MA Global Journalism

Global Journalism MA is a far-reaching journalism degree featuring award-winning teaching, which combines research on media practice and freedom around the world with some practical newswriting experience, visits to media organisations and exciting participatory media-related events.



Global Journalism MA

1 year full time

If you're interested in learning how the media is both victimised and weaponised, if you want to be introduced to some hands-on practical experience, if you're interested in how journalism is practised across the globe, and if you want to study with peers from around the world, then MA Global Journalism is for you!

Global Journalism MA combines theoretical and practical concerns with regard to the principles of a free press and its relationship to political and civil institutions. It examines, compares and contrasts the diverse forms of regulation and restrictions – both legitimate and illegitimate – surrounding the practice of journalism around the world.

I really like how 'young-minded' and approachable the academic staff is on this course. The course also really trains our analytical skills, which I find very important.

Mathis Claudel
Global Journalism student

Take the course and you'll engage in debates about the key issues facing news journalism in a comparative global context. You'll also get hands-on practical experience in writing for various media platforms and communicating news in the contemporary global environment. If you're really good, you might even get your work published on the website of our research institute CFOM. MA Global Journalism is an experience which extends beyond the classroom: look out for International Journalism Week and the Global Journalism Film Festival!

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We teach through lectures, seminars, workshops and research exercises.


You’re assessed by essays, examinations and a dissertation.


1 year full-time

Our campus and how we use it

We timetable teaching across the whole of our campus, the details of which can be found on our campus map. Teaching may take place in a student’s home department, but may also be timetabled to take place within other departments or central teaching space.


The course comprises six core modules and three optional modules. For completing each module successfully, you gain 15 credits (except for your dissertation, which is worth 60 credits). To be awarded the degree you must gain a total of 180 credits.

These are the modules taught in the 2019-20 academic year.

Core modules

Students must take all six of these modules.

Semester 1

Writing for the Media

The purpose of this module is to introduce students to the theories and practice of writing for the media and to some of the practical reporting methods used by journalists. You'll learn about the knowledge, insights and skills required by journalists and communicators. We'll introduce you to systematic research techniques that will help you use a range of resources including the intranet and library archives. We'll also teach you how to liaise with people effectively to get the information that journalists need for their stories.

Victimisation of the Media: Threats and Challenges to the Principle of Publicity

Journalism is continuously under attack. Media and journalists are being victimised. This module is based on the premise that any journalist anywhere in the world has to engage with the principle of publicity and understand its continually contested nature, and that the possibility to apply this principle defines the extent of the freedom of the media. Correspondingly, this module engages with the victimisation of the media in three ways.

First, it is concerned with different theoretical understandings of the principle of publicity and shows why a free press and free media are valuable to civil society. Second, it shows the challenges to the principle of publicity in the European Union and across the globe. These challenges are cultural, political, economic, legal, institutional and social and, at their most extreme, include censorship by bullet. Third, it engages with the safety of journalists and related international policy initiatives.

Weaponisation of the Media: Abuses of the Principle of Publicity

In this module you'll learn about the relationship between the media and public sentiment, as embodied in the news cycle.

Traditionally, the news cycle has seen the news mediated by professional editors and journalists operating according to widely held values of truthfulness and accuracy (but not always followed). In recent years this position has come under online threat from 'echo chambers' and fake news. Both represent fundamental changes to traditional news values and have been likened to a 'weaponisation' of the media. The response to this has been an attempt to return to traditional values – in military parlance, a 'decommissioning' of the media.

Research Methods

This module aims to introduce students to a range of social scientific research methods as they are applied for the academic study of communications, media and journalism. It provides an overview of key research methods and the different ways in which research can be conducted. Topics covered in detail include qualitative and quantitative research methods, such as content, framing and discourse analysis. We'll also introduce you briefly to other methods such as interviews and the ethics of the research process.

Research Methods also covers different aspects of information gathering, research design, project management and research presentation. The overarching aim of the module is to equip students with a basic understanding of core social science research methods, so that you have the confidence to conduct small-scale research projects such as dissertations and group work.

Semester 2

Journalism, Globalisation and Development

This module examines the relationship between journalism and the main challenges of globalisation and development. It analyses the place of journalism in the globally interconnected, and yet divided world. Through the discussion of key theoretical concepts and specific examples of media narratives from different parts of the world, the module explores ways in which media can assist people and communities to meet well-being challenges. It critically assesses why global media represent globalisation and development issues in a certain manner.

The topics you'll look at include:

  • media representations of the north/south divide
  • coverage of humanitarian crises and major global issues
  • the relationship between journalism and political imagining of distant others
  • the potential of new media technologies to facilitate activism and social change
Dissertation (Global Journalism)

In your dissertation you'll present the findings of your own individual research project. Totalling around 15,000 words, the dissertation represents an original piece of independent research and should be based on a substantial base of primary sources and demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the secondary literature. You'll demonstrate your practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in the field of global journalism.

You'll work independently to produce your dissertation, but under the supervision of an expert member of staff who will provide guidance and regular tutorial support.

Optional modules

Students choose three from the following modules (all taught in semester 2).

Media and Public Communication in Japan

This module begins by describing and analysing the media environment and leading media institutions in Japan. It then looks at how the media industry mediates between policymaking, corporate, and public interests, making comparisons between Japanese, British, and other countries' media and communications industries. Then you'll look at the public relations/marketing/advertising industries and how they interact with the corporate world. Emphasis will also be placed on international access to and interaction with Japanese media and public relations.

The module is taught through one lecture and one seminar per week, both of 50 minutes. Lectures will be in the traditional style, with some student participation. Seminars will be student-led and occasionally feature film/video content. Assessment will be through a student presentation and research essay.

This module is taught by the School of East Asian Studies

Media, State and Society in China

This unit will examine PR China's rapidly changing media environment, and the contributions of state, corporate and popular actors in social and political debates, drawing on new work that highlights negotiations of interest and management of communications in public discourse.

After an introduction to the Chinese media environment (through lectures and seminars) we will focus on case studies that explore the shaping of social identity, understandings of social difference and exclusion, boundaries between public and private life, and the management of 'bad news', through seminars.

Assessment is based on online articles written by students, and on a researched essay.

This module is taught by the School of East Asian Studies

Researching Social Media

To better understand contemporary society, social media has become an important area of research, raising imperative questions about how different platforms and apps can be studied and how these developments can be situated more widely within recent shifts in the technology landscape.

This research methods module focuses on teaching students how to apply rigorous social science methods to the analysis of data derived from social media. The module also involves studying social media companies and the evolution of platforms and apps as part of a wider social data ecosystem.

This module is taught by the Information School

Digital Advocacy

This module will examine how digital media are used to facilitate and promote the campaigns of contemporary advocacy groups and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). We'll look at theoretical perspectives such as connective action and the 'clicktivist' critique of online activism in order to explore the effectiveness of online campaigns.

You'll also consider the criteria by which such campaigns can be considered successful, drawing on a range of case studies including the Occupy Wall Street movement and the so-called `Arab Spring' in north Africa and the Middle East in 2011.

This module is taught by the Information School

International Visual Public and Political Communication

The use of images and visual material in contemporary forms of public and political communication has various roles, functions and impacts. In this module we'll introduce you to the key debates surrounding these.

We'll focus on a variety of communication, media and journalism-based media and contexts (photojournalistic coverage of war/conflict/terrorism, the role of images within political campaigns, public communication, political cartoons, visual representations of minority groups, etc) and actors (politicians, NGOs, marketing and PR professionals, terrorist organisations, protest movements, etc). In this way the module will equip you with the critical and analytical skills for interrogating dominant modes and methods of visual public and political communication.

Journalism in Britain

Students taking this module will learn about the historical development and current debates in the news media in the UK and also the evolution of the related field of journalism studies. We'll introduce themes which may be of interest when the time comes to think of your MA dissertation proposal later in the semester.

Dealing with Data for Journalists

"News reporting relies increasingly on knowing how to understand and analyse data. Now that information is abundant, processing is more important."
– Philip Meyer

We live in an age of 'big data' which is more widely available than ever before. Every day, vast amounts of information are collected and lie largely undisturbed. In the past, data has generally been closely guarded by 'gatekeepers', people at various organisations who were able to supply information on a case by case basis. Now, much of that data is freely available to the general public. This module will equip you with the type of easily accessible techniques which are now being used by journalists up and down the country. It will help you to find data, integrate it into news reports, critically assess it and package it for the broadest possible audience.

Media Freedom: European, UK and US Perspectives

The overall aim of this module is to develop an understanding of the international treaties and national laws safeguarding the exercise of freedom of expression by the media, the different interpretations of this freedom in Europe and the US, and the limitations to which it is subject. Particular issues include:

  • the protection of freedom of expression in the European Convention of Human Rights, the Human Rights Act and the First Amendment
  • the tensions between media freedom, hate speech and privacy
  • media freedom and political expression
  • the contrasting models of press freedom and broadcasting regulation
  • the debate on internet freedom or regulation
Radio and NGO Communication in Conflict-Affected Areas

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other such organisations are valuable information sources, mediators and actors in conflict-affected zones and use local media, particularly radio, to amplify their messages, programmes and advocacy. This module focuses on, and engages with, the public and political communication used, and sometimes misused, and even abused, by radio and NGOs, internationally and historically, during times of conflict and the challenges they encounter culturally, politically, economically, legally and institutionally.

Course leader

Emma HeywoodThe course leader on Global Journalism MA is Dr Emma Heywood (pictured).

Emma joined the Department of Journalism Studies in September 2017, having previously worked at Coventry University and the University of Manchester. Her research focuses on the role and impact of the media, and particularly radio, in conflict-affected areas. She is currently assessing the impact of radio and women's empowerment in Niger and is leading the FemmePowermentNiger project. She has examined foreign conflict reporting of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict by Russian, French and UK television news providers and also audience perceptions of this reporting.

In 2016, Emma was awarded British Academy funding for her West Bank project, which investigated the role of local radio in NGO activities in war-affected zones. She has conducted extensive fieldwork in the West Bank and now in Niger.

Find out more about Emma on her profile page.

All staff in the Department of Journalism Studies

Career opportunities

The Global Journalism degree is a course for anyone looking for a far-reaching perspective on journalism across the planet. It's an especially popular choice for international students looking for a prestigious UK degree and a media career in their home nations, or a pathway to PhD research.

Recent graduates are working as reporters, editors and producers in the media all over the world, as teachers, and in communications and public relations. Employers include the International Labour Organisation, Xinhua News Agency, Daily Express and Shanghai Media Group.

Our most recent survey data from Global Journalism graduates shows:

  • 100% positive outcomes (the proportion of graduates who were available for employment and had secured employment or further study)
  • 93.8% graduate prospects (the proportion of graduates who were available for employment and had secured graduate-level employment or graduate-level further study)

See what Sheffield's postgraduate journalism alumni say in our career case studies section.

Applying and
entry requirements

To apply for the Global Journalism MA you'll need one of the following:

  • a 2:1 honours degree (we will consider a 2:2 if we are sufficiently impressed by your potential); OR
  • an alternative qualification approved by the University as degree equivalent; OR
  • substantial previous work experience in a media-related role

Entry requirements for international students

Visit us at a postgraduate open day

If English is not your first language, or your first degree was not taught in English, you'll need to demonstrate your aptitude in the language. Our requirement is for an overall IELTS score of 6.5, with a minimum of 6 in each component, or the equivalent scores in another qualification.

If you have not yet obtained an English language qualification, you can still apply. We may give you a conditional offer based on you obtaining the English qualification later. You can do this by taking a course at the University's English Language Teaching Centre.

Pathway programmes

Our International College provides international students with pathway programmes for progression to degree study at the University.



Ready to apply?

Use the University's online application form to apply for your place.

Apply now

The online application form allows you to upload files. Please use this to send us information such as course transcripts, language certificates (if your first language is not English) or references. If you do not include these initially, we will ask you to do so later, which may delay the processing of your application.


Staged admissions

Starting with applications for the 2020-21 academic year, applications for this degree will be assessed using the University's staged admissions process. This involves a series of application and decision deadlines through the year.

Stage For applications received by: We aim to return decisions by:
A 14 October 2019 28 October 2019
B 30 November 2019 14 December 2019
C 14 January 2020 28 January 2020
D 29 February 2020 14 March 2020
E 14 April 2020 28 April 2020
F 31 May 2020 14 June 2020
G 14 July 2020 28 July 2020

In some cases, because of the high volume of applications we receive, we may need more time to assess your application. If this is the case, we will assess your application in the next stage. We will let you know if we intend to do this.

Study places are offered subject to availability. Given the popularity of these courses, places may not be available if you apply later in the cycle.

If we offer you a place, we will ask you to accept the offer and pay a tuition fee deposit (relevant International students only). If you do not accept the offer and pay the deposit within four weeks of the date of the offer letter, we may withdraw our offer.

More about staged admissions

Fees and funding

Use the University's postgraduate fees calculator to find the current tuition fee for this course.

Postgraduate student loans are available for UK and EU students to a current value of £10,280.

Several scholarship funding awards are also available to Global Journalism students. These include the following.

  • The Sheffield Postgraduate Scholarship (for UK and EU students) is worth £10,000 and open to high-achieving students and those from groups that are underrepresented in higher education. More info
  • Sheffield scholarships for international students are designed to support talented applicants from all over the world. More info

Please see the Department of Journalism Studies' taught postgraduate funding page for more general details on the above, including an overview of deadlines.

Other sources of funding may be available – please see the University's postgraduate funding pages to investigate.

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it’s up-to-date and relevant. This is in response to discoveries made through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews, and variations in staff or student numbers. We update these web pages to reflect any changes to course content as soon as we can. If any information conflicts between these web pages and a printed brochure or prospectus, please take the information here as correct. Sometimes changes may need to be made to modules, courses, entry requirements and fees between your application and the start of your course. When these are significant in nature, we'll let you know as quickly as we can. All modules other than core modules are subject to limits on their availability, which include (but may not be limited to) class sizes and timetabling constraints.

Contact us

Postgraduate Admissions
Department of Journalism Studies
University of Sheffield
9 Mappin Street
Sheffield S1 4DT

Tel: +44 114 222 2500