Social Media - MA

Full Time, Part Time, Online Learning
September 2016
£6,500 per year for UK/EU Full Time (view all fees)

The MA Social Media at Birmingham School of Media offers you the chance to learn in-depth about the ways in which social media technologies are impacting upon the world. We consider the development and direction of social media as a creative industry as well as a cultural phenomenon.

On the course you will engage with a range of theoretical work as well as undertaking practical live projects which will support your development as an expert in the field.

The Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research

As a member of the BCMCR you will draw upon the expertise of a range of media academics who are researching the use of social media across a number of fields. In turn you will be supported to develop the key research skills needed to make your own contributions to what is a growing area of research. We will consider the many ways in which social media can be used as a research tool as well as examining the ways in which it is put to use by communities, activists and business.

What will I study on the course?

The course is designed to meet your needs as a learner and help you produce work that will be valuable to your ongoing career. So whether you see yourself as a social media activist or a marketeer, you will be able to adapt assessment to your own needs. Students can take a research-orientated route through the course, culminating in the completion of dissertation; or they may choose to produce a practice project, showcasing their skills at being an effective social media producer. You will study the following modules:

Why should I study this course?
  • You will learn practical skills in producing social media strategies and managing social media campaigns
  • You can choose between a research- or practice-focused route
  • You will learn from industry guest speakers on this Skillset accredited course.

Jodie Cook“I’m very happy that a course exists to teach people about using social media in a commercial sense, given the rise of it as a great way for organisations to keep in touch with customers and find new ones.”

Jodie Cook, JC Social Media

Why should I study an MA at Birmingham City University?
  • Be part of the fast growing Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research
  • You will be supported by a high-profile group of academics and professionals who will enable you to realise your full potential
  • You will work in a shared space with PhD students and other research staff
  • There are paid work opportunities including internships, teaching and research culture development
  • There are bursaries to attend conferences and relevant events
  • You can work on live research projects with academic members of staff
  • You will have the change to organise academic conferences and postgraduate symposia
  • All students receive career mentoring through personal planning
  • There are routes to PhD and beyond with Midlands Three Cities (M3C) funding
Visit our open day

Postgraduate Open Event

Our next Postgraduate Open Event is Wednesday 25 November 2015.

Book your place

This course is 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.

Visit the School website

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Planet Nine

And in jobs such as:

  • Sales Account Executive
  • Marketing Executive
Creative Skillset Tick

Entry Requirements

UK students

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.

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.

International students

International students should have a minimum IELTS level of 6.5, while good spoken and written English are vital.

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MA Sep 2016 FT 1 year £6,500 per year
PT 2 years £3,250 per year
PT 3 years £2,170 per year
OL 1 year full time TBC
OL 3 years part-time TBC

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MA Sep 2016 FT 1 year £12,000
PT 2 years TBC
OL 1 year full time £12,000
OL 3 years part-time TBC

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

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.

Find additional costs for your course

Your personal statement

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:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

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.

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

This course is available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Financial Support

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


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 / Online Enterprise and Innovation
30 credits

By focusing on a spirit of entrepreneurship (or intrapreneurship) 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 self-reflexive creative worker.

On-campus: If studying the on-campus 'Enterprise' module, you will explore 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.

Distance-learning: The distance-learning only 'Online Enterprise and Innovation' module applies your developing theoretical and professional knowledge into interactive and online media, professional environments.

You will do this by exploring the techniques, processes and practices of online innovation and enterprise, and put ideas into practice, develop a strong sense of your own professional development needs, be involved in creating networks and refine an action orientated approach.

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.

Course Structure

The Social Media MA draws upon the expertise of our 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.

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 of the course 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.


For on-campus students, 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.

Distance Learning

For distance-learning students, lectures will be replaced with audio slide shows, recordings of a lecture, or live-streamed lectures which cover the same material. These will often be identical to those delivered to students with attendance.

Access to your tutors for tutorials will be via audio-visual communication technologies such as Skype and will be further supported by email.

In exploring and innovating in research in social media you will engage with professional practitioners, interacting and disseminating ideas through, blogs and social media platforms as well as at networking events.

Creative Skillset Tick
Creative Skillset Tick

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.

Further Study

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.

Employment Opportunities

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.


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.

International Students

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:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

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.

Learn more about BCUIC

Parkside - City Centre Campus
Parkside - Milo Studio
Parkside - Photography Studio

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.

Edit Suites

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.

Dubbing Suites

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).

Dave Harte

Senior Lecturer in Media and Communication and 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. He researches the emerging trend of local community ‘hyperlocal’ news websites and has published widely on the subject.

He has a track record of working with local media companies to support the growth of the creative economy. 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 closely 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 open data to the city leaders and the business community.

Most recently he was co-investigator on the UK Research Council funded project 'Media, Community and the Creative Citizen' where he led a research strand investigating the scale and value of hyperlocal news websites. His work on this has been published by Ofcom, the UK media regulator, to support their understanding of this emerging sector.

Dave has published on the role of social media in media education and has also managed funded research projects for the Communities and Culture Network, part of the UK Digital Economy research strand.

Professional Secondments:

  • Economic Development Manager - Digital Birmingham (2008-09)
  • Project Manager - Digital Central (2006-08)
  • Cluster Innovation Manager - Advantage West Midlands (2003-05)
  • Subject Co-ordinator - Art, Design, Media, Subject Centre (2003-05)
UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

+44 (0)125 350 2917

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389


Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295