Public Relations and Media - BA (Hons)
With close industry links, the BA (Hons) Public Relations and Media course provides you with the skills and knowledge that today’s PR professionals need in a fast-moving media environment....
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. Any arrangements put in place by the University for the 2021/22 academic year 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.
With close industry links, the BA (Hons) Public Relations and Media course provides you with the skills and knowledge that today’s PR professionals need in a fast-moving media environment.
The course is recognised by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and provides plenty of opportunities to build contacts with some of the UK’s leading PR organisations, working on genuine campaigns and pitching ideas to clients.
What's covered in this course?
Combining practical skills and industry insights, Public Relations and Media offers a truly unique blend of communication perspectives that will put you in the very best position to pursue a PR career.
Turn your ideas into a reality and be brave with your approach to your work; in PR, there is no such thing as a bad idea, there is always potential and this course will help you realise yours.
Informed by the working approaches of top PR, communication and digital teams across the UK and beyond, this course will develop your understanding, awareness and appreciation of PR as a concept and a discipline. You’ll become a critical media consumer and you’ll draw upon your own areas of interest to assess influence and impact in action. You’ll turn this knowledge into your own creative campaigns, so from the moment you begin, you will be able to build an impressive production portfolio that will make you stand out from the recruitment crowd.
Why Choose Us?
- You will join a course recognised by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, closely linked to industry and with the support of a mentor scheme with PR, communications and social media practitioners.
- You will be taught by respected PR professionals and academics, who have managed successful PR agencies and run exciting award-winning client campaigns. The lecturing team delivers a balance of critical understanding and effective delivery.
- We will prepare you for a fast-paced, rewarding career in PR. You’ll gain valuable experience through regular industry networking opportunities which will help you make contacts, build confidence and put your skills into practice.
- PR works in fast-changing world and our team helps set the pace in social media content and influence.
- In PR, it’s not just what you know, it’s who you know. Our expert team is very well connected, with close links to renowned theorists, the CIPR and PRCA, plus a multitude of communication organisations and professionals in the region, the UK and beyond.
- PR and Media is the complete package for wannabe communications professionals. It provides you with plenty of platforms to build your profile and those all-important contacts, so you can step into the communications industry with confidence.
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
112 UCAS points
|LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS|
|Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level)||See level 3 entry under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details|
|Scottish National 5||
Minimum overall score of 6.0, with 6.0 in writing and no less than 5.5 in the remaining three skills.
|Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications|
|A Level and Advanced VCE||
|AS and AS VCE||
|Access to HE Diploma||
|Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)||
|IBO Certificate in Higher Level||
|International Baccalaureate Diploma||
|Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers)||Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 112 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||DMM|
|Scottish Advanced Higher||
|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|
|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
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|
Minimum overall score of 6.0, with 6.0 in writing and no less than 5.5 in the remaining three skills.
If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.
|International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).|
International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).
Applications from mature students (21+) with alternative qualifications and/or considerable work experience will be considered on their merits.
Fees & How to Apply
- UK students
- International students
Award: BA (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 3 years
- £9,250 per year
- Apply via UCAS
Award: BA (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 3 years
- £13,200 per year
£150 free credit (home/EU students only)
For 2021 entry, all new home/EU undergraduate students will receive £150 worth of free credit to spend in a host of ways, on books and a range of learning materials.
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.
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.
You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.
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 access to LinkedIn Learning, which offers over 5,000 in-depth and bite-sized courses.
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.
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)
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
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
There are three ways to apply:
1) Direct to the University
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.
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:
Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
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.
Get more information on writing personal statements.
*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 a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):
This module underpins the first year of the course and provides a solid understanding of the development and influence of mass media. From critiquing media texts to considering audiences, this enlightening module will help you see media today in new and exciting ways, to enhance your own media output.
Understanding Public Relations - Week-by-week, this module will cover all the core components of modern PR practice. You will use your news and consumer awareness to inform lively discussions and workshop activities. As an emerging PR practitioner, you will consider target audiences and discover how to use different platforms and channels for the benefit of your client or cause.
This hands-on module will equip you with the appreciation of and tools for establishing and running an effective event. A key activity in many PR campaigns, events and exhibitions are great platforms to reach an audience and through research and planning, you will develop your own ideas for hosting a successful event.
Find out how to bend the media to your whim and what makes influencers so influential. During this module, you will develop core media and influencer relations skills. It establishes an understanding of the dynamic of the relationship between the press, broader media, bloggers, vloggers and other social media influencers. You will then begin to create content that can be used across a wide range of platforms and channels.
Media and PR have influence and impact upon stakeholders and publics from hyperlocal and regional levels to national and international reach. This module will explore a range of challenging briefs where PR support can make a difference to different groups and deliver measurable outcomes – and you will come up with the communication goods!
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 80 credits):
In Live Production 2 you will build on skills developed in production work in year one. You will research, plan and develop production material relevant to your production specialism. You will learn industry-level, specialist practical skills and develop your own professional practice through a range of production activities and workshops. The aim is to encourage you to be original and creative while recognising professional contexts and audience demands.
The module will give you the freedom to apply specialist and integrated media production skills through experimentation and group learning in your production area. You will apply the skills you have learnt to offer solutions to real production challenges. Your solutions will demonstrate your critical understanding of the issues related to media production contexts.
In this module, you can be expected to examine PR activity in a societal context, including role plays of ethical and professional dilemmas. Informed by past and present examples and case studies, you will gain a deeper understanding of the purpose and function of PR and the content within which the industry finds itself today.
From analysis through to evaluation, you will learn how to thoroughly research, creatively develop, successfully deliver and effectively evaluate a PR campaign, creating your own proposal whilst also working on a group pitch presentation to a chosen client.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete at least 40 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.
The programme structure allows you to choose an option from modules that are operated on a faculty-wide basis. This option is taken in semester two of year two:
- Collaborative Practice – this module allows for collaboration with students from other Schools within the Art, Design and Media faculty.
- Work Experience – you may choose to undertake an additional work placement.
- Live Project – you will work to a brief on a real-world or simulated project. A series of live project briefs will be set each year, including an option based on an overseas visit.
The programme structure allows you to choose an option from modules that are offered within the School of Media across other programmes. Some options are closely aligned with your area of study but you may choose to take an option from any in the following list (note that not all options may be offered each year). This option is taken in semester two of year two:
- Creating Compelling Content
- Campaigning and Investigative journalism
- Lifestyle and Branded Media Content
- Bi-Media drama
- Television Studio
- Music, Media and Digitalisation
- Digital Content Distribution
- Advanced Visual Communication
- Music Industry Promotional Practices
- Commercial Production for Radio
- Radio Documentary
- Fashion Photography
- Gender, Sexuality and the Body
- Comedy in the Media and Popular Culture
- Perspectives on Community and Alternative Media
- Race, Ethnicity and the Media
- Media and Materiality
- Fandoms and Subcultures
- Communities of Practice: Culture, Heritage and Space
- Film Cultures
- Media Censorship and Regulation
- Celebrity Culture
Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):
This last piece of the puzzle is in your hands. You can decide how to frame your final year project in order to apply your skills, demonstrate your competencies and create something that exists in the real world. Whether it is your own PR agency, in collaboration with peers, working to live briefs, or establishing an area of PR research to further inform your practice, this Major Project will give you the chance to take a confident step into the industry, and the experience to back it up.
In Live Production 3 you will further develop production skills from your first two years. You will research, plan and develop production material relevant to your production specialism. You will take an experimental and innovate approach to develop your own professional practice through a range of production activities and workshops. The aim is to encourage you to synthesis skills in research and production in order to showcase your creativity whilst recognising professional contexts and audience demands.
The module will give you the freedom to apply specialist and integrated media production skills through individual and group learning in your production area. You will consult with industry in order to develop solutions to real production challenges. Your solutions will demonstrate your critical understanding of the issues related to media production contexts.
Promotional Culture sets PR in a wider context, looking also at advertising, publicity, marketing and branding, but through a cultural studies lens. Enterprise Start Up is for those students considering striking out on their own, with an emphasis on practical advice.
You will consider what it means to be a public relations or media professional and work to refine your portfolio and create a distinctive CV. These workshops will also help provide you with practical skills so you can present yourself, and your work, in person and on paper, with confidence
Informed by the working approaches of top PR communication and digital teams across the UK and beyond, you will learn how to plan PR, influencer and social media campaigns, strategically select and implement a wide range of tactics, and prepare compelling editorial, video and image content for all the important online and traditional platforms.
Through engaging seminars you will develop presentations, ideas and creative solutions, and will hone keen writing skills for a multitude of audiences and purposes. Through applied sessions and assessments as well as agency experience, you’ll quickly become confident at pitching your ideas and proposals to clients, industry representatives and the media.
Throughout the course, you’ll have the freedom to develop ideas, creative solutions and presentations, and we’ll have critical debates about current issues and stories impacting on the industry and in the news. We listen to what you say and so you can inform the direction of workshops and assignments based upon your personal passions. There will also be opportunities to broaden your media skills, perhaps in photography, print and web design, media production and journalism, with optional modules giving you the scope to further explore your personal interests.
Turn your ideas into a reality and be brave with your approach to your work. In PR, there is no such thing as a bad idea – there is always potential and this course will help you realise yours. If you want to be influential and have impact in what you do, this course will open many doors, as our strong student satisfaction and graduate employability track record proves.
During your studies there will be practice-based opportunities to engage with industry professionals and current campaigns. Guest speakers will inform workshops and live briefs will form the basis of some assignments. Analysis of practice, debate and campaigns will be presented as review and proposal documents. Research papers will be presented at industry conferences. Content prepared in class will be developed to an industry standard for your professional portfolio.
You will also get the chance to see your work published on #BCUWeArePR, an online platform for our current PR students and the lecturing team. It also acts as a community for past, present and future students to come together and talk about industry issues and personal achievements.
As a School, we invest significantly in our postgraduate provision as we recognise that more specialist and professional courses are required across the media industry. Our postgraduate courses include MA Public Relations and MA Event and Exhibition Management. For PR students, the CIPR Professional Certificate and Diploma are also compelling courses for professionals who have some experience in industry and who want to hone their skills and refine their professionalism once their careers have begun in earnest.
Enhancing your employability skills
The BA (Hons) PR and Media course is located within the Birmingham School of Media, which has an excellent track record for graduate employment. The course builds upon the School’s employability driven reputation, by opening avenues for students interested in potential careers in PR, social media and marketing, communications, journalism and teaching PR/media studies.
As well as gaining course-specific skills, you could also gain broader tools through our Graduate+ programme, which will help enhance your employment options by helping with careers development, employability activities, volunteering and part-time work experience.
Allied with these course-specific experiences, you will also have access to a range of support staff and services from the University’s Careers Service, who can help with:
- Reviewing CVs, covering letters and application forms
- Career planning and decision making
- Preparing for interviews and assessment centres
- Developing portfolios
- Networking with employers
- Advice about self-employment and entrepreneurship
Examples of real graduates and their roles
- Nicole Daybell and Rachel Hickey both joined WPR Agency in 2019 as Account Executives.
- Maddie McCrann-Smith is a PR, Communications and Social Media Executive at Spottydog Communications, where she started her PR career in 2018.
- George Marrable is Account Executive at Gung Ho Communications.
- Emma Batterick is a Content Executive at Rice Media.
- Jodie Perkins worked on The Big Sleuth, became PR Officer at Birmingham Children’s Hospital upon graduation and is now Account Manager for Nathan Rous PR.
- Dean Taylor has worked at WPR Agency, Liquid PR and Social Chain since graduating from BCU in 2017.
- Heather Woodhouse joined McCann in 2017 as a Graduate Account Executive and is now an Account Manager.
- Emily Nicholls is Business Manager for Global Media.
- Ileana Malacrino is currently Campaign Manager at Pulse Marketing.
During the live agency modules in your first and second year, you will have the opportunity to work as part of a team to respond to internal and external briefs. You will also seek placements in practice to enhance your understanding and applied skills, with support provided by the teaching team and a vast network of contacts at your disposal via the Birmingham School of Media’s JobBook site, in PR and other related arenas.
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.
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:
The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations
The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations for international students.
The first-class experience offered by universities are reflected in the world’s largest survey of international students. International students are more likely to recommend the UK than any other leading English-language study destination.
Facilities and Staff
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.
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.
A Senior Lecturer for Public Relations at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, Philip has significant experience as an award-winning journalist and owner of a successful PR company.
Before joining Birmingham City University in 2015, Philip previously taught at the University of Sunderland, where he organised and spoke at several innovative PR conferences, which introduced almost 1,000 practitioners to social media. He has been investigating the impact of social media on PR since 2005, as a lead researcher on the pioneering EuroBlog project, as well as being a co-author of Online Public Relations.
Philip has also previously taught at Lund University in Sweden, as well as participating in conferences and talks in Poland, Belgium and Germany.More about Philip
Senior Lecturer in PR
Kelly is keen to give students real insight into the ways in which the media world is changing and how this is creating new and exciting pathways for public relations professionals. Passionate about the important role PR has to play and the creative opportunities this career provides, Kelly wants to ensure students become thinking practitioners who actively seek new ways to tell stories, and will continue nurturing her contacts to provide a close link between university study and the industry in practice.More about Kelly
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 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