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MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography

College
LCC
Start date
September 2019
Course length
1 year 3 months full-time (45 weeks across a four-term model)

Course summary

Develop a wider vision. Designed with photojournalists and documentary photographers in mind, the MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography course will help you to expand your practice and challenge the potential of the medium.

About this course

You will learn through a series of photographic assignments, as well as developing your own projects and areas of special interest that build towards your major project. This takes place within the framework of the history and development of the medium, together with critical, ethical and theoretical contexts.

Graduates of this course have won numerous awards, including the World Press Photo (Daily Life, singles category) and the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize.

MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography is taught in both full-time and part-time/online modes.

Open evenings

The next Open Evening for this course is Thursday 15 November.

Book your place

Student work

Interview with Stephanie Rose Wood

Stephanie talks us through her work in the LCC Postgraduate Shows 2016

Interview with Paola Paredes

Paola talks us through her work in the LCC Postgraduate Shows 2016

Latest news

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Jeroen Oerlemans: A tribute

LCC was extremely saddened to hear of the death in Libya of alumnus Jeroen Oerlemans on Sunday 2 October. Professor of Documentary Photography, Patric […]

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 details

MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography is a practical, cutting-edge masters course with an international reputation, designed for aspiring photojournalists and documentary photographers.

Photojournalists and documentary photographers explore and record the 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, digital and other media.

Course units

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

Units summary:

  • 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

Units summary:

  • 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

Units summary:

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

Autumn, Term Four

Units summary:

  • 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:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Group Work

Assessment methods

  • Portfolio
  • Essay
  • Critical Reports
  • Research Papers
  • Documentary and Photojournalistic Projects

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.

Webpage updates

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.

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

Lecturer, MA and BA (Hons) Photojournalism and Documentary Photography

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

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.

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.

Apply now

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

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.


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

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.

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.

Deferrals

Deferring an offer

If you are offered a place for 2019/20 but wish to defer to 2020/21, 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 2018/19 for entry in 2020/21)

Home/EU applicants are permitted to make a deferred application. International applicants are not permitted to make a deferred application.

Fees & Funding

Home / EU fee

£10,890 (fees 2019/20, full-time)

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount

Course fees may be paid in instalments

International fee

£19,930 (fees 2019/20, 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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