Media and Communication (Music Industries) with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons) *

UCAS Code:
PJ3F
Attendance:
Full Time (4 years)
Starting:
September 2018
Campus:

The Music Industries pathway of BA (Hons) Media and Communication is tailor-made for anyone seeking to develop knowledge, skills and experience relevant to developing a career in the music industries, or with an interest in music as relating to wider creative and cultural industries.

Our students develop skills through a combination of hands-on, skills-based learning, as well as critical and research-focused enquiry, and apply their skills and knowledge through work placements with key organisations within the UK music industries.

About foundation courses

This four year programme has been specifically designed to allow students who do not initially meet the entry requirements for a three year degree, to undertake additional level 3 study designed to ensure they are successful on their chosen degree programme.

After successful completion of your foundation year, you will have the flexibility to switch (should you wish to change direction) onto a number of related undergraduate degree programmes within Birmingham School of Media.

Why study a degree with a foundation year?

Foundation years are a great option if you have the talent, ambition and potential to thrive at Birmingham City University, but do not meet the entry requirements for your preferred course. It’s ideal if:

  • You want the flexibility of a year’s study on a more general course to find out the best degree choice for you.
  • You have changed your mind about your career since you chose your A-levels or BTECs and need to improve your skills in a different subject area.
  • You would like extra time and support to help you build your knowledge, skills and confidence before starting a full degree.

What's covered in the course?

On this course you will have the opportunity to develop real-life commercial projects with clients, enabling you to add professional jobs to your portfolio.

Helped by strong links with many influential media organisations, our course offers an industry-relevant blend of production, theory and professional studies on each pathway available.

Teaching takes place in environments most relevant to your course, including radio, TV and photography studios and editing suites, as well as lecture theatres, seminar rooms, social learning spaces and online. You use blogs, create wikis, and employ social media channels and other interactive media to support your work and self-development.

The course is ideal if you want to take an in-depth look at promotion, music PR and music media, running a record label or producing music videos and websites. It’ll help you be at the forefront of creating and developing innovative ideas, and exploring niche markets within the music industry.

While on the course, you will have the opportunity to set up a record label, promote artists or organise a music event for a paying audience. You will develop practical business knowhow, applying your skills to a creative music enterprise project, as well as exploring music entrepreneurship, music online, music promotion and PR, music video, and television and music programming.

In your final year of study you will complete a final major project, drawing together the strands of knowledge, skills, and experience that you have gained during your time with us. You will also have the opportunity to be nominated for one of our two Music Industries pathway awards, sponsored by two of the musical icons of the West Midlands - Brian Travers of UB40 and Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath.

“As a music industries specialist, the modules I took gave me the chance to put the skills I had learned into practice, enabling me to create my own business projects, as well as securing industry placements at the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and Kerrang! The placements and the guidance of supportive and passionate lecturers enabled me to achieve more than I ever thought, and I have now landed a job at BPI, a company that I always dreamed of working for.” Sophie Lucken, Music Industry graduate 2015

Why Choose Us?

  • We provide specialised, sophisticated equipment for every area in our £62 million home, The Parkside Building, including six radio studios, four TV studios, the largest free-standing green screen in Europe, editing suites, music production studios and photography studios (including a half and a full infinity cove).
  • Enjoy the supportive guidance and contemporary perspective of staff who are established media professionals.
  • Our masterclasses have included a range of eminent guest speakers, including UB40’s Brian Travers, Juice Aleem (Big Dada / Ninja Tunes), Shelley Atkinson (Alternative Dubstep Orchestra), John Mostyn (Highbury Studios) and many more.
  • In recent years, our students have secured work placements at organisations such as Sony Music, Universal Music, Warner Music UK and BPI, as well as local organisations such as the O2 Academy, Genting Arena and Birmingham International Jazz & Blues Festival.
  • Our graduates have progressed into employment with Warner Music UK, Ticketmaster and the O2 Institute. 
This course is not 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 are shaping the future of the music industries through careers with organisations such as

  • Warner Music UK
  • IFPI
  • NEC Group (Barclaycard and Genting arenas)

And in jobs such as:

  • Music Marketing Manager
  • Music Data Analyst
  • Music PR, Promotions and Social Media Executive

Many others have gone on to set up their own independent music enterprises and projects, based on the work that they completed in their time at university.

Subject to approval

This course is in the final stages of design and is due to be reviewed and approved to meet our quality standards.

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

UK students
Essential

At the point of enrolment, you must have GCSE at Grade 4 or above in English Language. Equivalent qualifications can be considered in lieu as long as the required subject is covered.

80 UCAS tariff points.

Typical Offers
UK Qualification Requirements 2018/19
A level  CDD. A maximum of three subjects are considered. Other 6-unit qualifications can be considered in lieu of one or two A-level subjects. Excluded subjects General Studies and Critical Thinking.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma

MMP
Access to HE Diploma 60 credits overall - 15 credits at level 2 and 45 credits at level 3
GCSE English language at grade 4 (C) or above or equiivalent qualifications must be achieved at application stage.

Scottish Higher

BBB. 80 points, minimum BBB from 3 higher level passes
Must include English Language at Standard Grade

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

Total of 10 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects.
Successful completion of IB Diploma with minimum IB point score of 24 or more
English Group A - Grade 4 or above, or English Group B and Ab Initio - Grade 5

OCR Cambridge Technical Certificate

Must be offered along with either two A-levels or two BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diplomas of 80 tariff points. Cannot be offered as a standalone qualification.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma

MM. Can be offered along with either one A-level or one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ OCR Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma qualification to achieve a minimum of 80 tariff points.

Scottish Advanced Higher

DDD. Must include English Language at Standard Grade
Maximum of three Advanced Highers can be considered together.
Other qualifications
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.

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2018 FT 4 years £9,250 per year* Apply via UCAS

International Students

Sorry, this course is not available to international students.

The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Portfolio Guidance

You are not required to submit a portfolio for this course.

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 your course. 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.

View additional costs for this course

Sorry, this course is not available part-time

Foundation year

Cross-media Production 1
20 credits

This practical production module explores media production techniques in radio, audio production, online video, virtual reality and television. You will learn industry-level practical skills and develop your own professional practice through a range of production activities and workshops.

You will learn production techniques for broadcast and for online and hear from industry professionals on current and emerging best practice. By the end of this module you will be able to produce and distribute innovative media projects for specific audiences, delivered across a range of online and social networking platforms. 

Cross-media Production 2
20 credits

This practical production module explores media production techniques in journalism, public relations, and events management. The module draws together the skills needed for writing and producing content for print and online, and developing communications campaigns that connect with audiences dispersed across digital platforms. You will develop your own professional practice through a range of production activities and workshops.

You will learn new skills in multi-platform and mobile journalism and strategic communications, and hear from industry professionals on current and emerging best practice for the media and music industries. By the end of this module you will be able to produce and distribute innovative media projects for specific audiences, delivered across a range of online and social networking platforms.

Media Context and Production
20 credits

This module will familiarise you with key concepts aligned to studying media and communication. You will draw on your own production work in order to analyse issues relating to the organisation, ownership and regulation of the media industry. You will contextualise the work you have produced in the context of wider media production practices.

By the end of this module you will have undertaken research relevant to the industry sector you are seeking to develop your skills within and understood the value of seeing your own work as that which connects with specific audiences who create meaning from your and others media texts. 

Practice project
40 credits

This module is an independent study module during which you will produce a media practice project. You will present a proposal for a project, setting yourself a significant creative challenge, and work with a supervisory team to bring your work to fruition. You will draw on the production skills you have developed in earlier modules and use the project as the vehicle through which you showcase your creativity and your ability to work to professional standards.

Professional and Academic Skills
20 credits

This module will help you develop the academic skills needed to succeed in higher education, and the professional skills required to support your ambitions to be a media worker. You will build an online portfolio that will both evidence your growing skills developed across the course as a whole, and act as a showcase for the work you produce.

You will aim to build a community of interest around you and your work. You will be introduced to the wide range of academic and practical support that the university offers, and support from tutors will ensure you develop academic skills that will help you succeed as a student. You will keep an online learning diary that reflect on your development.

Year one

Modules include:

Researching the Media and Communication
40 credits

This module is compulsory for all Media students and will provide you with a theoretical understanding of media texts and audiences.

Introduction to Media Contexts and Practice 1: Music Industry Landscapes
20 credits

This module introduces key sectors and revenue streams within the Music Industries, including recorded music, artist management, music law, and live music sectors. Students will gain practical skills and knowledge by setting up and running music-based ventures such as record labels, events companies, or artist management, and critically evaluate these with reference to theoretical and critical perspectives from popular music studies.

Introduction to Media Contexts and Practice 2
20 credits

You will choose one of the following:

  • Multiplatform Journalism
  • Television Production
  • Introduction to Web Development
  • Events and Exhibition Planning
  • Understanding Public Relations
  • Radio Production
  • Visual Communication 
  • Photography Skills
Professional and Academic Development
20 credits

This module is also compulsory for all Media students. It includes study skills and developing your employability, as well as a two-week placement in your first year.

Media Festival
20 credits

In this collaborative module you will produce media work around a particular theme.

Year two

Modules include:

Popular Music Narratives
20 credits

This module encourages students to apply engage critically with contemporary arguments around the current and changing nature of popular music culture, and the industries which create it.Students will research the changing ideological, political, technological and cultural contexts of popular music, and consider the role of popular music in relation to society and culture.

Advanced Media Contexts and Practice: Music Industries Ecologies
20 credits

This module engages students with the interconnected nature of the music industries, and their changing position within a wider ecology of creative and cultural industries. Students will research a music-based entity of their choice, and how it relates to the wider creative and cultural industries, then produce a media product which communicates their findings in an innovative, creative, and professional manner.

Professional and Academic Development
20 credits

You will undertake a three-week media placement.

Option 1
20 credits

In this module you will choose one research option from the following specialist topics:

Gender, Sexuality and the Body; Alternative Lifestyles (Pleasure, Leisure and Taboo); Comedy in the Media and Popular Culture; Race, Ethnicity and the Media; Media and Materiality; Fandoms and Subcultures; Communities if Practice: Culture, Heritage and Space; Film Cultures; Media Censorship and Regulation and Celebrity Culture.

Option 2
20 credits

In this module you will choose one practical option from the following options:

Bi-Media drama; Television Studio; Lifestyle and Branded Media Content; Campaigning and Investigative Journalism; Music, Media and Digitalisation; Digital Content Distribution; Advanced Visual Communication; Music Industry Promotional Practices; Commercial Production for Radio; Radio Documentary; Fashion Photography; Photojournalism and PR Planning and Delivery.

The options most aligned to your specialism are Music, Media and Digitalisation and Music Industries Promotional Practice.

Live Project/ Collaborative Practice
20 credits

In this module you will undertake a Collaborative or Live Project, working with students from elsewhere in the University, or work on a real world project.

Year three

Modules include:

Major Project
60 credits

In your final year, you will undertake a final major project, drawing together the skills, knowledge, and experience that you have developed over the previous two years.

Professional Media Contexts and Practice: Music Industry Innovation
20 credits

This module is aimed at engaging you with the key concepts and skills of entrepreneurship and enterprise, where you will plan and develop concepts for music-based start-up business and ventures.

Option 3
20 credits

In this module you will choose one option from the following topics:

Queer Studies and Popular Culture; Sex, Texts and Activism; Science-Fiction and Fantasy; Understanding Social Media; DIY Music Cultures; Media and Music Heritage and Archives; Affect, Emotion and the Media; Promotional Culture; Transnational Radio Cultures; Cinema and the Psychoanalysis; Creativity in the Media; Technology and Transmedia Storytelling; Media Activism; Media, Crime and Deviance; Global Quality Television and Digital Public Sphere.

Professional & Academic Development
20 credits

To aid your employability, you will also take Professional and Academic Development, which includes career preparation.

This pathway is focused on music enterprise and entrepreneurship, encouraging you to be creative and innovative.

While developing skills to enable you to work in a number of areas of the music industries, the focus on entrepreneurship reflects the current industries landscape where the music industries is looking towards Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to provide niche products and services to the wider music industries.

Across each of the undergraduate degree routes there is an equal emphasis on production, theory and professional studies.

Your teaching time will be broken down into 12 hours split over Monday - Friday. 

Teaching breakdown

valuelabelcolor
38 Time in lectures, seminars and similar MidnightBlue
57 Time in independent study RoyalBlue
5 Time on placement LightSkyBlue

Assessment breakdown

Classroom activities and projects

Throughout the programme, we emphasise the importance of learning by doing. For instance, students studying our Music Industries Landscapes module have the chance to set up record labels, events companies and music promotion agencies, taking learning outside the classroom by working on real-life releases, events and campaigns with artists.

However, there is also a keen emphasis on research and theory across all three years of the course. For instance, students studying our Popular Music Narratives module will learn about a range of critical perspectives and positions on popular music from the standpoint of both popular music culture and music business/ industries, and undertake research that explores the changing ideological, political, technological and cultural contexts of popular music.

We strive to equip you with not just the right skills and knowledge, but also the right connections and experience. In your second year, you will have the opportunity to take advantage of our connections as a UK Music Academic Partner, as well as our other links with the music industries in the UK and beyond, to work on live briefs set by real-life industry organisations. 


Student work

In the final-year music industries module Music Innovation, a small group of students took an innovative approach to the popular pastime of Geocaching. By taking its basic principles of ‘search and find by GPS’ they developed a web and mobile platform-based Birmingham Music Heritage trail, based on Birmingham’s rich music heritage. Specific locations around the city that were connected to past and present Birmingham bands, musicians and music industries were plotted with clues to the next location. Completion of the trail was rewarded with music-based prizes, such as limited-edition vinyl pressings, gig tickets and artist meet and greets, provided by music industry businesses that sponsored the project/trail. This particular project attracted interest from a local entrepreneur, who spotted the potential of the projects international reach, when it was pitched to a ‘Dragon’s Den’-style panel of industry professionals.

For her final year major project, Music Industries student Sophie Birkett worked alongside the Birmingham Music Archive in helping them digitise a huge archive of rare photos, ticket stubs and promotional posters dating as far back as the 1950s. While supporting a local crowd-sourced DIY not-for-profit music online archive, Sophie also developed a number of useful and innovative skills and approaches to managing and digitising popular music artefacts for public and institutional consumption.Three students took an innovative spin on retail shop music for their final year major project. Working as a group, they set up an agency that would connect local independent and unsigned musicians with local independent stores. This would result in a mutual benefit – the artist would have another channel of promotion and income stream, while the store would have local music readily stocked. The project was launched as a pilot across four retail outlets in Birmingham, with feedback so positive there was potential for it to be rolled out across the UK retail sector.

For his final-year dissertation, Joe Berrisford-Thomas wrote an engaging thesis about the relationship between art and music through the cover sleeves of New York hip-hop albums released from 1991 to 2001. Ten pieces of artwork were examined, and the conclusion was that no matter what era, visual communication is still vitally important. It also commented on the importance of locality in the production process that leads to wider discussions of whether globalisation has resulted in the collapse of local music scenes. 

Further Study

By 2022 it is estimated that one in seven jobs will require postgraduate qualifications (UK Commission for Employment and Skills 2014).

As a School, we invest significantly in our postgraduate provision as we recognise that more specialist and professional courses are required across the media industry.

You have the opportunity to further develop your specialism through our postgraduate courses that are currently offered:

  • MA Global Media Management
  • MA Event, Festival and Exhibition Management
  • MA Media and Cultural Studies
  • MA Media Production

See full list of our postgraduate media courses

Trips and visits

As a BA (Hons) Media and Communications student, you will have the opportunity to take part in various trips and visits.

Each year we offer the George Jackson Travel Bursary to an outstanding graduate from across our courses that puts forward an interesting proposal to travel. Past winners include Laura Stubbs, a graduate with a passion for Eastern European puppetry, film-making and animation, who visited the Czech Republic to help gain an understanding of the surroundings that have influenced some of the country's greatest animators.

Enhancing your employability skills

Studying with us will see you benefit from teaching staff with valuable and extensive industry experience. Our lecturers keep abreast of the latest knowledge and technologies, and possess the industry contacts that bring a three-dimensional perspective to your learning experience.

We have an innovative approach to employability, providing you with an equal balance of academic and theoretical study of the media, and the specialist and transferable skills needed to perform as professionals within the industry. You will leave us as a highly employable graduate, with the knowledge, attributes and practice skills to successfully progress in your career.

You will work on live music industry projects such as setting up a record label, signing /managing artists and setting up promotional and PR agencies. You will work with musicians and local and national music businesses by developing marketing, social media and promotional strategies for them, as well as helping music entrepreneurs to develop their innovative and creative business ideas.

You'll develop a range of transferable skills, such as how to communicate ideas and solve problems, as well as developing negotiation and planning skills. And thanks to the unique nature of the course, you'll learn how to work effectively and efficiently either on your own or as part of a team.

Birmingham School of Media music industries is working with over 20 music and media businesses partners in the Midlands region alone, where it has managed more than 100 internships for students across a number of music and media-related businesses.

These partnerships and student internships are, and have been, very useful in enabling students to set up and run 'mini businesses', providing niche services to the regional music and media industries. In doing so, this helps develop students' business, managerial, communication, organisational and problem-solving skills, while encouraging creativity and innovation.

Placements

Work placements, and the experience and contacts gained through doing them, is a fundamental part of studying in the Birmingham School of Media. In recent years, our students have secured work placements in a broad range of organisations within the music industries, including:

  •          Sony Music
  •          Universal Music
  •          Warner Music UK
  •          O2 Academy
  •          BPI
  •          Barclaycard Arena
  •          Ditto Music
  •          Genting Arena (NEC)
  •          Supersonic Festival
  •          Levitate Festival
  •          Kambe Events
  •          Birmingham International Jazz & Blues Festival
  •          Birmingham Town Hall and Symphony Hall (THSH)
  •          The O2 Institute
  •          Un-Convention
  •          Ticketmaster
  •          Association of Independent Festivals (AIF)
  •          Wireless festival
  •          Birmingham Music Archive
  •          Home of Metal
  •          Emerald Village (Birmingham St Patrick’s Day celebrations)
  •          The Flyover Festival
  •          Big Bear Music

More about our placement opportunities...

OpportUNIty

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.

Our Graduates

Sebastian Simone

Sebastian Simone

Marketing Manager, Warner Bros Records

Links to Industry

UK Music logo Birmingham City University is a member of UK Music’s Music Academic Partnership. UK Music is an industry-backed organisation which works to push the key business and political agenda of the UK music industries with government, senior corporate groups and figures, and within the media more widely. It exists to promote and protect the interests of record labels, songwriters, musicians, managers, publishers, producers, promoters and collecting societies through a range of high-profile campaigns and events. It also draws up policy to deal with issues impacting the industry, engages in high level political lobbying to ensure any new legislation benefits its members and undertakes extensive and ground-breaking research to track market trends and forecast future business opportunities.

Graduate stories - Charlotte Smith

Charlotte Smith

Charlotte Smith graduated in 2010 and was immediately offered an internship at The NEC Group through the School's ongoing relationship with them. She has since risen through the ranks and is a Sales Executive at the NEC Group working for the Genting Arena and the Barclaycard Arena, where she is responsible for coordinating their live stages.

Parkside and Curzon Buildings

Our Facilities

When you join Birmingham City University, the first thing you will notice is the high standard of our campuses. With an investment of £260 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.

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.

External Parkside Building and Water Feature
Parkside building from Curzon building
Parkside Interior
VisCom Hires and Loans landscape
VisCom Hires and Loans CU

Meet our staff

All staff at the School are established media professionals who bring with them a range of expertise. They provide students with practical and relevant insight with real-life experience of business and industry, and are able to recognise and respond to the rapidly changing demands of the media.

Our staff continue to work with industry consulting for music SMEs, and a number of visiting lecturers come from the industry to share their knowledge and skills with the students. Our research staff also work on a number of music industry related projects helping music businesses develop new ways of thinking and working.

Matt Grimes

Senior Lecturer in Music Industries and Radio, Award Leader MA Music Industries, Degree Leader Music Industries

Matt worked in the music industries for a number of years and later ran a media company that enabled access to media for marginalised social and community groups and young people in rural areas. By linking them up with SMEs in the region, Matt's students learn that there is hard graft in this glamorous-sounding industry. He is developing the course to make it as relevant as possible to the working world, to ensure the students are equipped with the skills needed to make it in this competitive industry.

Read Matt's full profile

Stephanie Fremaux

Stephanie Fremaux

Dr. Stephanie Fremaux is a media theorist with over seven years’ teaching experience in higher education. Stephanie studied English literature and History as an undergraduate at Central Michigan University in the United States before undertaking postgraduate research in Film Studies at Exeter University. Her doctoral thesis examined how popular music group the Beatles used film to introduce fans to their ever evolving image and musicianship. Stephanie has experience in teaching a range of media theory including popular music studies, film and television studies and also has experience of leading journalism and mass communications modules at master’ s level. Stephanie is also a member of the School of Media’ s Welfare Liaison Team, working with personal tutors andstudents to ensure a positive student experience.

Iain Taylor

Iain Taylor

Lecturer in Music Industries

Iain Taylor is a Lecturer in Music Industries in the Birmingham School of Media at Birmingham City University, and currently completing his PhD at University of the West of Scotland. His research is concerned with the negotiation of value around music formats, and our relationship with recorded music in an age of ever increasing digital intangibility. In particular, he is interested in the tensions that exist in our relationships with both analogue and digital music formats, and ways of thinking and talking about hybridity between analogue and digital media and practice.

Before entering academia he worked variously in events marketing and PR, music tuition, and as a multi-instrumentalist musician.

Read Iain's full profile

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?

Contact the admissions team

+44 (0)121 331 6295