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Investigative Reporting (MA)

Course Description

Investigative journalism is at a crossroads in theory and practice. Crises of ethics and funding have brought profound changes to the nature of long form journalism, the ways in which it is produced and the institutions that invest in it. This innovative MA brings together leading practitioners and institutions to deliver advanced training in emergent investigative newsgathering and publishing skills applicable to a range of professional contexts, within and beyond journalism. At the same time, the degree introduces students to critical accounts of the the media's watchdog function and journalism's evolving social role.

In partnership with the Centre of Investigative Journalism (which provides bespoke training workshops for the degree's core courses) and Google (which has provided funding assistance for scholarships), this MA addresses new challenges whilst also reflecting the constants that underpin investigative journalism ethics and storytelling. Above all, it presents an opportunity to both study and do investigative journalism, under the guidance of award-winning journalists and experienced academics.

Guest lecture profiles

You will be taught by a mix of academics, writers, investigative journalists, editors and bloggers, including:

Ewen MacAskill

Ewen is The Guardian's defence and intelligence correspondent. In 2013 he was among the first journalists to meet NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and, as a result of his reporting on global surveillance, he was named co-recipient of the 2013 George Polk Award. The same reporting also contributed to the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, awarded jointly to The Guardian and the Washington Post in 2014. Ewen was featured prominently in Laura Poitras' Oscar-winning documentary Citizenfour and he will be portrayed by British actor Tom Wilkinson in the upcoming biopic Snowden, directed by Oliver Stone.

Iain Overton

Iain is Director of Policy and Investigations for the London-based charity Action on Armed Violence. As well as a writer, Iain is also an investigative journalist and documentary maker who has won a number of awards, including 2 Amnesty Media Awards, a Peabody Award and a BAFTA Scotland. In 1998 he was appointed senior producer of BBC Current Affairs and in 2009 he became the founding editor of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism where he produced a number of high-profile documentaries, including Iraq War Logs based on the military intelligence files leaked by Chelsea Manning.

Siobhan Sinnerton

Siobhan is a Commissioning Editor for News and Current Affairs at Channel 4, before which she spent 4 years at the award-winning Quicksilver Productions. Two of those were as Series Editor on Unreported World, Channel 4’s flagship foreign affairs strand and as an executive producer on Dispatches and First Cut. Previously, Siobhan was a producer-director on both Unreported World and Dispatches and worked at ITV/Granada making a wide range of documentaries and current affairs.

Eliot Higgins (AKA 'Brown Moses')

Eliot is a renowned citizen journalist and blogger, known for using open sources and social media to investigate international conflicts. He first gained mainstream media attention by identifying weapons in uploaded videos from the Syrian conflict. At the time, Eliot was an unemployed finance and admin worker who spent his days taking care of his child at home. He has since won praise from human rights groups and journalists from around the world and has been profiled by The Guardian, The Independent, The Huffington Post and The New Yorker magazine, as well as the subject of television features run by Channel 4 and CNN International. In 2014 he started a new website, Bellingcat, which mobilises citizen journalists to investigate current events using open data.

Dr Justin Schlosberg

Justin is Lecturer in Journalism and Media at Birkbeck and programme director for the MA Investigative Reporting. His research takes a critical look at mainstream media coverage of a number of national security controversies, including alleged corruption in the British arms trade, the death of intelligence whistleblower David Kelly, and the release of diplomatic cables by Wikileaks. His forthcoming book Media Ownership and Agenda Control: The Hidden Limits of the Information Age will be published by Routledge in 2016.

Visit the Investigative Reporting (MA) page on the Birkbeck, University of London website for more details!

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Student Profiles

Postgraduate Support Scheme for final-year undergraduates (full-time) - 20+ Awards

We are pleased to announce that, for October 2015 entry, Birkbeck has a limited number of new £10,000 postgraduate scholarships. These scholarships are for students progressing from a full-time undergraduate degree to a part-time Master’s degree starting in 2015/16.

Value of Scholarship(s)



To be eligible for the scholarship you must be:Starting a 2-year part-time taught Master’s degree in 2015/16
Domiciled in the UK/EU
Progressing from an undergraduate course for which you were charged the higher tuition fee (applicable since 2012–13)
Studying at postgraduate Master’s level for the first time

Application Procedure

If you want to apply for this support, you must follow these steps:Submit an application for your intended course
Submit an application for the Postgraduate Support Scheme

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A good degree in any related subject; other qualifications will be considered. Applications are encouraged from those with prior investigative experience in journalism, human rights or other related fields. If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

Course Fees

Part-time home/EU students: £ 3975 pa Full-time home/EU students: £ 7950 pa

Email Enquiry

Recipient: Birkbeck, University of London

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