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Media and Cultural Studies - MA

Our MA Media and Cultural Studies course is designed to help you to develop careers as an academic or as a professional cultural or media worker. The course has emerged out of the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research and focuses on the expertise of scholars actively involved in a range of live research projects....

Studying with us in 2021/22

It is possible that the 2021/22 academic year may be affected by the ongoing disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.  Information about the arrangements the University has put in place for the 2021/22 academic year in response to Covid-19 and the emerging variants can be found here.


Should the impact of Covid-19 continue in 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 Postgraduate Taught
  • Study mode Full Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School Birmingham School of Media
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

Overview

Our MA Media and Cultural Studies course is designed to help you to develop careers as an academic or as a professional cultural or media worker. The course has emerged out of the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research and focuses on the expertise of scholars actively involved in a range of live research projects. You’ll be encouraged to develop as an internationally-minded research professional.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

You will have the opportunity of becoming involved in live research projects and scholarly activities within Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research. Areas of expertise include Jazz and Aesthetics working with the London Jazz Festival; Evaluating Cultural Leadership and Diversity; audience engagement projects funded by Nesta.

Doing the MA at BCU provided me with much more than just a learning experience. My knowledge of the subject developed but being part of the research community and attending BCMCR research seminars provided me with opportunities beyond course content.
Emily Bettison

Why Choose Us?

  • You will study alongside leading academic researchers and be a part of a thriving research community.
  • You will encounter innovative approaches to research including practice based approaches.
  • We work in partnership with leading organisations such as Nesta, Birmingham Hippodrome, London Jazz Festival.
  • The programme will prepare you for further doctoral study in media and cultural studies.
  • You will have opportunities to be involved in live research projects.

Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements
Essential
Applicants should have a first degree or equivalent at 2:1, or above, or have considerable experience in a related field and be able to demonstrate outstanding ability and potential.

Applicants should have sound academic skills (research, writing, presentation), an interest in ideas and their application and some basic competence in IT skills (word-processing, internet activities and so on).

Above all, candidates for this exciting and innovative course need to have an inquiring mind, an aptitude for researching, sharing and communicating ideas and a desire to develop as an independent and self-motivated thinker.
International Students

Entry requirements here

Fees & How to Apply

  • International students

Award: MA

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £7,700 per year
  • Full Time
  • 18 months (including Professional Placement - see below*)
  • £8,500 per year

Award: MA

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £13,200 per year
  • Full Time
  • 18 months (including Professional Placement - see below*)
  • £14,520 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.

Free Adobe Creative Cloud licence

Students studying on this course can request a free licence to install the entire suite of applications on up to two personal devices.

Excess printing (optional)

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

Placement expenses (optional)

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

Field trips (optional)

This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.

Personal stationery and study materials (optional)

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

Accommodation and living costs

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

*Professional Placement option

The Professional Placement version of the course is optional and is offered as an alternative to the standard version of the course.

This will allow you to complete a credit bearing, 20 week Professional Placement as an integral part of your Master’s Degree. The purpose of the Professional Placement is to improve your employability skills which will, through the placement experience, allow you to evidence your professional skills, attitudes and behaviours at the point of entry to the postgraduate job market. Furthermore, by completing the Professional Placement, you will be able to develop and enhance your understanding of the professional work environment, relevant to your chosen field of study, and reflect critically on your own professional skills development within the workplace.

You will be responsible for finding and securing your own placement. The University, however, will draw on its extensive network of local, regional and national employers to support you in finding a suitable placement to complement your chosen area of study. You will also benefit from support sessions delivered by Careers+ as well as advice and guidance from your School.

Placements will only be confirmed following a competitive, employer-led selection process, therefore the University will not be able to guarantee placements for students who have registered for the ‘with Professional Placement’ course. All students who do not find a suitable placement or do not pass the competitive selection process will be automatically transferred back to the standard, non-placement version of the course.

Personal statement

Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.

Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Your passion and motivations

Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?

Why this course?

Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.

What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?

Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.

Relevant academic or work experience

Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?

You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

Course in Depth

Modules

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 180 credits):

This module will explore the various ways in which academics, popular critics, producers and audiences have made sense of this complicated term and identify just how important the modern mass media have been in shaping debate around culture and cultural values.

This module explores the current state of international academic knowledge and debates based on the research interests of staff and students involved with the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research. It will provide you with a systematic understanding of approaches to researching media cultures and the opportunity to develop your insights through an area of interest, connected to your MA project.

This module will introduce you to your specialist field, focusing on the key skills, issues and debates surrounding the creative industries and in your specialist field.

This module explores the range and character of contemporary cultural policy and the creative industries in terms of their economic and social value through research, analysis and communication.

The module is intended to help you develop and consolidate your ideas for your MA Major Project. By providing a common module that comprises of all MA Media cohorts, Research in Practice aims to facilitate a shared skillset that aids the successful completion of the MA Major project, as well as the potential for routes into PhD progression beyond. It is also designed to encourage interdisciplinary discussions across MA awards.

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 BCU Careers.

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 practical outcome with accompanying reflective, critical and contextual material. The main consideration when choosing your topic is that it must be relevant to your programme and you should consider the relevance of this topic to your future academic or professional development.

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

Course structure

The programme provides a supportive environment that fosters critical debate amongst you and your peers and partners and promotes intellectual curiosity and rigour. The course facilitates transcultural and interdisciplinary dialogues, peer-to-peer interaction, collaborative practices, experimentation, risk taking and active engagement with professionals, all within an international context.

The course adopts a blended learning approach by introducing key topics and issues through a variety of learning. Learning activities include lectures, seminars, practice-led, self-directed and experiential learning; in person and online through Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), live projects, and interactive workshops.  

You will receive training through workshops, seminars, group and individual tutorials, to assist in identifying specialist areas for research, research methods, and project and time management. You are expected to work independently, applying knowledge gained in response to assignments using your initiative to identify pertinent issues within the field (in relation to your own practice/specialism) and to propose innovative solutions.

As you progress you will be assisted in formulating your research questions and individual research projects. The programme includes opportunities to work individually and as part of a team. You will present and communicate your research and practice to peers and other partners, disseminating your research, ideas and works through examining alternative modes, media and contexts (live and/or speculative) to different audiences.


Student stories

Simon Crisp- MA Media and Cultural Studies graduate

Simon Crisp, MA Media and Cultural Studies graduate

“After working as a journalist for 15 years, I decided to return to university to explore the opportunity of a career change. The MA in Media and Cultural Studies stood out to me primarily because it is structured not only to help students develop as media or culture professionals, but also to develop as independent researchers. Having identified that I wanted to continue to do a PhD, the course offered me an ideal route into this and I have now begun my PhD at BCU.

Being a student at BCU meant that I had access to a range of resources including academic skills and writing courses, which were useful having been away from academia for so long. MA sessions were led by research-active experts from the School of Media and additional speakers often attended to present and discuss their work and research in relation to the module topics. The BCMCR research community and attending its weekly research seminars also opened my eyes to the possibilities of academic research. This, in turn, allowed me to think about my own research in new ways and develop new ideas. 

There was a good sense of community both between fellow MA students, and with staff who always available to help. The postgraduate researcher community and the PRG Studio, also offered me the opportunity to meet with other researchers and participate with community events. Being based in the heart of Birmingham and studying at BCU also allows access to wide array of media and cultural opportunities. There are countless cultural events which take place in the city, and opportunities to participate and be involved are frequently advertised to students.”

Employability

Enhancing employability skills

The course has a strong emphasis on employability and provides you with the option of gaining professional experience and transferable skills, hereby, enabling you to gain a unique insight into and invaluable first-hand experience of academic and professional cultures. The course is designed to provide a clear route in to doctoral study.

This course also offers the unique opportunity to obtain professional experience within this specialised field by working on live research projects.  

Placements

The MA is delivered in affiliation with the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research (BCMCR) at Birmingham City University which offers a platform and supportive network for you, as well as for alumni and professionals, and provides opportunities to engage in live research projects within this field.

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.

Links to industry

The programme enjoys links to academic institutions such as MeCCSA, ECREA and IAMCR. Other industry links include organisations with whom we have undertaken research such as Nesta, the British Council and Birmingham Hippodrome.

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

Dr Asya Draganova

Lecturer in Media and Communication

Asya Draganova is a Media and Popular Music Culture lecturer. In her research and publications, Asya uses an ethnographic approach to explore topics including contemporary East European subcultural scenes, popular music heritage, and the relationships between identity, place, and myth in styles like heavy metal and the Canterbury Sound.

Asya co-leads the Popular Music Research Cluster at the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research. She is involved with journals such as Riffs and Metal Music Studies, and also writes music reviews for The Arts Desk and the I newspaper.

Asya plays the guitar, sings and explores creativity in poetry and visual arts.

asya.draganova@bcu.ac.uk

More about Asya

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

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.

More about Duncan