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Journalism (NCTJ accredited) MA

Course Description

MA Journalism offers a unique combination of essential skills and contextual knowledge that are vital for entry into contemporary newsrooms and features departments. Devised in close consultation with senior journalists, the syllabus provides a rigorous foundation to a career in this dynamic, challenging and often controversial industry. You will be trained in print/online journalism, with the option to specialise in broadcast journalism in the second term.

Throughout the programme, you will gain a reflexive understanding of the journalism industry. Taught by highly-experienced practitioners and academics, the programme also benefits from input from prestigious guest speakers. The programme adheres to professional accreditation requirements. The programme is distinctive in allowing you to develop your own cutting-edge journalistic practice, whether it’s exploring 3G news, podcasts or on-screen page make-up.

MA core areas include:
• News writing
• Reporting techniques
• Teeline shorthand
• Journalism law
• Local and central government
• Journalism ethics
• Major research project

We are the only London-based MA currently offering a National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) accredited programme. This means that you can leave Brunel University with both a masters degree and a set of NCTJ preliminary qualifications, which can significantly enhance your prospects of entering the journalism industry.


The course is delivered over two long and intensive days per week, in the first two 12-week terms from September/October to December and from January to March. Part-time students are required to attend on one day per week, though are strongly advised to also attend the early-morning Teeline session on the second day also. We deliver this way to ensure students are allowed sufficient dedicated time for freelance work, weekly work placements and private study (including set journalism assignments). In Term Three, Teeline delivery continues, and students work on their major research project and also take their NCTJ preliminary exams in law, public affairs, shorthand and news-writing.

Term One

Journalistic Practice 1
This module will introduce the contextual models and practical tools and techniques of news journalism in all its forms – print, online and also writing for broadcast. Delivery includes Teeline shorthand, news values, news sources, writing intros, writing full stories, interview techniques, covering court, council, police, emergency services, human interest stories and much more. Assessments will be through news-writing targeted at a range of print and online outlets, plus a self-reflexive report. You will be encouraged to get your work published from the outset, and there will be plenty of input from real-world journalists.

Journalism in Context
A critical account of the various contexts in which journalism operates today, with particular focus on journalism law and local government , as well as the structure of the industry itself. You will work alongside real-world journalists as you put your knowledge into practice, attending court cases and local authority meetings. Assessment will be by two written assignments.

Term Two

Journalistic Practice 2
You will be able to follow either a broadcast or a print/online pathway. In either case, you will further develop your knowledge of the current journalistic environment and the multi-skills necessary to thrive within it, including Teeline shorthand, writing, interviewing, packaging and production for a range of different target audiences and lifestyle groups. Here, emphasis will be given to features and investigations, plus further news gathering, voice and presentation skills for broadcast journalists. Assessments will consist of a number of pieces of editorial work, plus a self-reflexive report.

Issues in Journalism
This module will concentrate on the analysis of the main contemporary issues in the journalistic field; for example, the role of journalism in the political process, ‘spin’, the impact of new technology on journalism, freedom of information, the impact on journalism of 9/11, and so on. You will further develop your knowledge of law gained in term one. The operations and institutions of central government will be explored through class-based and real-world reporting exercises. Assessments will be by two written assignments.

Term Three

NCTJ Preliminary Exams and the Major Research Project

You will produce either a 12,000 – 15,000 word dissertation or a combination of substantial practical journalism with a report.

Visit the Journalism (NCTJ accredited) MA page on the Brunel University London website for more details!

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Student Profiles

Entry Requirements

2:1 in relevant discipline

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