Mode of Study

Full-time by distance learning, Part-time by distance learning


1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Start date

September 2023, January 2024


Whether it's providing the public with trusted information, holding leaders to account or countering "fake news" and misinformation, journalists have a key role to play in a democratic society.

Gain the skills, knowledge and qualification you need to succeed in roles such as journalist, news editor, press officer and communications officer with this online Journalism Master's.

Course highlights

  • Learn the professional skills and knowledge needed in the era of digital news and media in areas such as video editing, media law, data analysis and people management
  • Apply your skills and boost your CV with at least 10 days of work experience with a publisher or communications company
  • Use the latest professional software including Photoshop, Indesign and Premier Pro
  • Learn from teaching staff who have professional experience with titles and organisations such as the Financial Times, News International and Portsmouth News
  • Start in September or January (full-time only in January)
National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) Accredited Course
White border version for Web use.
For web/digital use only
WhatUni? Student Choice Awards 22 - Top 10 Postgraduate


Our course has been accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).

The NCTJ accreditation 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 haven't done an accredited course when you’re applying for jobs.

Entry requirements

MA Journalism entry requirements

Qualifications or experience
  • A second-class honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject or a Master's degree in an appropriate subject.
  • Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered.
Selection process
  • All applicants will be required to complete a Skills Gap Analysis before completing an application form.
  • All applicants are required to attend an academic interview and may be asked to submit a portfolio of work or undertake additional assessment.
  • Applicants must pass Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and Occupational Health checks before starting the course.
English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.5.

Work towards your NCTJ Diploma

On this course, you can take assessments to qualify for the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism.

Explore this course page to find out more about the modules and credits you'll need and how much each assessment costs.

Ideal skills and qualities for this course

As well as meeting the entry requirements, you'll need to have excellent English skills, be inquisitive and approachable, and have a desire to become a journalist or communications professional.

Don't worry if you have no previous journalism experience – you'll get an intro to reporting to bring you up to the required standard.

Careers and opportunities

When you complete the course successfully, you'll have the skills and knowledge to communicate important issues to the public in the digital world. You'll also have a portfolio you can use to demonstrate your talents to potential employers. 

Roles you could work in after the course include:

  • journalist
  • news editor
  • social media manager
  • press officers
  • communications officer

Typical employers may include:

  • online and print newspapers
  • broadcasters
  • magazines
  • PR agencies
  • corporate communications agencies

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.

Work experience and career planning

To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, we'll help you secure at least 10 days of work experience with a publisher or communications company.

We can also help you identify further placements, internships, voluntary roles and freelancing opportunities that will complement your studies and build your portfolio.

What you'll study

Studying modules worth 180 credits. Your learning will include:

  • how to write for a digital audience
  • the laws and regulatory codes that impact journalists
  • how to use investigative techniques to find public interest news and report data stories
  • the professional practice required to be a senior leader as part of a newsroom or communications team

NCTJ Diploma requirements

You don't need to learn anything extra to complete your NCTJ Diploma – just your Master's modules. For example, what you learn in Media Law and Regulation is enough to pass the following NCTJ modules:

  • Essential media law and regulation
  • Ethics and regulation
  • Media law court reporting

You can also use what you learn in Government, Power, and the Media to pass the NCTJ Public Affairs module, and the portfolio of stories you gather during the course for the diploma's portfolio module.

While there’s no additional learning, you’ll still need to take extra assessments to pass certain modules. There are also fees for each assessment.

Explore the ‘NCTJ Diploma modules’ tab below for more information on them and how many credits. You can also learn more about the NCTJ Diploma overall by visiting the NCTJ website.


Core modules

  • Investigative Journalism – 15 credits
  • Media Law and Regulation – 15 credits
  • Research Methods – 30 credits
  • Portfolio – 15 credits
  • Writing and Producing News for a Digital Audience – 15 credits
  • News Reporting – 15 credits
  • Government, Power and the Media – 15 credits
  • Major Project (a journalism-related project) or Dissertation (a 15,000-word research project) – 60 credits

Shorthand module (optional)

You can also choose to take a no credit option of Shorthand where you'll learn Teeline in a bid to reach 100wpm.

Mandatory skills modules – 47 credits

  • Essential Journalism module (22 credits)
  • Essential Media Law and Regulation module (10 credits)
  • Regulation exam (3 credits)
  • Portfolio (12 credits)

Elective skills options – 35 credits

You must complete credits from the following options:

  • Court Reporting module (7 credits) – to take this, you must also be learning shorthand
  • Production exam (7 credits)
  • Data Journalism (7 credits)
  • Video Journalism (7 credits)
  • Writing for a Digital Audience (7 credits)
  • Shorthand (14 credits)
  • Public Affairs (7 credits)

Changes to course content

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, course content is revised and regularly reviewed.  This may result in changes being made in order to reflect developments in research, learning from practice and changes in policy at both national and local levels.


The majority of this course is delivered through live online sessions on set days and times of the week. To build in flexibility, most of these live sessions, where appropriate, are recorded to allow you to catch up. In addition, there will be pre-recorded video explainers – accompanied by online tasks – aimed at testing your knowledge on topics we're covering.

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • Game-based learning – such as using Kahoot! and online quizzes
  • Collaborative learning – working in groups to solve problems or complete tasks
  • Project-based learning – when you work for an extended period of time to investigate an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge
  • Online seminars where you can put the knowledge into practice
  • News days
  • Visiting speakers from industry
  • Online "mini-courses" to complete within modules

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

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

For more about the teaching activities for specific modules, see the module list above.

How you're assessed

  • essays
  • a portfolio
  • written assignments
  • online exams
  • presentations
  • reflective practice

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.

Teaching staff profiles

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

Paul Foster, Course Leader

Paul spent 15 years working in regional newspapers, including The News in Portsmouth. During this time he worked as a news editor and also edited three monthly newspapers. After a brief spell in PR, he managed award-winning NCTJ-accredited diploma courses, training students and apprentices.

Paul teaches across several units including media law, reporting, newsroom production and magazine 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.

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.

Ian Tapster, Principal Lecturer

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.

How you'll spend your time

We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week (full time) or 17.5 hours a week (part time) studying for your Journalism Master's.

You’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical classes and workshops for about 12 hours a week (full time) or 3–6 hours a week (part time). The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, shorthand practice, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course.

Most online teaching takes place during the day, but there will be videos and catch-up materials available if you miss a session.

Term times

The full-time Master’s is taught over two teaching blocks – September to January and February to June.

The part-time Master’s is taught over three teaching blocks – September to January, February to June, and September to January.

See term times

Supporting your learning

You'll get face-to-face support from teaching and support staff when you need it. These include the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to postgraduate 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.


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.


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.


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

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 5.00pm to midnight at busy times of the year.


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

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1-2-1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

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.

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 In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.


​Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (September 2023 / January 2024 start)

UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students

  • Full-time: £7,800
  • Part-time: £3,900 per year

EU (including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full-time: £7,800
  • Part-time: £3,900 per year

International students

  • Full-time: £7,800
  • Part-time: £3,900 per year

Fees subject to annual increase.

Tuition fees terms and conditions

Funding your studies

Find out more how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover. 

If you're a UK student, you may be eligible for a Government postgraduate loan, which you can use to help with course fees and living costs.

Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.

Journalism Diversity Fund

You may also be eligible for a bursary from the Journalism Diversity Fund.

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.

Costs breakdown

Our accommodation section show your accommodation options and highlight how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 8 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.

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

The NCTJ exams are not included in the tuition fees. You only pay for the modules you enter.

  • Essential Journalism – £52.20
  • Essential Media Law and Regulation – £52.20
  • E-Portfolio – £52.20
  • Regulation test (IPSO) – £13.50
  • Shorthand – £16.80
  • Media Law Court Reporting – £52.20
  • Public Affairs – £52.20
  • Editing Skills for Journalists – £52.20
  • Videojournalism for Digital Platforms – £52.20
  • Journalism for a Digital Audience – £52.20
  • Data Journalism – £52.20
  • Remote exam fee (for all online exams) – £4.80 (per candidate per exam)


Start your application by following the link below:

September 2023 start

January 2024 start

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.