Cookies and Privacy

The University uses cookies on this website to provide the best experience possible including delivering personalised content on this website, other websites and social media. By continuing to use the site you agree to this, or your can go to our cookie policy to learn more and manage your settings.

course page main image

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

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....

Studying with us in 2021/22 and 2022/23

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses.  Information about the arrangements for the 2021/22 academic year can be found here.  

 

Should the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continue in the 2022/23 academic year or subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

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

Overview

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.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this 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

Entry Requirements

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

Essential Requirements

80 UCAS points

LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS
GCSE
  • GCSE English Language at grade C/4 or above
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment
Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level) See level 3 entry under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details
Scottish National 5
  • English Language at grade C or above
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment
IELTS 6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.
Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications
A Level and Advanced VCE
  • CDD / 80 UCAS points
  • 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
Access to HE Diploma
  • Pass with 60 credits overall. At least 45 credits at Level 3.
  • Arts, Media and Publishing subjects preferred but other subjects also considered
  • Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma (2016 – present)
  • Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF) (2010 - 2016)
  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma (2002 – 2010)
MMP
Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)
  • Pass
  • Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications to obtain 80 pts
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
  • Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications to obtain 80 pts
  • 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
International Baccalaureate Diploma
  • 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) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB Diploma will be accepted
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 either Ordinary Level (minimum grade O1-O4 (or A-C/A1-C3)) or Higher level minimum grade H1/H7 (or A-D / A1-D3 up to and including 2016
OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma MMP
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.
  • 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).
T-Levels Pass overall (C or above on the core)
UAL Extended Diploma in Art & Design Merit overall
UAL Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production & Technology Merit overall
UAL Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts Merit overall
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

6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.

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

  • International students

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 4 years
  • £13,500 per year

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

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.

Free access to Rosetta Stone

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

Excess printing (optional)

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

Books (optional)

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

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)

For this course it would be useful to have an SD card, a USB stick (minimum 16GB) and external hard drive (minimum 40gb), as well as over the ear headphones. 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

UCAS

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
 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.

Course in Depth

Foundation year

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

The purpose of this practical production module is to explore media production techniques in film, online video, television and immersive media. 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.

The purpose of this practical production module is to explore media production techniques in journalism, public relations, music industries, radio and audio production. 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.

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.

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.

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):

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.

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.

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 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.

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):

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.

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.

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):

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Digital Storytelling techniques have evolved to include everything from film techniques, still images, immersive-audio, environmental storytelling, and more. In this module we will consider the different ways in which these techniques can be effectively utilised to allow creative citizens to share their stories and to create engaging and meaningful stories through digital platforms.

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):

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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 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.

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.

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.

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 courses 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.

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. 

The showreel below gives you a glimpse into what some of our incredible students have created during their time at Birmingham School of Media, featuring the best in TV, journalism, radio and more.

Employability

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

Tom Hall- graduate stories

Tom Hall, graduated in 2018
Imaging Producer at Bauer Media

I create a range of imaging items for both national and local radio stations within the Bauer City Network. We work across 52 stations and productions can range from promos, sponsors, spotlights, partnerships and more. My degree really helped prepare me for this role, not only with learning practical skills such as radio production and audio editing but also the essential skills like communicating in a professional environment and working within a big team of creatives to achieve a mutual goal. It also provided the fundamentals for me to develop contacts which came in handy when I was trying to get into the industry."

Find out more about Tom's role

International Students

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 and Staff

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

Ellie Tomsett

Lecturer – Course Director for Foundation in School of Media

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

More about Ellie

Robin Kay

Lecturer

Robin is a Lecturer in Media and Communication with a New Media specialism. He has a background within the music industry having worked for several notable record labels and industry organisations including: Ministry of Sound Recordings, Defected Records, Sanctuary Records and PRS. He has extensive experience within education and teaches creative and digital media subjects focused around web authoring, visual communication and immersive media. With an interest in interactive and immersive media, he is currently working on several projects involving emerging and innovative technology within an educational context. Robin is currently working with BCU’s STEAMhouse as an Academic Coordinator to support their immersive media provision and is engaged with the Reality Enhanced Augmented Learning Faculty Learning Community (REAL FLC) situated in the Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences.

More about Robin

Dave Harte

Deputy Head of School 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 Media. He supervises PhDs in the areas of journalism and community media.

More about Dave

Dr Sarah Wood

Head of Birmingham Institute of Media and English

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

Ross Hawkes

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

More about Ross

Hilary Weston Jones

Lecturer Professional and Academic Development

Hilary spent 24 years working as a Production Manager in broadcast television. Eight of these years were spent at the BBC in Birmingham. Her credits include working on documentaries (Panorama, Dispatches), magazine series (Countryfile), reality (Big Brother), children’s (Dog and Duck), ob doc series (Trawlermen), as well as drama, cookery and make over series. Hilary has been with BCU for three years and love working with students to help them build up their skills, experience and employability for careers in the media.

More about Hilary