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BAJournalism, Media & Communications & Social Policy

Why this course?

From crises in the Middle East to the economic and political situation at home, journalism informs our view of the world and shapes our decisions.

At Strathclyde, you can combine Journalism & Creative Writing in one programme taught by internationally-recognised writers, academics and experienced journalists.

Social policy is a theoretical and applied subject which draws on many different disciplines - such as history, sociology, anthropology, economics, law, psychology and politics - to improve our understanding of how different societies organise their resources to meet individual and social needs and how they measure progress in these areas.

This new social policy degree programme gives you the opportunity to learn more about the social and economic challenges facing Scottish society and enables you to place these in a broader international and comparative perspective.

It also addresses some of the major questions of our time, such as how should social policy adapt to a changing global, digital, connected and information-rich world? How can we adapt social policies to the needs of a more diverse society? And how should resources be distributed, not only between generations, but also within them?

Our BA degrees in Humanities & Social Sciences are initially broad-based. In Year 1, you'll study three subjects, including your chosen subject(s).

Journalism & Creative Writing

What you'll study

Year 1

You’ll be introduced to core concepts in both journalism and creative writing and explore the connections between the two areas of writing.

Year 2

In second year, you’ll explore the structure of media institutions and develop awareness of writing techniques common to journalists and creative writers.

Year 3

Areas of study include script writing, features journalism and research techniques for writers and journalists.

Year 4

As an Honours student you’ll prepare a portfolio over the course of the year. There’s also the opportunity to take advanced Honours classes in journalism and creative writing.

Work placement

Although there is no obligation for students to undertake work placements, staff are regularly contacted by newspaper editors seeking help from students with various projects. So there are a good number of opportunities for work experience during the course of study at Strathclyde.

Short work placements are occasionally available to students of journalism during summer periods. These are not part of the course and entry is often competitive. Recent placements have included the communications division of the Scottish Government.

Major projects

Journalism staff are involved in a number of projects involving investigative journalism, digital journalism, health journalism and media talk, and are regular contributors to broadcast and print media. Staff in journalism have also been involved in the delivery of a recent Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).

Creative writing staff take part in many of Scotland’s literary festivals, including the International Edinburgh Book Festival, Aye Write and others. Postgraduate students recently organised two creative writing conferences and staff organised and hosted a major international conference on poetry and the visual arts in association with Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery.

Facilities

The department of journalism and creative writing are located in the Lord Hope building, in the centre of Glasgow just a few minutes from the railway stations, bus stops, shops, and restaurants. This location is ideal as it provides a social hub and access to student services such as the library, cafés, meeting areas and exhibition spaces.

Many of the classes in journalism take place in dedicated news classrooms.

Postgraduate study

Our taught graduate programmes combine academic excellence in journalism studies with professional education to industry standards. We offer taught Masters degrees in:

We also offer various research degrees including an MRes in Creative Writing.

Social policy

What you'll study

Year 1

Our Semester 1 module provides a wide-ranging introduction to some of the key challenges facing Scottish society in areas such as health, housing, education and social security.  The Semester 2 module asks how different issues come to be recognised and defined as ‘social problems’.  At what point do individual or personal issues come to be defined as social issues, and why?

Year 2

You'll have the opportunity to deepen your knowledge and understanding of the development of Scottish social policy. You will also discover more about some of the key concepts in Social Policy, including such issues as human needs, social welfare, inequality, poverty, citizenship, and social exclusion. You'll also get the chance to discuss the processes through which policies are made and engage in debates about their effectiveness.

Year 3

You'll be expected to undertake a more detailed examination of the development of Scottish social policy in a UK context, alongside in-depth studies of the particular social policy areas or themes that interest you.  You will also take a class in research methodology which will help you to prepare for your final year dissertation.

Year 4

You'll take a core module in Comparative Social Policy, alongside the more detailed study of a particular area or theme. Your classes will be based around the specialist research interests of the academic staff and you will be engaging in debates at the cutting edge of current Social Policy thinking. The 10,000-word Honours dissertation will be your chance to undertake some original research of your own in a key area of Social Policy.

Major projects

All honours students will have the opportunity to complete a 10,000-word dissertation on a topic of their choice. The dissertation gives you the opportunity to undertake independent research into an issue which is particularly important to you.

It might be based on a detailed analysis of original sources, such as policy documents or statistical records, or you might choose to generate your own data, using interviews or focus groups.  The opportunity to undertake original research into an topic of particular interest means that the dissertation is often the most satisfying part of any student’s degree.

Postgraduate study

We offer two MSc programmes:

If you're looking to build on what you learned in your undergraduate degree, this is the postgradute course for you.

If you're looking to undertake a postgraduate research degree or embark upon a research career, this is the postgraduate course for you.

Course content

Year 1

Journalism, Media & Communications

Compulsory

Introduction to Journalism, Media & Communication

An introductory conceptual class on these topics, it will provide a wide overview of the media, journalism and the communication fields. Key contemporary issues in journalism, media and communication will be introduced and discussed. 

Introduction to News & Features

A practical introductory class on journalism reporting and writing. Students will learn the basic rules of reporting, interviewing, writing news and features, and editing them. The specifics of each format of writing will be emphasised. Assessments include writing real-life stories on topics chosen by students.

Social policy

Social Policy & Society in Contemporary Scotland

This class is designed to introduce you to some of the major issues confronting Scottish society and to provide an accessible introduction to some of the key concerns of Social Policy.  It will examine a range of issues, including questions of poverty and inequality, social divisions, health, housing, education, and criminal justice.

Private Issues & Public Problems

This class examines the different ways in which ‘private issues’ become recognised as ‘public problems’.  Using a number of different case studies, such as domestic violence, homelessness or poverty, it will look at the different ways in which social problems have been identified and at the different standpoints from which they can be viewed.

Year 2

Journalism, Media & Communications

Compulsory

News Reporting and Writing

A practical intermediate class focusing on journalism skills related to news writing. Students explore news reporting and writing in more depth, including how to work with numbers, how to interview and write about vulnerable people and how to conduct research online. Assessments are real-life news stories written on topics assigned by the instructor or chosen by the student.

Journalism, Media & Communication: Theories & Methods

A theoretical class, which takes an in-depth look at major theories of the field and related methods. The class will prepare students for research by exploring the main methods of studying the media. It will connect these methods to the major theories in journalism, media and communication, which aims to bring a deeper conceptual understanding of the field.  

Elective

Digital Media: Histories, Theories, Practices

This class mixes conceptual and practical elements with a focus on digital media. It explores the history of digital media and asks students to think conceptually about it, but also to gain relevant practical skills related to digital journalism & effective communication in the digital age.

Social policy

Scottish Social Policy since 1845

This class explores some of the different ways in which social policy has evolved in Scotland in response to a variety of social problems since the introduction of the Scottish Poor Law Act in 1845. It covers all the main areas of social policy, including health, housing, education and poverty, and also explores the changing boundaries between individuals, families, communities, voluntary organisations, commercial welfare and state over the course of this period.

Key Concepts in Social Welfare

This class explores some of the most important concepts in the academic study of Social Policy, including such concepts as equality, justice, need, happiness, poverty and wellbeing. It also examines a number of different ideological perspectives on these issues, such as liberalism, conservatism, socialism, social democracy, Marxism, feminism and the New Right.

The Making of Social Policy

This class examines the ways in which social policies are ‘made’ at both a national and international level.  It examines the roles played by different actors, institutions and ideas.  It also looks at the ways in which evidence is used to inform policy-making, and at the ways in which we are all involved, as citizens, in the policy process.  These themes are explored with the aid of a series of case-studies, including health and education policies, and the development and implementation of equalities legislation.

Year 3

Journalism, Media & Communications

Elective

Feature Writing

A practical intermediate class focusing on journalism skills related to feature writing. Students learn about different types of features (e.g. profile, review, news backgrounder, column, travel or sport), in-depth reporting and writing.

Assessments are real-life features on topics chosen by students.  

Journalism and Popular Culture

A theoretical class exploring in depth concepts around popular culture, as related to journalism. The class analyses the construction of the popular, along with those historical, economic and cultural forces involved in deploying the popular to establish hierarchies of judgment and legitimacy.

Law for Journalists

A conceptual class covering Scots law for journalists. The class explores specific cases of media law in Scotland and how students need to conduct their reporting and writing in a way that respects those boundaries.

Communicating Politics: Truth, Legitimacy, Participation

A theoretical class on concepts and theories from political communication. The class will explore recent developments in politics, political communication and the media, and will discuss their implications for democracy.

Social policy

Compulsory classes:

Research Skills in Social Policy

This class will help you to develop your knowledge and understanding of some of the key methods used by researchers in the field of social policy.  It will introduce you to a number of different qualitative and quantitative methods, and to some of the basic principles of research design.  It will provide an essential foundation for your final-year dissertation.

Scottish Social Welfare in a UK Context

This class examines the ways in which recent political developments have placed questions of social policy at the heart of debates over the future of the United Kingdom.  To what extent do the different parts of the UK face different social problems?  To what extent do different parts of the UK possess a different approach to the resolution of these issues?  How has the governance of social policy in different parts of the UK been affected by its current constitutional arrangements?

Year 4

Journalism, Media & Communications

Elective

Dissertation/Special Project (Semester 1 or 2)

Students can choose to do an individual project on a topic related to journalism, media or communication, which involves original academic or journalistic research under one-on-one supervision with staff. An academic dissertation involves individual scholarly research on a chosen topic. The special project is an extension of feature writing skills and will take those to a new level by requiring students to produce a much longer and more sophisticated portfolio of work.

Media and Health

The class mixes conceptual and practical elements for an in-depth look at the media’s role in society’s health and wellbeing. The class covers topics such as media coverage of disease and disability, chronic versus acute conditions, how the media shape the image of doctors, people with various conditions.

Gender Issues in the Media

A theoretical class, underpinned by feminist media studies, which explores gender issues in relation to media production, representation and consumption practices – both in relation to mainstream media and ‘alternative’ content and distribution strategies. This class explores how gender intersects with other structural inequalities such as race, class, sexuality, dis/ability and age.

Digital Communication and Society

This class explores the implications and futures of digital technology in communication. It incorporates the range of digital communication, from mediated conversation, through social media, to blogging and the production and distribution of video content. The importance of the digital environment for politics and the labour market is also explored.

Working for and with the Scottish media

A seminar class, which capitalises on staff’s relationships with media organisations, NGOs and government bodies in Scotland and brings professionals into the classroom for guest talks and discussions of professional nature. The class will help students with establishing professional connections in the media field and with getting an overview of the media landscape in Scotland.

Ethical Issues for Journalists: Controversy, Responsibility, Care

A conceptual class that builds on journalism practice and explores it from a theoretical perspective. The class explores the accountability systems used by journalists, both external such as IPSO and internal such as methods of self-censorship. Students examine a series of ethical dilemmas emanating from the concepts of truth and trust, taste and offence, privacy and intrusion and respecting people.

Digital Tools & Skills in Journalism

A practical class on current software and online tools that enhance digital storytelling for journalists. It explores the changing nature of journalism in the face of rapidly advancing technological environment and asks a range of questions: how does the rise of information-driven society change journalistic practices? How do technological affordances help develop novel forms of storytelling? Which tools can develop and maintain professional presence on online platforms?  

Social policy

Compulsory classes:

The Welfare State in Comparative Perspective

This class examines the development of welfare states as a global phenomenon.  It asks what we mean by the concept of a ‘welfare state’ and looks at the ways in which welfare states have developed in different countries.  It also explores some of the major differences between different types of welfare state, using the concept of ‘welfare régimes’.

Dissertation

Many students find that the dissertation is the most fulfilling part of their degree. It will provide you with the opportunity to undertake your own in-depth investigation into a topic of your choice, and to develop skills as an independent researcher.

Assessment

Journalism, Media & Communications & Social Policy

Assessment methods include:

  • essays
  • portfolios
  • presentations
  • group work
  • reports
  • exams
  • reflective diaries

Social policy

You'll be assessed using a variety of methods, including not only traditional essays and exams, but also oral presentations, group work and other forms of assessment.

Learning & teaching

Journalism, Media & Communications & Social Policy

Our learning and teaching aims to help you:

  • develop knowledge and understanding of the professional practices, skills and social contexts of the journalism, creative writing and communication industries
  • help you think and work critically and constructively
  • become a confident and responsible graduate, equipped to develop your potential throughout your career
Guest lectures

A programme of visiting speakers from the world of broadcasting, publishing and newspapers, including Gaynor McFarlane (BBC) and Alan Ramsay (Connect Communications) runs alongside the Literary Lunch, run by our Keith Wright Literary Fellow. This series showcases the best in Scottish writing, and features poets and novelists such as Liz Lochhead, James Robertson and Andrew Greig.

Entry requirements

Minimum grades

Required subjects are indicated following minimum accepted grades.

Highers

1st sitting: AAAA (Higher English plus one from the list below, Maths/Lifeskills Maths National 5 B, or equivalent)
2nd sitting: AAAABB (Higher English plus one from the list below, Maths/Lifeskills Maths National 5 B, or equivalent)

Higher subjects

  • Classical Studies
  • Drama
  • Economics
  • French
  • Gaelic
  • Geography
  • German
  • History
  • Italian
  • Modern Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Psychology
  • Religious Moral & Philosophical Studies
  • Sociology
  • Spanish

We recognise a wide range of Highers, however, your profile must reflect a good grounding in essay-based subjects.

A Levels

Year 1 entry

Typical entry requirement: ABB (GCSE English Language 6/B or English Literature 6/B, GCSE Maths 4/C)
Minimum entry requirement: BBB (GCSE English Language 6/B or English Literature 6/B, GCSE Maths 4/C)

Year 2 entry

Not offered

International Baccalaureate

36 (Maths SL5)

HNC/HND

Year 1 entry

HNC Social Sciences: A in Graded Unit; Maths National 5 B or equivalent
HNC Creative Industries: Media and Communication A in Graded Unit; Professional Writing A in Graded Unit
HNC Practical Journalism: A in Graded Unit

Irish Leaving Certificate

Subjects and grades as for Highers

Additional information

Personal statement

It is important to take care over your personal statement. We look for information about your academic and career interests, and your range of skills, abilities, and relevant experience. Your personal statement should show evidence you have a strong awareness and interest in the subject you are applying to.

Deferred entry

Deferred entry normally not accepted.

Applicants with Highers

Due to the high level of competition for the number of available places, it is unlikely that Conditional Offers will be made to anyone attaining less than AAB at the first sitting of Highers.

Admission to Honours

All students will be admitted as potential Honours students. Students may exit with a Bachelor of Arts degree at the end of Year 3 of the programme if they have accumulated at least 360 credits and satisfied the appropriate specialisation requirements. For admission to the final year of the Honours course, a student must have achieved an approved standard of performance.



Widening access

We want to increase opportunities for people from every background. Strathclyde selects our students based on merit, potential and the ability to benefit from the education we offer. We look for more than just your grades. We consider the circumstances of your education and will make lower offers to certain applicants as a result.

Find out if you can benefit from this type of offer.

Fees & funding

How much will my course cost?

2019/20

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

Scotland/EU
  • tbc
Rest of UK
  • £9,250

Assuming no change in Rest of UK fees policy over the period, the total amount payable by undergraduate students will be capped. For students commencing study in 2017/18, this is capped at £27,750 (with the exception of the MPharm and Integrated Masters courses); MPharm students pay £9,250 for each of the four years. Students studying on Integrated Masters degree programmes pay an additional £9,250 for the Masters year with the exception of those undertaking a full-year industrial placement where a separate placement fee will apply.

International

  • £14,650

University preparation programme fees

International students can find out more about the costs and payments of studying a university preparation programme at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre.

Please note: All fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

How can I fund my studies?

Students from Scotland and the EU

If you're a Scottish or EU student, you may be able to apply to the Student Award Agency Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish government. Scottish students may also be eligible for a bursary and loan to help cover living costs while at University.

For more information on funding your studies have a look at our University Funding page.

Students from England, Wales & Northern Ireland

We have a generous package of bursaries on offer for students from England, Northern Ireland and Wales

You don’t need to make a separate application for these. When your place is confirmed at Strathclyde, we’ll assess your eligibility. Have a look at our scholarship search for any more funding opportunities.

International Students (Non UK, EEA)

We have a number of scholarships available to international students. Take a look at our scholarship search to find out more.

Available scholarships

We have a wide range of scholarships available. Have a look at our scholarship search to find a scholarship.

Careers

Journalism graduates from Strathclyde have won awards for student journalism and have gone on to succeed at national newspapers, the regional press and as published authors.

Our graduates work as press officers, marketing and media officers, freelance journalists, fundraiser and PR assistants.

The most common employment destinations for social policy graduates include:

  • local & national government policy development and research
  • regional & urban development
  • business administration & management
  • third sector/charity research & policy development
  • children’s services
  • education
  • health & social welfare
  • protective services

Contact us

Apply

How to apply – 10 things you need to know

  1. All undergraduate applications are made through UCAS
    Go to the UCAS website to apply – you can apply for up to five courses.
  2. It costs £12 to apply for a course
    The cost is £23 for two to five courses.
  3. The deadline is 15 January each year
    This is the application deadline for most courses. However, please check the details for your particular course. View a full list of UCAS key dates.
  4. You might be asked to attend an interview
    Most of our courses make offers based on the UCAS application. However some might ask you to attend an interview or for a portfolio of work. If this is the case, this will be stated in the prospectus entry requirements.
  5. It’s possible to apply directly to Year 2
    Depending on your qualifications, you might be able to apply directly to Year 2 - or even Year 3 - of a course. Speak to the named contact for your course if you want to discuss this.
  6. There’s three types of decision
    • unconditional – you’ve already met our entry requirements
    • conditional – we’ll offer you a place if you meet certain conditions, usually based on your exams
    • unsuccessful – we’ve decided not to offer you a place
  7. You need to contact UCAS to accept your offer
    Once you’ve decided which course you’d like to accept, you must let UCAS know. You don’t need to decide until you’ve received all offers. UCAS will give you a deadline you must respond by.

    You’ll choose one as your firm choice. If the offer is unconditional or if you meet the conditions, this is the course you’ll study.

    You’ll also have an insurance choice. This is a back-up option if you don’t meet the conditions of your first choice.
  8. You don’t need to send us your exam results (Scotland, England & Wales)
    If you’re studying in Scotland, England or Wales, we receive a copy of your Higher/Advanced Higher/A Level results directly from the awarding body. However, if you are studying a different qualification, then please contact us to arrange to send your results directly.
  9. We welcome applications from international students

    Find out further information about our entry and English language requirements.

    International students who don’t meet the entry requirements, can apply for our pre-undergraduate programmes.

    There’s also an online application form.

    For further information:
  10. Here’s a really useful video to help you apply

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