• CollegeLCC
  • Start dateSeptember 2018
  • Course length1 year 3 months full-time (45 weeks across a four-term model)

MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography

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

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

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. 

Student films and profiles

Student Voices: Stephanie Rose Wood – MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography

Student Voices: Paola Paredes – MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography

Postgraduate Shows 2016: Media School

Highlights 2014 Postgraduate Shows

Content and structure

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 six units, totalling 180 credits.

Autumn, Term One

Units summary:

  • Photojournalism 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.

Staff

Course Director

Dr. Paul Lowe

Course Leader

Max Houghton

Senior Lecturer 

Edmund Clark

Associate Lecturers

Lewis Bush, Antonio Olmos, 

How to apply

We ask all applicants to complete an online application and upload additional digital items, via the Apply now link, below. Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the course Entry Requirements section to learn about the application process and additional the items you would also need to supply. 

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 ALL POSTGRADUATE COURSE APPLICATIONS

You will need to enter the following information in the online application:

  • 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

Before submitting your application, you will need to agree to the terms and conditions for how we process your data – these are explained in the application form. Once you have submitted the online application, we will send you a confirmation email.

Please note, if you’re an international applicant we will ask you for copies of certain documents (for example, English language qualification/certificate and copies of any previous UK study visas).

EXTRA INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR APPLICATIONS TO THIS COURSE

You will need to provide:

  • Portfolio
  • Study proposal/project proposal

After you have submitted your application, the course leader will then review your work, may invite you to interview or interview you via Skype, and will then make a decision on your application.

The admissions team will be in touch soon after that to let you know the outcome, and to guide you through the next steps.

START YOUR APPLICATION NOW

Applications are accepted and offers made, throughout the year. Early application is advised.

Apply 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.

As you progress through the application process we will send you emails with important information, so do check your inbox regularly (and junk folder, just in case).

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.

Candidates without a first degree can be accepted onto the course if they can demonstrate past experience equivalent to a first degree, such as professional experience. This is assessed as a learning process and tutors will evaluate that experience for currency, validity, quality and sufficiency.

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. 

Language requirements (International/EU)

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, with 5.5 in each four skills is required.
  • 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)

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.

Study Proposal/Project Proposal 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. 

Deferrals

Deferring an offer

If you are offered a place for 2018/19 but wish to defer to 2019/20, information on how to do this and who to contact can be found in your offer letter. Additionally, International applicants should pay the deposit 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 2019/20)

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

What happens next?

Successful applicants will be guided through the rest of our admissions stages and towards enrolment on the course. 

Fees and funding

Home / EU fee

£9,500 (full-time)

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount

Course fees may be paid in instalments

ELQ

Home/EU students whose chosen course is at a level equivalent to, or lower than, a qualification that they already hold, would will be charged the fees shown above, plus an additional £1,100 (called the Equivalent or Lower Qualifications (ELQ) fee). Students in receipt of Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) are exempt from ELQ fees and will pay the original fee, regardless of the highest qualification held. For enquiries relating to ELQ fees, please complete the course enquiry form.

International fee

£19,350 (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:

Scholarships search

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.

UAL Jobs and Careers

UAL has a number of services and networks that hold regular workshops and careers fairs developed to help you establish and promote your career in the arts, design, or media. These include:

Careers and Employability are the University's dedicated careers and professional practice service. We help UAL students and graduates embark on their professional futures in the creative industries, find jobs, set up a business, and sell their work. We run events throughout the year on all aspects of the career journey.

Creative Opportunities jobs board helps graduates and students find job and internship opportunities and connect with organisations and companies in the creative sector. We post jobs and paid internships, part-time work, freelance contracts and full-time opportunities.