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Journalism with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)

Currently viewing course to start in 2024/25 Entry. Switch to 2025/26 Entry

September 2024 — UCAS code P50F

This course will prepare you for a career in journalism by providing you with the knowledge and cutting-edge skills required to be a professional journalist. You will become an agile, independent reporter working across multiple platforms with the ability to understand the democratic role of journalism in society, ensuring a diversity of stories are told....

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

This course is:

Open to International Students

Overview

Clearing 2024

80 points (or equivalent) is the minimum you will need to be considered for this course in Clearing.

Use the UCAS Tariff Calculator to work out your points.

Got your results?

If you've already received your results and have enough points for this course you can apply online now.

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This course will prepare you for a career in journalism by providing you with the knowledge and cutting-edge skills required to be a professional journalist. You will become an agile, independent reporter working across multiple platforms with the ability to understand the democratic role of journalism in society, ensuring a diversity of stories are told. The course will enable you to become an adaptable journalist capable of working in innovative, engaging and entrepreneurial ways.

This course has been designed in close collaboration with leading industry experts and researchers in journalism. Through a range of complementary modules, you will learn a diverse set of journalistic skills for all news platforms and understand the wider issues that face the journalism industry. The course will prepare you for everything from live reporting to interviewing key figures, enabling you to ask the difficult questions required to cover the key contemporary issues that make up an ever-changing and increasingly diverse news agenda.

About foundation courses

This four-year programme has been specifically designed to allow students who do not initially meet the entry requirements for a three-year degree, to undertake additional level 3 study designed to ensure they are successful on their chosen degree programme.

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

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

You will learn through research-and practice-informed teaching and have the chance to undertake placement opportunities. You will develop creative storytelling skills that allow you to offer insight into important issues and shed light on a diverse range of news stories, all underpinned by traditional skills and knowledge needed to excel in journalism. As well as technical skills, you will also develop the ability to analyse, innovate and explore theoretical concepts to enable you to make your mark in the industry or progress to further study.

Through activities such as workshops and live reporting sessions, you will work on real stories giving you a clear insight of the impact they can have at a local, national and international level. On completion, you will be equipped with the ability to be adaptable to take advantage of the diverse range of opportunities on offer.

Our BA (Hons) Journalism course is delivered by industry experts from broadcast, print and digital, providing a strong foundation for a professional career. Our strong links with key journalism organisations means students will also get the chance to work on live briefs as well as producing content for our award-winning Birmingham Eastside website. Our newsroom media hub also allows for collaborative work as part of the wider Birmingham City University journalism community. Our graduates have gone on to work for Sky, BBC, Reach Plc and the Express & Star. Others have scooped prestigious awards while still studying with us.

Birmingham City University prepared me for the world of journalism by providing me with the skills and confidence to succeed in a professional newsroom environment.

Thomas Lynch, 2017 graduate, now working as a Trending Video Reporter with Trinity Mirror

Why Choose Us?

  • Our unique partnership with HuffPost UK will give you the chance to receive tutorials and masterclasses from the HuffPost UK team, as well opportunities for placements and visits to their bureaus.
  • Industry-standard facilities including six radio studios, four TV studios, the largest free-standing green screen in Europe, edit suites, music production studios, a newsroom media hub, and photography studios.
  • You’ll receive a mobile journalism kit on arrival, allowing you to learn cutting edge skills across multiple platforms and experience the thrill of live reporting from day one.
  • Teaching by active journalists who are industry-leading specialists in their field, including data journalist and author Paul Bradshaw and hyperlocal reporting award-winner Ross Hawkes.
  • The course’s experimentation ethos means you’ll learn to push the creative boundaries to tell stories to a range of real audiences in a new and innovative ways.
  • The chance to see your work published on the award-winning Birmingham Eastside platform.

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to learn about this course in detail, chat to students, explore our campus and tour accommodation. Booking isn't open yet for this event, register your interest and we’ll email you as soon as booking goes live.

Next Open Day: 28 September 2024

Register interest

Entry Requirements

These entry requirements apply for entry in 2024/25.

All required qualifications/grades must have been achieved and evidenced at the earliest opportunity after accepting an offer to help confirm admission and allow for on-time enrolment. This can also include other requirements, like a fee status form and relevant documents. Applicants can track their application and outstanding information requests through their BCU mySRS account.

80 points (or equivalent) is the minimum you will need to be considered for this course in Clearing.

Use the UCAS Tariff Calculator to work out your points.

Got your results?

If you've already received your results and have enough points for this course you can apply online now.

Apply now

Waiting for results?

Download our guide to Clearing to prepare ahead of results day and find out the top five things you can do whilst you wait.

Get advice

Alternative options

If you do not have 80 points, you may like to look at our other courses available.

View Clearing courses

Or explore your options if you don't have enough points for any of our courses.

Please note: the entry requirements listed below are relevant for main cycle applications and may not be applicable during Clearing.

Essential requirements

80 UCAS tariff points

If you have a qualification that is not listed, please contact us.

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 2024

  • 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 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 4 years
  • £16,085 in 2024/25

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.

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.

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.

Places available to start in September 2024

If you'd like to start this course full-time this September, you can apply through Clearing.

Got your results?

If you've already received your results and have enough points for this course you can apply online now.

Apply now

Waiting for results?

Download our guide to Clearing to prepare ahead of results day and find out the top five things you can do whilst you wait.

Get advice

International and part-time students can apply online as normal using the links above.

Want to start in September 2025? You can apply via UCAS from September 2024.

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

Course in Depth

Foundation Year

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

First Year

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

Second Year

In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 60 credits):

In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete at 20 credits from the following indicative list of CORE Faculty modules.

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

Final Year

In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 40 credits):

In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete one module from the following list of CORE-OPTIONAL modules (worth 40 credits)

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

Download course specification

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How you will learn

Your learning will be through a mixture of lectures, practical workshops and seminars. Your course also provides an opportunity to undertake work-based learning through a placement. We embed flexible opportunities for you to access your curriculum including recorded lectures, blended learning, on-campus delivery and intensive delivery of some modules. We recognise that students progress to higher education from a variety of educational experiences and that university is a completely new educational environment for most of you. For that reason, you will find that in your first year with us there is a focus on supporting your transition which places an emphasis on developing both the confidence and the competencies required for being successful at your university assignments. Where appropriate, we will bring in external speakers or arrange visits relevant to your specialism. These may be from industry or be focused on a particular specialist academic interest. We have excellent links with industry, community and scholarly partners which we draw on to enhance your learning experience.

How you will be assessed

All our assessments are designed to ensure that you meet the learning outcomes of your modules and thus of the course overall. Assessment types may include written research reports, essays, case studies, practical work, portfolios and presentations. There are no formal examinations on your course, but short classroom tests may be included within an element of assessment. You will be assessed as an individual but there may be times when you will be asked to work within teams and submit assessments as groups. All modules offer chances for formative assessment, that is, informal assessments that are used to assess your understanding before the final submission of your work. Formative assessments also help inform the teaching strategy within a module, identifying areas where we can offer extra help and guidance. We will offer tutorials and a chance for you to discuss your draft assessments before you submit them. Once marked, we will give formal feedback and ‘feed forward’ on all work submitted, aimed at helping you improve future submissions


Our Classes

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.


Examples of activities

Mobile reporting

The mobile reporting kits allow students to explore journalism in real time, with some sessions delivered on location. This gives students a chance to experience as well as understand the opportunities for covering stories in alternative ways.

Collaborative working

All modules encourage students to collaborate with their peers, lecturers and external organisations. Live briefs from the journalism industry allow students to explore real-world challenges.

Virtual newsroom

The virtual newsroom lives alongside our physical space and allows students to access a wealth of support, advice and materials to ensure that learning continues beyond the class sessions.

Masterclasses and extra-curricular activities

Through collaboration with students, guest speakers and topics are identified to create additional talks and sessions.


Our Students

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.

Employability

Enhancing employability skills

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.

Our track record for graduate employment is excellent, with the majority of graduates going into a media-related role. The course opens up specific employability avenues related to the production route chosen. A number of journalism graduates from Birmingham City University have gone into roles such as social media editor, reporter, and trending video editor. 


Links to industry

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.


Graduate job successes

Students from the School of Media have been making headlines after landing journalism jobs before they’ve even graduated.

Thomas Lynch (pictured in his new workplace) and Lillian Keen have become trending video reporters with Trinity Mirror, while Elis Sandford is now a news reporter with the company. They join 2016 graduate Charlotte Smith who began working with the national newspaper group earlier this year.

Thomas said: “I handed in my production project on the first Friday of May and the following Monday, I was a trending video producer. If you work hard enough and take advantage of what your university offers you, there is success to be found. Who said it was difficult to find a graduate job?"

There has also been success for another soon-to-be graduate after Thomas Chapman began working as a news reporter with the Eastern Daily Press.

Placements

The School strongly believes in the practical application of learning and is fortunate to have very strong links with employers and the media industry. Students on placements have worked with a wide range of organisations including the BBC, Maverick Television and Trinity Mirror.

More about our placement opportunities

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

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 over £400 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 a BOLT JR+ high-speed camera robot.

Our staff

Ellie Tomsett

Senior Lecturer

Dr Ellie Tomsett is a Senior Lecturer in media and film. Before teaching in Higher Education, 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...

More about Ellie

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

Robin Kay

Lecturer

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...

More about Robin

Dave Harte

Interim Head of English and Media

Dave Harte is Associate Professor in Journalism and Media Studies. His research is focused on local and community journalism, and he has published widely on these topics.

More about Dave

Dr Sarah Wood

Head of English and Media

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

Hilary Weston Jones

Lecturer in Professional and Academic Development

Hilary specialises in embedding employability within modules across all years and supporting students with securing work placements. Having spent 24 years working as a Television Production Manager (BBC and Independents), Hilary teaches and mentors students within this area.

More about Hilary