Designed with the BBC Academy and approved by the BBC Engineering Apprenticeship Steering Board, this course addresses all aspects of TV and radio broadcast from capturing content to distributing it to users.
The course has been designed to give you a varied skill-set, preparing you for the ever-changing world of broadcasting and increasing your employability on graduation.
Broadcast and Communications Engineering encompasses an exciting and varied range of roles. Broadcast engineers are responsible for maintaining the quality of service across all aspects of broadcasting, whether ensuring a transmitter stays operational, or making sure that audio and visual feeds and general equipment are working in a studio environment, and that computer systems are effective.
On completing this degree, you will be ready to take on a range of roles, such as audio and video content capture, working on production processes or supporting the distribution of content over cable, satellite and terrestrial networks or via internet streaming.
Our BEng (Hons) Broadcast and Communications Engineering course will equip you to face the demands of today’s rapidly evolving broadcast industry.
It has been designed with input from the BBC, as well as leading industry partners and employers, to address the skills gaps within the broadcasting industry. It has also been chosen by the BBC as the academic component of its three-year Higher Engineering Apprenticeship scheme.
You will develop a wide range of skills and study technologies including: signal processing; coding and transmission; media compression; media storage; asset management; production and distribution system architectures; internet and web technologies for media production and transmission; personalised and interactive services; and broadcast standards.
The course also covers broadcast convergence with social media, VR, AR and emerging next-generation video and broadcast technologies, so you will be studying the technology at the cutting edge of the industry.
The course comprises four main themes:
In 2017, we are spending £6.5 million on improvements to our Millennium Point facilities so you’ll have even more access to dedicated, industry-standard equipment.
Our next Open Day for this course will take place in 2018. Register your interest and we'll let you know details as soon as they are available.
To welcome all new home and EU undergraduate degree students starting in 2017 or 2018, we're giving at least £150 worth of credit to spend in a host of ways, on books and a range of learning materials. Even better, it doesn’t have to be repaid.
Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.
Our BEng Broadcast and Communications Engineering programme was developed with the BBC Academy to offer the skills and knowledge required by apprentices on the BBC Higher Level engineering apprenticeship. Find out more about the apprenticeship scheme on the BBC website.
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
At the point of application, you must have GCSE at Grade C or above in English Language and Mathematics. Equivalent qualifications will be accepted.
112 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels, at least one from a Science, Technology or Computing subject and including A Level Maths at grade C or above.
|UK Qualification||Requirements 2018/19|
|GCE A Level/ AS Level||BBC at A level or 112 UCAS tariff points from A/AS level with a minimum of 2 A-levels. Must include A Level Mathematics Grade C minimum.|
|Access to Higher Education Diploma||Pass overall with 60 credits, 45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2, including with a minimum of 12 credits at Merit or Distinction with 9 in Maths and 3 in Science|
|BTEC National Diploma||D*D* or combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 112 UCAS points. Including Distinction in Mathematics for Technicians or Merit in further Mathematics for Technicians.|
|BTEC Extended Diploma||DMM - 112 UCAS points including Distinction in Mathematics for Technicians or Merit in further Mathematics for Technicians|
|BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units not including early years)||Combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 112 UCAS points|
|BTEC Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art and Design||Distinction|
|International Baccalaureate Diploma||
1. For students who complete the full IB Diploma: a total of 15 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects.
2. Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates.
Students must have grade 5 in Maths (Higher Level)
|Irish Leaving Certificate||112 UCAS points - Highers. Higher levels must include Mathematics.|
|Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher||
112 UCAS points.
Advanced higher: BBC - 2 advanced highers with Mathematics at advanced highers or equivalent grade BBC.
Higher: BC (2 Advanced Highers) A (1 Higher) - 2 advanced highers with Mathematics at advanced highers or equivalent grade BC.
|Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options)||120 tariff points combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 112 UCAS points|
|Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.|
|EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications||Requirements 2018/19|
|IELTS||6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands|
|International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).||
1. For students who complete the full IB Diploma: a total of 14 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects.
2. Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates.
Students must have grade 5 in Maths (Higher Level)
International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).
As part of the application process you will be invited to attend an applicant visit day where you will undertake a short one-to-one interview with an academic member of staff. This is your chance to show us how passionate you are about the subject and it will help us make a decision on your application.
This will provide you with more information about the School and your course. In addition, it will give you a chance to meet and our staff and students to gain a better understanding of what it is like to be a student here.
From A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels
|BEng (Hons)||Sep 2018||FT||3 years||£9,250 per year||Apply via UCAS|
|BEng (Hons)||Sep 2018||SW||4 years||£9,250 per year (excluding sandwich year)||Apply via UCAS|
If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.
|BEng (Hons)||Sep 2018||FT||3 years||£12,000 per year|
If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.
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.
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. You can apply until 30 June.
There are three ways to apply:
You will need to complete our International Application Form and submit it together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.
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.
If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.
UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*
The personal statement gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.
Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:
Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.
Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.
eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.
You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.
Get more information on writing personal statements.
*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.
There are no compulsory additional costs or charges associated with studying on this course. While you may choose to purchase personal copies of text books, all our key text books are available from our library or online (subject to normal library loan and online access arrangements). If your course includes a residential study session, the accommodation costs for this are already included in your course fee.
Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.
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.
We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.
AV Acquisition and Presentation
The AV Acquisition and Presentation module provides a technical foundation for the broadcast technologies encountered in the course. You will be introduced to basic audio and video technologies and specifically address the technologies of audio, image and video capture and display. You will explore the representation of audio and image within the human auditory and visual systems and also consider the nature and representation of this data in terms of the respective analogue signals and eventual conversion to the digital domain.
In this module, you will focus on the underlying engineering technologies in TV standards and transmission, interconnection for signals and video test and measurement. The module prepares you for the application of these technologies to the processing and transmission of audio and video signal data, as required in later modules.
The module takes the subjects taught in the AV Acquisition and Presentation module and applies them to the specific requirements of the broadcast industry, specifically to the range of international standards. You will examine the test and measurement requirements for video quality at transmission and also at the monitor/screen stage.
In this module, you will gain knowledge and experience of computers and computer hardware.
You will develop a holistic view of how computer systems work and also develop the underpinning knowledge required for the design of computer architecture to show how software interacts with hardware; apply electronics principles; and use number systems for computer technology.
Module content and assessment encourages realisation of multi-disciplinary computing and challenges you to interface with the environment by configuring Internet of Things devices and systems for collecting data to achieve a proposed solution.
In this module, you will have the opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills required to build and design a basic network and the requirements within a network infrastructure. The module content builds on the knowledge and underpinning theory of networking systems.
Engineering is a discipline that is inextricably linked with physical phenomena that are governed by the natural laws. These natural laws are best described by the language of mathematics. This module will introduce the key mathematical concepts and techniques necessary for a successful engineer.
Electrical and Electronic Principles
In this module, you will explore the underlying electrical and electronic engineering technologies required in broadcast engineering. You will develop an understanding of the principles and applications of circuit simulation and laboratory test equipment in the measurement of basic electronic and electrical quantities. The module introduces you to the analysis of DC and AC circuits, in which voltage and current sources drive circuits containing both passive and active components. You will gain a systematic understanding of the operation of an electricity distribution network.
Digital Signal Processing
This module focuses on the methods, techniques and theory for acquiring, processing and transferring digital audio, digital image and digital video data. These processes underpin many applications and systems. Throughout the module you will develop the skills to process, analyse and critique digital media information.
Computer Programming for Engineers
This core module provides the knowledge and practice to underpin the design and production of software to specified standards.
The module focuses on practical sessions, to allow you to apply programming principles and constructs in order to creatively solve problems by developing software applications. Through a programming project challenge, you will develop a workable computer software solution to address either a business or social issue.
This module is designed to provide you with a comprehensive introduction to a vitally important IT topic (database technology) that is found in almost every IT installation in the world and as such provides extremely valuable transferable skills. The module introduces you to traditional database skills and knowledge (data models, normalisation, SQL etc.). Once mastered, these database skills will provide a firm foundation for higher-level academic study or a rewarding IT career.
Computer Networks and IP Distribution 1
This module examines network technology, applications and protocols to enable you to gain a thorough understanding of the technology in this area. Intermediate routing and switching protocols theory and implementation will be covered in detail, and you will implement concepts relating to network redundancy and network device security. The curriculum provides foundation knowledge in IP networking that is essential for success in subsequent networking modules and aligns with industry requirements.
Computer Networks and IP Distribution 2
This module examines network technology, applications and protocols to enable you to gain a thorough understanding of the technology in this area. You will cover intermediate routing and switching protocols, and network redundancy theory and implementation in detail, and also concepts relating to network virtualisation and cybersecurity.
This module examines the technologies underlying current wired and wireless communications as key components of the modern technology revolution. It provides you with the essential theoretical principles and concepts encountered in the design of typical modern communications systems. You will examine a range of analogue and digital modulation schemes essential for information transmission, and consider the detrimental effect of noise in limiting system performance. In addition, you will gain related analytical skills that can be applied in designing wired and wireless communications systems.
CEBE Undergraduate Project
In this module, you will undertake a sustained, in-depth and research-informed project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you and aligned with the programme you are studying. You will research a topic before designing and producing an artefact which will then be critically evaluated. You will work independently with the assistance of an academic supervisor.
It is an opportunity not only for you to develop academically, but also to acquire life-long skills and key attributes that are expected by industry.
Audio and Video Signal Compression and Coding
This module builds on signal processing technologies modules in previous years and provides you with theory and practice of advanced signal processing and coding for storage and transmission of audio and video content.
Media content needs processing to be handled in network applications for transport within the production stages and also in delivery to the end audiences. Compression is required to present media in reduced bit rates for storage and for faster delivery through the networks. For delivery, the signals need to be processed to apply them to appropriate modulation formats for transmission on radio, cable or fibre. The signal also needs to be protected so it can be recovered when the inevitable corruption occurs during the transmission process. You will learn about these requirements for the theory of signal delivery, and also address the practicalities of commercial media networks in providing these transmission services. You will also learn about the standards applied worldwide, and also the likely requirements for next generation standards as technology evolves for more advanced services requiring advanced signal processing and delivery.
Within this frame, the concept of user-generated content will be explored using various digital delivery channels. Your assessment activity will be the production and delivery of a transmedia campaign.
Contribution and Distribution Solutions
This module addresses solutions for media transfer in:
It also addresses the processes of planning and managing projects for the provision of media solutions and architectures.
The signal chain from camera (and microphone) through to the end viewer is complex as it passes through the production processes, including storage, editing, archiving, and then on to the viewer by cable, satellite, terrestrial transmission, etc. This module considers the requirements for coding, compression and transcoding in the various processes, and the standards in the industry for wrapping the content and re-wrapping for final delivery.
Quality of Service
This module examines converged network technology, applications and protocols to enable you to gain a thorough understanding of the developments in this area. Quality of Service (QoS) and resilience will be investigated theoretically and practically in converged networks supporting voice and video applications. The module content builds on the IP networking technology introduced in previous years of the course, and focuses on developing your skills in optimising network performance in a broadcast environment.
Digital Transmission Systems
This module covers the key features of modern transmission systems, their operations and design requirements. It deals with the three important processing stages of modern digital transmission systems: source coding for signal compression; channel error control coding for robust transmission; and modulation and high frequency transmission for delivery. The module is designed to ensure you have a sound knowledge of the fundamental concepts of modern digital communications, particularly in the context of broadcast and mobile communication systems.
As a full-time student, you will receive a series of weekly sessions, allowing you time in between to work towards the assessment requirements. If you are a BBC apprentice, you will be a block release student, receiving a more intensive schedule of lectures, tutorials and laboratory work.
You will gain skills through formal lectures, tutor-led seminars and practical activities. Your lectures will introduce themes, theories and concepts, which are further explored in tutorials, while practical, lab-based sessions will help you develop your practical, work-related skills.
A range of assessment methods are employed, assessment criteria being published in each assignment brief. Knowledge and skills are assessed, formatively and summatively, by a number of methods, coursework, examinations (seen and unseen, open and closed-book), presentations, practical assignments, vivas, online forums, and project work.
There are 30 attendance weeks in each academic year.
A typical week on this course will include 15 hours of contact time over four days, plus self study time.
If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.
It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.
On this course, we will enable you to develop key specialist and transferable skills that are essential within the industry. We will ensure you meet the needs of both employers and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).
You will also have the option to undertake a valuable work placement through one of our leading industry partners.
The purpose of the broadcast engineering and communications sector is to design, create and manage broadcast systems in the production, post production and distribution of media content.
The broadcast engineering and communications sector encompasses a number of diverse and specialist job roles, including:
You are actively encouraged and supported to undertake a work-based placement. You will be supported by the Faculty placements team and the University through our Graduate+ scheme.
The University is acquiring a rapidly growing number of industry partners, both in broadcast and in the broader and vibrant media industries in Birmingham and further afield. Further to this, the University is also actively involved with Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers (SMPTE) and IABM, as well as working as a collaboration for training and employability in broadcast courses.
For the BBC apprentices, a number of three-month placement opportunities are available throughout the three-year scheme, arranged and facilitated by the BBC Scheme Manager across the broadcast industry.
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.
Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.
Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.
Our computing students have the opportunity to attend training for the PRINCE2 Foundation Level exam. This three-day course gives you the opportunity to achieve an industry-recognised qualification and add another desirable qualification to your CV.
You will receive a comprehensive education of the field of broadcast and communications engineering, ensuring you’re able to take a role within a more international context.
We will use cultural and international experiences as a learning resource, while also encouraging intercultural experiences, partnerships and collaborations. We will provide and promote a range of accessible opportunities for the international and intercultural learning.
The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations for international students.
The first-class experience offered by universities are reflected in the world’s largest survey of international students. International students are more likely to recommend the UK than any other leading English-language study destination.
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 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.
We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.
Here at Birmingham City University, the School of Computing and Digital Technology is equipped with a multitude of professional, dedicated equipment. With world-class facilities including: two film and television studios, four multi-track recording studios, post-production facilities, and several hundred multimedia stations.
We have cutting edge facilities available to support the course and research that goes on in the School, including the purpose-built Media Centre at The Parkside Building, DMT Lab and Cisco Academy at Millennium Point and Recording studios and concert halls at Birmingham Conservatoire. We also have several PC and Apple Mac computing suites with the latest industry standard applications and tools for audio, video and multimedia application development and content creation.
As a student of the School of Computing and Digital Technology you will be able to take advantage of a comprehensive range of state-of-the-art technology and equipment to prepare you for working within industry. Our four fully digital, interconnected TV studios can be used within a variety of contexts, including audio-recording. Alongside this with have several broadcast-standard edit and dubbing suites.
As the programme is taught in partnership with the Birmingham Conservatoire you will have access to a wide-range of musical facilities including six studios, a Recital Hall and the 520-seat auditorium Adrian Boult Hall. We have a range of studios, mix rooms, recording spaces and a vast range of recording equipment ready for you to use.
You will have access to four fully digital, interconnected TV studios, along with broadcast-standard edit and dubbing suites.
An Apple Mac sound lab, electronics and fully equipped multimedia labs are all part of the technology and multimedia experience on offer.
Facilities and partner venues at the Conservatoire including six studios, a Recital Hall and the 520-seat auditorium Adrian Boult Hall.
Discover the full range of studios, mix rooms, recording spaces and a vast range of recording equipment.
Your tutors are actively involved in professional associations, societies and committees, including the IET, Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), Royal Television Society (RTS), International Association of Broadcast Manufacturers (IABM), Audio Engineering Society (AES) and IST/37.
Andy joined Birmingham City University 2001 as a Senior Lecturer within the School of Computing and Digital Technology. Following a number of years in course management he has recently been appointed Programme Leader managing a group of courses in the multimedia and broadcast area.
Andy began his career as a postgraduate researcher in 1995 at the University of Northumbria at Newcastle. His research in collaboration with the University of Essex and Sony Ericsson led to publications and the development of novel tools which can automatically design and optimise electronic systems.
Moving to the West Midlands in 1999, Andy worked as a consultant developing and implementing technology strategies that were delivered across the region to businesses and organisations.
As a Senior lecturer at Birmingham City University he continues to remain active in research and knowledge exchange through projects funded by various sources, such as DTI, ERDF and EU R&D Frameworks.
Andy holds an BEng(Hons) in Electronic and Communications Engineering and an MSc in Computer Based System Design from the University of Huddersfield and is currently working toward registration of a PhD.