The University of Sussex’s MA in Multimedia Journalism has been met with mixed reviews by students despite it achieving national acclaim last month.
The course, which is taught by industry professionals from a range of stations including Sky TV and Heart Radio Sussex, has been accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).
The course boasts credentials including close links with Brighton newspaper The Argus and use of the state of the art radio and TV studios based on campus. However, current students have voiced a range of issues, describing the workload as unmanageable.
One student told us, “I would prefer to have known from the beginning what I was getting into and I would have chosen to do it part-time. Some of us juggle jobs and uni which makes it even harder to keep on top of everything.”
With 26 contact hours, including three full working days, it is proving especially demanding for those that have to work part time to support themselves.
This situation is increasingly recurrent given the current fees for post graduate education. Modules on the course are varied, ranging from ethics and media law to TV and radio journalism, and the curriculum is marketed as preparing students to meet the expectations of the profession.
Some students argue that the demand of the course reflects the reality of the profession but others have complained that the workload has impacted on the quality of their work and made them unable to complete their assignments on time.
Recently at the request of students, a meeting was held with the head of the school, Sue Thornham, and the course co-ordinators to discuss deadline extensions and an increase in practical workshops for their final projects.
Not all feedback on the course has been negative; some student’s have said that the course can be enjoyable at times and that the high proportion of practical work is great.
On the whole, those taking the course advised aspiring students for the MA to get as much insight into it before they commit to the full time study.