English and Journalism with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)

  • UCAS Code: Q30C
  • Level: Foundation
  • Starting: September 2020
  • Study mode: Full Time (4 years)
  • Location: City Centre

Get practical, professional preparation for a career in journalism with our BA (Hons) English and Journalism with Foundation Year degree course.

The course is housed in the School of English where you will be taught by world-leading academics and practitioners offering a diverse range of modules in literary studies, linguistics, creative writing and drama. Your degree will allow you to tailor your studies to your individual interests and career aspirations with both a local and global outlook.

The programme focuses on the development of core knowledge and skills for English study and work experience placements on live stories in media environments will teach you how to craft a story in a way that engages the audience.

By the time you graduate, you’ll be a thinking journalist with a specialism in news, broadcasting, features, or design. You’ll also be adaptable to the changes that the industry faces. Our graduates have gone on to work for Sky, BBC, Trinity Mirror and a wide range of regional newspapers. Others have scooped prestigious awards at the Midlands Media Awards while still studying.

About foundation courses

This four year programme has been specifically designed to allow you to undertake additional level 3 study, to ensure you are successful on their chosen degree programme. The foundation year helps students to develop skills such as academic writing, referencing and researching, as well as important transferable skills such as project management and team work.

After successful completion of your foundation year, you will have the flexibility to switch (should you wish to change direction) onto a number of related undergraduate degree programmes within Birmingham School of Media.

Alongside this you will develop core skills in research, critical analysis, planning and evaluation, creativity and effective communication. Understanding how English is studied in context, developing that knowledge and applying it through a range of assignments and assessments, will provide you with a strong foundation upon which to progress to degree-level study at the School of English.

What's covered in the course?

The course brings together a study of English with knowledge of journalism practice and professional development. Combining the study of literature, language, drama and creative writing from the School of English with the development of skills to become a thinking media worker with the School of Media, you will benefit from subject knowledge and transferable skills from both disciplines.

Through study of English you will develop an ability to work as an independent researcher, to communicate effectively in spoken and written discourse, to critically evaluate the work of others and respond imaginatively to original briefs.

Understanding how language works in practice and how language and literature engage with societies are both vital aspects in understanding how the discipline connects with the wider world, enabling you to focus on the production, interpretation and negotiation of meaning.

These skills are transferrable to the journalism component, where you will publish your stories, use blogs - including the student-run Birmingham Eastside website, runner-up in the Guardian Student Media Awards - create wikis, and employ social media channels and other interactive media to support your work and self-development.

Work experience placements on live stories in media environments will teach you how to craft a story in a way that engages the audience.

Teaching for the journalism component takes place in radio, TV and photography studios, editing suites and computer suites in our £62 million Parkside Building, part of our City Centre Campus, where you will build on your skills as you begin to make contacts in the industry and make your first moves into media work.

Why Choose Us?

  • You will benefit from student-focused and research-informed teaching in a friendly and supportive learning environment where you will be taught by world-leading academics and expert practitioners.
  • English at the University is, by definition, interdisciplinary. Students can collaborate across disciplines to gain new perspectives on the relevance of their study in the wider world.
  • English is a global language; its culture has an international reach. Understanding how English has been shaped and reshaped by its engagement with the world at large is a key principle of the programme. You can also take advantage of the study abroad semester offered through the Erasmus scheme in year two.
  • By the time you graduate, you’ll be a thinking journalist with a specialism in news, broadcasting, features or design. You’ll also be adaptable to the changes that the industry faces. Our graduates have gone on to work for Sky, BBC, Trinity Mirror and the Express & Star. Others have scooped prestigious awards at the Midlands Media Awards while still studying, and seen their work appear on a number of national and regional outlets during this time.
  • Access to state-of-the-art media and production facilities throughout your studies, and visiting lecturers from specialist areas, such as national newspapers, TV, radio, data, online and mobile journalism, offer in-depth advice on a range of topics. You also have the opportunity to be taught by undercover reporters, current BBC reporters, freelancers and mobile journalism experts.

BA Eng and Journ overview

This course is open to International students

English Right Column

Discover the School of English

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 in jobs such as:

  • BBC
  • Express and Star
  • 90minutes.com

And in roles such as:

  • Social Media Editor
  • Digital Content Producer
  • Reporter

Entry Requirements

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

Essential Requirements

80 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level

Typical Offers (UK students)

At the point of application, you must have GCSE at Grade 4 or above in English Language. Equivalent qualifications can be considered in lieu as long as the required subject is covered.

Plus, you must have achieved or be completing one of the following:

A level 

CDD. A minimum of 2 A Levels required (must include English A-Level) although other 6-unit qualifications can be considered in lieu of one A-level subject. Applicants with 2 A Level qualifications or equivalent can combine with AS levels to achieve required points.

Must include English Language or Literature. We may consider Film Studies/Communication Studies/Creative Writing in lieu of English if you submit a satisfactory essay set by the department. For English and Drama we will consider A Level in Performing Arts/Drama or Theatre Studies in lieu of English. In addition, A-level subjects that include an element of essay writing will be considered in the absence of English Literature and Language.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma

MMP
Access to HE Diploma 60 credits overall. Minimum of 45 credits at level 3. In a relevant pathway.

Scottish Advanced Higher

DDD. Must include English Language.

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

Obtain a minimum of 24 points overall. Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates if they obtain a total of 11 points or above from two Higher Level subjects alongside other acceptable level 3 qualifications to meet 80 UCAS Tariff Points.

OCR Cambridge Technical Certificate

Must be offered along with either A-levels, AS-levels or BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/BTEC 90 credit diploma/ OCR Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma qualification/Foundation Diploma in Art and Design/ UAL extended diploma to achieve a minimum of 80 tariff points.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma

DM will be considered in combination with either A-level, AS-levels or BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/BTEC 90 credit diploma/ OCR Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma qualification/Foundation Diploma in Art and Design/ UAL extended diploma to achieve a minimum of 80 tariff points.
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

Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.

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

EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements
IELTS

Minimum overall score of 6.5 with no sub-test below 6.0.

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.

Mature Applicants

Applications from mature students (21+) with alternative qualifications and/or considerable work experience will be considered on their merits.

  • UK/EU students
  • International students

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2020

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2020

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 4 years
  • £12,800 per 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. 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 up to a maximum of five per cent.

Guidance for UK/EU students

UCAS

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.

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

Portfolio Guidance

You are not required to submit a portfolio for this course.

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 your course. 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.

View additional costs for this course

Foundation year

During your foundation year you will be taught in small classes where active participation is part of the teaching methodology.

Your study will involve reading and analysis, discussion and debate, and practical activities which allow you to test and implement your skills and knowledge. In addition to attending classes you will be required to complete preparation and follow-up tasks and activities to support your learning.

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

Language and Creativity
20 credits

This module builds upon the knowledge gained in the Language and Texts module. In Language and Creativity you will use your knowledge of linguistic theory to produce your own texts across a range of forms and genres. You will consider topics including persuasive language, metaphor and parody, as well as humour, puns and other wordplay. You will also explore language change over time: how new words are formed and how existing words develop new meanings. You will study and create literary texts as well as non-literary texts, such as advertisements, political speeches, newspaper headlines, comedy sketches, song lyrics, graffiti and memes.

Language and Texts
20 credits

This module is designed as a gentle introduction to English Language study. Instead of looking at abstract theories about language rules, you will learn through the close analysis of real texts. These will include literary texts such as novels and non-literary texts such as newspaper articles, advertising and social media. We adopt a broad definition of ‘text’ which also includes multimedia texts like videos and memes. You will examine these texts in terms of their structure, the words used within them, and their impact on the reader (introducing you to the linguistic concepts of lexis, semantics, syntax, grammar and pragmatics). In doing this you will develop core skills in data collection and analysis, and in summarising and evaluating key findings.

Literature in the World
20 credits

This module will provide you with the knowledge and skills to identify and discuss examples of literature which are drawn from different cultural contexts. You will study a range of texts which will provide you with a broad knowledge of the relationship between literature and culture and you will identify and discuss the ways in which literary form has been adapted and appropriated to accommodate different cultural contexts and the retelling of canonical tales. You will do this by studying a range of paired texts which offer contrasting and often competing viewpoints and which reflect upon both literature’s place within the world and its power to shape the world.

Literature In Time
20 credits

This module will provide you with the knowledge and skills to identify and discuss specific examples of literature as part of major literary movements within a specific historical context. You will study a range of texts which will provide you with a broad knowledge of how they respond to their own time period and to literary movements specific to that age. As you will study literature from different time periods you will also be able to draw connections between different literary movements and discuss their relationship to one another. You will also focus on different literary genres, for example plays, novels, poems and nonfiction, and be able to identify their specific formal features and discuss their creative use.

Researching in English
20 credits

This module will provide you with the knowledge and skills to identify appropriate research methods and material for the study of English. You will learn how to select research material, discriminate between sources, evaluate their relevance and summarise and explain key ideas. You will do this by developing skills which are integral to the study of English at university-level, such as close reading, critical analysis and data compilation and evaluation.

Writing Development
20 credits

This module will develop the research skills acquired in the semester 1 module ‘Researching in English’ by focusing on the practical application of your knowledge and ideas through the production of a series of formative pieces of academic writing, which will culminate in the submission of a longer length piece of written work. You will develop core subject skills in the effective communication of ideas and will progress from writing about concrete objects to discussing abstract ideas. To do this you will focus on integral steps such as planning and ordering ideas, prioritising points, developing ideas, relating points to evidence and formulating and communicating clear arguments. You will also develop your knowledge of scholarly conventions and matters of presentation.

Year one

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

Foundations of Language
20 credits

This module will introduce you to some of the key topics in contemporary linguistics and language studies, such as pragmatics, sociolinguistics, and psycholinguistics. You will learn to apply linguistic concepts and terminology to real-life examples of spoken and written language in use. You will study a wide range of analytical frameworks which will deepen your understanding of the structural characteristics of English, and will be introduced to the role language plays in other areas of English studies and the humanities. The module will help you develop your skills in critical thinking, in analysing different forms of data, in identifying and synthesising information from a variety of sources, and in presenting your findings in a coherent and well-organised way.

Key Critical Concepts
20 credits

This module will introduce you to how theoretical texts and literary criticism can improve the tools with which we carry out close reading. Each week we will read a theoretical text that covers a different concept and learn how to apply that knowledge to literary writing. You will develop the skills to close read and analyse both primary texts (literature) and secondary texts (criticism and theory). This module will help you to critically reflect on both types of text, as well as on what we bring to a text when we read it, and to pay careful attention to literary form, style, and genre.

Journalism Law and Ethics
20 credits

This module is designed to help you to develop an understanding of Freedom of Expression and the way it is balanced by the legal, regulatory and ethical constraints on news reporting and the media in general. It is specifically designed for journalists and other media professionals in that it approaches law and ethics from a journalistic perspective rather than that of a lawyer.

Live Newsroom 1
40 credits

In Live Newsroom 1 you’ll be introduced to the core skills of journalism production, such as news gathering and news production. In the first phase of the module you’ll explore the organisational structures and roles within journalism newsrooms, before being introduced to the basic concepts of structuring stories and creating content using different formats. You’ll then put these into practice in semester 2 with a series of regular live digital production days designed to help you develop a practical knowledge of the skills required to work as a mobile journalist with a real audience and real deadlines to adhere to.

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules:

Language in Action
20 credits

This module will introduce you to a number of advanced topics in contemporary linguistics and language studies, such as phonetics, grammar, and corpus linguistics. You will expand your knowledge of linguistic concepts and terminology and develop your ability to apply this knowledge in the analysis of real-life examples of spoken and written language in use. You will be introduced to the phonetic and grammatical characteristics of English and you will analyse these phenomena in context. The module will help you develop your skills in critical thinking, in analysing different forms of data, in identifying and synthesising information from a variety of sources, and in presenting your findings in a coherent and well-organised way.

Craft of Writing
20 credits

In this module, you will explore key elements of effective writing, such as character, setting, action and dialogue, and the techniques used to create and control style on the page, such as showing and telling, detail and description, imagery and viewpoint. You will examine each element or technique in a given text and then apply what you have learned in your own writing. Each lecture and workshop will inform a different element of your writing technique, feeding into three new pieces of writing to be submitted for assessment at the end of the semester. This module provides a strong foundation for further study and practice in creative writing in years 2 and 3.

Modern Drama
20 credits

This module focuses on a period of theatre history characterised by formal innovation and revolutionary ideas. You will learn about the intersection between notions of ‘modernity’ and dramaturgical styles associated with ‘modernism’. You will engage with the artistic movements that developed in Europe from the late nineteenth century and identify key playwrights and practitioners that brought significant changes to the stage, on the continent and in Britain. You will examine seminal works from this era, both as written texts and in performance, concluding the process with your own practical interpretation of a chosen play, which will be informed by historical and critical research.

Literature and Conflict
20 credits

This module seeks to engage you with a focused analysis of poetry, drama, the novella and the novel as specific forms and to equip you with the scholarly tools used to investigate them. We will examine a range of genres and periods, exploring the concept of conflict from war and revolution to social class and gender, as well as at a psychological level. Conflict creates dramatic interest in narrative, but many forms of criticism assume that conflict should ideally be resolved. We will query this and consider how more overtly ideological criticism might explore the contradictions within a text and disclose what the text itself cannot say. This may lead to questioning of conflict, resolution and even how a historical understanding of conflict is important in our contemporary world.

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

Year two

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 80 credits):

Key Critical Traditions
20 credits

This module introduces you to the most influential twentieth-century schools of thought within English. The module builds on the knowledge and understanding developed in the first year module Key Critical Concepts, and offers you the opportunity to develop and deepen key competencies within the wider field of literature and drama. The lectures and seminars will encourage you to employ different critical perspectives for thinking about literature and related art forms, while also focusing on critical and theoretical works in their own right. You will learn to use different tools of analysis that can reveal the unexpected, surprising and exciting possibilities of critical thought. You will also gain an insight and overview of how criticism and theory in English studies has developed historically, as different traditions build on – or break away from – previous traditions.

Disruptive Publishing
20 credits

In this module you’ll explore alternative formats and examine the way they are challenging the traditional platforms of journalism. You will get the chance to engage with tools such as Snapchat, Youtube and Whatsapp to examine how traditional journalism is being influenced and reshaped by linear and digital platforms. This module combines theoretical study with practical production and requires students to demonstrate critical insight through research and apply knowledge by producing well-made products for a specific client or audience. The aim is to enhance your understanding of the industry and then help you to recognise how this can improve the quality of your creative and technical skills. Being able to grasp and operate within this expanding sector of the media industries will also help prepare you for the Journalism Major Product where you will face similar dilemmas and tensions between the conflicting interests at play in media production.

Live Newsroom 2
40 credits

This module will build on the skills and knowledge you have learned in the Live Newsroom 1 module, by introducing new techniques and more collaborative, multi-platform reporting. You will work as part of a reporting team tackling production days across multiple outlets and platforms. You’ll also be working to real-world briefs to enable you to plan and produce content in response to original industry challenges. This will give you the chance to learn about planning coverage of key events and issues in depth via a series of stories. Students will also be required to embark and reflect on a work placement as part of this module. This will allow you to create a reflective evaluation of your progression through both the module and the 70 hour placement you have undertaken, creating an understanding of your own learning and producing a plan for future development.

Plus at least 40 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules:

Gender, Sexuality and Culture
20 credits

This module explores two concepts central to our understanding of what makes us ‘modern’: gender and sexuality. We will challenge ‘common sense’ understandings of gender and sexuality by interrogating cultural identities, such as queer, heterosexual, homosexual, gay, lesbian, straight and trans. It will introduce you to gender studies and sexuality studies as theoretical, social, cultural, political and historical fields of investigation. There will be a broadly chronological approach to texts and theoretical approaches, moving between examples of twentieth-century fiction, popular culture and theory. You will be given an introduction to literature, culture, and theory as a dynamic field in which issues of gender and sexuality are debated and explored. We will begin by considering where studies of gender and sexuality stood at the start of the twentieth century, and then consider how a number of literary and theoretical texts explore and investigate gender and sexuality. Through these texts we will consider topics such as desire, identity, sexual classification, repression and liberation, the body, transgression, and normality and deviance.

Literature and the Child
20 credits

This module will provide you with the knowledge and skills to critically evaluate the representation and function of the child and childhood in both literature for the child and that for an adult audience. You will study a range of texts which will provide you with a broad historical knowledge of the changing role and function of the child in literature and which you will read alongside sociological, philosophical or educational treatise on childhood. In doing so you will gain a broad historical knowledge of the development of ‘theories of childhood’ from the eighteenth century to the present day and examine how these are engaged with in the literature of the day. You will be able to identify and evaluate how literature has conversely figured childhood as a space of discipline, regulation, play, innocence, higher moral purity, and lived social experience. You will be able to apply these ideas to theoretically informed, critically evaluative readings of a range of texts.

Multicultural Writing
20 credits

Multicultural Writing focuses on the history of British multiculturalism in literature and criticism from the 1950s up to the present day. Exploring a range of Black, Asian and other multicultural writing, you will develop a critical awareness of how literature and criticism deal with questions of racism, stereotyping, colonial discourse, cultural hybridity, migration and asylum. The overall aim of the module is to develop your aesthetic, critical and historical awareness that will inform your critical thinking about, and imaginative responses to, contemporary multiculturalism. The module spans a diverse set of literary texts (poems, short stories, novels) produced primarily by ‘minority’ writers in Britain since the post-war era (e.g. Black, Asian and other groups who belong to the less established immigrant groups in Britain today). You will study these texts alongside relevant histories of migration, theories of representation, and critical debates about multiculturalism.

Early Modern Literature
20 credits

This module will provide you with knowledge of key social, political, religious and theatrical contexts relating to literature from the Early Modern period. You will combine this knowledge with key critical and textual analysis tools that will give you the skills to examine several historical, dramatic and poetic texts from the late fifteenth to the early eighteenth centuries. You will focus on the vital role of the early modern period in the formation and transformation of an English literary canon, and discuss key concepts such as materiality, versionality, collaboration and authorship. To do so, you will develop an ability to read closely and analyse textually the language and the literary techniques and devices of this key period, as well as formative skills in archive management.

Foundations of Screenwriting
20 credits

This module will teach you the essential skills of, and principles behind, the writing of short films. Although these principles apply primarily to screenwriting for film and television, this module will instead be concerned with the writing of short films. You will study a number of freely available short guides to screenplay layout and formatting and be trained in the practical application of screenplay formatting software. You will write three short scripts, given as fortnightly writing exercises, and receive detailed formative feedback on one of the scripts, which you can use to improve and develop your work for your final portfolio. You will focus on visual storytelling, layout conventions, and the issue of writing to scale (budget). You will also be encouraged to analyse, but also critique, dramatic construction in terms of character function, motivation and genre.

Writing Audio Drama
20 credits

The United Kingdom commissions, produces and broadcasts more audio drama – i.e. online, on digital and on radio – than any other country in the world. In this diverse and dynamic medium, writers are able to tell human stories set anywhere in time and space, at a fraction of the cost of television and film production. What’s more – as an old industry saying goes – ‘you see it better on radio’. In this module you will learn how to write compelling audio drama scripts, and engage practically and theoretically with the key principles and techniques involved. You will also be introduced to editorial collaboration, the pitching of projects, and appropriate methods of presentation. Through your workshops, you will learn how to communicate ideas clearly, accurately and effectively both orally and in writing. In devising, developing and writing your own audio drama scripts, you will initiate, manage and complete an independent creative project.

Documentary Drama
20 credits

This module will provide you with knowledge and critical understanding of one of the most enduring forms of socially engaged performance: documentary drama. You will study different styles of factbased drama for stage and television, both historical and contemporary, and will be able to identify associated traditions such as ‘tribunal’, ‘verbatim’ and ‘testimonial’ plays; ‘dramadoc’ and ‘docudrama’. You will discuss the balance between fact and fiction in documentary work, the ethical dilemmas and responsibilities involved in creating drama from real-life stories, and the political and artistic value of this type of performance. You will apply this knowledge to the development of your own documentary project, derived from factual material to be compiled, shaped and delivered as a stage performance.

Language in Society
20 credits

This module will introduce you to the different intersections of language and society and outline the ways in which language can vary according to class, gender, and age. You will develop your understanding of how to collect, analyse and present language data and results in an ethically responsible and methodologically sound way. You will also examine how language is used to construct social identities, the role of language in wider contemporary society and how sociolinguistic research can be utilised in a non-academic context. You will develop your skills of visual communication, data analysis and data presentation, alongside a careful understanding of the body of research literature within sociolinguistics and how it informs your own work. This module will ultimately allow you to critically evaluate different approaches to the study of linguistic variation and apply your knowledge in designing a research project to investigate language in society.

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

Year three

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 80 credits):

Live Newsroom 3
20 credits

This module will build on the learning you have undertaken during the earlier Live Newsroom modules. You will work as part of a senior reporting team in your area of specialism to plan coverage of key events and issues. You will work on live industry briefs, identifying different methods of storytelling to cover a newsworthy issue or issues in depth. This will involve working collaboratively with other students and organisations to ensure coverage is comprehensive in all areas. You will be able to identify areas of interest across news, sport, music and fashion to create your own compelling narrative around these issues through the use of a range of journalism techniques developed during your previous modules. Students will be encouraged to experiment and innovate in order to find ways to connect with contemporary sources and audiences. You will be expected to pitch your chosen idea and coverage plan to your peers in order to seek support and advice alongside the traditional formative feedback methods. Students will also have the opportunity to work collaboratively with students across different levels of study where necessary in order to enhance and support the ideas being developed and pursued.

Global and Community Impact 3
20 credits

Over three years of study, Global & Community Impact aims to develop skills that enable students to identify issues which impact global and or local communities and the organisations that attempt to work in these contexts. Through a mixture of critical research, journalistic practice and critical reflection, students will apply the skills and knowledge they learn to a range of relevant journalistic debates, environments and media. This will assist them in becoming flexible, resilient and reflective journalists who can produce a range of work across multiple platforms, which has both a global and/ or local community impact.

Major Project
40 credits

The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. It is important that we can support you appropriately, so you will be guided towards choosing a research topic which is relevant to your discipline and in which your lecturers have expertise. The outcome may take the form of a written dissertation or a practice-based portfolio.

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

Forensic Linguistics
20 credits

This module will provide you with the knowledge and skills to critically analyse linguistic data and apply the results of the analysis to legal settings, focusing mainly on legal discourse, courtroom discourse, police interviewing, authorship analysis, and plagiarism detection. You will study a wide range of topics which will provide you with a broad understanding of different sub-disciplines of forensic linguistics and language and the law, each with its own methodological approach. You will develop skills necessary for interdisciplinary research at the intersection of linguistics, forensic sciences, legal studies and psychology. You will focus on how to ensure your data is representative, to develop robust methodological approach, and to present your results in a logical way meeting the requirements set by relevant bodies in a range of legal contexts.

Moral Philosophy
20 credits

With the study of ethics at its heart, this module draws on the wide range of intellectual disciplines which are used to understand and critique both longstanding and current issues with moral and political dimensions. It seeks to foster the capacity for independent thought, critical awareness of other perspectives, and an ability to think through the wider picture. In doing so the module assists in articulating the value of the humanities in a democracy as well as developing an appreciation of the values of citizenship, especially in terms of the challenges and opportunities which globalisation gives rise to. The module will enable you to write about contemporary moral and political issues for an educated general readership in a way that is both serious and engaging. As such, it forms a crucial link between the experience of academic study and its application to a range of graduate careers.

Psychology in Victorian Literature
20 credits

The module explores the relationship between literature and the development of psychological thought in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries before the advent of laboratory-based experimental work. Ideas about character formation which inform the literary examination of character in nineteenthcentury poetry and prose will be placed in the context of philosophical and scientific descriptions of mental development during the period. The connections between nineteenth-century psychology and "pseudo-scientific" discourses such as phrenology and mesmerism will also come under scrutiny, as will the close relationship between psychology and Victorian medical discourse.

Speculative Fiction
20 credits

What if a book was discovered that revealed an advanced alien civilisation? What if humans could merge with machines? What if the world were slowly crystallising around us? What if humanity had all but destroyed itself? The ‘what if’ in these questions signals a moment of hesitation, a gap that opens up between what is and what could be. This is speculation. Speculation is something we all do. It allows us to reimagine the past, recontextualise the present and consider new futures. It can be a liberating but also a destabilising activity because it asks us to question the ways in which we make sense of who we are and the world around us. In this module you will consider how literature can be a vehicle for speculation. You will be able to identify the formal literary techniques and devices used to enable speculation and then apply them to a series of texts from the late twentieth century and twenty-first century to consider how these can help us think about new pasts, new societies, new identities and new futures.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language
20 credits

The module is based on experimental and experiential techniques allowing you to encounter TEFL teaching methods, as well as improve your knowledge of phonetics and phonology, grammar and vocabulary, syntax and punctuation. The module will equip you with a solid understanding of TEFL approaches alongside a practical skill set for planning lessons and courses, assessing language proficiency, facilitating the learning process, and managing classroom dynamics. The module will help you utilise skills and linguistic knowledge gained during your first two years of study in the applied settings of teaching English as a second/foreign language. You will also draw on literature, drama and creative writing strands of the programme due to the emphasis on the inherent value of cultural and literary experiences in the foreign language acquisition process. You will focus on developing engaging teaching materials for potential learners and practise completing tasks similar to those required as part of the interview selection process for TEFL jobs. Throughout the module, special emphasis will be placed on continuous professional development as well as identifying career options in the UK and abroad. You will be provided with several voluntary opportunities, including providing language support for international students, teaching English classes for international students within the Faculty, or observing commercial classes in Birmingham.

The Gothic
20 credits

This module focuses on literature in the gothic tradition from its inception through to the present day. During the module, the development of the gothic form will be traced from its origins through to recent manifestations of the genre. Gothic literature often reflects social and cultural trends as well as providing a space to manifest cultural anxieties, expressing a society’s suppressed desires and fears in an acceptable literary form. Such texts can therefore be read not only as escapist, but as serious texts which seek to express often radical, socially unacceptable or psychologically-submerged ideas. The module will enable you to identify these undercurrents as well as to explore the major themes and aesthetics of the genre. You will be encouraged to interrogate texts with an eye to these issues, including those of gender, race and class, and to contextualise the texts in order to analyse and understand the changing concept of Gothic.

Writing Creative Nonfiction
20 credits

This module introduces you to writing creative nonfiction. You will investigate the nature of creative nonfiction, exploring the distinctive issues it raises for writers in recent published works and in the original writing you produce during the module; these issues include the ethical considerations involved in drawing from real-life subjects as source material, the nature of truth, the role of research, and the interplay between ‘fact’ and ‘fiction’.

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

The programme combines traditional teaching and learning approaches with innovative, multi-platform learning support, grounded in a student-partnership model which will encourage engagement beyond the scope of the course and ensure that students develop key transferable skills to enhance their employment.

The modules you study will involve critical analysis, investigative skills and imaginative thinking.

In your first year, you will focus on developing core knowledge, including theory and practice-based elements, across English Studies. In the second half of year one, you will be able to specialise further in your chosen area of study, and expand on that in your second and third-year modules.

You’ll study a blend of practical production modules, sourcing, developing, designing and publishing real stories, and learning the art of crafting a compelling story.

We maintain close contacts with a variety of media, including Sky, BBC, Maverick Television and Future Publishing, which means you’ll benefit from masterclass sessions from visiting tutors and guest speakers, to enhance and enrich your learning.

Your professional studies will prepare you for at least two placements – previous students have worked with organisations such as the BBC, Maverick Television, Warwickshire County Cricket Club, newspapers, magazines, PR companies and local radio stations.

Teaching and learning activities

Teaching and learning activities may include lectures, seminars, workshops, field trips and guided independent study. You will also have access to a wide range of extracurricular opportunities, including seminars by prestigious guest speakers and published authors, and a programme of scholarly and creative events. Online facilities, such as the University’s Virtual Learning Environment Moodle, are used to guide, support and enhance your learning experience. You will benefit from tutorial support and spoken or written feedback on your learning and preliminary work to help you in preparing for and reflecting on your assignments. A wide range of assessment methods are used in the programme, including essays, presentations, exhibitions, conferences and creative portfolios, giving you the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills.

We pride ourselves on giving students real journalism experience through practical activities. These have included reporting live on breaking news stories, as well as planning and implementing coverage of major sporting, cultural and political events alongside professional outlets.

You will also get the chance to see your work published on the award-winning Birmingham Eastside website which is run by students on our Journalism modules.

77 per cent of research undertaken by lecturers from the School of English, classed as world-leading or internationally excellent.
The Research Excellence Framework (REF2014)


Student work

A partnership with other local news organisations has seen students create and run live blogs on issues such as local and general elections.

Students are using virtual reality and 360 degrees technology to tell stories in innovative ways – work which has led to coverage on a leading industry website.

Multiplatform reporting is allowing our students to create unique and powerful ways of telling real stories using a range of skills and different types of media.

View more examples of student work...

students on the grass in front of Curzon

School of English Blog 

A blog that offers you an insight into life as a student at the School of English at Birmingham City University.

Visit the blog 

Further study

The School of Media offers the following MA courses as progression for your study:

The School of English offers MA Creative Writing and MA English Linguistics as progression options.

Trips and visits

Previous visits have included BBC newsrooms in Salford, London and Birmingham, helping provide a first-hand glimpse of how professional journalists operate. You will also get the chance to visit places where the news happens, such as courtrooms and live events across Birmingham. 

Enhancing Employability skills

Employability is embedded across our programme, from sector and industry-specific skills in creative writing, drama, linguistics and literature, through to transferable skills that hold real value regardless of your employment direction.

These skills include literacy and numeracy, time management and organisation, oral and written communication, team work, initiative and enterprise, creative and analytical thinking, self-direction and discipline, independence, information gathering and interpersonal skills.

You will have multiple opportunities to engage in problem solving and problem-based learning, particularly through individual assessments and collaborative practice modules, and to reflect on your own career development needs through participating in the Graduate+ scheme and other employability schemes over the course of your degree.

The course will equip you with first-hand practical expertise and provide you with the rigorous academic knowledge you’ll need to fulfil a career in your chosen communications and journalism field.

As one of our graduates, your skills will be very highly sought after because we teach valued transferable skills, in addition to providing solid academic grounding and practical skills in real-world application.

Our modules regularly adapt to cover live news events as they happen. For example, our students have covered general election counts across the region through the night alongside staff and professional journalists.

Because we use industry-standard software and equipment, and focus on creating content for a modern world, you’ll be capable of covering a story for any outlet and have the adaptable skills necessary to thrive in this fast-paced industry.

95 per cent of our English graduates are in work or continuing their studies.
(2015/16 DLHE statistics)

Placements

The university is committed to developing strong links with employers in Birmingham and the West Midlands. Several language and creative writing modules have explicit employer and industry engagement, where you work in collaboration with employer and external partners over the course of the semester, and are encouraged to adopt industry-standard practices to facilitate connections and links independently with external partners.

In the case of the work placement module, you will have the opportunity to develop skills and abilities in a sector-specific context, while ensuring that academic aims and objectives are met as part of your wider learning journey.

You’ll be expected to undertake at least two placements during your course, a two-week placement in your first year and a three-week placement in your second year. You’ll identify which placement will suit your needs – some of our previous students have chosen to work at newspapers, while others have opted for magazines and independent online publishers.

Placements should reflect the broadening horizons of journalism through such organisations as hyper local publications, or websites and specialist publications.

OpportUNIty

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.

Links to industry

We regularly seek out opportunities to build further links with partner organisations in the region, including Creative Black CountryBirmingham Literary FestivalBirmingham Museums Trust (including Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery), Black Country Museum Trust, Arvon Creative Writing FoundationFlatpack Film FestivalWest Midlands Screenwriters' Forum, and other Schools within the University, in addition to publishers, charities, third sector organisations, and more, in Birmingham and beyond.

Regular guest speakers and visiting lecturers from newspapers, broadcast, magazines and online publications will provide you with an insight into the modern journalism industry. By working with specialists in their field you will be able to learn how to bring stories to life.

You’ll also get the chance to engage directly with industry through activities such as hack days and projects with the likes of the BBC, The Times and Trinity Mirror. We have excellent links with a number of national, regional and local outlets, with students regularly taking up placements with the likes of Sky and the BBC.

Graduate jobs

Our graduates are characterised by their extensive subject knowledge, critical thinking and intellectual curiosity, reflected in the skills and abilities that will enable them to adapt to a wide range of career paths, employment opportunities, or further study at Master’s or PhD level. Graduates are known to go on to careers in teaching, librarianship, marketing, journalism and public relations.

The journalism side of the course is highly respected in the industry and will prepare you well for a career in your chosen field. You’ll complement your studies by building contacts in the industry, and working on live, meaningful projects. It’s what makes our graduates highly sought after by employers.

Our graduates have gone to pursue careers with respected organisations such as the BBC, Sky, Trinity Mirror, and the Midlands News Association.

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

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 £340 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.

The Curzon Building

Our School of English is housed in the Curzon Building, a £63 million development, located on our City Centre campus, in the vibrant second city that is Birmingham.

Discover your bright and open learning spaces, your 24 hour (during term time) library, drama, media and radio studios, along with state of the art lecture theatres, and a variety of sociable break-out areas, all adding to your unique learning experience.

Our Staff 

Our teaching staff comprises specialists in their respective fields, including academics and industry professionals, all of whom are perfectly placed to offer a wealth of experience and knowledge. Birmingham School of Media students also benefit from access to high-profile guest speakers from across the industry.

A dynamic community that is responsive to the changing face of the media industry, Birmingham School of Media is the perfect starting point to your media career

Dr Sarah Wood

Head of School

Sarah Wood holds degrees from JMU, the University of Liverpool, and Birmingham City University, where she gained her PhD. Her research interests are in feminism and science fiction.

She has an article on Octavia Butler forthcoming in FEMSPEC and is working on further studies of Butler as well as of Nalo Hopkinson and slave narrative.

Read Sarah's full profile

Dr Derek Littlewood

Senior Lecturer

Derek Littlewood gained his PhD, a theoretical study of speech and writing in Charles Dickens, from the Open University and his MA on D. H. Lawrence from Birmingham University.

He is currently researching the relationships between photography and literature, from the inception of the photograph until the onset of digital technology.

He is particularly interested in the aesthetics of modernist photography and writing. He has written and given conference papers on James Joyce, James Clarence Mangan and John Banville.

Ross Hawkes

Ross leads the journalism pathway. He was previously a sports writer, sub-editor, page designer, news reporter, web editor, features writer and editor, before leading Trinity Mirror's digital programme in the Midlands. He also founded and currently runs award-winning hyperlocal website, LichfieldLive, which has been used an example of excellence in the hyperlocal scene.