Music Journalism BA(Hons) 2017-18

This course also available for 2018-19 entry

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Jess Softley

Jess talks about her time at University


About the course

Commentary about music is crowded with attitude, loaded with loyalties and weighed down with prejudice. Anyone can tweet or blog their opinion, simply adding to the noise. Our BA in Music Journalism will help you cut through the commotion, and establish yourself for an exciting career combining music and the media.

This course aims to provide you with a practical grounding in the styles and techniques of music journalism, from writing for the printed page to online articles, radio and video journalism and using a variety of social media platforms. You'll study the development of music genres, the music business and the controversies surrounding contemporary music, along with vital training in media law and ethics.

Teaching comes from experienced professionals at the forefront of their fields including writers, broadcasters, academics and researchers – staff who work for national newspapers and magazines.

You'll also research and write a dissertation on an aspect of the media industry most interesting to you, while final year option modules range from investigative reporting to looking at the latest innovations in journalism.

See what current Journalism student Jess has to say about her course.

Course scholarships available – up to £3000. More details.

UCAS code:

Start date:
18 / 09 / 2017


3 years full-time
4 years inc. placement year

Course type:

Full Time inc. placement year

Course content

Year 1

Writing for the Media

This module introduces you to a range of media and professional writing practices. You will be guided to develop transferable skills for a broad range of media writing. You will analyse material in newspapers, magazines, broadcast outlets and online publications and through progressive writing activities develop and hone your journalistic skills. The module will introduce you to the relationship between the media and the law, and the range of legal provisions and ethical issues which affect media writing practices. You'll be assessed on a series of articles you'll write during the year.

Media and Society

This module offers you training in the academic skills required to be able to work in an undergraduate environment, and to reflect on your learning. In the process it presents you with an overview of various contemporary social issues and possible theoretical approaches to the social role of the mass media. There are two assessed essays.

Music Radio

This module seeks to develop your skills within, and understanding of, music radio so that you will be able to identify and appreciate major elements of both music-based and speech-based radio. You will develop your radio production skills and will be able to compile examples of your own journalistic work in this field. The varied assessments include an interview, a radio station programme schedule, an in-depth radio report, and a 30-minute programme which you'll produce and present as part of a group.

Music Genres

The module will enable you to develop an understanding and appreciation of music genres by examining a selection of important examples of music from different periods and traditions, through the use of video, documentaries and recordings. You will consider their historical significance in terms of their origin, content and structure; and in relation to their broader cultural and social influences. Assessment is through an essay and a presentation.

Journalism Technologies

You almost certainly use a wide range of social media tools in your own life already, and this module will give you the knowledge to turn that into a more professional understanding of digital media technologies. You'll learn the practical skills to use social and online tools in journalism. You'll explore a range of social media platforms and examine their impact on journalism and the wider media. Assessment is through an online learning log, an analysis of how news outlets use online and social tools, and an original piece of multimedia journalism of your own.

Introduction to Public Relations

The module provides you with an introduction to public relations, exploring how it shapes and influences the media through a detailed analysis of print and broadcast news. You'll be introduced to the history of PR and key theoretical models. You will also explore the difference between PR, advertising and marketing. In workshops you will develop practical skills giving you an understanding of the basic operations of the industry. Assessment is through an analytical log, a series of press releases which you'll write, and a group presentation.

Year 2

Core modules:

Writing About Music

Through careful analysis of selected examples of source material, you will develop an awareness of the structures, techniques, styles and skills of music journalistic writing. You will also develop the journalistic skills of planning, research and writing within clear guidelines, by way of a series of practical exercises in which you will produce a series of news, reviews and feature articles aimed at print and online markets and publications. You'll be assessed on a series of news and feature articles.

Music: Business and Promotions

You will focus in this module on how the music industry and related public relations and promotional campaigns operate. You will develop your creative music and PR writing through a variety of practical exercises for media outlets. You will be involved in the planning and management of a PR and promotions campaign. Online, social media and offline sources will be explored with a focus on the application of PR techniques for events and promotions. You'll be assessed through an essay and a portfolio of material relating to your PR campaign.

Issues in Music

The module examines key controversial issues in music and music culture. It seeks to offer you a critical awareness of the ways in which music intersects with broader social, cultural and political themes. Topics can include issues of ethnicity, gender and sexuality, as well as pirate radio, rave culture, bootleg music and file sharing. Assessment is through an essay and an in-class test.

Video Journalism

This module builds on the skills of written and radio journalism learned in the first year, and relates them to the production of video journalism. You'll learn to use professional video cameras, sound equipment and editing software to produce various video news formats, suitable for digital platforms. You'll be assessed through a series of video pieces during the year, as well as a reflective report.

Working in the Media

This module aims to improve your employability by introducing you to a range of journalism-related employment opportunities, the professional requirements of the industry, and the skills to effectively apply for jobs. It enables you to experience contact with professionals from the communications and media industries (you are encouraged to network in order to obtain work placements), to acquire a professional outlook, and to understand and develop the skills and qualities needed to succeed professionally. For some lectures, this module will use speakers from industry to explain their roles and professional practice, while seminars will help you to identify and develop the interpersonal skills and professional skills required in the world of work, including verbal, non-verbal and written communication skills. You will learn how to reflect on your own skills and qualities, and how to highlight these in an appropriate way in job applications and CVs and in developing an effective social media profile. You'll be assessed through an individual personal development portfolio.

Option modules:

One option from a list which may include-

Magazine Design and Production

This is your chance to develop your magazine skills by spotting a gap in the market for a new publication and producing the first edition as part of a group, before pitching it to a group of industry experts. Along the way you'll investigate the diversity and complexity of the magazine market and consider the nature of design and production. The economics, costs, techniques, and organisation involved in making a magazine are all examined. You'll also work with software packages used in the industry. Assessment is through the magazine you produce as well as the final presentation.

Music Radio Production

As part of this module you will be running an online radio station for a week - the programmes, the news bulletins and the social media. You’ll gain the knowledge and skills to understand critically the technical, legal and professional standards involved in digital radio production for online streaming. It allows you to produce material which can be incorporated into an individual professional portfolio. You'll be assessed on how you perform while the station is on air, as well as on other related pieces of coursework.

Year 3 - optional placement or study abroad year

Placement Year

The placement will relate to your course of study and/or desired career It will provide opportunities for the development of a range of personal, interpersonal and professional skills, dependent upon the nature of the working environment and whether the student is working as an individual or within a team. You will be expected to identify a suitable placement for yourselves but will be assisted by the Module Tutor and the Employer Engagement Administrator. It is expected that you will undertake formal recruitment and selection procedures and will be required to prepare a Curriculum Vitae, write cover letters, attend assessment centres and interviews as necessary.


Final year

Core modules:

Work Based Learning for Journalism & Media Industries

This is your opportunity to put what you have learned into action in the real world. You'll learn how to plan for, secure and undertake work-based learning (the equivalent of 150 hours) with an appropriate employer or client. The possibilities range from working at newspapers, magazines, radio stations and TV companies, to public relations roles for professional sports clubs and charities, as well as working with social media agencies or putting on events. Any students with disabilities will be consulted at the earliest opportunity to assess how their particular needs might be best met by the placement. You'll submit your best work from the placement to be assessed, and feedback from your employer will also be taken into account.

Note: Students studying on BA (Hons) Broadcast Journalism are expected to undertake a compulsory work placement experience of 15 days across the third year with five days being concurrent.

Dissertation / Research Project

You will produce an extended piece of individual work based on research into a particular topic of your choice associated with journalism, media or popular culture. The dissertation will be supervised by a member of academic staff, who will act as the dissertation tutor. There will be a regular schedule of supervision and you will be expected to submit evidence of your progress at regular intervals. You'll be assessed on your final 8,000 word dissertation.

Media Policy, Law and Ethics

This module provides you with an insight into the legal, ethical and policy frameworks within which the media organisations, policy-making and media professionals operate. It addresses the principles of media law and looks at the regulatory structures for press, broadcasting, music and cinema. It examines the ‘politics of policy’ in the UK, US and EU, and in the context of the power of transnational media corporations. It also examines and analyses examples of ethical problems in the media and the philosophical ideas and themes underpinning them. Assessment is through coursework, essays and role-play.

Option modules:

Two options from a list which may include-

Journalism Innovation

This cutting edge module brings a dash of Silicon Valley start-up culture to modern journalism. It will help you develop advanced critical understanding of digital media technologies, and how online and social media tools can be applied to journalism in innovative ways. You will work in small groups to identify a new tool, or an existing tool applied in a new method, which can be used in journalism. Each group will develop an assessed plan for a start-up business based on their learning.

Investigative Journalism

The module provides an insight into the world of investigative journalism and will help you to work on the skills involved in successful investigations. You will learn about the history of this crucial kind of reporting, ranging from Watergate to MPs' expenses. You'll examine the techniques used by investigative journalists and use the skills you'll develop in class, to do your own investigation of a topical subject of your choice. You'll be assessed on a written or broadcast piece based on your investigation, as well as through a reflective report.

Writing for Magazines

You will concentrate on developing a professional and distinctive style in writing for magazines. You will closely analyse the writing styles adopted by individual feature writers and by magazine titles and groups, and will produce work which is of a publishable standard. You will liaise with those active in the profession and will appreciate the nature and professional demands of freelancing. Assessment is through a series of feature articles.

At any year of study, one module outside the named degree programme, but offered within the School of Music, Humanities and Media, may be taken as an alternative to any of the option modules listed above where feasible and subject to timetabling restrictions and the approval of your Course Leader.

Important information

We will always try to deliver your course as described on this web page. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below.

We review all optional modules each year and change them to reflect the expertise of our staff, current trends in research and as a result of student feedback. We will always ensure that you have a range of options to choose from and we will let students know in good time the options available for them to choose for the following year.

We will only change core modules for a course if it is necessary for us to do so, for example to maintain course accreditation. We will let you know about any such changes as soon as possible, usually before you begin the relevant academic year.

Sometimes we have to make changes to other aspects of a course or how it is delivered. We only make these changes if they are for reasons outside of our control, or where they are for our students’ benefit. Again, we will let you know about any such changes as soon as possible, usually before the relevant academic year. Our regulations set out our procedure which we will follow when we need to make any such changes.

When you enrol as a student of the University, your study and time with us will be governed by a framework of regulations, policies and procedures, which form the basis of your agreement with us. These include regulations regarding the assessment of your course, academic integrity, your conduct (including attendance) and disciplinary procedure, fees and finance and compliance with visa requirements (where relevant). It is important that you familiarise yourself with these as you will be asked to agree to abide by them when you join us as a student. You will find a guide to the key terms here, where you will also find links to the full text of each of the regulations, policies and procedures referred to.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.


Our final year work-based learning module allows you to engage on a practical level with the music and journalism industries. Past students have done placements with printed magazines such as the NME, as well as respected online music publications. Others have gone to radio stations from both the BBC and commercial sectors across the north of England, from Manchester to Hull and all points in between. Those keener on pursuing careers in promotions and events have organised charity music nights at local venues.

Career opportunities

90% of graduates from courses in this subject area go on to work and/or further study within six months of graduating.

A selection of companies that have employed Huddersfield graduates from the BA Music Journalism course in recent years include a range of magazines and online publications, along with the Centre for Investigative Journalism and the University of York Music Press. Some have begun careers working for public relations and social media agencies, with other graduates using their journalism skills to move into marketing, fashion, event organising and recruitment*. *Source: Linked In.

Teaching and assessment

20% of the study time on this course is spent in lectures, seminars, workshops etc. You'll learn from professional journalists and academics in lectures, seminars, projects and group work. Assessment of this course will take a variety of forms including written assignments, study logs, examinations, individual and group projects, presentations, practical production, and a dissertation.

Your module specification/course handbook will provide full details of the assessment criteria applying to your course.

Feedback (either written and/or verbal) is normally provided on all coursework submissions within three term time weeks – unless the submission was made towards the end of the session in which case feedback would be available on request after the formal publication of results.Feedback on exam performance/final coursework is available on request after the publication of results.

Huddersfield is the only University where 100% of the teaching staff are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy.*

*permanent staff, after probation: some recently appointed colleagues will only obtain recognition in the months after their arrival in Huddersfield, once they have started teaching.


Our students use the latest industry-standard equipment and software that enables us to be ready for changes in the digital, HD environment. All the digital editing equipment is what is currently used at the BBC and independent TV and radio stations across the country.

You'll study in a purpose-built building with facilities including an HD TV studio, the latest professional video cameras as well as smartphones for mobile journalism, 60 video editing suites equipped with AVID, plus five digital radio studios. Industry-standard magazine design and broadcast editing software is used across practical modules.

How much will it cost me?

In 2017/18, the tuition fee for UK and EU students at the University of Huddersfield will be £9,250.

Tuition fees will cover the cost of your study at the University as well as charges for registration, tuition, supervision and examinations. For more information about funding, fees and finance for UK/EU students, including what your tuition fee covers, please see Fees and Finance. Please note that tuition fees for subsequent years of study may rise in line with inflation (RPI-X).

If you are an international student coming to study at the University of Huddersfield, please visit the International Fees and Finance pages for full details of tuition fees and support available.

Please email the Student Finance Office or call 01484 472210 for more information about fees and finance.

Course scholarships available – up to £3000. More details.

If you decide to apply for a course that includes a work placement, a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check may be required to enable you to undertake that placement in settings with children (e.g. within a School). Should the organisation you are going to be working in require one to be undertaken, the School will support you to apply for a check. Please note that there is a charge for the DBS check which is approximately £44.

Further study

Progression to a postgraduate course is dependent on successful completion of your undergraduate studies, there may also be minimum qualification requirements such as a first class or higher second (2.1) degree. Please check the course details to confirm this.

You may be interested in studying: Communication Cultural and Media Studies (MA by Research)


If you're an international student (including EU) you can check if you meet our entry requirements (both academic and English language) by visiting our country pages.

If you do not meet the entry requirements you can consider completing a degree preparation programme (if you are from a country outside of the EU) at the University's International Study Centre (ISC). You can call the ISC on +44 (0) 1273 339333 to discuss your options. You can also complete the online application form or to ask a question please fill in the enquiry form and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers.

If your English language is not at the required level (IELTS 6.0 overall), we have a range of Pre-Sessional English programmes that you can enrol on before starting your degree course. You will not need to take an IELTS test after completing one of our Pre-Sessional English programmes.

How to apply

Research community

Media are changing at a rapid rate as we are moving from the era of mass communication shaped by newspapers, radio, television and cinema to the digital age of media convergence and networked societies. Our research in Journalism and Media at the University of Huddersfield is dedicated to the questions of central importance to any student of Journalism, Media and Film: How are media and popular culture including sport and music changing in the face of the rise of digital media? How does this change impact on how media are produced, distributed and consumed? What are the skills that are required as journalist, media worker and those in other industry sectors who work with and through digital media? How will changing user experiences and the rise of ‘prosumers' transform production practices and business models in the media? And what does this change tell us about why media mean so much to so many?

Journalism and Media at the University of Huddersfield is home to one of Europe's leading centres for the study of participatory culture, fans and popular media. The Centre for Participatory Culture brings together preeminent researchers in the field who have explored as diverse topics as animation film and branding, the reception of Disney's Star Wars sequels, football in the digital age, music festivals and music tourism, science fiction fandom, Regional Reality TV Drama, popular culture, identity and globalisation, digital media and political participation, and textual value in convergence media. Alongside studies of media use, our research also explores how the production of media and culture is changing through studies of journalistic practice, media industries and media representations.

In the 2014 REF, 85% of music research at Huddersfield was judged to be Internationally Excellent, with 44% of the overall submission ranked as World-Leading. In addition to a strong profile of individual research outputs, Huddersfield's research environment for music was tied for 7th in the sector, alongside Edinburgh, Southampton, Royal Holloway and Cambridge. The impact of Huddersfield's music research was judged to be 5th among the 84 submissions in music, drama, dance and performing arts, receiving the second highest possible score. The ranking for impact acknowledges the breadth and reach of research at Huddersfield, with impact case studies encompassing innovations in music technology and audio software, historically-informed performance practice in early music, and intercultural exchange in music composition as a model for social change.

There are five research centres in Music and Music Technology; the Centre for Research in New Music (CeReNeM), the Huddersfield Centre for Performance Research (HuCPeR), Centre for the Study of Music, Gender and Identity (MUGI), the Sound.Music.Image Collaboration Research Centre (SMIC) and the Popular Music Studies Research Group.

For more information, please refer to our website.

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