Public Relations and Media with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)

  • UCAS Code: P2PF
  • Level: Foundation
  • Starting: September 2020
  • Study mode: Full Time (4 years)
  • Location: City Centre

Please note

This course and the information on this page is indicative based on the 2019/20 academic year. The final details for this course starting in 2020/21 may be subject to change and will be confirmed in June 2019.

Intimately linked to industry, the Public Relations pathway 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.

About foundation courses

After successful completion of your foundation year, you will have the flexibility to switch (should you wish to change direction) onto a number of related undergraduate degree programmes within Birmingham School of Media.

Why study a degree with a foundation year?

Foundation years are a great option if you have the talent, ambition and potential to thrive at Birmingham City University, but do not meet the entry requirements for your preferred course. It’s ideal if:

  • You want the flexibility of a year’s study on a more general course to find out the best degree choice for you.
  • You have changed your mind about your career since you chose your A-levels or BTECs and need to improve your skills in a different subject area.
  • You would like extra time and support to help you build your knowledge, skills and confidence before starting a full degree.

What's covered in the course?

Combining practical skills and industry insights, PR 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.

How you will learn

Effective communication is a two-way process and this is at the heart of our teaching and learning approach. Our modules are delivered through engaging seminars and workshops, with an array of guest speakers, case studies and projects for you to sink your teeth into. 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 as the course progresses. You have a say and can inform the direction of workshops and assignments based upon your personal passions. Prepare to have an opinion!

We’ll also give you the opportunity to hone keen writing skills for a multitude of audiences and purposes, making you more job-ready than many other graduates.

Heather Woodhouse

Why Choose Us?

  • Join a course recognised by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, closely linked to industry and with the support of a mentor scheme with practitioners across the region.
  • 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 but of course in PR, it’s not just what you know, it’s who you know. Rest assured our expert team is very well connected, with renowned theorists, the CIPR and a multitude of communication organisations and professionals.
  • 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.
  • A real highlight in your diary will be our renowned PR Students’ Conference, a major annual event, respected and supported by industry that showcases student achievements to PR professionals – just look at #MidsPRConf to see the conversations we started at the most recent conference.
  • 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 industry with confidence.

Similar Courses

Students outside Millennium Point

Open Days

Our next Open Day for this course will take place on Saturday 28 September 2019. Register your interest and we'll send an email update nearer the time. Visit us to see our facilities and speak to our staff and students.

Book your place

This course is open to International students

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Discover the Birmingham School of Media

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

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Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

And in jobs such as:

  • Account Executive

Entry Requirements

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

Essential Requirements

80 UCAS tariff points.

Typical Offers (UK students)

At the point of enrolment, you must have GCSE at Grade 4 or above in English Language. Equivalent qualifications can be considered in lieu as long as the required subject is covered.

Plus, you must have achieved or be completing one of the following:

UK Qualification Requirements
A level  CDD. A maximum of three subjects are considered. Other 6-unit qualifications can be considered in lieu of one or two A-level subjects. Excluded subjects General Studies and Critical Thinking.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma

MMP
Access to HE Diploma 60 credits overall - 15 credits at level 2 and 45 credits at level 3
GCSE English language at grade 4 (C) or above or equivalent qualifications must be achieved at application stage.

Scottish Higher

Achieve a minimum of 80 tariff points achieved from either five Highers or a combination of two Highers offered with two Advanced Highers.

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

Obtain a minimum of 24 points overall. For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) Group A English Group A - Grade 4 or above. Students who do not complete the IB Diploma and who achieve the minimum of 11 points from two Higher Level subjects, will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates. OR English Group B - Grade 5 or above from the IB will be accepted.

OCR Cambridge Technical Certificate

Must be offered along with either two A-levels or two BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diplomas of 80 tariff points. Cannot be offered as a standalone qualification.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma

MM. Can be offered along with either one A-level or one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ OCR Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma qualification to achieve a minimum of 80 tariff points.

Scottish Advanced Higher

Achieve a minimum of 80 tariff points achieved in either three Advanced Highers or from a combination of two Advanced Highers plus two Highers.
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

Minimum overall score of 6.5 with no sub-test below 6.0.

If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.

Mature Applicants

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

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2020 FT 4 years £9,250 per year Apply via UCAS

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2020 FT 4 years £12,800 per year Register your interest

The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Guidance for UK/EU students

UCAS

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

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

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

Portfolio Guidance

You are not required to submit a portfolio for this course.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on your course. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

View additional costs for this course

Foundation year

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

Cross-media Production 1
20 credits

This practical production module explores media production techniques in radio, audio production, online video, virtual reality and television. You will learn industry-level practical skills and develop your own professional practice through a range of production activities and workshops.

You will learn production techniques for broadcast and for online and hear from industry professionals on current and emerging best practice. By the end of this module you will be able to produce and distribute innovative media projects for specific audiences, delivered across a range of online and social networking platforms. 

Cross-media Production 2
20 credits

This practical production module explores media production techniques in journalism, public relations, and events management. The module draws together the skills needed for writing and producing content for print and online, and developing communications campaigns that connect with audiences dispersed across digital platforms. You will develop your own professional practice through a range of production activities and workshops.

You will learn new skills in multi-platform and mobile journalism and strategic communications, and hear from industry professionals on current and emerging best practice for the media and music industries. By the end of this module you will be able to produce and distribute innovative media projects for specific audiences, delivered across a range of online and social networking platforms.

Media Context and Production
20 credits

This module will familiarise you with key concepts aligned to studying media and communication. You will draw on your own production work in order to analyse issues relating to the organisation, ownership and regulation of the media industry. You will contextualise the work you have produced in the context of wider media production practices.

By the end of this module you will have undertaken research relevant to the industry sector you are seeking to develop your skills within and understood the value of seeing your own work as that which connects with specific audiences who create meaning from your and others media texts.

Practice Skills
40 credits

This module is an independent study module during which you will produce a media practice project. You will present a proposal for a project, setting yourself a significant creative challenge, and work with a supervisory team to bring your work to fruition. You will draw on the production skills you have developed in earlier modules and use the project as the vehicle through which you showcase your creativity and your ability to work to professional standards.

Professional and Academic Skills
20 credits

This module will help you develop the academic skills needed to succeed in higher education, and the professional skills required to support your ambitions to be a media worker. You will build an online portfolio that will both evidence your growing skills developed across the course as a whole, and act as a showcase for the work you produce.

You will aim to build a community of interest around you and your work. You will be introduced to the wide range of academic and practical support that the university offers, and support from tutors will ensure you develop academic skills that will help you succeed as a student. You will keep an online learning diary that reflect on your development.

Year one

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

Researching the Media and Communication
40 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
20 credits

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.

Events and Exhibitions Planning
20 credits

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.

Media and Influencer Engagement
20 credits

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.

Global and Community Impact
20 credits

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!

Year two

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

Live Production 2
40 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. 

PR Concepts and Contexts
20 credits

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.

PR Planning and Delivery
20 credits

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.

Faculty optional module
20 credits

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.
School of Media optional module
20 credits

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
  • Photojournalism
  • 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.

Year three

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

Major Project
60 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.

Live Production 3
20 credits

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
20 credits

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.

Professional and Academic Development
20 credits

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

Across each of the undergraduate degree routes there is an equal emphasis on production, theory and professional and academic development.

The Professional and Academic Development strand of the course prepares you for at least two placements in a media or cultural industries organisation, such as the BBC, Maverick Television, Warwickshire County Cricket Club, newspapers, magazines, PR companies and local radio stations.

Teaching is conducted across a range of environments, including radio and TV studios, editing suites, a new media production suite, a newsroom, lecture theatres, seminar rooms and online.

You will use blogs, create wikis and other interactive media to support your work and self-development.

All staff at the School are established media professionals, who bring with them a range of expertise. They are able to recognise and respond to the rapidly changing demands of the media, ensuring that the course remains relevant to the industry.

The School maintains close contacts with a variety of media organisations, including Sky, BBC, Maverick Television and Future plc, and visiting tutors and guest speakers regularly hold master class sessions to enhance and enrich your learning.

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.

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.

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 full list of our postgraduate media courses

Media blog

School of Media blog

Take a look at our blog to see the latest news and events from the School and get an insight into life as a student at Birmingham School of Media.

Read the latest post 

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

  • Jodie Perkins worked on the Big Sleuth and is now PR Officer at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
  • Dean Taylor joined WPR Agency as a Social Media Executive.
  • Heather Woodhouse has recently been promoted to Senior Account Executive at McCanns.
  • Emily Nicholls is Digital Account Manager for Global.
  • Ileana Malacrino is an Influence Marketeer at CLUSE in Amsterdam.

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.

Links to industry

Prominent PR professionals sit on an advisory panel to make sure our course is up to date and relevant to industry. Practitioners regularly give masterclasses and guest lectures, and our strong industry links ensure a wide range of placement and opportunities.

Kelly O’Hanlon is on the CIPR Midlands committee, in the role of Treasurer. Staff are CIPR members.

Graduate jobs

Our track record for graduate employment is excellent, with the majority of graduates going into a media-related role.

Each course opens up specific employability avenues related to the production route chosen. A high number of graduates have gone into producer/director roles, journalism, public relations, web development, freelance/own business.

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:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

BCUIC

BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

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

Our teaching staff comprises specialists in their respective fields, including academics and industry professionals, all of whom are perfectly placed to offer a wealth of experience and knowledge. Birmingham School of Media students also benefit from access to high-profile guest speakers from across the industry.

A dynamic community that is responsive to the changing face of the media industry, Birmingham School of Media is the perfect starting point to your media career.

Ellie Tomsett

Ellie Tomsett

Lecturer – Programme Lead for Foundation

Ellie is a lecturer in media and course director for the School of Media's Foundation Programme. Before joining BCU Ellie worked in Higher Education for four years. Ellie taught film studies and screenwriting students at Sheffield Hallam University and contextual studies to filmmakers, animators and photographers at Manchester School of Art. Before teaching in HE Ellie worked in the UK film education sector, during this time she delivered training to teachers, youth workers and professional filmmakers across the country and organised filmmaking and theory activities for large organisations such as The BFI, The Industry Trust and Transformation Trust.

Ellie's research is focused on contemporary feminisms and stand-up comedy and she has been Researcher in residence with the UK Women in Comedy festival since 2014. In 2017 she co-founded Mixed Bill a comedy and gender research network which seeks to engage comedy industry professionals, researchers and members of the public in discussions and activities that address the under-representation of minority groups within the comedy industry. She has published on feminist and post-feminist stand-up comedy, self-deprecatory comedy and body positivity as well as more recently exploring comic reactions to the Brexit

Read Ellie's full profile

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 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.

Read Philip's full profile

Kelly O’Hanlon

Senior Lecturer in PR

As the new 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.

Read Kelly's full profile

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.

Read Duncan's full profile