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Senior Journalist Master's Degree Apprenticeship (Journalism) MA

Gain a Master's in Journalism while you earn a salary. Developed with the NCTJ and employers, including the BBC, the Guardian, Haymarket Media Group, Reach Plc, and Sky News.

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Gain a Master's in Journalism while you earn a salary on this distance learning Senior Journalist Master’s Degree Apprenticeship – developed with the NCTJ (National Council for the Training of Journalists) and employers including the BBC, Guardian News and Media, Haymarket Media Group, Reach Plc and Sky News.

Course highlights

  • Learn advanced journalism skills as you build on your degree, journalism diploma or journalism apprenticeship
  • Develop the abilities you need to be a senior leader in a newsroom or communications team
  • Master the technical skills you need to deliver reports using different types of media including video
  • Get bespoke support from a workplace mentor and your course tutor
  • Use the latest professional software including Photoshop, InDesign and Premiere Pro
  • Spend at least 20% of your time studying towards your Master's, even out of term time
  • Get tuition fees paid by the Government or your employer pay your tuition fees

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Skills and qualities needed for this degree apprenticeship

As well as meeting the entry requirements, you'll need to demonstrate excellent English skills, be inquisitive, approachable and be able to mix a busy professional work life with academic commitments.

You and your employer

When you begin studying for your degree apprenticeship:

  • You need to be 18 or over
  • You should be able to satisfy government requirements on residency: 
    • you must be a citizen or have the right to live in the UK/EEA
    • you must have been a resident in the UK/EEA (not the Channel Islands or Isle of Man) for a minimum of 3 years
    • you must not need a Student Route visa, and must not have been on a Student Route visa within the past 3 years
  • You need to have the right to work in the UK, and to spend at least 50% of your working hours in England
  • Your job should meet the requirements of the apprenticeship standard relevant to this degree – we can advise you and your employer on this
  • Your employer needs to have registered an apprentice service account – we can help your employer with this if needed

If you aren't currently working in a relevant field, you can apply for a job and degree apprenticeship simultaneously. Read more about applying for this degree apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

September 2024 / January 2025 start

  • Individual employers will set the selection criteria for their apprentices, liaising with the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries.
  • Applicants might be expected to have either: gained a regulated Diploma in Journalism qualification; achieved a degree (any subject); or completed the Junior Journalist Apprenticeship.
  • Individual employers will identify any relevant entry requirements in terms of previous qualifications, training, work experience or other criteria. Some employers will seek candidates who have previously worked as a journalist.
  • All applicants to the Degree Apprenticeship courses must have an acceptable Level 2 qualification in English and Mathematics. Acceptable qualifications include GCSE with grade C/4 or above and Functional Skills with Pass.

Please note that we are not able to accept all kinds of Level 2 qualifications, so if you are unsure whether you have a suitable qualification, please get in touch.

If you do not have an acceptable qualification, you may be required to take an additional assessment during the application process.

  • All applicants will be required to complete a Skills Gap Analysis before completing an application form.
  • All applicants will be invited to attend an academic interview and may be asked to submit a portfolio of work or undertake additional assessment.

Course costs and funding

Tuition fees

The payment of the course fee is shared between the Government and employers, so there's no cost to you as the degree apprentice. Levy-paying employers will pay £14,000; non-levy paying employers will contribute £700 with the Government paying the rest.

For further information, please see our Degree Apprenticeships page or contact us.

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.


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

What you’ll study

Core modules

All modules in the year are core.

You’ll develop skills in evaluating complex legal and ethical considerations, crafting original arguments anchored in theory and evidence.

You’ll select and apply technological tools to collect and analyze data, adapting methodological approaches to reveal new investigative avenues.

Ready to push boundaries and bring hidden truths to light? This module gives you an investigative toolkit.

Constructing evidenced arguments, you will uncover how to ethically challenge limits on reporting in the public interest. Analysing court reporting best practices, you gain insight for upholding open justice ideals within the criminal justice system. The knowledge framework empowered here will guide your journalism practice in aligning with complex regulations.

You will demonstrate technical mastery by producing and editing podcasts and sharpening your editorial judgment for specific audiences.

In this module you’ll create a professional portfolio showcasing your versatility across reporting mediums - from written narratives to audio packages aligned with industry codes of practice. With sharper technical abilities and a collaborative mindset, you’ll be ready to pursue multimedia journalism roles.

Taking initiative while applying ethical codes, you will synthesise information innovatively, utilising cutting-edge processes.

With sharpened critical faculties, you can confidently communicate results and strategies to diverse stakeholders. The module provides tools to exercise responsibility at the forefront of a fast-changing media landscape.

You will master the technicalities of video shooting and editing while analysing reader data to sharpen content. Evaluating information critically, you will produce innovative news packages optimised for platform and audience. The module empowers you to implement audience growth strategies underpinned by theoretical knowledge - preparing you for an industry where digital presentation is now king.

Core modules

All modules in the year are core.

Evaluating the media's role, you’ll hypothesise future structures, responsibilities, and influence. Demonstrating originality, you will plan and implement tasks to solve complex problems at a professional standard.

Analysing incomplete and contradictory information sources, you’ll communicate coherent outcomes with critical awareness. This module equips you to navigate the intersections of power, politics and media.

With a self-directed focus, you will manage all aspects of the project lifecycle - establishing aims, and meeting deadlines. By selecting appropriate investigative methodologies, you will collect and critique data to produce a valid analysis.

The months ahead will see you create an impactful capstone project from conception to completion.

With sharp technical skills and editorial judgment, you will produce written and video content tailored for digital audiences and aligned with industry regulations. This professional compilation promises reflection on your distinct journalistic voice while equipping you with versatile assets to aid the postgraduate job search.

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

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.

How you’ll spend your time


Teaching methods on this course include:

  • Lectures using a "blended learning" approach, where some lessons are delivered face-to-face online, while others will be recorded
  • Game-based learning – such as 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

You'll spend 20% of your time studying or training away from your normal working environment, even out of term time.

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.

Career development

Because this degree apprenticeship has been developed with the NCTJ and major employers, you'll gain the skills and knowledge needed for a successful journalism or communications career.

When you complete your apprenticeship, you'll have the experience and qualifications to go on to more senior positions such as:

  • chief reporter
  • specialist journalists
  • news editor
  • press officer
  • communications manager

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.

Supporting you

As well as the support you get from your workplace mentor, 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 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.

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

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

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.

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.

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)


The application deadline is to be confirmed.

Applications received after this deadline may not be considered.

How you apply depends on whether you’re currently employed or not.

How to apply with your current employer

If you’re in full-time employment and would like to do a degree apprenticeship with your current employer, ask them to contact us so we can discuss with them how we can work together. 

You might find it useful to share our information for employers page with them.

How to apply with a new employer

If you’re not employed full-time or not working for a company that can fund and support your degree apprenticeship, you'll need to apply for a degree apprenticeship with a company that offers them.

You'll follow their standard recruitment process and we'll assess your academic suitability for the course once you've applied.

We can let you know when there are degree apprenticeship vacancies available with companies we work with – contact us to give us your details.

You can also browse degree apprenticeship vacancies with employers with whom we already have relationships.

If you have questions about degree apprenticeships, please get in touch with us.

After you apply

Once we receive your application, we may ask you for further information. We will then either make you an offer or suggest alternatives if your application is unsuccessful.

You'll usually get a decision within 10 working days, so you shouldn't have to wait too long. Some courses have an interview stage – we'll let you know if you need to prepare for one.

Learn more about how we assess your application.

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.