Journalism is featured in the top 20 in The Guardian University Guide 2020 and is rated 2nd for student satisfaction with feedback.
From the Olympics to Premiership football, our nation’s passion for sports coverage has never been stronger. If you’d like to be part of the action as a sports journalist, this course delivers the skills, knowledge, practical experience and professional contacts you need.
- Build high-level skills in researching and producing compelling print, radio, TV and online sports stories
- Harness the latest digital technologies which are transforming the way we receive and engage with sports coverage
- Take a unique opportunity to focus on the sport of your choice – from cricket, rugby or football to minority sports
- Gain invaluable experience through work placements, employer-led projects and opportunities to study abroad
- Be inspired by our team of highly experienced tutors with strong media backgrounds and extensive contacts
- Learn in our exceptional facilities which include TV and radio studios plus a fully equipped newsrooms
We've developed this course with your future in mind. New technologies are revolutionising media and the ways in which people receive their sports news. Today’s digital technologies allow people to follow their chosen sports much more closely – and they expect a high level of expertise from those reporting on sport. We will equip you with the professional knowledge and multimedia skills to rise to this challenge.
New skills for a new era
In an age of digital news, there has never been a more exciting or challenging time to study sports journalism. This dynamic course enables you to produce compelling content for both traditional and emerging media platforms. And, unlike with other courses, you’ll have the opportunity to specialise in a sport of your choice – from minority sports through to cricket, rugby and football.
You'll gain the core journalistic research and writing skills as well as studying media law and ethics. At the same time, you’ll develop a multi-platform mindset, producing print, radio and TV reports as well as creating blogs and podcasts, digital photos, audio/video stories and content for websites and mobile devices.
Meeting industry demand
We are collaborating closely with leading names in sport and media to ensure this degree delivers the right level of skills and knowledge. You’ll be equipped not only to cover sport as a journalist but also for the growing number of media relations roles in the sports industry.
The course has been developed following discussions with major media companies like the BBC, national and local newspapers, sports industry bodies and sports clubs themselves. Drawing on these strong partnerships, you’ll be able to extend your professional networks, gain practical work experience and hear guest lectures from experienced sports journalists.
Hone your expertise in news gathering
Throughout your studies, you’ll gain significant hands-on experience of gathering and reporting news and information on your chosen sport. You’ll also analyse traditional media coverage and the way in which social media and individual blogs are transforming sports journalism.
You are expected to gain an in-depth knowledge of your sport, covering every level from local grassroots players to the biggest names in international sport. We focus on the governance and business aspects of sport too, reflecting how these are never far from the headlines.
Exciting work experience opportunities
As part of your course, you’ll boost your CV by gaining practical work experience with a media or sports organisation in the UK or overseas. All our students are expected to have completed at least 15 days of work placement by the time they graduate.
The course features work-based modules where you can expand your professional know-how. We also encourage you to work with charities and other not-for-profit organisations to gain an insight into why media matters so much. In addition, you can contribute to the various print, radio and online news outlets at the University, which is itself a rich source of news and debate around sport.
You'll be based at our main campus at Kedleston Road and at our Markeaton Street site where you'll discover our excellent facilities including three radio studios, a fully equipped television studio, video editing suites, Mac suites and a newsroom featuring the latest software.
You’ll work with industry-standard recording and editing software that is used worldwide. It means you’ll be both confident and competent with up-to-the-minute technology – giving you a real advantage when you're looking for a job.
Variety and versatility
Our emphasis is on fostering creative, versatile journalists with experience in a variety of production techniques. On top of this, you will gain journalistic expertise in your chosen sport, helping you to pursue a career in your specialist area of interest.
Alongside your traditional reporting skills, we want you to develop a passion for ideas and creative communication, to seek people out and find the human stories behind the headlines. You'll also focus on your intellectual and critical development, study research techniques and gain an understanding of audience theory.
Broaden your perspectives
We encourage all students to take part in international study, either through the Erasmus scheme which allows you to spend time at a university almost anywhere in Europe, or through our American exchange programme, in which you will spend a full semester studying at one of our partner universities in the USA:
- Eastern Michigan University
- Keene State College in New Hampshire
- Longwood University in Virginia
- Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis.
The key to becoming a great sports journalist is to learn the essential skills required by all journalists. So, at the start of your degree, you’ll gain a thorough grounding in the basics of finding and telling stories for different forms of media.
There are introductory modules on print, online, video and audio journalism, and you will build your understanding of the law, ethics and governance of journalism.
As you progress through your course, you will develop more advanced skills and will be given the opportunity to specialise, not only in the sport of your choice but also in different media platforms such as TV, radio, online or print.
We believe that you learn best by doing. As often as possible, you’ll be creating content for print, online, audio and video platforms. You’ll have opportunities to work on real-world projects and complete stories on location as a matter of course. You’ll gather sports news, interview people and write reports and features with accuracy.
You’ll be taught by a team which has vast experience in journalism and you’ll gain fascinating insights into the profession thanks to our programme of guest lectures by sports journalists, broadcasters, historians and commentators. You’ll also go on visits to professional media companies.
Our great contacts with local and national radio and TV, newspapers and online outlets open the doors to a variety of work experience opportunities for you. We work closely with media organisations to enable you to have your work published.
In addition, you can hone your skills by contributing to our student-run media, helping with the radio or TV stations or writing for the Phantom newspaper. We’ll also encourage you to produce content for the online news and sports websites run by the Students’ Union.
How you'll be assessed
You will be assessed both for the quality of your journalistic work, and through academic work.
Journalistic assessments will include writing, designing, and the use of images. You will also create video and audio content, as well as producing online content.
Academic assessment will include essays, case studies, extended reports, presentations, process analyses, reflective diaries, report writing and self-evaluation.
As we are helping you to become a professional journalist, most of your assessments will involve you producing journalism. In the first year, you will be assessed through essays and in-class tests.
Who you'll meet
The course is taught by highly skilled lecturers who have many years of first-hand experience in staff and freelance journalism in print, photography, documentary, radio, TV and online media. Most of them also have national and international awards.
- Programme Leader Alex Ward is a video specialist, before joining the University of Derby he held the position of Video Manager in the Communications department at Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club. He was responsible for the club's video content for nine years, setting up its YouTube channel, managing the club's website and developing their social media channels. Before this Alex spent two years as a broadcast journalist in local radio.
- Department head Keith Perch, FHEA, is a print and online specialist who has spent 30 years in the newspaper business, more than 20 of them with Northcliffe and Associated Newspapers. He has edited three of the country's largest regional daily newspapers and run major websites for both local and national newspapers. He also serves on the board of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO).
- Senior Lecturer Neil Manship, FHEA, began his career in journalism as a news and sport reporter at the Derby Telegraph before becoming a district reporter for the Western Daily Press. He then moved to the BBC as a reporter, producer and presenter for Radio Devon, before becoming a television reporter and producer for the BBC in Bristol. He subsequently spent 13 years as a lead producer and manager for BBC Look North. Before joining the University of Derby in 2014, Neil also worked for BBC Online News.
- Senior Lecturer Richard Bowyer is an award-winning journalist with more than 30 years experience in the media industry. He has worked on a number of newspapers including the Wolverhampton Express and Star, the biggest selling newspaper outside London. While he was Deputy Editor of the Lincolnshire Echo, the paper received the Newspaper Society Regional Daily Newspaper of the Year award and Richard won an award for his front page designs. As Deputy Editor of the Stoke Sentinel, Richard was involved in major group projects as part of the radical transformation of the industry. He became Editor-in-Chief of the Stoke Sentinel and Group Editor of West Staffordshire Newspapers, along with the publications’ associated websites, in 2013, before joining the University of Derby in 2015.
- Peter Lansley spent 12 years as the Midlands football correspondent for The Times, where he was also responsible for covering women’s football. He has also freelanced for The Sun, The Guardian, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Times. He reports on youth football too, contributing a monthly feature to PremierLeague.com, and has covered 14 tournaments, including men’s and women’s World Cups. He has published two books, Out of the Blue (about Martin O’Neill’s Wycombe Wanderers) and Running with Wolves (about Wolverhampton Wanderers). Peter was the main football reporter for BBC Online between 1997 and 2000, and more recently for Fanbookz, a social media platform. He has excellent, wide-ranging contacts throughout the world of football. In addition, he is a qualified football coach and has worked for the FA as a coach mentor, having gained a Youth Award coaching certificate.
September 2021 typical entry requirements
|Requirement||What we're looking for|
|Specific requirements at A-level|
No specific subject requirements
|Specific requirements at GCSE||GCSE Maths and English Grade 4/Grade C (or above) or equivalent qualification|
|IELTS||7.0 (with 6.5 in each skills area)|
|Interview / Audition|
|Portfolio||Yes - see portfolio details|
Alternative entry qualifications:
- BTEC - DMM
- Pass Access to HE Diploma - 60 credits: 45 at Level 3 with a minimum of Distinction: 15 Merit: 24 Pass: 6
We usually consider an A-level in General Studies as a supplementary qualification. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions.
Offers will be made initially based on your application, including predicted grades and/or grades you have already achieved. Following this, if you submit a strong portfolio we will make you an unconditional offer, to reflect the quality of your work and your potential.
Our entry requirements for this course should be read together with the University's general entry requirements, which details subjects we accept, alternative qualifications and what we're looking for at Derby.
This course develops the broad range of knowledge and skills you need to become a multimedia professional, adept in the production of journalistic content for print, online and broadcast outlets. While it equips you to work in sports journalism specifically, it also prepares you for careers in broader areas of journalism.
The research and communication skills of a journalist are highly transferable to a huge variety of graduate level careers. Our graduates secure jobs not only in newspapers, magazines and broadcasting but also with online businesses and social media agencies. While many go on to work in traditional journalist roles, others find careers in PR, marketing, advertising and corporate communications.
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.
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 below is correct for entry in the academic year September 2020 - August 2021 only. Entry for future academic years may be subject to change.
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.