Supported content from City, University of London Journalism Department

March 20, 2024 (Updated )

Applications for City, University of London’s highly-coveted Master’s (MA) degrees are open. If you’re planning to enrol in September 2024, now is a good time to start planning your application and all the practical things that go along with it; from the course you’ve chosen to how you’re going to fund it.

From news journalism to magazines, from investigations to podcasting, City is a top choice for many emerging journalists looking to take their studies further and delve into a specialism — and for good reason. City alumni have gone on to secure top roles; MA Broadcast Journalism graduate Chris Mason is currently Political Editor at the BBC, while both Vice UK’s Zing Tsjeng and The Sunday Times’ Dolly Alderton graduated with an MA in Magazine Journalism.

If you’ve already begun looking into Master’s programmes, you’ll know that the funding works slightly differently to undergraduate degrees. Postgraduate loans, for example, are viewed as a contribution to your costs and don’t guarantee they’ll cover the whole tuition fee and living costs. Thankfully, City students can apply for a number of scholarships and bursaries to fund their courses.

We spoke with City staff and scholarship recipients to find out how to best position yourself to receive funding to study your desired course.

Does City, University of London Offer Scholarships?

Yes — several scholarships and bursaries are available for people looking to study one of City’s Master’s journalism programmes. Some are funded directly by the university, while others are funded and coordinated by outside affiliates, such as The Guardian Foundation or the Aziz Foundation.

City University Scholarship Programmes include:

BAFTA UK Scholarship Programme for MA Broadcast Journalism

Nick Lewis Scholarship for MA International Journalism

Spotify Podcast Scholarship for MA Podcasting, part of the Change Maker’s Programme

The Marjorie Deane Financial Journalism Foundation Scholarship for MA Global Financial Journalism

Scholarships from outside affiliates:

Aziz Foundation Scholarships for Postgraduate Journalism

There are also a select number of bursaries awarded for one-time financial support.

Bursaries available for students considering studying at City University include:

Goalhanger Podcasts Bursary for MA Podcasting, part of the Change Maker’s Programme

The Stationers Company Bursary Scheme for MA Magazine Journalism and MA Publishing

The Richard Beeston Bursary, for MA International Journalism

Bursaries from outside affiliates:

The Guardian Foundation Scott Trust Bursary

George Viner Memorial Fund Bursary, NUJ

Chevening Scholarship, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The Benefits Of Receiving A Scholarship

While City degrees are highly sought after in the professional world of journalism, they come at a cost. The majority of Journalism MA programmes at City cost upwards of £11,900. The government loan for Master’s students is capped at £12,167, leaving students with just a couple hundred pounds after paying tuition fees. For those planning to move to London, living costs are a significant factor in whether they can afford to study.

This is exactly why Sophie Carlin, 21, who received the Journalist’s Charity Scholarship for MA Newspaper Journalism, which covers tuition fees for home students, applied for a scholarship. “Facing the expensive tuition fees, and the fact that the postgraduate student loan would barely cover it, I knew I’d have to work hard to make it work financially, especially as I was looking at living in pricey London,” she tells Journo Resources.

“I picked up as many shifts as possible at my summer job to add to my existing savings; was very prepared to work alongside the Master’s course; and my parents were going to help me out with living costs as best they could – but I knew it would be a squeeze. Having a scholarship for my tuition fees would free up the use of the student loan for the living costs I was working extremely hard to try and meet.”

Sophie says she feels “vindicated” in her choice to study at City, which may not have been possible without the extra funding.

Other scholarships are vital for international students wishing to study one of the UK’s most coveted journalism courses. Alice de Souza, 32, came from Brazil to study City’s International Journalism MA — something that would have been impossible without The Richard Beeston Bursary, which gives students £6,000 towards living costs.

Journo Resources
"I knew it would be a squeeze — having a scholarship for my tuition fees would free up the use of the student loan for the living costs."
Sophie Carlin, recipient of the Journalist's Charity Scholarship

“Studying in the UK is quite expensive for students from Latin American countries, who have to reconcile paying tuition fees and the costs of living in a costly city like London,” says Alice.

“Although it was a long-held dream of mine to do a Master’s degree abroad, it took a long time to come true precisely because it depended on getting a scholarship.”

How To Apply For A City University Scholarship Or Bursary

Although there are a variety of scholarships and bursaries at City, some facilitated by the university and others by outside organisations, the application process is largely the same for each.

As Suzanne Franks, a professor at City’s Department of Journalism, tells us, scholarship and bursary applications are separate from your university applications, and you can only apply for a scholarship or bursary once you have been accepted onto a course at the university.

From there, students applying will be asked to submit a short essay explaining why they want the scholarship or bursary, why they believe they should be accepted, and what their financial need is. Questions will be phrased differently depending on the scheme. For example, an International Journalism scholarship applicant will be asked specifically about international journalism.

For the second stage, some students will be shortlisted for an interview, the results of which will decide who gets the scholarship or bursary.

Journo Resources
Journo Resources

Sophie Carlin (L) and Alice de Souza (R) both received scholarships

Can International Students Apply For Scholarships?

As Alice notes, fees for international students are higher than those for UK students, and moving to another country to live and study can be extremely cost-intensive. Tuition fees for international students studying an MA at City are in the region of £25,000. Thankfully there are a few scholarships that international students can apply for.

These include:

The Richard Beeston Bursary for MA International Journalism;

The Marjorie Deane Financial Journalism Foundation Scholarship

The Chevening Scholarship applies for several courses, including the Journalism MAs.

Top Tips When Applying For Scholarships

First things first, make sure you only apply to the scholarships that are relevant to you and the course you want to do. “If you want to do podcasting, you’ll want to apply for the podcasting-specific scholarships,” says Suzanne. “So do your research properly in that respect.”

Applying for scholarships can also be time-consuming, so it’s important to work out a system to help you keep track of everything you want to apply for, when the deadlines are, and what you need to do for the application.

“It removes the mental load of carrying all that around in your head,” says Sophie, who recommends a simple spreadsheet of deadlines, tasks, and outcomes.

Alice also recommends planning far in advance: “Start researching well in advance, ideally at least a year and a half before you want to start the course, as this will give you the chance to apply for more scholarships, as many of them are offered until April,” she says.

It’s also a good idea to plan financially — are there any hidden costs for you that may not be covered by a scholarship, particularly if you’re an international student? Alice recommends noting these down and planning for things like visa and travel costs as soon as possible.

Key Takeaways To Remember When Applying For A Scholarship Or Bursary

• Applications for scholarships and bursaries are separate from applications to your desired course. You can only apply for a scholarship or bursary after you have been accepted onto a course at your university.

• Predictably, scholarship and bursary applications take a long time. So, it’s important to start building your application early! Get organised, keep a spreadsheet of everything you need to do and make a note of that all-important deadline.

• In your application, you will most likely be asked to submit a short essay — be sure to cover why you want a particular scholarship or bursary, your financial need, and why you deserve to be the recipient. If you get to the next stage, you may be invited to interview.

• While many scholarships and bursaries are only available to home students, some are open to international students. At City University, the Richard Beeston Bursary, the Marjorie Deane Scholarship, and the Chevening Scholarship all accept applications from international students.

• While it may be tempting to apply for as many opportunities as possible, that can be a waste of time and energy when you are not the desired recipient. Research all of your options and only apply to those that are relevant to you and your chosen course.

As Suzanne explains, City offers scholarships to those who need them the most. This means you’ll need to demonstrate, in some way, that you need the scholarship in order to study. Think about what this might look like for you. It’s different for everyone, but some things they tend to look out for include:

  • Did you receive financial support for your undergraduate degree?
  • Are you moving from outside of London or outside of the UK?
  • Do you have family support?
  • Have you worked long enough to build a sufficient income to cover costs?

It may be that you can’t answer all of these questions — but they’re a good place to start when thinking about an application — and it’s always still worth applying.

As well as being able to demonstrate your financial need, you’ll also need to demonstrate your passion for the course and journalism in general.

“You’ve got to show that this is something that you really, really want to do and you’re doing it for the right reasons — that it’s going to make a difference to your life and your career,” says Suzanne. “It would be good if you could demonstrate some kind of journalism background; whether you’ve edited your student paper or had some work experience.”

Journo Resources
“You’ve got to show that this is something that you really, really want to do and you're doing it for the right reasons — that it’s going to make a difference to your life and your career”
Suzanne Franks, Professor of Journalism at City, University of London

Alice adds: “I would suggest you read the scholarship requirements carefully so that you know exactly what your strengths and weaknesses are concerning the scholarship, If you need to write a text [or essay as part of the application], read models and talk to people who have already participated in this type of selection and get some tips. This will help you increase your chances of getting a positive result.”

Suzanne also stresses that the essay should say something original, so be sure to really think about what you want to say. For the interview, she says: “Do your research about who’s interviewing you, do your research about the course so that you can ask intelligent questions, and put up a good case about why you’d be a good candidate and why this is something that you really want to do.”

Be Persistent With Your Applications

Finally, be patient with yourself and keep going — you may have to get through a few rejections before you finally get accepted for a scholarship, but it’s worth it.

“Applying for scholarships is a process that requires a lot of patience,” says Alice.

Sophie agrees: “Try to be diligent about not using this period of rejections as an excuse for excessive self-criticism. Remember the whole plethora of other variables apart from you which are at play here. A big one is luck — I just happened to fall into the quite narrow eligibility scope of the funding I ended up getting.”

“One of my City tutors keeps telling me, when I’m writing a story, to just ‘file and forget’, and it’s valuable advice I’m still trying to truly take onboard. Do your best to put an application together, but don’t agonise or be too perfectionist about it – just get it done and get it in.”

City, University of London, Journalism Department
City, University of London, Journalism Department

Wherever you are in the world, on any given day you are likely to see, hear or read journalism from graduates of City’s Department of Journalism.

Each year hundreds of people from diverse backgrounds apply to us who want the best education to enable them to get a great job in the media.

Here at City, we provide an intense and highly focused education to help you acquire the up-to-date journalism skills needed to enter your chosen area of the media.

Ella Glover
Ella Glover

Ella Glover is a freelance social affairs journalist who works on partner content for Journo Resources. Ella is also a harm reduction columnist for Dazed Magazine.

Image courtesy of Elaibe Costa via Unsplash