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 One
- Photojournalism and Documentary Practice (40 credits)
- History of Photojournalism and Documentary Photography (20 credits)
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
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 a historical framework that takes account of social, political, cultural and economic factors.
Spring, Term Two
- Collaborative Unit (20 credits)
- Documentary Practice with Research Methods (40 credits)
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.
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.
Summer, Term Three
- Documentary Practice with Research Methods (continued)
- Major Project (60 credits)
Autumn, Term Four
- Major Project (continued)
This final phase of the MA 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 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 the Major Project, 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.
The majority of students produce the work for the Major Project during the summer period, meaning they work independently from 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 covers topics such as 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.
Learning and teaching methods
The learning and teaching strategies used in the course are intended to focus you upon achieving the learning outcomes; further more they enable you to critically reflect upon your learning. Specifically, the learning and teaching strategies are designed to:
- Fulfil the aims and outcomes of the course
- Develop a range of subject related skills
- Develop key and transferable skills
- Promote your ability to be an independent learner.
A combination of the following will be used:
- Group Work
- Critical Reports
- Research Papers
- Documentary and Photojournalistic Projects
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.
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.