• CollegeLCC
  • Start dateSeptember 2018
  • Course length2 years (60 weeks across a six-term model)

MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography (Part Time/ Online Mode)

An innovative and internationally renowned course, designed for photojournalists and documentary photographers who wish to develop a wider vision of the practice and potential of the medium.

About this course

MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography is taught in both full-time and part-time/online modes.

You will learn through a series of photographic assignments, as well as developing your own projects and areas of special interest, that build towards your major project. This takes place within the framework of the history and development of the medium, together with critical, ethical and theoretical contexts.

Graduates of this course have won numerous awards, including the World Press Photo (Daily Life, singles category) and the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize. 

Student work

Monica Alcazar Duarte - from series Your Photographs Could Be Used By Drug Dealers
Image by Monica Alcazar Duarte
Monica Alcazar-Duarte
Monica Alcazar-Duarte

MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography work featured on the BBC Viewfinder

Gunta Podna
Gunta Podna
I-Carbonai by Joshua Hughes 2013

I-Carbonai by Joshua Hughes 2013

Content and structure

A practical, cutting-edge masters course with an international reputation, designed for aspiring photojournalists and documentary photographers.

Photojournalists and documentary photographers explore and record human experience. Beginning with Henri Cartier-Bresson (regarded as the father of modern photojournalism), they have recorded significant moments in history, documented unfolding news and created images that have gained iconic status. Central to their work is the telling of a story through images.

This internationally-recognised course is aimed at people who want to pursue a career in photojournalism or documentary photography. The aim is to equip students with a thorough grounding in the discipline, whether through film or digitally-based photography. You will follow a rigorous programme of photographic assignments, as well as initiating and developing your own projects and areas of special interest.

All this takes place within the framework of the history and development of the medium, together with critical ethical and theoretical contexts. You will be encouraged to develop a wider vision of the practice and potential of the medium through exploration of the uses of documentary and reportage photography in magazines, portfolios, exhibitions, books, television, online and other multimedia areas.

This course is taught within the Media School.

Course units

Each course is divided into units, which are credit-rated. The minimum unit size is 20 credits. The MA course structure involves six units, totalling 180 credits.

Year One

Autumn, Term One

Units summary:

  • Photojournalism Practice (40 credits)
  • History of Photojournalism and Documentary Photography (20 credits)

In the first week, you’ll take part in an online induction programme, using web conferencing, in which you will:

  • Become familiar with the course structure,
  • Be introduced to the teaching staff and your fellow students,
  • Access information about the Student Union, Student Services and Learning Resources,
  • Become familiar with PGNET, delivered through the software Moodle.

In the Photojournalism Practice unit you will examine the theoretical, methodological and practical frameworks necessary for the research and production of successful photo essays. The unit will explore the technical, aesthetic and journalistic aspects of the photo essay, including the generation of ideas, research, shooting, picture editing and caption writing. Particular emphasis will be placed on developing a news sense of what ‘makes’ a story, and on the application of multimedia techniques in narrative storytelling.

History of Photojournalism and Documentary Photography traces and analyses the development and historical context of photojournalism and documentary photography, identifying the major practitioners and movements and paying particular attention to their methodologies. The production, distribution and reception of contemporary photojournalism will be contextualised within a historical framework that takes account of social, political, cultural and economic factors.

Spring, Term Two

Units summary:

  • Photojournalism Practice (continued)
  • History of Photojournalism and Documentary Photography (continued)

Summer, Term Three

Units summary:

  • Documentary Practice with Research Methods (40 credits)
  • Collaborative Unit (20 credits)

The unit Documentary Practice with Research Methods further develops your knowledge of the methodology of documentary and photojournalistic production, culminating in the production of larger scale photo essays. This is underpinned by an emphasis on research principles, strategies and methods and their application to a photojournalism/documentary context.

Year Two

Autumn, Term One

Units summary:

  • Documentary Practice with Research Methods (continued) 
  • Collaborative Unit (continued)

Spring, Term Two

Units summary:

  • Major Project (60 credits)

Major Project unit is an original self-directed major research project involving the development and production of a substantial body of photographic work, supported by a critical, analytical and evaluative report. You will also write a proposal and full captions to a professional standard. You will be expected to apply the methodologies developed on the course, and demonstrate evidence of a mature and considered personal vision.

Summer, Term Three

Units summary:

  • Major Project (continued) 

If you are unable to continue or decide to exit the course, there are two possible exit awards. A Postgraduate Certificate will be awarded on successful completion of the first 60 credits and a Postgraduate Diploma will be awarded on successful completion of the first 120 credits.

Staff

Course Leader

Paul Lowe

Professor of Documentary Photography

Professor Patrick Sutherland

Other tutors on the course have included

Homer Sykes, Judah Passow, Adam Broomberg, Oliver Chanarin, Tom Hunter, Jocelyn Bain Hogg, Felicia Webb and Brigitte Lardinois.

How to apply

We ask all applicants to complete an online application and upload additional digital items, via the Apply now link, below. Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the course Entry Requirements section to learn about the application process and additional the items you would also need to supply. 

All applications will be considered by the course team who will consider key elements when making a decision on your suitability to join the course:

  • Firstly they will look at your qualifications and transcript (or projected results)
  • Secondly, they will review your personal statement, portfolio, and project proposal

There is no requirement for an academic or professional reference.

REQUIRED INFORMATION FOR ALL POSTGRADUATE COURSE APPLICATIONS

You will need to enter the following information in the online application:

  • Personal details (including full name; date of birth; nationality; permanent address and English language level)
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history
  • CV
  • Personal statement

Before submitting your application, you will need to agree to the terms and conditions for how we process your data – these are explained in the application form. Once you have submitted the online application, we will send you a confirmation email.

Please note, if you’re an international applicant we will ask you for copies of certain documents (for example, English language qualification/certificate and copies of any previous UK study visas).

EXTRA INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR APPLICATIONS TO THIS COURSE

You will need to supply:

  • Portfolio
  • Study proposal/project proposal

After you have submitted your application, the course leader will then review your work, may invite you to interview or interview you via Skype, and will then make a decision on your application.

The admissions team will be in touch soon after that to let you know the outcome, and to guide you through the next steps.

START YOUR APPLICATION NOW

Applications are accepted and offers made, throughout the year. Early application is advised.

Apply now

The online application can be saved as you fill it out, so you don’t need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you press submit.

As you progress through the application process we will send you emails with important information, so do check your inbox regularly (and junk folder, just in case).

Entry requirements

The course team welcomes applicants from a broad range of backgrounds, from all over the world. MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography attracts students who apply direct from an Honours degree course, or a professional or academic qualification recognised as equivalent to an Honours degree, or those with other, equivalent qualifications.

Graduates of all disciplines may apply, although most students have a background in Arts and Humanities. You must be socially aware, inquisitive, self-motivated and passionate about a career in photojournalism or documentary photography. Relevant professional experience or work experience in the industry is increasingly important.

Candidates without a first degree can be accepted onto the course if they can demonstrate past experience equivalent to a first degree, such as professional experience. This is assessed as a learning process and tutors will evaluate that experience for currency, validity, quality and sufficiency.

Educational level may be demonstrated by:

  • Honours degree (named above);
  • Possession of equivalent qualifications;
  • Prior experiential learning, the outcome of which can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required;
  • Or a combination of formal qualifications and experiential learning which, taken together, can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required. 

Language requirements (International/EU)

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language, we strongly recommend you let us know your English language test score in your application. If you have booked a test or are awaiting your results, please indicate this in your application. When asked to upload a CV as part of your application, please include any information about your English test score. 

  • IELTS 6.5, with 5.5 in each four skills is required.
  • If your first language is not English, you can check you have achieved the correct IELTS level in English on the Language Requirements page.

For further details regarding international admissions and advice please visit the International Applications page.

Selection Criteria

Offers will be made based on the following selection criteria, which applicants are expected to demonstrate:

  • Evidence of prior knowledge and/or experience of Photography that would indicate potential to successfully complete the programme of study
  • Social awareness, inquisitiveness and passion about a career in photojournalism or documentary photography
  • An ability to work on one or more projects over a sustained period of time and in an intimate and involved way (Portfolio)
  • A journalistic and documentary awareness and an understanding of research and practice methodologies and a realistic idea of what makes a strong project (Project ideas)

CV

Please provide a CV detailing your education, qualifications and any relevant work or voluntary experience. If English is not your first language it is important that you also include in your CV details of your most recent English language test score.

Personal statement advice

You will be asked to complete a personal statement describing why you want to study on MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography. Candidates will be expected to demonstrate critical knowledge of and enthusiasm for the subject, and a well-articulated rationale for joining the course.

The personal statement is a very important part of your application and should demonstrate to the course team that you are interested in the subject and that you have thought very carefully about why you wish to study on the course.

Ensure that your personal statement it is well written, clear and free of any spelling mistakes. It is your chance to impress the course team by showing a strong interest in the subject, demonstrating what you feel you would bring to the course, your appreciation of what the course can offer you and how you feel it might help you in the future. This can be demonstrated through work experience, previous studies and your personal experience.

Study Proposal/Project Proposal advice

All applicants will be expected to submit an outline their major project ideas. This should describe the area of interest - the field of study and the particular focus of their intended work across the year. This should include an overview of how you intend to go about producing the project - the methodology.

It is important to recognise that these ideas will inevitably develop and change across the year of study on the course and only serve to inform your application at this stage.

Portfolio advice (25-30 images)

All applicants will be expected to submit an electronic portfolio as part of their application, with all work clearly annotated and labelled. Your portfolio should include a maximum of six projects and supporting material, consisting of 25-30 photographs of a documentary or journalistic nature on a related theme. This should demonstrate evidence of an ability to work on a project over a sustained period of time and in an intimate and involved way.

If you have links to web projects or media assets, please note these in your CV.

Interview advice

Applicants are usually interviewed by the course team before a place can be offered. Interviews will take place at LCC, or via Skype/telephone. 

Deferrals

Deferring an offer

If you are offered a place for 2018/19 but wish to defer to 2019/20, information on how to do this and who to contact can be found in your offer letter. Additionally, International applicants should pay the deposit in order to defer. In all cases, deferred places will be held for one year.

Making a deferred application (during 2018/19 for entry in 2019/20)

Home/EU applicants are permitted to make a deferred application. International applicants are not permitted to make a deferred application.

What happens next?

Successful applicants will be guided through the rest of our admissions stages and towards enrolment on the course. 

Fees and funding

Home / EU fee

£4,750 (2018/19) entry.

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount

ELQ

Home/EU students whose chosen course is at a level equivalent to, or lower than, a qualification that they already hold, would will be charged the fees shown above, plus an additional £1,100 (called the Equivalent or Lower Qualifications (ELQ) fee). Students in receipt of Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) are exempt from ELQ fees and will pay the original fee, regardless of the highest qualification held. For enquiries relating to ELQ fees, please complete the course enquiry form.

International fee

£9,675 (2018/19) entry.

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.

Accommodation

Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Scholarships and awards

A range of scholarships, bursaries and awards are available to postgraduate students at UAL.

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,000 are now available for eligible UK and EU students. A full list of eligibility criteria and information on applying can be found on the postgraduate loans webpage.

Home / EU and International students

Funding opportunities available for this course:

Scholarships search

Career paths

The track record for this course is excellent. For many years, graduates from the full-time mode have dominated the UK student documentary photography prizes. Former students of the course are working around the world for leading photographic agencies, freelancing for the worlds leading editorial publications and exhibiting internationally. At least twelve books have been published by ex students.

UAL Jobs and Careers

UAL has a number of services and networks that hold regular workshops and careers fairs developed to help you establish and promote your career in the arts, design, or media. These include:

Careers and Employability are the University's dedicated careers and professional practice service. We help UAL students and graduates embark on their professional futures in the creative industries, find jobs, set up a business, and sell their work. We run events throughout the year on all aspects of the career journey.

Creative Opportunities jobs board helps graduates and students find job and internship opportunities and connect with organisations and companies in the creative sector. We post jobs and paid internships, part-time work, freelance contracts and full-time opportunities.