MA Journalism (Specialist Features)
Page last updated 12 March 2021
Work with experienced journalists to build your skills and experience, and channel your passion for long-form writing into a successful portfolio journalism career.
Why study journalism (specialist features)?
In today's fast-paced digital age, journalists need the versatility and skillset to create high-quality features across diverse platforms.
As a features writer, you could be working on long-form pieces for websites, newspapers, magazines or podcasts, focusing on a specialist subject or type of feature writing, or taking on more diverse business-to-business work.
Why UWE Bristol?
If you have a passion for journalism and long-form writing, our MA Journalism (Specialist Features) gives you the writing and audio skills to be confident in producing a variety of content across both print and online channels.
Through a mix of practical and analytical learning, you'll develop high-quality writing, research and storytelling capabilities, alongside technical skills such as page layout, podcasting and website building.
Unlike other MAs focusing on either news or specialisms such as sport or fashion, this course centres on feature and long-form writing for a range of media markets.
You'll also have the chance to build up a specialism of your choice (such as sport, music, the environment, travel or fashion), ensuring you develop as a versatile, knowledgeable and employable journalist.
You'll work with our experienced journalists, and be based at our arts-focused Bower Ashton studios, where you'll be immersed in the writing and multimedia journalism skills needed for today's media industry.
You will build experience on placements and work shadowing, work on your own projects, and go away with a high-quality portfolio of your print, online and audio work to show to prospective employers.
Where can it take me?
You'll be in a position to take on work on a freelance or staff basis with magazines (both specialist and business-to-business), or to write for online channels such as websites or podcasts.
It's up to you if you want to specialise in a particular subject or type of feature writing, or use your skills to secure writing work across different fields.
You will study:
- Introduction to Media Law - an introduction to the concepts of ethics, law, broadcast regulation and press freedom. This module provides an opportunity for students to explore the impact of the reporting of crime and the justice system. Where possible, during the first semester students will attend and report on court hearings and visit Bristol Law Society.
- Advanced Media Law - examines some of the current debates about accountability, transparency and regulation, and some of the practical challenges which journalists face in their everyday work. Where possible, during the second semester, there will be an opportunity to visit the Palace of Westminster and to take part in a Question Time with local MPs.
- Journalism Collaborative Project - an opportunity for students to plan and undertake work that is related to their artistic and/or professional endeavours and career goals. The aim is to enable students to view themselves as professional practitioners and understand what is necessary in order to work as professionals in their chosen field. The module also aims to develop students' entrepreneurial capability in practice through a collaborative project.
- Journalism Writing - a practice-based module designed to introduce you to, or develop, your journalistic skills, and to encourage reflection about how journalists operate. You will discuss the purpose of journalism and the conventions of the news media, develop a critical awareness of target audiences, and increase your competence of editorial software applications.
- Multimedia Journalism 1 - students will operate as multimedia journalists in the field, studio and newsroom, putting into practice, and reflecting on, their own journalistic judgement, news sense, skills and knowledge. News days allow you to practice news reporting in a fully equipped multimedia newsroom, working as part of a team, prioritising the news agenda, researching, monitoring, news gathering and producing news for radio and online platforms.
- Professional Practice in Journalism - a bespoke and largely self-directed, extended production module, where students will undertake their own final project reflecting the skills and understanding of audio content and production. Students are supported by tutorials and sessions with an industry mentor to shape and layer their final narrative. It is expected that the final project will be of professional standard and a portfolio piece for prospective employers.
- Specialist Features - an introduction to the specialist field of feature writing across a range of media platforms. This module will enable students to develop the skills needed to produce a variety of longform features as well as build up expertise in a specialist area, such as sport, music, fashion, travel or the environment, or business-to-business work. The focus will also be on equipping students with the key writing skills needed for employment in the media industry.
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 offers a mix of practical and theoretical teaching through lectures, seminars and expert-led skills workshops.
You will work with experienced media professionals and be introduced to a range of practical and theoretical challenges to develop your writing, research and storytelling skills.
The course benefits from Bristol's rich activity in the cultural and media industries. As well as teaching from faculty staff, guest speakers from industry will play a key role in the course. Expert masterclasses, live briefs and industry events will enhance your learning and bring valuable industry insight.
You will build a portfolio to show to potential employers and have the chance to specialise in different types of writing, depending on your interests.
You'll also have the chance to collaborate on a project with students on our other journalism courses.
You will be expected to work to real deadlines under real-world conditions.
Formal learning takes place over two to three contact days a week and you will be expected to do the same amount of hours in self-directed study. Outside of class time, you will need to prepare course readings, and complete writing and research exercises, essays, production exercises and projects.
You will be assessed through a combination of practical work, portfolio, exams, essays and presentations.
See our full glossary of assessment terms.
You'll complete 15 days of work experience, to see the media industry first hand, try out your writing skills in a professional environment and build strong media contacts for future job openings.
We'll encourage you to take up placements in multi-platform outlets to gain insights across all relevant print and digital media.
You might undertake work experience as a block or spread it out across the course, spending ad hoc days in industry.
You'll receive advice and support to help you find a placement from department staff and our award-winning careers service.
You'll have access to media specialist kit, computer labs, journalism studios and the necessary specialist software within our Bower Ashton Campus's media studios.
Bower Ashton is part of our City Campus, a powerhouse of inspiration and collaboration, which spans Bristol and also includes renowned contemporary arts centres Spike Island, Arnolfini and Watershed.
You'll also have access to a range of teaching and learning spaces, a library, student support services and extensive technical resources, and get to connect and collaborate with creative and cultural organisations in Bristol.
Learn more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources.
Careers / Further study
By the end of the course, you'll be equipped to put yourself forward for freelance or staff writing work with magazines (both specialist and business-to-business), or to write for online channels such as websites and podcasts.
You'll develop skills across a range of features, such as topical news features, profiles, colour pieces, investigative stories, issues-based features, or gossip or celebrity features. Or you can focus on writing about a specific subject area, such as sport, music, fashion, the environment or travel.
You will be in a strong position to build up a career in a fast-moving and fast-changing industry, where good writing and research skills, along with expertise in a specialist area, will always be needed.
We are looking for highly motivated, creative students who are passionate about telling stories. Applicants should have an undergraduate degree in an art or media related subject area or equivalent, or relevant professional experience.
For country specific entry requirements, please find your country on the Country Information pages.
Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview, where you will be expected to talk about your previous work (from audio, film, design, photography, writing, digital media, etc) and discuss the ideas you have for the stories you want to tell. Skype or telephone interviews will be arranged for international applicants.
English Language Requirement
International and EU applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 7.0 with 6.0 in each component (or approved equivalent*).
*The University accepts a large number of UK and international qualifications in place of IELTS. To find details of acceptable tests and the required grades, please visit English Language requirements.
English language support
If you meet the academic requirements but require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend one of our pre-sessional English courses. Students who successfully complete the pre-sessional course can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking an IELTS or equivalent.
Read more about our pre-sessional English programme.
How to apply
We accept applications throughout the year but if you are working to a funding deadline, you should build this into your application process.
For further information
- Email: Admissions@uwe.ac.uk
- Telephone: +44 (0)117 32 83333