The first of its kind in Europe, our BA (Hons) Black Studies will help you recognise and appreciate the achievements and movements of Black scholars, activists and communities.
If you are interested in the history, popular cultures, artistic and social movements of people in the African diaspora, our new Black Studies course will provide you with the big picture perspective on this emerging discipline.
Taught by leading, research-active lecturers and tutors, Black Studies will see you encounter a range of viewpoints, as well as gaining valuable experience within the public, private and voluntary sectors.
While there is a long tradition of Black studies in the United States (where it is taught in some of the most prestigious institutions in the world), the subject has been previously overlooked in the UK. The topic originally emerged in the 1960s in an effort to open up universities to a more diverse student body, as well as recognising the contributions of Black scholars and activists.
By looking at the contributions and intellectual traditions of people in the African diaspora, we can study a range of different perspectives that transform how we understand society. We also focus on exploring popular culture to understand social theories.
Black Studies is an interdisciplinary subject, and is also committed to linking to wider communities and efforts to improve society. Throughout the degree, we will engage you in the thinking and practice of connecting your work to communities, projects and organisations outside of the University.
The subject is interested in the African diaspora before the horrors of the transatlantic slave trade, as well as focusing on how Black populations resisted and fought back during this period. The degree will discuss Black studies in the international context, looking at topics impacting on the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe and Africa. We will also focus on Blackness in Britain, including migrations to Britain and the contributions Black people have made.
Our next University-wide Open Day will take place on Saturday 25 November. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.
To welcome all new home and EU undergraduate degree students starting in 2017 or 2018, we're giving at least £150 worth of credit to spend in a host of ways, on books and a range of learning materials. Even better, it doesn’t have to be repaid.
Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.
*National Student Survey 2017
Actor, writer, comedian and charitable campaigner Sir Lenny Henry is our new Chancellor.
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
|A Level||BBC or 112 UCAS points from a minimum of 2 subjects|
|BTEC||D*D* or combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 112 UCAS points|
|GCSE||GCSE English Language at grade 4 or above. Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment. Equivalent qualifications will be considered.|
|England, Wales and Northern Ireland|
|City and Guilds Level 2||N/A||Certificates in Adult Numeracy/ Adult Literacy. Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment.|
|Functional Skills/ Essential Skills level 2||Pass||English Language. Considered in lieu of GCSE English language at grade 4+. Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment.|
|Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level)||BBBCC||Must include English language. Required at the point of enrolment.|
Please select a qualification from the drop-down list to view our entry requirements:
If you have a qualification that is not listed, please contact the Course Enquiries Team
|English language requirements 2017/18|
|IELTS||6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands|
|Other accepted qualifications||Visit our English language page|
From A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels
|BA (Hons)||Sep 2018||FT||3 Years||£9,250 per year||Apply via UCAS|
|BA (Hons)||Sep 2018||SW||4 Years||£9,250 per year||Apply via UCAS|
|BA (Hons)||Sep 2018||PT||TBC||See below|
If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.
|BA (Hons)||Sep 2018||FT||3 Years||£12,000 per year|
|BA (Hons)||Sep 2018||SW||4 Years||£12,000 per year (excluding sandwich year)|
If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.
The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.
UK and EU students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.
There are three ways to apply:
You will need to complete our International Application Form and submit it together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.
Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.
If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.
UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*
The personal statement 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:
Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.
Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.
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.
*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.
If you study this course part-time or via distance learning, you will be charged on a pro-rata basis. This means your fee will be calculated per module.
There are no compulsory additional costs or charges associated with studying on this course. While you may choose to purchase personal copies of text books, all our key text books are available from our library or online (subject to normal library loan and online access arrangements).
Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for your personal stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.
Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.
We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.
Introduction to Black Studies
The module provides an introduction to the key themes and areas in the discipline of Black Studies. It lays the foundation for the study of the degree and connects into the modules that follow. The module will discuss the principles of Black Studies; offer counter historical narratives to Black experiences and; explore contemporary forms of Blackness in Britain and beyond.
City, Community and Culture
City, Community and Culture introduces students to the sociology of the city and teaches the ethnographic method for explore urban settings. We will focus on the key theories of the city, including theories from Black sociologists, who were some of the first to explore urban life. This module will engage students in applying the theories we learn into exploring the city of Birmingham.
Understanding Society introduces students to the idea of modernity and the classical thinkers in sociology. The module also present critiques of the dominant view of modernity as progress, outlining the ‘dark side’ of the process. As well as discussing classical thinkers such as Marx, Durkheim and Weber, the module introduces WEB DuBois and considers how slavery, genocide and colonialism impacted on the making of the modern world.
Black Intellectual Thought
This module aims to introduce students to key thinkers throughout the Black diaspora that discuss and theorise the experiences of Black people across the world. We will examine events, movements, theories, and texts that have shaped the development of the African diaspora. We will explore how approaches to studying intersecting inequalities, race and racism in society offer important insights into the human condition.
State and Society
State and Society introduces students to understanding the role of the state, politics and policy in social life. We consider different political perspectives and how these are articulated through the political process. The module also examines key policy agendas and the impacts on groups in society. Students will learn about political ideologies, influences on the political process and we will discuss contemporary issues in social policy.
This is a core module which introduces students to the scholarship of key contemporary social thinkers. The module aligns with the aim of providing students with the tools to develop a critical awareness of a variety of sociological perspectives and their relevance to the contemporary social world.
Black Political Activism
Black Political Activism introduces students to the different approaches that have been used to resist racism across the African Diaspora. We will explore a range of liberal, radical and contemporary forms of activism and root this in a discussion of how society is understood. The module engage with a range of case of studies of organisations and politics, and will also consider intersectionality in the context of Black political activism.
Understanding Popular Culture
This module aims to develop your ability to critically analyse contemporary popular culture. We will examine theories relevant to the study of cultural sociology, with a specific focus on topics including race, gender, sexuality, music, ‘the body’, media, consumption and black popular culture. In particular, the module will consider how popular culture can act to confirm or resist dominant ideologies produced in society.
This module aims to develop your critical analysis of Black feminism, in particular to understand the significance and influence of Black feminist thinkers and Black feminist thought. We will examine key theorists as well as the impact of black feminism on popular culture and political activism. In particular we will be considering how Black feminism provides an epistemological framework that resists, challenges and negotiates dominant ideologies.
Black Studies Methods
Black Studies Methods aims to teach students methods of engaging in research that directly impact on the social world outside of the university. We will explore a range of methodological approaches that complement and extend traditional approaches in sociology. Students will be expected to critique taken for granted notions of research and also to develop engaged and community based research projects.
Black Studies Placement
In this module students will apply their knowledge of Black Studies in the world of practice. Students will be required to undertake a placement in a public, private or voluntary sector organisation that either provides services or seeks to improve the conditions of Black communities.
The following optional modules are all worth 20 credits each:
Power and Inequality
Why has society remained so unequal? Have we become too use to social inequalities? What can we do to make a more equal society? These questions will be explored to examine why power and inequalities remain central concerns in society across local, national, diasporic and global borders. This module will critically examine how we can make links between inequalities of the past that continue to impact our contemporary societies.
Black Arts Movement
The module explores and examines the historical context which produced the Black Arts Movement in the UK. It aligns with the aims of the Black Studies degree programme as it focuses on a social movement, and discusses the contribution that artists from the African diaspora have contributed to visual culture.
Black Studies Project
The Black Studies Project is the culmination of the work that the students have done over the preceding years of the degree. They will draw on the work in the second year module Black Studies Methods in order to carry out their own research project that is engaged in improving the social world.
The following optional modules are all worth 20 credits each:
Teaching is a combination of large lectures mixed with smaller workshops and seminars. Assessment is a mixture of coursework and exams. You can expect up to twelve hours a week of scheduled learning activities, and will be required to study independently for double that time per week.
The interdisciplinary nature of Black Studies means that you will leave with a critical and comprehensive understanding of society. Expanding the range of knowledge is vitally important, as it will equip you with the skills and knowledge to navigate and transform our ever-changing society.
As part of your degree, you will engage with organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors, and learn methods of how to do research with groups and communities that can help improve society. By your third year, you will be designing and running your own projects with the support of staff in the department.
If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.
It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.
The benefit of Black Studies is that as society becomes increasingly diverse, employers recognise the need to have a much deeper range of knowledge about society. It will also be an advantage because it demonstrates a wealth of knowledge on issues of race, inclusion and society.
As well as this, you will gain the transferrable skills that employers always crave such as skills in critical thinking, analysis and research.
There is a mandatory placement in your second year, where you will gain experience in either the private, public or voluntary sector. You will also, in your third year, have the chance to engage with an organisation outside of the University.
The placements are focused on working with organisations who work to improve the lives of people in different communities.
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.
Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.
Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.
Studying a broad-ranging subject like Black Studies is an excellent route into a range of professional jobs, where you can be exposed to a variety of different ideas and critical thinking. This will enable you to consider a multitude of career options upon graduating, with the degree keeping the door open to professions such as social work, teaching and law.
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:
The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations for international students.
The first-class experience offered by universities are reflected in the world’s largest survey of international students. International students are more likely to recommend the UK than any other leading English-language study destination.
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.
As a subject, Black Studies covers areas such as the Caribbean, the Americas and Africa, and thus international exchanges and ideas will be a central component of your studies.
We are also finalising plans to offer a semester abroad during your second year, through one of our partner universities in the USA.
We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.
This course is based at our City Centre Campus – and specifically The Curzon Building, alongside other social sciences, law, business and English students.
The £63m building offers students a unique social learning space, including a dedicated student hub incorporating student support services, in the heart of Birmingham’s Eastside development.
Realistic, simulated environments include two mock court rooms, a Magistrates' and Crown Court, and an interviewing suite. We’re also exploring the use of virtual environments as a way to develop case study analysis.
For those studying on the BA (Hons) Criminology, Policing and Investigation pathway, you’ll experience simulations of police interviewing environments for both suspects and witnesses, with access to tape recording and video playback analysis.
Crime investigation files are prepared using computer-based technology, and the crime data analysis requirements of the degree are supported by appropriate statistical and analytical software.
Psychology students can look forward to using state-of-the-art equipment as well, including the latest in eye-tracking software, and our new EEG machine, all geared towards giving you true hands-on experience with tools you’ll be using in your later career.
Our staff carry out high-quality research, writing books and articles that lead the development of Black studies in the UK. They have recently published the first British edited book on Black studies, entitled 'Blackness in Britain'. Our staff are also producing the acclaimed book series 'Blackness in Britain', which features books covering topics such as Black radicalism, Black criminology and mixed heritage identities.
Our staff have also organised the major international conference, also titled Blackness in Britain, which brought in scholars from across the world and included contributions from Professor Patricia Hill Collins (University of Maryland), Dr Barnor Hesse (Northwestern University) and Professor Gus John (Institute of Education), all major figures in Black Studies.
Denise has taught media, cultural studies, sociology, African American and African studies, and social work in the UK and USA. In addition to her academic career she has extensive experience of community activism and community work.