Social Media - MA

Full Time, Part Time, Distance Learning
September 2016, September 2017
£6,500 for UK/EU Full Time 2016 entry (view all fees)

Social media has become an integral part of millions of people’s daily lives. Whether you use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or Instagram, these and other social media platforms are now considered to be incredibly powerful tools for any business or campaigning organisation.

Awarded the Creative SkillsetTick, our unique Social Media MA course examines the entire scope of social media, giving you the chance to study in-depth the ways these technologies are affecting and imposing upon our lives.

As well as examining how social media is being used commercially by businesses, communities and campaigners, you’ll also study a range of theoretical work and will undertake practical projects that will consolidate your expertise in this 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.

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

What's covered in the course?

We have a long history of delivering successful Master’s courses and pride ourselves on delivering a stimulating and supportive learning environment.

On our Social Media MA, you’ll be exposed to vocationally relevant learning and will be challenged throughout academically by way of high-quality coursework. This means that by the time you graduate you’ll be able to demonstrate a critical, in-depth knowledge and understanding of the theoretical concepts of social media. You’ll study social media within a cultural, business and social aspect, within business, personal and public arenas.

An important part of the course is the completion of a substantial piece of independent study, for which you will be required to create either a social media production project or a 15,000-word dissertation.

We work hard to maintain our strong industry links and this enables us to keep this innovative course relevant and up to date. This will help you to stand out from the crowd when you look to enter the workplace, and because you are encouraged to work at a highly professional level on projects for clients during your studies, you’ll also have an enviable portfolio to show potential employers.

You’ll be based at our state-of-the-art Parkside Building, located on our City Centre Campus. You’ll be supported by course leader Dave Harte, one of the UK’s leading experts in social media. He has an impressive track record of working with local digital media companies and has appeared in the media worldwide as a commentator on the business of social media and its impact on society.

Why Choose Us?

  • Our Social Media MA course is accredited by Creative Skillset.
  • It offers a unique mix of theory, practice and enterprise.
  • Successful graduates from the MA Social Media have gone on to work for digital media agencies and develop their own businesses offering social media consultancies, while some have elected to progress onto PhD-level studies.
Visit our open day

Postgraduate Open Day

Our next Postgraduate Open Day will be on Wednesday 23 November, between 2pm and 7pm. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.

Register now

This course is open to International students

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

New £10,000 postgraduate loans

You may be able to take advantage of the government’s plans to make loans of up to £10,000 available for postgraduate study.

More about postgraduate loans

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
PT 2 years £3,250 per year
DL 1 year full time £6,500
Sep 2017 FT 1 year TBC
PT 2 years TBC
DL 1 year full time TBC

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MA Sep 2016 FT 1 year £12,000
PT 2 years £6,000 per year
DL 1 year full time £6,500
Sep 2017 FT 1 year £12,000
PT 2 years £6,000 per year
DL 1 year full time £12,000

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.

Did you know that you will soon be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans


Social Media as Culture
30 credits

In this module, you’ll examine in-depth the current academic knowledge of social media and the emergence of the phenomenon.  You’ll take part in networking and conference events and will be expected to write blog posts that explore the culture of social media. You’ll also put into practice the theoretical frameworks and methodologies.

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 is a practical module that will see you examining the processes of using social media, including the platforms people use and the techniques they rely on. As you develop your own professional practice, you’ll work on using social media for commercial and public purposes, as well as for personal and social enterprise projects.

Production Lab or Research Methods
30 credits

Students have a choice of routes within the course structure, theoretical or practical. The Production Lab module is the right one for you if you want to create an innovative prototype of a social media service or application. Alternatively, the Research Methods module is recommended if you are looking to further your academic studies and investigate specific aspects of social media use in society.

If you choose MA by Practice, you must complete Production Lab module.

You must undertake Research Methods if you plan to choose the MA by Dissertation.

MA by Dissertation
60 credits

To complete your MA studies, you must produce an original piece of academic work, which is worth 60 credits. This is your opportunity to research a subject that interests you. Previous students have examined the use of social media as a tool for engagement by Australian universities, investigated social media as a tool for propaganda, looked at how social media in local government can be used as a tool for customer engagement and assessed the value of social media as a rehabilitation tool with young offenders.


MA by Practice
60 credits

This 60-credit module will see you using the full resources of Birmingham City University’s world-class media facilities to produce an original piece of practice, which you will be able to use as part of your portfolio for future employers. Students have presented a range of high-quality research, including a crowdfunding campaign for a local arts group, a series of podcasts on digital technologies, developed an online and offline community for women in technology and crowd sourced a student travel website.

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).

You can study our Social Media MA course full-time for one year or part time over two years. There is also a distance learning option, which has been specifically tailored for online learning.

If you opt for either the full-time course, based on campus, or the distance learning version, you’ll study four mandatory modules before undertaking your final MA by Dissertation or MA by Practice, and you will be assessed purely on coursework.


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

If you want to extend your studies, your course tutor will guide you on the relevant research degrees that are offered at Birmingham School of Media.

Enhancing employability skills

Our Social Media MA course is designed to equip you with first-hand practical expertise and provide you with the rigorous academic understanding that you will need for a career in social media, in both the private and public sectors.

You will also have the knowledge and practical skills needed to work as a social media consultant in your own company.

Thanks to our Creative Skillset Tick award, our graduates are highly sought after and you’ll have an impressive online portfolio that will demonstrate the high standards of work you are capable of.


The MA has a strong thread of individual personal development planning, supporting students' studies and enhancing an individual's career ambitions.

You are encouraged to take internships that are supported by the University, and you may also have the opportunity to take up placements in a range of organisations. During your course you’ll develop relationships and projects with businesses.

More about our placement opportunities...


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.

Graduate jobs

Graduates of the Social Media MA course have gone on to work with creative agencies and have launched their own businesses.

They have gone on to work as a digital marketing consultant, marketing manager, marketing and communications officer, online community manager, consumer insights manager, with organisations as diverse as Nissan, Red Cross, International Rally of Queensland, Planet 9, DriveNow, Maryland Office of Tourism Development, Council of Europe and etailPR.

Others have set up their own social media consultancies.

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 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.

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.

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).

The Parkside Building

The Parkside Building has been designed to maximise light and encourage collaboration between artists and students. It is the perfect setting for the workshops and teaching spaces of our design courses, as well as the state-of-the-art media centre for the advanced teaching facilities of Birmingham School of Media.

All this ensures that The Parkside Building offers a first class learning environment and a true central location for students in Birmingham City Centre.

Dave Harte

Senior Lecturer in Media and Communication and Award Leader, MA Social Media

Dave Harte brings a wealth of business and industry experience in the use of social media. Before joining academia, he worked closely with the regional development agency for the West Midlands on their business clusters strategy, and worked with Birmingham City Council as Economic Development Manager for Digital Birmingham.

Dave is regularly called upon to comment in the media on aspects of social media and he has appeared on television documentaries and news programmes in the UK and overseas to provide an expert’s view on this fast-changing industry.

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, and his work on this has been published by Ofcom.

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?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295