Media and Communication (Public Relations) - BA (Hons)

Course Overview

The essential course information

Download the course factsheet
UCAS Code:
BA (Hons)
Full Time (3 years)
Birmingham School of Media
City Centre

Intimately linked to industry, this pathway provides you with the skills and knowledge that today’s PR professionals need in a fast-moving media environment. The course is recognised by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and provides plenty of opportunities to build contacts with some of the UK’s leading PR organisations, working on genuine campaigns and pitching ideas to clients.

What's covered in the course?

  • This course provides the key skills needed to develop a career in the fast-growing fields of public relations and promotion.
  • You will organise press conferences, interviews and promotional events, and take part in our PR students' conference, a major annual event attended by PR professionals and students.
  • With strong links to many influential media organisations, this course offers an industry-relevant blend of production, theory and professional studies.
  • In addition to core PR work, there will be an opportunity to develop related skills in other media, including journalism, print and web design, exhibition management and photography.
  • You will work on genuine PR campaigns, and pitch your ideas and proposals to clients and industry representatives.

“Learning what you need to pass your degree is one thing, but finding the right university that gives context and practical application for your knowledge in a fun and exciting environment is what, for me, makes Birmingham City University the number one for Media and Communication.”
Chris Williams

Why Choose Us?

  • The course provides excellent professional development in PR through close links with the industry across the Midlands and regular consultation with a panel of PR employers.
  • Our staff are established media professionals with a wealth of industry experience.
  • Student achievement is widely recognised: the CIPR Midlands Student of the Year award has been won by a student from this course every year since 2006.
  • Preparing you for the realities of media work and developing invaluable skills, our courses include compulsory industry placements (equivalent to 70 hours in your first year and 105 hours in your second).

Download the Course Programme Specification

Entry Requirements

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

Typical UK QualificationRequirements 2015/16

You must have GCSE at Grade C or above in English Language and Mathematics. Equivalent qualifications will be considered. Applicants will also need a good portfolio to bring to interview at an Applicant Visit Day. See Portfolio Guidance tab.

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 280 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.

Typical EU/Non-EU (International) QualificationsRequirements 2015/16
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.

How to Apply

Full Time: Apply through UCAS.
UCAS Code: P9P2.
Apply via UCAS

Non-EU (International) students: There are three ways for international students to apply: direct to the University, through a country representative or through UCAS. Please read our guidance on how to apply.

UCAS Information

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

UK, EU and international students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

You submit an application via the UCAS website with a list of up to five courses. All choices are confidential during the application process so universities and colleges considering an application cannot see your other choices. Applications must be completed by mid-January of the year that you wish to start university.

You can monitor the progress of your application using the UCAS Apply system.

Portfolio Guidance

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:

  1. An example of written work (e.g. an academic essay or report. This does not have to be media-related) 
  2. An example of your interest in the media (e.g. details of any work experience you have undertaken in the media industry or a media-related hobby)
  3. An example of any practical media work (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.

Please note:

  • You may bring your portfolio on a memory stick providing the memory stick itself is well marked with your name AND the work on the memory stick is organised into a folder labelled ‘Applicant Day’.
  • Photographs MUST NOT be submitted on memory stick; all photographs must be printed and brought in to the Applicant Day as part of your portfolio.

Fees and Finance

Fees for students from the UK or EU countries?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
Sep 2015 FT 3 years BA (Hons) £9,000 per year
Fees for students from non-EU countries (International)?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
Sep 2015 FT 3 years BA (Hons) £11,500 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

Most students agree that it is useful to have their own laptop and printer, and (depending on your pathway) you may wish to have copies of specific software on your own computer

Financial Options and Advice

We have deliberately tried to set fees that reflect the cost of course delivery in order to help our students avoid debt.

Full-time students won't have to pay for tuition fees until after their studies - there are government tuition fee loans available. If you are a full-time student, after leaving university you will start to pay back your loan once you are earning over £21,000 a year, at a rate of nine per cent on any income above £21,000. So if you were earning £25,000, you would pay back nine per cent of £4,000, or £30 per month.

Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis offers key facts on fees, loans and grants:

Financial Support

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

International Students

International Students at BCU

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 reputation for excellence is soaring globally, thanks to the superb links we forge with industry, our international alliances, and our focus on practical, vocational learning.

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

University Approach to Employability

Birmingham City University is committed to preparing students for successful employability and professional careers. We have an innovative approach to employability that will help you obtain an interesting and well-paid graduate job.

Read our Employability Statement to find out more.

Employment Opportunities

Our track record for graduate employment is excellent, with the majority of graduates going into a media-related role. Each course opens up specific employability avenues related to the production route chosen. A high number of graduates have gone into producer/director roles, journalism, public relations, web development, freelance/own business.

Exhibit This

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.


The School strongly believes in the practical application of learning and is fortunate to have very strong links with employers and the media industry. Students on placements have worked with a wide range of organisations including the BBC, Maverick Television and Endemol.

Further Studies

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. This year we are introducing six new courses, with more planned for the future. The postgraduate courses currently offered are:

  • MA Creative Industries and Cultural Policy
  • MA Event and Exhibition Management
  • MA Freelance Photography
  • MA Freelancing and Journalism Enterprise
  • MA International Broadcast Journalism
  • MA Magazine Journalism and Interactive Content
  • MA Media and Creative Enterprise
  • MA Online Journalism
  • MA Social Media
  • MA Television and Interactive Content
  • PgDip Broadcast Journalism
  • CIPR Advanced Certificate in Public Relations

Details can be found on the postgraduate section of the website.

Full Time

About KIS data

From September 2012, all universities and colleges are publishing standardised information for all undergraduate courses in the form of a Key Information Set (KIS). The KIS data is designed to meet the needs of prospective students and allow for informed decision-making when choosing a university course.

Putting our students first

We pride ourselves on our student satisfaction levels which have risen from 73 per cent to 83 per cent between 2010 and 2012. Our dedication to improving the student experience is illustrated by our award-winning student engagement, our close links with business and industry and our £180 million investment in new facilities.

Employability facts

87.2% of leavers from the School who responded to the survey entered employment (and/or further study), initially earning a full-time average salary of £15,300. Employers hiring leavers from the School include 470 Media and Birmingham City University in positions such as Advertising and Business Advisor, and Communications Officer. Other recent graduates have found positions as Account Executive at Willoughby PR, Communications Manager for NHS South Birmingham, Sub-Editor at the Birmingham Mail, and Online Executive at NEC Group.

Working with your Students’ Union

Improving student satisfaction is a priority commitment shared by both Birmingham City University and its Students’ Union. In its strategic planning, the Union has pledged to be more accessible, more relevant and provide more opportunity to engage with a diverse student community.

The Students’ Union is already a key stakeholder in supporting an excellent teaching experience at Birmingham City University, through joint projects such as the Extra Mile Teaching Awards and the Student Rep scheme, which allows students to share their ideas on how they are taught.

As Birmingham City University moves towards a two campus strategy where it can better support enhanced learning and student support facilities across a two-mile radius, the Students’ Union will also be better able to implement its commitment to improve communication and engage with its valued student membership.

Course Structure

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

The professional studies strand of the course prepares students for at least two placements in a media or cultural industries organisation, such as the BBC, Maverick Television, Warwickshire County Cricket Club, newspapers, magazines, PR companies and local radio stations.

Teaching is conducted across a range of environments, including radio and TV studios, editing suites, a new media production suite, a newsroom, lecture theatres, seminar rooms, and online.

Students will use blogs, create wikis and other interactive media to support their work and self-development.

All staff at the School are established media professionals who bring with them a range of expertise. They are able to recognise and respond to the rapidly changing demands of the media, ensuring that the course remains relevant to the industry.

The School maintains close contacts with a variety of media organisations including Sky, BBC, Maverick Television and Future Publishing and visiting tutors and guest speakers regularly hold master class sessions to enhance and enrich students’ learning.

Course Modules

This course provides the key skills needed to develop a career in the fast-growing fields of public relations, marketing and advertising.

Students will learn about the media, which media to approach, and how to write and prepare material so that it succeeds. In addition to the core PR work, there will be an opportunity to develop related skills in other media, including journalism, print and web design and photography.

Assessment Methods

Students are assessed in a variety of different ways, including practical project work – both group and individual, presentations, written and practical portfolios as well as traditional academic essays and exams.

Peter Wilby

Senior Lecturer

Pete Wilby is Degree Leader for the Public Relations specialist pathway of BA Media and Communication and is also Programme Director for the Advanced Certificate in Public Relations, a professional qualification taught at the School of Media on behalf of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. Pete is himself a member of the CIPR.

Since joining the University in 2000, he has been a strong advocate of developing students’ professional skills as part of their learning experience and he has initiated several projects where students engage directly with employers, including a student conference, a journal produced by PR students and campaign pitches by students to PR professionals. He also has a passion for live music and is currently studying the organisation and practices of amateur music venues for his doctorial research.

Danielle Hudspith

Danielle Hudspith, won the "Midlands Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Student of the Year 2014" award thanks to her outstanding final year degree project.

The award promotes emerging talent and skills and is open to final year students on public relations degrees that are based in the region and linked to the CIPR. The win marks the ninth year in a row that a student from the University has won the award.

Danielle graduated in September 2014 with a first, and has since earned a place on the Vodafone graduate scheme as a Communications Specialist.

“My course leader, Pete Wilby, nominated me to go forward and has been hugely supportive. The award is something I can be proud of and reflects the passion I have to develop my career in the sector.”

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities. It’s no surprise that the Complete University Guide placed us in the UK top 10 for spending on facilities in both 2012 and 2013.


If you are from the UK or EU please enquire using the Course Enquiry Form or contact +44 (0)121 331 5595.

If you are from outside the EU please use the International Enquiry Form or contact +44 (0)121 331 6714.


For an overview of our undergraduate courses and a range of other information order a printed Prospectus or download a PDF of our Prospectus (16Mb).

Further Information

For more information on our courses please visit

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