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Documentary Journalism MA / PGDip

  • Level(s) of Study: Postgraduate taught
  • Start Date(s): September 2023
  • Duration: One year full-time
  • Study Mode(s): Full-time
  • Campus: City Campus
  • Entry Requirements:
    More information


  • 100% of NTU's research submitted to the 'Communication, Cultural & Media Studies, Library & Information Management' Unit of Assessment was rated world-leading or internationally excellent in terms of research impact - REF 2021.
  • Study in the industry standard Centre for Broadcasting and Journalism facility set in the heart of the city centre.

This course will prepare you to research and produce long-form documentary stories for online, radio and film. It includes all the steps of the process from research and production across multiplatforms, to making a pitch, the commissioning process, costing and budgets.

Industry speakers from Vice, BBC3, Panorama, and the world of podcasts regularly teach on the programme, along with specialist documentary camera people, archive researchers and experts on the business of
documentary production.


Find out what it's like to be a postgraduate journalism student at NTU

What you’ll study

You’ll take a multi-platform approach to documentary making, developing in-depth research methods and story-telling, along with practical skills in writing, broadcasting, and online and visual journalism.

You’ll be taught by our team of experienced media professionals as well as visiting documentary makers across all platforms and be guided through the commercial process of documentary making.

Student work

To view a range of student documentary work visit our website.


  • Documentary Journalism Skills and Digital Production (60 credit points) - This is a practical module which provides the essential skills you need to work in documentary journalism. These include research, interviewing, scripting and writing for different platforms. You will learn techniques of recording and editing audio and video, working with stills, online and multimedia. The module culminates in making a long-form video documentary.
  • Documentary Practice (20 credit points) - This module introduces you to the key concepts and genres of documentary journalism. It will provide you with the knowledge and understanding to critically evaluate documentaries across a range of genres and emerging platforms and will explore some of the ethical issues of documentary making. The module also examines the business of documentary production, looking at pitching and commissioning as well as new forms of funding and distribution. Part of this may be through our own production company.
  • Visual Journalism (20 credit points) - This module addresses the changing role of visual storytelling through an exploration of documentary photography and new forms of visual multimedia. You will be exposed to a range of multidisciplinary material and developing communication technologies, computing and software which enable an extraordinary range of visual stories to diverse audiences globally. You will be encouraged to find your own creative voice through critical analysis, research and practice-based skills.
  • Media Law and Ethics (20 credit points) - You will acquire a full understanding of the scope and effect of media law. You will be taught to recognise the danger areas in publication, evaluate risk and amend or eliminate content. You will gain an appreciation of the impact of reporting restrictions on the work of journalists as well as the legal considerations involved in investigative and covert filming.

Students taking the Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) route follow the same modules as those on the full MA with the exception of the 60-credit MA Multiplatform Project.

  • Multiplatform Project (MA route only) - This year-long project brings together skills and understanding gained over the entire course. It involves researching a topical issue and producing a 3,000-word research essay which feeds into an online multi-media feature on radio (12-15 minutes) or television (8-10 minutes). Work produced for this module in the past has gone on to win awards in student media competitions.

Don’t just take our word for it, hear from our students themselves

Student Profiles

Michael Wilkerson

Documentary Journalism

The MA really helped me finesse my skills and hone in on what I really wanted to do with my life.

Nolan Benson

Documentary Journalism

The MA Documentary course has really helped me to figure out what I want to do after university as well as allowing me to further develop the skills needed to get there.

Ashley Carter

Documentary Journalism

The facilities were probably the highlight of the entire course for me. The course was structured to give you the autonomy to go out and complete the work on your own, and having such a huge array of incredible equipment really added to that.

Jade Vowles

Documentary Journalism

Looking back at who I was before university and who I am now just shows how far I’ve come, and that is all down to the course I’ve done, the people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had at Trent.

Allan Njanji

I enjoyed the guest lecture sessions the most during the MA course. I have managed to stay in touch with some of these industry practitioners, who act as mentors on different aspects of my career progression.

How you’re taught

Study methods and assessment

Study methods include lectures, seminars, individual tutorials, screenings, production workshops, presentations and peer reviews, combined with a programme of visiting industry practitioners. You’ll be assessed by a mixture of portfolio work, essays and exams as well as producing a final project of a finished documentary of your choice.

You’ll undertake a minimum of three weeks of placements. Placement opportunities may include radio, television, interactive, or digital storytelling within a media concern of your choice. Activities may include research and development for a documentary in pre-production or shadowing a documentary editor in a facilities house.

This gives you a chance to work in a real-world environment with industry professionals. Students have the opportunity to work in a range of roles at the Sheffield Documentary Festival, the premier international documentary festival in the country.  Other possible placements include ITV and BBC platforms and Notts TV.


You'll use video cameras, audio recording equipment and DSLR cameras.  You'll learn to shoot video, and record top-quality audio as well as how to take and use photos to their best advantage.  You will also learn to edit both video and audio material using the Adobe suite of editing tools including Premiere Pro and Audition. Plus, you'll learn how to use the storytelling online platform,

Notts TV

MA Documentary Journalism students may have the chance to work with the station and take part in work placements.

Documentary Journalism Showcase

You will premiere your films at the Broadway Cinema, Nottingham in front of a select audience from the local film-making community. The showcase is entirely produced by you, the students, and forms the final part of your industry experience.

Learn a new language

Alongside your study, you also have the opportunity to learn another new language. The University Language Programme (ULP) is available to all students and gives you the option of learning a totally new language or improving the skills you already have. Learning a new language can enhance your communication skills, enrich your experience when travelling abroad and boost your career prospects. Find out more about the University Language Programme.

Further information

Expert teaching staff

All our staff are current or former media professionals with substantial industry experience.

Raj Shukla is the Course Leader for MA Documentary Journalism.  She has taught at NTU for five years and has a background in broadcast journalism having worked in newsrooms across the ITV regions. Her wide experience includes the roles of reporter, presenter, bulletin producer, news editor and radio news producer.

Lyn Champion is a senior BBC producer with hundreds of hours of network broadcast production credits, and five international awards for documentary. She has produced and edited 25 long-form documentaries for network radio, cinema, and film festivals. Lyn has 30 years of production experience and has taught documentary film and radio for ten years. She regularly executive produces documentary films and radio for the BBC and other concerns and supervises practice-based PhDs.

Amanda Ball is Senior Lecturer in Media Law at CBJ and has taught in further and higher education for over 20 years. Before starting on her full-time academic career, she worked as a freelance researcher and production assistant on BBC local radio. Amanda is the NCTJ’s principal examiner and is one of the NCTJ’s senior examiners in media law. She has extensive experience in delivering specialist training to media professionals and is an advisor to APComm, which represents police press officers. She has been an advisor on a number of textbooks in the fields of media law and public administration and is a regular commentator on media law matters.

Staff Profiles

Lyn Champion

Senior Lecturer

School of Arts & Humanities

Lyn Champion

Amanda Ball

Principal Lecturer

School of Arts & Humanities

Amanda teaches media law, ethics and regulation and public administration on both the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.

Raj Shukla

Senior Lecturer

School of Arts & Humanities

Raj Shukla

Careers and employability

The teaching team are all from the industry and has backgrounds in award-winning documentary production and reportage. Employability is a key focus of the course, and you will meet commissioning editors and documentary producers within the field. You will work with live commissioning briefs wherever possible and will be encouraged to pitch ideas to documentaries and other festivals during your course. The MA is designed to enhance your future career in documentary journalism across a range of platforms and outlets, terrestrial or online.

Recent graduates have gone on to the following roles:

Patrcyja Boryka - Producer/ Reporter BBC Northamptonshire, maker of Uganda to Northamptonshire - 50 Years On

Damien Ebanks - Owner of Ebanks Media

Nolan Benson - TV/ content producer/ director, The Media Group

Margarita Dreiling - Documentary producer/ Director, WaterBear

Ashley Carter - Editor of Left Lion magazine

Campus and facilities

Our award-winning range of journalism courses are based in the Centre for Broadcasting & Journalism, centrally placed on our City Campus. This multi-million pound development includes one of the largest student newsrooms in the UK, a fully functioning TV studio with production facilities and three radio studios. Find out more ...

Entry requirements

  • You will need a good UK honours degree (minimum 2.1) and enthusiasm for, or experience in documentary radio, film, reportage or multi media.
  • Applicants with a 2.2 and substantial experience will be considered.
  • A written test.
  • Applications from candidates with non-standard entry qualifications will be considered on an individual basis if they can demonstrate relevant professional experience.

    Written journalism test

    All applicants will be asked to submit two short (250 word) documentary proposals as part of the application. These will be judged against clear criteria that show an understanding of the documentary genre, and creative ideas for achievable projects.

    Recognition of Prior Learning

    NTU may admit a student with advanced standing beyond the beginning of a course, through an assessment of that student's prior learning, whether it is certificated or uncertificated. Our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy outlines the process and options available to these prospective students, such as recognising experiential learning or transferring to a similar course at another institution, otherwise known as credit transfer.

    All prospective students who wish to apply via Recognition of Prior Learning should initially contact the central Admissions and Enquiries Team who will be able to support you through the process.

  • You will need a good UK honours degree (minimum 2.1) and enthusiasm for, or experience in documentary radio, film, reportage or multi media.
  • Applicants with a 2.2 and substantial experience will be considered.
  • A written test will be required.

International qualifications

We accept qualifications from all over the world – check yours here:

Postgraduate preparation courses (Pre-Masters)

If you don’t yet meet our entry requirements, we offer Pre-Masters courses through our partner Nottingham Trent International College (NTIC), based on our City Campus:

English language entry requirements

You can meet our language requirements by successfully completing our pre-sessional English course for an agreed length of time, or by submitting the required grade in one of our accepted English language tests, such as IELTS:

Written journalism test

All journalism applicants will be asked to submit a written piece as part of their application. View written test. This will be judged against clear criteria. When assessing sample writing manuscripts we are looking for work of at least a satisfactory (pass) standard in terms of language, content, observation, structure and voice.

Would you like some advice on your study plans?

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for September 2023:


Full time Home (UK) tuition

MA Documentary Journalism


PGDip Documentary Journalism


Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there’s no need to feel anxious and confused about it. Please take a look at our postgraduates’ guide funding page for information about sourcing grants, bursaries and scholarships, and much more.

* Please note that if you are considering a part-time route that runs over more than one year, the tuition fee stated is for Year One of study. The course fee for Year Two is subject to annual review.

Fees may be subject to change.

Alumni Discount

We’re happy to be able to offer a 20% alumni discount to most current NTU students and recent NTU alumni. This discount is currently available for those starting an eligible postgraduate taught, postgraduate research or professional course.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service on +44 (0)115 848 2494.

Tuition fees for September 2023:


Full time International and EU tuition

MA Documentary Journalism


PGDip Documentary Journalism


Tuition fees are payable for each year that you are at the University. The level of tuition fees for the second and subsequent years of your postgraduate course may increase in line with inflation and as specified by the UK government.


We offer scholarships of up to 50% of your tuition fee. You can apply for your scholarship when you have an offer to study at NTU.

Living costs

Get advice on the cost of living as an international student in Nottingham and how to budget:

Paying fees

Find out about advanced payments, instalment plan options and how to make payments securely to the University:

Would you like some advice on your study plans?

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

How to apply

Ready to join us?

Just click the Apply button at the top of the page and follow our step-by-step guide. You can apply for this course throughout the year. Most of our postgraduate and professional courses are popular and fill up quickly though, so apply as soon as you can.

Writing your application

Be honest, thorough and persuasive in your application. Remember, we can only make a decision based on what you tell us. Make sure you include as much information as possible, including uploading evidence of results already achieved, as well as a personal statement.

Keeping up to date

After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process - so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

You can get more information and advice about applying to NTU in our postgraduates’ guide. Here you’ll find advice about how to write a good personal statement and much more. Good luck with your application!

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please contact us at Ask NTU or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200.

Apply online through our NTU applicant portal.

Application advice

Apply early so that you have enough time to prepare – processing times for Student visas can vary, for example.  After you've applied, we'll be sending you important emails throughout the application process – so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

Writing your personal statement

Be honest, thorough, and persuasive – we can only make a decision about your application based on what you tell us:

Would you like some advice on your study plans?

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

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