Journalism (Distance Learning) MA
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.
- 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)
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.
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.
- All applicants will be invited to attend a workshop, which will include an NCTJ story writing task.
English language requirements
- English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.5.
All our courses go through a rigorous approval process to make sure they’re of the highest quality. This includes a review by a panel of experts, made up of academic staff and an external academic or professional with specialist knowledge.
This course is in the final stages of this process and is open for applications. If any details of the course or its approval status change after you apply, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and will be here to discuss your options with you.
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.
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:
- news editor
- social media manager
- press officers
- communications officer
Typical employers may include:
- online and print newspapers
- 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
- 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
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, 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.
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 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
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
- a portfolio
- written assignments
- online exams
- 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.
Ian Tapster, Course LeaderIan 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 LecturerEmma 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 LecturerSusana 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 LecturerCatharine 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.
Mary Williams, Principal Lecturer
Mary is a smartphone
Paul Foster, Lecturer
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 went on to manage award-winning NCTJ-accredited diploma courses, training students and apprentices.
Paul teaches across several
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.
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.
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 5pm 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
- 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
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.
Course costs and funding
Tuition fees (September 2022 and January 2023 start)
UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
- Full-time: £7,600
- Part-time: £3,800
EU (including Transition Scholarship)
- Full-time: £7,600
- Part-time: £3,800
- Full-time: £7,600
- Part-time: £3,800
Fees subject to annual increase.
Funding your studies
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.
Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.
You'll study 8 modules over the duration of the course. 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 need to contribute towards the cost of any exams you repeat to get professional accreditation during the course. These costs range from £13–£55.
September 2022 start
January 2023 start (full-time study only)
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.