Journalism

Need to know

Admittedly a postgraduate qualification is not a golden ticket into journalism. With the rise of bloggers and citizen journalists, there are no longer clear educational requirements for jobs in this sector. You might just get a foot in the door by doing lots of work experience with local newspapers, or taking a short course. Despite this career outlook, the number of postgraduate courses in media and journalism has significantly increased both in the UK and abroad over the past few years. It’s clear that journalism never ceases to interest degree-seekers.

In this guide we go back to basics and look at why and how you should get a Master’s in Journalism abroad.

Why should I study journalism at postgraduate level?

Doing a Master’s course in journalism is not the right option for everyone. It only suits a few career paths. If you have a first degree in another subject but want to make the switch to journalism, a postgraduate course will give you some important skills and knowledge that reporting experience alone can hardly offer. Media law is one such area. Journalism is indeed a risky business, and you can’t afford to be incorrect. Therefore, alongside public administration, media law is taught in the vast majority of postgraduate courses. This helps students avoid the most common mistakes in journalism practice, from misquotations to defamatory statements. With an increase in the demand for online news and a growing range of broadcast channels, taking a Master’s in digital journalism is a smart move for those with academic and professional background in broadcast, print or magazine. At postgraduate level, you will be able to choose specialised courses and hence quickly develop the media literacy required for many journalism jobs nowadays.

Only 20% of journalism graduates actually work in journalism; the other 80% embark on alternative occupations using transferrable skills. Thinking this way would perhaps make you feel more positive about your employment prospect. A Master’s degree in journalism helps you develop various skills, including communication, editing, critical analysis and working under pressure to meet deadlines. Those skills would definitely give you an advantage when applying for jobs in advertising agencies, charities or PR consultancies.

Does it make sense to study journalism abroad?

Many experienced journalists now advise British students to go with postgraduate courses accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ). In addition to work experience, NCTJ qualifications are often required by local newspapers for entry level jobs.

Journalism is increasingly global; there’s no reason you should stay local. Whether or not it makes sense to go abroad should largely be determined by your own interests. There are many excellent universities abroad offering Master’s degrees taught in English and we would have no hesitation in recommending them to you. There are considerations, however, about the range of contacts you would develop if studying or working overseas. While these might differentiate you from your peers and lead to the development of a flourishing career, it is also possible that they could leave you somewhat isolated. Again, it comes down to your personal interests to determine whether studying abroad for journalism is a smart choice for you.

Studying abroad allows you to explore magazines, newspapers and news outlets you may have never heard of before. You will also learn different styles of news reporting and journalistic writing, which will surely make you a better journalist.

If you’re ambitious and proactive enough, you might be able to find interesting article ideas about international issues whilst studying abroad and pitch them to British press.

Examples of postgraduate opportunities abroad

The Netherlands

MA in Journalism, University of Groningen

France

Master in Journalism and Economics, Sciences Po

Master in Journalism and International Affairs, Sciences Po

Spain

Master in Digital and Visual Media, IE University

What grades do I need to get in?

Unusually for Master’s degrees, most postgraduate courses in journalism do not require students to have academic and professional background in journalism. In fact, journalism graduate schools are very keen on having diverse student profiles in their classes. The general admission requirement is thus a Bachelor’s degree, first or second class.

Due to the nature of journalistic work, some universities might ask you to submit one or two writing samples to assess your writing and analytical skills. It’s important that those samples not only reflect your personal writing style, but also meet the standard of publication. Therefore, we suggest that you ask an experienced journalist to read your writing samples before submitting them to graduate schools.