Descriptions should be written as one or more proper sentences, starting with a capital letter and ending with a full stop, exclamation mark, or question mark.

As its July deadline for applications nears, Aziz Foundation scholars from British Muslim communities offer their thoughts on getting into journalism, in an article that also offers an overview of the various scholarship and bursary options available to prospective students in City’s Department of Journalism

By Chris Lines (Senior Communications Officer), Published

The lack of diversity in the UK media is often cited as a flaw in modern Britain – with some justification. After all, if the media is not representative of a nation, how can it best represent its needs, desires, and challenges?

City, University of London seeks to change the landscape by helping a more diverse mix of people get on a pathway to influential positions in UK journalism. A postgraduate degree in particular is considered one of the most effective ways of launching a career in this fast-paced, ever-changing industry.

If you’re from an underrepresented background and feel like a postgraduate (or undergraduate) qualification in journalism might be out of reach, there are a variety of schemes offered by City, University of London’s Department of Journalism that could potentially provide the assistance you need.

In this article, we profile several scholars of the Aziz Foundation (which aims to support British Muslims to bring positive change to their communities and beyond), and also run through the various other options for journalism scholarships and journalism bursaries at City, with mention of interesting case studies and further details on how to apply.

Any interested parties should note that deadlines for the first two scholarships are rapidly approaching.

The Aziz Foundation Scholarship

The Aziz Foundation Scholarship for Postgraduate Journalism aims to break down the barriers facing the UK Muslim community that may otherwise prevent them from pursuing a career in Journalism.

Ideal candidates are those who wish to champion inclusion and diversity in the media, and who are active in British Muslim communities and are thus aware of the issues facing them. Additionally, they should demonstrate long-term commitment to community/societal development within Britain, show how their chosen course will increase their effectiveness in an area relating to British Muslims, and be able to demonstrate a low-income background and need for financial assistance to undertake master’s study.

The scholarship offers a full waiver of all tuition fees, as well as access to an exclusive network that includes mentoring schemes, internships, and seminars from industry professionals.

Nimra Shahid is an award-winning journalist and investigator at Global Witness, specialising in the link between commodities, deforestation and finance. She undertook a data journalism fellowship at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in 2020 with the Google News Initiative, before going onto cover the bond market and litigation for Bloomberg News. Prior to this, Nimra reported on community affairs and politics for The Guardian’s national and investigations desks.

Nimra says: “At Global Witness, I focus on climate and how finance is linked to environmental and human rights abuses. Investigations I've worked on have been covered by Al Jazeera, Bloomberg News, BBC World Service, the Washington Post, to name a few.

“I don’t believe I would be where I am without this particular master’s course. Going to City enabled me to hit the ground running in my career journey, as I started out by pitching to and freelancing for The Guardian on their National desk, before moving to investigations.

“I realised I enjoyed creating a narrative with my stories over a long period of time, which led me to the Bureau of Investigative journalism. There, I truly learned about what it meant to interview a dataset like a source and pick a story out of a swathe of numbers.

“My time with the Bureau and The Guardian helped me land an internship at Bloomberg News, where I covered markets and court cases involving hefty sums of money. The combination of different newsroom experiences and skills I gained enabled me to go on and work in investigations for Global Witness. There I’ve had the chance to report on areas ranging from fossil fuel lobbyists to how deforestation is financed and affects indigenous communities.”

Hafsa Khalil meeting Sadiq Khan

Aziz Foundation scholar Hafsa Khalil posing with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan after an interview

Hafsa Khalil is a freelance journalist and CNN digital news intern. She came to journalism from an unconventional background – she didn’t study history, politics or a language, but neuroscience.

She says: “While the Aziz Foundation paid for my Newspaper Journalism master’s, the support that came with the scholarship is what really helped me.

“There’s a network of professionals and former scholars who are all willing to help, including mentoring. There are also internships available to scholars to help you get vital journalism experience.

When Hafsa started at City, she was paired with an experienced journalist who helped her get work experience at Prospect magazine while she was studying. There, an Aziz scholar City graduate from the year before gave her “all the advice a foundling journalist needs – from the best people to pitch to and internship availabilities, to interview practice and morale boosting”.

Aziz Foundation also helped her get an internship with the Evening Standard, which gave her the experience she wanted to progress to an internship with CNN.

“While it has now been a year since I graduated, the Aziz Foundation are still there to help. Only now, I am also there to help the budding journalists to come.”

Kamal Afzali

Kamal Afzali

Kamal Afzali, who was a 2021/22 scholar in MA Television Journalism, is currently a journalist at The New Arab – one of the world’s leading news sites covering the Middle East and beyond.

He says: “It is no exaggeration to say that my abilities as a journalist have transformed after completing the MA Television Journalism at City.

"There is a great deal that goes into communicating a story visually, and the course provides you with everything you need to know to do it well. Despite coming from a background in region-focused online journalism, the quality of instruction and breadth of learning has given me the confidence to approach any item on domestic and global news agendas and produce work that spans all major forms and can appear of any platform.

"The MA is heavily industry-orientated, so the classroom and the newsroom are one and the same. That's what distinguished my experience at City.”

Meanwhile, MA Interactive Journalism alumna Zahra Warsame, now a journalist and producer for Channel 4, recently got the chance to interview congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez about gun reform.

Zahra Warsame interviewing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Zahra Warsame (pictured, left) recently had chance to interview US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez about gun reform as part of her work for Channel 4

Zahra was the first recipient of the Aziz Foundation’s Journalism scholarship at City in 2018 and has recently moved stateside to join Channel 4’s American bureau. She has also assisted in coverage of the Buffalo shooting memorial as well as President Biden’s condemnation of white supremacy following the attacks, and more recently coverage of the NRA conference after the Uvalde massacre.

Current MA Interactive Journalism student and scholar Yasmin Ahmed says that as a recipient of the scholarship, she "hope[s] to encourage many more Muslims to pursue this career path so there's more representation within the field”.

Saywah Mahmood (MA Interactive Journalism, 2021) now works as a data journalist for GlobalData's 25+ media sites, where she writes data-led articles. She also works for their sister group, the New Statesman Media Group. She developed her core data journalism skills at City, where she received a full scholarship from the Aziz Foundation.

Saywah says: “The scholarship helped me greatly; doing a master's course without it might not have been viable.

“The scholarship did not just help me financially but also connected me to a community of other scholars and, in particular, other journalists who, like me, were navigating journalism as British Muslims.

“I also gained a mentor who helped me develop confidence in my journalistic and technical abilities.”

Ali Al-Enazi

Ali Al-Enazi

Another scholar, Ali Al-Enazi, is combining a master's at City with writing work for The New Arab.

He says: "As a journalist, I have always been passionate about global affairs. The MA International Journalism at City has equipped me with print, broadcast and online skills that I hope to use to make a difference on a global context.

This has also been thanks to the Aziz Foundation as it has supported me and allowed me to fulfil my dream of completing this MA. Without their belief in my ambitions and offer of a fully funded scholarship, this MA would have not been possible.

I hope to be part of a generation that is well informed on global affairs."

Deadline 11 July, with awards announced in late August. Click here to apply. [UPDATE: with this deadline now passed, the Foundation will now be considering applications for study in 2023/24] 

As well as the Aziz Foundation Scholarship, there are a range of other scholarships and bursaries available to study journalism at City, University of London. Here follows an overview:

The Nick Lewis Scholarship 

Set up by the Nick Lewis Memorial Trust, the Nick Lewis Scholarship for MA International Journalism is intended to advance the education of the public, particularly in the field of journalism through the provision of scholarships, financial aid and support.

This scholarship offers £10,820, with £8,820 of that going towards fees and £2,000 towards living expenses.

The scholarship is open to Home applicants only and eligible students must:

  • Hold an unconditional offer for the MA International Journalism at City, University of London
  • Be able to demonstrate financial need through production of a case for support. (You must have qualified for a Maintenance Loan during your bachelor’s degree)
  • Complete a 500-word statement on: “Challenges facing international news reporting in 2020s?"

The deadline for entries: 30 June 2022. Interview dates to be confirmed. Applications should be emailed to

The Marjorie Deane Financial Journalism Foundation Scholarship

The Marjorie Deane Financial Journalism Foundation Scholarship offers qualifying students on the MA Financial Journalism scholarships as well as internships at The Economist and the Financial Times. The foundation was set up in 1998 by Marjorie Deane, a financial journalist at The Economist.

Since 2017, the Intellectual Excellence Scholarships have covered course fees in full for up to four MA Financial Journalism students. Contributions towards living expenses are also offered. The foundation also offers funding for the Marjorie Deane Summer School, which enables students to visit New York and Shanghai.

2018 alumna LaToya Harding has stated how the financial support of the scholarship has “enabled me to fully focus on getting the most out of the course and developing my skills across various media platforms”. She is now a freelance business reporter for BBC News and a reporter and editor for Yahoo Finance UK.

LaToya Harding

LaToya Harding now works for BBC News and Yahoo Finance UK

Through the scholarship, 2020 alumna and scholar Amy Borrett was able to access opportunities at the Financial Times, New Statesman and Business Insider. She is currently a Data Journalist for Sky News.

2012 alumnus Tom Metcalf has worked at the Financial Times, the BBC and Deloitte, and thanks the foundation for connecting him to Bloomberg, who he has been with for 10 years. He joined as a reporter and worked his way up to his current position as the team leader for UK and Middle East Financial coverage.

Another 2012 alumna, Sarah Marquer, credits the scholarship for helping her land a position at Bloomberg TV – she has since worked at HSBC, Ripple and the US investment management firm Capital Group in the US, where she is currently Public Relations Lead.

The deadline for this year has already passed but you can register here for new journalism scholarship announcements.

The Scholarship

The Scholarship is open to home students holding an unconditional offer for MA Financial Journalism who were eligible for a Maintenance Loan during their bachelor’s degree.

This exclusive scholarship provides £10,820 to cover full tuition fees. To be eligible for this scholarship, students must:

  • Hold an unconditional offer for the MA Financial Journalism at City, University of London
  • Be able to demonstrate financial need through production of a case for support. (You must have qualified for a Maintenance Loan during your bachelor’s degree)
  • Complete 500-word statement on “Challenges facing financial news reporting in the 2020s?"

Kypros Zoumidou, Managing Director, UK,, said: “As an organisation that prioritises financial education and learning, we are proud to partner with City to support good journalism and help more individuals achieve their goals.”

Applications must be sent to with the subject line ‘ scholarship’.

The deadline for this year has already passed but you can learn more in this story, and register here for new journalism scholarship announcements.

The Sekforde House Trust Scholarship

The Sekforde House Trust Scholarship is open to all students who have a place at City University. Founded in memory of Professor Dame Kathleen Lonsdale FRS – the first woman to obtain a professorship in 1949, the purpose of the scholarships is to invest in the education and future of exceptional students.

Dame Kathleen Lonsdale received a scholarship at the age of 16 to study at University in London without which she would have been unable to pursue her career as a scientist and her life as a campaigner for peace and (following her own prison sentence served at Holloway) prison reform. Like her, scholars will be ambitious people who want to live extraordinary lives and make a difference to the (unfair and unsustainable) world in which we live.

Six £18,000 scholarships are available, and it is hoped that four of the six scholars will be offered rent free (all bills paid) accommodation in Clerkenwell Central London in a shared “scholars house”.

Previous scholar Chiara Wilkinson graduated in 2021 with a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism. She is currently writing for Time Out London, and for her work has been nominated for Best Features Writer at the British Society of Magazine Editors. She has also been featured in VICE, DJ Mag and The Skinny, and interviewed prominent Londoners such as Sadiq Khan and Jacqueline Wilson.

The deadline for 2022 has just passed, with interviews taking place on Sunday 12 July 2022 or Sunday 19 July 2022.

The Rupert Cornwell Student Prize

The Rupert Cornwell Student Prize was founded in remembrance of the life and career of Rupert Cornwell, an award-winning foreign correspondent of 40 years who passed away in 2017.

The Rupert Cornwell Trust has been set up to provide financial assistance to support actual or aspiring young foreign correspondents for short periods of foreign travel and reporting in the field.

The Trust are offering a prize of £1,500 to a Postgraduate Journalism student to encourage excellence in foreign reporting.

To apply, students are invited to set out a proposal to report a significant story outside of the UK in one of the following locations: Europe, Ex-Soviet Union, or North America.

This could be a news story, investigation or feature undertaken for publication in any major platform (video, audio, photographic, infographic or text.) The proposal/pitch for your story should be no more than 400 words, set out in a word document.

MA International Journalism student Caitlin Allen won the inaugural prize in 2020 for her proposal ‘Wombs for Rent’, investigating surrogacy in East Europe.

Caitlin said: “I feel very honoured to be the first winner of the Rupert Cornwell Student Prize. It’s a great confidence boost, as I brave a career in journalism at this uncertain time!”

This year, two awards have been given, of £1,500 each. One went to Freya Graham (an MA Interactive Journalism student) who will be investigating tree planting and the implications for climate change in Mexico. Meanwhile, Michael Routledge (MA Broadcast Journalism) will be biking across the Baltic states and making a radio documentary.

The deadline for this year has already passed but you can register here for new journalism scholarship announcements.

Article co-written and researched by Ruth Almodal

Related schools, departments and centres