Visit our Postgraduate Open Evening
Wednesday 24 April 2013
For some, social media has the potential to change power relationships between the citizen and the state, while others just see it as a way to more effectively reach audiences and engage them in commercial transactions. Either way, it’s clear that there are opportunities for social media professionals to make significant impacts in their field: to innovate and shape practice.
The opportunities are many. On the one hand, established businesses are seeking to co-opt the tools of social media and use them for commercial gain; on the other third sector organisations are making use of these tools to build complex and conversational communication strategies for minimal cost. All need to deepen their understanding of how social media can support their aims.
This MA programme will explore the techniques of social media, consider the development and direction of social media as a creative industry, and will contribute new research and knowledge to the field.
Birmingham has a thriving social media scene and this scene is fast becoming an industry. It is therefore wholly appropriate that this programme should be based within Birmingham School of Media, where students will have access to a peer group and active community of social media practitioners.
Download the Course Programme Specification
Applicants should have a first degree or equivalent at 2:1, or above, or have considerable experience in a related field and be able to demonstrate outstanding ability and potential.
International students should have a minimum IELTS level of 6.5, while good spoken and written English are vital.
Applicants should have sound academic skills (research, writing, presentation), an interest in ideas and their application and some basic competence in IT skills (word-processing, internet activities and so on).
Above all, candidates for this exciting and innovative course need to have an inquiring mind, an aptitude for researching, sharing and communicating ideas and a desire to develop as an independent and self-motivated thinker.
Fees and Finance
Fees for students from the UK or EU countries?
|Sep 2013||FT||1 year||MA||£5,500 |
|Sep 2013||PT||2 years||MA||£2,750 per year|
Fees for students from non-EU countries?
|Sep 2013||FT||1 year||MA||£10,500 |
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.
Postgraduate students must find ways of funding their tuition fees and living costs rather than relying on government grants and loans. We offer further information on possible financial support.
University Approach to Employability
Our close links with business and the professions mean that our courses are always relevant, up-to-date and meet the exact needs of the current marketplace. Wherever possible, we involve employers in planning the curriculum, while many of our lecturers come from and maintain their links with industry, ensuring they are up to speed with the latest developments.
Employability will be an integral outcome of your studies.
A wide range of organisations and businesses now employ individuals to help them develop effective social media strategies for customer or citizen engagement. Previous graduates have found work in such roles within both the private and public sector. Others have gone on to set up businesses or worked as social media consultants.
Other avenues that graduates may pursue include developing innovative and low cost communication strategies for third sector organisations using social media tools; developing innovative and alternative media projects; and working with existing mainstream media organisations as they develop social media strategies.
It is also possible for successful graduates to enhance their skills by contributing to the development of new professional practice in PR, marketing communications and web design.They might also wish to continue developing a scholarly interest in social media as part of a further research degree.
The MA has a strong thread of individual personal development planning, supporting students’ studies and enhancing an individual’s career ambitions.
Students are expected to undertake a work placement/internship with an organisation that uses social media or is exploring social media. This will enable students to become engaged as researchers within the work place and enable them to find ways in which their skills and learning can be applied outside of academia.
The Birmingham School of Media has a number of close contacts in the creative and cultural sector, regionally, nationally and internationally, which will aid in finding appropriate placements and exploring work in these industries.
For anyone interested in taking their research interests forward into an MPhil or PhD speak to the course director about your particular area of expertise.
This MA draws upon the expertise of the wide range of practitioners within the Birmingham School of Media and its research and production units (Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research, Interactive Cultures, New Technology Institute). Our established and innovative work with a wide range of partners in the creative industries, arts organisations and local authorities inform class work and the directions of individual scholarship.
Teaching takes place in small groups, with a mixture of lectures, seminars, research workshops, presentations and field-trips. In exploring and innovating in research in social media you will work with other students and engage with professional practitioners, interacting and disseminating ideas through blogs and social media platforms as well as at networking events.
The taught postgraduate phase of the course comprises modules that explore social media from a cultural studies perspective and explore political economy, social enterprise and social media organisations. The Masters component entails a substantial piece of independent study and the creation of either a social media production project or an original piece of research in the form of a 15,000-word dissertation.
The MA has a strong thread of individual personal development planning, supporting your studies and enhancing your career ambitions. To this end you will engage in live projects for clients and be expected to work at a professional level. The Birmingham School of Media has a variety of strong contacts in the creative and cultural sector, regionally, nationally and internationally which will aid in finding appropriate projects and exploring work in these industries.
Social Media as Culture (30 credits)
This theory module explores the current state of academic knowledge and debates around the emergence of social media and provides you with a systematic understanding of the approaches to studying social media culture and its social and cultural role and character.
You will participate in external networking and conference events and produce blogs that engage with key debates about the culture of social media.
At the end of this module you will be able to employ established theoretical frameworks and methodologies in order to advance new insights into practice and meaning.
Enterprise (30 credits)
This module explores entrepreneurial techniques, processes and practices. You will put ideas into practice, develop a strong sense of your professional development needs, be involved in creating networks (in and outside the university) and refine an action-orientated approach.
By focusing on a spirit of entrepreneurship, we will encourage you to take ownership of your own personal professional development. You will identify industry challenges appropriate to your award, and turn them into opportunities for you to enhance your independence, confidence, networking capacity and strategic thinking. This will encourage you to become a reflective creative worker.
Social Media as Practice (30 credits)
This production module explores social media as an area of media practice in social enterprise, commercial, public and personal areas. You will consider the different areas of media, cultural and creative production that come under the auspices of social media and explore the production practices and skills that these involve.
You will develop your own professional practice through a range of production activities. At the end of this module you will be able to analyse, deliver and evaluate innovative social media projects.
Production Lab or Research Methods (30 credits)
These modules prepare you for MA by Practice or MA by Dissertation, depending upon the focus of your studies.
Both draw upon other taught modules which either mapped out the current state of academic knowledge in the field, or established professional conventions and explored current industry challenges.
You will be provided with the opportunity to innovate, and to apply and experiment with a range of production skills appropriate to your award, supported by a systematic exploration of methods for research and production development.
MA by Practice or MA by Dissertation (60 Credits)
Depending upon the focus of your studies, you will complete your award with either an original contribution to scholarship in the MA by Dissertation or through the origination, execution and delivery of an individual and extended practice-based professional project at the forefront of your field.
You will develop and consolidate your mastery of key skills, knowledge of and engagement with current opportunities in the field of production or academic enquiry. These modules encourage and test skills of initiative and independent practice and are conducted largely outside of the classroom with support from a tutor.
Assessments usually emphasise scholarly or professional practice through which the key learning objectives are tested. Three weeks are set aside for assessment work.
Award Leader, MA Social Media
Dave Harte is a Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications and award leader for the MA in Social Media at Birmingham City University. For many years he has worked closely with Birmingham’s vibrant digital media sector acting as a link between the public sector and the business community.
In the mid-2000s he worked with the regional development agency for the West Midlands on their business clusters strategy, subsequently managing a major business support project on their behalf.
Dave has worked with Birmingham City Council as Economic Development Manager for Digital Birmingham where he championed the use of social media and digital tools to the city leaders and the business community.
He is currently co-investigator on the AHRC and EPSRC funded project ‘Media, Community and the Creative Citizen‘ where he leads a research strand investigating the scale and value of Hyperlocal news websites. His work on this has been published by Ofcom to support their understanding of this emerging sector.
Dave blogs at daveharte.com and runs his own hyperlocal news website for Bournville.
Creative Skillset Tick
This course has been awarded the Creative Skillset Tick, the industry kitemark of quality, following a rigorous assessment process by experts working in the Creative Industries.
The Creative Skillset Tick is awarded to practice-based courses which best prepare students for a career in the industry.
Learn more at www.creativeskillset.org/pickthetick
Prospective students from the UK or EU
- Take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions for answers to a range of questions about our courses and studying here.
- If you need further help, you can contact the Course Enquiries Team online by using the Course Enquiry Form.
- Alternatively, call us on +44 (0)121 331 5595.
Prospective students from non-EU countries
- International enquirers from non-EU countries may enquire via the International Enquiry Form.
- Alternatively, call us +44 (0)121 331 6714.
Birmingham School of Media
Birmingham City University
City North Campus
Telephone: +44 (0)121 331 6618
Fax: +44 (0)121 331 6501