MA Magazine Journalism. Image of a student-created magazine website

Magazine Journalism is a tough but rewarding degree which opens up careers in a thriving and intensely competitive section of the media industry. We'll show you the skills to bring your ideas to life on the page and online, the know-how to market your magazine product, and the connections to launch your career.

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View magazines created by our students

Overview

Magazine Journalism MA/Postgraduate Diploma

Magazine publishing is a fast-paced and exhilarating section of the media industry. Titles have proliferated and the most successful become multi-platform super-brands. Journalists who work on them need to write beautiful copy, podcast, shoot video, and serve their readers in both print and a dynamic digital landscape.

You'll learn from experienced journalists and media academics and practise your skills in our newsrooms, designed to simulate a professional publishing environment. You'll create news, feature and interview content to fill its screens and pages; and get a handle on managing live web and social media. You'll grasp the workings of the industry, and how the best journalists approach the moral and ethical dilemmas of their profession.

Through our work placements programme you can sharpen your skills in a real working environment and build your professional network. By the end of the course you'll be ready to join our award-winning graduates in the magazines industry or use your transferable skills in a range of other careers related to media and communication.

This degree is independently accredited by the Professional Publishers' Association, a key benchmark of quality recognised throughout the UK media industry.

Cover of Talent magazine, created by our studentsCheck out our students' work

Join the course and you'll create your own magazine, from concept right through to production. We've uploaded some of the mags developed by previous students – check them out for an idea of the sort of work you could be doing in just a few months' time!

View magazines created by our students

Visit us and look around

Postgraduate open days

Journalism Studies postgraduate brochure

Request a print copy

Teaching

The course is a mix of lectures, seminars, group workshops, individual and team assignments.

Assessment

You’re assessed on essays, examinations and practical work that involves conceiving, designing, writing and producing magazines and web pages.

Duration

MA 1 year full-time

Postgraduate Diploma 9 months 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.

Your degree may involve travelling off campus, around or beyond Sheffield, to find and report local news for practical skills assessments.

Modules

The course comprises seven core modules and one optional module. For completing each module successfully, you gain 15 credits (except for Advanced Magazine Journalism, which is worth 30 credits, and your dissertation/portfolio, which is worth 60 credits). To be awarded the MA degree you must gain a total of 180 credits. You may choose to omit the dissertation, in which case 120 credits will secure a postgraduate diploma (PgDip) rather than a masters degree.

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

Core modules

Students must take all seven of these modules.

Semester 1

Researching News

Finding, researching, and developing news stories is a basic journalistic skill and one that is common to all media. This module is intended to equip students with the understanding, knowledge, insights and skills necessary for effective journalistic research and news gathering. It seeks to develop in students some of the basic practical skills involved – such as effective interviewing and researching – with the development of 'news sense' and an understanding of the potential sources of news in a variety of settings. It will demonstrate the generic nature of news gathering skills across all media.

Law for Journalists

This module aims to develop your understanding of legal constraints on journalists working in the UK, including defamation and contempt law. You'll also learn how matter can be published in the public interest, and how a journalist can challenge invalid restrictions. There will also be a study of the Editors' Code of Practice and the Ofcom Broadcasting Code.

Ethics and Regulation

This module examines some of the major ethical controversies in journalism. Students will explore debates about the tension between freedom of expression and the exercise of responsibility, and about the need to balance privacy rights with publishing material in the public interest. There will also be study of regulation, truth-telling, media representation of vulnerable groups and journalists' relationship with their sources. You'll also look at how ethical behaviour is encouraged in journalism, and consider how the industry codes seek to achieve this in the UK.

Magazine Journalism

This module introduces students to the principal themes and practices of magazine journalism. You'll develop the basic practical skills involved in magazine production, covering writing and editing in a variety of magazine styles, researching and basic design principles. The module also focuses on the importance of understanding the reader and will look at the structure of the industry and the environment in which it is run.

Semester 2

Power and Society: The Institutions of Government

In this module you'll explore the institutions and organisations which significantly affect the nature of our society and which effect change within it. It explores the nature of the relationships between local, national and international institutions of government and seeks to equip journalists to understand how those relationships reflect or effect the decision making processes in society. It will also examine the structures and processes of the institutions of government at local, national and European level.

Advanced Magazine Journalism

In semester 1's Magazine Journalism module you developed the basic skills of magazine writing and editing. This module encourages you to develop your magazine production skills to a higher level and introduces the principles and practice of magazine design. Once you've grasped these skills, you'll apply them, while working in teams, to the discipline of creating a magazine product (digital or print) from start to finish.

Portfolio (Magazines)

For your portfolio you'll develop and submit a substantial piece of journalistic work. The project is accompanied by a detailed written appraisal of the editorial and production processes involved.

Optional modules

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

Communicating with the Media

This module builds the knowledge and skills you need to communicate messages through the media. Case studies and practical workshops illustrate the practice of media communication. You'll learn how the media operates and how to communicate messages through interviews, press conferences and news releases. Topics covered in the module will include the development of communication strategies, the understanding of news values and news cycles and strategies for successful and ethical communication.

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

Yvonne IllsleyThe course leader on Magazine Journalism is Yvonne Illsley (pictured). Yvonne joined the Department of Journalism Studies as a freelance lecturer in 2007 and became permanent course leader for Magazine Journalism in 2009.

Yvonne's career in journalism began with Trinity Mirror, where she worked as a reporter on three local newspapers in Derbyshire. She moved on to the Birmingham Post & Mail and became women's editor at the Sunday Mercury before relocating to London and becoming features editor for Take A Break, then a writer for Cosmopolitan and New Woman. A spell as features editor at the Daily Express followed. Yvonne has since contributed to many high-profile magazines including Marie Claire, Good Housekeeping and Bella, as well as the Daily Mail's Femail section.

Follow or say hi to Yvonne on Twitter at @YvonneIllsley and view her staff profile for more information.

All staff in the Department of Journalism Studies

Career opportunities

Magazines offer so many different career paths – from the glossy monthlies to the weekly mass market magazines, to publications for practically every hobby and interest, including sports, music, travel and politics. There are business titles and customer magazines, current affairs and children's titles. Studying Magazine Journalism at Sheffield prepares you for all of these possibilities. And we’ll equip you to create your own brand from scratch, to captivate the audience you choose.

Complete the degree and you could follow the glittering career path of recent graduates – who are employed by all four major UK magazine publishers: Hearst, Time Inc, Immediate, and Bauer. Titles include Radio Times, Good Housekeeping, Marie Claire, Red, The Pool, Men’s Health, Take a Break, Bella, Management Today and OK!

Magazine Journalism MA is tailored to meet the training needs identified by the Professional Publishers Association, which gives official accreditation to the course. So magazine publishers know Sheffield graduates have the skills and knowledge they’re looking for in new employees.

Portrait of Sian BradleyA few months after completing her Magazine Journalism degree in 2017, Sian Bradley was writing features that are read by more than half a million people. "I absolutely wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for the Magazine Journalism course," she says.

More on Sian's career and thoughts about the degree


Through our work placements programme you can sharpen your skills in a real working environment and build your professional network. The Department of Journalism Studies has a dedicated work placement co-ordinator whose job it is to match you up with a good employer suited to your areas of interest. Check out #jusplacement to see what our students are saying about their current work experience posts.

Our most recent survey data from graduates shows:

  • 90.0% positive outcomes (the proportion of graduates who were available for employment and had secured employment or further study)
  • 80.0% graduate prospects (the proportion of graduates who were available for employment and had secured graduate-level employment or graduate-level further study)

Portrait of Tom HockingTowards the end of the Magazine Journalism degree Tom Hocking took a work experience placement at the much-loved independent football magazine When Saturday Comes. The placement led to a job and Tom is now Deputy Editor, describing the role as "pretty much my dream job".

More from Tom about his career and Magazine Journalism MA


Hear more from Sheffield's postgraduate alumni in our career case studies section.

Applying and
entry requirements

To apply for Magazine Journalism 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

Come and 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 7.0, with a minimum of 7.0 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.

Pre-Masters

 

Ready to apply?

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

Apply now

There are no specific deadlines for receipt of applications, but we recommend you apply early as courses fill up quickly.

The online application form allows you to upload files. Please use this to send us samples of your work.

Feature writing plays an important part in magazine journalism and so to support your application we would like you to produce a short feature article of approximately 800 words. Please write about someone in your life who has inspired you. Include details of why this person is so inspirational and how they have helped and supported you over the years. Include quotes and/or dialogue from important conversations between the two of you and detail any anecdotes or moments when their actions, advice or support have been pivotal in your life. This feature should be suitable to publish in a regular women's weekly magazine section entitled 'You're Great, You Are'.

Please also upload any other 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.

If you're based in the UK or Ireland, we will usually ask you to come for an interview. If you live elsewhere we will not normally interview you here in the department but may contact you for a telephone or online interview.

Fees and funding

Use the University's postgraduate fees calculator to find the current tuition fee for this course. Please note that fees do not include the cost of external exams administered by the National Council for the Training of Journalists, should you wish to sit these.

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 MA Magazine Journalism students. These include the following.

  • The Gavin Reeve-Daniels Magazine Scholarship, which covers tuition fees and expenses as well as providing work experience opportunities. More info
  • The Sheffield Postgraduate Scholarship 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
  • The George Viner Memorial Fund exists specifically to help broaden the ethnic diversity of journalists working in the UK and Ireland. 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
Email: journalism-admissions@sheffield.ac.uk