Public Relations and Media with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)
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....
Studying with us in 2021/22 and 2022/23
The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Information about the arrangements for the 2021/22 academic year can be found here.
Should the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continue in the 2022/23 academic year or subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.
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.
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 this 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.
The three years flew by so quickly, but because the lecturers work hard on making the modules engaging and relevant to your chosen industry, you get prepared for graduate work and are able to build a portfolio of projects that are relevant and can help you with future job interviews. So overall, I'd say it's been brilliant!
Lindelani Moyo, 2021 PR graduate from Birmingham School of Media
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.
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
80 UCAS points
|LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS|
|Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level)||See level 3 entry under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details|
|Scottish National 5||
|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||
|AS and AS VCE||Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 80 pts|
|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 80 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||MMP|
|Scottish Advanced Higher||
|T-Levels||Pass overall (C or above on the core)|
|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|
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.
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 2022
- Full Time
- 4 years
- £9,250 per year
- Apply via UCAS
Award: BA (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2022
- Full Time
- 4 years
- £13,500 per year
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.
Excess printing (optional)
Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.
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
You are not required to submit a portfolio 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):
The purpose of this practical production module is to explore media production techniques in film, online video, television and immersive media. The module is designed to recognise that many media professionals no longer work in specialised areas and are often asked to make use of a range of skills and platforms across different media in order to reach their audiences. Throughout the module you will be supported to develop industry-level practical skills through a range of production activities and workshops.
The purpose of this practical production module is to explore media production techniques in journalism, public relations, music industries, radio and audio production. The module draws together the skills needed for writing and producing content for print and online, as well as developing communications campaigns that connect with audiences dispersed across digital platforms. The module is designed to recognise that many media professionals no longer work in specialised areas and are often asked to make use of a range of skills and platforms across different media in order to reach their audiences.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Lecturer – Course Director for Foundation in School of Media
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 BrexitMore about Ellie
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
Robin is a Lecturer in Media and Communication with a New Media specialism. He has a background within the music industry having worked for several notable record labels and industry organisations including: Ministry of Sound Recordings, Defected Records, Sanctuary Records and PRS. He has extensive experience within education and teaches creative and digital media subjects focused around web authoring, visual communication and immersive media. With an interest in interactive and immersive media, he is currently working on several projects involving emerging and innovative technology within an educational context. Robin is currently working with BCU’s STEAMhouse as an Academic Coordinator to support their immersive media provision and is engaged with the Reality Enhanced Augmented Learning Faculty Learning Community (REAL FLC) situated in the Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences.More about Robin
Hilary Weston Jones
Lecturer Professional and Academic Development
Hilary spent 24 years working as a Production Manager in broadcast television. Eight of these years were spent at the BBC in Birmingham. Her credits include working on documentaries (Panorama, Dispatches), magazine series (Countryfile), reality (Big Brother), children’s (Dog and Duck), ob doc series (Trawlermen), as well as drama, cookery and make over series. Hilary has been with BCU for three years and love working with students to help them build up their skills, experience and employability for careers in the media.More about Hilary