University of Chester

Programme Specification
Journalism BA (Hons) (Combined Honours)
2017 - 2018

Bachelor of Arts (Combined Honours)


Journalism [NEW]

University of Chester

University of Chester


Chester and Warrington


KDU College (PJ) Sdn Bhd, Damansara Jaya Campus

Undergraduate Modular Programme


Classroom / Laboratory,

3 years

7 Years

Annual - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities Media

Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies



Wednesday 20th March 2013

  • To provide a degree that fulfils the criteria suggested in the relevant QAA subject standards and benchmarks.
  • To offer a programme in Journalism that combines theoretical and practical approaches.
  • To provide the necessary practical, transferable and subject skills to enable the graduate to work in journalism, the wider media and related areas, non-aligned professions and for further study.
  • To provide the transferable communication skills applicable in a range of professional contexts, including PR, advertising, marketing and corporate communications.
  • To encourage critical reflection on the profession and influence of journalism.
  • To develop the cognitive potential of undergraduates through a degree-level education in the role of journalism in society, law and public affairs.
  • To offer a degree that encourages an examination of the wider media industries.
  • To provide an education that highlights the role played by journalism in the information society.
  • To offer Journalism in intellectually stimulating combinations with relevant disciplines.

Knowledge and Understanding


Students will be assessed throughout and at the end of each module as appropriate, on their knowledge and understanding of the subject area in the context of practice. (ME4742, ME4717)

A knowledge and understanding of the political and legal contexts for journalism practice, organizational and institutional frameworks, and ethical constraints and influences on journalism. (ME4717) 


News gathering and writing skills together with a critical approach to journalistic practice and an understanding and analysis of journalistic processes. (ME5710, ME5711, ME5712, ME5713, ME5730, WB5008, WB5101) 


Reflect critically on the relationship between theory and practice while producing a major journalism project. (ME6713, ME6714, ME6715, ME6716, ME6717, ME6718, ME6722, ME6723)


Combine practice and the broader academic understanding of journalism in relation to ethical and legal frameworks. (ME4742, ME4717)


The ability to analyse and evaluate areas of knowledge and production practices. (ME5703, ME5710, ME5711, ME5712, ME5713, ME5730, WB5008, WB5101)


Conceptual understanding of texts, and be able to respond critically to these texts and personal performance and experiences. (ME6713, ME6714, ME6715, ME6716, ME6717, ME6718, ME6722, ME6723)


Written and communication skills assessed through fundamental and foundational production processes and reflection. (ME4742, ME4717)


Transferable skills including proofreading and editing, interviewing techniques and working in a team on practical journalism projects. (ME5703, ME5712, ME5713, ME5730, WB5008, WB5101)


Working independently on advanced practical journalism projects and working with different software as well as transferable skills including communication, information literacy and technology, problem solving, working with others and critical and functional writing. (ME6713, ME6714, ME6715, ME6716, ME6717, ME6718, ME6722, ME6723)




The further development of oral and written skills acquired at Secondary, Further Education and/or Foundation degree levels. (ME4742, ME4717)


The nurturing of oral and written skills encompassing presentations, essays and journalistic portfolios acquired at Level 4. (ME5703, ME5710, ME5711, ME5712, ME5713, ME5730, WB5008, WB5101)


Advanced application of oral and written skills encompassing essays, journalistic portfolios. (ME6713, ME6714, ME6715, ME6716, ME6717, ME6718, ME6722, ME6723)



The programme offered is a Combined Honours programme studied over three years on a full-time basis. At levels 4 and 5 all modules are worth 20 credits with 200 hours of associated teaching and learning which are studied over the course of the entire academic year. At level 6, the programme also offers 40 credit dissertation and project modules, each with 400 hours of associated teaching and learning. The proposed programme takes into account the benchmarking statements for Communication, Media, Film and Cultural studies and the National Qualifications Framework. The structure has at its core the establishment and development of journalistic skills and practices situated within an understanding of the political, social and economic factors which impact upon them and upon which they impact. Assessment of these modules will be through vocationally orientated outcomes designed to prepare the student for work and/or further study, as well as by theoretical approaches intended to address and develop students' aptitude for critical questioning and application. The emphasis is on education of the would-be journalist as well as on vocational training. The graduate will understand the context and ethical, moral, societal and legal frameworks in which the journalist operates and the responsibilities that are the legacies of the profession.

Level 4 students gain exposure to a wide range of skills, practices and theories underpinning the practice of journalism. Practical skills include news reporting, specialist writing, subediting, web production, and layout and design. Students will also examine and analyse the frameworks of law and local government as it impacts on journalism today.

Level 5 students see the development of these skills into more extensive journalistic projects, and will offer students the opportunity to take their skills into the workplace as part of the Enhancing your Employability through Work-Based Learning module. Students will also be required to critically analyse and reflect upon their practice in relation to audience, medium and market, sources, legal, ethical and political contexts.

WB5004 (Learning in the Wider World) is similar in ambition to WB5101 but facilitates undertaking the work based learning placement at a location outside the United Kingdom. WB5004, although available to all students as an alternative to WB5101, must be applied for and participation is restricted to students who meet the criteria of interview, attendance and behaviour during Level 5. All students will be required to receive clearance from their PAT prior to departing on their overseas placement. Students must complete and have a Risk Assessment approved before they are eligible for this module.

WB5008, The Study Abroad Experience, will be offered as a complementary year of study abroad to students who have successfully completed their second-year of study (Level 5). Application will occur in January of Level 5. As such, students may be required to present evidence of successful completion of Level 4, satisfactory on-going assessment, academic references and attendance in order for their application to be accepted. Students must also complete a Risk Assessment to indicate that they are fully aware of the requirements for the exchange, university/college and destination that they are applying for.

Level 6 students produce more ambitious projects, which test the skills, practices and theories learned over the duration of the course, as well as exploring the newest innovations of the information society. Problem-solving skills and analytical techniques will be developed that can be applied in many types of employment.

The Journalism graduate will be able to evaluate evidence, arguments and assumptions, to reach sound judgements, to communicate effectively, and will have developed both subject specific and key- transferable skills applicable to a wide range of contexts - including journalism. The incremental approach to the development of print journalism skills through the three levels of the degree programme within a context of critical questioning, reflection and application will reassure employers that students will be ready, both academically and practically, to enter the workplace and meet their need for graduates who can contribute from day one.

It should be noted that ME5716 and ME6719 are only available for transnational delivery.

Level 4: 120 credits from:
ME4717 20 credits*
ME4742 40 credits*
Plus 60 credits from Combined Subject Area

leads to Certificate of Higher Education 120 credits

Level 5: 120 credits from:

[Level 5 credits can be substituted for a full year exchange via the module WB5007 120 credits]

ME5712 20 credits*
ME5713 20 credits*

And, 60 credits from either:

ME5716 20 credits*** (but cannot be taken together with ME5730)

ME5730 20 credits
ME5710 20 credits#
ME5711 20 credits#

or Combined Subject Area Modules (minimum 40 credits/maximum 60 credits)

And, 20 credits from:

ME5703 20 credits (Experiential Learning),

Combined Subject Area Module 20-credits (Experiential Learning),
or WB5101 20 credits (Enhancing your Employability through Work-Based Learning)
or WB5004 20 credits (by application) leads to Diploma of Higher Education 240 credits

WB5008 The Study Abroad Experience 120 credits (non-award credits)

Level 6: 120 credits from:

Major - 80 credits from:
ME6713 20 credits#
ME6714 20 credits#
ME6715 20 credits#
ME6716 20 credits
ME6717 20 credits
ME6718 20 credits

ME6719 20 credits***

ME6720 20 credits##
ME6722 40 credits**
ME6723 40 credits**
WB6001 40 credits**
Combined Subject 40 credits

Equal - 60 credits from:
ME6713 20 credits#
ME6714 20 credits#
ME6715 20 credits#
ME6716 20 credits
ME6717 20 credits
ME6718 20 credits

ME6719 20 credits***
ME6720 20 credits##
ME6722 40 credits**
ME6723 40 credits**
WB6001 40 credits**
Combined Subject 60 credits

Minor - 40 credits from:
ME6713 20 credits#
ME6714 20 credits#
ME6715 20 credits#
ME6716 20 credits
ME6717 20 credits
ME6718 20 credits

ME6719 20 credits***

ME6720 20 credits##

Combined Subject 80 credits

** Not combinable with each other
# Chester Campus only
## Warrington Campus only
*** Transnational delivery only

Combined Honours only
Mod-Code Level Title Credit Major Equal Minor
ME4717 4 Journalism Regulation 20 Comp Comp Comp
ME4742 4 The Newsroom: Reporting, Production and Principles 40 Comp Comp Comp
ME5703 5 Experiential Project in Media 20 Optional Optional Optional
ME5710 5 Journalism - The Long View 20 Optional Optional Optional
ME5711 5 The Politics of Social Media 20 Optional Optional Optional
ME5712 5 Specialist Journalism 20 Comp Comp Comp
ME5713 5 Journalism Production: Theory and Practice 20 Comp Comp Comp
ME5716 5 Research for Professions, Practice and Academic Purposes 20 Optional Optional Optional
ME5730 5 Research Methods for Journalists 20 Optional Optional Optional
WB5004 5 Learning in the Wider World 20 Optional Optional Optional
WB5007 5 International Exchange Module – Full academic year 120 Optional Optional Optional
WB5008 5 The Study Abroad Experience 120 Optional Optional Optional
WB5101 5 Enhancing your Employability through Work Based Learning 20 Optional Optional Optional
ME6713 6 Journalism of Fear 20 Optional Optional Optional
ME6714 6 Current Affairs and Conflict Journalism 20 Optional Optional Optional
ME6715 6 From Watergate to Hackgate: Journalism Ethics and Issues 20 Optional Optional Optional
ME6716 6 Magazine Publishing 20 Optional Optional Optional
ME6717 6 Entrepreneurial Journalism 20 Optional Optional Optional
ME6718 6 Journalism Management: Theory and Practice 20 Optional Optional Optional
ME6719 6 Creative Media Industries: Careers and Landscapes 20 Optional Optional Optional
ME6720 6 News: Agendas, Discourse and Commercialisation 20 Optional Optional Optional
ME6722 6 Media Academic Dissertation 40 Optional Optional N/A
ME6723 6 Media Production Dissertation 40 Optional Optional N/A
WB6001 6 Work-based Project (40 Credit) Module 40 Optional Optional N/A

  • 120 credits at Level 4 entitles the student to a Certificate of Higher Education
  • 240 credits by the end of Level 5 entitles the student to a Diploma of Higher Education
  • 360 credits by the end of Level 6 entitles the student to a Bachelor’s degree


• 112 UCAS points from GCE A Levels or equivalent. Typical Offer - BCC/BBC

• BTEC National Diploma/Certificate: merit/distinction profile

• OCR National Extended Diploma/Diploma: merit/distinction profile

• Irish Highers/Scottish Highers: B in 4 subjects

• International Baccalaureate: 26 points, including 5 in HL English

• QAA recognised Access to HE Diploma, Open College Units or Open University Credits

• The Advanced Diploma: acceptable on its own

Please note: A BTEC National Award, OCR National Certificate or the Welsh Baccalaureate (core) will be recognised in our tariff offer.

The Subject Benchmark Statements for Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies are available on the QAA website ( The team have taken cognisance of the benchmark statements throughout the crafting of this degree programme. Journalism students are expected to engage with a range of texts and genres, as well as forms of critical analysis, argument and debate, expressed through a competent command of appropriate communication and production forms. An awareness of the diversity of approaches to communication via journalism is encouraged throughout the three years of the degree. The balance between theory and practice is maintained via a range of different assessment criteria, related to each module. For example, at level 4 students are required to engage with the realities of contemporary news gathering and writing. Such practical modules subsequently allow students to apply their knowledge of media processes to an examination of policy and ethical issues as they affect democratic participation and issues of citizenship at level 5 and form the basis for an informed approach to study at level 6 when they have the opportunity to analyse the relationship between media, public opinion and government policy by way of optional modules and their Dissertation topic. Students must prove their ability to work across a range of group and independent modes of study, and must demonstrate flexibility, creativity and the capacity for critical self reflection within them.

The general learning, teaching and assessment strategy of the media department and journalism programme is to enable students to develop knowledge, skills and understanding in their chosen areas of study, to become progressively more independent in their learning and to develop a range of transferable skills. Tutors view themselves as supporters and facilitators of active learning rather than didactic transmitters of fixed bodies of knowledge. Learning opportunities on all programmes are designed to achieve the knowledge, skills and personal development stated in the module descriptors. On undergraduate programmes learning experiences are geared to progression and integration through the levels of the programmes.

On both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes students are encouraged to critically reflect upon their consumption and production of media products. Tutors teaching both individually and collectively use a wide range of teaching methods including lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops and production projects. The emphasis is on early diagnosis of students' strengths and weaknesses, followed by interactive learning and increasing autonomy as students progress through their programmes.

Departmental staff support the development of transferable skills and encourage the development of capabilities which students can later apply in a range of occupations. The first of these is undertaken through embedding appropriate skills into the Department's modules and these are clearly identified through learning outcomes and assessment criteria. Most programmes contain compulsory work-based learning modules. Students will progress through the programme, developing from a position of reliance and dependency on tutor guidance and support in the initial stages to a self-supporting, self-directed and autonomous approach to their studies. Students will increasingly be expected to demonstrate the ability to originate, research, assimilate, develop and critically review ideas across a range of practically and academically focused modules, in accordance with level-related assessment criteria.

Level 4 study will provide opportunity for students to develop key and core skills, knowledge and understanding, thereby creating an effective platform from which greater autonomy, academic awareness and production skill may be evolved. Students, typically, will not work with external bodies at level 4 but will be evolving skills and practices relevant to a workplace environment.

At level 5 and 6, students will engage with external companies through their production modules and experiential/work based learning, forging working relationships between themselves, the media creative industries and the University. Level 6 study may also require the writing of an 8,000 word dissertation based upon independent research. Students will experience a range of teaching and learning methods related, and relevant to the acquisition of key and subject specific knowledge and skills.

The curriculum and learning experiences offered to students will be designed to reflect the specific aims, emphases and learning outcomes of the programme. Students will be made aware of these at the outset from the programme and individual modules. Students of this programme will reap the benefits of exploring a wide range materials and sources, from both academic and non-academic contexts cognate with the field of study.

Learning opportunities will be via a selection of lectures, seminars and tutorials given by lecturers, visiting lecturers, external contacts and practicing media professionals from across the media industries, who would have first hand and current experience of the opportunities in the discipline for potential graduates and an ability to relate the course to prevalent contemporary practices and trends. Opportunities for active assimilation, application, questioning, debate and critical reflection are therefore provided.

The Work Based Learning or experiential learning module at level 5 will also afford students the opportunity to develop skills in the workplace and other relevant environments. Reflection on their own and industry practices should enhance the student's portfolio of knowledge and experience, enabling them to think critically and objectively about their chosen field. As students progress through the levels of the programme they will be expected to become more independent in their learning and to develop the capacity for critical reflection.

From the student point of view, the three levels of study can be considered to be foundational, developmental and independent in their nature. The increasing emphasis on student self-direction and self-responsibility will be reflected in the learning and teaching strategies and methods deployed. The variety of methods employed will include the following:

  • Lectures;
  • demonstrations;
  • screenings;
  • seminars;
  • workshops;
  • work-simulations;
  • tutorials;
  • group and individual project work;
  • live projects;
  • supervised independent learning;
  • computer aided research;
  • open and resource-based learning activities such as digital photography and edit techniques;
  • field activities such as location recording and news gathering;
  • group and individual presentations;
  • media visits;
  • small group tutorials;
  • independent study;
  • dissertation;
  • work based or experiential learning.

 Students will be expected to work independently outside timetabled teaching sessions. They will be provided with structured reading for seminars and expected to work individually and within groups, to successfully complete both academic and practical assignments. Students will be expected to keep up to date with current affairs and developments, especially in the area of media and communications and they will, naturally, be expected to read critically a wide range of media-related academic texts, newspapers, journals and magazines and engage with broad and narrowcast media, print and online publications.

Assessment on this programme is designed to provide feedback to students on their performance in order to shape future learning, to verify achievement in order that students can progress through and beyond the programme and to evidence for internal and external use the maintenance and enhancement of the quality of the programme.

In the early stages of the programme, the formative role of assessment to help students learn may be as important as the summative assessment for certification. As students progress through the programme more emphasis may be placed on the verification of achievement. More traditional methods of assessment such as examinations and formal essays predominate on this programme, but are balanced by presentations, web logs, portfolios, reports, and critical reviews of media texts. Written assignments provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to study independently and involve locating, organising and critically assessing material. Seen and unseen exam papers provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge under time constrained conditions. Seminar presentations help students to develop their ability to articulate ideas and arguments orally, providing the opportunity for students to develop presentation skills and use appropriate technology. Combined, these and other methods of assessment are both formative and summative. The success of these methods is confirmed by external examiners' reports and is demonstrated in student assignments. Methods of assessment are communicated to students at the beginning of each module and details of the form of assessment and associated criteria are clearly stated in each module handbook.

The department uses anonymous marking for projects, assignments and dissertations where this is practical. All examination scripts are anonymously marked. Although examination papers are not returned to students, they are offered the opportunity to discuss their scripts with tutors. Feedback forms based on the published assessment criteria are used to provide feedback for all assignments. Feedback on all assessments is used to provide guidance to students on how to boost future learning as well as to clarify current achievement. Formative feedback is used on all programmes. Students are entitled to personal guidance on feedback given, which may be supplied by the module tutor or an academic advisor. Appropriate University regulations and guidelines on assessment, moderation and special circumstances procedures are followed.

The assessment strategy of this programme is based on the following assumptions and practices:

  • Assessment is acknowledged to be a major driver of student learning.
  • A variety of assessment practices will be employed in order to provide students with a range of opportunities to display intellectual, practical and transferable skills, and to accommodate the different learning styles of individual students.
  • Clear criteria for grading and the rules and regulations for assessment and awards will be available for all students throughout their programme.
  • Assessment at early stages of the programme will focus on evidencing the acquisition and development of foundation undergraduate knowledge, skills and understanding: later stages of the programme will focus on the demonstration of students' ability to independently synthesize advanced knowledge and skills. Assignments and projects at the start of the programme will be largely tutor determined. By level 6, students will have significant elements of self-determination in their coursework assessments and dissertation.
  • Tutors delivering the programme have explored and discussed maps of module aims, learning outcomes and assessments across the programme during the programme's design process in order to understand how their module assessments complement others in the programme and to develop equivalences in assessment weightings and balances.

Throughout the writing of this programme, the team has been mindful of the graduate characteristics detailed in the benchmarking statement for Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies. Though these are specific aims, it is understood that it would be unlikely for any one programme of study to achieve all of them. However a course which has at its core, the synergy between theory and practice, relating education to the work place, is likely to achieve most of them. Typically students graduating within these fields (communication, media, film and cultural studies) will display substantial knowledge of the communication, media and cultural forms and processes chosen for study within their degree programme.

Understanding of a range of concepts, theories and approaches appropriate to the study of those objects and processes, and the capacity to apply these. Skills in critical analysis, research, production and communication appropriate to the learning tasks set by their programme, as well as an array of generic and creative skills. This will enable students to analyse, contextualise and apply skills, theories and practices in an informed and intelligent manner. Graduates from this programme will therefore be equipped with a mix of effective key and transferable skills aligned with industry specific methodologies and practices. The ability to critically analyse, apply knowledge in a wider context and present arguments in a coherent and appropriate manner and form are skills much valued by employers.

The programme has been devised to provide students with the skills and knowledge required by the print media industry and enable them to undertake further study. The skills mix explored within the three years of the programme will maintain the overall paradigm of a theory/practice synergy where the more practically focused modules will benefit from an underpinning theoretical knowledge of past forms and current practices, whilst the more academically focused modules will keep the practical application of such knowledge as its ‘raison d'etre'.

Graduates of this programme will have developed an understanding of a complex body of knowledge, some of it at the current boundaries of an academic discipline. Through this, the graduate will have developed analytical techniques and problem-solving skills that can be applied in many different types of employment. The graduate will be able to evaluate evidence, arguments and assumptions, to reach sound judgements and to communicate effectively. Such graduates should have the necessary qualities for employment in situations requiring the exercise of personal responsibility and decision-making in complex and unpredictable circumstances. Through specific module demands and the work-based or experiential learning scheme the programme will draw upon and develop students' capabilities in analysis, critique, and synthesis. The programme is therefore responsive to the needs of a wide range of employers including areas such as print and online journalism, television and radio production, film industry, PR, management training, publishing, teaching and further study.

The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.

The value and relevance of our programmes is recognised through the relationship we have with a large range of media and related employers, through our work experience programme and through our liaison with professional organisations and media organisations. These include the Chester Chronicle, the Warrington Guardian and their related publications. The University enjoys very close links with a number of broadcasting companies, including the BBC and Granada Media Group.

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