The Music Industries pathway of BA (Hons) Media and Communication is tailor-made for anyone seeking to develop knowledge, skills and experience relevant to developing a career in the music industries, or with an interest in music as relating to wider creative and cultural industries.
Our students develop skills through a combination of hands-on, skills-based learning, as well as critical and research-focused enquiry, and apply their skills and knowledge through work placements with key organisations within the UK music industries.
On this course you will have the opportunity to develop real-life commercial projects with clients, enabling you to add professional jobs to your portfolio.
Helped by strong links with many influential media organisations, as well as our status as a UK Music Academic Partner, our course offers an industry-relevant blend of production, theory and professional studies on each pathway available.
Teaching takes place in environments most relevant to your course, including radio, TV and photography studios and editing suites, as well as lecture theatres, seminar rooms, social learning spaces and online. You use blogs, create wikis, and employ social media channels and other interactive media to support your work and self-development.
The course is ideal if you want to take an in-depth look at promotion, music PR and music media, running a record label or producing music videos and websites. It’ll help you be at the forefront of creating and developing innovative ideas, and exploring niche markets within the music industry.
While on the course, you will have the opportunity to set up a record label, promote artists or organise a music event for a paying audience. You will develop practical business knowhow, applying your skills to a creative music enterprise project, as well as exploring music entrepreneurship, music online, music promotion and PR, music video, and television and music programming.
In your final year of study you will complete a final major project, drawing together the strands of knowledge, skills, and experience that you have gained during your time with us. You will also have the opportunity to be nominated for one of our two Music Industries pathway awards, sponsored by two of the musical icons of the West Midlands - Brian Travers of UB40 and Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath.
“As a music industries specialist, the modules I took gave me the chance to put the skills I had learned into practice, enabling me to create my own business projects, as well as securing industry placements at the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and Kerrang! The placements and the guidance of supportive and passionate lecturers enabled me to achieve more than I ever thought, and I have now landed a job at BPI, a company that I always dreamed of working for.” Sophie Lucken, Music Industry graduate 2015
Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.
Our students are shaping the future of the music industries through careers with organisations such as
Many others have gone on to set up their own independent music enterprises and projects, based on the work that they completed in their time at university.
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
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
|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 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)||Must be offered along with either two A-levels, two 6-unit BTEC Subsidiary Diplomas/ OCR Cambridge Technical Introductory Diplomas or a BTEC 12-unit National Diploma/ OCR Cambridge Technical Diploma.|
|International Baccalaureate Diploma||
For students who complete the full IB Diploma: Obtain a total of 14 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects
For students who do not complete the full IB Diploma: Obtain a total of 16 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects
|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)||Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma Core with grade Pass plus grades BB at A-Level (or equivalent qualifications) to achieve a minimum total of 112 UCAS points|
|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/Non-EU (International) Qualifications||Requirements 2017/18|
|IELTS||6.0 overall with 6.0 minimum in all bands|
|International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).||
For students who complete the full IB Diploma: Obtain a total of 14 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects
For students who do not complete the full IB Diploma: Obtain a total of 16 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects
In addition to the above, applicants will also need:
International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).
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.
From A Level, not including A/S Levels
|BA (Hons)||Sep 2017||FT||3 years||£9,250 per year||Apply via UCAS|
|BA (Hons)||Sep 2017||FT||3 years||£12,000 per year|
If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.
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.
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.
There are three ways to apply:
You will need to complete our International Application Form and submit it together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.
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.
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.
When you join us for an interview, we are looking to get a sense of your interests, passions, skills and experience, as well as what you are looking to get out of studying with us. To help us in this process, we would like you to bring along some of your work to demonstrate your abilities and interests within the music industries (do not worry if your work is not media-related, however, as we are also looking for potential, creativity and enthusiasm).
We require you to bring the following:
An example of written work
This might be an academic essay or report. It doesn’t have to relate specifically to music industries or media, but should show us your ability to write in a critical and scholarly manner.
AND An example of your interest in the media
This might include details of any work experience or placements that you have undertaken in the music industries or wider media industries, examples of a music or media-related hobby that you have, or anything else that helps us get a sense of your interests.
OR An example of any practical media work
This might be work that you have produced during school or college, or work that you have developed independently. It might take the form of (but is not limited to) 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.
• 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.
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.
Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.
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. 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 your course. 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.
Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.
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.
Researching the Media and Communication
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: Music Industry Landscapes
This module introduces key sectors and revenue streams within the Music Industries, including recorded music, artist management, music law, and live music sectors. Students will gain practical skills and knowledge by setting up and running music-based ventures such as record labels, events companies, or artist management, and critically evaluate these with reference to theoretical and critical perspectives from popular music studies.
Introduction to Media Contexts and Practice 2
You will choose one of the following:
Professional and Academic Development
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.
In this collaborative module you will produce media work around a particular theme.
Popular Music Narratives
This module encourages students to apply engage critically with contemporary arguments around the current and changing nature of popular music culture, and the industries which create it.Students will research the changing ideological, political, technological and cultural contexts of popular music, and consider the role of popular music in relation to society and culture.
Advanced Media Contexts and Practice: Music Industries Ecologies
This module engages students with the interconnected nature of the music industries, and their changing position within a wider ecology of creative and cultural industries. Students will research a music-based entity of their choice, and how it relates to the wider creative and cultural industries, then produce a media product which communicates their findings in an innovative, creative, and professional manner.
Professional and Academic Development
You will undertake a three-week media placement.
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.
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.
The options most aligned to your specialism are Music, Media and Digitalisation and Music Industries Promotional Practice.
Live Project/ Collaborative Practice
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.
In your final year, you will undertake a final major project, drawing together the skills, knowledge, and experience that you have developed over the previous two years.
Professional Media Contexts and Practice: Music Industry Innovation
This module is aimed at engaging you with the key concepts and skills of entrepreneurship and enterprise, where you will plan and develop concepts for music-based start-up business and ventures.
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 & Academic Development
To aid your employability, you will also take Professional and Academic Development, which includes career preparation.
This pathway is focused on music enterprise and entrepreneurship, encouraging you to be creative and innovative.
While developing skills to enable you to work in a number of areas of the music industries, the focus on entrepreneurship reflects the current industries landscape where the music industries is looking towards Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to provide niche products and services to the wider music industries.
Across each of the undergraduate degree routes there is an equal emphasis on production, theory and professional studies.
Your teaching time will be broken down into 12 hours split over Monday - Friday.
|38||Time in lectures, seminars and similar||MidnightBlue|
|57||Time in independent study||RoyalBlue|
|5||Time on placement||LightSkyBlue|
Throughout the programme, we emphasise the importance of learning by doing. For instance, students studying our Music Industries Landscapes module have the chance to set up record labels, events companies and music promotion agencies, taking learning outside the classroom by working on real-life releases, events and campaigns with artists.
However, there is also a keen emphasis on research and theory across all three years of the course. For instance, students studying our Popular Music Narratives module will learn about a range of critical perspectives and positions on popular music from the standpoint of both popular music culture and music business/ industries, and undertake research that explores the changing ideological, political, technological and cultural contexts of popular music.
We strive to equip you with not just the right skills and knowledge, but also the right connections and experience. In your second year, you will have the opportunity to take advantage of our connections as a UK Music Academic Partner, as well as our other links with the music industries in the UK and beyond, to work on live briefs set by real-life industry organisations.
In the final-year music industries module Music Innovation, a small group of students took an innovative approach to the popular pastime of Geocaching. By taking its basic principles of ‘search and find by GPS’ they developed a web and mobile platform-based Birmingham Music Heritage trail, based on Birmingham’s rich music heritage. Specific locations around the city that were connected to past and present Birmingham bands, musicians and music industries were plotted with clues to the next location. Completion of the trail was rewarded with music-based prizes, such as limited-edition vinyl pressings, gig tickets and artist meet and greets, provided by music industry businesses that sponsored the project/trail. This particular project attracted interest from a local entrepreneur, who spotted the potential of the projects international reach, when it was pitched to a ‘Dragon’s Den’-style panel of industry professionals.
For her final year major project, Music Industries student Sophie Birkett worked alongside the Birmingham Music Archive in helping them digitise a huge archive of rare photos, ticket stubs and promotional posters dating as far back as the 1950s. While supporting a local crowd-sourced DIY not-for-profit music online archive, Sophie also developed a number of useful and innovative skills and approaches to managing and digitising popular music artefacts for public and institutional consumption.Three students took an innovative spin on retail shop music for their final year major project. Working as a group, they set up an agency that would connect local independent and unsigned musicians with local independent stores. This would result in a mutual benefit – the artist would have another channel of promotion and income stream, while the store would have local music readily stocked. The project was launched as a pilot across four retail outlets in Birmingham, with feedback so positive there was potential for it to be rolled out across the UK retail sector.
For his final-year dissertation, Joe Berrisford-Thomas wrote an engaging thesis about the relationship between art and music through the cover sleeves of New York hip-hop albums released from 1991 to 2001. Ten pieces of artwork were examined, and the conclusion was that no matter what era, visual communication is still vitally important. It also commented on the importance of locality in the production process that leads to wider discussions of whether globalisation has resulted in the collapse of local music scenes.
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.
By 2022 it is estimated that one in seven jobs will require postgraduate qualifications (UK Commission for Employment and Skills 2014).
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.
You have the opportunity to further develop your specialism through our postgraduate courses that are currently offered:
As a BA (Hons) Media and Communications student, you will have the opportunity to take part in various trips and visits.
Each year we offer the George Jackson Travel Bursary to an outstanding graduate from across our courses that puts forward an interesting proposal to travel. Past winners include Laura Stubbs, a graduate with a passion for Eastern European puppetry, film-making and animation, who visited the Czech Republic to help gain an understanding of the surroundings that have influenced some of the country's greatest animators.
Studying with us will see you benefit from teaching staff with valuable and extensive industry experience. Our lecturers keep abreast of the latest knowledge and technologies, and possess the industry contacts that bring a three-dimensional perspective to your learning experience.
We have an innovative approach to employability, providing you with an equal balance of academic and theoretical study of the media, and the specialist and transferable skills needed to perform as professionals within the industry. You will leave us as a highly employable graduate, with the knowledge, attributes and practice skills to successfully progress in your career.
You will work on live music industry projects such as setting up a record label, signing /managing artists and setting up promotional and PR agencies. You will work with musicians and local and national music businesses by developing marketing, social media and promotional strategies for them, as well as helping music entrepreneurs to develop their innovative and creative business ideas.
You'll develop a range of transferable skills, such as how to communicate ideas and solve problems, as well as developing negotiation and planning skills. And thanks to the unique nature of the course, you'll learn how to work effectively and efficiently either on your own or as part of a team.
Birmingham School of Media music industries is working with over 20 music and media businesses partners in the Midlands region alone, where it has managed more than 100 internships for students across a number of music and media-related businesses.
These partnerships and student internships are, and have been, very useful in enabling students to set up and run 'mini businesses', providing niche services to the regional music and media industries. In doing so, this helps develop students' business, managerial, communication, organisational and problem-solving skills, while encouraging creativity and innovation.
Work placements, and the experience and contacts gained through doing them, is a fundamental part of studying in the Birmingham School of Media. In recent years, our students have secured work placements in a broad range of organisations within the music industries, including:
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.
Birmingham City University is a member of UK Music’s Music Academic Partnership. UK Music is an industry-backed organisation which works to push the key business and political agenda of the UK music industries with government, senior corporate groups and figures, and within the media more widely. It exists to promote and protect the interests of record labels, songwriters, musicians, managers, publishers, producers, promoters and collecting societies through a range of high-profile campaigns and events. It also draws up policy to deal with issues impacting the industry, engages in high level political lobbying to ensure any new legislation benefits its members and undertakes extensive and ground-breaking research to track market trends and forecast future business opportunities.
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.
Charlotte Smith graduated in 2010 and was immediately offered an internship at The NEC Group through the School's ongoing relationship with them. She has since risen through the ranks and is a Sales Executive at the NEC Group working for the Genting Arena and the Barclaycard Arena, where she is responsible for coordinating their live stages.
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:
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
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.
Our students come from around the world but our media and communication course is most popular with international students from:
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.
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 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.
All staff at the School are established media professionals who bring with them a range of expertise. They provide students with practical and relevant insight with real-life experience of business and industry, and are able to recognise and respond to the rapidly changing demands of the media.
Our staff continue to work with industry consulting for music SMEs, and a number of visiting lecturers come from the industry to share their knowledge and skills with the students. Our research staff also work on a number of music industry related projects helping music businesses develop new ways of thinking and working.
Dr. Stephanie Fremaux is a media theorist with over seven years’ teaching experience in higher education. Stephanie studied English literature and History as an undergraduate at Central Michigan University in the United States before undertaking postgraduate research in Film Studies at Exeter University. Her doctoral thesis examined how popular music group the Beatles used film to introduce fans to their ever evolving image and musicianship. Stephanie has experience in teaching a range of media theory including popular music studies, film and television studies and also has experience of leading journalism and mass communications modules at master’ s level. Stephanie is also a member of the School of Media’ s Welfare Liaison Team, working with personal tutors andstudents to ensure a positive student experience.