Journalism BA (Hons)
BA Hons Journalism
Do you want to study the UK's best Journalism undergraduate degree? Our BA (Hons) Journalism course has been awarded the Best Performing Undergraduate Course for 2017-18 by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ). This is based on the number of students gaining the Gold Standard for the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism.
The profession of journalism has evolved rapidly over the last few years and the skills you need to excel as a journalist have changed. If you want to hold those in power to account and keep the public informed, educated and entertained, this NCTJ-accredited BA (Hons) Journalism degree course prepares you for a career in this field.
From learning how to webcast, layout magazine spreads and create video reports to the important skills of uncovering and writing breaking stories to deadline, you'll learn how to make the most of everything that today's 24-hour rolling news culture throws at you.
Whether your interests lie in news reporting, coverage of sport or reviewing the latest films and music, you'll develop the essential skills and experience to send you to the top of any editor's wish list.
This course is accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ), one of three professional bodies that accredits journalism training in the UK. You'll automatically be entered into the examinations that lead to the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism.
The NCTJ accreditation also lets potential employers know that this course gives you the relevant skills and abilities you need to work as a journalist when you graduate. This gives you an edge over students who didn’t do an accredited course when you’re applying for jobs.
95% Graduates in work or further study (Unistats data on DLHE 2017)
100% Overall student satisfaction (NSS, 2018)
What you'll experience
On this course you'll:
- Put your skills into practice in our newsroom equipped with the latest hardware and software used by the press
- Work as an editorial team with other students to produce magazines, newspapers and Web articles to deadline
- Have the chance to take exams that lead to the industry-recognised National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) Diploma in Journalism
- Learn from expert journalists who have experience working on international, national, regional and online publications
- Work through a programme that we've developed with input from experts working at The Sun and The Daily Mail, regional media groups such as Johnston Press, Newsquest and Trinity Mirror and national public relations agencies
- Get valuable experience and build industry contacts on a formal 10-day journalism-based work placement as part of your study
- Have the opportunity to do further work placements throughout your degree, including a 1-year placement
- Take shorthand training – you'll aim to reach writing speeds of 100 words per minute
- Expand your network by meeting visiting professionals from industry bodies such as The Daily Mail, Dream Team FC, The Times, Novara Media, Sky News and the Cabinet Office
Careers and opportunities
Having an NCTJ-accredited degree and NCTJ Diploma in Journalism gives you many career options. Previous students have gone on to work in areas such as:
- national, regional and local newspapers
- radio and television stations
- online publications
- public relations
- corporate communications and marketing
- digital marketing and social media
Roles they've gone on to include:
- trainee reporter
- social media editor
- campaign assistant
- public relations account executive
- digital marketing executive
- sports reporter
Other graduates have continued their studies at postgraduate level or set up successful freelancing careers with help and support from the University.
After you leave the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.
The University of Portsmouth's Journalism degree was exciting, enjoyable and everything I needed to walk straight into a full-time reporter's role at a daily newspaper.
What you'll study on this BA (Hons) Journalism degree course
Each unit on this course is worth a certain number of credits.
In each year, you need to study units worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 units worth 20 credits and 1 unit worth 40 credits.
Core units in this year include:
- Digital Skills for Journalists
- Journalism in Context
- Academic and Professional Skills
- Current Affairs
- Law for Journalists
There are no optional units in this year, although you can take NCTJ examinations in a variety of subject areas.
Core units in this year include:
- Government in Britain
- Feature Writing and News Analysis
- Smartphone Journalism and Social Journalism Theory
Optional units in this year currently include:
- Sports Journalism
- Press and Public Relations
- Music Journalism
On this course, you can do an optional work placement year between your 2nd and 3rd years to get valuable experience working in industry.
We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your situation and ambitions. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.
Core units in this year include:
- Newsroom Production
Optional units in this year currently include:
- Newspapers and Magazines
- Final year project: a choice between a Dissertation or Journalism Special Investigation
- Global Journalism and Human Rights
- Money, Government and Power
You can also take NCTJ examinations in a variety of subject areas.
We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.
Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.
After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in the industry.
Students have completed work placements at many top destinations, including:
- The Daily Telegraph
- Sky Sports
We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your aspirations. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year and help with applications and interviews.
Work experience and career planning
10-day work placement
To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, you'll do a 10-day work placement in your final year. We have links with many well-known media organisations. Previous students have done placements at locations such as:
- The Daily Telegraph
- The Daily Mirror
- The Sun
- The Daily Mail
You'll get support from specialist staff before and throughout your placement to make sure you get the most out of your time in the workplace.
Other work experience
Our Careers and Employability service can also help you find relevant work experience during your course.
We can help you identify placements, internships, voluntary roles and freelancing opportunities that will complement your studies, build your portfolio, develop your professional network and get your work seen by a wider audience.
As well as support by faculty teaching staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).
ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:
- academic writing
- note taking
- time management
- critical thinking
- presentation skills
- working in groups
- revision, memory and exam techniques
If you have a mental or physical disability, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) can give you help, support and advice so you can reach your potential.
Teaching methods on this course include:
- practical workshops
- group-based activities, including magazine, newspaper and Web page production
- work placements
Teaching staff profiles
Ian Tapster, Course LeaderIan spent 20 years working as a financial journalist at the Financial Times and The European, as well as running his own company. Ian’s teaching encompasses modules that cover British politics, current affairs and financial issues. He also maintains an interest in the importance of ethics in contemporary journalism.
Emma Beatty, Senior LecturerEmma delivers the magazine module for the Journalism course, having previously worked at The Royal Opera House as its Features Editor for online and digital copy. Before that, Emma was Deputy Editor of The Art Newspaper, a monthly publication for art world insiders, and prior to that, helped edit and produce Minerva, a journal for ancient art lovers.
Bernie Saunders, Senior LecturerBernie is a Senior Lecturer in Media Law and Journalism. Bernie has been a journalist for nearly 40 years, working for regional and national publications at home and abroad, and has been involved in the education and training of journalists for many years. Bernie’s special areas of interest are media law, court and crime reporting, and news and feature writing.
Claire Perry, Senior Lecturer
Claire is a former journalist who has worked on a range of regional papers, covering general news, from council meetings to murder trials. She was also a features writer, trying her hand at flying planes and training with the England Women's football team. Claire has also worked as a music journalist and sports reporter, specialising in football and cricket.
Dr Susana Sampaio-Dias, Senior LecturerSusana worked as a journalist and news producer for RTP Rádio e Televisão de Portugal, the Portuguese public service broadcaster, before coming to Portsmouth. Susana lectures across the undergraduate programme in Journalism, including in theoretical and methodological modules, and specialises in teaching and researching human rights, press freedom and the security of journalists.
Dr James Dennis, Senior Lecturer
James is a specialist in political communication, with a particular focus on social media, political participation and citizenship, and digital news. His first monograph, Beyond Slacktivism: Political Participation on Social Media, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2018.James also has experience working in industry, carrying out social media research with the BBC World Service and the British Council.
Catharine Russell, Senior LecturerCatharine began her career as a reporter, feature writer and sub-editor on regional newspapers before spending several years as Features Editor at the Press Association. Catharine went on to become an assistant editor at Teletext, the former ITV and Channel 4 text service, and more recently has worked in marketing and PR at a number of UK universities. Catharine now delivers a range of journalism and public relations units.
Mary Williams, Principal Lecturer
Mary is a smartphone journalism specialist, focusing on the impact of mobile devices and associated emerging and immersive technology on content creation and delivery in journalism and HE teaching. She also teaches all types of reporting from social-friendly content to longform articles across news and sports journalism, video filming and editing. Her background involves working for media and PR companies.
Gillian Wray, Senior Teaching Fellow
Gillian Wray is a Chartered Member of the CIPD and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Gillian is the Level 5 Year Tutor and is the co-ordinator for the Academic and Professional Skills module. She teaches shorthand at Level 5, supervises sandwich placements and is the School academic lead for Student Wellbeing.
Watch this video for answers to questions such as 'What career prospects could I expect from completing this course?' and 'How does this course keep up-to-date with current issues and topics?'
How you'll spend your time
Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:
- September to December – teaching block 1
- January – assessment period 1
- January to mid-May – teaching block 2 (includes Easter break)
- Mid-May to early June – assessment period 2
Most teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.
How you're assessed
You’ll be assessed through:
- essays and close textual analysis
- in-class tests
- media artefacts
- seminar presentations
- a 10,000-word dissertation
- post-placement assessment
You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.
You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.
The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:
- Year 1 students: 22% by written exams and 78% by coursework
- Year 2 students: 15% by written exams, 23% by practical exams and 62% by coursework
- Year 3 students: 7% by practical exams and 93% by coursework
96-112 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent.
English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
- Evidence of interest and some relevant experience in Journalism will be required.
- All applicants will be required to attend a workshop, which will include an NCTJ story writing task.
Tuition fees (2019 start)
- UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £13,900 per year (subject to annual increase)
Additional course costs
These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.
Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.
You’ll study up to 6 units a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.
You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.
You’ll do a placement unit on this course, the cost of which is included in your course fees. But you’ll have to cover travel costs yourself. These will vary from £50–£500 depending on the location and duration of the placement.
You’ll need to contribute towards the cost of any exams you repeat to get professional accreditation during the course. These costs range from £25–£55.
To start in 2019 you need to apply through UCAS. You’ll need:
- the UCAS course code – P500
- our institution code – P80
You can start your application now and submit it later if you want.
Not quite ready to apply?
Come to an Open Day to explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.
If you’re new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.
If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply for this course through UCAS (see the 'How to apply' section above for details). You can also apply directly to us or you can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.
To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.
- Subject area
- Media and Journalism
- English and Creative Writing