A Journalism degree will train you to work as a Journalist. You will learn a range of skills, from how to spot a good story, to how to conduct an interview, and how to present information in creative and informative ways.
Journalists work in all sorts of environments - from war zones, to celebrity events - and produce reports about the world we live in. A degree in Journalism will give you the skills needed to succeed in this challenging but exciting career.
Put simply, Journalism is the practice of finding out information about current events and producing reports about it. Journalism provides factual information about people, places, politics and culture. Journalistic reports appear in different formats, including in newspapers, magazines, television shows, radio reports, podcasts, and websites.
Those who work as Journalists gather information about current affairs, through interviews and research, and present it to the public.
There are many different types of Journalists, and those working in the industry can develop specialisms that best suit them. For example, perhaps you see yourself working as a Foreign Correspondent, a magazine Feature Writer, or a Celebrity Interviewer.
The academic study of Journalism aims to provide students with the skills needed to work in this competitive field. A degree in Journalism will teach you how to research information, as well as how to write news stories and features, and you will also learn multimedia skills, such as how to produce photography and video. On top of this, you’ll learn about Media Law, Politics, Data Journalism, and how to work with press officers and organisations.
Many Journalism courses place a heavy emphasis on the practical skills needed to do the job, giving you the confidence to do seemingly daunting tasks like approach people, ask questions, and write pieces that not everyone will agree with or like.
If you think a degree in Journalism is all about writing, think again. A degree in this subject will be varied and cover a range of topics. Some modules you might cover as part of an undergraduate or postgraduate Journalism degree include:
You don’t need to have a degree to become a Journalist. However, a degree can help you to stand out to employers. It can also teach you the wide variety of skills needed to work in the field, and connect you with others working in the industry.
Journalism is highly competitive, especially if you want to work for large media outlets. A formal education is not the only factor that will secure you a sought-after role, but it will probably help.
A Journalism degree, especially at postgraduate level, can also give you a wide network of professional contacts. This includes your course lecturers and their contacts, but most importantly all of your fellow students, who also want to go on to work as Journalists and could end up as your colleagues.
It’s up to you to consider whether you feel embarking a Journalism degree is worth it, but many feel studying the subject can give you valuable skills.
You can study journalism as either a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. But you don’t need to study Journalism at both levels. An undergraduate degree will be longer and might cover a broader range of topics.
A Master’s course might be more practical and focus on helping you to get your foot in the door of the industry if you have a background in another field. Many Journalists study a different degree first and then study a Journalism Master’s after that.
In theory you can study a Journalism Master’s after any undergraduate degree, but popular undergraduate courses which could compliment a Journalism Masters include Politics, History, Economics, International Relations, or Foreign Languages.
Studying Journalism abroad could help you to stand out in a competitive industry. It shows that you are independent and able to navigate a new culture. If you study in a different country it also opens you up to new perspectives, and helps you to improve your language skills - whether that’s English, or local languages, if you’re not in an English-speaking country.
Studying Journalism abroad can be a particularly good idea if you are interested in becoming a Foreign Correspondent. Foreign Correspondents live abroad and report on the country they live in for newspapers or news sites back home.
How the work looks will be different depending on where you are based - some Foreign Correspondents will work as War Correspondents, for example, while others may spend more time reporting on politics, or on the local tourism industry.
If this type of work appeals to you then it might be a good idea to study abroad, as this can give you the opportunity to live and study in another country and open you up to jobs there.
Journalism can be an exciting and rewarding career - but it’s not for everyone. Some of the skills good Journalists have include:
If you work as a Journalist, you’ll also need to meet tight deadlines, build relationships with contacts, and conduct interviews. But if that sounds daunting, don’t worry. Many people develop these skills on the job and a degree in Journalism will help to build them.
Many Journalists are drawn to the profession because they’re interested in news and current affairs. They may be passionate about a particular issue, or issues, and want to play a part in improving the world around them.
If this sounds like you, then perhaps Journalism could be a good career for you. However, be warned - it’s not a standard 9-5 job. You may have to work at odd hours to cover breaking news as it happens and to meet tight deadlines. It’s also not the most well paid career and can be competitive and stressful.
Some people may benefit from keeping information hidden. So some stories take a degree of boldness and bravery to investigate and report on. Journalism can even be a dangerous career in some parts of the world.
To many people this might sound like more hassle than it’s worth. However, there are a lot of different types of Journalist, so don’t be put off too quickly.
Not every Journalist is the same. Here are a few of the different types of roles you could have as a Journalist working in the media industry:
Getting writing experience - or multimedia experience, if that’s what you’re interested in - is crucial. You’ll need it to snag a place on a Master’s course and you’ll almost certainly need it to secure a sought-after role in Journalism. Work experience can also be a way to help fund your studies and to earn a living while you are on the course.
There are lots of different ways to gain experience. For example, you could:
A degree in Communication Studies may have some similarities to a Journalism course. Both will focus on the media, and on writing and producing reports. However, Communication Studies is not explicitly designed to train people to be Journalists. A communications degree may also cover advertising and technical communication, as well as journalistic writing.
A degree in PR and Corporate Communication is also similar, but the focus is on corporate communications and public relations, rather than the practice of working as a Journalist. Graduates might go on to work for an agency, or in-house for a company or organisation, and will work with Journalists, but not as Journalists themselves.
A degree in Media Studies will look at the media more broadly, covering these different elements, but is often less focused on learning the practical skills needed to work as either a Journalist or a Public Relations professional.
Journalism can be a rewarding and interesting career. As a Journalist you could meet lots of different and inspiring people, ask questions you’ve always wanted to know, and produce your own articles, features, videos, or reports.
Here are some of the best reasons to pursue a degree in Journalism: