Media and Communication with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)

  • UCAS Code: P91F
  • Level: Foundation
  • Starting: September 2020
  • Study mode: Full Time (4 years)
  • Location: City Centre

Please note

This course and the information on this page is indicative based on the 2019/20 academic year. The final details for this course starting in 2020/21 may be subject to change and will be confirmed in June 2019.

Get practical, professional preparation for a career in media with our BA (Hons) Media and Communication Foundation Degree course.

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. 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.

What's covered in the course?

This course is based in Birmingham City University's £62 million Parkside facility - one of the biggest university media centres in the UK.

One of the first UK media degrees, our BA (Hons) Media and Communication course mirrors the workflow of the industry, offering practical, professional preparation for a rewarding career.

Helped by strong links with many influential media organisations, the course offers an industry-relevant blend of production, theory and professional studies.

Teaching takes place in environments where you gain most, such as radio, TV and photography studios, editing suites, computer suites, as well as lecture theatres, seminar rooms, social learning spaces and online.

You will use blogs and employ social media channels along with other interactive media to support your work and self-development into becoming a thinking media worker.

Why Choose Us?

    • Flexibility to opt for a general study of Media and Communication, or a specialist route in radio, television, web and new media, journalism, event and exhibition industries, music industries or public relations
    • Specialised, sophisticated equipment for every area in our new £62 million home in the city centre, including six radio studios, four TV studios, the largest free-standing green screen in Europe, edit suites, music production studios and photography studios (including a half and a full infinity cove)
    • Research-informed teaching, enabling you to critically engage with contemporary debates and innovations in theory/practice
    • Huge range of guest speaker masterclasses. Past talks have included BBC newsreader Huw Edwards,  Jo Geary, UB40’s Brian Travers, Vogue fashion photographer Eliot Siegel and BSkyB’s Head of Production Services, Dave Rooke
    • The course encourages you to take creative risks and be a ‘thinking’ media worker, and you will also have the opportunity to undertake two (or more) industry placements

Students outside Millennium Point

Open Days

Our next Open Day for this course will take place on Saturday 28 September 2019. Register your interest and we'll send an email update nearer the time. Visit us to see our facilities and speak to our staff and students.

Book your place

This course is open to International students

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Discover the Birmingham School of Media

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

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Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

And in jobs such as:

  • Television Researcher
  • Web Content Manager
  • Marketing Assistant

Sir Lenny Henry, Chancellor

Actor, writer, comedian and charitable campaigner Sir Lenny Henry is our new Chancellor.

Find out more

Course Accreditations

This course is accredited by the following organisation:

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Entry Requirements

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

Essential Requirements

80 UCAS tariff points.

Typical Offers (UK students)

At the point of enrolment, 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:

UK Qualification Requirements
A level  CDD. A maximum of three subjects are considered. Other 6-unit qualifications can be considered in lieu of one or two A-level subjects. Excluded subjects General Studies and Critical Thinking.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma

MMP
Access to HE Diploma 60 credits overall - 15 credits at level 2 and 45 credits at level 3
GCSE English language at grade 4 (C) or above or equivalent qualifications must be achieved at application stage.

Scottish Higher

Achieve a minimum of 80 tariff points achieved from either five Highers or a combination of two Highers offered with two Advanced Highers.

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

Obtain a minimum of 24 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) Group A English Group A - Grade 4 or above. Students who do not complete the IB Diploma and who achieve the minimum of 11 points from two Higher Level subjects, will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates. OR English Group B - Grade 5 or above from the IB will be accepted.

OCR Cambridge Technical Certificate

Must be offered along with either two A-levels or two BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diplomas of 80 tariff points. Cannot be offered as a standalone qualification.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma

MM. Can be offered along with either one A-level or one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ OCR Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma qualification to achieve a minimum of 80 tariff points.

Scottish 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.
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 or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2020 FT 4 years £9,250 per year Apply via UCAS

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2020 FT 4 years £12,800 per year Register your interest

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

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

Cross Media Production 1
20 credits

The purpose of this practical production module is to explore media production techniques in radio, audio production, online video and television. The module is designed to recognise that many media professionals no longer work in specialised areas and are often asked to make use of a range of skills and platforms across different media in order to reach their audiences. Throughout the module you will be supported to develop industry-level practical skills through a range of production activities and workshops.

Cross Media Production 2
20 credits

This purpose of this practical production module is to explore media production techniques in journalism, public relations, and events management. The module draws together the skills needed for writing and producing content for print and online, as well as developing communications campaigns that connect with audiences dispersed across digital platforms. The module is designed to recognise that many media professionals no longer work in specialised areas and are often asked to make use of a range of skills and platforms across different media in order to reach their audiences.

Media Context and Production
20 credits

The purpose of this module is to introduce you to the key concepts aligned to studying media and communication. The module will focus on making connections between theory and practice and will support your wider understanding of the media industry and the context of your own work. You will have the opportunity to engage with theoretical perspectives that focus on the political economy of the media which will enable you to see how media texts are shaped by the organisation, ownership and regulation of the media industry. You will identify and reflect on political, moral and ethical issues raised by the relationships between the media, culture and ideas of power in local, national and international contexts.

Professional and Academic Skills
20 credits

The purpose of this module is to assist you in developing the academic skills needed to succeed in higher education, and the professional skills required to support your ambitions to be a media worker. You will be introduced to the wide range of academic and practical support that the university offers. This module will introduce you to the key aspects of being a successful independent learner and will enable you to develop key personal and transferable skills to get the most out of your studies. The module will cover how to present your work effectively, how to draw on existing research to support your ideas, how to organise and plan projects, and how to write reflectively about yourself and your work.

Practice Project
40 credits

The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a production project in the subject specialism of your choosing, exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. The outcome can take the form of a written or a practice-based outcome. You will be able to evaluate and reflect critically on your work. Your final work will be a key step in your progression as a student of the media and as a media worker. You will be expected to work independently for the most part but you will receive one-to-one support from a supervisor as well as being able to connect with wider support within the School’s academic team.

Year one

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

Researching the Media and Communication
40 credits

This core year one module is delivered in Semester 1 and Semester 2, over 20 taught weeks. In Semester 1, we will focus on the academic study of media texts. Through set readings, e-learning and class discussions, we will introduce key analytical concepts that you will use to interpret media texts within their social, cultural and technological contexts. You will reflect critically on the techniques you use in your own media production work.

Introduction to Media Contexts and Practice 1
20 credits

This module is delivered in Semester 1, over 10 taught weeks, and comprises a set of parallel specialist workshops covering a range of media production areas.

The workshops will include both practical and theoretical elements, and will develop your basic technical, editorial and critical skills in the particular specialist area. The approach is practice-led, with theoretical knowledge applied. Depending on the workshop, you may learn to operate particular technical equipment and specialist software, as well as developing your editorial ideas, and ability to develop, plan and organise activities. Each Workshop will be situated in its media industry context, both nationally and internationally, and will help develop your employability, as potential creative industry workers. You will be encouraged to be creative and innovative in your practical work, and to evidence the production process through appropriate industry-related documentation. You will also develop skills of reflection and critical evaluation, analysing your own work and the skills you have learnt, enabling you to set yourself new goals.

Introduction to Media Contexts and Practice 2
20 credits

This module is delivered in Semester 1, over 10 taught weeks, and comprises a set of parallel specialist workshops covering a range of media production areas.

The workshops will include both practical and theoretical elements, and will develop your basic technical, editorial and critical skills in the particular specialist area. The approach is practice-led, with theoretical knowledge applied. Depending on the workshop, you may learn to operate particular technical equipment and specialist software, as well as developing your editorial ideas, and ability to develop, plan and organise activities. Each Workshop will be situated in its media industry context, both nationally and internationally, and will help develop your employability, as potential creative industry workers. You will be encouraged to be creative and innovative in your practical work, and to evidence the production process through appropriate industry-related documentation. You will also develop skills of reflection and critical evaluation, analysing your own work and the skills you have learnt, enabling you to set yourself new goals.

Professional and Academic Development
20 credits

Professional and Academic Development will help you develop skills which enable you to understand the nature of the media industries, your own potential and your position within it. Through a mixture of self- driven career planning, work placements and critical reflection, you will develop, apply and hone the skills and knowledge you have learned to a range of media environment.

Collaborative Project
20 credits

The ability to work collaboratively in a team is a vital employability skill within the Creative Industries. This module is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration by enabling you to create a group project with students from complementary disciplines.

Year two

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

Research 1
20 credits

This core Level 5 module is delivered in Semester 1, over 10 taught weeks, and comprises a set of parallel specialist module sessions.

The sessions will include theoretical elements and approaches to research practices that will inform and enhance your knowledge of production, consumption and industry context, and will build on the critical and analytical skills learnt in year one. The approach is research and theory-led, with research methods applied. Depending on the subject area, you will be examining the current state and changing nature of a particular area of the media. Students will have the opportunity to reflect on issues of production, distribution, and reception. Students will undertake research that explores the changing ideological, political, technological and cultural contexts related to a particular section of industry and will consider the role of the media in relation to societal and cultural contexts.

Advanced Media Contexts and Practice
20 credits

This core year 2 module is delivered in Semester 1, over 10 taught weeks, and comprises 7 parallel specialist media production workshops.

The workshops will include both practical and theoretical elements, and will build on the technical, editorial and critical skills you learnt in year one, taking them to a more advanced level. The approach is practice-led, with theoretical knowledge applied. Depending on the specialism, you may further develop skills in operating particular technical equipment and specialist software, as well as developing your editorial ideas, and ability to develop, plan and organise activities. Each Workshop will be situated in its media industry context, both nationally and internationally, and will help improve your employability, as potential creative industry workers. You will identify a target audience for your work, and create a cross-media/multi-media product/s in order to help engage your audience.

Professional and Academic Development
20 credits

This module draws on your experience of undertaking a placement, asking you to consider how workplace organisational structures and practices observed during your placement impact upon the nature of media products and services. Through reflecting on your own performance and new skills acquired as a result of this experience, you will plan methods for addressing professional and academic ‘skills gaps’. You will set new targets and objectives to be achieved during a further placement.

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete one the following CORE OPTIONAL modules (totalling of 20 credits):

Collaborative Practice
20 credits

The module is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration by enabling you to create an interdisciplinary project with students from complementary disciplines, or with academic staff. Collaboration is a vital employability skill within the Creative Industries and this module allows you to develop these skills, making use of University facilities and with the support of academic staff. Within this module framework, several kinds of collaborative opportunities are available. For example, with the approval of your supervisor, you can determine a project based on your own interests; your supervisor may set you a predetermined project to enable you to work with other students in a way that is appropriate to your subject area; or there may be opportunities for you to collaborate with staff on research projects. In all cases, you must apply your subject skills to an interdisciplinary project which will be agreed in advance with your supervisor.

Live Project
20 credits

This module provides an opportunity for you to apply your knowledge and skills to an external, professional brief. The brief will be set by an external client/ agency, in consultation with your supervisor, and it could be a ‘real life’ problem to be solved, or a simulation. It is an opportunity for you to engage in a professional manner with an aspect of your subject area, which contributes to the development of employability skills within the supportive infrastructure of the University. Where appropriate, the project may involve interdisciplinary collaboration with students from other courses. In this way, it reflects the collaborative, flexible nature of employment within the Creative Industries.

Work Placement
20 credits

The purpose of this module is to enable you to develop professional attributes and subject skills through experience in the work place, and to critically reflect upon your learning in that context. You will normally be expected to arrange your own placement, with support from academic staff and ADM Careers+.

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

Optional modules 1

Gender, Sexuality and the Body
20 credits

This module applies and develops critical and theoretical study of gender, sexuality and the body across a wide range of media. This module will prepare students who wish to undertake work on gender, sexual dissidence, queer theory and identity in their final year. The module will draw from cultural theory and a range of qualitative and ethnographic research to explore historic and contemporary discussions, issues and debates around gender identity, sexuality and sexual practices, and the body. The module will develop key modes of analysis and research related to the study of gender, sexuality and the body. You will explore how associated socio-cultural, political and ideological contexts ‘produce’ issues, but also how certain identities and ‘practices’ offer ways to challenge ideological views concerning gender, sexuality and what we ‘do’ with/to our bodies. During the module you should be able to link theoretical debates to your own production practice and consumption. The module will critically explore the issues and debates raised by scholarship in the field of gender, sexuality, the body and identity studies; and also issues (ethical, practical and moral) around the application of methodologies in media, communication and cultural studies. The module will add the consideration of ethics and intersections within the study of gender, sexuality and the body (i.e. class, gender, ethnicity, race, education, culture, etc.). As the module applies an extensive critical engagement with theory, students are therefore encouraged to widen their reading and interaction with contemporary research in the areas of gender, sexuality, the body and identity.

Alternative Lifestyles (Pleasure, Leisure and Taboo)
20 credits

This year two module will unpack the various ways in which lifestyles, identities and certain ‘taboo’ practices are created and contested through media artefacts, leisure time activities and pursuits, and social practices. The module explores a range of bodily projects, leisure time pursuits and lifestyle choices to develop how we can understand, study, and ‘feel’ about alternative lifestyles. You will also be able to see the limitations through exploring stigma, pathologisation and Othering lifestyles or identities which are seen to be taboo, temporary or morally corrosive. The module aligns itself with developments in society, law and ‘moral’ frameworks. The module explores hedonistic, emotional, experiential and self-affirming qualities found in a range of alternative lifestyles, leisure time pursuits and practices. The reappraisal of alternative lifestyles will also include the issues, points of tension and ruptures inside alternative modes of self, sexual and bodily expression. A deeper understanding of the complexities and nuances in alternative lifestyles will pave the way for a fresh and innovative stance on identity, lifestyles, diversity youth, and bodily politics. As the module applies an extensive critical engagement with theory, students are therefore encouraged to widen their reading and interaction with contemporary research.

Comedy in the Media and Popular Culture
20 credits

You will build on your previous studies by developing skills in connecting research and practice. Through set readings, class discussions, e-learning and directed study tasks, we will identify and explore key debates, theoretical perspectives and concepts in humour and comedy studies so that you can develop your familiarity with these theoretical fields. You will then test theoretical perspectives and key concepts through your own innovative comedy production. In this work, you will offer research based, critical reflection on your own practice and on political, moral and ethical issues that emerge from the relationships between humour, comedy and power, on both a national and an international scale.

Perspectives on Community and Alternative Media
20 credits

This module offers you the opportunity to investigate community and alternative media practices and organisations, drawing on a range of theoretical perspectives to help you understand the value generated by media produced outside of the mainstream.

Race, Ethnicity and the Media
20 credits

Race, ethnicity and the media introduces students to key theories and debates on race and ethnicity in relation to the media, including critical race studies, post-colonial theory, intersectionality and work on equality/diversity within the cultural industries. It will be based around debates around ‘race’ in the UK, but these debates will be situated within a global context. The historical development of concepts of race, ethnicity and immigration will be explored, highlighting their impact on contemporary British society and media.

Media and Materiality
20 credits

In a media landscape which is increasingly defined by digital technologies and our relationships with them, this Level 5 module encourages you to consider the role of material, analogue media artefacts and practices in shaping the way that we engage with and understand digital media. From the role of analogue aesthetics in film practice, to the resurgence of the vinyl record, this module will explore a range of issues and debates relating to media, formats, materiality, and digitalisation. You will be presented with a range of critical perspectives on materiality in media, and required undertake research which applies these critical perspectives to your own media interests and practice.

Fandoms and Subcultures
20 credits

This module offers an introduction to some of the ongoing academic debates on media fandoms and subcultures. Through readings, lectures, seminars and independent research, you will engage with key theoretical perspectives, methodological approaches and case studies in these academic fields. This module is intended to develop the knowledge and skills that you established in your first year, to develop your critical thinking and research skills and to enable you to gather, organise and use secondary and primary sources to express arguments coherently and effectively.

Communities of Practice: Culture, Heritage and Space
20 credits

This module will develop your understanding of what defines ‘community’ and how this definition is subject to negotiation and change through the use and appropriation of space. Using a structured framework this module introduces you to the issues, debates, and practical considerations around the use of space, communities, and culture. We will first establish agreed definitions of what we mean by communities, contested landscapes, culture, and heritage. This will enable you to identify key theoretical positions and approaches, which you will then see in action through case studies (in taught sessions) and your own application (in assessment and own case studies). Secondly, we examine through the use of case studies ways in which people navigate around these issues and debates in their media and artistic practices. Finally, the module will invite you to propose solutions to some of the limitations of space uncovered throughout the module’s discussions. The module will be inclusive and will suit those on: events and exhibitions, music industries, production and broad course pathways.

Film Cultures
20 credits

This Level 5 module will look at the way films tell their stories, transfix their audiences, and draw an emotional response. It will focus primarily on the various film narratives, but will also engage in the broader context of film criticism and film theory within which the form has been understood. We will examine films drawn from a range of periods, countries, and traditions, exploring film form and the powerful influence films have had, not only on their immediate effect on audiences but on the wider cultures within which they exist. We will also investigate how these films are using traditional and new methods to market to audiences wide and niche and the ways in which many studios are now inviting fans to get involved with the marketing process.

Media Censorship and Regulation
20 credits

This module explores the current state of academic knowledge and real world issues relating to media censorship and regulation. The module is designed to encourage you to think about and reflect upon your own assumptions and preconceptions and to think critically and systematically about challenging topics.

Celebrity Culture
20 credits

This module develops transferable skills in research, analysis, problem solving, teamwork and communication, and you will connect research and practice through formative activities and assessed work.

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

Optional modules 2

Advanced Visual Communication
20 credits

This module is available as an option to all students who wish to advance their graphic design abilities.

A series of skills workshops and directed study tasks will enable you to refine your understanding of the principles of graphic design and develop your ability to apply those principles within the context of your own practice. During the course of this workshop, you will explore professional working practices and current creative stylistic approaches with due consideration to client needs, key practitioners, and current and future developments that inform production.

Music Industry Promotional Practices
20 credits

Building upon on a number of media production skills established at Level 4, Music Industries Promotional Practices will introduce you to concepts, principles, and practices related to the promotion of music, and musical acts. In this module you will explore and develop promotion and PR techniques and gain insight into how music industries workers build successful working relationships with music and other interrelated media. You will develop a working knowledge of marketing and PR theory applied to music promotion practice and builds up your skills in promotional writing, visualisation, strategy development and campaign management. It also provides a practical insight into the organisation of tours, album and video releases and online promotion. This module develops individual and group project skills and a number of transferrable and critical skills.

Commercial Production for Radio
20 credits

This module develops a ‘real world’ understanding of contemporary approaches to commercial production for radio and audio platforms. Topics include idea generation, producing scripts / copy, multi-track digital editing, use of music and sound effects, voice over / talent production, pitching concepts, and scheduling principles. The interdisciplinary nature of audio advertising across various forms of media, such as the Internet and Social Media, will also be assessed. The module explores the wide range of roles and compliance responsibilities associated with commercial radio production, including the positions of account manager, traffic scheduler, creative director, copywriter, voiceover, producer. You will produce an original, series of radio commercials as MP3 audio files for a targeted audience, accompanied by a written report of 2000 words. This report will document your production processes, and include client research, evidence of idea development, audience and platform research, as well as scripts. The report will also include a critical reflection, which evaluates your performance and sets goals for future development.

Radio Documentary
20 credits

This module will encourage you to develop original ideas for innovative radio documentaries, within a recognised professional industry context. You will identify a clear target audience for your work. You will produce an individual, self-contained radio documentary with an accompanying reflective written report. A live presentation will showcase your documentary concept and its audience / station in a mock ‘commissioning’ style pitch.

Fashion Photography
20 credits

This module is for students wishing to further their photographic abilities. You will explore the professional working practices and creative stylistic approaches specific to fashion photography with due consideration to the fashion media, client needs, key practitioners, as well as current and future developments that inform production.

Photojournalism
20 credits

This module is for students wishing to further their photographic abilities, exploring the professional working practices and the visual language specific to photojournalism with due consideration to the context in which photojournalists and documentary photographers, music photographers and sports photographers operate within the media industries. You will continue to develop camera, lighting and post-processing techniques to a more advanced and appropriate professional level as a complementary skillset to your media interests.

Creating Compelling Content
20 credits

The ability to create compelling content is an essential communication skill and the key to employability in a range of media careers, not least in Public Relations. As well as being engaging and accessible, effective communication almost always involves the ability to produce professional content across a range of platforms and channels. This module concentrates on developing the writing and crafting skills that are highly valued by media employers.

Bi Media Drama
20 credits

This optional module will help prepare you for undertaking a drama related final Major Project in your final year, in either radio or television.

Television Studio
20 credits

This module will help prepare you for undertaking a television studio related final Major Project in your final year.

Campaigning and Investigative journalism
20 credits

Campaigning and Investigation Journalism is an optional module for all journalism specialists which provides a grounding in key concepts and techniques in the process of journalistic investigations and campaigns. In the first stage of the module you are introduced to key principles of investigations and campaigns across multiple platforms, and typical challenges involved in investigative and campaigning projects, as well as practices of idea generation and planning. This context then provides the basis for exploring a range of investigative and campaigning techniques. The content maps closely with the assessment task.

Music Media And Digitalisation
20 credits

The ways in which we consume, conceptualise, and interact with music is being constantly redefined in the face of rapid technological change. This Level 5 module, Music, Media, and Digitalisation invites you to engage with a range of contemporary arguments and challenges relating to the digitalisation of music as a media form, and to consider the implications that these arguments and challenges bring to bear on the ways in which you, and others, understand and engage with music. Across this module you will examine and explore a range of critical perspectives on music, media, and digitalisation, examining the histories and developments of digital music technologies, and the disrupting effects that these have had, and continue to have, on the ways in which we access, listen to, and talk about music.

Digital Content Distribution
20 credits

Recent and emerging technologies have created opportunities for bootstrapped media projects—low budget, lean start-ups—to break new ground, to tell stories in innovative ways, and to find an audience. What could you do with the opportunity to make and publish the stories which matter to you? On this module you will get together with likeminded students to develop and publish stories which take into account the affordances of new technologies. Working as a collective, you will publish a range of media products online and will host an event to showcase the work.

 
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 you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 100 credits):

Professional Media Contexts And Practice
20 credits

This core Level 6 module is delivered in Semester 1, over 10 taught weeks, and comprises parallel specialist media production workshops.

Professional and Academic Development
20 credits

This module will help you consolidate your skills and experience and prepare you to find employment through the development of self-promotion skills specific to your area of professional interest. You will continue to audit your skills and reflectively analyse your placement experience and evaluate its impact on your personal and professional development strategically applying new skills learned to present yourself as a media professional.

Major Project
60 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 you must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.

Queer Studies and Popular Dissidence
20 credits

This module examines the critical and theoretical study of queer studies, queer identity and queer politics (Inc. activism) across a wide range of media. This is an option module for all students with an academic interest in the theoretical field and will prepare students who wish to undertake dissertations or final projects that focus on LGBTQ+, identity politics, gender nonconformity, sexual practices, political performance art, fan cultures, entertainment, Twitter celebrities, and dissidence. The module will draw from cultural theory and a range of qualitative and ethnographic research that explore issues and debates in queer studies and queer cultures (art, photography, performance, film/cinema, TV, grassroots activism, etc.). You will explore a range of case studies (contemporary and historic) relating to areas within queer studies and popular dissidence, but also have the opportunity to apply it to a case study of your choice. During the module you should be able to link theoretical debates to your own production practice and consumption, but also identify groups, artists or individuals who have creatively and queerly respond to social and cultural expectations around intimacies, art and popular culture, self-expression, and political practices. The module will critically explore the issues, debates and moral concerns (disciplinary, social, and cultural) raised by scholarship in the fields of queer and cultural studies, but also within the media.

Sex Texts And Activism
20 credits

This module will prepare students who wish to develop expertise and knowledge in areas that focus on sex (gender, sexuality, dissidence), texts (media forms) and activism (media, politics, protest). The module will draw from cultural theory and a range of qualitative and ethnographic research that explore issues and debates surrounding how certain creative or activist practices respond to particular gendered, political, socio-cultural restrictions and challenges. You will explore a range of case studies (contemporary and historic) to map out a genealogy of protest, to see where, why and how ‘sites’ of resistance create space for identities, practices and beliefs to exist in their own terms. How these may be absorbed, contested and challenged by wider socio-cultural, political and economic contexts will also be considered. During the module you should be able to link theoretical debates to your own production practice and consumption, but also identify groups, artists or individuals who creatively respond to politics, stigma and censorship. The module will critically explore the issues and debates raised by scholarship in the fields of pornography, sex-worker rights, protest and activism, body politics (gender, sexuality, etc.) and identity studies; and also issues (ethical, practical and moral) around the application of methodologies in media, communication and cultural studies.

Science Fiction And Fantasy
20 credits

You will build on your previous studies by developing skills in connecting research and practice. Through set readings, class discussions, e-learning and directed study tasks, we will identify and explore key debates, theoretical perspectives and concepts in studies of science fiction and fantasy, so that you can develop your familiarity with these theoretical fields. You will engage critically with a specific science fiction or fantasy text by drawing on weekly course topics to expand your text through creative, experimental and innovative transmedia storytelling. Through this work, you will offer research-based, critical reflection on the relationship between science fiction/fantasy texts and their wider social, cultural, political and technological contexts, on both a national and an international scale.

Understanding Social Media Practices Cultures And Debates
20 credits

This module is intended to give an overview of the current state of scholarly research into the use of social media platforms as a communication tool. The module provides a systematic understanding of the approaches to studying social media and its social and cultural role. The module looks in detail at the ways in which social media is utilised by citizens and media producers and ask whether these platforms can help alter traditional power relationships in society. There is a focus on how students can put social media to use as a tool for furthering their professional ambitions or to help create advocacy networks.

DIY Music Cultures
20 credits

DIY Music Cultures encouraging you to apply key theoretical and critical concepts to contemporary arguments around DIY music cultures. This will include historical, cultural, political and ideological perspectives of DIY music production, distribution and consumption, which will reflect issues such as ethnicity, gender, class, nationality and religion. You will learn about a range of critical perspectives and positions on DIY music cultures before undertaking individual research and practice into your own choice of area relating to DIY music cultures.

Media and Music Heritage and Archives
20 credits

Increasingly, popular culture is being used to commemorate and celebrate cities’ and cultures’ identity and heritage. Post-industrial cities are investing millions of pounds in regeneration initiatives, many of which involve developing museums, art in public open spaces, and heritage tours relating to music, film, and television cultures. While heritage develops through large scale, public and private funded schemes, the rise of digital cultural practices has also seen parallel heritage and archive practices grow online. Despite an increase in streaming and downloading over a physical materiality, there are still strong links between identity and archiving digitally the photographs, ephemera, and memories of our lives.

Affect Emotion And The Media
20 credits

This module invites you to explore the links between emotion, affect, media and culture. You will examine how media texts are constructed to provoke emotional response, how audiences respond and the cultural discourses which frame production and reception. Throughout the module, you will be introduced to a range of concepts, themes and reflexive methodological approaches which relate to study in this field. You will be supported to develop skills in confidently articulating research verbally.

Promotional Culture
20 credits

This module encourages a critical understanding of promotional culture and its impact on consumer culture through the study of contemporary promotional practices. You will consider the centrality of promotion as a social discourse and reflect on the various practices of communications industries, including corporate communications, brand management, advertising, online promotion and transmedia storytelling. You will also consider the motivations and impact of promotional practices on audience behaviour.

Transnational Radio Cultures
20 credits

This module is for all students with an academic interest in the radio studies field and will prepare you to undertake dissertations or final projects that focus on transnational radio landscapes, transnational storytelling and aesthetics of radio and cultures of radio audiences in your third year. You will learn about radio in a local, national and transnational context. It will particularly appeal to students who have an interest in understanding how radio is organized and produced in other countries and how social, political and economic factors such as migrating and mobile communities, the reconceptualising of the nation state and new technologies are enabling radio to move beyond its national borders and serve larger audiences previously restricted by language or geographical borders.

Cinema And Psychoanalysis
20 credits

The art of cinema has the power to not only entertain us, but to also project and reflect representations of the self, fears, and anxieties. As we begin to study film more in depth using the lens of psychoanalysis we will uncover the complexities of the form and style of cinema to understand how narrative structure, genre, and characters are used to create meaning.

Technology And Transmedia Narratives
20 credits

This module is a critical and theoretical study of transmedia texts, branding and constructed meanings across a wide range of media. This is an option module for all students with an academic interest in the theoretical field and will prepare students who wish to undertake dissertations or final projects that focus on transmedia narrative development, story experience, and transmedia content production, entertainment branding, tackling global audiences/users and networking digital content in year three. You will learn about the continually evolving transmedia landscape and the new and emerging opportunities for creatives and audiences. It will particularly appeal to you if you have an interest in understanding how audiences are hailed through a variety of media platforms.

Creativity In The Media
20 credits

Creativity is a key concern in contemporary culture beyond the domain of the ‘artist’ or media worker. Creativity is cited as important in the discourse of sectors as disparate as business, education, urban regeneration and even contemporary political policy, amongst others. This module addresses the particular conditions in which creativity arises and is deployed.

Media Activism
20 credits

Media Activism is a practice-based research module for students who wish to study media activism, and engage in media activist work in practice within social justice, community media and voluntary sectors. This module will examine the role of media in political campaigns and social movements, with a focus on the role of digital communications. It will draw on a range of interdisciplinary literature from media studies, social movement studies and political theory, and examine case studies of political campaigns and social movements in the UK and globally.

Media Crime And Deviance
20 credits

This module builds on basic skills in theoretical studies earlier in the course and applies them to the critical and theoretical study of the portrayal of crime and deviance in the media. This is an option module for all students with an academic interest in the theoretical field and will prepare you to undertake dissertations or final projects that focus on issues around criminality, sexual practices, alternative lifestyles, queer culture, expressions of gender and sexuality in relation to crime, and the dramatisation of narratives. It will particularly appeal to you, if you have an interest in the representation of crime across a variety of media platforms.

Quality Global Television
20 credits

On this module you will examine and question what is meant by ‘Quality Television’ and will investigate the fluidity of what ‘quality’ has meant across time and within different production contexts. Throughout the module, you will be introduced to a range of concepts, themes and methodological approaches which relate to study in this field. You will be encouraged and supported to develop skills in confidently articulating your research in writing.

Digital Public Sphere
20 credits

Using public sphere pedagogy, this module will help you to connect activities and theoretical concepts taught in class to real world issues. Throughout the module, you will organise and contribute to a module blog (on Medium) and twitter handle, and, organise and participate in two town hall meetings.

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

Across each of the undergraduate degree routes there is an equal emphasis on production, theory and professional studies.

The Professional and Academic Development  strand of the course prepares students for at least two placements in a media or cultural industries organisation, such as the BBC, Maverick Television, Warwickshire County Cricket Club, newspapers, magazines, PR companies and local radio stations.

Teaching is conducted across a range of environments, including radio and TV studios, editing suites, computer classrooms, lecture theatres, seminar rooms, and online.

You will use blogs, create wikis and other interactive media to support their work and self-development.

All production teaching staff at the School are established media professionals who bring with them a range of expertise. They are able to recognise and respond to the rapidly changing demands of the media, ensuring that the course remains relevant to the industry.

The School maintains close contacts with a variety of media organisations including Sky, BBC, Maverick Television and Future Publishing, and visiting tutors and guest speakers regularly hold master class sessions to enhance and enrich students’ learning.

There is a thriving and inclusive research culture at the School. This includes academic staff who are research active, and UG and PG students too. The Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research (BCMCR) in the School of Media, welcomes visiting researchers from across the world and holds regular research seminars which mix presentations from staff, PG students and speakers from a range of our collaborative partnerships. BCMCR welcomes all students to research seminars, which are free to attend.

Examples of recent student work

Watch this showreel for a glimpse of what some of our incredible students have created in their time at Birmingham School of Media, featuring the best in film and TV, journalism, new media, photography, radio and much more.

Classroom activities and projects

Interactive teaching and learning is important to us, especially as this fosters an active and engaged community of thinking media workers. Twitter has been used in modules to enable more students to engage in informal, fun and diverse ways of learning. This gives students a sense of ownership of the module content and greater freedom to discuss topics through applying their own examples/practice. 


Student stories

Graduate Ella Robson tells you about what it was like to be a student at Birmingham School of Media.

This course is accredited by the following organisation:

Screenskills
Screenskills

Tick courses are endorsed by ScreenSkills as offering industry-relevant teaching. Working with industry experts, ScreenSkills awards the quality mark of the Tick to practice-based degree courses that most effectively provide students with the skills and knowledge required by employers in the screen industries.

The ScreenSkills Tick is an invaluable signpost for potential students, apprentices and employers to indicate those programmes that provide the most up-to-date and relevant industry training and education. It identifies the UK’s most industry-focused courses and apprenticeships enabling universities, colleges and employers to recruit the brightest talent.

Further Study

As a School, we invest significantly in our postgraduate provision as we recognise that more specialist and professional courses are required across the media industry. Our postgraduate courses include MA Event and Exhibition Management, MA Media Production, MA Public Relations, MA Multi-Platform and Mobile Journalism, MA Media and Cultural Research.

See full list of our postgraduate media courses

Trips and Visits

There is are a wealth of opportunities for students. Some modules include trips and visits, whilst others bring in guest speakers and arrange masterclasses.

Media blog

School of Media blog

Take a look at our blog to see the latest news and events from the School and get an insight into life as a student at Birmingham School of Media.

Read the latest post 

Enhancing your employability skills

Our track record for graduate employment is excellent, with the majority of graduates going into a media-related role. Each course opens up specific employability avenues related to the production route chosen. A high number of graduates have gone into producer/director roles, journalism, public relations, web development, freelance, and setting up their own businesses. 

Placements

The School strongly believes in the practical application of learning and is fortunate to have very strong links with employers and the media industry. Students on placements have worked with a wide range of organisations including the BBC, Maverick Television and Endemol.

More about our placement opportunities...

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.

Graduate stories

Naomi Fowler

Naomi Fowler

After graduating from the university Naomi Fowler used her Media and Communication degree to secure a number of positions around the world before setting up in London as a freelance radio producer. She now produces programmes for a range of international broadcasters and enjoys the freedom she has to investigate the stories and issues that interest her in various countries.

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

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our media and communication course is most popular with international students from:  

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.

State-of-the-art facilities

You will learn in our state-of-the-art facilities - including the £62m fully-digital Media Centre - located on the City Centre Campus. You will enjoy access to extensive studio and workshop space including four TV studios, six radio studios and broadcast-standard edit suites, as well as cutting-edge equipment and software.

Facilities include the largest TV floor of any university in the UK, a ‘green screen’ and the MILO motion control camera - we are one of just two universities in Europe to offer MILO technology.

Our 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.

Ellie Tomsett

Ellie Tomsett

Lecturer – Programme Lead for Foundation

Ellie is a lecturer in media and course director for the School of Media's Foundation Programme. Before joining BCU Ellie worked in Higher Education for four years. Ellie taught film studies and screenwriting students at Sheffield Hallam University and contextual studies to filmmakers, animators and photographers at Manchester School of Art. Before teaching in HE Ellie worked in the UK film education sector, during this time she delivered training to teachers, youth workers and professional filmmakers across the country and organised filmmaking and theory activities for large organisations such as The BFI, The Industry Trust and Transformation Trust.

Ellie's research is focused on contemporary feminisms and stand-up comedy and she has been Researcher in residence with the UK Women in Comedy festival since 2014. In 2017 she co-founded Mixed Bill a comedy and gender research network which seeks to engage comedy industry professionals, researchers and members of the public in discussions and activities that address the under-representation of minority groups within the comedy industry. She has published on feminist and post-feminist stand-up comedy, self-deprecatory comedy and body positivity as well as more recently exploring comic reactions to the Brexit

Read Ellie's full profile

Sarah Jones

Sarah Jones

Head of School

Sarah is the Head of the Birmingham School of Media at Birmingham City University. Her practice and research sits within emerging technologies and the development of immersive experiential films.

Previously, Sarah was Deputy Head of Media and Performing Arts at Coventry University and Journalism Programme Leader at University of Salford. She has largely focused on building collaborations and international partnerships. In March 2014, Sarah created the Global News Relay where a team broadcasted around the world for twelve hours collaborating with other institutions in the US, India, Australia, Malaysia, Norway.

Sarah is an Apple Distinguished Educator which puts her among a group of global leading educators experimenting and utilising technology in the classrooms. Her approach is based on mobile global collaborative learning. Funded research projects within education have used virtual reality for experiential learning in areas such as media and healthcare.

Research is focused on immersive realities (VR/AR), experiential film within 360 immersive storytelling. Sarah looks to build experiences that allow for immersion, using whatever technology she can get her hands on. She is working to define a form of film practice around immersive experiential film and play with ideas of multi sensory VR to enhance presence in an environment. Sarah is also working on a Google Digital News Initiative project, in collaboration with the Coventry Telegraph, building a VR game around the Blitz.

Sarah is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and previously served on the on the board of the Association of Journalism Educators. She is a Trustee of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and holds external roles at Northampton, Leeds Trinity and an examiner for the NCTJ.

Previously, she worked for ITV as a correspondent and news anchor. Sarah has won awards for her investigative and immersive reporting. In 2007, she spent a year on secondment to New York for GMTV following Presidential candidates on the campaign trail.

Read Sarah's full profile

Vanessa Jackson

Course Leader - Media Production

Course director Vanessa worked as a BBC series producer, working on factual and documentary programmes, lifestyle and makeover shows, and live studio and outside broadcasts. She also worked as a project manager for the BBC series ‘Coast’, and was part of the team to win the first BAFTA to be awarded for interactivity.

Read Vanessa's full profile

Dr. Gemma Commane

Lecturer in Media and Communication (Pathway Leader)

Gemma is a lecturer in media and communication, and an active researcher in the fields of media and cultural studies, and gender and sexuality. Her research interests focus on contemporary cultural studies, alternative constructions of femininity, entrepreneurship within BDSM and kink, gender and sexuality, dirt and stigma, neo-burlesque / queer performance art and ethnography. Gemma is currently working on several areas of research, specifically: bad girls and dirty bodies, emotion and researcher positionality in ethnographic research, and entrepreneurship in kink, sex work and social media.

Read Gemma's full profile

Duncan Sedgwick

Course Director MA Events and Exhibition Management

Prior to joining Birmingham City University Duncan spent over 20 years working in the events and exhibition industry.

Working for a various of clients on a wide range of events he has worked throughout the UK, Europe and in the USA.

Since 1999 Duncan has been a Director of a Midlands-based events production company.

Read Duncan's full profile

Iain Taylor

Iain Taylor

Lecturer in Music Industries

Iain Taylor is a Lecturer in Music Industries in the Birmingham School of Media at Birmingham City University, and currently completing his PhD at University of the West of Scotland. His research is concerned with the negotiation of value around music formats, and our relationship with recorded music in an age of ever increasing digital intangibility. In particular, he is interested in the tensions that exist in our relationships with both analogue and digital music formats, and ways of thinking and talking about hybridity between analogue and digital media and practice.

Before entering academia he worked variously in events marketing and PR, music tuition, and as a multi-instrumentalist musician.

Read Iain's full profile

Philip Young

Senior Lecturer

A Senior Lecturer for Public Relations at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, Philip has significant experience as an award-winning journalist and owner of a successful PR company.

Before joining Birmingham City University in 2015, Philip previously taught at the University of Sunderland, where he organised and spoke at several innovative PR conferences, which introduced almost 1,000 practitioners to social media. He has been investigating the impact of social media on PR since 2005, as a lead researcher on the pioneering EuroBlog project, as well as being a co-author of Online Public Relations.

Philip has also previously taught at Lund University in Sweden, as well as participating in conferences and talks in Poland, Belgium and Germany.

Read Philip's full profile

Sam Coley

Course Leader MA Media Production and Senior Lecturer

Sam Coley is Senior Lecturer in Radio at Birmingham City University, where he teaches radio production, online radio, documentary production, commercial production and digital audio editing. He has a background in both the UK and New Zealand radio industries and worked as Creative Director for the Northern Region of New Zealand's TRN Network.

He has worked as a radio trainer for the BBC World Service Trust and as a media consultant for CARE International and the Prison Radio Association. In 2006, 2008 and 2010 Sam travelled to Africa to work on various audio projects and research, including radio programmes and advertising campaigns designed to promote sexual health and reproduction awareness for young Ethiopians.

Sam is a radio documentary producer with an interest in the use of audio slideshows. In 2009 he produced features for BBC WM, Spin 1038 Dublin and Absolute Radio. In 2010 he was nominated as a finalist in the "Best On-line Producer" category of the UK Radio Academy's Production Awards and also worked as a freelance documentary producer for Radio New Zealand.

Read Sam's full profile

Matt Grimes

Senior Lecturer in Music Industries and Radio, Award Leader MA Music Industries, Degree Leader Music Industries

Matt worked in the music industries for a number of years and later ran a media company that enabled access to media for marginalised social and community groups and young people in rural areas. By linking them up with SMEs in the region, Matt's students learn that there is hard graft in this glamorous-sounding industry. He is developing the course to make it as relevant as possible to the working world, to ensure the students are equipped with the skills needed to make it in this competitive industry.

Read Matt's full profile

Poppy Wilde

Dr Poppy Wilde

Lecturer in Media and Communication

Dr. Poppy Wilde is a Lecturer in Media and Communication in the School of Media at Birmingham City University. Her work focusses on what it means and how feels to be posthuman, by exploring how posthuman subjectivities are enabled and embodied. She has conducted autoethnographic projects exploring the lived experience of MMORPG gaming with particular focus on the avatar-gamer as an embodiment of posthuman subjectivity. In her current work she is extending this to explore posthuman conceptions of death, considering whether game environments allow a space to think differently about dying. She teaches media, communication, and cultural theory, often focusing on new / digital / social media contexts and practices. Her research interests are posthumanism, digital cultures, embodiment, affect, performance in online contexts and the lived experience in research methods.

Read Poppy's full profile