Public Relations and Media - BA (Hons)
- UCAS Code: P2P3
- Level: Undergraduate
- Starting: September 2021
- Study mode: Full Time (3 years)
- Location: City Centre
Studying with us in 2021/22
It is possible that the 2021/22 academic year may be affected by the ongoing disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Any arrangements put in place by the University for the 2021/22 academic year 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.
With close industry links, the BA (Hons) Public Relations and Media course provides you with the skills and knowledge that today’s PR professionals need in a fast-moving media environment.
The course is recognised by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and provides plenty of opportunities to build contacts with some of the UK’s leading PR organisations, working on genuine campaigns and pitching ideas to clients.
What's covered in the course?
Combining practical skills and industry insights, Public Relations and Media offers a truly unique blend of communication perspectives that will put you in the very best position to pursue a PR career.
Turn your ideas into a reality and be brave with your approach to your work; in PR, there is no such thing as a bad idea, there is always potential and this course will help you realise yours.
Informed by the working approaches of top PR, communication and digital teams across the UK and beyond, this course will develop your understanding, awareness and appreciation of PR as a concept and a discipline. You’ll become a critical media consumer and you’ll draw upon your own areas of interest to assess influence and impact in action. You’ll turn this knowledge into your own creative campaigns, so from the moment you begin, you will be able to build an impressive production portfolio that will make you stand out from the recruitment crowd.
Why Choose Us?
- You will join a course recognised by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, closely linked to industry and with the support of a mentor scheme with PR, communications and social media practitioners.
- You will be taught by respected PR professionals and academics, who have managed successful PR agencies and run exciting award-winning client campaigns. The lecturing team delivers a balance of critical understanding and effective delivery.
- We will prepare you for a fast-paced, rewarding career in PR. You’ll gain valuable experience through regular industry networking opportunities which will help you make contacts, build confidence and put your skills into practice.
- PR works in fast-changing world and our team helps set the pace in social media content and influence.
- In PR, it’s not just what you know, it’s who you know. Our expert team is very well connected, with close links to renowned theorists, the CIPR and PRCA, plus a multitude of communication organisations and professionals in the region, the UK and beyond.
- PR and Media is the complete package for wannabe communications professionals. It provides you with plenty of platforms to build your profile and those all-important contacts, so you can step into the communications industry with confidence.
Our next Open Day is taking place in Summer 2021. It's the perfect opportunity to tour our facilities, hear from some of our staff and get a feel of what it's like to study at BCU.
This course is open to International students
Where our students go
Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:
- WPR Agency
- Spottydog Communications
- Gung Ho
- Warwick Castle
- Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity
And in jobs such as:
- PR Account Executive
- Social Media Manager
- Content Writer
- Marketing Executive
- Digital Assistant
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
112 UCAS points
|LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS|
|Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level)||See level 3 entry under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details|
|Scottish National 5||
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||
|AS and AS VCE||
|Access to HE Diploma||
|Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)||
|IBO Certificate in Higher Level||
|International Baccalaureate Diploma||
|Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers)||Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 112 tariff points, achieved in five Higher level subjects. This must include English Language taken at either Ordinary Level (minimum grade O1-O4 (or A-C/A1-C3)) or Higher level minimum grade H1/H7 (or A-D / A1-D3 up to and including 2016|
|OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma||DMM|
|Scottish Advanced Higher||
|UAL Extended Diploma in Art & Design||Merit overall|
|UAL Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production & Technology||Merit overall|
|UAL Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts||Merit overall|
|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
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|
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.
|International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).|
International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).
Applications from mature students (21+) with alternative qualifications and/or considerable work experience will be considered on their merits.
From A Level, not including A/S Levels
Worried about teacher assessments?
However you're being assessed this Summer, it can be a stressful time. We've got a load of tips on revision skills and time management to help you feel as prepared as possible.
- UK students
- International students
Award: BA (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 3 years
- Apply via UCAS
Award: BA (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 3 years
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. 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 students
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
There are three ways to apply:
1) Direct to the University
2) Through a country representative
Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.
3) Through UCAS
If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.
UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*
The personal statement gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.
Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:
Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.
School or college experience
Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.
Non-accredited skills or achievement
eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.
You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.
Get more information on writing personal statements.
*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.
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.
Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for your personal stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.
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.
Worried about personal statements?
If you've got no idea where to start or just want to check you're on the right track, we’ve got expert advice and real examples from our students to help you nail your personal statement. You can even download our ultimate personal statement guide for free.
We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):
This module underpins the first year of the course and provides a solid understanding of the development and influence of mass media. From critiquing media texts to considering audiences, this enlightening module will help you see media today in new and exciting ways, to enhance your own media output.
Understanding Public Relations - Week-by-week, this module will cover all the core components of modern PR practice. You will use your news and consumer awareness to inform lively discussions and workshop activities. As an emerging PR practitioner, you will consider target audiences and discover how to use different platforms and channels for the benefit of your client or cause.
This hands-on module will equip you with the appreciation of and tools for establishing and running an effective event. A key activity in many PR campaigns, events and exhibitions are great platforms to reach an audience and through research and planning, you will develop your own ideas for hosting a successful event.
Find out how to bend the media to your whim and what makes influencers so influential. During this module, you will develop core media and influencer relations skills. It establishes an understanding of the dynamic of the relationship between the press, broader media, bloggers, vloggers and other social media influencers. You will then begin to create content that can be used across a wide range of platforms and channels.
Media and PR have influence and impact upon stakeholders and publics from hyperlocal and regional levels to national and international reach. This module will explore a range of challenging briefs where PR support can make a difference to different groups and deliver measurable outcomes – and you will come up with the communication goods!
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 80 credits):
In Live Production 2 you will build on skills developed in production work in year one. You will research, plan and develop production material relevant to your production specialism. You will learn industry-level, specialist practical skills and develop your own professional practice through a range of production activities and workshops. The aim is to encourage you to be original and creative while recognising professional contexts and audience demands.
The module will give you the freedom to apply specialist and integrated media production skills through experimentation and group learning in your production area. You will apply the skills you have learnt to offer solutions to real production challenges. Your solutions will demonstrate your critical understanding of the issues related to media production contexts.
In this module, you can be expected to examine PR activity in a societal context, including role plays of ethical and professional dilemmas. Informed by past and present examples and case studies, you will gain a deeper understanding of the purpose and function of PR and the content within which the industry finds itself today.
From analysis through to evaluation, you will learn how to thoroughly research, creatively develop, successfully deliver and effectively evaluate a PR campaign, creating your own proposal whilst also working on a group pitch presentation to a chosen client.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete at least 40 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.
The programme structure allows you to choose an option from modules that are operated on a faculty-wide basis. This option is taken in semester two of year two:
- Collaborative Practice – this module allows for collaboration with students from other Schools within the Art, Design and Media faculty.
- Work Experience – you may choose to undertake an additional work placement.
- Live Project – you will work to a brief on a real-world or simulated project. A series of live project briefs will be set each year, including an option based on an overseas visit.
The programme structure allows you to choose an option from modules that are offered within the School of Media across other programmes. Some options are closely aligned with your area of study but you may choose to take an option from any in the following list (note that not all options may be offered each year). This option is taken in semester two of year two:
- Creating Compelling Content
- Campaigning and Investigative journalism
- Lifestyle and Branded Media Content
- Bi-Media drama
- Television Studio
- Music, Media and Digitalisation
- Digital Content Distribution
- Advanced Visual Communication
- Music Industry Promotional Practices
- Commercial Production for Radio
- Radio Documentary
- Fashion Photography
- Gender, Sexuality and the Body
- Comedy in the Media and Popular Culture
- Perspectives on Community and Alternative Media
- Race, Ethnicity and the Media
- Media and Materiality
- Fandoms and Subcultures
- Communities of Practice: Culture, Heritage and Space
- Film Cultures
- Media Censorship and Regulation
- Celebrity Culture
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):
This last piece of the puzzle is in your hands. You can decide how to frame your final year project in order to apply your skills, demonstrate your competencies and create something that exists in the real world. Whether it is your own PR agency, in collaboration with peers, working to live briefs, or establishing an area of PR research to further inform your practice, this Major Project will give you the chance to take a confident step into the industry, and the experience to back it up.
In Live Production 3 you will further develop production skills from your first two years. You will research, plan and develop production material relevant to your production specialism. You will take an experimental and innovate approach to develop your own professional practice through a range of production activities and workshops. The aim is to encourage you to synthesis skills in research and production in order to showcase your creativity whilst recognising professional contexts and audience demands.
The module will give you the freedom to apply specialist and integrated media production skills through individual and group learning in your production area. You will consult with industry in order to develop solutions to real production challenges. Your solutions will demonstrate your critical understanding of the issues related to media production contexts.
Promotional Culture sets PR in a wider context, looking also at advertising, publicity, marketing and branding, but through a cultural studies lens. Enterprise Start Up is for those students considering striking out on their own, with an emphasis on practical advice.
You will consider what it means to be a public relations or media professional and work to refine your portfolio and create a distinctive CV. These workshops will also help provide you with practical skills so you can present yourself, and your work, in person and on paper, with confidence
Informed by the working approaches of top PR communication and digital teams across the UK and beyond, you will learn how to plan PR, influencer and social media campaigns, strategically select and implement a wide range of tactics, and prepare compelling editorial, video and image content for all the important online and traditional platforms.
Through engaging seminars you will develop presentations, ideas and creative solutions, and will hone keen writing skills for a multitude of audiences and purposes. Through applied sessions and assessments as well as agency experience, you’ll quickly become confident at pitching your ideas and proposals to clients, industry representatives and the media.
Throughout the course, you’ll have the freedom to develop ideas, creative solutions and presentations, and we’ll have critical debates about current issues and stories impacting on the industry and in the news. We listen to what you say and so you can inform the direction of workshops and assignments based upon your personal passions. There will also be opportunities to broaden your media skills, perhaps in photography, print and web design, media production and journalism, with optional modules giving you the scope to further explore your personal interests.
Turn your ideas into a reality and be brave with your approach to your work. In PR, there is no such thing as a bad idea – there is always potential and this course will help you realise yours. If you want to be influential and have impact in what you do, this course will open many doors, as our strong student satisfaction and graduate employability track record proves.
During your studies there will be practice-based opportunities to engage with industry professionals and current campaigns. Guest speakers will inform workshops and live briefs will form the basis of some assignments. Analysis of practice, debate and campaigns will be presented as review and proposal documents. Research papers will be presented at industry conferences. Content prepared in class will be developed to an industry standard for your professional portfolio.
You will also get the chance to see your work published on #BCUWeArePR, an online platform for our current PR students and the lecturing team. It also acts as a community for past, present and future students to come together and talk about industry issues and personal achievements.
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 MA Public Relations and MA Event and Exhibition Management. For PR students, the CIPR Professional Certificate and Diploma are also compelling courses for professionals who have some experience in industry and who want to hone their skills and refine their professionalism once their careers have begun in earnest.
PR academics discuss Meghan and Harry interview
Philip Young and Kelly O'Hanlon say Meghan and Harry interview was orchestrated, poorly timed and will be considered a mistake.
Burger King’s social media stunt
PR and Media Lecturer, Kelly O’Hanlon, discusses the timing of Burger King’s ‘Women belong in the kitchen’ tweet and how intended campaign messaging can sometimes result in quite the opposite.
Enhancing your employability skills
The BA (Hons) PR and Media course is located within the Birmingham School of Media, which has an excellent track record for graduate employment. The course builds upon the School’s employability driven reputation, by opening avenues for students interested in potential careers in PR, social media and marketing, communications, journalism and teaching PR/media studies.
As well as gaining course-specific skills, you could also gain broader tools through our Graduate+ programme, which will help enhance your employment options by helping with careers development, employability activities, volunteering and part-time work experience.
Allied with these course-specific experiences, you will also have access to a range of support staff and services from the University’s Careers Service, who can help with:
- Reviewing CVs, covering letters and application forms
- Career planning and decision making
- Preparing for interviews and assessment centres
- Developing portfolios
- Networking with employers
- Advice about self-employment and entrepreneurship
Examples of real graduates and their roles
- Nicole Daybell and Rachel Hickey both joined WPR Agency in 2019 as Account Executives.
- Maddie McCrann-Smith is a PR, Communications and Social Media Executive at Spottydog Communications, where she started her PR career in 2018.
- George Marrable is Account Executive at Gung Ho Communications.
- Emma Batterick is a Content Executive at Rice Media.
- Jodie Perkins worked on The Big Sleuth, became PR Officer at Birmingham Children’s Hospital upon graduation and is now Account Manager for Nathan Rous PR.
- Dean Taylor has worked at WPR Agency, Liquid PR and Social Chain since graduating from BCU in 2017.
- Heather Woodhouse joined McCann in 2017 as a Graduate Account Executive and is now an Account Manager.
- Emily Nicholls is Business Manager for Global Media.
- Ileana Malacrino is currently Campaign Manager at Pulse Marketing.
During the live agency modules in your first and second year, you will have the opportunity to work as part of a team to respond to internal and external briefs. You will also seek placements in practice to enhance your understanding and applied skills, with support provided by the teaching team and a vast network of contacts at your disposal via the Birmingham School of Media’s JobBook site, in PR and other related arenas.
OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.
It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.
Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.
Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.
Our track record for graduate employment is excellent, with the majority of graduates going into a media-related role.
Each course opens up specific employability avenues related to the production route chosen. A high number of graduates have gone into producer/director roles, journalism, public relations, web development, freelance/own business.
Our third-year students showcase their final year work at Inspired Festival at the end of each academic year. It offers a springboard for our graduates and a chance for industry to spot emerging talent.
Links to industry
Prominent PR professionals sit on an advisory panel to make sure our course is up to date and relevant to industry. Practitioners regularly give masterclasses and guest lectures, and our strong industry links ensure a wide range of placement and opportunities.
Kelly O’Hanlon is on the CIPR Midlands committee, in the role of Treasurer. Staff are CIPR members.
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:
The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations
The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations for international students.
The first-class experience offered by universities are reflected in the world’s largest survey of international students. International students are more likely to recommend the UK than any other leading English-language study destination.
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 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.
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 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 teaching staff comprises specialists in their respective fields, including academics and industry professionals, all of whom are perfectly placed to offer a wealth of experience and knowledge. Birmingham School of Media students also benefit from access to high-profile guest speakers from across the industry.
A dynamic community that is responsive to the changing face of the media industry, Birmingham School of Media is the perfect starting point to your media career.
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 excellence in the hyperlocal scene.