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

Please Note

Applications for 2016/17 entry are now closed and will re-open in Autumn 2016 for 2017/18 entry.

Develop a wider vision. Designed with photojournalists and documentary photographers in mind, MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography (part time/ online mode) will help you expand your practice and challenge the potential of the medium. Learn through a series of assignments as part of this internationally renowned programme, and join the graduates who've gone on to win the World Press Photo Daily Life Singles category and the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize.

We will update this webpage from time to time with new information as it becomes available. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact a member of the course team.

Additional costs: In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. We strongly suggest you read the information on our Additional Costs page. 

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

Funding opportunities

Find out about the range of funding options available for postgraduate study.

Use UAL's fees and funding calculator to estimate how much your studies may cost you in your first year, and what funding may be available to you.

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.


Course Leader

Paul Lowe and Max Houghton

Course Location


Study LevelPostgraduate
Study ModePart time
Course Length2 years (60 weeks across a seven-term model)
Home/EU Fee

2017/18: £4,250 per year

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount.
A range of scholarships, bursaries and awards are available to postgraduate students at UAL.

International Fee

2017/18: £8,960 per year

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount.
A range of scholarships, bursaries and awards are available to postgraduate students at UAL.


Start Date25 September 2017
Application Route

Applications for 2016/17 entry are now closed. Applications for 2017/18 entry will open in Autumn 2016.

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


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 1

Autumn, Term 1

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 an historical framework that takes account of social, political, cultural and economic factors.

Spring, Term 2

Units Summary:

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

Summer, Term 3

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 2

Autumn, Term 1

Units Summary:

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

Spring, Term 2

Units Summary:

  • Major Project (continued) 

Summer, Term 3

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.

Course Structure

The information outlined is an indicative structure of the course. Whilst we will aim to deliver the course as described on this page, there may be situations where it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, for example because of regulatory requirements or operational efficiencies, before or after enrolment. If this occurs, we will communicate all major changes to all applicants and students who have either applied or enrolled on the course.

Please note that due to staff research agreements or availability, not all of the optional modules listed may be available every year.

In addition, the provision of course options which depend upon the availability of specialist teaching, or on a placement at another institution, cannot be guaranteed. Please check this element of the course with the course team before making a decision to apply.


Course Leader, Paul Lowe, is an internationally respected photojournalist and documentary photographer, who has worked for many of the world's most prestigious magazines in a 20 year career during which he has covered news and current affairs stories all over the world, notably the fall of the Berlin Wall, the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, the Middle East and famines in Africa.

Professor Patrick Sutherland is well known for his extensive long term documentation of social issues, especially his unique exploration of the Tibetan community of Spiti, in which he has combined photographs and sound recordings of traditional music practices.

Other tutors on the course have included: Homer Sykes, Judah Passow, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Tom Hunter, Jocelyn Bain Hogg, Felicia Webb and Brigitte Lardinois.

Programme Director: Anne Williams


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.

Student Jobs and Careers at UAL

We know what it takes to be successful in your chosen field. Your tutors are professionals in their own right and understand what you need to help you establish your career. 

Careers and Employability is dedicated to helping students build up work-relevant skills, knowledge, experience and networks throughout your time here. 

Creative Opportunities is the UAL job and work placement website for students and graduates, advertising hundreds of creative opportunities each month. This includes ArtsTemps in-house recruitment agency, placing students and graduates in paid temping roles within the University.

UAL houses a number of organisations which promote aspects of career development in the arts and media, and which hold regular workshops and careers fairs. These include:

  • Own-It (intellectual property issues)
  • ArtQuest (career development resource for artists and designers)

Entry Requirements

Recruitment and admissions

An Honours degree in a relevant subject, or a professional or academic qualification recognised as equivalent to an Honours degree. If you do not have the required qualifications, but do have professional experience, you may be eligible to gain credit for previous learning and experience through the Accreditation of Prior and Experiential Learning (APEL) i.e. professional experience or a combination of courses and work experience.

Graduates of all disciplines may apply, although most students have a background in arts and humanities. You must be 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 professional or life experience equivalent to a first degree.
Your experience is assessed as a learning process and tutors will evaluate that experience for currency, validity, quality and sufficiency.

English Language requirements


  • IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) with a minimum of 5.5 in each skills is required on this course
  • If your first language is not English you should check you have achieved the correct IELTS level in English. Further information is available on the Language Requirements page

International Applicants, please visit our International Applications page for further details regarding International Admissions.

Selection Criteria

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:

  1. Firstly they will look at your qualifications and transcript (or projected results)
  2. Then they will scrutinise your personal statement, project proposal, portfolio and any previous work experience

Academic or professional reference are not required for this course.

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

  • Sufficient prior knowledge of and / or potential in photography to be able to successfully complete the programme of study and/ or have an academic or professional background in a relevant subject
  • 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). Note: project ideas are indicative only at the application stage

Personal Statement

In the application form 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

Portfolio advice (25-30 images)

All applicants will be expected to submit an electronic portfolio via a website, along with their application form, 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.

Project Proposal

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.


Should you be invited to interview subsequent to your application, you will need to present two story proposals/ideas, one for a small local project and one for a larger, more in depth one. We would be interested in how you think and research ideas and your commitment to following an in-depth approach.

Interviews will take place at LCC, or via Skype/telephone.


Home / EU and International students

£1000 fee discount for UAL alumni

All Home/EU University of the Arts London alumni students who are progressing onto a Masters course who have previously successfully completed an undergraduate level, PgDip or PgCert course at the University are normally entitled to a £1000 tuition fee discount. The alumni discount is not available for international students or for those in receipt of a Vice-Chancellor's Scholarship. Find out more.

Any questions? Please email or visit Postgraduate Funding page.

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