MA Journalism and Media Communications with Placement Year

Professional Accreditations

This course is partnered with the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA), giving you access to networking and tailored speaker sessions, as well accreditation upon graduation. The University is also an Academic Member of the British Society of Magazine Editors which provides expert speakers and information on the latest trends in this area

PRCA logo

About the course

The MA Journalism and Media Communications with Placement Year is a two-year programme which includes a 36-week, full-time work placement. The course content is similar to the one-year MA, but you’ll take a long placement of 30 weeks or more and write your dissertation in the second year. A placement will help you gain valuable professional practice and enhance your understanding of media theory. Recent placements have included communications for a development agency in London and social media management in Hertfordshire. Students who do not pass the first year cannot progress to the long placement.

Throughout the course, you’ll benefit from our extensive links with the media industry including, membership of the Public Relations and Communications Association and educational membership of the British Society for Magazine Editors. You’ll feel inspired by our guest speakers. Previous talks have included the editor of Marie Claire, an investigative journalist from the BBC and head of a media agency. Plus, we’ll invite you to join our small ‘afternoon tea’ sessions with speakers twice a semester. You’ll be supported to find valuable work experience. Previous students have gained placements with the BBC, Sunday Times and a variety of PR agencies.

This course has a great track record of helping students achieve jobs in the industry. You’ll extend your knowledge and skills in the media. Plus, you’ll have the chance to meet students from around the world, form friendships and strengthen your international awareness.

You’ll analyse contemporary intellectual theories of media and communications. You’ll cross-examine the synergies between social media, PR and journalism, interrogate current media practices and convergence. Every step of the way, there’ll be a strong focus on your future employability. You’ll be taught by lecturers with extensive professional experience of journalism, PR, web design, media production and media research. Whatever your background, this MA will enhance your career by equipping you to operate effectively in a professional media environment.

There are three distinct pathways on the MA to provide to suit your aspirations and choice of career.

Whichever pathway you choose, you’ll gain valuable skills in practice and theoretical understanding of journalism, media and communications management. Our programme is flexible. Students normally choose their pathway when they apply but there is some flexibility to change in the first semester and you can also swap from the two year to one-year programme in the second semester.

Why choose this course?

  • you want to gain a broad range of communication and digital media skills
  • you want to feel inspired by expert lecturers widely experienced in the communications industry plus as a partner university with the prestigious Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA)
  • you’re excited to gain valuable networking skills and contacts. You’ll benefit from the experience of our expert speakers and gain current knowledge of the PR industry. Find out more about our speaker series, Media Matters.
  • you want to gain insights into emerging trends in the fast-changing digital media world. You want your skills to be valued by a wide range of media and related industries.

What will I study?

You’ll have weekly two-to-four-hour workshops for each module. Plus, there can be online activities too. You’ll be supported by regular one-to-one supervision by academics from the University’s Media Group.

Modules may change from year to year but are likely to include Corporate Communication, PR and Advertising; International Journalism Trends; Writing for Magazines; Sports Journalism; and Media Production as well as modules on research methodology. You also have a range of options for your final project. This can be a dissertation on a media subject of your choice, a short work placement, the one-year placement or a larger media research project, depending on your chosen route.

For Media Production you’ll create multimedia – podcasts, designs and promotional strategies – for online magazines. You’ll pitch and measure a campaign and use social media to promote your work. Writing for Magazines will give you the practical skills to write articles for online and print audiences. You’ll produce webinars on the business model of magazines. Plus, you’ll learn how social media and blogging are enhancing the magazine experience.

Our module Sports Journalism will give you a key understanding in the exciting practices of sports journalism, from interviewing top stars to reporting on breaking sports stories. You’ll also create news bulletins and write news features.

Two modules on research methods and critical and theoretical debates will equip you with advanced research skills and transferable communications skills. These include interviewing, identifying a story and building connections; vital skills for PR and Corporate Communication roles.

There is an additional Advanced Media Research (30 Credits) and the Media Project (60 Credits) instead of the dissertation or long placement. 

The year placement will allow you to work in the creative industries and develop your professional skills. The University’s Careers and Placement Service will help you apply for this one-year work placement. Previous graduates have worked for Sunday Times Travel, Euromoney and Cosmopolitan magazine.

All students gaining 60 credits in the first semester and an additional 60 credits in the following semester will be eligible for a work placement, but it cannot be guaranteed. The University’s Careers and Placement Service will help you apply for, and obtain, a work placement. For students with visa restrictions, the placement will need to be based in the UK.

Students will typically need to secure a placement by the end of April in order to process the necessary paperwork.

  • Level 7
    Module Credits Compulsory/optional
    Corporate Communication, PR and Advertising 30 Credits Compulsory
    Media Production 30 Credits Compulsory
    Research Methods 2: Advanced Research Skills 15 Credits Compulsory
    Media Dissertation 60 Credits Compulsory
    Research Methods 1: Critical and Theoretical Debates 15 Credits Compulsory
    Media Placement Year 0 Credits Compulsory
    Placement Assessment 0 Credits Compulsory
    Writing for Magazines 30 Credits Optional
    Sports Journalism 30 Credits Optional
  • Further course information

    Course fact sheets
    MA (SW) Journalism and Media Communications with Sandwich Placement Download
    Programme specifications
    MA Journalism and Media Communications Download
    Additional information

    Sandwich placement or study abroad year

    Mandatory

    Applications open to international and EU students

    Yes

    Choosing to enrol on the MA Journalism and Media Communications course was one of the best decisions I made after leaving university. Not only did it provide me with a further academic qualification but the course is designed in such a way as to ensure you gain "real working life" experience throughout. The skills I gained during the course most certainly made my application stand out from the crowd when applying for my first job and this is still the case three years on. I would highly recommend the course to anyone looking to enhance their knowledge and skill set.

    Claire Harris

    MA Journalism and Media Communications graduate

    Student experience

    At the University of Hertfordshire, we want to make sure your time studying with us is as stress-free and rewarding as possible. We offer a range of support services including; student wellbeing, academic support, accommodation and childcare to ensure that you make the most of your time at Herts and can focus on studying and having fun.

    Find out about how we support our students

    You can also read our student blogs to find out about life at Herts.

    Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, examinations may be replaced by an alternative form of assessment during the academic year 2021/2022. Please refer to the Programme Specification on these pages for further details.