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English and Journalism with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)

Currently viewing course to start in 2023/24 Entry.

Get practical, professional preparation for a career in journalism with our BA (Hons) English and Journalism with Foundation Year degree course. The course is housed in the School of English where you will be taught by world-leading academics and practitioners offering a diverse range of modules in literary studies, linguistics, creative writing and drama....

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

Overview

Get practical, professional preparation for a career in journalism with our BA (Hons) English and Journalism with Foundation Year degree course.

The course is housed in the School of English where you will be taught by world-leading academics and practitioners offering a diverse range of modules in literary studies, linguistics, creative writing and drama. Your degree will allow you to tailor your studies to your individual interests and career aspirations with both a local and global outlook.

The programme focuses on the development of core knowledge and skills for English study and work experience placements on live stories in media environments will teach you how to craft a story in a way that engages the audience.

By the time you graduate, you’ll be a thinking journalist with a specialism in news, broadcasting, features, or design. You’ll also be adaptable to the changes that the industry faces. Our graduates have gone on to work for Sky, BBC, Trinity Mirror and a wide range of regional newspapers. Others have scooped prestigious awards at the Midlands Media Awards while still studying.

About foundation courses

This four year programme has been specifically designed to allow you to undertake additional level 3 study, to ensure you are successful on their chosen degree programme. The foundation year helps students to develop skills such as academic writing, referencing and researching, as well as important transferable skills such as project management and team work.

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.

Alongside this you will develop core skills in research, critical analysis, planning and evaluation, creativity and effective communication. Understanding how English is studied in context, developing that knowledge and applying it through a range of assignments and assessments, will provide you with a strong foundation upon which to progress to degree-level study at the School of English.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

The course brings together a study of English with knowledge of journalism practice and professional development. Combining the study of literature, language, drama and creative writing from the School of English with the development of skills to become a thinking media worker with the School of Media, you will benefit from subject knowledge and transferable skills from both disciplines.

Through study of English you will develop an ability to work as an independent researcher, to communicate effectively in spoken and written discourse, to critically evaluate the work of others and respond imaginatively to original briefs.

Understanding how language works in practice and how language and literature engage with societies are both vital aspects in understanding how the discipline connects with the wider world, enabling you to focus on the production, interpretation and negotiation of meaning.

These skills are transferrable to the journalism component, where you will publish your stories, use blogs - including the student-run Birmingham Eastside website, runner-up in the Guardian Student Media Awards - create wikis, and employ social media channels and other interactive media to support your work and self-development.

Work experience placements on live stories in media environments will teach you how to craft a story in a way that engages the audience.

Teaching for the journalism component takes place in radio, TV and photography studios, editing suites and computer suites in our £62 million Parkside Building, part of our City Centre Campus, where you will build on your skills as you begin to make contacts in the industry and make your first moves into media work.

This course reflects the fast-paced and ever-changing world of journalism, dealing with the challenges and opportunities facing the modern reporter. Be it news or sport, this course will allow you to be prepared for the future of multi-platform journalism.

Robert Lawson, Course Leader for Journalism

Why Choose Us?

  • Top 15 for English student satisfaction and graduate prospects (Complete University Guide 2023).
  • You will benefit from student-focused and research-informed teaching in a friendly and supportive learning environment where you will be taught by world-leading academics and expert practitioners.
  • English at the University is, by definition, interdisciplinary. Students can collaborate across disciplines to gain new perspectives on the relevance of their study in the wider world.
  • English is a global language; its culture has an international reach. Understanding how English has been shaped and reshaped by its engagement with the world at large is a key principle of the programme. You can also take advantage of the study abroad semester offered through the Erasmus scheme in year two.
  • By the time you graduate, you’ll be a thinking journalist with a specialism in news, broadcasting, features or design. You’ll also be adaptable to the changes that the industry faces. Our graduates have gone on to work for Sky, BBC, Trinity Mirror and the Express & Star. Others have scooped prestigious awards at the Midlands Media Awards and have seen their work appear on a number of national and regional outlets.
  • You will have access to state-of-the-art media and production facilities throughout your studies, and visiting lecturers from specialist areas, such as national newspapers, TV, radio, data, online and mobile journalism, offer in-depth advice on a range of topics. You also have the opportunity to be taught by undercover reporters, current BBC reporters, freelancers and mobile journalism experts.

BA Eng and Journ overview

Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to explore our campus and facilities in person. You'll be able to hear more about your chosen subject area in our course talks.

Next Open Days: Autumn 2022

Register your interest

Entry Requirements

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

UK students
Essential

80 UCAS tariff points.

LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS
GCSE
  • GCSE English Language at grade C/4 or above
  • Equivalent level 2 qualifications can be accepted, e.g Functional Skills Level 2 in English, City and Guilds Level 2 Certificate in Adult Literacy or Key Skills Level 2 in Communication
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment

Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level)

See level 3 entry under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details

Scottish National 5

  • English Language at grade C or above
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment

IELTS

Minimum overall score of 6.0, with 6.0 in writing and no less than 5.5 in the remaining three skills.
Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications
A Level and Advanced VCE
  • CDD / 80 UCAS points
  • Must include English Language or Literature A-Level
  • In lieu of English Language or Literature A Level, subjects that include an element of essay writing will be considered as an alternative, i.e History, Religious Education, The Sciences, Philosophy, Film Studies, Communication Studies & Creative Writing all include a component of this. Applicants will be required to submit a satisfactory essay set by the department.
  • A maximum of 4 subjects are considered. These can be other A/S Levels (as long in a different subject) A-Levels or Level 3 equivalents.

AS and AS VCE

  • Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 80 pts
  • Must include English Language or Literature A-Level
  • In lieu of English Language or Literature A Level, subjects that include an element of essay writing will be considered as an alternative, i.e History, Religious Education, The Sciences, Philosophy, Film Studies, Communication Studies & Creative Writing all include a component of this. Applicants will be required to submit a satisfactory essay set by the department.
  • A maximum of 4 subjects are considered. These can be other A/S Levels (as long in a different subject) A-Levels or Level 3 equivalents.

Access to HE Diploma

  • Pass with 60 credits overall. At least 45 credits at Level 3 in an English related area.
  • Language, Literature and Culture subjects preferred but other subjects also considered.
  • Applicants may be requested to complete an essay set by the department if subject doesn't contain any English.
  • Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma (2016 – present)
  • Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF) (2010 - 2016)
  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma (2002 – 2010)
  • MMP
  • Applicants will be requested to complete an essay set by the department if subject doesn't contain any English unless you are already holding or are working towards an A-Level in English.

IBO Certificate in Higher Level

  • Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates if they obtain a total of 11 points or above from two Higher Level Subjects, must include English Language or Literature at Higher Level
  • Considered with other acceptable level 3 qualifications to meet 80 UCAS Tariff Points
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB Diploma will be accepted
  • Applicants may be requested to complete an essay set by the department if subject doesn't contain any English.

International Baccalaureate Diploma

  • Obtain a minimum of 24 points overall, must include English Language or Literature at Higher Level
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB Diploma will be accepted
  • Applicants may be requested to complete an essay set by the department if subject doesn't contain any English.

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 Ordinary Level (minimum grade O1-O4 (or A-C/A1-C3)) and Higher level minimum grade H1/H7 (or A-D / A1-D3 up to and including 2016

OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma

  • MMP
  • Applicants will be requested to complete an essay set by the department if subject doesn't contain any English unless you are already holding or are working towards an A-Level in English.

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.
  • Where three Advanced Highers have been taken achieve a minimum of grades DDD
  • Where a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers have been taken you must achieve (grades of DD in two Advanced Highers plus grades of DD in two Highers).
  • Must include English Language or Literature or combined Language and Literature subject
  • Applicants may be requested to complete an essay set by the department if subject doesn't contain any English.

T-Levels

  • Merit overall
  • Applicants may be requested to complete an essay set by the department if subject doesn't contain any English.
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 6.0, with 6.0 in writing and no less than 5.5 in the remaining three skills.

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

 

Mature Applicants

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

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 4 years
  • £13,980 in 2023/24

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead.

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Free access to Rosetta Stone

All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Books (optional)

All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.

Placement expenses (optional)

If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.

Field trips (optional)

This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.

Personal stationery and study materials (optional)

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

UCAS

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

Foundation year

During your foundation year you will be taught in small classes where active participation is part of the teaching methodology.

Your study will involve reading and analysis, discussion and debate, and practical activities which allow you to test and implement your skills and knowledge. In addition to attending classes you will be required to complete preparation and follow-up tasks and activities to support your learning.

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

Year one

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 100 credits):

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules:

Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Year two

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

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 40 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules:

OR to pursue the Journalism route, you can choose to successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules:

Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Year three

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

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

Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Download course specification

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The programme combines traditional teaching and learning approaches with innovative, multi-platform learning support, grounded in a student-partnership model which will encourage engagement beyond the scope of the course and ensure that students develop key transferable skills to enhance their employment.

The modules you study will involve critical analysis, investigative skills and imaginative thinking.

In your first year, you will focus on developing core knowledge, including theory and practice-based elements, across English Studies. In the second half of year one, you will be able to specialise further in your chosen area of study, and expand on that in your second and third-year modules.

You’ll study a blend of practical production modules, sourcing, developing, designing and publishing real stories, and learning the art of crafting a compelling story.

We maintain close contacts with a variety of media, including Sky, BBC, Maverick Television and Future Publishing, which means you’ll benefit from masterclass sessions from visiting tutors and guest speakers, to enhance and enrich your learning.

Your professional studies will prepare you for at least two placements – previous students have worked with organisations such as the BBC, Maverick Television, Warwickshire County Cricket Club, newspapers, magazines, PR companies and local radio stations.

Teaching and learning activities

Teaching and learning activities may include lectures, seminars, workshops, field trips and guided independent study. You will also have access to a wide range of extracurricular opportunities, including seminars by prestigious guest speakers and published authors, and a programme of scholarly and creative events. Online facilities, such as the University’s Virtual Learning Environment Moodle, are used to guide, support and enhance your learning experience. You will benefit from tutorial support and spoken or written feedback on your learning and preliminary work to help you in preparing for and reflecting on your assignments. A wide range of assessment methods are used in the programme, including essays, presentations, exhibitions, conferences and creative portfolios, giving you the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills.

We pride ourselves on giving students real journalism experience through practical activities. These have included reporting live on breaking news stories, as well as planning and implementing coverage of major sporting, cultural and political events alongside professional outlets.

You will also get the chance to see your work published on the award-winning Birmingham Eastside website which is run by students on our Journalism modules.

77 per cent of research undertaken by lecturers from the School of English, classed as world-leading or internationally excellent.
The Research Excellence Framework (REF2014)


Student work

A partnership with other local news organisations has seen students create and run live blogs on issues such as local and general elections.

Students are using virtual reality and 360 degrees technology to tell stories in innovative ways – work which has led to coverage on a leading industry website.

Multiplatform reporting is allowing our students to create unique and powerful ways of telling real stories using a range of skills and different types of media.

View more examples of student work

Employability

Enhancing Employability skills

Employability is embedded across our programme, from sector and industry-specific skills in creative writing, drama, linguistics and literature, through to transferable skills that hold real value regardless of your employment direction.

These skills include literacy and numeracy, time management and organisation, oral and written communication, team work, initiative and enterprise, creative and analytical thinking, self-direction and discipline, independence, information gathering and interpersonal skills.

You will have multiple opportunities to engage in problem solving and problem-based learning, particularly through individual assessments and collaborative practice modules, and to reflect on your own career development needs through participating in the Graduate+ scheme and other employability schemes over the course of your degree.

The course will equip you with first-hand practical expertise and provide you with the rigorous academic knowledge you’ll need to fulfil a career in your chosen communications and journalism field.

As one of our graduates, your skills will be very highly sought after because we teach valued transferable skills, in addition to providing solid academic grounding and practical skills in real-world application.

Our modules regularly adapt to cover live news events as they happen. For example, our students have covered general election counts across the region through the night alongside staff and professional journalists.

Because we use industry-standard software and equipment, and focus on creating content for a modern world, you’ll be capable of covering a story for any outlet and have the adaptable skills necessary to thrive in this fast-paced industry.

Placements

The university is committed to developing strong links with employers in Birmingham and the West Midlands. Several language and creative writing modules have explicit employer and industry engagement, where you work in collaboration with employer and external partners over the course of the semester, and are encouraged to adopt industry-standard practices to facilitate connections and links independently with external partners.

In the case of the work placement module, you will have the opportunity to develop skills and abilities in a sector-specific context, while ensuring that academic aims and objectives are met as part of your wider learning journey.

You’ll be expected to undertake at least two placements during your course, a two-week placement in your first year and a three-week placement in your second year. You’ll identify which placement will suit your needs – some of our previous students have chosen to work at newspapers, while others have opted for magazines and independent online publishers.

Placements should reflect the broadening horizons of journalism through such organisations as hyper local publications, or websites and specialist publications.

Links to industry

We regularly seek out opportunities to build further links with partner organisations in the region, including Creative Black CountryBirmingham Literary FestivalBirmingham Museums Trust (including Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery), Black Country Museum Trust, Arvon Creative Writing FoundationFlatpack Film FestivalWest Midlands Screenwriters' Forum, and other Schools within the University, in addition to publishers, charities, third sector organisations, and more, in Birmingham and beyond.

Regular guest speakers and visiting lecturers from newspapers, broadcast, magazines and online publications will provide you with an insight into the modern journalism industry. By working with specialists in their field you will be able to learn how to bring stories to life.

You’ll also get the chance to engage directly with industry through activities such as hack days and projects with the likes of the BBC, The Times and Trinity Mirror. We have excellent links with a number of national, regional and local outlets, with students regularly taking up placements with the likes of Sky and the BBC.

International

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Facilities & Staff

Parkside and Curzon Buildings

Our Facilities

When you join Birmingham City University, the first thing you will notice is the high standard of our campuses. With an investment of £340 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.

You will study at both the home of the School of English in Millennium Point, and at our £63 million development the Curzon Building, located on our City Centre campus in the vibrant second city that is Birmingham.

Discover your bright and open learning spaces, your 24 hour (during term time) library, drama, media and radio studios, along with state of the art lecture theatres, and a variety of sociable break-out areas, all adding to your unique learning experience.

Our staff

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

Professor Andrew Kehoe

Professor of Corpus Linguistics / Director of Research

Andrew Kehoe is Professor of Corpus Linguistics and Director of Research in English. He studied at the University of Liverpool, gaining qualifications in both English and Computer Science. He researches in the field of Corpus Linguistics: the creation and study of a collection of texts (or corpus) in order to extract new knowledge about language in...

More about Andrew

Dr Joseph Anderton

Senior Lecturer in English Literature

Joseph Anderton is the author of Beckett’s Creatures: Art of Failure after the Holocaust (Bloomsbury, 2016), which considers conceptions of the ‘creature’ and ‘creaturely life’ as they appear in Samuel Beckett’s literature and drama. Joe is currently working on his second book, Writing Homelessness: Rough Sleeping in Contemporary British...

More about Joseph

Dr Soudabeh Ananisarab

Lecturer in Drama

Dr Soudabeh Ananisarab studied at the University of Nottingham where she completed an MA in English Literature (Distinction) and a PhD in English. Her Doctoral thesis explored the development of the Malvern Theatre Festival during the interwar years and its connections with the playwright, George Bernard Shaw. Soudabeh has previously taught at the...

More about Soudabeh

Dave Harte

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...

More about Dave

Ross Hawkes

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...

More about Ross