Creative Industries and Cultural Policy - MA

Full Time, Part Time, Online Learning
September 2016
£6,500 for UK/EU Full Time 2016 entry (view all fees)
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The creative industries are vital for economic activity, and the industry needs practitioners who can understand how policies stimulate the growth of the sector and play a part in our contemporary identity. The Creative Industries and Cultural Policy MA seeks to aid your comprehension and engagement with this sector.

You’ll assess the value of culture and creativity on a global scale, and engage with public debate on related issues. Your mastery of existing theory will be developed and applied to understanding contemporary issues and contributing to current knowledge of the sector.

If you aspire to lead at the forefront of innovation in scholarship, this is the course for you.

What's covered in the course?

Initially your work will centre on understanding the policies of the creative and cultural industries around the globe. You’ll start your studies with an exploration of the different ways that policy is understood and formulated. You’ll engage with the methods used by governments and other creative bodies around the globe to support the creative sector.

This course pays particular attention to how social media impacts on the creative industries, as well as facilitating access to its key players and communities of interest. You’ll work through case studies of policy and practice conducted by researchers from the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research (BCMCR), part of Birmingham School of Media, as well as engaging with policy thinkers and key members of the industry.

You’ll be assessed on critical reviews of cultural policy and its outcomes, research reports and oral presentations. Each semester, space in your schedule is organised for key extension work, which can include a work-based placement and further skills development.

With a dynamic cultural and creative sector in Birmingham, you’re in the perfect place to make industry contacts that will be essential in your career. We have close connections with creative workers and policy bodies across the world. Many of our graduates now work in the creative and cultural sectors, and there will be opportunities to exchange ideas with them throughout the course.

This MA will develop your skills as a researcher, encouraging you to think about your reasoning for working in the creative industries. We’re always looking to the future, and your final dissertation, an original piece of work, will make a real contribution to knowledge and understanding.

Why Choose Us?

  • The School is recognised as a centre of excellence in educating the next generation of workers in the creative and cultural industries, with many courses accredited by Creative Skillset, the UK Sector Skills Council for the creative industries.
  • Birmingham School of Media benefits from a wide range of industry-standard facilities, from the largest TV floor of any university in the UK to one of only two MILO motion capture cameras in Europe.
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Postgraduate Open Day

Our next Postgraduate Open Day will be in Autumn 2016. The date will be confirmed soon and registration will open shortly.

In the meantime, register your details and we'll contact you when more information is available.

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This course is open to International students

Birmingham School of Media

Discover the Birmingham School of Media

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

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Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Vilnius University

And in jobs such as:

  • Lecturer

New £10,000 postgraduate loans

You may be able to take advantage of the government’s plans to make loans of up to £10,000 available for postgraduate study.

More about postgraduate loans

Entry Requirements

UK students

Anyone undertaking this course must possess an upper second class bachelors degree or higher in a relevant subject area.

It is advantageous to be able to demonstrate an understanding of research in the creative industries or cultural policy.

We also welcome non-traditional applications, particularly from applicants with substantial professional or production experience. We therefore accredit prior experiential learning.

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MA Sep 2016 FT 1 year £6,500
PT 2 years £3,250 per year
OL 1 year full time £6,500
OL 2 years part time £3,250 per year

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MA Sep 2016 FT 1 year £12,000
PT 2 years £6,000 per year
OL 1 year full time £12,000
OL 2 years part time £6,000 per year

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

Tuition fee waivers

You may also be eligible for a variety of tuition fee waivers that we offer for distance learners.

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

This course is available part-time

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our pdf application form instead.

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Did you know that you will soon be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000?

Postgraduate loans

Stage 1: Postgraduate Certificate

Creative Industries and Cultural Policy
30 credits

This module will explore the principles that have foregrounded the creative economy and cultural industries as vital objects of attention and administration by governments and other bodies around the world. You’ll study the theory of cultural policy in the global, European and UK contexts, alongside the current state of academic knowledge and debates within and about the creative industries.

Social Media as Culture
30 credits

This theory module explores the current academic knowledge and debates that surround social media and the cultural practices associated with its various platforms. You’ll gain a systematic understanding of how to approach the study of social media, as well as its social and cultural role and character, using it as a means for engaging with creative workers, institutions and policy makers.

Stage 2: Postgraduate Diploma

Researching Creative Industries
30 credits

This module has you exploring the ways in which established media and cultural theory engage with - and help us to understand - the nature of contemporary organisation and practice in the creative and cultural industries.

It’s a theory-based module which explores the range and character of the contemporary creative industries, in terms of their economic and social values, the nature of creative work, professional life and audience engagement in the digital age.

Research Methods
30 credits

This module draws on other taught modules to prepare you for the MA by Dissertation. It develops your understanding and engagement with the current state of knowledge in the field of policy and industry studies, established academic conventions, and current intellectual challenges.

In particular, it focuses on the application of knowledge in relation to the methods of investigating policy, institutions and people in the cultural sector.

The module offers an opportunity to experiment and innovate with a range of intellectual ideas, developing skills that will aid you in the production of a dissertation and project and which have a wider application in the cultural field.

Stage 3: Masters

MA by Dissertation
60 credits

You’ll complete your award with an original contribution to scholarship in the MA by Dissertation module.

This module requires your mastery of key skills, knowledge and engagement with current opportunities in the field of academic enquiry. It will test your initiative and independent research skills. This module is largely conducted outside of the classroom with the support of a tutor with specialised knowledge.

Recent dissertations have investigated the working lives of film producers, creative writers, music education, creative work in community radio stations, cultural policy in the age of austerity, cultural festivals in Hong Kong, cultural participation in Qatar, craft fairs and popular music heritage.

Each taught module of the MA involves 10 class sessions, which consist of lectures, seminar discussions, workshop activities and fieldwork visits. Throughout the course there is an emphasis on lecturer and peer review of both work-in-progress and presentations. There will often be guest lectures from leading practitioners in the field.

You’ll be set independent study tasks each week, usually based on research activities. There will be two further weeks of directed study. Two weeks of each semester are set aside for key extension work, which can include a work-based placement.

Assessments emphasise scholarly or professional practice, testing your understanding of the key learning objectives. These involve critical reviews of cultural policy and its outcomes, research reports and oral presentations. Three weeks are set aside for assessment work.

As an on-campus student, you’ll learn from a range of key speakers from industry and policy bodies, and get involved with the research undertaken by staff and students in the School’s Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research.

Distance-learning students benefit from the latest technological advances, including online audio slideshows, recordings of lectures, or live-streamed lectures. You’ll be able to access your tutors for tutorials using audio-visual methods such as Skype, as well as email support and use of our virtual learning environment, Moodle.

This course takes one-year full time or two years part-time and can be studied onsite or via distance learning.

Assessment methods

Assessments emphasise scholarly practice through which the key learning objectives are tested. These involve critical reviews of cultural policy and its outcomes, research reports and oral presentations.

Overseas opportunities

We continue to develop our Erasmus programme and encourage students to pursue opportunities for overseas research and engagement. In recent years students participated in funded international research trips and placements opportunities with the Warsaw Film Festival.

Further Study

This MA is research-based and would be an excellent starting point for anyone interested in taking their research interests forward. Upon completion of the course, if you’re interested in furthering your studies with a PhD, speak to the course director about your particular area of expertise.

The MA is particularly oriented to those seeking to apply for the AHRC-funded Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership.

Trips and visits

Class study is supplemented by research visits to cultural sites of significance and participation in academic and cultural sector conferences and events.

Enhancing employability skills

The MA in Creative Industries and Cultural Policy will equip you with a deep understanding of theory and a variety of perspectives on key issues and challenges within the creative industries and for policy makers. You’ll have worked with challenging research approaches to cultural value and creative economies, seeking to contribute your understanding to real-world problems and issues.

Through engagement with academic and professional debates, you’ll be able to evaluate the current state of academic insight and cultural practice, as well as your own contribution to knowledge. You’ll be a motivated independent learner and thinker, with advanced transferable skills in research, investigation and presentation.

The contacts you make and networks you join during the course will help you to leave the University ready to take your skills into the workplace. Whether you’re embarking on a new career in a related sector or developing the role you already have, you’ll leave with a new level of understanding and abilities that will give your career a boost.

If your aim is an academic career, you’ll be well placed to pursue further research and collaboration upon completion of the course.


This MA strongly emphasises individual personal development planning, to both support your studies and enhance your career ambitions.

As a part of the MA, you’ll seek a work placement or an internship with an organisation in the creative and cultural industries. This will give you an insight into how your skills in research and learning can be applied to the real world, and your future career.

Birmingham School of Media has very strong industry links and contacts, which you are encouraged to use to help your application for placements.

More about our placement opportunities...


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Graduate jobs

Current students have joined the course while working for Arts Council England and the British Council in Qatar. Several students have gone on to pursue study at PhD level. Other career destinations include film exhibition in Lithuania, promotions in Birmingham, and administration in a Taiwanese Art Centre, as well as a range of freelance careers in creative work and social enterprise.

International Students

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our creative industries course is most popular with international students from:  

Parkside - City Centre Campus
Parkside - Milo Studio
Parkside - Photography Studio

Birmingham School of Media is recognised as a key centre of excellence in interactive media training, television production and education by Creative SkillSet, the UK Sector Skills Council for the audio visual industries.

State-of-the-art facilities

You will learn in our state-of-the-art facilities - including the £62m fully-digital Media Centre - located on the City Centre Campus. You will enjoy access to extensive studio and workshop space including four TV studios, six radio studios and broadcast-standard edit suites, as well as cutting-edge equipment and software.

Facilities include the largest TV floor of any university in the UK, a ‘green screen’ and the MILO motion control camera - we are one of just two universities in Europe to offer MILO technology.

Edit Suites

Our four broadcast-standard edit suites are based on the industry-standard Avid editing system, used in almost all films and the majority of UK television. Two of the suites are specialised for Audio Finishing and Colour Grading. Our six digital radio studios are all linked an equipped with the best news and production software.

Dubbing Suites

You will have access to our full broadcast-standard dubbing suites, which are based on a multi-layered ProTools desk and can dub both film and TV with up to 120 simultaneous sound sources. We also have an ADR (Additional Dialogue Recording) booth and the ability to record Foley (additional live sound).

Professor Paul Long

Professor of Media and Cultural History

Paul has a track record of research on the creative industries. He has been published on the subjects of media history, popular music and radio, and has led research in the pan-European Leonardo Partnership ‘Innovative Media and Music Heritage Impacting Vocational Education’.

He has been a researcher on two Nesta/ACE/AHRC-funded projects promoting digital research and development for the cultural industries. The most recent of these produced a mobile app for managing complementary tickets for various cultural institutions in Birmingham.

Paul’s future research projects include the role of class, ethnicity and gender in creative industries work, and a historical study of the relationship between student unions and the UK music business. Currently, Paul is a Co-Investigator in the AHRC-funded ‘Cultural Intermediation: Connecting Communities in the Creative Urban Economy’.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295