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MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography

College
LCC
Start date
September 2020
Course length
1 year 3 months full-time (45 weeks across a four-term model)

Uniting rigorous research with an expansive photographic practice, MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography will help you extend your photographic vision to create powerful stories that resonate with your audience and transcend disciplinary boundaries.

Why choose this course at London College of Communication

  • You will develop your photographic practice on a four-step journey: a series of weekly assignments to refine your image-making; engaging in collaborative practice and working to briefs; rethinking your creative practice; and finding your personal vision via in-depth research for your major project.
  • Benefit from our extensive visiting lecture programme by leading photographers, artists and curators.
  • Learn from a team of committed academic staff, all working in the industry as photographers, writers, curators.
  • Have access to a range of facilities such as darkrooms, studios, printing - guided by our expert technicians.
  • Join a supportive and inclusive cohort of students from different backgrounds, as well as benefiting from the experience of our award-winning graduates.

Open Evenings

The next Open Evening for this course will be on:

Thursday 14 November

Student work

Student Voices: Adam Razvi

Adam talks to us about his final year project Etic Empire.

Student Voices: Stephanie Rose Wood

Stephanie talks us through her work in the LCC Postgraduate Show.

Student Voices: Paola Paredes

Paola talks us through her work in the LCC Postgraduate Shows.

Course stories

Facilities

Media Photography

Photography students benefit from access to resources held in the Media Photography areas.

Red light indicating recording is taking place.
Image © Vladimir Molico

Lens-based and Audio-visual

Find out about the workspaces and studios that support Lens-Based and Audio-Visual practice.

The Digital Space, London College of Communication.
Image © Ana Escobar

The Digital Space

The Digital Space is an open-plan, creative hub with computers set up with specialist software.

Course overview

MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography is a vibrant Masters course with an international reputation, which brings together research and practice for photojournalists and documentary photographers who want to take their practice to the next level.

Photojournalists have explored and recorded the human experience since the inception of the medium, recording significant moments in history, documenting unfolding news and creating enduring images that can change people’s understanding of the world.

The documentary approach is a slower, more reflective form of practice, which adds deep research to synthesise the complex global conditions you wish to address.

Whether you want to situate your work in a newspaper, art gallery, book or a public space, MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography offers you the opportunity to develop your existing skills and expand your creative practice in order to do so.

With an emphasis on contemporary political and social issues, the course will engage you with the ethics of photographic practice as well as the aesthetics.

What to expect

The course aims to equip students with a thorough grounding in the discipline, through lectures, seminars, workshops, and crits. 

In the first term, you will follow a rigorous programme of photographic assignments, leading to initiating and developing your own projects and areas of special interest as the course progresses. 

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 writing as well as photographing for every submission, and learning how to speak about your work in a professional context.

Work experience and opportunities

During the second term, you will have the opportunity to collaborate with external organisations, working to real-time briefs, which will help you understand different contexts and potential uses for your work. 

Previous collaborative partners include human rights NGO Reprieve, environment litigators Plan B, and LCC’s innovative platform the Refugee Journalism Project.

At the same time, you will be encouraged to find creative freedom by exploring and rethinking your practice, perhaps by experimenting with photographic processes to expand your vision. Your practice will become more research-focused.

Before your major project, you will benefit from hostile environments training, as well as an introduction to multimedia and bookmaking practices. We will help you shape a specific critical and theoretical context for your project, to help you think, write and speak with confidence and clarity about your work. 

In the final term, you will be editing your major project and working towards the Postgraduate Shows, regularly attended by leading industry practitioners. Your final portfolios will be reviewed by renowned experts in the field of documentary photography: picture editors, curators, photographers and critics.

Course units

MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography is Full Time mode which runs for 45 weeks over 15 months. You will be expected to commit 40 hours per week to study.

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

Autumn, Term 1

Units summary:

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

In Photojournalism and Documentary Practice, you will examine the theoretical, methodological and practical frameworks necessary for the research and production of successful photo essays.

This unit explores 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, with an emphasis on their methodologies.

Spring, Term 2

Units summary:

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

The Collaborative Unit offers a unique opportunity to collaborate with external organisations and practitioners. Working to real-time briefs, this unit equips you with new methods of working, which will be invaluable post-graduation.

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, series or installations. This is underpinned by an emphasis on research principles, strategies and methods.

Summer, Term 3

Units summary:

  • Documentary Practice with Research Methods (continued)
  • Major Project (60 credits)

In this term, as well as completing the Documentary Practice unit, you will start to plan your major project, assisted by a variety of workshops by experienced practitioners in hostile environments, bookmaking and design, multimedia practice. You will create a rigorous, research-based critical framework for your project.

Autumn, Term 4

Units summary:

  • Major Project (continued)

This final phase of the course aims to consolidate your learning experience during 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 related 5000-word critical report.

The majority of students produce the work for the Major Project during the summer period, meaning you work independently during this time, so you must be self-reliant and well prepared in advance for this part of the project.

The final form of the work is flexible. Previous students have presented their work in the form of a book dummy or an exhibition, immersive website, a portfolio of images as prints, multimedia presentation or as a film. Your related report must reflect academic rigour and a critical approach.

The hallmark of our graduates is their ability to combine the personal with the political, in order that their stories touch their intended audience. You will work to refine a sensitive, ethically-minded, inclusive, passionate and intellectually rigorous body of work that demands to be seen.

Learning and teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Group Work

Assessment methods

  • Portfolio
  • Essay
  • Critical reports
  • Research papers
  • Documentary and photojournalistic projects

Staff

Max  Houghton

Max Houghton

Course Leader, MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography

Edmund  Clark

Edmund Clark

Senior Lecturer, MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography

Jennifer  Good

Jennifer Good

Acting Course Leader, BA (Hons) Photojournalism and Documentary Photography

Paul  Lowe

Paul Lowe

Course Leader, MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography (part-time/online mode)

Lewis  Bush

Lewis Bush

Acting Course Leader, MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography (Part-time/Online)

Associate Lecturers

Antonio Olmos

How to apply

Opportunities for all

We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and to supporting all of our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. If you have a disability (e.g. mobility difficulties, sensory impairments, medical or mental health conditions or Asperger’s syndrome) we strongly encourage you to contact us on disability@arts.ac.uk or +44 (0)20 7514 6156 so that we can plan the right support for you. All enquiries are treated confidentially. To find out more, visit our Disability & Dyslexia webpages.

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.

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.

APEL (Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning)

Applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered in exceptional cases. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

  • Related academic or work experience
  • The quality of the personal statement
  • A strong academic or other professional reference
  • OR a combination of these factors

Each application will be considered on its own merit but we cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

Language requirements

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 (or equivalent) is required, with a minimum of 5.5 in each of the four skills.
  • If your first language is not English, you can check you have achieved the correct IELTS level in English on the Language Requirements 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)

Making your application

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 postgraduate course applications

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following items and upload documents when completing 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
  • CV
  • Personal statement

Extra information required for applications to this course

  • Portfolio
  • Study proposal/project proposal

Start your application 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.

Apply now

Application deadline

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

Transfers

If you have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units/modules on your current postgraduate course at another institution and wish to continue your studies at London College of Communication, you can apply to transfer. The Admissions Tutor will consider applications on a case by case basis, subject to places being available. You must apply directly to the course via the course webpage as early as possible. Find out about our UAL External Student Transfer Policy which includes what you need to include in your application.

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 & 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 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.

Deferrals

Deferring an offer

If you are offered a place for 2020/21 but wish to defer to 2021/22, information on how to do this and who to contact can be found in your offer letter. Additionally, International applicants should pay the pre-payment in order to defer. In all cases, deferred places will be held for one year.

Making a deferred application (during 2019/20 for entry in 2021/22)

Home/EU applicants are permitted to make a deferred application.

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 postgraduate course applications

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following items and upload documents when completing 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
  • CV
  • Personal statement

Please note: we will ask you for copies of certain documents (for example, English language qualification/certificate and copies of any previous UK study visas).

For further advice on how to apply please visit the UAL International Application page.

Extra information required for applications to this course

  • Portfolio
  • Study proposal/project proposal

Start your application 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.

Alternatively, international applicants can apply through an overseas representative in your country.

Apply now

Application deadline

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

Transfers

If you have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units/modules on your current postgraduate course at another institution and wish to continue your studies at London College of Communication, you can apply to transfer. The Admissions Tutor will consider applications on a case by case basis, subject to places being available. You must apply directly to the course via the course webpage as early as possible. Find out about our UAL External Student Transfer Policy which includes what you need to include in your application.

Application deadline

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

Immigration history check

Whether you are applying through a UAL representative or direct application you will need to complete an Immigration History check. If you do not complete the Immigration History Check we will not be able to proceed with your application.

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 & 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 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.

Deferrals

Deferring an offer

If you are offered a place for 2020/21 but wish to defer to 2021/22, information on how to do this and who to contact can be found in your offer letter. Additionally, International applicants should pay the pre-payment in order to defer. In all cases, deferred places will be held for one year.

Making a deferred application (during 2019/20 for entry in 2021/22)

International applicants are not permitted to make a deferred application.


After you apply

Communicating with you

After you have successfully submitted your application online, you will receive an email confirming your application and providing your login details for the UAL Applicant Portal. Please log into the portal, as this is where we will send you important updates and requests, and you can contact us with any questions you may have about your application.

What happens next

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.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the outcome of your application through the UAL Applicant Portal.

Fees & Funding

Home / EU fee

£11,220 (fees 2020/21, full-time).

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount

Course fees may be paid in instalments

International fee

£22,920 (fees 2020/21, full-time)

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount

Course fees may be paid in instalments

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:

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

Career paths

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.

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