Online Journalism - MA

Full Time, Part Time, Distance Learning
September 2016
£6,500 for UK/EU Full Time 2016 entry (view all fees)
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As competition for jobs in journalism becomes ever-more fierce, our Online Journalism MA will give you the cutting-edge skills that fast-paced news gathering organisations need from digital specialists.

This course is for you if you want to learn advanced practical skills from some of the best digital journalists in the country. It reflects the ongoing needs of the technological newsroom and anticipates what innovations will further enhance a journalist’s role as a news gatherer.

Crucially, you’ll learn how to tell great stories accurately, the core of a journalist’s craft, and this will be complemented by increasingly important areas in reporting, such as data journalism.

You may also be eligible for a variety of tuition fee waivers that we offer.

New for 2017/18

MA Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism

If you’re looking to start this course in 2017, it's important to know that the content and structure are undergoing a substantial review and are likely to be different to what is outlined here. Next year’s course will also have a new name: MA Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism. A brief summary of the course can be found here. We’ll publish more detailed information about the changes over the next few months. If you’re starting in 2016, the course content/structure won’t be affected by the review.

Sign up for course updatesMore about our new curriculum

What's covered in the course?

Like journalism itself, this practical course is fast and dynamic, and you’ll be expected to work on a journalism-driven website within two weeks of starting your course.

We aim to arm you with all the skills you need for a thriving digital journalism career, so you’ll develop a host of multimedia newsgathering and production skills, learn about data journalism and how it is transforming news gathering, and you’ll cover content management systems, social media management and the relevant areas of media law.

On this course, you’ll get access to some of the industry’s most respected journalists who are working in the field now, and you’ll have the opportunity to work on a live, professional journalism project with a client. 

Why Choose Us?

  • Course leader Paul Bradshaw is a leading innovator in the field of online journalism. An experienced and practising journalist, he publishes the Online Journalism Blog and has a reputation as one of the most influential people in social media.
  • You’ll have access to some of the best minds and practitioners in online journalism. Guest lecturers have included Twitter’s Joanna Geary, The Times’s Julian Burgess and Jonathan Richards, and Trinity Mirror’s Alison Gow.
  • Graduates have gone on to occupy senior positions in the media as Group Digital Editor, Homes Editor, Associate Professor, Global Brand Manager, Media Executive and Consultant.
  • You’ll have the chance to work on live projects. Students have worked with The Mirror, Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Reuters, Centaur magazines, BBC and ITN.
  • The BBC’s newly launched Data Unit in the city, as well as a Guerilla Unit that focuses on new interactive forms of storytelling, regularly work with students and the university.
  • Employers including national broadcasters, newspapers, websites and magazines regularly contact Birmingham City University to promote new roles demanding online skills.
Visit our open day

Postgraduate Open Day

Our next Postgraduate Open Day will be on Wednesday 23 November, between 2pm and 7pm. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.

Register now

This course is open to International students

Birmingham School of Media

Discover the Birmingham School of Media

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

New £10,000 postgraduate loans

You may be able to take advantage of the government’s plans to make loans of up to £10,000 available for postgraduate study.

More about postgraduate loans

Entry Requirements

UK students

Applicants must have proven experience in journalism or media production (for example, video, audio, web production or print)..

Good spoken and written English are vital. IELTS level 6.5 is a minimum.

You should have evidence of your passion for new forms of journalism, along with a strong and inquiring mind and a tendency not to take no for an answer!

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MA Sep 2016 FT 1 year £6,500
PT 2 years £3,250 per year
DL 1 year full time £6,500
DL 2 years part time £3,250 per year

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MA Sep 2016 FT 1 year £12,000
PT 2 years £6,000 per year
DL 1 year full time £12,000
DL 2 years part time £6,000 per year

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

This course is available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Did you know that you will soon be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans


This comprises five core modules, the final of which is a 60-credit MA by Practice project.

Online Journalism
30 credits

Journalism – in whatever guise – is about storytelling and this module explores a range of skills of the craft, as well as the legal and ethical issues in the industry. You’ll work with industry professionals and you’ll begin to run a live news operation. There is also an experimental element to this module, so that you can find a skill or challenge that interests you.

30 credits

By exploring entrepreneurial techniques and processes, you’ll start to expand your own professional development. This module will give you the confidence to think strategically about how your career will progress and how you can build relationships within your chosen field.

Data and Multimedia Journalism
30 credits

This module provides an opportunity to develop your technical and editorial skills in depth. Focusing on a particular field, you’ll touch on a range of data and multimedia techniques before applying and developing your own skills further in one of those areas. You will also be encouraged to develop contacts in ‘communities of practice’ around the technical and editorial areas you are particularly interested in, as you begin to build your reputation in those fields.

Production Lab
30 credits

When you reach this module, you should be working with an industry partner on a live project. Production Lab prepares you for the final MA by Practice module by developing the innovative ideas and the production skills you’ll need.

MA by Practice
60 credits

This is your chance to produce an exceptional piece of original work that showcases your technical knowledge and your online journalism skills. Previous students have established and run new websites, published ebooks and conducted in-depth investigations. They’ve also worked with organisations such as the BBC and have worked as independent freelancers.

Course Structure

Our Online Journalism MA can be completed full time in one year or you can opt for part-time study or distance learning over two or three years.

This flexibility means our course is suitable for those wishing to begin a career as an online journalist or who are already forging a career in the sector and want to expand their skills for the modern newsroom while continuing to work.

Although you are assessed purely on coursework, you’ll benefit from a blend of academic learning and practical application. You’ll get to explore and apply the latest industry and academic research on cutting edge newsgathering, production and distribution techniques.

Studying On-Campus

Apply for the Online Journalism MA, and you'll meet your tutors in small classes and through individual tutorials, often working in small groups with other students on practical tasks. You'll also visit newsrooms working at the cutting edge of the field, and high profile industry events.

Previous students have visited the integrated newsrooms at The Telegraph and BBC, the interactive teams at the BBC and Financial Times (FT), and seen how IPC Media organise online operations at NME and Wallpaper.

Studying by Distance Learning

If you apply for the distance-learning version of the MA course, lectures are replaced with audio slide shows, recordings of a lecture, or live-streamed lectures which cover the same material. These will often be identical to those delivered to students with attendance.

Access to your tutors for tutorials will be via audio-visual communication technologies such as Skype and will be further supported by email. Industry speaker sessions will also be made available to you through a range of online platforms.

Further Study

If you wish to continue your academic studies in the field of online journalism, you have the opportunity to undertake a research degree (MPhil and PhD). If this is something you wish to consider, speak to your course tutor for advice.

Student stories – Duarte Romero

My name is Duarte Romero and I am from Galicia in Spain. I am starting an MA in Online Journalism here at Birmingham City University, and would like to say that I've never learned so much in such a short period of time, so I'm very happy to be coming and studying here.

Obviously if you come from another country you have some inconvenience that a native student doesn’t have, basically related with language and an understanding of the native culture. For me those are the biggest challenges I had to face. First being able to write and speaking English, every day and with the highest level I could, and then learning to understand a completely different culture like Great Britain's. Particularly if you are studying journalism - it is really important to know how the politics, economy and society of the country works.

Enhancing employability skills

Our Online Journalism MA will equip you with the skills you need to carve a successful career in a digital newsroom. Because practical applications are embedded in the course, you’ll have created news websites or worked on live, online projects with clients. This adds up to an impressive portfolio to boost your CV.

Successful graduates have gone on to work as digital editors, online content managers, online communitymanagers and data visualisation specialists.


Due to the fast developing nature of online journalism and the demand for students’ knowledge and skills, we encourage students to work with industry clients on a ‘consultancy’ basis.

These consultancies can be done on site or remotely, or a combination of both. This will typically involve identifying a problem that the industry faces and helping to put together editorial or research work that addresses the issue. This might be an interactive map for a news organisation that does not have the in-house skillset to do so, organising an event to explore new revenue generation opportunities, or running social media accounts and establishing best practice for others in the organisation.

Such work experience should help to create new capacity and opportunities in your field . As well as this, you might choose to undertake more traditional work placement opportunities.

More about our placement opportunities...


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Graduate jobs 

Our Online Journalism MA is a highly respected course that prepares you for a life in the dynamic work of digital media. You’ll complement your studies by building your online presence, working on live, meaningful projects and making valuable contacts from across the sector. It’s what makes our MA Online Journalism graduates highly sought after by employers. 

Our graduates have gone to pursue careers as digital editors, online content managers, online communities managers and data visualisation specialists, having been snapped up by regional newspaper groups, commercial, non-profit and social media consultancies, and large media organisations. These include:

  • News International
  • BBC
  • Trinity Mirror
  • Reuters
  • Microsoft
  • Local World Media
  • The Guardian
  • Oxfam
  • Radio Canada
  • Diario de Pontevedra
  • Dubai Sports City
  • AOL

International Students

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our online journalism course is most popular with international students from:

Parkside and Curzon Buildings

Our Facilities

When you join Birmingham City University, the first thing you will notice is the high standard of our campuses. With an investment of £260 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.

Birmingham School of Media is recognised as a key centre of excellence in interactive media training, television production and education by Creative SkillSet, the UK Sector Skills Council for the audio visual industries.

State-of-the-art facilities

You will learn in our state-of-the-art facilities - including the £62m fully-digital Media Centre - located on the City Centre Campus. You will enjoy access to extensive studio and workshop space including four TV studios, six radio studios and broadcast-standard edit suites, as well as cutting-edge equipment and software.

Facilities include the largest TV floor of any university in the UK, a ‘green screen’ and the MILO motion control camera - we are one of just two universities in Europe to offer MILO technology.

Our four broadcast-standard edit suites are based on the industry-standard Avid editing system, used in almost all films and the majority of UK television. Two of the suites are specialised for Audio Finishing and Colour Grading. Our six digital radio studios are all linked an equipped with the best news and production software.

You will have access to our full broadcast-standard dubbing suites, which are based on a multi-layered ProTools desk and can dub both film and TV with up to 120 simultaneous sound sources. We also have an ADR (Additional Dialogue Recording) booth and the ability to record Foley (additional live sound).

The Parkside Building

The Parkside Building has been designed to maximise light and encourage collaboration between artists and students. It is the perfect setting for the workshops and teaching spaces of our design courses, as well as the state-of-the-art media centre for the advanced teaching facilities of Birmingham School of Media.

All this ensures that The Parkside Building offers a first class learning environment and a true central location for students in Birmingham City Centre.

Paul Bradshaw

Course Leader (MA Online Journalism)

Paul is a leading innovator in the field of online journalism. An experienced and practising journalist, with a background in magazine and website management, he is best known as the publisher of the Online Journalism Blog, described by the UK Press Gazette as one of the country’s “most influential journalism blogs”. He has also contributed to a number of books and has published elearning books. He acts as a consultant and trainer to a number of organisations on social media and data journalism, including the Centre for Investigative Journalism, the Balkan Investigative Reporters Network, and Sky.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295