MA Visual Journalism and Storytelling

Our MA Visual Journalism and Storytelling trains you in the cornerstones of visual journalism. Combining photography, video, reporting, writing and multimedia, this course offers you maximum agility for telling non-fiction stories across platforms with the greatest impact. Our experienced and industry-engaged staff will support you to gain essential skills for a career in this expanding, exciting and evolving field.

Key information



Mode of Study:



12 months


University of Bolton

Start date:


Course Details

No matter whether in print, online or on TV, powerful images capture the world’s attention and have the ability to inform, illuminate and evoke powerful emotion. Visuals play an increasingly central role in driving the world’s news coverage. Meanwhile, online and social platforms have led to new ways to tell visual stories and engage today’s audiences, from ephemeral social stories to long-form digital interactives and online documentaries. Our intensive, practice-focused programme aims to develop visual and multimedia skills in high demand across a range of journalism, media and communication sectors.

The University of Bolton’s MA Visual Journalism and Storytelling is designed to appeal to a diverse range of people with interests in journalism, documentary, social advocacy and other forms of non-fiction storytelling. You’ll be trained in practical skills, via hands-on instruction, alongside the principles of professional visual journalism. You’ll work on assignments that mirror real industry briefs to develop reporting and storytelling skills to underpin your creative practice.

Core faculty continue to work professionally in the fields of visual journalism and communications, allowing us to offer global industry links and, where relevant, support you in making connections. You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with professionals across the world through guest speakers and masterclasses.

You’ll critically engage with broader industry issues and debates such as diversity, ethics, audience issues and new technologies and consider them in the context of the contemporary field of visual storytelling and your own practice. We are committed to training the next generation of image-makers to be ethically aware, adaptable and forward-thinking. Taking advantage of emerging and future innovations, our aim for you is to thrive in a career creating stories that capture, inform and influence an audience.

This programme sits alongside our successful China-based multimedia and visual media programmes. Graduates of these programmes work as staff and freelancers at major news organisations as camera operators, documentary producers and filmmakers, photojournalists and multimedia reporters. Others work as communications directors or content creators in non-profit, governmental and commercial sectors. The work of our staff and alumni has been recognised with prestigious industry awards, including World Press Photo and the George Polk Award.

  • Combining training in video, photography, news gathering, writing and multimedia, this postgraduate course focuses on preparing you for contemporary and emerging digital-first, visual journalism and non-fiction storytelling environments. We’ll equip you with the skills and versatility to work in a single medium or combined media across diverse platforms.
  • The programme is ideal for graduates and professionals. The skills and knowledge you’ll develop will ensure you are competitive for a career in journalism and other media and communication sectors.
  • You’ll learn to research, report, produce and edit video, photography, text and multimedia stories from start to finish, working individually and collaboratively, so you develop the essential skill set for today’s visual journalist.
  • Our industry-engaged staff are nationally and internationally published visual practitioners in the journalism, documentary, non-profit and commercial sectors.
  • Project-based exercises and assignments that mimic real-world industry briefs and processes build your practical expertise and professional knowledge, supporting you to develop the range of skills needed to thrive in this competitive industry.
Key Features
  • Teaching focuses on bringing real-time industry practices and debates to the classroom. We’ll encourage you to question, explore, and navigate new practices, discourses and media landscapes.
  • The programme offers a scaffold that supports you to develop the skills, confidence and autonomy to produce ambitious visual stories from start to finish. You’ll begin with short-form set assignments and exercises before moving onto longer form, self-initiated projects under the guidance and supervision of our expert tutors.
  • We’ll support you in developing a portfolio of visual stories across various media formats and platforms to demonstrate your skills to potential employers.
  • Through both theory and practice, you’ll critically engage with industry issues and debates, such as diversity, ethics, audiences and new technologies and consider them in the context of the contemporary field of visual storytelling and your own practice.
  • Working collaboratively with our lecturers on visual journalism projects, you’ll explore and experiment with potential new approaches, practices, workflows, platforms and technologies.
  • A carefully selected board of industry advisors and visiting lecturers add diverse perspectives, keeping the curriculum current and relevant.
  • By choosing to study with us, you'll have the chance to enjoy Bolton's many shops, bars, restaurants and leisure facilities. Manchester, one of the UK's most multicultural and lively cities, is less than 20 minutes away by train. Not forgetting, the North West of England is renowned for its beautiful countryside, coastline and heritage. This makes Bolton an ideal base from which to explore some of the best cultural and outdoor activities the UK offers.

  • Normally, you should have at least an upper second class (2.1) honours degree in a relevant subject. Relevant subjects include (but aren’t limited to) photography, video, media studies, media production, creative writing, web design, web programming, journalism and communications. Subjects that underpin a specialist area of journalism, such as public health, international development and environmental sciences also offer an excellent foundation for this postgraduate degree.
  • You must have a keen and genuine interest in journalism, current affairs and storytelling.
  • If you don’t have the above academic qualification but have alternative qualifications or significant experience in a relevant field, we’ll be happy to consider your application.
  • We'll consider applications where appropriate work experience can be demonstrated in lieu of, or in addition to, the published academic qualifications in line with the University’s Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) procedures.
  • You’ll be required to attend an interview and provide a portfolio of appropriate work. You must present a portfolio of media work (in one discipline or a mix of text-based articles, photography, video, graphic design, audio, etc.) and examples of academic or professional written work. Your portfolio will be discussed/assessed at the interview, demonstrating your suitability and aptitude for the course, and should demonstrate skills such as writing, communication, analytical and critical thinking, and research. For those without prior experience, we offer a pre-sessional module focused on developing basic camera operation and photography skills for students whose portfolio and interview performance assures us of their aptitude for storytelling and passion for developing visual journalism skills.
  • If English isn’t your first language, you’ll also need IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any band (or equivalent). We also accept a range of other English language qualifications – please visit our English Language Requirements web page for more details.

Where changes are made to material information contained in this course description or a decision is taken to suspend a course between the offer of admissions and enrolment, we will inform applicants at the earliest possible opportunity and will outline the various options available to the applicant.

Throughout the programme, you’ll develop competitive skills and knowledge. You’ll also find, tell and publish your own self-directed stories across a range of media to create a portfolio to demonstrate your work to future employers. Your online portfolio will showcase your diverse skills and highlight the specialisms you choose to nurture with us.

Graduates of our established China-based multimedia and visual media programmes have successful careers in diverse roles in online, print and broadcast environments and across a range of national and international media organisations. These include CNN, Getty Images, Reuters, The New York Times, Bloomberg, China Global Television Network (CGTN), The European Journalism Centre, International War and Peace Reporting, UNICEF, UNHCR and Greenpeace.

What can I do with this qualification?

After successfully completing this postgraduate degree, you’ll be prepared for a wide choice of career options in the rapidly transforming media industry, including staff and freelance positions as visual journalists, photographers, camera operators, video editors and producers. Graduates from our sister programmes work primarily in journalism, documentary and charity/non-profit communications. In addition, a significant number work in related industries such as teaching, PR, corporate communications, content management and marketing. Others have established their own companies and media brands.

Of course, you can also choose to continue your education. PGCE, MPhil and PhD degrees are available at the University of Bolton.

Alternative career options

Graduates can also use the qualification as a stepping-stone into a range of other careers. For some of these roles, relevant experience and/or postgraduate study may be required. Some of these careers include:

  • Public relations
  • Digital marketing and advertising
  • Marketing communications
  • Social media management
  • Web content management
  • Art and design
  • Teaching and education
  • News design
  • Media research
  • Digital strategist
  • Brand marketing consultant

Course fees

Home students starting this course in the first year will be required to pay a Home fee of £8,496 for the academic year 2024/25.

Overseas students starting this course in the first year will be required to pay a Overseas fee of £15,950 for the academic year 2024/25.

Useful information

Students should assemble their own kit including cameras and laptops. Optional travel and other project-related expenses, including any non-mandatory training, will be covered by the student.

Important note regarding tuition fees for the 2023-2024 academic year: EU nationals who meet residency requirements (have settled or pre-settled status) may be eligible for 'Home' fee status. If you do not meet these residency requirements, overseas fees will apply. Irish citizens living in the UK or Ireland will be eligible for 'Home' fee status under the Common Travel Area arrangement. Please read the student finance for EU students web page on for information.

The fees for a student's course of study will be set for the normal duration of that course subject only to inflationary increases – measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) recorded in March each year to take effect for subsequent start dates.


Click here for more information on our Master's Bursaries.

For details of how to apply for this course, please choose your status from the options below:

You may apply directly to the University using the University's online application form. Please select your chosen start date from the list below:

You should have to hand:

  • Details of the educational establishments you attended and dates

  • Your certificates for the qualifications you are using to gain entry to the course – you will need to enter the completion date and upload copies

  • Details of any employment history including name, address, dates and role

  • Personal statement – this can be either input into the relevant field or uploaded separately

  • Details including e-mail addresses of two referees, at least one of which should be someone who can provide an academic reference

Please make sure any documents you wish to upload in support of your application are in pdf or jpeg format. Personal statements may be word documents.

Please ensure your data is correct at each stage of the application before you proceed to the next page. If you use the back button at any time during the application, you should check the validity of the data you have already input.

If you experience difficulties during the application process, contact the Admissions Team on 01204 903394 or

Thank you for your interest

In order to determine your suitability for this course as an international student and also to confirm you meet any initial eligibility criteria, we need you to answer a few short questions.


Our teaching and learning strategies help you acquire and develop appropriate concepts, knowledge and skills. You can expect practice-based workshops, self-directed study, lectures, seminars, critiques, tutorials, and presentations. We adopt a blended style of learning and teaching, including online delivery and engagement, where appropriate.

It’s important to realise that the time spent with a tutor during formally scheduled activities is only a small part of the learning time identified for a module. You’ll also need to spend a significant amount of time undertaking guided independent study, such as general background reading, preparing for seminar activities and working on assignments. We’re committed to supporting you throughout your learning journey, but as time progresses, our guidance will become less structured and prescriptive. We’ll expect you to demonstrate significant independence in your study, taking responsibility for managing your own learning time and increasing your autonomy as you progress.

The assessment strategy aims to help you achieve the overall aims of the programme and the learning outcomes for individual modules. As well as being a way to assess your achievement, the assessments also help you organise and develop your learning. Assessment feedback can help you build your skills and understand your strengths and weaknesses.

There are two types of assessment: formative and summative. Formative assessments help you learn and develop your knowledge and skills, while the results of your summative assessments provide your grades. Formative assessment occurs via tutorial discussion, group workshops that include peer and tutor review, and guidance on work in progress. Formative feedback is given face-to-face, online or in written form. Summative assessments consist of both practical and theoretical work. These include practical projects, presentations, and written assessments in the form of essays, portfolios, and production documents.


The modules listed below may be a mixture of compulsory and optional. You may not have the opportunity to study all the modules shown as part of the course.

  • Digital Imaging
  • Reporting and Writing News
  • Visual Journalism Practice
  • Contemporary Currents and Practice
  • Visual Storytelling Portfolio
  • Journalism Master's Project
Assessment methods
LevelAssesment method
Level oneCoursework 57%, Practical exams 43%
Learning activities
LevelLearning activity
Level oneGuided independent study 80%, Scheduled learning and teaching activities 20%


The university will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver your course as described in its published material and the programme specification for the academic year in which you begin your course. The university considers changes to courses very carefully and the university will minimise any changes. Please be aware that our courses are subject to review on an ongoing basis and changes may be necessary due to legitimate staffing, financial, regulatory and academic reasons. The content of course modules and mode of associated assessments may be updated on an annual basis. This is to ensure that all modules are up-to-date and responsive to employment and sector needs. The published course material and the programme specification contain indicative ‘optional modules’ that may be subject to change due to circumstances outside of our control. For this reason, we cannot guarantee to run any specific optional module.

The academic staff detailed above teach across a range of courses in this subject area and may not teach on this course specifically.

Programme Contacts

Sharron Lovell
Programme Leader

Enquiry Team
University of Bolton

+44 (0)1204 903903

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Help Centre

We have the answers to your questions, find all the advice and support in one place.

Part of the University of Bolton Group

Bolton college
Alliance learning
Anderton centre2
QQA Scheme Participant