NCTJ Level 6 National Qualification in Journalism (NQJ)

The NCTJ Level 6  National Qualification in Journalism (NQJ) is the NCTJ’s professional senior qualification that examines all-round competence in a range of essential journalism skills.

The NQJ has been redesigned following an industry wide review of the professional qualification and replaces the previous Level 5 NQJ. Transition arrangements for candidates registered for the NQJ are published below.

There are a number of pathways in the qualification including: news journalist (print/online or broadcast/online); production journalist; and community journalist. New pathways for sports and magazine journalists will also be developed. Assessments are tailored to meet the requirements of the job role/sector. 

The online assessments include a two-hour media law and ethics in practice exam, a practical, skills-based exam (the big news story for news journalists/production journalism for production journalists) and a revised and updated e-logbook of evidence. The online exams are delivered via the NCTJ's Cirrus online exams portal. Exam details can be found below and access to mock exams are made available in our Cirrus portal once candidates have enrolled for the exams. The e-logbook requirements can also be found below.

NQJ eligibility requirements for candidates who work in the regional and local press remain the same:

  • be registered with the NCTJ - please visit the Registrations page for more information
  • have achieved a grade C or above in all the Diploma in Journalism exams (which must include media law court reporting and public affairs) plus achieved 100 words per minute shorthand
  • have undertaken a period of 18 months’ full-time employment on a newspaper or news agency (JPI Media trainees are required to undertake 24 months)
  • ensure that results in public affairs, essential media law and regulation and media law court reporting exams are not more than five years old

NB: Community journalists registered through the Facebook scheme must have achieved a grade C or higher in all Diploma in Journalism exams (but they may not include court reporting or shorthand) 

To register, candidates should complete the online registration form. Once registered, candidates are sent a letter with a proposed NQJ date (this is the earliest date for sitting) and they are also given access to their e-logbook.

Registered candidates will need to complete an enrolment form to sit the NQJ exams. Please see the exam date page for upcoming NQJ dates and information on enrolment opening and closing dates.

The NCTJ offers NQJ exam preparation courses, which feature useful hints and tips for the exam day itself and practical experience, with feedback, on all sections of the qualification. For more information on NQJ workshops, please visit the other training course section.

Please note, for any candidates working towards the NQJ who have not yet achieved the Level 3 Diploma in Journalism: from 1 September 2019, news reporting will no longer be recognised in place of essential journalism for candidates who have yet to complete the diploma qualification. Candidates that have achieved news reporting but not the Diploma in Journalism qualification by this date will be required to sit the essential journalism exam.