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

Currently viewing course to start in 2024/25 Entry.

Our BA (Hons) English and Journalism course prepares you for a career in the dynamic and fascinating world of journalism. It develops your literary studies skills to analyse texts, conduct research, and construct arguments, while gaining valuable experience working on live stories in media environments, which will teach you how to craft a story in a way that engages the audience....

  • Level Foundation
  • Study mode Full Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School School of English
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

This course is:

Open to International Students

Overview

Our BA (Hons) English and Journalism course prepares you for a career in the dynamic and fascinating world of journalism. It develops your literary studies skills to analyse texts, conduct research, and construct arguments, while gaining valuable experience working on live stories in media environments, which will teach you how to craft a story in a way that engages the audience. You will benefit from industry-standard media facilities throughout your studies, including our live newsroom, to develop a journalism specialism in news, broadcasting, features, or design. 

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 Media undergraduate degree programmes.   

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 in English.  

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

Taught by world-leading academics, this course brings together the study of English with knowledge of journalism practice and professional development. Combining the study of literature, language, drama and creative writing with the development of skills to become a thinking media worker, you will benefit from subject knowledge and transferable skills from both disciplines.   

Through the 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 in understanding how the discipline connects with the wider world, enabling you to focus on the production, interpretation and negotiation of meaning.   

These skills intersect with the journalism component, where you will publish your stories, use blogs (including the student-run Birmingham Eastside website), learn to shoot and edit news videos, 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, where you will build your skills as you begin to make contacts in the industry and make your first moves into media work. 

This course reflects the fast-paced and ever-changing world of journalism, dealing with the challenges and opportunities facing the modern reporter. Be it news or sport, this course will allow you to be prepared for the future of multi-platform journalism.

Robert Lawson, Course Leader for Journalism

Why Choose Us?

  • Top 15 for English student satisfaction and graduate prospects (Complete University Guide 2023).
  • 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 apply to undertake part of your studies abroad to experience life and studying in another country at one of our exchange partner universities.
  • 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 and have seen their work appear on a number of national and regional outlets.
  • You will have 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.

Open Days

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Next Open Day: 23 March 2024

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Entry Requirements

These entry requirements apply for entry in 2024/25.

All required qualifications/grades must have been achieved and evidenced at the earliest opportunity after accepting an offer to help confirm admission and allow for on-time enrolment. This can also include other requirements, like a fee status form and relevant documents. Applicants can track their application and outstanding information requests through their BCU mySRS account.

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

UK students
Essential

80 UCAS tariff points.

Level 2 qualifications
GCSE GCSE English Language and GCSE Maths at grade C/4 or above. If you do not have these or are not undertaking them, we accept other Level 2 equivalents, or we may ask you to pass BCU's GCSE equivalency tests.
Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level) See level 3 entry requirements under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details.
Scottish National 5 English Language and Maths at grade C or above. If you do not have these or are not undertaking them, we accept other Level 2 equivalents, or we may ask you to pass BCU's GCSE equivalency tests.
Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) qualifications
A Level and Advanced VCE
  • CDD / 80 UCAS points
  • Must include English Language or Literature A-Level
  • In lieu of English Language or Literature A Level, subjects that include an element of essay writing will be considered as an alternative, i.e History, Religious Education, The Sciences, Philosophy, Film Studies, Communication Studies & Creative Writing all include a component of this. Applicants will be required to submit a satisfactory essay set by the department.
  • A maximum of 4 subjects are considered. These can be other A/S Levels (as long in a different subject) A-Levels or Level 3 equivalents.

AS and AS VCE

  • Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 80 pts
  • Must include English Language or Literature A-Level
  • In lieu of English Language or Literature A Level, subjects that include an element of essay writing will be considered as an alternative, i.e History, Religious Education, The Sciences, Philosophy, Film Studies, Communication Studies & Creative Writing all include a component of this. Applicants will be required to submit a satisfactory essay set by the department.
  • A maximum of 4 subjects are considered. These can be other A/S Levels (as long in a different subject) A-Levels or Level 3 equivalents.

Access to HE Diploma

  • Pass with 60 credits overall. At least 45 credits at Level 3 in an English related area.
  • Language, Literature and Culture subjects preferred but other subjects also considered.
  • Applicants may be requested to complete an essay set by the department if subject doesn't contain any English.
  • Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma (2016 – present)
  • Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF) (2010 - 2016)
  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma (2002 – 2010)
  • MMP
  • Applicants will be requested to complete an essay set by the department if subject doesn't contain any English unless you are already holding or are working towards an A-Level in English.

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 11 points or above from two Higher Level Subjects, must include English Language or Literature at Higher Level
  • Considered with other acceptable level 3 qualifications to meet 80 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 Diploma will be accepted
  • Applicants may be requested to complete an essay set by the department if subject doesn't contain any English.

International Baccalaureate Diploma

  • Obtain a minimum of 24 points overall, must include English Language or Literature at Higher Level
  • 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 Diploma will be accepted
  • Applicants may be requested to complete an essay set by the department if subject doesn't contain any English.

Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers)

Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 80 tariff points, achieved in five Higher level subjects. This must include English Language taken at Ordinary Level (minimum grade O1-O4 (or A-C/A1-C3)) and Higher level minimum grade H1/H7 (or A-D / A1-D3 up to and including 2016

OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma

  • MMP
  • Applicants will be requested to complete an essay set by the department if subject doesn't contain any English unless you are already holding or are working towards an A-Level in English.

Scottish Higher/Advanced Higher

  • Achieve a minimum of 80 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 DDD
  • Where a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers have been taken you must achieve (grades of DD in two Advanced Highers plus grades of DD in two Highers).
  • Must include English Language or Literature or combined Language and Literature subject
  • Applicants may be requested to complete an essay set by the department if subject doesn't contain any English.

T-Levels

  • Merit overall
  • Applicants may be requested to complete an essay set by the department if subject doesn't contain any English.
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 6.0, with 6.0 in writing and no less than 5.5 in the remaining three skills.

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.

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 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

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 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 4 years
  • £16,085 in 2024/25

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 are available through our library.

Excess printing (optional)

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

Books (optional)

All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.

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, at extra cost.

Personal stationery and study materials (optional)

Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £30 for each year of your studies for your personal stationery and study materials.

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

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

Course in Depth

Foundation Year

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

First Year

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

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

Second Year

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 60 credits):

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete 20 credits from the following indicative list of CORE Faculty modules. 

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

Final Year

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete the following CORE module (totalling 20 credits): 

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete one module from the following list of CORE-OPTION modules (worth 20 credits) 

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete one module from the following list of CORE-OPTION modules (worth 40 credits) 

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

Download course specification

Download now

How you will learn

Your learning will be through a mixture of lectures, practical workshops and seminars. Your course also provides an opportunity to undertake work-based learning through a placement. We embed flexible opportunities for you to access your curriculum including recorded lectures, blended learning, on-campus delivery and intensive delivery of some modules. We recognise that students progress to higher education from a variety of educational experiences and that university is a completely new educational environment for most of you. For that reason, you will find that in your first year with us there is a focus on supporting your transition which places an emphasis on developing both the confidence and the competencies required for being successful at your university assignments. Where appropriate, we will bring in external speakers or arrange visits relevant to your specialism. These may be from industry or be focused on a particular specialist academic interest. We have excellent links with industry, community and scholarly partners which we draw on to enhance your learning experience.   

How you will be assessed

All our assessments are designed to ensure that you meet the learning outcomes of your modules and thus of the course overall. Assessment types may include written research reports, essays, case studies, practical work, portfolios and presentations. There is one exam, taken online, in an optional module in the second year of your course. You will be assessed as an individual but there may be times when you will be asked to work within teams and submit assessments as groups. All modules offer chances for formative assessment, that is, informal assessments that are used to assess your understanding before the final submission of your work. Formative assessments also help inform the teaching strategy within a module, identifying areas where we can offer extra help and guidance. We will offer tutorials and a chance for you to discuss your draft assessments before you submit them. Once marked, we will give formal feedback and ‘feed forward’ on all work submitted, aimed at helping you improve future submissions.  

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.


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

Employability

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.

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.

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.

International

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:

Facilities & Staff

Curzon with Millennium Point and Parkside

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 over £400 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.

You will study at both the home of the School of English in Millennium Point, and at our £63 million development the Curzon Building, 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

Dr Sarah Wood

Head of English and Media

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.

More about Sarah

Professor Andrew Kehoe

Professor of Corpus Linguistics / Director of Research

Andrew Kehoe is Professor of Corpus Linguistics and Director of Research in English. He studied at the University of Liverpool, gaining qualifications in both English and Computer Science. He researches in the field of Corpus Linguistics: the creation and study of a collection of texts (or corpus) in order to extract new knowledge about language in...

More about Andrew

Dr Joseph Anderton

Reader in Modern and Contemporary Literature

Joseph Anderton is the author of Beckett’s Creatures: Art of Failure after the Holocaust (Bloomsbury, 2016), which considers conceptions of the ‘creature’ and ‘creaturely life’ as they appear in Samuel Beckett’s literature and drama. Joe is currently working on his second book, Writing Homelessness: Rough Sleeping in Contemporary...

More about Joseph

Dr Soudabeh Ananisarab

Lecturer in Drama

Dr Soudabeh Ananisarab studied at the University of Nottingham where she completed an MA in English Literature (Distinction) and a PhD in English. Her Doctoral thesis explored the development of the Malvern Theatre Festival during the interwar years and its connections with the playwright, George Bernard Shaw. Soudabeh has previously taught at the...

More about Soudabeh

Dave Harte

Deputy Head of English and Media and Associate Professor in Journalism and Media Studies

Dave Harte is Associate Professor in Journalism and Media Studies. He researches the emerging trend of local community ‘hyperlocal’ news websites and has published widely on the subject. Within the School of Media he leads on teaching and learning initiatives and teaches modules on Journalism Studies, Social Media, and Alternative and Community...

More about Dave