NCTJ Level 3 Certificate in Foundation Journalism

The NCTJ Level 3 Certificate in Foundation Journalism provides an introduction to journalism. It may be used as a first step for candidates considering a career in journalism or by those wishing to develop their journalistic skills for a specific purpose.

The qualification is designed to give a wide variety of uses within the community; whether as a community reporter or contributor, blogger or those wishing to use journalism as a way to draw attention to specific community issues.

It can be offered through a range of providers: schools and colleges; evening classes and short courses. Achievement of the qualification attracts a UCAS tariff of 8 points (this tariff is currently under review) which may be used towards accessing higher education degree courses.

To gain the Level 3 Certificate in Foundation Journalism, students must complete five mandatory units:

  • Gathering information
  • How to tell a news story
  • Recording information
  • Legal and ethical considerations for journalists
  • Writing for digital media

The following 13 units are optional units:

  • How to use the English Language for journalism (level 2)
  • Using the English language for maximum effect in journalism (level 2)
  • Writing for a specific purpose
  • Feature writing
  • How society works
  • Using video to tell a story
  • Using audio to tell a story
  • Taking images suitable for publication
  • Finding and using data
  • Sports reporting
  • Writing reviews and comment articles
  • The history of news
  • Community radio newsgathering

To gain the full qualification, candidates must achieve a minimum of 25 credits; 14 from the mandatory units and a further 11 credits from the optional subjects. Please see the link to the chart below for more details.

For those wishing to go on to a career in journalism, study at foundation level is unlikely to lead directly to a job with a news organisation. However, successful study at foundation level is likely to give candidates a “head start” when it comes to studying for an apprenticeship and/or the Diploma in Journalism. 

Certificate in Foundation Journalism modules are available to study via distance learning. See our online shop for more details.

Please note: This qualification has recently been reviewed and updated.  From 1 October 2018, new learners will follow the qualification as listed above. Learners currently registered on the CFJ may continue to complete the qualification as previously listed. This must be completed by the end of September 2019. Transition arrangements for candidates currently registered on the CFJ are published below.