Foundation › Public Relations and Media with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)
Emily Pinches, CIPR Midlands Student of the Year, with her trophy.
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Group of PR students near Thames on London trip.
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Public Relations and Media with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)

Currently viewing course to start in 2023/24 Entry.

Public Relations is all around us. Brands, businesses, celebrities, charities, politicians and everyone in between use PR as a means to spread messages, inform understanding and influence the way we behave....

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

Overview

Public Relations is all around us. Brands, businesses, celebrities, charities, politicians and everyone in between use PR as a means to spread messages, inform understanding and influence the way we behave. Creative PR practitioners run multi-channel campaigns, liaise with journalists and producers, collaborate with influencers and run social media channels - whatever it takes to raise awareness, encourage engagement and inspire action on behalf of the organisation they work with.

If you want to change the world, this PR course is the one for you. Likewise, if you want to work with household names or launch new products, services or initiatives, BCU is the place to learn the skills needed for a fast-paced, exciting and rewarding media and communications career.

Did you know that for every journalist in the UK, there are at least three PR or communications professionals? This is because PR is the thread by which media, social media and communications is held together in a time of instant news, information and entertainment.

Join a course recognised by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and be proud of its close links with industry. They work with us, providing many and varied guest speakers who contribute insights and live projects, as well as a supportive mentor scheme offered by practitioners in the region and beyond.

About foundation courses

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.

Why study a degree with a foundation year?

Foundation years are a great option if you have the talent, ambition and potential to thrive at Birmingham City University, but do not meet the entry requirements for your preferred course. It’s ideal if:

  • You want the flexibility of a year’s study on a more general course to find out the best degree choice for you.
  • You have changed your mind about your career since you chose your A-levels or BTECs and need to improve your skills in a different subject area.
  • You would like extra time and support to help you build your knowledge, skills and confidence before starting a full degree.
This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

Combining practical skills and industry insights, PR 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.

How you will learn

Effective communication is a two-way process and this is at the heart of our teaching and learning approach. Our modules are delivered through engaging seminars and workshops, with an array of guest speakers, case studies and projects for you to sink your teeth into. 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 as the course progresses. You have a say and can inform the direction of workshops and assignments based upon your personal passions. Prepare to have an opinion!

We’ll also give you the opportunity to hone keen writing skills for a multitude of audiences and purposes, making you more job-ready than many other graduates.

Linde PR student

The three years flew by so quickly, but because the lecturers work hard on making the modules engaging and relevant to your chosen industry, you get prepared for graduate work and are able to build a portfolio of projects that are relevant and can help you with future job interviews. So overall, I'd say it's been brilliant!

Lindelani Moyo, 2021 PR graduate from Birmingham School of Media

Why Choose Us?

  • Join a course recognised by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, closely linked to industry and with the support of a mentor scheme with practitioners across the region.
  • 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 but of course in PR, it’s not just what you know, it’s who you know. Rest assured our expert team is very well connected, with renowned theorists, the CIPR and a multitude of communication organisations and professionals.
  • 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.
  • A real highlight in your diary will be our renowned PR Students’ Conference, a major annual event, respected and supported by industry that showcases student achievements to PR professionals – just look at #MidsPRConf to see the conversations we started at the most recent conference.
  • 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 industry with confidence.

Similar Courses

Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

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

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to explore our campus and facilities in person. Booking for the next event isn’t open yet. Register your interest below and we’ll email you as soon as booking goes live.

Next Open Day: March 2023

Register your interest

Entry Requirements

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

UK students
Essential

80 UCAS tariff points.

Level 2 qualifications
GCSE GCSE English Language or English Literature and GCSE Maths at grade C/4 or above. If you do not have these or are not undertaking them, we accept other Level 2 equivalents, or we may ask you to pass BCU's GCSE equivalency tests.
Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level) See level 3 entry requirements under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details.
Scottish National 5 English Language or English Literature and Maths at grade C or above. If you do not have these or are not undertaking them, we accept other Level 2 equivalents, or we may ask you to pass BCU's GCSE equivalency tests.
Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) qualifications
A Level and Advanced VCE
  • CDD / 80 UCAS points
  • A maximum of 4 subjects are considered. These can be other A/S Levels (as long in a different subject) A-Levels or Level 3 equivalents.
AS and AS VCE Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 80 pts
Access to HE Diploma
  • Pass with 60 credits overall. At least 45 credits at Level 3.
  • Arts, Media and Publishing subjects preferred but other subjects also considered
  • Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma (2016 – present)
  • Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF) (2010 - 2016)
  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma (2002 – 2010)
MMP
Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)
  • Pass
  • Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications to obtain 80 pts
IBO Certificate in Higher Level
  • Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates if they obtain a total of 11 points or above from two Higher Level Subjects
  • Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications to obtain 80 pts
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB Diploma will be accepted
International Baccalaureate Diploma
  • 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) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB Diploma will be accepted
Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers) Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 80 tariff points, achieved in five Higher level subjects. This must include English Language taken at 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 MMP
Scottish Higher/Advanced Higher
  • Achieve a minimum of 80 tariff points achieved in either three Advanced Highers or from a combination of two Advanced Highers plus two Highers.
  • Where three Advanced Highers have been taken achieve a minimum of grades DDD
  • Where a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers have been taken you must achieve (grades of DD in two Advanced Highers plus grades of DD in two Highers).
T-Levels Pass overall (C or above on the core)
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
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

6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.

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

Mature Applicants

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

Fees & How to Apply

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

UK students

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

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

International students

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

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2023

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

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

Access to computer equipment

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

Printing

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

Field trips

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

Access to Microsoft Office 365

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

Key software

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

Key subscriptions

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

Free access to Rosetta Stone

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

Excess printing (optional)

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

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.

Guidance for UK students

UCAS

UK students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

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

Course in Depth

Foundation year

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

Year one

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

Year two

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

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

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

Year three

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

Download course specification

Download now

Across each of the undergraduate degree routes there is an equal emphasis on production, theory and professional and academic development.

The Professional and Academic Development strand of the course prepares you for at least two placements in a media or cultural industries organisation, such as the BBC, Maverick Television, Warwickshire County Cricket Club, newspapers, magazines, PR companies and local radio stations.

Teaching is conducted across a range of environments, including radio and TV studios, editing suites, a new media production suite, a newsroom, lecture theatres, seminar rooms and online.

You will use blogs, create wikis and other interactive media to support your work and self-development.

All staff at the School are established media professionals, who bring with them a range of expertise. They are able to recognise and respond to the rapidly changing demands of the media, ensuring that the course remains relevant to the industry.

The School maintains close contacts with a variety of media organisations, including Sky, BBC, Maverick Television and Future plc, and visiting tutors and guest speakers regularly hold master class sessions to enhance and enrich your learning.

Classroom activities

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.

Employability

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

  • Jestina Davies graduated in 2021 and went on to set up her own business, Contrast PR, where she is Head of Digital Transformation
  • Graduating in 2021, Nevin Nice is now Junior Social Account Executive at McCann Birmingham
  • Nicole Daybell and Rachel Hickey both joined WPR Agency in 2019 as Account Executives. Georgia Welfair joined as a PR Executive in 2021, following completion of her studies at BCU the year before.
  • Maddie McCrann-Smith is a PR, Communications and Social Media Executive at Spottydog Communications, where she started her PR career in 2018. Karlie France joined the team soon after graduating in 2020.
  • George Marrable is a 2018 graduate and currently holds the position of Senior Account Executive at Gung Ho Communications.
  • 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, Social Chain and now Prevayl since graduating from BCU in 2017.
  • Heather Woodhouse joined McCann in 2017 as a Graduate Account Executive and is now a Senior Account Manager at Liquid PR.
  • Emily Nicholls is Business Manager for Global Media.

Placements

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.

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

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

Ellie Tomsett

Lecturer – Course Director for Foundation in School of Media

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....

More about Ellie

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

Hilary Weston Jones

Lecturer Professional and Academic Development

Hilary spent 24 years working as a Production Manager in broadcast television. Eight of these years were spent at the BBC in Birmingham. Her credits include working on documentaries (Panorama, Dispatches), magazine series (Countryfile), reality (Big Brother), children’s (Dog and Duck), ob doc series (Trawlermen), as well as drama, cookery and make...

More about Hilary