Journalism and Sociology

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Course overview
(BA) Bachelor of Arts
Journalism and Sociology
University of Essex
University of Essex
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree
Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies
BA P540


Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

A-levels: BBB, including one essay-based subject

BTEC: DDD, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

IB: 30 points or three Higher Level certificates with 555, including a Higher Level essay-based subject grade 5.
We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

Access to HE Diploma: 45 Level 3 credits at Merit or above.

Flexible offers
Eligible applicants that actively choose us as their firm choice will be able to take advantage of a flexible offer. This offer will specify alternative entry requirements than those published here so, if your final grades aren’t what you had hoped for, you could still secure a place with us. Visit our undergraduate application information page for more details.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each component.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Course qualifiers


Rules of assessment

Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.

Additional notes


External examiners

Staff photo
Mr Richard Evans

Programme Director, UG Journalism

City, University of London

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 25 October 2021 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory You must take this module.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Optional You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.

Year 1 - 2021/22

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01  LT135-4-FY  Practical Reporting, Interviewing and Production (Joint Honours)  Core  30 
02  SC111-4-FY  The Sociological Imagination  Core  30 
03  LT144-4-SP  Journalism Now  Compulsory  15 
04  SC101-4-FY  Researching Social Life I  Compulsory  30 
05  LT138-4-AU  History of Journalism  Compulsory  15 

Year 2 - 2022/23

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01  LT231-5-FY  Audio and Video for Broadcast and Online (Joint Honours)  Compulsory  30 
02  LT232-5-FY  Feature Writing and Magazine Project for Print and Online (Joint Honours)  Compulsory  30 
03  SC201-5-FY  Continuity and Controversy in Sociology: Sociological Analysis II  Compulsory  30 
04  SC224-5-FY  Digital Society  Compulsory  30 

Year 3 - 2023/24

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01  LT431-6-SP  Comparative Media Law and Regulation  Compulsory  15 
02  LT312-6-FY  Advanced Practical Journalism  Compulsory  30 
03  SC301-6-FY  Current Disputes in Sociology: Sociological Analysis III  Compulsory  30 
04  SC364-6-FY  Mass Media and Modern Life  Compulsory  30 
05    LT324-6-AU or LT396-6-AU  Compulsory with Options  15 

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

JOURNALISM: 1. To create graduates who are thoroughly grounded in the theory and practice of journalism, able to make sound editorial judgements and behave in a professional manner. 2. To help students develop their writing and broadcasting skills to a high level. 3. To encourage students to develop their critical faculties, in particular to adopt an inquiring, sceptical and whole-hearted approach to their work. 4. To encourage students to work effectively on their own and in teams to produce the best journalism.

SOCIOLOGY: 1. To provide students with an understanding of the distinctive character of sociological thinking (B).
2. To provide students with a knowledge of the main theoretical traditions of sociology (B).
3. To provide students with an understanding of the main sociological methods (B).
4. To develop students' capacity for critical enquiry, argument and analysis.
5. To develop students' capacity for independent learning.
6. To provide students with the knowledge and skills to enable them to proceed to further study and research.

Reference to the QAA Benchmarks for Sociology are indicated by the letter B.

Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

A: Knowledge and understanding

A1: Theoretical and practical approaches to journalism

A2: The history and evolution of journalism, the current state of the industry and its future prospects

A3: The role of publishing and broadcasting in a modern society

A4: The UK legal system, and the law, regulatory framework and codes of practice relating to journalism

A5: The characteristics and needs of a range of print, broadcast and web-based journalism, production processes and professional practice in relation to newspapers, magazines, online content and broadcast journalism

A6: A knowledge of the relationship between theory, concepts and substantive issues and of key sociological concepts and theories and intellectual foundations of sociology (B)

A7: A knowledge of the principles of research design and the main approaches to data collection (B)

A8: An understanding of the analysis and interpretation of empirical data (B)

A9: To develop intercultural skills (Study/Year Abroad variant only)

A10: To provide the opportunity to apply academic learning outcomes in a work-related context (Placement year variant)

A11: To develop essential work-based skills throughout the placement. (Placement variant only)

Learning methods

Lectures, workshops, group discussion and reflection, work experience, practical exercises, formative feedback.

The Sociology Department uses lectures to present material - ideas, data and arguments - in a clear and structured manner using examples, mapping the field and the contours of debates. Lectures are also used to stimulate students' interest in the area under discussion. In each course the issues and arguments covered in lectures are explored further through weekly classes or workshops for which students have to prepare. The curriculum is designed to involve clear progression between the foundational work in the first year and the subsequent compulsory courses. In particular there is a strong emphasis on developing students’ theoretical understanding of sociological work through the progressive structuring of the material in SC111, SC201 and SC301. Classes, and preparation for classes, provide the opportunity for students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the content of the courses. In addition student learning takes place through the work they do preparing essays and assignments. In the first year students have to produce a glossary of sociological concepts and a sociological journal on a topic of their choice for SC111 and have a required examination question on key concepts. SC111 also specifically introduces students to examples of ongoing research in the Department. Students also do methodological assignments for SC101 including a statistical test and a piece of observational work. In the second year theory course, SC201, there is a particular focus on reading key sociological texts. In their third year all students on the degree have to produce an essay on epistemological issues for SC301.

Assessment methods

A1-A5 Range of in-class tests, portfolio of work, reflective journals, group work, project work, essays and other coursework
A1: examination

Outcomes A6 to A8 are assessed through coursework and unseen written examinations. Coursework includes essays, a sociological journal, the glossary, a statistics test and an observational study. Written examinations not only include standard essay type questions, but SC201 involves a compulsory question interpreting a passage of text from a sociological classic.

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1: Able to absorb and organise large amounts of informati on in a short time, applying critical techniques to assess evidence on the basis of relevance, reliability and newsworthiness

B2: Theoretical and practical approaches to journalism

B3: Make good decisions and present clear, well-reasoned and coherent arguments, in writing or orally, often against a deadline

B4: Exercise judgement in designing, planning and delivering journalistic output

B5: Evaluate, interpret and demonstrate critical judgement in the understanding of developments in the news, of issues and concepts, and be able dispassionately to assess one's own work and the work of others

B6: Produce independent and imaginative treatments conforming to a clear framework of values

B7: An ability to understand, summarise and critically assess sociological work and to compare competing theories and explanations and develop a reasoned argument (B)

B8: An ability to formulate sociological questions and assemble, evaluate and interpret evidence (B)

Learning methods

Lectures, workshops, group discussion and reflection, work experience, practical exercises, formative feedback.

Students enhance the above intellectual skills primarily through the work they do for their modules, although lectures and classes provide a means of teachers demonstrating these skills through example and in the first year staff give specific presentations on their ongoing sociological research. Preparation for classes and class presentations involve the reading, interpretation and evaluation of original sociological texts and the collection and evaluation of empirical data. Class tutors provide feedback contributions to classes through comment and discussion. Similarly the preparation of essays and other assignments also develops the listed intellectual skills. Students are provided with feedback on all assessed work and this is crucial to their intellectual development.

Assessment methods

Assessment is by coursework, practical assignments, portfolios, group projects, peer assessment, critical commentaries, and written examinations and, in some cases, oral presentations.

Outcomes B7 to B8 are judged and evaluated in every piece of assessed work that the student has to do as part of the sociology modules on this degree scheme. B8 is specifically assessed through a coursework essay for SC201 and a compulsory examination question requiring the interpretation of a passage from a classic text. Not all assignments require the evaluation and interpretation of empirical evidence (B12) though many do, but these skills are particularly assessed in some of the assignments for SC101. On all courses students are required to marshal material in order to expound an argument.

C: Practical skills

C1: An ability to find, research and write news stories and features for various print, online and broadcast media

C2: An ability to conduct interviews, record information accurately and analyse it to a professional standard

C3: An ability to work in production for various media, using industry-standard software and hardware

C4: An ability to work independently, cooperatively and in editorial teams to produce finished work to agreed deadlines for various media

C5: An ability to operate in professional manner, observing ethical and legal constraints

C6: An ability to retrieve relevant sociological evidence using bibliographic and web searches and to summarise, report and evaluate arguments, texts and findings.

C7: An ability to frame a research proposal and to identify and apply the appropriate research methods and to apply introductory statistical techniques to sociological data

C8: An ability to demonstrate reflexive awareness in interpreting sociological material

Learning methods

Lectures, workshops, group discussion and reflection, work experience, practical exercises, formative feedback.

In the first year sociology modules, assignments cover tasks such as producing a bibliography on a sociological topic, producing a glossary, describing and evaluating a sociological text and producing a sociological journal. Throughout the three years of the degree practical skills are developed through preparation for classes, preparing essays and other assessed assignments, giving presentations and doing written examinations. In SC101, students carry out an observational study and SC111 requires students to produce a journal which demonstrates reflexive awareness in interpreting sociological material. The work for SC201 includes the detailed examination and interpretation of key sociological texts. Students receive detailed feedback on all their coursework and presentations. Study skills advice and training is available from the Student Support Officer in the Sociology Resource Room, which is dedicated to this purpose.

Assessment methods

Assessment is by coursework, practical assignments, portfolios, group projects, peer assessment, critical commentaries, and written examinations and, in some cases, oral presentations.

Skill C6 is specifically assessed in a first year SC111 assignment, but also forms part of the the majority of pieces of assessed coursework and written examinations, and particularly in the assignments for SC201, including a compulsory question unseen examination question on interpreting a passage from a classic text. C7 is assessed in SC101, C8 is assessed in the journal for SC111 and in observational work for SC101.

D: Key skills

D1: Ability to express oneself in a clear, focused, relevant and effective way, both orally and in writing

D2: Ability to use appropriate software and hardware to produce and present high quality editorial content

D3: An ability to read, interpret and draw inferences from official statistics; an ability to carry out simple statistical calculations

D4: Finding, understanding, organising and processing information. Applying knowledge and understanding to make judgements. Ability to question conventional wisdom and find innovative methods of research. Working to deadlines. Management of projects and timetables.

D5: Ability to plan, manage time, and advance and argue for proposals in editorial meetings, ability to respond constructively to criticism, ability to engage in collaborative writing and programme-making activities; ability to work co-operatively in a variety of group contexts, including practical production, taking on a number of different roles.

D6: Ability to take responsibility for own work and actions in individual and collective contexts, and to reflect on performance and make constructive use of written and oral feedback.

Learning methods

Lectures, workshops, group discussion and reflection, work experience, practical exercises, formative feedback.

Assessment methods

Assessment is by coursework, practical assignments, portfolios, group projects, peer assessment, critical commentaries, and written examinations and, in some cases, oral presentations.

Assessment is by coursework, practical assignments, portfolios, group projects, peer assessment, critical commentaries, and written examinations and, in some cases, oral presentations.

Communication skills are assessed throughout the degree through continuous assessed coursework (including oral presentation) and examinations.

IT skills are a component in the evaluation of most assessed work which require bibliographic and web searches.

Numeracy skills are assessed in the assignments for SC101, which includes the computer application of statistical procedures.

Problem solving skills are assessed in almost all assignments.

Since the curriculum is structured in a progressive manner, student skills in improving learning and performance are also assessed through the related structured progression of formal assessed work.


The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.


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