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

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.

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.

Facts

Course Leader

Paul Lowe and Max Houghton

Course Location

Online

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

£4,125 per year (2016/17 fees)

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

International Fee

£8,615 per year (2016/17 fees)

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

 

Start DateSeptember 2016
Term DatesSeptember 2016 - December 2017
Application Route

Direct to the College. See the How to Apply tab for details.

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

Content and Structure

Content

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 School of Media

Structure

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.

Staff

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

Careers

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) 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 our Support for International Students page.
  • International Applicants, please visit our International Applications page for further details regarding International Admissions.

Portfolio advice

All applicants will be expected to submit an electronic portfolio, on CD, memory stick, or 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.

Interview

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.

In addition: All candidates will be expected to outline their major project ideas in the application. 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.

Funding

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 funding@arts.ac.uk or visit Postgraduate Funding page.

How to Apply

You can apply for this course using our online application form – the link to this is below. Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the following details about the application process, including guidance on the extra information we will ask you to provide.

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

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

  • 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
  • Referee details (this course requires two).

Before you can submit the form, you’ll also need to agree to the terms and conditions for how we process your data – these are explained in the form.

Please note, if you’re an international applicant we will need to contact you separately to ask 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

Once you have submitted the form, you will receive a confirmation email that includes links to where you should submit the extra information we require for the selection process. 

Personal statement

Please say why you are applying for this course.

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.

Portfolio

All applicants will be expected to submit a digital portfolio, 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.

Please note, you can submit text and as many website links as you need to, but the portfolio form does not allow you to upload files.

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.

Start your application now

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

Apply now

The application form 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 submit the application form.

We will send you emails as you progress through the application process, so do check your inbox (and junk folder, just in case). These emails will contain important information about your application, and links to the online forms you should use to submit the extra information required.

Enquire about this course

If you haven’t found the information you’re looking for or want to ask us a question about this course, please fill out our enquiry form.

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