MA
2022 start September 

Journalism

Department of Journalism Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences

Learn how to find and publish your own stories and graduate with the essential skills and knowledge to become a top-class multimedia reporter.
Image of postgraduate Journalism student with equipment

Course description

News reporting takes expertise in creating and publishing digital content alongside a solid grasp of traditional skills and knowledge. Take this degree and you’ll develop both – in our online newsrooms and out on the streets of the city during our production newsdays, when you'll work with a team to publish your stories on a real, public-facing news website and social media channel.

You'll use your learning in newswriting, web publishing, shorthand, video, media law and ethics to hunt down and write up stories to meet real-time deadlines with your team.

Our alumni are intelligent and successful journalists who are excellent at both traditional newswriting and digital mobile journalism.

In November 2017, MA Journalism at Sheffield was rated the UK’s top-performing postgraduate course by the National Council for the Training of Journalists.

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Accreditation

Accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists

Modules

The modules listed below are examples from the last academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course. For the very latest module information, check with the department directly.

Core modules:

Teeline shorthand

Journalism Portfolio

This module requires students to submit a portfolio of journalistic work accompanied by detailed explanations of the background work involved. The portfolio of journalistic work should demonstrate the student's ability to initiate ideas and undertake the necessary research to produce a finished and substantial piece of journalism in one area of the media. The subject/s must be approved by a course tutor beforehand via an assessed video pitch. The portfolio should be made up of a range of stories which together should total at least 8,000 words or 10 minutes of broadcasting and be accompanied by a description of the development and research involved in its production totalling at least 4,000 words.

60 credits
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.

15 credits
Writing News

This unit is designed to introduce students to the discipline of writing news and writing for publication and relate that to an understanding of the relationship between the practice of journalism, the production values of the media and the definitions of news. Students will learn to write clear succinct and accurate English, which both presents the reader with a logical and readable narrative and demonstrates a positive understanding of appropriate news values. They will learn to apply their skills through a number of exercises of varying complexity.

15 credits
Law for Journalists

This module aims to develop students' understanding of legal constraints on journalists working in the UK, including defamation and contempt law. Students will also study 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.

15 credits
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. Students will explore how ethical behaviour is encouraged in journalism, and consider how the industry codes seek to achieve this in the UK.

15 credits
Power and Society - The Institutions of Government

This unit explores 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.

15 credits
Advanced Journalism

Writing effectively for print means understanding the wide range of disciplines involved in the production of the finished product. This unit will introduce students to those disciplines. They will be introduced to the practice and principles of newspaper design and production through desk top publishing. They will develop their understanding of newsgathering and writing skills through experience of a range of events such as Crown Court trials and local authority meetings. They will be introduced to the disciplines of feature writing and gain an insight into the different approaches to sustained narrative.

30 credits

Option modules:

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). Data science is the scientific discipline that feeds into this new type of journalism. It provides methods for collecting and systematizing data, which is then analysed using a combination of statistical and machine learning techniques, and finally presented in an appealing and understandable format. This module will equip students with the confidence to appreciate and apply the most widely used statistical techniques, which constitute the very core of data science and, hence, facilitate responsible evidence-based journalism.

15 credits
Communicating with the Media

This module will provide students with knowledge and skills necessary to communicate messages through the media. Case studies and practical workshops will allow students to learn about the practice of media communication. They will 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.

15 credits
Reforming Journalism in a Global Environment

In this module, students will explore efforts made over the years to ensure high quality journalism. They will engage in critical analyses of theories and perspectives relating to high quality in a democratic society. They will be introduced to the activities of media reform campaigners. They will have an opportunity to develop their own media reform project and/or participate in an existing one.

15 credits
Global Journalism: 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. In particular, it aims to facilitate students in developing knowledge of topics including 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. The module seeks to expose students to European, UK and US laws, as well as to other jurisdictions where comparative analysis is appropriate.

15 credits

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.

Teaching

There are lectures, seminars, group workshops, individual and team assignments.

Assessment

You’re assessed on essays, examinations and practical journalism work – producing news stories, newspaper pages, web pages and portfolios.

You’ll also have the chance to sit external examinations set by the NCTJ.

Duration

MA: 1 year full-time

Entry requirements

You must have one of the following:

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

Overall IELTS score of 7.5 with a minimum of 7.0 in each component, or equivalent.

Pathway programme for international students

If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for a pre-masters programme in Business, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

We also accept a range of other UK qualifications and other EU/international qualifications.

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

Fees and funding

There are a number of bursaries and scholarships for students on the journalism, magazine and broadcast courses, from the Scott Trust (owner of The Guardian), Journalism Diversity Fund, The Aziz Foundation Scholarship and others.

Funding opportunities for MA degrees in journalism

Apply

You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

Apply now

Contact

journalism-admissions@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 114 222 2500

Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

Our student protection plan

Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

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