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Receive a postgraduate degree accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ). Gain qualifications that will make you stand out from others. Train, write and research like a journalist.


The combination of an MA and NCTJ Diploma will significantly boost your employability as a sports journalist. This is an intensive course that trains you to think, write and research like a journalist; previous study of journalism is not a requirement.

You will learn how to write previews, match reports and sports features, and you will also cover media ethics and law, reporting and shorthand. In the final stage of the course, you will undertake a dissertation or a practical project, such as a sports journalism website or a series of in-depth articles.

Why us?

National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) accredited.

'World-leading' research in Media according to the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF).

95.3% of our graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduating, according to DLHE 2016/17 (based on UK postgraduate students).

Students on this course can apply for the Journalism Diversity Fund. Administered by the NCTJ, the Journalism Diversity Fund awards bursaries to aspiring journalists from socially or ethnically-diverse backgrounds who do not have the financial means to support themselves through an NCTJ-accredited course. Read more about the Journalism Diversity Fund.

Course Structure

Compared to an undergraduate course, you will find that this Masters requires a higher level of commitment and independent working. The course aims to stretch your creativity and maximise your sense of personal fulfilment.

In Stage 1 and Stage 2, you will have approx 22/23hrs teaching per week. This is arranged so that you have Friday off each week.

Part-time students can expect around eight hours per week of contact time in the first year and around 14 hours per week in the second year.

We encourage you to publish your work. The department has strong relationships with local and national media including Johnston Press, NCJ Media and Room 501 Publishing.

Assessment methods include essays, projects, presentations, and a major project/dissertation.

Sports Journalism 1 (60 credits):

  • Sports Journalism: Principles and Practice 1

Learn the exciting practices of sports journalism from interviewing top stars to reporting on breaking sports stories, via mobile platforms and social media integrated newsroom workshops with a team of fellow trainee and professional sports journalists live from our Media Hub.

  • Essential Media Law and Regulation

Prepare yourself for the profession of sports journalism with our widely praised media law and regulation lecturers and seminars with ex-Mirror and Grazia journalist Carole Watson.

  • Essential Public Affairs

Get to grips with the world of sports in government, local accountability and the ways in which politics affects our entire sporting world, from who licences the police at matches to the business of sports at grassroots through to international levels.

Sports Journalism 2 (60 credits):

  • Sports Journalism: Principles and Practice 2

Build on your skills with advanced training in photography, mobile journalism, design and production, and the investigative craft of going deeper into your specialist areas whatever they might be, from motor-biking to swimming to cricket to curling (and anything in between).

  • News Reporting

Preparation for the notorious NCTJ Reporting exam, this module hones your everyday craft of finding sources and getting the angle under time pressure while paying attention to SEO, analytics and social media, run as live news days in our Media Hub. Always relevant for sports journalists who will need to know how to find a good story and report to deadline.

  • Media Ethics and Society

Enjoy immersing yourself within the complex world of media ethics and focus your analytical and investigative skills on a mini-dissertation project tailored to your own interests, working with key sports lecturers such as John Price, and journalism professionals such as Rob Lawson (ex-Sunderland Echo), to fully explore the interrelation of media and society.

Sports Journalism 3 (60 credits):

You will complete a supervised dissertation on a topic of your choice, or you will complete a practical project which can be either a series of articles, a magazine, a newspaper or a website. As the culmination of the course, it will build on all the skills and knowledge that you have gained in the previous stages.


On completing this course, you will be equipped for employment at an advanced level, with opportunities throughout the sports journalism industry. Potential roles include various positions across the communications, media, marketing and sports industries.


The course’s accreditation by the National Council for Training of Journalists (NCTJ) will boost your employability within journalism. You can choose, at an additional cost, to gain the NCTJ’s Diploma in Journalism.

Recent Sunderland graduates are now working with organisations such as Sky Sports News, Sky Tyne and Wear, Middlesbrough FC, Norwich FC, the European Golf Tour, and Durham County Cricket Club.

During the course we encourage you to gain industry experience which will enhance your skills, build up a valuable network of contacts and boost your employability. The Department has close links with regional organisations including North East Press and NCJ Media. The North East is famous for its sport and you will have opportunities for match visits, press conferences and interviews at local clubs including Sunderland AFC, Newcastle United, Newcastle Falcons and Durham CCC.

Visit the Sports Journalism - MA page on the University of Sunderland website for more details!





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