Journalism student takes shorthand
Mode of Study
Full-time, Full-time sandwich with work placement
3 years full-time, 4 years sandwich with work placement
Start Date
September 2019, September 2020

Apply through Clearing

To start this course in 2019 call us on +44 (0)23 9284 8090 or go to our Clearing section to chat with us online.

Entry requirements for this course may be more flexible during Clearing.

Our Clearing hotline is open 9.00am–5.00pm (Monday to Thursday) and 9.00am–4.00pm (Friday).


Do you want to study the UK's best Journalism undergraduate degree? Our BA (Hons) Journalism course has been awarded the Best Performing Undergraduate Course for 2017-18 by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ). This is based on the number of students gaining the Gold Standard for the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism. 

The profession of journalism has evolved rapidly over the last few years and the skills you need to excel as a journalist have changed. If you want to hold those in power to account and keep the public informed, educated and entertained, this NCTJ-accredited BA (Hons) Journalism degree course prepares you for a career in this field.

From learning how to podcast, layout magazine spreads and create video reports to the important skills of uncovering and writing breaking stories to deadline, you'll learn how to make the most of everything that today's 24-hour rolling news culture throws at you.

Whether your interests lie in news reporting, coverage of sport or reviewing the latest films and music, you'll develop the essential skills and experience to send you to the top of any editor's wish list.

Accredited by

This course is accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ), one of three professional bodies that accredits journalism training in the UK. You'll automatically be entered into the examinations that lead to the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism.

The NCTJ accreditation also lets potential employers know that this course gives you the relevant skills and abilities you need to work as a journalist when you graduate. This gives you an edge over students who didn’t do an accredited course when you’re applying for jobs.

95% Graduates in work or further study (Unistats data on DLHE 2017)

100% Overall student satisfaction (NSS, 2018)

What you'll experience

On this Journalism degree course you'll:

  • Put your skills into practice in our newsroom equipped with the latest hardware and software used by the press
  • Work as an editorial team with other students to produce magazines, newspapers and Web articles to deadline
  • Have the chance to take exams that lead to the industry-recognised National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) Diploma in Journalism
  • Learn from expert journalists who have experience working on international, national, regional and online publications
  • Work through a programme that we've developed with input from experts working at The Sun and The Daily Mail, regional media groups such as Johnston Press, Newsquest and Trinity Mirror and national public relations agencies
  • Get valuable experience and build industry contacts on a formal 10-day journalism-based work placement as part of your study
  • Have the opportunity to do further work placements throughout your degree, including a 1-year placement
  • Take shorthand training – you'll aim to reach writing speeds of 100 words per minute
  • Expand your network by meeting visiting professionals from industry bodies such as The Daily Mail, Dream Team FC, The Times, Novara Media, Sky News and the Cabinet Office

Careers and opportunities

Having an NCTJ-accredited degree and NCTJ Diploma in Journalism gives you many career options.

What can you do with a Journalism degree?

Previous students have gone on to work in areas such as:

  • national, regional and local newspapers
  • magazines
  • radio and television stations
  • online publications
  • public relations
  • corporate communications and marketing
  • digital marketing and social media

What jobs can you do with a Journalism degree?

Roles they've gone on to include:

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

Other graduates have continued their studies at postgraduate level or set up successful freelancing careers with help and support from the University.

After you leave the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.

The University of Portsmouth's Journalism degree 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

What's the future demand for journalism graduates?

The world always needs journalists to tell us what’s going on. Hard copy print media such as newspapers and magazines may be on the decline but digital versions are replacing them. Meanwhile, social media and other opportunities for online reporting also help keep demand high for journalists.

Online reporting is expanding all the time, creating new opportunities and redefining the role of the journalist. Related industries such as PR or communications also attract journalism graduates with strong transferable skills.

Graduates of this journalism course will have the multimedia skills to take advantage of the changing nature of journalism.

What you'll study on this BA (Hons) Journalism degree

Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 modules worth 20 credits and 1 module worth 40 credits.


Core modules in this year currently include:

  • Academic and Professional Skills
  • Digital Skills for Journalists
  • Ethical Perspectives on Current Affairs 
  • Journalism in Context
  • Law for Journalists
  • Reporting

Optional modules currently include:

  • NCTJ Court Reporting
  • NCTJ Essential Law

Core modules in this year currently include:

  • Feature Writing and News Analysis

Optional modules in this year currently include:

  • Engaged Citizenship Through Interdisciplinary Practice
  • Ethical Issues in Modern Journalism
  • Factual Media Production
  • Law for Journalists
  • NCTJ Court Reporting
  • NCTJ Essential Law
  • NCTJ Essential PA
  • NCTJ Press and Public Relations
  • NCTJ Shorthand 100
  • NCTJ Shorthand 100 resit
  • NCTJ Shorthand 110
  • NCTJ Shorthand 120
  • NCTJ Shorthand 60
  • NCTJ Shorthand 80
  • NCTJ Sports Journalism
  • NCTJ Video Journalism
  • Newsbeat
  • Press and Public Relations
  • Professional Experience
  • Smartphone Journalism
  • Social Journalism Theory
  • Specialist Journalism
  • Student Enterprise

On this course, you can do an optional work placement year between your 2nd and 3rd years to get valuable experience working in industry.

We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your situation and ambitions. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

Core modules in this year include:

  • Newsroom Production
  • Placement

Optional modules in this year currently include:

  • Digital Media and Democracy
  • Global Journalism and Human Rights
  • Final year project: a choice between a Dissertation or Journalism Special Investigation
  • Money, Government and Power
  • NCTJ Court Reporting
  • NCTJ Essential Journalism
  • NCTJ Essential Journalism: Ethics and Regulation Test
  • NCTJ Essential Law
  • NCTJ Essential PA
  • NCTJ Multimedia Portfolio
  • NCTJ Press and Public Relations
  • NCTJ Production Journalism
  • NCTJ Shorthand 100
  • NCTJ Shorthand 100 resit
  • NCTJ Shorthand 110
  • NCTJ Shorthand 120
  • NCTJ Shorthand 60
  • NCTJ Shorthand 80
  • NCTJ Sports Journalism
  • NCTJ Video Journalism
  • Writing and Producing Magazines 

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 modules may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

How you're assessed

You’ll be assessed through:

  • essays and close textual analysis
  • in-class tests
  • media artefacts
  • seminar presentations
  • a 10,000-word dissertation or special investigation
  • post-placement assessment

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

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 1 students: 22% by written exams and 78% by coursework
  • Year 2 students: 15% by written exams, 23% by practical exams and 62% by coursework
  • Year 3 students: 7% by practical exams and 93% by coursework

Placement year

After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in the industry.

Students have completed work placements at many top destinations, including:

  • Vogue
  • The Daily Telegraph
  • Sky Sports

We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your aspirations. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year and help with applications and interviews.

Work experience and career planning

10-day work placement

To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, you'll do a 10-day work placement in your final year. We have links with many well-known media organisations. Previous students have done placements at locations such as:

  • The Daily Telegraph
  • The Daily Mirror
  • The Sun
  • The Daily Mail
  • Cosmopolitan
  • Vogue
  • Heat
  • Reveal
  • BBC

You'll get support from specialist staff before and throughout your placement to make sure you get the most out of your time in the workplace.

Other work experience

Our Careers and Employability service can also help you find relevant work experience during your course.

We can help you identify placements, internships, voluntary roles and freelancing opportunities that will complement your studies, build your portfolio, develop your professional network and get your work seen by a wider audience.


Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • practical workshops
  • group-based activities, including magazine, newspaper and Web page production
  • work placements

You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.

Teaching staff profiles

These are some of the expert staff who’ll teach you on this degree course. 

Ian Tapster, Course Leader
Ian spent 20 years working as a financial journalist at the Financial Times and The European, as well as running his own company. Ian’s teaching encompasses modules that cover British politics, current affairs and financial issues. He also maintains an interest in the importance of ethics in contemporary journalism.
Emma Beatty, Senior Lecturer
Emma delivers the magazine module for the Journalism course, having previously worked at The Royal Opera House as its Features Editor for online and digital copy. Before that, Emma was Deputy Editor of The Art Newspaper, a monthly publication for art world insiders, and prior to that, helped edit and produce Minerva, a journal for ancient art lovers.
Bernie Saunders, Senior Lecturer
Bernie is a Senior Lecturer in Media Law and Journalism. Bernie has been a journalist for nearly 40 years, working for regional and national publications at home and abroad, and has been involved in the education and training of journalists for many years. Bernie’s special areas of interest are media law, court and crime reporting, and news and feature writing.
Claire Perry, Senior Lecturer

Claire is a former journalist who has worked on a range of regional papers, covering general news, from council meetings to murder trials. She was also a features writer, trying her hand at flying planes and training with the England Women's football team. Claire has also worked as a music journalist and sports reporter, specialising in football and cricket.

Dr Susana Sampaio-Dias, Senior Lecturer
Susana worked as a journalist and news producer for RTP Rádio e Televisão de Portugal, the Portuguese public service broadcaster, before coming to Portsmouth. Susana lectures across the undergraduate programme in Journalism, including in theoretical and methodological modules, and specialises in teaching and researching human rights, press freedom and the security of journalists.
Dr James Dennis, Senior Lecturer

James is a specialist in political communication, with a particular focus on social media, political participation and citizenship, and digital news. His first monograph, Beyond Slacktivism: Political Participation on Social Media, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2018.

James also has experience working in industry, carrying out social media research with the BBC World Service and the British Council.
Catharine Russell, Senior Lecturer
Catharine began her career as a reporter, feature writer and sub-editor on regional newspapers before spending several years as Features Editor at the Press Association. Catharine went on to become an assistant editor at Teletext, the former ITV and Channel 4 text service, and more recently has worked in marketing and PR at a number of UK universities. Catharine now delivers a range of journalism and public relations units.
Mary Williams, Principal Lecturer

Mary is a smartphone journalism specialist, focusing on the impact of mobile devices and associated emerging and immersive technology on content creation and delivery in journalism and HE teaching. She also teaches all types of reporting from social-friendly content to longform articles across news and sports journalism, video filming and editing. Her background involves working for media and PR companies.

Gillian Wray, Senior Teaching Fellow

Gillian Wray is a Chartered Member of the CIPD and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Gillian is the Level 5 Year Tutor and is the co-ordinator for the Academic and Professional Skills module. She teaches shorthand at Level 5, supervises sandwich placements and is the School academic lead for Student Wellbeing.

Ask me anything about BA (Hons) Journalism
An 'ask me anything' session with BA (Hons) Journalism Course Leader, Ian Tapster

Watch this video for answers to questions such as 'What career prospects could I expect from completing this course?' and 'How does this course keep up-to-date with current issues and topics?'

How you'll spend your time

One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.

At university, as well as spending time in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and tutorials, you’ll do lots of independent study with support from our staff when you need it.

A typical week

We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your Journalism degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical classes, workshops  for about 12 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.

Most timetabled teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends. There’s usually no teaching on Wednesday afternoons.

Term times

The academic year runs from September to early June with breaks at Christmas and Easter. It's divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:

  • September to December – teaching block 1
  • January – assessment period 1
  • January to May – teaching block 2 (includes Easter break)
  • May to June – assessment period 2

Extra learning support

The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get face-to-face support from teaching and support staff when you need it. These include the following people and services:

Personal tutor

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

You’ll have regular contact with your personal tutor in learning activities or scheduled meetings. You can also make an appointment with them if you need extra support.

Student support advisor

In addition to the support you get from your personal tutor, you’ll also have access to a Faculty student support advisor. They can give you confidential, impartial advice on anything to do with your studies and personal wellbeing and refer you to specialist support services.

Academic skills tutors

You'll have help from a team of faculty academic skills tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
  • understanding and using assignment feedback
  • managing your time and workload
  • revision and exam techniques

Creative skills tutors

If you need support with software and equipment or you want to learn additional skills (including skills not covered on your course), our creative skills tutors provide free workshops, activities and one-on-one tutorials. Skills you can learn include life drawing, film camera operation and video production.

IT and computing support

Computing support staff are always available to give technical support in the Faculty's computer suites during normal working hours. There's also some support available from 5pm to midnight at busy times of the year.

Academic skills support

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.

Library support

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

Support with English

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free English for Academic Purposes programme to improve your English further.

Entry requirements​

Entry requirements for this course may be more flexible during Clearing.

BA (Hons) Journalism degree entry requirements

Qualifications or experience
  • 96-112 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent.

See the other qualifications we accept

English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

See alternative English language qualifications

Selection process
  • Evidence of interest and some relevant experience in Journalism will be required.
  • All applicants will be required to attend a workshop, which will include an NCTJ story writing task.

Qualifications or experience
  • 104-112 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent.

See the other qualifications we accept

English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

See alternative English language qualifications

Selection process
  • Evidence of interest and some relevant experience in Journalism will be required. All applicants will be invited to attend a workshop, which will include an NCTJ story writing task.

What skills and qualities do I need for this journalism degree course?

As well as meeting the entry requirements, you'll need good written English skills, curiosity, enthusiasm, adaptability, determination and a willingness to meet people.

How can I prepare for this journalism degree?

Evidence of good ability in written and spoken English is required, so having a GCSE in English is essential.

Many applicants take humanities-related A level subjects that sharpen their writing skills, such as English, politics, media studies or history. However, journalism covers many areas, so knowledge of science-related subjects is also useful.

Try to gain work experience on a local publication, or on a school or college newspaper or magazine.

You could also start a personal blog as this shows initiative and gets you used to writing regularly.

​Course costs

Tuition fees (2019 start)

  • UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £13,900 per year (subject to annual increase)

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

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.

You’ll do a placement module on this course, the cost of which is included in your course fees. But you’ll have to cover travel costs yourself. These will vary from £50–£500 depending on the location and duration of the placement.

You’ll need to contribute towards the cost of any exams you repeat to get professional accreditation during the course. These costs range from £13–£55.

Common questions about this subject

Can't find the answer to your questions about this course or anything else about undergraduate life? Contact us

Common journalism questions

Journalism is all about finding things out, making sense of them and passing on that information.

This could be through a sports report, a fashion show feature, a campaign, or holding powerful people and organisations to account.

Journalists need determination, stamina, a good sense of humour, self-confidence, curiosity and the ability to get on with people from all backgrounds.

A reporter reports the news for immediate delivery, while a journalist will try to get under the surface to discover the background to the story.

You'll learn how to tackle both of these roles on this course.

A degree in journalism teaches you all the basic skills you need to become a practising journalist. It also provides you with transferable academic skills and knowledge of journalism's place and role in a modern society.

Journalism is exciting, challenging, rewarding and no days are the same. You meet fascinating people and cover stories that make a difference to people's lives.


How to apply

To start this course in 2019, call our Clearing hotline on +44 (0)23 9284 8090 or go to our Clearing section to chat with us online.

To start in 2020 you need to apply through UCAS. You can start your application now and submit it from 4 September 2019.

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

If you’re new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

When you apply, you'll need:

  • the UCAS course code – P500
  • our institution code – P80

How to apply from outside the UK

If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply for this course through UCAS (see the 'How to apply' section above for details). You can also apply directly to us or you can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section. 

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.

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