital Skills for Journalists
  • Journalism in Context
  • Academic and Professional Skills
  • Current Affairs
  • Government in Britain

Year two

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 learn how to develop contacts and generate stories from your own patch in Portsmouth. 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:

  • Law for Journalists
  • Newsbeat
  • Feature Writing and News Analysis
  • Mobile and Social Journalism

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Sports Journalism
  • Press and Public Relations
  • Ethical Issues in Modern Journalism
  • Music Journalism

Year three*

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 Special Investigation - a project which develops your journalistic investigative and feature writing skills.

Core units in this year include:

  • Newsroom Production
  • Newspapers and Magazines
  • Placement

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Dissertation
  • Journalism Special Investigation
  • Global Journalism and Human Rights
  • Money, Government and Power

*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.

We use the best and most current research and professional practice, alongside feedback from our students, to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.


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. 

The time you spend in teaching activities may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:

  • Year one students: 31% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 69% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year two students: 31% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 69% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year three students: 12% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 82% studying independently and 6% on work placement


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. 

The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year one students: 22% by written exams, 0% by practical exams and 78% by coursework
  • Year two students: 15% by written exams, 23% by practical exams and 62% by coursework
  • Year three students: 0% by written exams, 7% by practical exams and 93% by coursework

Tutor's view


Dr James Dennis
Senior Lecturer in Journalism

Journalism is evolving. As more of us access our news digitally, the essential skills and attributes of journalists must adapt. From cutting-edge research on social media to expert teaching and support from real journalists, our NCTJ-accredited course prepares students for careers in this fast-changing profession​

Back to top

Facilities & Features

The Newsroom

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.

You will find 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.

Work Experience

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.


Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
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.

General costs:
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.

Back to top

Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Career prospects
Where next?

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:

  • trainee reporter
  • social media editor
  • campaign assistant
  • public relations account executive
  • digital marketing executive
  • sports reporting and PR

Work experience

Work experience
Employment-boosting opportunities

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 or a related career, and produce material for your portfolio which may also be used for NCTJ professional qualifications. 

You can also 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 vital 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.

Career planning

Career planning

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.

Back to top

Apply now or visit us

Apply for 2018 entry

To apply, you'll need this course's UCAS code, which is at the top of this page, and the University of Portsmouth institution code – P80.

Apply now

After you apply, we'll invite you to an Applicant Experience Day where you’ll get to speak to lecturers and meet your future classmates.

Open Days for courses starting in 2019

Come to an Open Day and explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

Book your Open Day

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

University of Portsmouth
University House
Winston Churchill Avenue
Portsmouth PO1 2UP

T: +44 (0)23 9284 8484