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Black Studies - BA (Hons)

Currently viewing course to start in 2023/24 Entry.

The BA (Hons) Black Studies course at Birmingham City University will help you to engage with the contributions of Black scholars, activism and communities in this expanding interdisciplinary field. This unique course is the first of its kind in Europe....

  • Level Undergraduate
  • Study mode Full Time/Part Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School School of Social Sciences
  • Faculty Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences

Overview

The BA (Hons) Black Studies course at Birmingham City University will help you to engage with the contributions of Black scholars, activism and communities in this expanding interdisciplinary field.

This unique course is the first of its kind in Europe. If you are interested in the history, politics, popular cultures, artistic and social movements of people across the African diaspora, Black Studies will provide you with the big picture perspective through this growing discipline.

Your course will be taught by leading, research-active lecturers and tutors, where you will encounter a range of viewpoints, as well as gaining valuable experience within the wider community.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

The purpose of Black Studies is to foster innovative teaching, learning and research that addresses historical and contemporary Black social life, culture and political activism both in Britain and across the African Diaspora. There has been a long tradition of Black studies in the United States. The discipline originally emerged on US campuses during 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.

However, in the UK, Black Studies has been taught more sporadically in higher education without having an independently named degree course or disciplinary home. It is therefore important to recognise that Black Studies in Britain has also thrived within various local community settings in Britain and through forms of independent self-learning and activism.

Black Studies at Birmingham City University is an interdisciplinary subject that is committed to working with the wider community. The course aims to make a transformative impact upon society. Throughout the degree, we will engage you in the thinking and practice of contextualising your work within communities, and where possible, connecting you to projects and organisations outside of the University.

The course seeks to enable students with the capacities and skills needed to apply decolonising intellectual knowledge to a range of strategies for advancing community self-representation, social justice and global human rights. These commitments are based on the understanding that the perspectives and lives of people throughout the Black diaspora are entangled in complex intersecting power relations, structures and processes.

Black Studies prepares students on this course for a range of graduate outcomes in a variety of occupations and occupational sectors (e.g. Public, Voluntary and Private). Black Studies graduates can go on to work in areas such as community development, charitable and voluntary organisations, NGOs, further and higher education, industry, retail and commerce, local and central government, human resources, social research, social work and youth work, amongst many others.

Professional Placement Year

This course offers a professional placement year. This allows you to spend a whole year with an employer, between the second and third years of your degree, and is a great way to find out more about your chosen career. Some students even return to the same employers after completing their studies.

The University will draw on its extensive network of local, regional and national employers to support you in finding a suitable placement to complement your chosen area of study. If you do not find a suitable placement, you will be automatically transferred back to the standard, non-placement version of the course.

Please note that fees are payable during your placement year, equivalent to 20% of the total full-time course fee for that year (£1,850 for UK students).

Why Choose Us?

  • This is the first course of its kind in the UK, and presents a unique opportunity for you to gain a thorough education in an insightful, rich subject.
  • You have the opportunity to embark on a year-long professional placement as part of your degree course, ensuring you have the experience you need to make an impact in your chosen career.
  • Our Black Studies team have links with some of the most respected academics in the field, including Patricia Hill Collins, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Gus John, Hazel Garby, Barnor Hesse and Joan Anim-Addo.
  • Professor Kehinde Andrews was named as one of the 100 Great Black Britons in 2020
  • We work alongside a lot of important social organisations, who help shape our course. These include the Black Studies Association, the Race and Ethnicity Group, and Unmuted.
  • Don't meet the entry criteria? Our Foundation Year courses offer a route to a full undergraduate degree at a lower entry tariff.
  • You will also get the opportunity to transform your experience with us into a global one, with a variety of exciting possibilities open to you. Our international exchange opportunities could also see you spend some of your second term at an institution in the USA.
  • As a student on one of our undergraduate degrees, you will be able to benefit from our Graduate+ initiative. This three-year award course enables you to gain award levels for all the extra-curricular activities you undertake so that you can stand out from the crowd on graduation. 

Find out more

Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to explore our campus and facilities in person. Booking for the next event isn’t open yet. Register your interest below and we’ll email you as soon as booking goes live.

Next Open Day: March 2023

Register your interest

Entry Requirements

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

Essential Requirements

BBC or 112 UCAS tariff points from a maximum of 3 subjects.

Level 2 Qualifications
UK Qualification Requirements 2023/24
GCSE
  • GCSE English language at grade C/4 or above

  • Equivalent level 2 qualifications can be accepted

  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment

Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level)
  • See level 3 entry under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details.
Scottish National 5
  • English language at grade C or above

  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment

Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications
UK Qualification Requirements 2022/23
A level and Advanced VCE
  • BBC / 112 UCAS points

  • A maximum of 3 subjects are considered excluding General Studies. These can be other A-levels or level 3 equivalents.

Access to HE Diploma
  • Social Sciences or Humanities pathway

  • Pass with 60 credits overall. At least 45 credits at level 3. 18 of the level 3 credits must be achieved at either merit or distinction grade.

  • Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma
    (2016 – present)
  • Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF)
    (2010 - 2016)
  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma
    (2002 – 2010)
  • DMM

  • Most subjects considered, however Early Years and Children's Play Learning and Development are not considered.

  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma
    (2016 – present)
  • Pearson BTEC Diploma (QCF)
    (2010 – 2016)
  • BTEC Level 3 National Certificate
    (2002 – 2010)
  • 112 UCAS points.

  • Most subjects considered, however Early Years and Children's Play Learning and Development are not considered.

  • Considered with one A-level or an equivalent level 3 qualification

  • Pearson BTEC National Foundation Diploma (2016 to present)
  • Pearson BTEC 90-Credit Diploma (QCF) (2010 - 2016)
  • 112 UCAS points
  • Most subjects considered, however Early Years and Children's Play Learning and Development are not considered.

  • Considered with one A-level or an equivalent level 3 qualification

  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate
    (2016 – present)
  • Pearson BTEC Subsidiary Diploma (QCF)
    (2010 - 2016)
  • BTEC Level 3 National Award
    (2002 - 2010)
  • 112 UCAS points
  • Most subjects considered, however Early Years and Children's Play Learning and Development are not considered.

  • Considered with two A-levels or equivalent level 3 qualification(s)

IBO Certificate in Higher Level

  • Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates if they obtain a total of 14 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects

  • Considered with other acceptable level 3 qualifications to meet 112 UCAS Tariff Points

  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB will be accepted.

International Baccalaureate Diploma

  • Obtain a minimum of 28 points overall

  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB will be accepted.

Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers)

  • Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 112 tariff points, achieved in four Higher level subjects. This must include English Language taken at either Ordinary level (minimum grade O1-O4 (or A-C/A1-C3)) or Higher level (minimum grade H5/D1)

NCFE CACHE Level 3 Applied General Certificate in Health and Social Care

  • 112 UCAS points.
  • Can be considered along with A-levels or a combination of equivalent level 3 qualifications

OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma

  • DMM

OCR Cambridge Technical Diploma

  • 112 UCAS points

  • Considered with one A-level or an equivalent level 3 qualification

  • OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Extended Certificate
    (2016 – present)
  • OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma
    (until 2016)
  • 112 UCAS points

  • Considered with two A-level or equivalent level 3 qualification(s)

Scottish Advanced Higher

  • Achieve a minimum of 112 tariff points achieved in either three Advanced Highers or from a combination of two Advanced Highers plus two Highers.

  • Where three Advanced Highers have been taken achieve a minimum of grades CCD.

  • Where a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers have been taken you must achieve (grades of CD in two Advanced Highers plus grades of CC in two Highers).

Scottish Higher

  • Achieve a minimum of 112 tariff points achieved in either five Highers or from a combination of two Advanced Highers plus two Highers.

  • Where only Highers have been taken a minimum of grades BBCCC is required. Where a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers have been taken you must achieve grades of CD in two Advanced Highers plus grades of CC in two Highers.

T-Levels

  • 112 UCAS points (Merit overall)

Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate - Skills Challenge Certificate (first teaching September 2015)

  • 112 UCAS points
  • Considered with two A-levels or equivalent level 3 qualification(s)

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma – Core (awarded until 2016)

ESW/KS Combined component

  • 112 UCAS points
  • Considered with two A-levels or equivalent level 3 qualification(s)

WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Criminology (QCF)

  • 112 UCAS points
  • Considered with two A-levels or equivalent level 3 qualification(s)
Other Qualifications
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.
Additional information for EU/International students
Essential

Applications from international applicants with equivalent qualifications to 112 points are welcome. Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.

In additional to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.

English language requirements 2020/21
IELTS

6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands

If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.

Other accepted qualifications Visit our English language page

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Study Year (2023/24) £9,250

Professional Placement Fees

The tuition fee for your first year of study at the university is shown here. Full-time courses with a Professional Placement also incur a fee during the placement year. The fee for your placement year will be £1,850, which is equivalent to 20% of the total full-time course fee.

  • Part Time
  • 5 Years
  • TBC

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 3 Years
  • £13,980 in 2023/24
  • Full Time
  • 4 Years with Professional Placement
  • Show fees
  • Study Year (2023/24) £13,980

Professional Placement Fees

Full-time courses with a Professional Placement also incur a fee during the placement year. The fee for your placement year will be equivalent to 20% of the total full-time course fee for that year.

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

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites and available through our library.

Free access to Rosetta Stone

All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Placement expenses (optional)

If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.

Field trips (optional)

This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

Guidance for UK students

UK 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.

Applying through UCAS

  1. Register with UCAS
  2. Login to UCAS and complete your details
  3. Select your course and write a personal statement
  4. Get a reference
  5. Pay your application fee and submit your application

Guidance for International students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and Equal Opportunities Form, and submit them together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.

2) Through a country representative

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.

3) Through UCAS

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.

Personal statement

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:

  • 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.

Worried about Personal Statements?

If you've got no idea where to start or just want to check you're on the right track, we’ve got expert advice and real examples from our students to help you nail your personal statement. You can even download our ultimate personal statement guide for free.

Get personal statement advice

*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.

Course in Depth

Year One

In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).

Sociological Perspectives 20 credits

States and Societies 20 credits

Year Two

In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 100 credits).

Media and Popular Culture 20 credits

In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.

Citizenship, ‘Race’ and Ethnicity 20 credits

Education and Critical Pedagogies 20 credits

Food, Neoliberalism and Welfare 20 credits

All core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Professional Placement Year (Optional)

In order to qualify for the award of BA (Hons) Black Studies with Professional Placement Year a student must successfully complete the following module.

Professional Placement Year 120 credits

Final Year

In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 80 credits).

In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete at least 40 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.

Visual Cultures 20 credits

Globalisation, Migration and Borders 20 credits

Power and Inequalities 20 credits

Global Cities 20 credits

Postcoloniality 20 credits

All core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Download course specification

Download now

Course Structure

Teaching is a combination of large lectures mixed with smaller workshops and seminars. Assessment is a mixture of coursework and exams. 

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.

Employability

Enhancing employability skills

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. 

Placements

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. 

More about our placement opportunities

International

Welcome to the School of Social Sciences, home to students from all around the world!

All of our undergraduate and postgraduate social sciences courses are open to international students, and our courses have been tailored to take a global approach to learning. We frequently welcome international students through the Erasmus scheme, from countries including Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Facilities & Staff

Curzon facilities eatery
Curzon facilities staircase
Curzon facilities student hub

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £340 million on new learning facilities.

The Curzon Building

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) Policing or BA (Hons) Criminology, Policing and Investigation degrees, 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. You will also benefit from facilities across the wider campus including the Parkside and Millennium Point buildings.

The Curzon Building also features:

  • An impressive new library with access to over 65 million full text items and stunning views of Eastside City Park
  • Your Students’ Union which is located in a beautifully restored 19th century pub, The Eagle and Ball
  • A modern 300-seat food court with space to study and socialise
  • Brand new, accessible IT facilities with full Office365 for all students for free

Our staff

Professor Kehinde Andrews

Professor of Black Studies

Professor Kehinde Andrews is an academic, activist and author whose books include Back to Black: Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century (2018). His first book was Resisting Racism: Race, Inequality and the Black Supplementary School Movement (2013).

More about Kehinde

Dr Tony Talburt

Senior Lecturer in Black Studies

Having lived and taught in Jamaica, Ghana and also the UK, teaching African Caribbean history and politics, Tony Talburt has developed particular interests in the history of Africa and its peoples on the continent or in the Black Diaspora.

More about Tony

Dr Dionne Taylor

Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Deputy Programme Leader Black Studies, Deputy Head of Department

Dr Dionne Taylor's role in BCU is about supporting, inspiring and guiding the students to reach beyond what many of them believe is possible. Encouraging students to work through the challenges, barriers and limitations to success is one of the reasons she became an academic.

More about Dionne

Shey Fyffe

Lecturer

Shey Fyffe has taught across a range of undergraduate Sociology and Black studies modules at BCU since 2016.  Full Profile

More about Shey

Kadian Pow

Lecturer

Though the topics have changed, Kadian Pow's experience in education spans 20 years. From prestigious museums to community programming to academia, Kadian has been fortunate to be in education in both the USA and the UK. Full Profile

More about Kadian