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MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography (online)

College
LCC
Start date
September 2020
Course length
2 years (60 weeks across a six-term model)

Applications closed

Applications for 2019/20 entry for this course are now closed. Applications for 2020/21 entry will open in Autumn 2019.

An innovative master’s course with an international reputation, designed for aspiring photojournalists and documentary photographers who wish to develop a wider vision of the practice and potential of the medium.

Why choose this course at London College of Communication

  • Learn practical, critical and theoretical skills and knowledge which will help you develop and emerge as an independent photographer.
  • Learn through discussions and talks from tutors and visiting lecturers representing the widest span of documentary and photojournalism practice.
  • Study flexibly through an innovative online programme.
  • Graduates have gone on to exhibit and publish internationally and win numerous awards for their work.

Open Evenings

The next Open Evening for this course will be on:

Thursday 14 November

Student work

Course stories

Facilities

Library Services at London College of Communication, LCC

Library Services

We have a whole range of collections, services and facilities to support your written and practice-based work.

Figures walking through the Atrium Gallery.
Image © Lewis Bush

Virtual Tour

Have a look around the places and spaces that make up LCC and get an idea of what it's like to be here.

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

Photojournalists and documentary photographers explore and record human experience. Beginning with figures like 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, or who are already active in these fields but wish to develop new skills and ideas.

The aim is to equip you with a thorough grounding in the discipline, whether through film or digitally-based photography.

You’ll follow a rigorous programme of photographic assignments, as well as initiating and developing your own projects examining topics and issues of special interest to you. All this takes place within the framework of the history and development of the medium, together with critical ethical and theoretical contexts.

You’ll be encouraged to develop a wider vision of the practice and potential of the medium through an exploration of the uses of documentary and reportage photography in magazines, portfolios, exhibitions, books, television, online and other multimedia areas.

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.

This course is taught within the Media School at LCC.

Mode of Study

MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography Online is in part-time mode which runs for 90 weeks over 2 academic years. You will be expected to commit 20 hours per week to study.

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.

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 unit 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 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)

Spring, Term 2

Units summary:

  • 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’ll be expected to apply the methodologies developed on the course, and demonstrate evidence of a mature and considered personal vision.

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.

Learning and teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Group work

Assessment methods

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

Staff

Lewis  Bush

Lewis Bush

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

Max  Houghton

Max Houghton

Course Leader, MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography

Jennifer  Good

Jennifer Good

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

Edmund  Clark

Edmund Clark

Senior Lecturer, MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography

Other regular tutors on the course have included:

Peter Fraser, Leonie Hampton, Jose Saramento, Morag Livingstone, Ian Denning, Ziyah Gafic

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.

For further details regarding international admissions and advice please visit the International Applications 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 and 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 and 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

Tuition fees for 2020/21: £5,610 per year. 

Please note that fees for second year of study could be subject to inflationary increase.

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount

International fee

Tuition fees for 2020/21: £11,460 per year.

Please note that fees for second year of study could be subject to inflationary increase.

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount

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 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.

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