A football degree for 2023 and beyond
Thanks to multi-billion-pound television deals, 90% of people in the UK owning a smartphone, and the explosion of social media, the desire for football content has never been greater. On this degree, we’ll teach you how to service that need.
We recognise this is an extremely fast-moving field, so we are always improving and evolving our course to reflect the industry. With this in mind, we have an updated curriculum for 2023, with new and improved modules on e-sports, video journalism, social media, feature writing, commentary and punditry, data analysis and visualisation, the societal impact of journalism, and more.
This is in response to changes in the industry. Football clubs are now taking control of their own narrative and looking for well-qualified media professionals who can help them build their audiences and communicate directly with fans. Journalists are also building their own brands, audiences and content. The traditional forms of media are still extremely relevant, but they have had to shift their offering to reflect their audience.
Our aim is to help you develop the skills that all these employers will look for when hiring, as well as to show you how to manage your own content and brand. We want to ensure the broadest range of job pathways are open to you.
Play to your strengths
As the definition of journalism has broadened, so too has our degree. It’s extremely varied, with plenty of optional modules in years two and three, so you can tailor your degree to your own talents and interests.
We’ll cover traditional skills like interviewing, newswriting and media law, as well as those required by the industry today, such as video, social media management, podcasting, and data analysis.
As well as producing content, you’ll also be asked to analyse the work of current journalists to understand what best practice looks like. You will also learn more generally about communication, media, and societal issues in journalism.
Get professional experience
Our tutors are well-connected in the industry. They can put you in touch with football clubs and media organisations, so you can start to gain valuable work experience.
Recently for example, we arranged for groups of students to cover the 2022 Women’s Euros and the 2022 Commonwealth Games. We also have around 80 students currently working for individual clubs, such as Wolverhampton Wanderers, Birmingham City, Derby County, Nottingham Forest, Burton Albion, Walsall and Mansfield.
You’ll cover all aspects of the news cycle from previewing matches to live reporting and post-match analysis, along with press conferences, interviews and sports features. To see what our students get up to, take a look at the Derby Uni Footy Journos website and TikTok page.
By the end of the course – provided you’ve made the most of these opportunities – you should have an impressive editorial portfolio to show prospective employers.
Be inspired by guest speakers
You’ll gain fascinating insights into the profession thanks to our programme of guest lectures by sports journalists, broadcasters and football industry insiders. In recent years these have included:
- Commentator Martin Tyler
- Manager Martin O'Neill
- Player, coach and broadcaster, Kelly Smith
- Player Max Bird
- TV broadcaster, sports commentator and actor, Arlo White
- Journalist Henry Winter
- Commentator and presenter Jacqui Oatley
- Journalist Darren Lewis.
You'll predominantly be based at our Markeaton Street and Kedleston Road sites, which have everything a journalist needs. Our facilities include three radio studios, a fully equipped television studio, video editing suites, Mac suites and a newsroom featuring the latest software, including Adobe Creative Suite.
Our radio studios have recently been refurbished and fitted with Calrec technology — a leading range of broadcast audio mixing consoles and equipment. All large media companies are now migrating to this technology, so we're ahead of the game.
All of this means you’ll be confident using industry-standard technology, giving you an advantage when you're looking for a job.
We can offer opportunities for you to spend time in another country, including studying at our partner universities or working on a placement or internship.
For a more general journalism degree, you can also study our BA (Hons) Journalism.
Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.
You will learn in a variety of ways – for example through:
- Lectures and seminars, including guest lectures from industry experts
- Practice-based workshops
- Trips to clubs, matches and tournaments
- News days
- Group work
- Independent study.
Our assessments are focused on teaching you how to be a journalist. There are no exams and you’ll be assessed mainly on the content you produce, which might be blogs, podcasts, videos, features, and news articles. For some modules, you will need to complete more academic assessments, including essays, case study reports and presentations.
Who you will meet
Chris Hall is the Programme Leader and supports West Bromwich Albion. He worked in the communications team for his beloved club for eight years, managing their social media and broadcast products. Chris then spent five years at The FA running Wembley Stadium’s digital team. His career highlight was organising all the on-field activity for Sir Alex Ferguson’s final game as a manager.
- Peter Lansley is a senior lecturer, Guardian football writer, and FA coach mentor. He’s had 20 years’ experience writing for broadsheets, 13 of which were as The Time’s Midlands and Women's football correspondent. Pete has reported from 20 major tournaments but says the pinnacle was reporting on the Lionesses winning the 2022 Women's Euros with Derby students. He supports Wolves.
Neil Roberts is an Everton fan and has spent 25 years in journalism (newspaper and TV). While working for ITV News, he interviewed many sports people including David Beckham, Johnny Wilkinson, Joe Calzaghe and Sir Bradley Wiggins. Neil was also involved in the re-brand of the Premier League in 2016, as executive producer of their global TV channel.
Niall Hickman has worked as a sports journalist for ITV, Sky Sports, the Daily Mail and the Daily Express. His career highlights include covering World Cups, Olympic Games, Ryder Cups, and world championship boxing. He supports Wolves as well as non-league side, Stourbridge FC.
Neil Manship is a senior lecturer and Derby County fan. He began his career as sports reporter at the Derby Telegraph and then moved into radio and TV, working as a reporter, producer and presenter for the BBC. This included 13 years as a lead producer and manager for BBC Look North. He’s most proud of producing ‘Programme of the Year’ in The BBC Nations and Regions Awards.
Richard Bowyer is a senior lecturer an award-winning journalist with more than 30 years’ experience. He’s worked on numerous Midlands’ newspapers, including the Wolverhampton Express and Star, Lincolnshire Echo and Stoke Sentinel, rising through the ranks to become Editor-in-Chief of Staffordshire Sentinel Newspapers (his career highlight) and later, Group Editor of West Staffordshire Newspapers and its associated websites. He’s a Manchester United fan.
Caroline Jones is a lecturer and Derby graduate who follows Burton Albion. She gained over 10 years’ experience in the online media and newspaper industry before becoming a lecturer, working for Liverpool Echo and Derby Telegraph. Her expertise includes content management, live blogging, SEO and social media.
- Dr Beth Wood is a lecturer who spent five years working as a broadcast journalist before switching to teaching and research, initially working in colleges and schools. For her PhD, Beth explored how Gen Z are accessing and engaging with the news and the reasoning behind this.
Personal academic tutoring
Your personal academic tutor will work with you to help you get the most out of your time at university. Having someone to talk to about your academic progress, your university experience and your professional aspirations is hugely valuable. We want you to feel challenged in your studies, stretched but confident to achieve your academic and professional goals.
Find out more about personal academic tutoring
These are the typical qualification requirements for September 2024 entry. Contextual offers may apply to students who meet certain criteria.
|What we're looking for
|GCSE Maths and English Grade 4/Grade C (or above) or equivalent qualification
|Access to HE
|Pass Access to HE Diploma with 60 credits: 45 at Level 3 with a minimum of Distinction: 15, Merit: 24, Pass: 6
Offers will be made initially based on your application, including predicted grades and/or grades you have already achieved. You may be given the opportunity, within your offer letter, to submit a portfolio. If you submit a strong portfolio we will make you an unconditional offer, to reflect the quality of your work and your potential.
Additional entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS: 7.0 (with at least 6.5 in each skills area)
By the end of this football journalism degree, you should have plenty of professional experience and contacts to get your career off to a flying start.
The course develops the broad range of knowledge and skills you need to become a football journalist today, but it also prepares you for other careers in journalism, PR and marketing, advertising, corporate communications, law and public administration or politics.
Our football journalism graduates are now working for clubs and organisations like Manchester City, TalkSPORT, AFTV (Arsenal Football TV), Brentford FC, Nottingham Forest Women FC, Blackburn Rovers LFC, Football Manager, Birmingham City FC, Bet365, Reach plc and Reuters. They work in a great variety of roles, including as club journalists, commentators, social media managers, communications officers, and community liaison officers.
Ensuring you’re ‘work-ready’
Our Careers and Employment Service will provide you with support from day one of your course to ensure you leave Derby as a ‘work-ready’ graduate - industry aware, motivated and enterprising. Throughout your studies, you’ll also benefit from our Personal Development Planning (PDP) scheme which enables you to reflect on your learning and develop your career ambitions. The support continues once you’ve completed your course too: you are entitled to further help and guidance from the Careers and Employment Service for up to three years after leaving the University.
If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.Contact us
Additional information about your studies
Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.
Additional costs and optional extras
We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.
The information provided on this page is correct at the time of publication but course content, costs and other individual course details do change from time to time and are updated as often as possible, so please do check these pages again when making your final decision to apply for a course. Any updated course details will also be confirmed to you at application, enrolment and in your offer letter.
Included in your fees
- Access to the Equipment Centre which stocks a huge range of cameras, audio equipment, and accessories which are available for booking by students at no cost
- Mandatory trips to media companies or other interesting organisations. Previous trips have included visiting BBC Radio Derby, the Derby Telegraph, the Nottingham Post and BBC News and Sport at Salford
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
- Some equipment including storage drives (about £10) and external storage drives (£50 - £100) for use with cameras
Optional costs not included in your fees
- It is useful but not essential to have a smartphone (£50 - £750)
- Some students choose to buy accessories for the phone such as external microphones (approx. £10 - £15) and tripods (£5 - £25)
- Some students also find it useful to purchase their own laptop for use in the field but this is not required (from £150)
- It is also possible that you will want to travel to cover particular news stories - as this is not required by the course, the cost is not covered in your fees
Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.