The journalism pathway of our Media and Communications BA (Hons) course is ideal for anyone wishing to follow a career in the dynamic and competitive world of journalism. This full-time course, accredited by Creative Skillset, is as fast-moving as the media industry itself.
We pride ourselves on teaching creative, contemporary journalism, underpinned by traditional values and skills. That means learning the core media and communication skills that every working reporter needs before you specialise in an area that interests you.
You’ll be challenged academically – often by some of the industry’s leading names – and you’ll be expected to undertake meaningful work experience placements in media environments and work on live stories, learning how to craft a story in a way that engages the audience.
By the time you graduate, you’ll be a thinking journalist with a specialism in news, broadcasting, features, or design. You’ll also be adaptable to the changes that the industry faces. Our graduates have gone on to work for Sky, BBC, Trinity Mirror and the Express & Star. Others have scooped prestigious awards at the Midlands Media Awards while still studying.
If you’re looking to start this course in 2017, it's important to know that the content and structure are undergoing a substantial review and are likely to be different to what is outlined here. We’ll publish more detailed information about the changes over the next few months. If you’re starting in 2016, the course content/structure won’t be affected by the review.
The course, which is based at the £62 million Parkside Building, part of our City Centre Campus, aims to develop your skills so that you become a thinking media worker who can lead change in the industry.
Teaching takes place in environments where you gain most – radio, TV and photography studios, editing suites and a new media production suite – but, of course, you’ll also learn in lecture theatres, seminar rooms, social learning spaces and online.
You’re expected to hit the ground running: you’ll publish your stories, use blogs, including the student-run birminghameastside.com website, which was named runner-up in the Guardian Student Media Awards, create wikis, and employ social media channels and other interactive media to support your work and self-development. You’ll focus on production, theory and professional studies, building on your skills as you begin to make contacts in the industry and make your first moves into media work.
Throughout the course, you’ll have the support of Birmingham City University staff who are respected journalists, including senior lecturer Ross Hawkes, who led Trinity Mirror's digital programme in the Midlands, and Paul Bradshaw, one of the leading figures in digital journalism and founder of the Online Journalism Blog.
Our next University-wide Open Day will take place on Saturday 11 June 2016. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.
Please note: we are currently reviewing our entire course provision for 2017/18. Details will be included in your registration email.
Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.
Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
Applicants will also need a good portfolio to bring to interview at an Applicant Visit Day. See Portfolio Guidance on the 'How to apply' tab.
At the point of application, you must have GCSE at Grade C or above in English Language. Equivalent qualifications will be considered.
280 UCAS tariff points from A Level
|UK Qualification||Requirements 2016/17|
|GCE A Level/ AS Level||BBC at A-Level excluding General Studies and Critical Thinking (280 UCAS points) - does not accept points from A/S Levels|
|Access to Higher Education Diploma||Pass overall with 60 credits, 45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2, including merit or higher in 18 credits at Level 3|
|BTEC National Diploma (12-units not including early years)||D*D* or can be combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points|
|BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years)||DMM (280 UCAS points)|
|BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units not including early years)||Combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 140 UCAS points|
|International Baccalaureate Diploma||28 points overall|
|Irish Leaving Certificate||280 points, including 4 higher level passes|
|Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher||280 points, including 3 higher level passes|
|Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options)||120 tariff points combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points|
|If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.
Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
|EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications||Requirements 2016/17|
|IELTS||6.5 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands|
|International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).||28 points overall
Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.
International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).
If you're considering applying for this course to start in September 2017 onwards, it's important to know that the UCAS tariff system is changing.
UCAS tariff points – the points system most universities use to compare different qualifications – will be introducing a new system on how points are calculated.
|BA (Hons)||Sep 2016||FT||3 years||£9,000 per year||Apply via UCAS|
|BA (Hons)||Sep 2016||FT||3 years||£12,000 per year||Apply via UCAS|
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.
We would like you to bring along some of your work which demonstrates your abilities and interest in the media. This will provide valuable support for your application and enable tutors to make a prompt decision. However, do not worry if the work you bring is not media-related as we are also looking for potential, creativity and enthusiasm.
We require you to bring the following:
(e.g. an academic essay or report. This does not have to be media-related)
(e.g. details of any work experience you have undertaken in the media industry or a media-related hobby)
(e.g. a video, website, article, some design work, radio work, photography or scripts you have produced)
Please ensure that any work you bring along is clearly labelled with your name and UCAS number.
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.
UK and EU students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.
There are three ways to apply:
You will need to complete our International Application Form and submit it together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.
Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.
If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.
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:
Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.
Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.
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.
Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.
We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.
In the first year, the Journalism in Practice module provides the necessary foundations for a career in journalism, with essential insight into the life of a professional journalist.
You’ll explore a range of subjects and will source original content in a live news environment, and you’ll begin to explore theories and concepts that will help you to understand the role and impact of journalism on society.
Building on the foundations from your first year, you’ll select from a range of module options, designed to give you flexibility in your award. These include broadcast journalism, magazine production, specialist journalism (incorporating data journalism, live blogging, social media and advanced feature writing), music journalism and live newsroom.
In your final year, you’ll begin to find your feet in the industry by studying professional journalism. If you choose the freelance route, you’ll have regular, tailored contact and support from your tutors and from specialist lecturers.
You’ll study media and law and regulation, which will give you a solid grounding in these essential areas of the profession.
You’ll also complete a dissertation and project that will be tailored specifically to journalism, therefore giving you the ideal opportunity to catch the eye of employers and to build your contacts in the industry.
Our Media and Communications BA (Hons) is a full-time, three-year degree course that focuses equally on professional studies, academic theory and production. It’s structured to offer maximum flexibility, which allows you to shape your journalism degree to fit your career aspirations.
You’ll study a blend of practical production modules, sourcing, developing, designing and publishing real stories, and learning the art of crafting a compelling story.
We maintain close contacts with a variety of media, including Sky, BBC, Maverick Television and Future Publishing, which means you’ll benefit from masterclass sessions from visiting tutors and guest speakers, to enhance and enrich your learning.
Your professional studies will prepare you for at least two placements – previous students have worked with organisations such as the BBC, Maverick Television, Warwickshire County Cricket Club, newspapers, magazines, PR companies and local radio stations.
Just over one third of your time will be spent in lectures, seminars and tutorials, and we expect you to spend some time on placement. You’ll also be expected to undertake a significant amount of independent study.
You’ll be assessed via practical exams, which will account for 64 per cent of your degree course, while 33 per cent will be judged on your coursework. There are some written exams, too.
|38||Time in lectures, seminars and similar||MidnightBlue|
|57||Time in independent study||RoyalBlue|
|5||Time on placement||LightSkyBlue|
The Creative Skillset Tick is the quality mark for excellence in training courses and education in the Creative Industries. It identifies the UK’s most industry-focused courses and apprenticeships enabling universities, colleges and employers to recruit the brightest talent.
Our Creative Skillset accreditation shows that we will provide you with industry-relevant skills and good links with companies and potential employers.
The accreditation also assures employers that students graduating from our course have the levels of knowledge and skills they need.
If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.
It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.
If you wish to further your academic studies in the field of media and communications, there is a range of postgraduate courses on offer at Birmingham School of Media.
Paul Bradshaw graduated from BA (Hons) Media and Communication (Journalism) in 1998 and is now an award-winning specialist in online journalism. In 2010 he was listed on the US Poynter Institute's list of the 35 most influential people in social media, in 2011 he ranked ninth in PeerIndex's list of the most influential UK journalists on Twitter and he has been shortlisted for Multimedia Publisher of the Year.
He is currently course leader on the MA Online Journalism course at Birmingham City University, and also works as a consultant and trainer on social media and data journalism to news organisations around the world, including the BBC, Sky, Telegraph, and the Global Investigative Journalism Conference.
The course will equip you with first-hand practical expertise and provide you with the rigorous academic knowledge you’ll need to fulfil a career in your chosen communications and journalism field.
As one of our graduates, you’ll be very highly sought after because we teach valued transferable skills in addition to providing solid academic grounding and practical skills in real-world application.
Our modules regularly adapt to cover live news events as they happen. For example, our students have covered general election counts across the region through the night alongside staff and professional journalists.
Because we use industry-standard software and equipment, and focus on creating content for a modern world, you’ll be capable of covering a story for any outlet and have the adaptable skills necessary to thrive in this fast-paced industry.
Our third year students showcase their final year work at our Exhibit This event at the end of each academic year. It offers a springboard for our graduates and a chance for industry to spot emerging talent.
You’ll be expected to undertake at least two placements during your course. You’ll identify which placement will suit your needs – some of our previous students have chosen to work at newspapers, while others have opted for magazines and independent online publishers. Placements should reflect the broadening horizons of journalism through such organisations as hyperlocal publications or websites and specialist publications.
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.
Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.
Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.
Our Media and Communications (Journalism) BA (Hons) course is highly respected in the industry and will prepare you well for a career in your chosen media field. You’ll complement your studies by building contacts in the industry, and working on live, meaningful projects. It’s what makes our graduates highly sought after by employers. Our graduates have gone to pursue careers with respected organisations such as the BBC, Sky, Trinity Mirror, and the Midlands News Association.
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:
Overseas students studying in the UK are happier and have a better learning experience compared to those studying in other countries.
The International Undergraduate Students: The UK's Competitive Advantage report asked 365,754 international students studying outside their home country to give their feedback on what it's like to study in this country. And the UK scored top in every aspect.
So if you're looking at studying with us, you'll be making a good choice.
Overall measures: ranked positions
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.
Our students come from around the world but our media and communication course is most popular with international students from:
Birmingham School of Media is also particularly popular with students from as far as Brazil and Hong Kong. The diversity of our student group provides further dynamism to the course, with understanding of different journalism markets and broadening horizons.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Our teaching staff comprises specialists in their respective fields, including academics and industry professionals, all of whom are perfectly placed to offer a wealth of experience and knowledge. Birmingham School of Media students also benefit from access to high-profile guest speakers from across the industry.
A dynamic community that is responsive to the changing face of the media industry, Birmingham School of Media is the perfect starting point to your media career.
Ross leads the journalism pathway. He was previously a sports writer, sub-editor, page designer, news reporter, web editor, features writer and editor, before leading Trinity Mirror's digital programme in the Midlands. He also founded and currently runs award-winning hyperlocal website, LichfieldLive, which has been used an example of excellence in the hyperlocal scene.