Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I was planning to finish my undergraduate degree at Newcastle University and go on to start a graduate scheme in a different city. However as soon as things started shutting down, so did job offers and interviews.
I knew I had to change my plans. I had always wanted to go back to university to do a master’s degree in the future, so it made sense to just continue with my studies when faced with no other solid option.
At that point, I didn’t yet have any relevant work experience or special achievements that made me stand out as a job applicant. Doing a master’s degree in journalism provided me with a great opportunity to give my CV a boost and try something new.
I decided I wanted to do a master’s degree before I decided what I actually wanted to study. All I knew was that after doing a BA in English, I wanted to find a subject that would allow me to further develop my skills in writing and researching.
When I was younger I had always wanted to be a writer of some sort, but it didn’t occur to me to pursue a degree in journalism until I realised that I would much rather write about fashion and lifestyle than Victorian literature.
Reading magazines and writing blogs during lockdown helped me find my areas of interest, but when it came to researching courses, the most important thing for me was to find a course with a variety of modules. As a newcomer to writing, I want to try everything before deciding on a niche.
Once I knew I wanted to do a Master’s in journalism, it didn’t take long to decide on a university. I knew I wanted to stay in the Tyne and Wear region, and going to Sunderland allowed me to have a change of scenery, whilst staying in my general local area.
Sunderland is a great coastal city with lots of beaches, city centre shopping and easy transport links to Newcastle. My course is based on the St Peter’s Campus, which looks onto the river and has lots of grassy banks to sit on on warm days.
The journalism course gives you the chance to develop all the core skills you need to work as a journalist. With modules including video journalism, media law and investigative reporting, you really get the opportunity to try your hand at lots of different elements of journalism.
The university is also home to the mediaHUB, a real-world newsroom where you can participate in news days alongside professional journalists.
During your time at Sunderland, you are encouraged to publish work on university’s online student publications for sport, fashion, entertainment and local news. This allows you to build up your portfolio whilst focusing more on your own interests.
As well as the great facilities and location, the other major benefit of studying MA journalism at the University of Sunderland is that the course is accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists.
Those holding this diploma are widely recognised as having a solid grounding in journalism. In fact, research showed that around 90% of those who passed their NCTJ with gold-standard are working in a journalism job within six months of graduating.
Many people who study journalism at undergraduate - or even postgraduate - level, then go on to take an NCTJ separately. By doing both at the same time, I will graduate with two separate qualifications, and be fully-equipped to go into a media job.
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