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Graduate Diploma: Media Portfolio (Pre-Masters) - GradDip

Currently viewing course to start in 2023/24 Entry. Switch to 2022/23 Entry

This course is for graduates who want to undertake masters’ level study but who have not yet met the required standard for admission to their chosen course. Through the course, we aim to help you to enhance your creative portfolio, knowledge and skills to a point that you will be eligible to join one of the MA courses within the School of Media....

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


This course is for graduates who want to undertake masters’ level study but who have not yet met the required standard for admission to their chosen course. Through the course, we aim to help you to enhance your creative portfolio, knowledge and skills to a point that you will be eligible to join one of the MA courses within the School of Media.

We acknowledge that students will begin the course with very different development needs; perhaps you need some support with your written or spoken English; or perhaps your portfolio would benefit from the world-class facilities available at Birmingham City University and the input of our experienced academic staff? Whether your development needs are creative or academic, this course will help you achieve your goals.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

Your course begins with a diagnostic tutorial during which we will assess the support you need to develop your creative portfolio, knowledge and skills. This will result in a personalised plan to help you achieve your goals. The Academic Skills modules will allow you to improve those all-important skills needed for successful masters’ level study, such as understanding and communicating theories and arguments relevant to your practice. Through the Academic Skills modules, we aim to provide specialist support for students with English as a second language.

On successful completion of the course, you are guaranteed access to one of the following MA courses in the School of Media:

    • MA Public Relations
    • MA Media Production
    • MA Data Journalism
    • MA Events, Festivals and Exhibition Management

    You may also be eligible to join one of the other MAs in the wider Faculty of Arts Design and Media, depending on the suitability of your portfolio and abilities.

    While the main purpose of this course is to prepare you for Masters level study, the following transferable skills are embedded throughout the curriculum to help you become more employable:

    • Time management
    • Project management
    • Effective communication through a variety of methods, including presentations
    • Group working
    • Problem solving
    • Digital literacy

    We recognise that students will have different prior experiences and competences and may not need to complete the full course in order to achieve the standards required for entry to Masters. Depending on your prior experience, the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning scheme may enable you to make a case to undertake just those aspects of the course which meet your development needs.

    As part of the application process, we require a digital portfolio demonstrating critical thinking, technical abilities and creative process relevant to the subject area.

    Why Choose Us?

    • The School of Media, based at the new City Centre Campus, boasts state of the art facilities across all media disciplines.
    • You'll instantly become part of the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media’s 6,000-strong student community, and you will be supported by our highly experienced staff, who are all nationally and internationally respected media professionals with many years’ experience of working in their specific discipline.

    Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

    The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

    Open Days

    Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to explore our campus and facilities in person. You'll be able to hear more about your chosen subject area in our course talks.

    Next Open Day: Sunday 27 November 2022

    Book your place

    Entry Requirements

    Essential Requirements

    Good Honours Degree relevant to the discipline or equivalent experience.

    IELTS 5.5 overall, with no less than 5.5 in all bands, or equivalent.

    All applicants should also submit a statement of purpose (why you wish to study on the course, which specific discipline you wish to study, previous experience of work and/or study in the specific discipline).

    You may also be required to undertake an interview.

    International Students

    Entry requirements here

    Mature Applicants

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

    Fees & How to Apply

    Please select your student status to view fees and apply
    • UK Student
    • International Student

    UK students

    Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

    Award: GradDip

    Starting: Sep 2023

    • Mode
    • Duration
    • Fees
    • Full Time
    • 1 year
    • £9,250 in 2023/24

    Award: GradDip

    Starting: Jan 2024

    • Mode
    • Duration
    • Fees
    • Full Time
    • 1 year
    • £9,250 in 2023/24

    International students

    Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

    Award: GradDip

    Starting: Sep 2023

    • Mode
    • Duration
    • Fees
    • Full Time
    • 1 year
    • £13,980 in 2023/24

    Award: GradDip

    Starting: Jan 2024

    • Mode
    • Duration
    • Fees
    • Full Time
    • 1 year
    • £13,980 in 2023/24

    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.


    You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

    Field trips

    All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

    Access to Microsoft Office 365

    Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

    Key software

    You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

    Key subscriptions

    Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

    Excess printing (optional)

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

    Books (optional)

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

    Placement expenses (optional)

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

    Field trips (optional)

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

    Personal stationery and study materials (optional)

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

    Accommodation and living costs

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

    Guidance for UK students

    UK students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

    The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

    Applying through UCAS

    1. Register with UCAS
    2. Login to UCAS and complete your details
    3. Select your course and write a personal statement
    4. Get a reference
    5. Pay your application fee and submit your application

    Guidance for International students

    There are three ways to apply:

    1) Direct to the University

    You will need to complete our International Application Form and Equal Opportunities Form, and submit them together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.

    2) Through a country representative

    Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.

    3) Through UCAS

    If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

    You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.

    Personal statement

    UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*

    The personal statement gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

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

    • Course choice - Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
    • Career plans - If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
    • Work experience - Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.
    • School or college experience - Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.
    • Non-accredited skills or achievement - eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

    You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

    Worried about Personal Statements?

    If you've got no idea where to start or just want to check you're on the right track, we’ve got expert advice and real examples from our students to help you nail your personal statement. You can even download our ultimate personal statement guide for free.

    Get personal statement advice

    *Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.

    Course in Depth


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

    Developing a Portfolio (Media) 20 credits

    Download course specification

    Download now

    The overall aim of the course is to help you progress to postgraduate study by supporting the development of:

    • Technical and practical skills relevant to the discipline
    • Knowledge and understanding of the principal contextual areas relevant to your chosen discipline
    • The ability to critically reflect on your own work and the work of others relevant to the discipline
    • The ability to work independently, managing time and resources effectively
    • The ability to research, analyse and apply relevant theoretical frameworks to your own practice
    • The ability to communicate, in writing and verbally, key aspects of the discipline as it relates to your own practice

    You will learn through:

    • Staff presentations or lectures that introduce topics and establish key concepts
    • Directed study tasks involving academic or production activities
    • Set readings that allow you to explore subject matter further and aid your preparation for seminar discussions
    • Interactive forums and discussion
    • Task-centred workshops and presentations where you are encouraged to work in small groups and take on role responsibilities
    • Simulated professional production practice
    • Real world projects

    Full tutorial support will be given throughout from staff, all of whom are industry professionals.


    You will learn of range of skills which will be key to enhancing your future employability and future studies at postgraduate level.

    Specifically you will learn to:

    • Develop your own practice and how to analyse this in relation to future employment options.
    • Identify the relationship of theory to practice and how this can be used to develop your own individual identity.
    • Negotiate, plan, exhibit and present to a professional standard.
    • Work independently and collaboratively.
    • Be a self-motivated, organised, effective learner.

    You will also learn skills in a range of workshop practices and lectures in relation to your own individual development in your chosen subject.

    Links to industry

    The School of Media has a wide array of links with partner organisations regionally, nationally and internationally. These partnerships will contribute to your learning and teaching activities. Our overseas partnerships often result in opportunities for you to mix with students from different countries and gain different perspectives.

    Some of our partner organisations include:

    BBC, CIPR, Washington Post, Huffpost, The National Exhibition Centre, Sky as well as many other national and regional media organisations and businesses.


    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:

    We provide prospective students with a professional and efficient application and student service, and maintain close relationships with former students who have studied at postgraduate (and undergraduate level) throughout the world.

    The School of Media has recruited students from all continents.

    The course provides the ability to study in one of the most highly respected Schools of Media in the country and beyond. You will learn to develop your own creative practice in a thriving creative community in the heart of the UK’s second city on a course which mixes traditional surroundings with current international debates. The ability to develop your own individual practices alongside a range of local institutions and industries will give a unique insight into the culture and markets of the UK.

    Facilities & Staff

    Parkside and Curzon Buildings

    Our Facilities

    The School of Media boasts state of the art facilities. The broadcast standard television and radio studios are regularly used by external media companies and links with HuffPost have led to the development of the Schools own media centre.

    Links with internationally recognised events organisations such as the NEC provide students with the opportunity to learn from other media professionals.

    Our staff

    Paul Bradshaw

    Course Leader (MA Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism)

    Paul Bradshaw leads both the MA in Data Journalism and the MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism at Birmingham City University, and works as a consultant data journalist in the BBC England data unit. He is also the founder of the investigative journalism crowdsourcing site, Help Me Investigate, which was shortlisted in...

    More about Paul

    Sam Coley

    Course Leader MA Media Production and Associate Professor (International)

    Sam Coley is an Associate Professor (International) for the Faculty of Arts, Design & Media at Birmingham City University. He is also Award Leader for the MA Media Production at Birmingham School of Media, where he teaches a range of undergraduate and postgraduate audio production modules.

    More about Sam

    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...

    More about Philip