Documentary Photography and Photojournalism MA
Alternative attendance modes for this course
Courses start in September, unless otherwise stated
View course-specific entry requirements
You should possess, or be expecting, a good undergraduate degree or, exceptionally, previous relevant experience. Your previous undergraduate degree does not need to be in film or media. You will need fluent written and spoken English to study at postgraduate level. If your first language is not English, you will need an IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent.
This course provides a unique combination of professional practice and critical understanding for documentary photographers and photojournalists working in the field of editorial and contemporary media practice. The course builds on the international stature of the photographic and journalism departments of the University. It is designed to equip you with a sound command of the working methods that will sustain a career grounded in photographic practice – whether as an editorial, commercial or art photographer, picture editor, curator or writer.
The course is especially useful for photographers, media professionals and graduates who wish to broaden their skills and knowledge in the field of editorial and documentary photography.
The emphasis of the course is on contemporary approaches to Documentary and editorial photography (including photo essays and single images for publication), picture editing, critical academic and journalistic writing,the production and design of a magazine, and the major project, as a substantial project, allowing the student to develop their own research and practice. The primary course resources are those in the Margaret Harker Photographic Centre and J block video facilities, which are equipped to the highest professional standards for both analogue and digital production.
The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course. For more details on course structure and modules, and how you will be taught and assessed, see the full course document.
Core modules, semester one
Photography for Publication
You will focus on how to produce successful single images for publication, with an emphasis on editorial portraiture The module will cover pre-production research, intent of outcome, editing and post-production and digital workflows, metadata and markets, for editorial, books and galleries.
Documentary Storytelling – The Picture Story
This module will concentrate on the structure, form and content of storytelling. You will work towards producing a professional-industry standard photo story by the end of the module, along with a written critical assessment of your images and practice.
History and Theory of the Published Page
Through intense study you will gain an understanding of the historical, critical and sociological contexts that informs the practice, theory and usage of documentary photography and photojournalism, from a historical and current perspective.
You will cover the essential components of print journalism and critical writing examining the vital relationship of text to image. The module will look at writing introductions, critical reviews, headlines and captions. You will be encouraged and guided to think critically about your written and photographic work.
Core modules, semester two
Magazine Editorial Production
During this module you will work in groups with fellow your cohorts, to produce a finished, professionally produced magazine, from conception to a finished publication. Each group will devise an image led magazine, considering concept, engaging in debate and contemporary issues. Particular emphasis is placed on innovative design and the use of type and an understanding of production and working with printers and finishers, through to the print stage. Specialist design tuition and weekly editorial meetings throughout the module will monitor progress of the publication. The resulting magazine will be an important part of your final portfolio.
You will cover the essential components of print journalism and critical writing examining the vital relationship of text to image. The module will look at writing introductions, critical reviews, headlines and captions. and you will be Encouraging you to think critically about your written and photographic work.
Major Project or Dissertation
The Major Project or Dissertation is the culmination of the year’s work and is expected to be a substantial body of work which draws on the experience gained across all the modules, therefore demonstrating your ability to communicate your ideas though photography. It is a unique opportunity to experiment and play to realise your personal vision within photographic documentary practice. You will have the opportunity to engage with expert advise from professional visiting practitioners as well as group and individual tutorials with the course tutors The major project can be conceived as a book, exhibition AV as well as a ‘work in progress’ photographic portfolio on a major theme of a book, dummy (blad), or website.
You will discuss your project with your tutors, taking into account your expected career path. The work produced on this module should be used as a significant career asset when you enter the world of professional photography, as well as an invaluable piece of academic research.
The course gives you a number of key skills that will make you highly employable in the media and publishing industries, whatever area you choose as your speciality, be it photography, book or magazine publishing or web-based publications. You will create work of high standard to enhance your professional portfolio.
Ben Edwards, Course Leader
Ben’s career commenced as a painter/printmaker with a postgraduate degree from the Royal Academy of Arts, London. Ben is a photographer/ film-maker, with an extensive educational practice spanning many years. His current practice migrates between protracted personal projects, commercial assignments and stock photography/footage. He is one of the founder members of Blendimages LLC and Director of er Productions Ltd. His stills and film work are represented by Getty Images. His work is in private and public collections in the UK and abroad:The Victoria and Albert Museum, UK,The MOMA Houston, Texas, USA. Work previously published in major publications in the UK and abroad include: The Independent, The Guardian and Life.
Visit Ben Edward's profile page.
Dr David Campany, Reader in Photography
David is a well-known writer, curator and editor. His many books include Art and Photography (2003), The Cinematic (2007) and Photography and Cinema (2009). He is co-curating the inaugural show at Le Bal, Paris, and his essays have appeared in publications around the world, including Cruel and Tender (2003), Edgar Martins: Topologies (2006), Atget: Photograph de Paris (2008), and The Everyday (2009). David writes for Frieze, Ojodepez, Art Review, Source, Photoworks and The Oxford Art Journal, and is a co-founder of PA magazine.
Visit David Campany's profile page.
Harry Hardie, Lecturer in Photography
Harry has been working with photography for over 10 years, starting as the assistant to the director of photography at The Times, London, then as the photo editor for The Times Luxx Magazine. After The Times Harry worked as director of HOST Gallery, London before founding Here Press, a company that publishes books of photography that explore new forms of documentary practice. Harry is also director of cultural projects for Panos Pictures and has curated numerous exhibitions of contemporary photography.
Visit Harry Hardie's profile page.
Length of course
One-year, full-time or two-year, part-time
Additional costs information
To check what your tuition fees cover and what you may need to pay for separately, see our What tuition fees cover page.
- Journalism (International): Broadcast, Online or Print MA
- Photographic Studies MA
Our dedicated Career Development Centre is actively working with an ever-expanding network of over 3,000 employers to provide you with exceptional employability support and guidance. As a result we were nominated as finalists for a significant industry award – the NUE Awards Most Improved Commitment to Employability 2016.
We provide our students with work placements and international opportunities to support them in becoming highly employable, globally engaged graduates, and with one million businesses operating within 20 miles of the University of Westminster, over 84% of our students are in work or further study six months after graduation. Our graduates work in a variety of sectors and organisations, from small/medium-sized companies and start-ups to large not-for-profit organisations and corporates.
During your time at Westminster you will be able to use our comprehensive online vacancy service and meet with our experienced careers consultants, providing you with thorough training and support on CV writing, application forms, interview preparation and assessment centres.
In addition to this, you will receive careers support from academic staff and faculty work placement teams, offering targeted course-specific careers advice and assistance in securing a work placement during your time at Westminster. You can find out more about course-specific career opportunities by visiting the Prospects website.
For more details, visit the employability section on our site.
Career Development Centre
Our Career Development Centre can help and support you throughout your study and after graduation.
We can help you to:
- find part-time/vacation, placement and graduate jobs, including voluntary experience
- explore how to develop the skills that employers are looking for
- plan your career development
- identify your career options
- market yourself effectively in CVs, application forms and at interviews
- develop your enterprise skills
We also organise a range of presentations and networking events with employers, professional bodies, alumni and other organisations throughout the year to help you with career planning.
Find out more about the Career Development Centre.
Our Work Placement Teams are based in your Faculty Registry Office and can help you find a suitable placement, as well as support you in making applications, writing CVs and improving your interview technique.
More details on work placements can be found on our Work placements page.
Career options in your subject area
Our team of careers consultants work closely with Faculty departments to deliver tailored employability support, including subject-specific workshops, employer events and careers information, advice and guidance.
Study in the city
If you study at the University of Westminster, everything that London has to offer is on your doorstep.
Our central London campuses are ideally located for the city's fantastic learning institutions including libraries, archives and museums, as well as opportunities for shopping, eating out, enjoying London's nightlife or just simply relaxing.
After choosing your course, one of your biggest decisions will be where to live, and we aim to make that choice as easy as possible. Whether you want to apply for our Halls of Residence or live in private housing, we can help you to find the right accommodation.
Fees, funding, bursaries and scholarships
In recent years the University of Westminster's scholarship scheme has been the largest university scholarships scheme in the UK, and our Scholarships Department won the Times Higher Education inaugural Award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students.
All students on courses of a year or more and who are registered for more than three modules will be allocated a personal tutor.
Your personal tutor will be there to support you from induction onwards, helping you to integrate into the University, academically and socially, at an early stage. They will be able to give you advice and support on academic and personal matters affecting your study, as well as developmental advice through regular individual and group tutorials.
Polylang is a University-wide programme through which you can study a language as a free choice module.
Personal advice and counselling
While most students overcome any problems with help from friends, family or a personal tutor, the University's free counselling and advice services are there if you need them.
With one of the UK's largest international student populations, the University of Westminster has plenty of experience in giving you the help and support you need to make the most of your time with us.
Study Abroad and Summer School programmes
Westminster's Study Abroad programme has been running for more than 15 years, and is one of the largest in the UK – each year we welcome hundreds of visiting students from universities all over the world.
If you are already studying outside the UK, the programme offers you the opportunity to study with us for one or two semesters, or for a period in the summer.
Sport and recreation
The University has extensive sport and recreation facilities, with a sports hall and gym at Harrow, a state-of-the-art gym at Regent Campus, and the University sports ground by the River Thames at Chiswick.
University of Westminster Students' Union (UWSU) aims to make sure you have the best university experience possible by providing a range of activities and support, from sports clubs to society groups, educational advice and social events.