Undergraduate › Public Relations and Media - BA (Hons)
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A crowd of people in the Curzon building for Welcome Week
A group of students working in a classroom
A group of students working in a classroom
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A student working on a social media post

Public Relations and Media - BA (Hons)

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

Public Relations is all around us. Brands, businesses, celebrities, charities, politicians and everyone in between use PR as a means to spread messages, inform understanding and influence the way we behave....

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

Overview

Public Relations is all around us. Brands, businesses, celebrities, charities, politicians and everyone in between use PR as a means to spread messages, inform understanding and influence the way we behave. Creative PR practitioners run multi-channel campaigns, liaise with journalists and producers, collaborate with influencers and run social media channels - whatever it takes to raise awareness, encourage engagement and inspire action on behalf of the organisation they work with.

If you want to change the world, this PR course is the one for you. Likewise, if you want to work with household names or launch new products, services or initiatives, BCU is the place to learn the skills needed for a fast-paced, exciting and rewarding media and communications career.

Did you know that for every journalist in the UK, there are at least three PR or communications professionals? This is because PR is the thread by which media, social media and communications is held together in a time of instant news, information and entertainment.

Join a course recognised by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and be proud of its close links with industry. They work with us, providing many and varied guest speakers who contribute insights and live projects, as well as a supportive mentor scheme offered by practitioners in the region and beyond.

Professional Placement Year

This course offers a professional placement year. This allows you to spend a whole year with an employer, between the second and third years of your degree, and is a great way to find out more about your chosen career. Some students even return to the same employers after completing their studies.

The University 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. If you do not find a suitable placement, you will be automatically transferred back to the standard, non-placement version of the course.

Please note that fees are payable during your placement year, equivalent to 20% of the total full-time course fee for that year (£1,850 for UK students).

This course is open to International students.

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.

It hasn't been easy over the past three years, but I am so grateful for all of the support I have received. I am now in my full-time job as a PR Account Executive at MSL Global PR Agency and so many of my learnings from the course have definitely prepared me for this role and I implement these skills in my practice every day. I can't wait for graduation and again thank you so much for all of the support!

Nyasa Hilliman, 2022 PR graduate from Birmingham School of Media

Why Choose Us?

  • Students are satisfied with this course! We scored 91.7% for overall satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2021.
  • 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.

Similar Courses

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 Days: Autumn 2022

Register your interest

Entry Requirements

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

Essential Requirements

112 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
  • BBC / 112 UCAS points
  • General Studies and Critical Thinking subject excluded
  • 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
  • General Studies and Critical Thinking subject excluded
  • Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 112 pts
Access to HE Diploma
  • Pass with 60 credits overall. At least 45 credits at Level 3 with 18 credits at merit or distinction
  • 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)
DMM
Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)
  • Distinction
  • Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications to obtain 112 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 14 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects
  • Considered with other acceptable level 3 qualifications to meet 112 UCAS Tariff Points
  • 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 28 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 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
  • Achieve a minimum of 112 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 CCD
  • Where a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers have been taken you must achieve (grades of CD in two Advanced Highers plus grades of CC in two Highers).
T-Levels Merit overall
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.

International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).

Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.

 

International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).

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: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

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: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 3 years
  • TBC
  • Full Time
  • 4 years (with Professional Placement)
  • TBC

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.

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

  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

Year one

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

Year two

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 80 credits):

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete at least 40 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.

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 a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Download course specification

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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.

Classroom activities

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.


Further Study

As a School, we invest significantly in our postgraduate provision as we recognise that more specialist and professional courses are required across the media industry. Our postgraduate courses include MA Public Relations and MA Event and Exhibition ManagementFor 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.

See the full list

Employability

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

  • Jestina Davies graduated in 2021 and went on to set up her own business, Contrast PR, where she is Head of Digital Transformation
  • Graduating in 2021, Nevin Nice is now Junior Social Account Executive at McCann Birmingham
  • Nicole Daybell and Rachel Hickey both joined WPR Agency in 2019 as Account Executives. Georgia Welfair joined as a PR Executive in 2021, following completion of her studies at BCU the year before.
  • Maddie McCrann-Smith is a PR, Communications and Social Media Executive at Spottydog Communications, where she started her PR career in 2018. Karlie France joined the team soon after graduating in 2020.
  • George Marrable is a 2018 graduate and currently holds the position of Senior Account Executive at Gung Ho Communications.
  • 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, Social Chain and now Prevayl since graduating from BCU in 2017.
  • Heather Woodhouse joined McCann in 2017 as a Graduate Account Executive and is now a Senior Account Manager at Liquid PR.
  • Emily Nicholls is Business Manager for Global Media.

Placements

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.

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.

International

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 & 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

Philip Young

Course Director

Philip joined BCU in 2015 having previously taught at the University of Sunderland and Lund University, Sweden. Before moving into academia he was an award-winning journalist and owner of a successful PR agency. Philip has been investigating the impact of social media on PR theory and practice since 2005, as a lead researcher on the pioneering...

More about Philip

Kelly O’Hanlon

Senior Lecturer in PR

Kelly has worked in the public relations industry for 17 years, both agency and in-house, consumer and B2B. A former BCU student herself, Kelly graduated in 2005 with a BA in Media and Communications, and in 2018 with an MA in Public Relations. She started her career at the multi award-winning WPR Agency and went on to lead its successful home and...

More about Kelly