Journalism Innovation and Leadership programme at UCLan – FAQs

How will the programme benefit my career?

This personal development programme will encourage you to think deeply about issues shaping journalism today – and the implications for tomorrow – by learning from industry leaders and researchers as well as from your fellow participants.

You will develop practical skills to identify opportunities and obstacles to innovation, manage complex projects and lead high-performing teams. Throughout the programme you are encouraged to link your work to your organisation’s own strategy and ongoing success in a way that will boost your confidence – and your career.

One of the programme’s great strengths is its network of board members, visiting industry experts, graduates and participants. As well as being allocated an industry mentor, you will become part of a community of journalism leaders.

How will the programme benefit my employer?

Throughout the programme, you will develop skills and ways of thinking that will enable you to work as a more effective leader within your organisation – whether you are already in a senior leadership role or a manager looking to take the next steps.

You will learn how to challenge organisational effectiveness and develop practical strategies to drive transformation while helping yourself and your team become more resilient.

Insights from visiting industry experts will enable you to use data to understand your audience at a greater depth, and to establish new business and revenue models in an increasingly complex and competitive market.

You will explore diverse innovation approaches, such as human-centred design and design thinking, to release new revenue, audience engagement and market opportunities. By the end of the programme, you will also understand how to lead innovation initiatives to meet changing demands inside and outside the organisation.

What types of media do participants come from?

Our programme participants come from across the sector, representing some of the world’s most recognised news publishers and broadcasters, such as Bloomberg, ITV News, Telegraph, CNBC, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, BBC Worldwide, Reach Plc, News24 (South Africa) and Fiji Sun.

We also have participants from new and emerging independent news publishers, including West Leeds Dispatch, Greater Govanhill and Indigo Media (Georgia). The diversity of perspectives and experiences ignites dynamic discussions, encourages innovative thinking, and fosters a truly collaborative learning environment.

What qualifications and experience do I need to apply?

We welcome applications from experienced practitioners inside and alongside the media industry. Entry to the programme is normally subject to the following conditions:

  • A strong interest in the challenges facing journalism and its leaders
  • Typically, an undergraduate degree in journalism or a related media subject, at 2:1 or above. Or evidence of substantial professional journalism/media industry experience (normally five years).
  • Appropriate computer literacy and internet access.
  • International applicants are required to have an IELTS score of 7 or equivalent.
  • English Language Proficiency: International applicants need to provide confirmation of their proficiency through an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score of at least 7.0 (with no component below 6.5) or equivalent taken within two years prior to your course commencement date. In addition to IELTS, we also accept an English-language degree or a letter from your employer that you’re using English professionally in your workplace, which is then confirmed in the interview with the programme team.

What is the application process?

Applicants should apply via the Journalism Innovation & Leadership page on the UCLan website, which includes a 250-word statement describing your daily duties, the relevance of the programme to your career, your goals for the course and how you will apply the learning in context.  They will be interviewed and asked to provide a detailed CV.

We welcome international students. Prospective students should seek contemporaneous advice on visa requirements including short-term study and Tier four visas from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) . For further advice or support with your Tier 4 visa application please contact:

How much are tuition fees?

Tuition fees for 60-credit part-time postgraduate certificate course are £2,800 (UK/EU/INTL).

Tuition fees for second year 120-credit part-time MA course are £5,400 (UK/EU/INTL).

Alumni of UCLan’s undergraduate degree courses qualify for a 20% discount on fees.

The Google News Initiative is funding 15 scholarship places on the 2024 course.  You will first need to apply for the programme via the UCLan website before completing a scholarship submission.

For more on Fees and Funding at UCLan see:

How is the course structured?

Participants can choose to complete a postgraduate certificate in one year or continue to earn a Master of Arts in Journalism Leadership in two years.

Year 1 is divided into two blocks: Journalism Leadership and Journalism Innovation. They are taught through weekly online seminars and three intensive study weeks, two of which can be attended in person at UCLan’s campus in Preston.

How much time will I need to dedicate to the programme?

The programme’s flipped learning approach asks participants to prepare for each weekly seminar by completing reading and other tasks. Participants typically need to allow six hours per week for preparation in addition to completing a number of written assessments throughout the programme.

How will I be assessed?

There are no traditional exams in this course.  Assessment is through a number of Applied Learning Projects, which ask you to apply what you have learned to real life situations in your organisation.

How does the mentoring scheme work?

Participants are given the opportunity to be matched with a senior industry figure drawn from our global network of alumni and industry partners. They include senior executives with experience at some of the world’s most recognised media brands, such as the BBC, Business Day (SA), CNN, Financial Times, Google, S&P 500 Market Intelligence and The Guardian.

What have participants said about the course?

Ed Walker, former Audience and Content Director, Reach Plc: “You have a safe space within which to explore what the future of journalism looks like. It’s a rapid-fire look at the media landscape, from big, to small, to new, to old, and everything in-between.

“The course is also about you. It’s about establishing where you stand, pausing to reflect on where you’ve got to and working out what’s next.”

Maeve Connolly, Deputy Digital Editor, Irish News: “Not only have we learned from the wealth of experiences shared by our fellow students, we have also had the privilege of participating in workshops, listening to inspiring talks and motivating pep talks from the industry’s finest on topics such as digital transformation, AI, innovation, leadership, sustainability, engagement, resilience and diversity.”

Silence Mugadzaweta, Digital and Online Editor at Alpha Media Holdings Zimbabwe: “The JILeaders programme prepares innovative transformation leaders who will champion digital transformation in newsrooms and the industry. I am getting new perspectives on leadership, innovation and journalism. What makes this programme unique is being given a mentor who guides, and helps you understand your capabilities. The programme is flexible and allows networking with journalists from different parts of the globe – an important recipe for sharing of ideas and understanding what’s happening in different markets in the industry.”

I still have questions, how can I find out more?

Contact Dr François Nel at  Graduates of the programme are available to answer potential applicants’ questions.