Immersive Media with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons) *

  • UCAS Code: 1043
  • Level: Foundation
  • Starting: September 2020
  • Study mode: Full Time (4 years)
  • Location: City Centre

The face of media is changing. Immersive formats are no longer the exclusive domain of specialist tech companies – more and more industries are looking to expand their portfolios and utilise different creative digital formats in a variety of ways. On our BA Immersive Media course, we want to ensure that, as a future media worker, you are prepared for the proliferation of new technologies you will encounter, some of which may not have been invented yet.

About foundation courses

This four year programme has been specifically designed to allow you to undertake additional level three study, to ensure you are successful on their chosen degree. 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.

Following your foundation year the focus of the BA (Hons) Immersive Media is on allowing you the room for exploration, experimentation and expression.

What's covered in the course?

We will introduce you to new technologies and invite you to play with old ones, from augmented reality and virtual reality to spatial sound and interactive storytelling. You will learn how they function, what they can be used for, and understand the societal and cultural implications of their practices.

Through your own projects, both practical and research based, you will be encouraged to experiment with immersive media formats, and to create ethical solutions to media issues. You will meet with industry professionals with the potential for receiving live briefs, and will also have the option to undertake an international fieldtrip to gain networking experience and exposure to emerging technologies in practice.

By the end of your four years you will be confident in expressing your own stories, considering your work within a global context. You will understand the constraints and limitations of different technologies and the ways in which they mediate reality.

You will be prepared for the change in future technologies by considering more specifically how we interact with different mediums, how they affect us, why they appeal to us, and the alternative subject positions that they allow. This course isn’t about learning one new format, only for that to be supplanted further down the road. Instead, through the creative challenges set within the course, we will foster the correct attitude needed in order to constantly adapt to changing parameters, and be autonomous in your work.

Why Choose Us?

    • Through our connections with local companies including Holosphere VR you will have the opportunity to learn from, and work with, industry, receiving live briefs and feedback on your independent projects and creations. In your second year you will have the chance to undertake an international field trip to an immersive digital media festival or exhibition. This will give you the opportunity to expand your professional networks and encounter cutting edge immersive technologies and stories.
    • You will have access to: a suite of VR ready computers; appropriate software; virtual reality headsets; 360 cameras; binaural microphones; mini projectors; NFC chips; i-Beacons, etc.
    • In order to foster a creative community and encourage key networking and collaboration and focus within the cohort, you will undertake set modules with your course mates. These will include a large amount of creative freedom within the module content, and you will have the ability to individually choose the medium you work with in order to complete your assignments, ensuring your own passions and interests are catered to.
    • You will be taught by core staff with a wealth of industry, education and research experience. You will also benefit from guest lectures by industry experts, as well as staff from a variety of different media backgrounds who will share the ways in which their industries / specialisms have been affected by the proliferation of immersive technology.

Students outside Millennium Point

Open Days

Our next Open Day for this course will take place on Saturday 21 March 2020. Click below to book your place.

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This course is open to International students

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Subject to approval

This course is in the final stages of approval to ensure it meets the very highest standards of quality, creativity and applied learning.

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/EU students
  • International students

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2020

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2020

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

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.

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

What's included

You will have access to: a suite of VR ready computers; appropriate software; virtual reality headsets; 360 cameras; binaural microphones; mini projectors; NFC chips; i-Beacons, etc. If you are planning on buying a laptop prior to commencing your studies, we recommend that you choose a laptop that has the capacity to cope with the creation of immersive media projects, however this is not a requirement. If you would like advice on what computer specification you should be considering, please contact one of the course team.

Foundation year

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

Cross Media Production 1
20 credits

The purpose of this practical production module is to explore media production techniques in radio, audio production, online video and television. 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.

Cross Media Production 2
20 credits

This purpose of this practical production module is to explore 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, 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.

Media Context and Production
20 credits

The purpose of this module is to introduce you to the key concepts aligned to studying media and communication. The module will focus on making connections between theory and practice and will support your wider understanding of the media industry and the context of your own work. You will have the opportunity to engage with theoretical perspectives that focus on the political economy of the media which will enable you to see how media texts are shaped by the organisation, ownership and regulation of the media industry. You will identify and reflect on political, moral and ethical issues raised by the relationships between the media, culture and ideas of power in local, national and international contexts.

Professional and Academic Skills
20 credits

The purpose of this module is to assist you in developing 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 be introduced to the wide range of academic and practical support that the university offers. This module will introduce you to the key aspects of being a successful independent learner and will enable you to develop key personal and transferable skills to get the most out of your studies. The module will cover how to present your work effectively, how to draw on existing research to support your ideas, how to organise and plan projects, and how to write reflectively about yourself and your work.

Practice Project
40 credits

The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a production project in the subject specialism of your choosing, exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. The outcome can take the form of a written or a practice-based outcome. You will be able to evaluate and reflect critically on your work. Your final work will be a key step in your progression as a student of the media and as a media worker. You will be expected to work independently for the most part but you will receive one-to-one support from a supervisor as well as being able to connect with wider support within the School’s academic team.

Year one

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

Live Production 1
40 credits

Transmedia as a form of storytelling provides near unparalleled opportunities for creative outputs and audience engagement. This live project will develop a foundational understanding of narrative structures and gain exposure to applications that may be used for delivering stories to an audience. Students will be taught how to create media content using video, audio and online means and how to plan and develop a story which will captivate their audience.

Introduction to UX (User Experience)
40 credits

User Experience (UX) could be argued as the bedrock of digital and immersive media experiences, and this module will therefore focus on the theory and practical application of user experience (UX) and its role in digital journeys and user interaction. The underpinning of the module will explore visual communication concepts which will inform the design direction and creation of user interfaces, navigational structure and its impact on the usability of digital products.

Digital Communities
20 credits

This new module will consider how communities have been formed across digital platforms and whether immersive experiences are altering these experiences. We will consider what communities can do, and whether there has been a shift in the power dynamics between producers and consumers to a more democratic model, or whether hierarchies still pervade.

Global and Community Impact
20 credits

This module will give students an international overview of how different mediums pervade in different areas and consider how different laws and legislations have affected the uptake of these. We will consider the ways in which businesses have responded to the changing global landscape, and how the world of work has been irrevocably changed with the rise of digital formats and commerce.

Year two

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

Live Project 2
40 credits

In this second live brief the focus and theme for year 2 will be “mixed reality”. Mixed reality is a growing field and encompasses a range of differential digitally augmented experiences, and through this module we will be considered both broad and narrow applications of the term. Throughout semester 1 weekly sessions will run with lecturers and technicians. After this front-loaded semester, in semester 2 students will then move to independent study.

Immersive Experiences
40 credits

The focus of this module is the creation and understanding of immersive experiences. You will start by taking a critical approach to the concept of immersion, viewing this phenomenon from a variety of theoretical perspectives. Experimentation with immersive technology will inform you on the creative potential of this fast-developing media field to create a project that transfers the audience from being passive consumers to being actively involved.

Digital Storytelling
20 credits

Digital Storytelling techniques have evolved to include everything from film techniques, still images, immersive-audio, and more. In this new module we will consider the different ways in which these techniques can be effectively utilised to allow creative citizens to share their stories. Students will be introduced to a variety of techniques to ensure foundation knowledge in basic components of digital storytelling through practical experimentation with different mediums, and theoretical exploration of what these mediums enable and allow.

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete one the following OPTIONAL modules (totalling of 20 credits):

Work Placement
20 credits

The purpose of this module is to enable you to develop professional attributes and subject skills through experience in the work place, and to critically reflect upon your learning in that context. You will normally be expected to arrange your own placement, with support from academic staff and ADM Careers+.

Live Project
20 credits

This module provides an opportunity for you to apply your knowledge and skills to an external, professional brief. The brief will be set by an external client/ agency, in consultation with your supervisor, and it could be a ‘real life’ problem to be solved, or a simulation.

Collaborative Practice
20 credits

The module is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration by enabling you to create an interdisciplinary project with students from complementary disciplines, or with academic staff. Collaboration is a vital employability skill within the Creative Industries and this module allows you to develop these skills, making use of University facilities and with the support of academic staff.

 
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 120 credits):

Major Project
60 credits

The Major Project is a self-initiated and self-directed programme of study, research, writing and production. You will be marked on your ability to work independently on a research-led practice project. In this module you will build on the knowledge, theoretical perspectives and practical skills established earlier in the course in order to establish your own specialist field.

Digital Futures
20 credits

This new third-year module will enable you to look towards the future innovations occurring within the fields of digital media. Starting with a history of digital emergence, considering concepts such as remediation, convergence culture, and the post-digital, we will then begin to unearth some of the more experimental and emerging practices, and consider their viability for a digital future.

Media Activism
20 credits

Media Activism is a practice-based research module for you to engage in media activist work in practice within social justice, community media and voluntary sectors. This module will examine the role of media in political campaigns and social movements, with a focus on the role of digital communications. It will draw on a range of interdisciplinary literature from media studies, social movement studies and political theory, and examine case studies of political campaigns and social movements in the UK and globally.

Professional and Academic Development
20 credits

This module will help you consolidate your skills and experience and prepare you to find employment through the development of self-promotion skills specific to your area of professional interest. You will continue to audit your skills and reflectively analyse your placement experience and evaluate its impact on your personal and professional development strategically applying new skills learned to present yourself as a media professional.

Across each of the undergraduate degree courses there is an equal emphasis on production, theory and professional studies.

Your first year will allow you to undertake additional level three study, to ensure you are successful on your chosen degree programme. The foundation year helps you 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, your second year will establish the underpinning knowledge of audience engagement and theoretical study, focusing on traditional media content production which will include video, sound and web design. This will be further enhanced with the development of user experiences to create interactive products that imaginatively use these concepts to captivate users.

The following year of the course will progress with an immersive experience theme, exploring the creative possibilities of experimenting with immersive media storytelling with the examples of interactive 360 video and sound. To complement this approach, you will develop an understanding of the theoretical role of emotion and its relationship with immersive experiences.

The fourth and final year will be focused on you conducting independent research and creating innovative products and engaging experiences and memorable and effective interactive and immersive products. To compliment this technical work-readiness, you will also engage in modules to explore global and community impact of digital media, and forward-thinking modules based around digital futures, to consider aspects such as digital ethics and AI advancements.

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:

See all postgraduate media courses

Trips and Visits

The course will offer a variety of local trips to visit appropriate companies including Holosphere VR, where you will be able to see a Birmingham-based immersive technology company, specialising in VR, AR and spatial 3D projection in action. In your second year of study, you will have the opportunity to undertake an international fieldtrip to visit an immersive media festival or conference in order to build your networking experience and engage with cutting edge immersive media experiments.

Enhancing your employability skills

Considering the digital media industry is so fast paced, we believe that attitude, adaptability and autonomy are key components to the skills we need to embed, in order to ensure our graduates are futureproofed within a continually evolving industry.

As the storytelling and creative media landscape evolves, our graduates will be well versed in adapting to new requirements and positions, they will be confident in both low and hi-tech scenarios and usage.

Linking this to the BCU Core Value of Excellence, our course focusses specifically on the three key areas of exploration, experimentation, and expression – fulling embodying the School ethos of #domediadifferently.

Furthermore, our students will be co-designers in their own course (linking to Core Value of Partnership Working) therefore building on their responsibilities and professionalism within their own career development.

We have links with key industry partners within Birmingham, including Holosphere VR, and STEAMhouse. As a BA Immersive Media student you will have the opportunity to visit their studios several times a year, as well as benefit from guest lectures and live briefs.

Placements

In the second year of study, you can choose to take the optional 20 credit work placement module. If you are unable to secure a placement by the specified deadline, an “as live” industry standard project will be set by the Module Tutor. The work placement will be considered and approved by the Module tutor in order to ensure that the learning opportunity is of benefit to you.

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.

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:

Internationalisation is embedded throughout the course at every level.

In your second year the Global and Community Impact module will give an international overview of how different mediums pervade in different areas and consider how different laws and legislations have affected the uptake of these. We will consider the ways in which businesses have responded to the changing global landscape, and how the world of work has been irrevocably changed with the rise of digital formats and commerce.

In your third year this will be built upon through the integration of an international field trip to visit a key digital media festival in Europe.

In your final year, in order to prepare you to enter the world of work and understand international digital cultures, you will explore a variety of global examples of how digital and immersive media has been creatively used to instigate change in political, social, and economic fields through the module Media Activism. We will view how different methods can be utilised to raise awareness around issues and inequalities, and consider the ways in which different communities and areas are being “left behind”, and what the moral and ethical interventions may or may not be in order to consider how globalisation operates through digital virality.

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

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our media and communication course is most popular with international students from:  

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

Dr. Poppy Wilde specialises in digital cultural theory, focussing on the new media industry, digital communities, social media, and digital games. Her research focusses on posthuman subjectivity and explores our affective and embodied experiences.

Robin Kay specialises in design theory, UX and interactive media technologies. He is committed to researching new industry developments and embedding these practices into course delivery for industry and learner needs.

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

Poppy Wilde

Dr Poppy Wilde

Lecturer in Media and Communication

Dr. Poppy Wilde is a Lecturer in Media and Communication in the School of Media at Birmingham City University. Her work focusses on what it means and how feels to be posthuman, by exploring how posthuman subjectivities are enabled and embodied. She has conducted autoethnographic projects exploring the lived experience of MMORPG gaming with particular focus on the avatar-gamer as an embodiment of posthuman subjectivity. In her current work she is extending this to explore posthuman conceptions of death, considering whether game environments allow a space to think differently about dying. She teaches media, communication, and cultural theory, often focusing on new / digital / social media contexts and practices. Her research interests are posthumanism, digital cultures, embodiment, affect, performance in online contexts and the lived experience in research methods.

Read Poppy's full profile