There is a lot that goes into making a success of your time at University. And you’re not on your own in your efforts to achieve that success – we are here to help and support you to do the very best you can.
While certain things are expected of anyone who joins university – attending classes, working to deadlines, planning revision, and so on – success is actually a two-way street. Sometimes, it is the University, Faculty or staff within a School that can make a difference by providing extra services to make sure you come out on the other end of your studies as a well-rounded, career-ready graduate.
The Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences at Birmingham City University has a lot of support services on offer to enhance your time studying with us. In this article, we are going to explore everything on offer for our students.
Reflecting the increased accessibility to online services in society, our Faculty is providing more and more resources online from which you can benefit.
This includes lecturers making presentations and other learning material available online after lectures, all the way to fully online seminars if standard classes cannot take place or are unnecessary. (Some of our postgraduate courses are even run completely online via distance learning, allowing those with full-time jobs and those who live abroad to obtain a degree with us.)
Our Library similarly has digitised many of its resources, giving you access to millions of online journals, books, videos and more. This means that, no matter where you are, you can gain access to a massive pool of information to help you with coursework and revision. They also offer a 24/7 chat option during term-time should you need pointing in the right direction.
All of our teaching staff offer an open-door policy for students. Practically, this means that you aren’t limited to just your teaching time to ask them questions. Most staff will post one-to-one session availability should you need more time with them, but if you have a question you can check their office hours and pop in to see if they are available for a quick chat.
You will also be assigned a personal tutor when you enrol at Birmingham City University. This member of academic staff will be your best port of call for any course-specific questions. They are a good sounding board for any issues you may be having, as they will likely be teaching on your course anyway, giving them intimate knowledge of your coursework and assignments.
The Centre for Academic Success run Success+, the University's central learning development service. Their aim is to help you develop all necessary academic, technical and numerical skills you need to progress and successfully complete your course.
Based on the first floor of the Curzon Building, where the Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences is also based, the Centre is designed to help provide support with such things as:
- Academic essay and report writing
- Presentation skills
- Maths and statistics
- Computing and programming
- Project management
- Study skills
- Library and Learning Resources
- LibGuides (A very useful guide to everything BCU library offers)
Birmingham City University run two University-wide services designed to take your skills to the next level, ensuring you leave us work-ready. Both have offices in the Curzon building.
Graduate+ is an extra-curricular awards scheme designed to show future employers how you have grown skills not related to your degree. This can be anything from interview skills and CV writing to public speaking classes. You work through Bronze, Silver and Gold levels, with the aim of adding more to your CV to set yourself apart from other graduates. This can be done online, so can be worked on outside of University hours.
Jack Hogan, Graduate+ Centre Manager
Careers+ also offers another fantastic way to get a leg-up on the competition when you graduate via an extensive work experience programme. Almost every undergraduate degree within the Business, Law and Social Sciences Faculty offers a sandwich year option, wherein you will work for a full year between your second and final year in industry. This is taken a step further by our Professional Practice degrees, which combine your placement year and final year, allowing you to graduate sooner, and by our new Global Hospitality Management degree, which offers work-based learning within its three-year duration.
Birmingham City University also offers a professional mentoring system that will pair both current students and graduates up with working professionals in industries they want to work in. These 10 week programmes will see you work with your mentor to hone your skills for the job you want in the future, offering invaluable insight on how they got to where they are and how you can replicate that journey.
In-house, our Student Success Advisers are here to help everyone get the most out of their time at university. Comprised of recent graduates from Business, Law and Social Sciences, the team run the Academic Award Scheme, designed to celebrate the achievements of second and third-year students, and encourage them to take advantage of all the opportunities available to them, working hand-in-hand with Graduate+, Careers+, the Library service and the Centre for Academic Success.
The Birmingham City University Student Union (BCUSU) is run by students, for students. It is run independently to ensure it can act as an unbiased voice for the students it represents.
First and foremost, the Student Union is here to make sure you enjoy your time at University. They run all of the varsity sports teams and student societies, which are available for all students to join. They cover all kinds of interests, from skiing and snowboarding and video games to crafting and dancing. There are also a variety of religious and international societies.
The Student Union is also a support network. They operate The Point, an enquiries desk that aims to answer any question you may have, whether it relates to your course or some other aspect of university life.
They also offer many services surrounding mental health and wellbeing, offering advice and support whether you are thinking about applying to university, are in the process of applying or currently studying here. Our counselling and wellbeing staff provide professional support services for students including individual and group sessions, advice, guidance and support through workshops and drop-in sessions. This is further supported by our Mental Health First Aiders student society.
Our Accommodation team are here to help with all of your housing needs, whether you’re in University accommodation or independent housing.
Birmingham City University has eight halls of residence located near our campuses, and our Accommodation team are your point of contact within the University for any issues you may be having. They can also advise you on issues happening in non-University owned housing, and can put you in touch with local property owners when you need to move out of halls.
Moving to university is always a challenge, but this may be especially true for international students. That is why we have an extensive international team to help with some of the complexities of moving to a new country to study.
They can help advise on visas and immigration and ensure you have the right paperwork in place to study with us. Our Faculty also has many schemes in place to help international students during their time at Birmingham City University. This includes our International Student Buddies Scheme, where new students will be paired with current international students, who will organise fun activities to help them settle into life at university.
Financial issues are something that many students worry about before coming to university. That is why our Finance and Money Matters team in Student Affairs are on hand to help you with any questions or problems you may have, both before and during your time as a student here. Fees, funding, budgeting, and money management - we can help you get to grips with it all. Depending on your course and level of study, you may also be eligible to receive financial support for your tuition fees and living costs while you study with us.
Our Disability and Mental Health Advisers offer advice, information and practical support to all students with a disability, medical condition, illness, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia.
We also have a dedicated Childcare Adviser for parents looking to attend the University. Having a family of her own and a degree, the Childcare Adviser understands the needs of students who are also parents. She can provide confidential advice on a wide range of childcare and financial issues to suit your situation. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience and can help you with the following:
- Finding suitable childcare provision
- What to look for when choosing childcare
- Before and after school clubs
- Holiday play schemes and extra-curricular activities
- Childcare funding
- Tax credits
- Childcare vouchers
- The Access to Learning Fund
- Free entitlement for three/four-year olds and some two-year olds
- Applying to a school
- Balancing and juggling being a student and a parent
- Emergency childcare