Masters | Postgraduate Course - Photojournalism and Documentary Photography MA Course Details within University of the Arts London

Course Fees
Home/EU Fee: £8,000 (Full Time). £1,000 discount available to Home/EU students successfully awarded a UAL BA, FdA, PgCert or PgDip. International Fee: £15,950 (Full Time)
Start Month(s)
September
Contact Name
London College of Communication
Tel
+44 (0)20 7514 6599
Photojournalism and Documentary Photography MA

Study Details

London College of Communication - MA 1 year full time (45 weeks)

Develop a wider vision. Designed with photojournalists and documentary photographers in mind, the MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography course can help you expand your practice and challenge the potential of the medium. Learn through a series of assignments as part of this internationally renowned programme and join the graduates who've gone on to win the World Press Photo Daily Life Singles category and the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize.

Module details

A practical, cutting-edge Masters course with an international reputation, designed for aspiring photojournalists and documentary photographers.

Photojournalists and documentary photographers explore and record 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, gallery exhibitions, books, television, web, CD-based productions and other media.

To see examples of work produced by recent students from this course visit the Home Exhibition online on the Guardian website.

This course is taught within the School of Media

This course is also taught in a part-time, online mode.

Structure
Phase 1

  • Photojournalism Practice
  • History of Photojournalism and Documentary Photography

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
  • become familiar with PGNET, delivered through the software, Blackboard

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 an historical framework that takes account of social, political, cultural and economic factors.

Phase 2

  • Documentary Practice with Research Methods
  • Critical Perspectives on Photojournalism and Documentary Photography

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.

In the unit Critical Perspectives on Photojournalism and Documentary Photography you will explore a range of social, cultural and ethical issues that face contemporary photojournalism and documentary photography, and develop a critical awareness of the relationship between photography and the wider world, including issues of representation, the law, ethics and the commercial environment. You will also examine the context of photojournalism in terms of media ownership, structures and markets. 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.

Phase 3

Major Project

This final Phase 3 of the MA aims to consolidate your learning experience of 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 5000 word related 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 Phase 3 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.

Note that the majority of students produce the work for the Major Project during the summer period, this means that they work independently of 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 will cover aspects of 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.

Entry Requirements

An Honours degree in a relevant subject, or a professional or academic qualification recognised as equivalent to an Honours degree. If you do not have the required qualifications, but do have professional experience, you may be eligible to gain credit for previous learning and experience through the Accreditation of Prior and Experiential Learning (APEL) i.e. professional experience or a combination of courses and work experience.

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.

Candidates without a first degree can be accepted onto the course if they can demonstrate past professional or life experience equivalent to a first degree.

Your experience is assessed as a learning process and tutors will evaluate that experience for currency, validity, quality and sufficiency.

Language requirements (International/EU)

  • International and EU students: In the case of applicants whose first language is not English, then IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) is required.
  • If your first language is not English you should check you have achieved the correct IELTS level in English. Further information is available on our Support for International Students page.
  • International Applicants, please visit our International Applications page for further details regarding International Admissions.

Programme Funding

Home / EU and International students

Funding opportunities available for this course:
- £1000 fee discount for UAL alumni

Student Destinations

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. At least 12 books have been published by former students.