Universities and schools
There are many routes into journalism in the UK including degrees, Masters, diplomas, short courses and work experience. Schools of Journalism tend to offer short courses and postgraduate diplomas. Journalism departments and media and communication departments at UK universities provide hundreds of journalism programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate level. 75 universities offer over 400 undergraduate degrees which include Journalism in their titles. Hundreds of masters level journalism programmes are available.
Courses range from general journalism to specialised courses in multimedia, magazine, sports, music, broadcast and other specialised forms of journalism. Most BA Honours degrees are for a duration of 3 years and many, particularly those that are accredited, include a period of work experience in a news organisation. Masters and Postgraduate diplomas in journalism take between 9-12 months. Shorter 4 month courses are run by organisations such as the Press Association. The majority of journalism courses that intend to train ‘industry ready’ graduates are accredited by either the BJTC or the NCJT. Journalism education at UK universities varies in terms of the balance between theory and practice (vocational skills). Courses at Russell Group universities tend to provide a mix of research led theory with practice. Courses at newer universities tend to focus on developing practical skills.
A degree was not traditionally required to enter the journalism profession in the UK, but in line with worldwide trends there is an ‘academisation’ of journalism with 86 percent of journalists having an undergraduate degree. This rises to 98 percent of journalists who have entered the industry in the last 3 years. Only 41 percent have a degree in journalism although this rises to 64 percent of those who have entered the profession between 2010 and 2015. The larger news organisations operate their own recruitment and training programmes, with some offering apprenticeships. Some programmes actively seek to address issues of diversity within newsrooms or to provide media training aimed at community journalists.