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Media Production - MA

The MA Media Production course gives you the opportunity to kick start or further your career in the television and radio industries. The course offers a clear progression pathway for students who have already completed undergraduate studies in television or radio....

Studying with us in 2021/22 and 2022/23

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses.  Information about the arrangements for the 2021/22 academic year can be found here.  

 

Should the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continue in the 2022/23 academic year or subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

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

Overview

The MA Media Production course gives you the opportunity to kick start or further your career in the television and radio industries. The course offers a clear progression pathway for students who have already completed undergraduate studies in television or radio.

For those who already have industry experience, or are looking to change career path, the course provides the chance to learn additional skills and apply professional media practice to your existing resume.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

While this is largely a practical course that will give you the professional skills you’ll need to work in a fast-paced, real world television or radio environment, you’ll also study production theory.

You’ll develop a detailed knowledge of how both mediums work today and how they are constantly evolving. Professional practice is embedded into the course which will prepare you for a career in either the television or radio industries.

You’ll also use your academic thinking to evaluate the current state of digital media, giving you the opportunity to reflect critically on your own performance.

Throughout the course, you’ll be supported by academic staff that have vast amounts of experience in television and radio production, such as radio documentary producer Sam Coley and community radio researcher Siobhan Stevenson.

If you have an interest in television production you will develop a detailed knowledge of how production processes work and will be encouraged to explore online content development and distribution. The specialist television modules mirror industry approaches and therefore you will operate as a production team to complete assignments in both modules. This approach has allowed a number of recent MA students to progress seamlessly into professional production roles.

If your ambitions lie in setting yourself up as a freelancer with a focus on technical skills we will encourage you to develop your entrepreneurial and networking skills and engagement with social media platforms to establish a robust foundation to launch your professional career.

If you tailor your studies to radio you will cover traditional AM/FM broadcasting, as well as digital distribution. You’ll also develop your entrepreneurial skills, engage with social media platforms, and look at how radio is used for social and economic development.

I wanted to add academic skills to my practical skills - as up until now, everything I learnt in radio was self-taught. The supportive tutors have given me some unbelievable feedback and coming on this course has increased my employability.

David Morrissey

Why Choose Us?

  • You’ll be taught by award-winning academic staff who have an accomplished track record in television and radio production and who continue to work in the industry.
  • Regular guest speaker sessions give you the chance to learn from leading radio practitioners and build your industry networks.
  • Our broadcast standard facilities are regularly used by media companies who incorporate our students into their activities through our paid ‘runners pool’.
  • Our broadcast-quality television studios are supported by the latest editing, sound dubbing and colour grading equipment. You will be supported and trained by an excellent team of specialist technicians.
  • Our digital radio studios use the latest audio production and programme scheduling tools.
  • We offer extensive bespoke careers advice and encourage and support you to develop entrepreneurial skills, essential for a successful freelance career.

Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements
Essential

You should have or expect to gain at least an upper second-class bachelor's degree in a relevant subject area.

You should be able to demonstrate prior experience of work in television, media production or other media related areas.

Your achievements should clearly demonstrate a keen interest in the television sector.

You are advised to read around the subject of media and to explore examples. Your application should demonstrate your ability to generate and develop ideas, as judged by the MA team.

If your first language is not English, you must have achieved an IELTS 6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands.

We welcome non-traditional applications, particularly from applicants with substantial professional or production experience. It may also be possible to award module credits via APL/APEL if you can provide evidence of prior learning.

International Students

Entry requirements here

Fees & How to Apply

  • International students

Award: MA

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £7,900 per year
  • Full Time
  • 18 months (including Professional Placement - see below*)
  • £8,690 per year

Award: MA

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £16,300 per year
  • Full Time
  • 18 months (including Professional Placement - see below*)
  • £17,930 per year

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.

*Professional Placement option

The Professional Placement version of the course is optional and is offered as an alternative to the standard version of the course.

This will allow you to complete a credit bearing, 20 week Professional Placement as an integral part of your Master’s Degree. The purpose of the Professional Placement is to improve your employability skills which will, through the placement experience, allow you to evidence your professional skills, attitudes and behaviours at the point of entry to the postgraduate job market. Furthermore, by completing the Professional Placement, you will be able to develop and enhance your understanding of the professional work environment, relevant to your chosen field of study, and reflect critically on your own professional skills development within the workplace.

You will be responsible for finding and securing your own placement. The University, however, will draw on its extensive network of local, regional and national employers to support you in finding a suitable placement to complement your chosen area of study. You will also benefit from support sessions delivered by Careers+ as well as advice and guidance from your School.

Placements will only be confirmed following a competitive, employer-led selection process, therefore the University will not be able to guarantee placements for students who have registered for the ‘with Professional Placement’ course. All students who do not find a suitable placement or do not pass the competitive selection process will be automatically transferred back to the standard, non-placement version of the course.

Personal statement

Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.

Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Your passion and motivations

Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?

Why this course?

Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.

What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?

Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.

Relevant academic or work experience

Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?

You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

Course in Depth

Television Production Strand

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 140 credits):

This module is intended to give an overview of professional practice in contemporary UK television production with a particular focus on factual entertainment genres. You will gain an understanding of the professional practices in television and video by developing production, editorial and technical skills. Comprehension of television production skills will be enhanced through the use of current internet systems of distribution, such as tablet and mobile media and social media platforms.

This module is intended to give an overview of professional practice in contemporary UK television production with a particular focus on factual entertainment genres. You will gain an understanding of the professional practices in television and video by developing production, editorial and technical skills. Comprehension of television production skills will be enhanced through the use of current internet systems of distribution, such as tablet and mobile media and social media platforms.

The module is intended to help you develop and consolidate your ideas for your MA Major Project. By providing a common module that comprises of all MA Media cohorts, Research in Practice aims to facilitate a shared skillset that aids the successful completion of the MA Major project, as well as the potential for routes into PhD progression beyond. It is also designed to encourage interdisciplinary discussions across MA awards.

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 BCU Careers. It is also possible to fulfil this module via a shorter placement duration and a linked ‘live’ project set by the employer.

The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. It is important that we can support you appropriately, so you will be guided towards choosing a research topic which is relevant to your discipline and in which your lecturers have expertise. The outcome may take the form of a written dissertation or a practical outcome with accompanying reflective, critical and contextual material. The main consideration when choosing your topic is that it must be relevant to your programme and you should consider the relevance of this topic to your future academic or professional development.

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

Within the context of media integration and convergence, Narrative: from media to interactive media aims to help students to build a flexible skillset that provides a basis to critically adapt to both new and developing storytelling technologies.

This module is intended to give an overview of the current state of scholarly research into the use of social media platforms as a communication tool and also enable students to develop as social media practitioners who can develop innovative solutions to communications problems and develop their expertise at using social networking platforms in sophisticated ways. To that end, the module combines engagement with academic texts through lectures and seminars, with a series of practicebased workshops. The module explores the role of social media as an aspect of everyday communications, examining the technologies and practices that are put to use by citizens, activists, media producers and others, examining the range of practices that are emerging and their social and cultural role and character.

This module offers an extension to the other modules on the MA Events, Festivals and Exhibitions Management pathway. Whilst being an integral part of the pathway the module also works as a standalone optional module for those students on other pathways who can apply the key learnings to their own specialism.

This module provides an in-depth look at a major crux for the film industry: film festivals. Film festivals play a part in the financing, distribution and marketing of independent films and therefore the study of them is a core part of the overall. The present module will give students an understanding of the importance of film festivals to the industry, and give them insight into the skills needed to mount a successful marketing and public relations strategy at a festival.

This module develops a sophisticated understanding of the processes and outcomes of planning a communications strategy for a range of organisations that strive to bring about social change. Throughout the emphasis is on the communication challenges facing activist, not-for-profit, charity, and public sector organisations and developing persuasive messages to explain complex issues to a range of stakeholder groups.

Law, Regulation & Institutions focuses on key areas of the law and regulatory systems as they relate to the media, as well as allowing you to research those institutions which are important sources of news.

This module explores the current state of international academic knowledge and debates based on the research interests of staff and students involved with the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research. It will provide you with a systematic understanding of approaches to researching media cultures and the opportunity to develop your insights through an area of interest, connected to your MA project.

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

Radio and Audio Production Strand

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 140 credits):

This module is intended to strengthen core radio and audio production skills such as digital editing, recording, and approaches to live studio presentation and programming. It shall enable students to develop as radio and audio production practitioners who can develop innovative programming and develop their expertise at using online audio platforms in sophisticated ways. To that end, the module combines engagement with academic texts through lectures and seminars, with a series of practicebased workshops and demonstrations.

This level 7 module is intended to compliment key radio and audio production skills such as digital editing, recording, and approaches to live studio presentation and programming whilst considering radio as an educational and developmental tool. Students will gain knowledge about radio’s role as a medium for representing and developing communities through programming and information, which is often underrepresented through mainstream radio. To that end, the module combines engagement with current academic debates through lectures, set readings, group discussion, practice-based workshops and demonstrations and listening sessions.

The module is intended to help you develop and consolidate your ideas for your MA Major Project. By providing a common module that comprises of all MA Media cohorts, Research in Practice aims to facilitate a shared skillset that aids the successful completion of the MA Major project, as well as the potential for routes into PhD progression beyond. It is also designed to encourage interdisciplinary discussions across MA awards.

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 BCU Careers. It is also possible to fulfil this module via a shorter placement duration and a linked ‘live’ project set by the employer.

The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. It is important that we can support you appropriately, so you will be guided towards choosing a research topic which is relevant to your discipline and in which your lecturers have expertise. The outcome may take the form of a written dissertation or a practical outcome with accompanying reflective, critical and contextual material. The main consideration when choosing your topic is that it must be relevant to your programme and you should consider the relevance of this topic to your future academic or professional development.

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

Within the context of media integration and convergence, Narrative: from media to interactive media aims to help students to build a flexible skillset that provides a basis to critically adapt to both new and developing storytelling technologies.

This module is intended to give an overview of the current state of scholarly research into the use of social media platforms as a communication tool and also enable students to develop as social media practitioners who can develop innovative solutions to communications problems and develop their expertise at using social networking platforms in sophisticated ways. To that end, the module combines engagement with academic texts through lectures and seminars, with a series of practicebased workshops. The module explores the role of social media as an aspect of everyday communications, examining the technologies and practices that are put to use by citizens, activists, media producers and others, examining the range of practices that are emerging and their social and cultural role and character.

This module offers an extension to the other modules on the MA Events, Festivals and Exhibitions Management pathway. Whilst being an integral part of the pathway the module also works as a standalone optional module for those students on other pathways who can apply the key learnings to their own specialism.

This module provides an in-depth look at a major crux for the film industry: film festivals. Film festivals play a part in the financing, distribution and marketing of independent films and therefore the study of them is a core part of the overall. The present module will give students an understanding of the importance of film festivals to the industry, and give them insight into the skills needed to mount a successful marketing and public relations strategy at a festival.

This module develops a sophisticated understanding of the processes and outcomes of planning a communications strategy for a range of organisations that strive to bring about social change. Throughout the emphasis is on the communication challenges facing activist, not-for-profit, charity, and public sector organisations and developing persuasive messages to explain complex issues to a range of stakeholder groups.

Law, Regulation & Institutions focuses on key areas of the law and regulatory systems as they relate to the media, as well as allowing you to research those institutions which are important sources of news.

This module explores the current state of international academic knowledge and debates based on the research interests of staff and students involved with the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research. It will provide you with a systematic understanding of approaches to researching media cultures and the opportunity to develop your insights through an area of interest, connected to your MA project.

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

Course structure

The MA Media Production course is suitable for those wishing to enter the industry or who are already forging a career in broadcasting and want to attain a well-respected academic qualification to complement their skills. It may also be of interest to those looking to change their career path. As we provide a range of training opportunities early in the course, even students with limited media experience can acquire the level of skill needed to complete course requirements. The course runs full time over the period of one year. Although you will have set classes each week in semesters one and two, you will also have time made available to hire out equipment / studios and carry out research, in order to complete course work and build your skills.

You will be assessed through a variety of practical course work, written critical evaluations and industry / audience analysis.

You’ll work independently and within teams on a number of projects and you’ll be expected to take full advantage of our broadcast-quality studios to produce exceptional pieces.

Your final project, worth 60 credits, is your MA by Practice or by Dissertation, so you will have the choice between cutting-edge production-based assessment or a more traditional theory dissertation assessment - or you can opt to undertake a combination of the two.

At the end of the course, you will be able to map the core knowledge of the key theoretical approaches to understanding the professional practices in television and radio production, existing intellectual challenges faced by the industry, and scholarly and professional techniques.

You will be able to work independently and in teams to produce television / radio / online content, having developed innovative research strategies to deal with complex issues in original cases.

Classroom activities and projects

Our students have the freedom to take control of their studies by choosing projects that reflect their particular broadcasting interests. Past production projects have included television documentaries, studio based shows, video content online channels and projects developed with external and internal clients including Aston Martin Racing, Help the Aged, Vietnamese State Broadcasting, the National Theatre and the BBC Digital production department. 

Past radio production projects have included radio dramas, audio slideshows, music documentaries, podcasts and instore radio programming.

Students have also produced real world course work for the Birmingham Music Archive, the Birmingham Town Hall and the Birmingham Public Library.


Student stories

Luca Piparo Media Production student stories

Luca Piparo

Radio producer and presenter of a weekly music show at Radio ARA in Luxembourg


"I feel that my work is now more efficient than before. Besides the technical and creative things, the skills I learned during my course gave me a professional method to do my work and a guideline on to how to critically evaluate radio and my work. I’d do another MA at BCU If I had the chance!"

Employability

Enhancing employability skills

The aim of our MA Media Production course is to prepare you for a career in the fast-paced world of media and broadcasting. Thanks to our outstanding facilities and reputation for producing work-ready, highly skilled graduates who are already proficient on industry-quality equipment, our students are sought after.

You’ll have worked with guest lecturers who are working within the industry and you’ll have gained good contacts during your course, all of which will stand you in good stead when looking for employment.

It is very useful to have an idea what you would like to do when the MA has finished. Ambition is strongly encouraged. We have a very experienced professional development team who have worked in the radio and television industries and are widely networked with professionals currently working in production.

An individual professional development plan is created with the help of staff and the practicalities of achieving professional goals is covered in detail. You will create appropriate CV’s and covering letters, mock interviews are offered and actively encouraged. 

Placements

You are encouraged to find a placement or work with an external client while studying on the course. This is an ideal way to build your network, an essential element of working in the short-term contract, freelance structure of the television and radio industries.

Because we work with people across the industry – both in the UK and overseas – you might be offered the opportunity to work with global professionals and clients.

Students with an interest in television production will be able to apply for established placement schemes with Sky and the BBC Drama department in Birmingham. Many opportunities are connected with production activity in and around the city. For example, we work closely with Film Birmingham who appreciate the ‘industry ready’ abilities of our students and graduates. Recent films produced in Birmingham, which included paid placements for our students, include The Girl with All the Gifts, Kingsman 2 and Stephen Spielberg’s Ready Player One. The BBC also approach us regularly with opportunities including producing original content for BBC Three online and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year show.

Some of our radio students have partnered with American student radio stations to produce award-winning programmes.

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.

Graduate stories

Rebekah Pennington

A graduate of the MA Radio and Audio Production course (now titled MA Media Production), Rebekah was able to secure an extensive placement at Global Radio though her coursework.

Rebekah Woolley profile picture

Rebekah Woolley

Rebekah Woolley successfully secured a placement with BBC drama Doctors whilst still on the course, which subsequently lead to paid work. She has since worked as a production secretary on the BBC period drama Father Brown, series two of Poldark, and the final series of the ITV drama, Broadchurch.  


Links to Industry

Film Birmingham recognise our ability to provide industry literate students who are regularly hired for runner and location assistant roles on productions shot in and around the city.

Local media companies Maverick (Embarrassing Bodies) North One (The Gadget Show, Guy Martin) and 7 Wonder (Make My Body Better with Davina McCall) regularly offer placement opportunities directly to our students and many of our graduates have been offered entry level paid work based on their voluntary engagement with these companies.

Our radio students have had the chance to work closely with local organisations such as the Library of Birmingham and the Birmingham Town Hall venue to create real world media as part of their course work. 

International Students

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:

Students from countries such as China, Vietnam, Spain, Pakistan, Germany, Italy and Ireland have joined past MA media courses. The language of radio production is international, meaning the skills the course teaches can be employed in a variety of radio stations around the world.


Student stories

Yu Xiao

Yu came from China to study on the MA Radio and Audio Production course (now MA Media Production). Yu chose to live and study in Birmingham as she felt the living costs in London were too great.

Facilities and 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.

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.

An excellent team of tutors and technicians supports our production facilities. We actively encourage our students to utilise the facilities beyond the set course work to build up a varied portfolio of work.

Collaboration with students both within the School of Media and those based in other Schools is recommended and facilitated. You will have the opportunity to work with the composing students based in the Conservatoire and commission original music for a wide range of projects. Our animation and graphic design students are happy to work closely with our students to provide opening title sequences and the Film Production and Sound Engineering students help crew productions. The Arts, Design and Media faculty uniquely offers our production students the opportunity to ‘commission’ every element of television and radio production work from fellow students.  

Our staff

Sam Coley

Course Leader MA Media Production and Associate Professor (International)

Sam Coley is an Associate Professor (International) for the Faculty of Arts, Design & Media at Birmingham City University. He is also Award Leader for the MA Media Production at Birmingham School of Media, where he teaches a range of undergraduate and postgraduate audio production modules.

More about Sam

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 Media. He supervises PhDs in the areas of journalism and community media.

More about Dave

Dr Sarah Wood

Head of Birmingham Institute of Media and English

Sarah Wood holds degrees from JMU, the University of Liverpool, and Birmingham City University, where she gained her PhD. Her research interests are in feminism and science fiction.

She has an article on Octavia Butler forthcoming in FEMSPEC and is working on further studies of Butler as well as of Nalo Hopkinson and slave narrative.

More about Sarah

Duncan Sedgwick

Course Director MA Events and Exhibition Management

Prior to joining Birmingham City University Duncan spent over 20 years working in the events and exhibition industry.

Working for a various of clients on a wide range of events he has worked throughout the UK, Europe and in the USA.

Since 1999 Duncan has been a Director of a Midlands-based events production company.

More about Duncan