MA Radio Documentary

Entry year
Course code
Creative and Cultural Industries
City Campus
One year
Full-time, September start
Programme leader
Dr Anne Harbin

Please note we are no longer offering this course to new applicants

If you would like information about our alternative course, please visit the MA Journalism (Audio, Docs and Podcasts) course page.

Page last updated 20 February 2020


A unique, innovative Masters degree that includes the opportunity to work alongside independent and BBC audio producers, gaining invaluable experience and industry knowledge to increase your employability.

Accreditations and partnerships:

The MA Radio Documentary is designed to fulfil the need for radio and audio producers who can create high-quality programmes across different platforms in today's fast-paced digital age. Offered in partnership with the BBC, you will have the opportunity to work alongside experienced producers in different fields.

As well as giving you the chance to put your skills into practice, you'll also gain real-world understanding of the cultural industry and its supply chain.

The course is appropriate for graduates with a passion for radio and an interest in journalism. It offers a unique industry-aligned path of study for those who want to develop a sustainable career in radio or production in the cultural industries sectors.

It is also suitable for those already working in the cultural or creative sectors who wish to develop a specialist knowledge and understanding of radio documentary production, and enhance their employability.   

A highly practical approach

Based at the arts-focused Bower Ashton Studios, this full-time course will immerse students into radio for the digital age. Through a mix of practical and critical analytical learning, you will develop the skills required to work across many areas of radio, including journalism, content production, podcasting and documentary making.

There is a strong emphasis on developing your technical skills alongside those needed to compete in the business of radio, such as commissioning, pitching and getting documentaries to air.

You will also gain experience through placements in some of Bristol's most innovative cultural organisations, and work on your own projects with mentoring from industry.

Real-world expertise

The course benefits from Bristol's rich activity in the cultural and media industries. In addition to teaching from faculty staff, guest speakers from the BBC and independent media production companies will play a key role in delivering the course.

You will be assigned live briefs to prepare for professional commissions in the public and private sectors. BBC staff will help design the live briefs to prepare you for professional commissions, whether for the BBC or commercial clients.

You will be expected to work to real deadlines under real-world conditions, giving you the understanding needed to step into entry level posts in all aspects of radio and audio content production. 

Watch: The learning and teaching experience



You will choose from the following modules.

  • Multimedia Journalism 1 (30 Credits)
  • Radio Programme Business (30 Credits)
  • Future Radio (15 Credits)
  • Radio Pre Production (30 Credits)
  • Radio Script Writing (15 Credits)
  • Professional Practice in Radio (60 Credits)

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

This course provides a distinct and bespoke learning experience. Both practical and theoretical teaching is delivered by highly esteemed current and former BBC radio production professionals.

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and expert-led technical workshops in:

  • audio collection techniques
  • sound
  • recording
  • radio studio work
  • digital editing using industry-standard software.

There will be field visits to documentary producers and regular guest speakers from the BBC to enhance learning and bring valuable industry insight.

See our glossary of teaching and learning terms.

Study time

Formal learning is delivered through two to three contact days a week and you will be expected to do the same amount of hours in self-directed study.


You will be assessed through a combination of practical work, research portfolios, exams, essays and presentations.

See our full glossary of assessment terms.



Students will take part in a work shadowing scheme. This will allow you to see the day-to-day workflow of producing radio documentaries.

You will be encouraged to take up placements on multi-platform outlets to gain insights across all relevant digital media.

Indicative partners include Watershed, Arnolfini, Ujima Radio and BBC News.

Study facilities

Bower Ashton Campus's new media studios incorporate the latest industry-standard equipment and technology to support studies in radio documentary making and creative media.

Facilities include live radio studios with access to state-of-the-art software and audio recording equipment.

Bower Ashton offers an excellent base for students within the exciting City Campus that connects teaching and learning with some of the best creative and cultural organisations in Bristol. The campus houses the main library supporting the creative and cultural industries, student support services and an extensive technical resource base.

Learn more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources.


Careers / Further study

We aim to equip you with the skills and understanding suitable for entry level posts in the radio factual broadcast sector including documentary, formats and presenter-led features.

The course partnership with the BBC brings opportunities for engagement, collaboration and ultimately employment. The BBC highly values the talent, fresh ideas and enthusiasm of our students.

Successful graduates go on to secure work in production companies and post-production facilities as broadcast assistants, junior researchers, production assistants and studio managers.


There is currently no published fee data for this course.

Supplementary fee information

See our funding pages for more information.


Entry requirements

An honours degree in a related subject area is required, but applicants with substantial relevant professional experience will also be considered.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to an interview (telephone interviews will be conducted for international applicants).

We accept applications throughout the year. However, as there is a high demand for this course and an interview process, we would recommend that people apply at least one month before the start of the course.

The course starts on the third week of September, so applications received close to the start maybe rolled over to the following year.

If you are applying to organisations for funding, they may have application deadlines by which time you will need to know if you have a place on a course. You should build this deadline into your application process and if you are working to a funding deadline then please let us know.

For further information