Senior Journalist Master's Degree Apprenticeship (Journalism) MA

Journalist taking notes in news writing
Mode of Study
Part-time by distance learning
2 years
Start Date
January 2022, September 2022, January 2023


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
Apprenticeships logo

Entry requirements​

Qualifications and experience
  • 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.
  • A portfolio submission and/or interview will be required as part of the selection process.

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.

Careers and opportunities

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.

​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


Core modules
Shorthand module
  • Investigative Journalism – 15 credits
  • Major Project – 60 credits
  • Media Law and Regulation – 15 credits
  • Professional Practice – 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

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.


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.

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.

Supporting your learning

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:

​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.

Costs breakdown

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.

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 .

Applications received after this date 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.

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.