Media and Communication (Journalism) - BA (Hons)

UCAS Code:
Full Time (3 years)
September 2017

The journalism pathway of our BA (Hons) Media and Communication course is ideal for anyone wishing to follow a career in the dynamic and competitive world of journalism.

We pride ourselves on teaching creative, contemporary journalism underpinned by traditional values and skills. That means learning the core media and communication skills that every working reporter needs before you specialise in an area that interests you.

You’ll be challenged academically – often by some of the industry’s leading names – and you’ll be expected to undertake meaningful work experience placements in media environments, and work on live stories, learning how to craft a story in a way that engages the audience.

By the time you graduate, you’ll be a thinking journalist with a specialism in news, broadcasting, features, or design. You’ll also be adaptable to the changes that the industry faces. Our graduates have gone on to work for Sky, BBC, Trinity Mirror and the Express & Star. Others have scooped prestigious awards at the Midlands Media Awards while still studying.

What's covered in the course?

The course, which is based at the £62 million Parkside Building, part of our City Centre Campus, aims to develop your skills so that you become a thinking media worker who can lead change in the industry.

Teaching takes place in environments where you gain the most – radio, TV and photography studios and editing suites – but, of course, you’ll also learn in lecture theatres, seminar rooms, social learning spaces and online.

You’re expected to hit the ground running. You’ll publish your stories, use blogs, including the student-run Birmingham Eastside website, which was named runner-up in the Guardian Student Media Awards, create wikis, and employ social media channels and other interactive media to support your work and self-development. You’ll focus on production, theory and professional studies, building on your skills as you begin to make contacts in the industry and make your first moves into media work.

Throughout the course, you’ll have the support of Birmingham City University staff who are respected journalists, including senior lecturer Ross Hawkes, who led Trinity Mirror's digital programme in the Midlands, and Paul Bradshaw, one of the leading figures in digital journalism and founder of the Online Journalism Blog.

“This course reflects the fast-paced and ever-changing world of journalism, dealing with the challenges and opportunities facing the modern reporter. Be it sport, news, fashion or politics, this course will allow you to be prepared for the future of journalism.”
BA (Hons) Media and Communication student

Why Choose Us?

  • You’ll have access to state-of-the-art media and production facilities throughout your studies.
  • You’ll be taught by staff who are still active in the industry and who are at the forefront of new and innovative techniques.
  • Visiting lecturers from specialist areas, such as national newspapers, TV, radio, data, online and mobile journalism, offer in-depth advice on a range of topics. You also have the opportunity to be taught by undercover reporters, current BBC reporters, freelancers and mobile journalism experts.
  • You’ll be based in a city that is bursting with opportunity and have the chance to network with professionals and undertake placements.
  • The flexibility in the course structure allows you to shape your degree to suit your career aspirations.

This course is subject to approval

Student ambassador helps Open Day visitor

Open Day - 19 November 2016

Our next University-wide Open Day will take place on Saturday 19 November 2016. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.

Register now

This course is open to International students

Birmingham School of Media

Discover the Birmingham School of Media

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Retail Birmingham
  • BBC
  • Express & Star
  • Spark 44
  • And in jobs such as:

  • Digital content producer
  • Reporter
  • Deputy web editor
  • Social media editor

Entry Requirements

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

UK students

Applicants will also need a good portfolio to bring to interview at an Applicant Visit Day. See Portfolio Guidance on the 'How to apply' tab.

At the point of application, you must have GCSE at Grade C or above in English Language. Equivalent qualifications will be considered.

112 UCAS tariff points from A Level

Typical Offers
UK Qualification Requirements 2017/18
GCE A Level/ AS Level BBC at A-Level excluding General Studies and Critical Thinking (112 UCAS points) - does not accept points from A/S Levels
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass overall with 60 credits, 45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2, including merit or higher in 18 credits at Level 3
BTEC National Diploma (12-units not including early years) D*D* or can be combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 112 UCAS points
BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years) DMM (112 UCAS points)
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units not including early years) Grad D* combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 112 UCAS points
International Baccalaureate Diploma 14 points overall
Irish Leaving Certificate 112 points, including 4 higher level passes
Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher 112 points, including 3 higher level passes
Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options) Pass plus grades BB at A-Level (or equivalent qualifications) combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 112 UCAS points
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.
EU/International students
EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements 2017/18
IELTS 6.5 overall with 6.0 minimum in all bands
International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses). 14 points overall
Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.


International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).

The UCAS tariff is changing

If you're considering applying for this course to start in September 2017 onwards, it's important to know that the UCAS tariff system is changing.

UCAS tariff points – the points system most universities use to compare different qualifications – will be introducing a new system on how points are calculated.

More about the new tariff

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2017 FT 3 years £9,250 per year Apply via UCAS

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2017 FT 3 years £12,000 per year

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Guidance for UK/EU students


UK and EU 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

Non-EU (International) students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and submit it together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.

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.

Portfolio Guidance

We would like you to bring along some of your work which demonstrates your abilities and interest in the media. This will provide valuable support for your application and enable tutors to make a prompt decision. However, do not worry if the work you bring is not media-related as we are also looking for potential, creativity and enthusiasm.

We require you to bring the following:

  • An example of written work, such as an academic essay or report (this does not have to be media related).
  • An example of your interest in the media, such as evidence of relevant work experience or a media-related hobby.
  • An example of any practical work, such as a video, website, article, some design work, radio work, photography or scripts you have produced.

Please ensure that any work you bring along is clearly labelled with your name and UCAS number.

Please note: You may bring your portfolio on a memory stick, providing the memory stick itself is well marked with your name AND the work on the memory stick is organised into a folder labelled ‘Applicant Day’.

Photographs MUST NOT be submitted on memory stick; all photographs must be printed and brought in to the Applicant Day as part of your portfolio.

Additional costs

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. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It 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:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

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.

This course is not available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

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.

Year one

In the first year, the Multiplatform Journalism module provides the necessary foundations for a career in journalism, with essential insight into the life of a professional journalist.

You’ll explore a range of subjects and will source original content in a live news environment, and you’ll begin to explore theories and concepts that will help you to understand the role and impact of journalism on society. There will also be a focus on the legal and ethical considerations journalists face every day.

Modules include:

Researching the Media and Communication
40 credits

This module is compulsory for all Media students and will provide you with a theoretical understanding of media texts and audiences.

Introduction to Media Contexts and Practice 1: Multiplatform Journalism
20 credits

This is a specialist module you will take as part of the Media and Communication (Journalism) course.

Introduction to Media Contexts and Practice 2
20 credits

You will choose one of the following modules:

  • Music Industry Landscapes
  • Television Production
  • Introduction to Web Development
  • Events and Exhibition Planning
  • Understanding Public Relations
  • Radio Production
  • Visual Communication 
  • Photography Skills
Professional and Academic Development
20 credits

This module is also compulsory for all Media students. It includes study skills and developing your employability, as well as a two-week placement in your first year.

Media Festival
20 credits

In this collaborative module you will produce media work around a particular theme.

Year two

Building on the foundations from your first year, you’ll take the Specialist Reporting module, where you will get the chance to develop skills and begin to define your journalism future.

There will also be the chance to take module options such as Live Newsroom and other modules from across the media course, such as photography, PR or music industries to help give you flexibility in your award.

Journalism Studies
20 credits

This is a specialist module you will take as part of the Media and Communication (Journalism) course.

Advanced Media Contexts and Practice: Specialist Reporting
20 credits

This is a core specialist module you will take as part of the Media and Communication (Journalism) course.

Professional and Academic Development
20 credits

You will undertake a three-week media placement.

Option 1
20 credits

In this module you will choose one research option from the following specialist topics:

Gender, Sexuality and the Body; Alternative Lifestyles (Pleasure, Leisure and Taboo); Comedy in the Media and Popular Culture; Race, Ethnicity and the Media; Media and Materiality; Fandoms and Subcultures; Communities if Practice: Culture, Heritage and Space; Film Cultures; Media Censorship and Regulation and Celebrity Culture.

Option 2
20 credits

In this module you will choose one practical option from the following options:

Bi-Media drama; Television Studio; Lifestyle and Branded Media Content; Campaigning and Investigative Journalism; Music, Media and Digitalisation; Digital Content Distribution; Advanced Visual Communication; Music Industry Promotional Practices; Commercial Production for Radio; Radio Documentary; Fashion Photography; Photojournalism and PR Planning and Delivery.

Live/ Collaborative Practice/ Additional Work Placement
20 credits

In this module you will undertake a Collaborative or Live Project, working with students from elsewhere in the University, or work on a real world project. 

Year three

In your final year, you’ll begin to find your feet in the industry by studying professional journalism. If you choose the freelance route, you’ll have regular, tailored contact and support from your tutors and from specialist lecturers. This module also offers the chance to work on briefs from the journalism industry to develop a strong portfolio of work.

You’ll also complete a Major Project, which can either be a written dissertation or a practice-based project that will be tailored specifically to journalism, therefore giving you the ideal opportunity to catch the eye of employers and to build your contacts in the industry.

Major Project
60 credits

In this module you will undertake a major project on a subject and approach of your choice. This could take the form of either a dissertation or a practice-based project.

Option 3
20 credits

In this module you will choose one option from the following topics:

Queer Studies and Popular Culture; Sex, Texts and Activism; Science-Fiction and Fantasy; Understanding Social Media; DIY Music Cultures; Media and Music Heritage and Archives; Affect, Emotion and the Media; Promotional Culture; Transnational Radio Cultures; Cinema and the Psychoanalysis; Creativity in the Media; Technology and Transmedia Storytelling; Media Activism; Media, Crime and Deviance; Global Quality Television and Digital Public Sphere.

Professional Media Contexts and Practice: Professional Journalism
20 credits

This is a core specialist module you will take as part of the Media and Communication (Journalism) course.

Professional and Academic Development
20 credits

To aid your employability, you will also take Professional and Academic Development, which includes career preparation.

Our BA (Hons) Media and Communications (Journalism) course is a full-time, three-year degree course that focuses equally on professional studies, academic theory and production. It’s structured to offer maximum flexibility, which allows you to shape your journalism degree to fit your career aspirations.

You’ll study a blend of practical production modules, sourcing, developing, designing and publishing real stories, and learning the art of crafting a compelling story.

We maintain close contacts with a variety of media, including Sky, BBC, Maverick Television and Future Publishing, which means you’ll benefit from masterclass sessions from visiting tutors and guest speakers to enhance and enrich your learning.

Our Classes

We pride ourselves on giving students real journalism experience through practical activities. These have included reporting live on breaking news stories, as well as, planning and implementing coverage of major sporting, cultural and political events alongside professional outlets.

You will also get the chance to see your work published on the award-winning Birmingham Eastside website which is run by students on our journalism modules.

Our Students

A partnership with other local news organisations has seen students create and run live blogs on issues such as local and general elections.

Students are using virtual reality and 360 degrees technology to tell stories in innovative ways – work which has led to coverage on a leading industry website.

Multiplatform reporting is allowing our students to create unique and powerful ways of telling real stories using a range of skills and different types of media.

Hours in the classroom

You will have around 12 hours contact time each week, plus additional set study tasks.

Teaching breakdown

38 Time in lectures, seminars and similar MidnightBlue
57 Time in independent study RoyalBlue
5 Time on placement LightSkyBlue

Assessment breakdown

Study and work abroad

If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.

It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.

Find out more

Further Study

If you wish to further your academic studies in the field of media and communications, there is a range of postgraduate courses on offer at Birmingham School of Media.

See all postgraduate media courses

Trips and Visits

Previous visits have included BBC newsrooms in Salford, London and Birmingham, helping provide a first-hand glimpse of how professional journalists operate. You will also get the chance to visit places where the news happens, such as courtrooms and live events across Birmingham. 

Enhancing employability skills

The course will equip you with first-hand practical expertise and provide you with the rigorous academic knowledge you’ll need to fulfil a career in your chosen communications and journalism field.

As one of our graduates, you’ll possess the highly sought after transferable skills we teach, in addition to providing solid academic grounding and practical skills in real-world application.

Our modules regularly adapt to cover live news events as they happen. For example, our students have covered general election counts across the region through the night, alongside staff and professional journalists.

Because we use industry-standard software and equipment, and focus on creating content for a modern world, you’ll be capable of covering a story for any outlet and have the adaptable skills necessary to thrive in this fast-paced industry.

Links to industry

Regular guest speakers and visiting lecturers from newspapers, broadcast, magazines and online publications will provide you with an insight into the modern journalism industry. By working with specialists in their field you will be able to learn how to bring stories to life.

You’ll also get the chance to engage directly with industry through activities such as hack days and projects with the likes of the BBC, The Times and Trinity Mirror. We have excellent links with a number of national, regional and local outlets, with students regularly taking up placements with the likes of Sky and the BBC.

Exhibit This

Our third year students showcase their final year work at our Exhibit This event at the end of each academic year. It offers a springboard for our graduates and a chance for industry to spot emerging talent.


You’ll be expected to undertake at least two placements during your course, a two-week placement in your first year and a three-week placement in your second year. You’ll identify which placement will suit your needs – some of our previous students have chosen to work at newspapers, while others have opted for magazines and independent online publishers.

Placements should reflect the broadening horizons of journalism through such organisations as hyper local publications, or websites and specialist publications.

More about our placement opportunities...


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.


BCU Graduate+

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.

More about Graduate+

Graduate jobs

Our BA (Hons) Media and Communications (Journalism) course is highly respected in the industry and will prepare you well for a career in your chosen media field. You’ll complement your studies by building contacts in the industry, and working on live, meaningful projects. It’s what makes our graduates highly sought after by employers. Our graduates have gone to pursue careers with respected organisations such as the BBC, Sky, Trinity Mirror, and the Midlands News Association.

Student stories Paul Bradshaw

Paul Bradshaw graduated from BA (Hons) Media and Communication (Journalism) in 1998 and is now an award-winning specialist in online journalism. In 2010 he was listed on the US Poynter Institute's list of the 35 most influential people in social media, in 2011 he ranked ninth in PeerIndex's list of the most influential UK journalists on Twitter and he has been shortlisted for Multimedia Publisher of the Year.

He is currently course leader on the MA Online Journalism course at Birmingham City University, and also works as a consultant and trainer on social media and data journalism to news organisations around the world, including the BBC, Sky, Telegraph, and the Global Investigative Journalism Conference.

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:

Studying in the UK is better

Overseas students studying in the UK are happier and have a better learning experience compared to those studying in other countries.

The International Undergraduate Students: The UK's Competitive Advantage report asked 365,754 international students studying outside their home country to give their feedback on what it's like to study in this country. And the UK scored top in every aspect.

So if you're looking at studying with us, you'll be making a good choice.

Overall measures: ranked positions
Undergraduate 2014 2014 2014 2013 2014
Recommendation 1 4 3 5 2
Overall satisfaction 1 4 3 5 2
Arrival overall 1 2 4 5 3
Learning overall 1 4 3 5 2
Living overall 1 2 5 3 4
Support overall 1 4 5 3 2

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.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our media and communication course is most popular with international students from:  

Birmingham School of Media is also particularly popular with students from as far as Brazil and Hong Kong. The diversity of our student group provides further dynamism to the course, with understanding of different journalism markets and broadening horizons.

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 £260 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.

Birmingham School of Media is recognised as a key centre of excellence in interactive media training, television production and education by Creative SkillSet, the UK Sector Skills Council for the audio visual industries.

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 four broadcast-standard edit suites are based on the industry-standard Avid editing system, used in almost all films and the majority of UK television. Two of the suites are specialised for Audio Finishing and Colour Grading. Our six digital radio studios are all linked an equipped with the best news and production software.

You will have access to our full broadcast-standard dubbing suites, which are based on a multi-layered ProTools desk and can dub both film and TV with up to 120 simultaneous sound sources. We also have an ADR (Additional Dialogue Recording) booth and the ability to record Foley (additional live sound).

The Parkside Building

The Parkside Building has been designed to maximise light and encourage collaboration between artists and students. It is the perfect setting for the workshops and teaching spaces of our design courses, as well as the state-of-the-art media centre for the advanced teaching facilities of Birmingham School of Media.

All this ensures that The Parkside Building offers a first class learning environment and a true central location for students in Birmingham City Centre.

Our Staff

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.

Paul Bradshaw

Course Leader (MA Online Journalism)

Paul is a leading innovator in the field of online journalism. An experienced and practising journalist, with a background in magazine and website management, he is best known as the publisher of the Online Journalism Blog, described by the UK Press Gazette as one of the country’s “most influential journalism blogs”. He has also contributed to a number of books and has published elearning books. He acts as a consultant and trainer to a number of organisations on social media and data journalism, including the Centre for Investigative Journalism, the Balkan Investigative Reporters Network, and Sky.

Ross Hawkes

Ross leads the journalism pathway. He was previously a sports writer, sub-editor, page designer, news reporter, web editor, features writer and editor, before leading Trinity Mirror's digital programme in the Midlands. He also founded and currently runs award-winning hyperlocal website, LichfieldLive, which has been used an example of excellence in the hyperlocal scene.

Sue Heseltine

Programme Director for BA (Hons) Media and Communication and Award Leader for MA Freelancing and Journalism Enterprise

During her professional career she spent more than 20 years as a working journalist in the print and broadcasting industries.

She started out on her local weekly newspaper, the Craven Herald and Pioneer at Skipton in the Yorkshire Dales. She then went on to work for regional newspapers in South Wales and the North of England, including The Star in Sheffield and the Yorkshire Post in Leeds. She has also worked for BBC Radio Sheffield and spent eight years as a TV journalist working mainly for Yorkshire’s regional news programme, Calendar, as well as for Sky News and Granada TV.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295