Become an accredited course

NCTJ accreditation is the hallmark of excellence in journalism training, providing a world-class industry standard that is recognised throughout the media.

It is the trusted kite-mark for courses that supply quality new recruits who have the fundamental skills and knowledge needed to work effectively as journalists in all sectors of the media. NCTJ accreditation is highly valued by employers and is a benchmark of best practice. Accreditation is based on exacting performance standards that guarantee high quality journalism education and training. It is against these standards that potential students can judge prospective courses.

The NCTJ accredits more than 80 journalism courses at some 40 universities, further education colleges and independent training centres across the UK. To see a current list of our accredited courses, please click here.

All students on all our accredited courses study for the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism and aim to achieve the industry ‘gold standard’. Click here to find out more about the Diploma in Journalism qualification.

As the media world continues to change, so too does the NCTJ. We’re committed to innovating and regularly reviewing all aspects of our work, including accreditation. We have recently made some radical changes to our accreditation approach – read on to find out more!

Achieving NCTJ accreditation for your course brings big benefits to both centres and students.

Benefits for centres:


  • NCTJ accreditation makes a course more appealing to students looking for a career in journalism.
  • Centres are assigned an industry adviser (a senior working journalist or editor based in their local area) as part of the NCTJ accreditation process. This adviser adds value for centres with up-to-date knowledge of aspects of the industry which they can share with tutors.
  • For centres that have achieved our accreditation, the NCTJ offers a range of professional development and networking opportunities, including diploma workshops, industry experience, accreditation forums, industry-led seminars and the annual journalism skills conference.
  • Centres offering accredited courses are members of the NCTJ and have a significant influence on our work through our events and boards.
  • Tutors on accredited courses are given exclusive access to a range of learning materials provided by the NCTJ, including programmes of study, top tips and sample examinations for each diploma subject.
  • Accredited courses are marketed and promoted on the NCTJ website and through our comprehensive careers information service.
  • Centres that achieve accreditation are given discounted exam fees and our full range of diploma examination dates between November and July each year.
  • Free entry in our annual awards for excellence.
  • Payment of course fees to centres for students who cannot afford to pay for their training and are being supported by the Journalism Diversity Fund. The NCTJ has paid centres and students more than £1.3 million in course fees and living expenses over the last ten years.
  • Students studying on NCTJ accredited courses are more appealing to employers looking for multi-skilled recruits who know the fundamentals of journalism and can operate to professional standards.
  • Studying on an NCTJ course opens the door to more work experience opportunities and more jobs in journalism.
  • Students on accredited courses are taught the NCTJ syllabus and can achieve the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism and gain eligibility for the National Qualification in Journalism.
  • Students are given online access to NCTJ learning resources, including sample examinations, to support on-course learning.
  • Student representatives on accredited courses are invited to attend an annual student council event hosted by the NCTJ to communicate their views on journalism training.
  • Students have free entry to the annual awards for excellence and shortlisted entrants are invited as guests of the NCTJ to the awards reception, dinner and ceremony.
  • Prospective students from diverse backgrounds who cannot afford their training and living expenses can apply for support from the Journalism Diversity Fund.

We believe working towards accreditation should be a worthwhile, meaningful exercise based on collaboration and practical support. The NCTJ’s approach to accreditation offers a rigorous, transparent and cost-effective system where our efforts are concentrated where they are needed most.


Our holistic and risk-based approach helps to raise standards and ensures a proportionate and flexible process for centres in times of great change in journalism and the education and training sectors. The industry plays a lead role in setting and monitoring our accreditation standards, and supporting centres that sign up to our training scheme.

All courses accredited by the NCTJ must meet our seven performance standards:


1. Quality journalism education and training and results
2. Close industry links and practical up-to-date journalism experience
3. Professional delivery of the Diploma in Journalism
4. Commitment to diversity
5. Innovation, ambition and continuous improvement
6. Employability
7. Communication, collaboration and contact 


Our professional team provides detailed advice and guidance to all our centres on the evidence needed to achieve accreditation and ensures courses benefit from our full range of services. We have a full-time dedicated accreditation manager who is a senior award-winning journalist, passionate about high standards of journalism and the ‘go-to’ person for our centres on all accreditation matters.

We believe our accreditation process, while challenging, is fair, reasonable, straight-forward and professional. To make up your mind whether NCTJ accreditation is right for you, and to find out how to apply for accreditation, please download the accreditation information pack below.

There is no set timeframe for the accreditation process. There are five main stages to the accreditation application process for new centres:


1. Submit an expression of interest to the NCTJ

2. Take part in advisory discussions, a self-assessment exercise and host an advisory visit from the NCTJ

3. Complete an action plan agreed at the advisory visit with support from the NCTJ

4. Host a full accreditation panel visit from an NCTJ-led industry team

5. NCTJ trustees approve new centres recommended by the accreditation board

Centres pay for advisory and accreditation panel visits. Once accredited, centres pay an annual membership fee. Details of these can be found on the NCTJ fees list.

The NCTJ is always happy to discuss course outlines, arrange accreditation advisory visits and work in partnership with you to develop a programme that turns out highly skilled, highly motivated and highly employable trainee journalists.


If you have any queries or you would like to discuss whether your journalism course meets our criteria, please contact us on 01799 544014 or email [email protected]