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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

Birmingham City University was among the first universities in the UK to deliver media degrees and this BA (Hons) degree is accredited by the sector skills council for the creative industries - Creative Skillset - recognising the course's ability to deliver industry-ready graduates.

Birmingham School of Media has a reputation for its superlative standard of teaching and its track record of graduate employability. The media and communication course offers a high level of flexibility, with the choice of eight degrees with seven different specialisms.

Students can opt for a degree-specific course or choose a more general one, depending on their career aspirations. Staff at the Birmingham School of Media, who have a wealth of real industry experience, will guide and support students through their choices. This is a fast-paced course that includes both the theoretical and practical sides of the media world.

Students will be expected to work on both group and individual production projects, as well as undertake two industry placements during the course.

Key Facts

  • Chance to study on a course accredited by the sector skills council for the creative industries - Creative Skillset.
  • Highly vocational course; puts your skills to work throughout.
  • Placements play a crucial role; recent students have gained invaluable experience at BSkyB, the BBC, Maverick Television and Endemol.
  • National Student Survey reports 80% of our students being thoroughly satisfied with the quality of the course.
  • Gives you the flexibility to opt for a general study of Media and Communication, or specialise through one of the following pathways: radio, television, web and new media, journalism, media photography, music industries or public relations.
  • Get real and rare insight from regular guest speakers who have included:
    • Brian Travers from UB40
    • newsreader Huw Edwards
    • Jo Geary, The Times’ Web Development Editor
    • BSkyB’s Head of Production Services, Dave Rooke
    • ‘Created in Birmingham’ blogger Pete Ashton
    • and many, many more

Why Choose Us?

  • Birmingham City University was among the first UK universities to deliver media degrees; this innovation and vision is now recognised by inclusion in a network of government-accredited Skillset Media Academies.
  • Preparing you for the realities of media work, industry placements (equivalent to 70 hours in your first year and 105 hours in your second) are compulsory.
  • Choice ofnine degrees witheight different specialisms: radio, television, web and new media, journalism, media photography, music industries, event and exhibition industriesor public relations (recognised by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations).
  • The course is fast-paced and exciting:
    • you study PR in a media environment, working alongside students in journalism, broadcasting, new media, photography and music industries
    • you can also study modules in these areas with opportunities to work in radio/TV/photography studios, editing suites and a newsroom with Press Association news feeds
    • you work on genuine PR campaigns and pitch your ideas and proposals to clients and industry representatives
    • you organise and take part in press conferences, media interviews and promotional events
    • you use blogs, create wikis, and employ other interactive media to support your work and self-development
  • Excellent career opportunities in the UK PR industry which continues to grow despite the recession and is currently worth an estimated £7.5 billion (2011 PR Census)
  • 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
  • Student achievement is widely recognised: the CIPR Midlands award for Student Of The Year has been won by students from this course every year since 2006
  • Regular ‘networking’ events including our annual PR Students Conference attended by academics and professionals from across the region
  • Encourages you to be a ‘thinking media worker’ - an individual, not just a cog in a machine; offers a balance of media production skills and academic study of the industry.

Download the Course Programme Specification

Entry Requirements

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

Typical UK QualificationRequirements 2014/15

You must have GCSE at Grade C or above in English Language and Mathematics. Equivalent qualifications will be considered

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 2014/15
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.

Application Details

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.

Fees and Finance

Fees for students from the UK or EU countries?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
Sep 2014 FT 3 years BA (Hons) £8,200 per year
Fees for students from non-EU countries (International)?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
Sep 2014 FT 3 years BA (Hons) £10,100 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:

Open Days

Saturday 4 October and Saturday 15 November 2014 (9am - 3pm)

Our Open Days provide you with the perfect opportunity to visit the University and discover just what we have to offer.

You can learn more about our courses, great teaching and links with leading employers - as well as our £260 million investment in facilities.

There is a non-stop programme of events and activities running throughout the day, so we recommend that you arrive at 9am to ensure you get the most out of the day.

Who is it for?

The day will cover all levels of study but is predominantly for undergraduate courses.

4 October Open Day
15 November Open Day

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.

pete wilby

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.

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 details on all the courses, including job opportunities, alumni stories and experience, details of open and applicants days, visit:

To speak to the school office call +44 (0)121 331 7279 or email

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