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Master in Arts Science and Environmental Journalism

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  • Objectives
    The MA in Science and Environmental Journalism aims to equip students with the full range of skills – both practical and intellectual – necessary to work in this growing area of employment. There are two ways in which this course differs from most others: firstly, unlike many other courses that form part of science departments, this course is run by working journalists in a School of Journalism, where practitioners place a high priority on accurate and clear communication. Secondly, the course provides students with cross-platform hands-on experience in print media, online, radio and TV, with the opportunity to specialise.
  • Academic Title
    MA Science and Environmental Journalism
  • Course description

    Whether the topic is climate change or genetically modified crops, a new cure for malaria or the latest “killer” console, the news media display an apparently insatiable thirst for information on all aspects of scientific development. There is also a demand for journalists who can accurately report and explain these developments without resorting to sensationalism or technical jargon. This is a course for people who are passionate about science and/or environment, and who want to learn the journalistic skills necessary to communicate it to a wider public.

    Key features


          Vocational elements of the course are strengthened by an integral work placement, career advice and by regular contact with specialists in the field.

          Students will have access to the School's excellent facilities, including 7 newsrooms.

          In line with the emphasis on cross-platform media skills, students will benefit from the opportunity to produce material for Siren FM, Lincoln 's new community radio station, based on the main University campus.

    Course Content

    Semester A – Certificate Level :


          Core Writing – Students will learn the key skills required to write as journalists and then focus those skills in science journalism. The module offers an essential introduction to reporting, researching, interviewing, news values and news writing necessary for employment in all areas of the profession.

          Core Broadcast (Radio and TV) – Students will learn the key skills to become broadcast journalists and adapt those skills to their specialist field. This module allows students to experience first hand the differences between the broadcasting and print mediums in an increasingly ‘converged' media landscape. Radio production provides an excellent means of improving verbal communication skills for all involved.

          Core Legal – All aspects of law relating to the media with some focus on issues in science. This challenging module uses real case studies and up to date research to provide students with an understanding of the framework within which the industry operates, and the ethical dilemmas involved.

          Journalism and Society – This module provides students with a basic appreciation of systems of power, covering national and local government structures and institutions with a further emphasis on those related to decision making in the sphere of science and environment.

          Students doing the full Masters will take Research Methods. This module provides methodological understanding, support and advice on the final project. Students prepare a presentation and a written proposal for a dissertation, a documentary project, or a portfolio of articles. Assessment of this module forms part of the overall project assessment.

    Semester B – Diploma Level:


          Specialist Reporting - In this module students decide on a specialist subject area, study the nature of correspondents' work in their chosen field, and also prepare longer ‘feature' pieces aimed at specifically targeted audiences. Writing and research skills are relevant to all media platforms.

          Production (Print or Broadcast) – Students will focus on one medium, producing a magazine or radio magazine programmes. This module provides the requisite technical knowledge and experience of professional practices such as lay-out and design in print, running orders in broadcast and web pages for on-line.

          Online Journalism

          Explores and critically evaluates online journalism sites and develops models for the best use of Internet resources. It will encourage students to use the web as a means of publication and develops skills in news, feature writing and design applicable to online journalism.

          Work Placement – Students will take up a work placement in one or several different media organisations of their choice and receive prior guidance, together with career advice. Students are encouraged to be flexible, thorough and focused in their approach.

          Ethics in Science: This module follows on from the Law and Journalism and Society modules in semester A to provide more in-depth reflection on philosophical issues and an opportunity for students to consider more fully the kind of dilemmas that they are likely to encounter as working journalists.

          Optional ‘elective' modules (students to choose one of the following options):

                Literature/Reviews: This module deals with the skills of the reviewer, whether it is literature, film, exhibition, TV, events of the creation of other media artefacts.

                International Human Rights: Integrating theory and practice, students are given a grounding in the fundamental contemporary world issues, as well as the opportunity to participate in discussions and to do their own research and writing on selected areas of conflict.

                Comparative Media History: This module enables the student to appreciate trends and changes within media industries worldwide on a comparative basis between countries and between platforms.

                Journalism and Literature: Explores the relationship between literary production and different genres of journalism, through detailed case studies of significant writers, including Daniel Defoe, William Hazlitt, George Orwell, George Sand, Dorothy Parker, Ernest Hemingway, Tom Wolfe and Arundhati Roy.

                Contemporary Issues in Sports Journalism: This module is a ‘must' not only for aspiring sports reporters, but also for those who take an interest in how sport issues relate to the world of news and current affairs.

    Semester C – Masters Level:

        * Dissertation, portfolio of articles, chapters for a book, radio documentary or webpages.

    Students spend the final semester during the summer on self-directed learning, having already decided on the form of media product that they will produce. Each person is allocated their own tutor for support and guidance. This final project provides an opportunity to research and make an in-depth study of the student's chosen subject. Whatever the platform for delivery, this is a challenging piece of long-form journalism that will attract the interest of future employers and prove that the student can achieve a truly high standard, reflective investigation and product at masters level.

    For those students who choose to stay on within the Academy to study for a higher research degree, a dissertation provides the ultimate evidence of their ability.

    Postgraduate opportunities

    The MA in Journalism can form the starting point for progression to MPhil or PhD.


    Assessment for this course is mainly assignment-based.

    Shorthand: Weekly classes in shorthand will be offered throughout the first two semesters of the programme.

    Career opportunities

    By the end of the course, students will be equipped to apply for jobs as journalists and specialist science or environment correspondents across a range of print-based, online and broadcast media. Alternative employment opportunities lie in the related areas of science and technical writing, public relations, business-to-business and corporate communications.

    In addition, students will have developed analytical and research skills appropriate to work in the fields of science policy or academic research.

    For those students who choose to take up reporting work of a more ‘generalist' nature, they will be able to offer a speciality and subject knowledge that is increasingly in demand within a range of work areas.

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