Steve Anderson
Saturday 30 July 2011 00:00 BST
( Getty Images)

What courses? Journalism; journalism studies; multiplatform journalism; multimedia journalism; magazine journalism; broadcast journalism; sports journalism; fashion journalism; music journalism; online journalism.

What do you come out with? A BA

Why do it? “If you’re looking for a future outside the humdrum nine-to-five, have a taste for news and an insatiable curiosity, then a career in journalism is for you. You’ve got to be able to think on your feet in this fast-paced world where the deadline is always now. Degree courses can help hone your writing skills and give you training for a multi-skilled industry where you may have to wield a video camera as well as a notebook and pen.” – Christopher Crawford, programme leader, BA print journalism, Nottingham Trent University

What's it about? Being able to effectively communicate real-life events to the masses through your given medium, whether that’s print, television, radio or the net. It’s about being on the front line of all current affairs, and racing to be the first to file that story or package that broadcast. Journalism degrees differ in terms of their theory and practice balance, but you can expect a certain amount of analysis and essay writing, before being able to try your hand at becoming a first-rate hack, producing features, newsreels and radio broadcasts. Although degrees can focus specifically on one medium, you’re likely to have to cover the basics of news, law and ethics in almost all cases. With blogs and social media changing the way we share information and define journalism, expect a multidisciplinary approach in the most up-to-date degrees, as you’ll have to be fluent in HTML as well as shorthand in today’s industry.

Study options: Almost all courses are three years full-time, although Hertfordshire and City offer a sandwich year, in which you can try and secure experience in the industry. Scottish courses are four years.

What will I need to do it? Specific A levels are not usually required but English at A-Level is preferred and essential at GCSE. Politics and history are also looked on favourably. Students must demonstrate an interest in journalism through previous work experience or other related school activities. Entry grades vary, but you’ll need three As at City, and ABB at Sheffield and Cardiff.

What are my job prospects? There’s no telling really. It’s a jungle out there for aspiring journalists, and a lot depends on having sharp elbows and the ability to sell yourself. Gone are the days when graduates would move onto regional press or news agencies and then work their way up to the nationals. More and more students are going on to complete masters’ degrees and postgrad diplomas to enhance employability. Even after that, you’re expected to complete weeks, if not months, of working for free to prove your worth. All that said, those with talent and perseverance do succeed, and if not, there’s always PR or copyrighting. The Times’ Good University Guide 2012 doesn’t list journalism as a separate subject for graduate earnings, but to get an idea, 34 per cent of communication and media students go straight into graduate positions, but average salaries are low at £17,351.

Where’s best to do it? Again, the Complete University Guide 2012 doesn’t distinguish journalism, but of those ranked for media studies, which also offer journalism courses, Nottingham Trent comes top, followed by Sheffield and Cardiff. City University is also highly-rated in terms of industry recognition.

Related degrees: Media and communication; broadcasting; film studies; politics.

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