Develop a wider vision. Designed with photojournalists and documentary photographers in mind, the MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography course can 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.

Essexland, Lucy Sparks
Lucy Sparks

The Next Generation: MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography final show featured on the BBC's Viewfinder blog.

The Forgotten Soldiers by Jason Jia, 2012

The Forgotten Soldiers by Jason Jia, 2012

Facts

Course Leader

Paul Lowe

Course Location

London College of Communication
Elephant & Castle

Study LevelPostgraduate
Study ModeFull time
Course Length1 year full time (45 weeks)
Home/EU Fee

£7,500 (Full Time). £1,000 discount available to Home/EU students successfully awarded a UAL BA, FdA, PgCert or PgDip.

Course fees may be paid in instalments

A range of scholarships, bursaries and awards are available to postgraduate students at University of the Arts London.For more information visit the Postgraduate Funding page.

International Fee

£15,180 (Full Time) Course fees may be paid in instalments

A range of scholarships, bursaries and awards are available to postgraduate students at University of the Arts London.For more information visit the Postgraduate Funding page.

Start DateJanuary 2015
Application Route

Direct to College

Application DeadlineWe accept Postgraduate course applications on a rolling basis, so there are no set deadlines to apply.

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, gallery exhibitions, books, television, web, CD-based productions and other media.

To see examples of work produced by recent students from this course visit the Home Exhibition online on the Guardian website.

This course is taught within the School of Media

This course is also taught in a part-time, online mode.

What students say about the course

"For me photography is a door to new experiences, places and people. By the end of the year the way I saw the world had changed."

"It may sound unbelievable but this was probably the most enjoyable year of my life - hard work and challenging but life changing."

"This course was so fast paced and so 'skin of your teeth', that getting out into the real world felt natural and familiar. The focus is squarely on the things that really make great photographers - what's going on in your mind, how you see things, developing ideas for stories, gaining access to situations and places, critical sessions with expert mentors, editing your own work and a heavy amount of practical, on-the-job picture making. The challenge was formidable, always forcing me to fight to stay two steps ahead of what I thought I could achieve. As a result, I achieved more than I thought I would, both during the course and since. Within a short while of finishing the course, I worked on a three-week, major international news story for Virgin Atlantic and was surprised by my own ability to take it in my stride - something which I put down to the real-world training I received from some of the best people in the industry."

Structure

Phase 1

  • Photojournalism Practice
  • History of Photojournalism and Documentary Photography

In the first week, there will be an induction programme in which you will:

  • become familiar with the course structure
  • meet the teaching staff and your fellow students
  • meet representatives from student and academic bodies including representatives of the Student Union, Student Services and Learning Resources
  • become familiar with the geography and structure of the college with tours of the library and resources
  • become familiar with PGNET, delivered through the software, Blackboard

In Photojournalism Practice, 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.

The unit 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.

Phase 2

  • Documentary Practice with Research Methods
  • Critical Perspectives on Photojournalism and Documentary Photography

The unit Documentary Practice 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.

In the unit Critical Perspectives on Photojournalism and Documentary Photography you will explore a range of social, cultural and ethical issues that face contemporary photojournalism and documentary photography, and develop a critical awareness of the relationship between photography and the wider world, including issues of representation, the law, ethics and the commercial environment. You will also examine the context of photojournalism in terms of media ownership, structures and markets. You will undertake a self directed research project as part of a larger group research collaboration on a theme relevant to the concerns of the course.

Phase 3

Major Project

This final Phase 3 of the MA aims to consolidate your learning experience of the previous units through the completion of a Major Project. This will involve both the production of a major body of documentary/photojournalistic work and a 5000 word related self-reflective, critical and evaluative report. Your major project will be accompanied by a detailed proposal that will explain the rationale behind the project and its intended audience, as well as a detailed budget and timescale. Full captions and supporting text will also be necessary. The final form of the work is flexible, although many students will present a portfolio of images as prints, some may use a multimedia presentation, and others may present the work in the form of a book dummy or exhibition. Your related report must reflect academic rigour and a critical and scholarly approach.

During Phase 3 you will also be expected to engage in a process of self-evaluation and peer review in order to deepen your understanding of the role of documentary photography in relation to a wider social context. You will be expected to participate in peer-review sessions to facilitate your learning process and the learning process of others. Although these sessions are not assessed, it is anticipated that they will play a developmental role in the learning process towards your final submission.

Note that the majority of students produce the work for the Major Project during the summer period, this means that they work independently of the tutors during much of this time, so they must be self reliant and well prepared in advance for this part of the project. The final term serves mainly to edit and produce the final body of work for submission.

During this Phase there will also be an ongoing series of lectures and workshops that will prepare you for entry into the marketplace. These will be given by visiting speakers from the industry, and will cover aspects of business planning and costing, media law, self-promotion, book publishing and exhibitions, digital photography, editorial design and layout and other related topics.

The intention of the Major Project is that it should reflect your own interests and support your career development. For the duration of the project, you will be assigned a supervisor/mentor who will support you in the planning, organising, implementation, editing, presentation and writing up of this substantial and focused work.

Staff

You will be taught by a team of highly experienced professionals that includes visiting tutors who are successful practitioners are the forefront of the profession. The 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.

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.

Careers

The track record for this course is excellent. For many years, graduates have had considerable success at the UK student documentary photography prizes. Alumni of the course are working around the world for leading photographic agencies, freelancing for the world's leading editorial publications and exhibiting internationally. At least 12 books have been published by former 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. Student Enterprise and Employability (SEE) are dedicated to helping you build up work-relevant skills, knowledge, experience and networks throughout your time here. You will also benefit from our many relationships with industry, which give our students exclusive opportunities and access to networks and funding.

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.

Find out more about Student Jobs and Careers

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 AP(E)L system.

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 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.

Language requirements (International/EU)

  • International and EU students: In the case of applicants whose first language is not English, then IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) is required.
  • 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 International Applications page.
  • International Applicants, please visit our International Applications page for further details regarding International Admissions.

Portfolio advice

On application, you will provide a portfolio of photographic work of between 25 and 30 photographs of a documentary or journalistic nature on a related theme that shows evidence of an ability to work on a project over a sustained period of time and in an intimate and involved way.

All applicants will be expected to submit an electronic portfolio on CD or via a website with their application form. This should include a maximum of six projects and supporting material as described above. These should be clearly annotated and organised.

Key Subjects

Graduates of all discipline may apply, although most students have a background in Arts and Humanities subjects.

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.

Important

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

Vice-Chancellor's Scholarship

£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.

Any questions? Please email funding@arts.ac.uk or visit Postgraduate Funding page.

How to Apply

Application route

We accept Postgraduate course applications on a rolling basis, so there are no set deadlines to apply.

In order to assess your suitability for interview, please fill in the LCC Application form (as below). We also ask you to supply a portfolio of between 25 and 30 photographs - preferably showing the ability to work on an extended series of images, on a related theme, either on a CD as low-res images (1-3MB) or as prints (inkjets are sufficient).

At interview you will be asked to present your portfolio of photographic work and two story proposals. Relevant professional experience or work experience in the industry is increasingly important. You are advised to apply as early as possible to ensure your place on the course.

UK/EU Applicants

Apply direct to the College using the Postgraduate Application Form:

Postgraduate UK/EU Student Application Form (PDF - 4.15MB)

UK/EU applications should be sent to:
Postgraduate Admissions, Central Administration Office
5th Floor Tower Block
London College of Communication 
Elephant & Castle 
London, SE1 6SB

Further information: Find out more information about applying to UAL, Open Days, Tuition Fees and Accommodation visit the Study at UAL pages.

International Applicants

Apply directly to the College using the International Application form

Postgraduate International Application Form (PDF - 189KB) 

International applications should be sent to:
LCC International Admissions Team
College Academic Registry
London College of Communication
Elephant & Castle 
London, SE1 6SB

Please ensure that you include your full postal address in any emails.

Further information: For help with visa requirements, housing, tuition fees and language requirements visit the University's International section.

Open Days and Tours

Open Days are a great way to find out more about LCC and our courses. You'll get to meet tutors, speak to students who are already here, and find out more about what we have in terms of facilities. Alternatively, If you’re already thinking of joining us, or want to see more, our team in the Information Centre give guided tours of the College. Visit the open days page to book your place.

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.

Make an enquiry

Course News