Media and Communication (Radio) - BA (Hons)

UCAS Code:
Full Time (3 years)
September 2017

We are a pioneering institution, delivering some of the first UK media degrees. The BA (Hons) Media and Communication (Radio) is a dynamic course that gives you a choice of from a range of modules to complement your radio specialism, including music industries, TV and journalism, allowing you to mould your course to suit your future ambitions.

With a strong emphasis on mirroring the workflow of the industry in our purpose-built media centre, we offer practical, professional preparation for a rewarding career.

What's covered in the course?

Helped by strong links with many influential media organisations, the course offers an industry-relevant blend of production, theory and professional studies..

Teaching takes place in our suite of radio studios and audio production suites, as well  the TV and photography studios, editing suites, new media production suite and newsroom, depending on the modules you choose. This is in addition to the lecture theatres, seminar rooms, social learning spaces and online learning you would expect to find. You use blogs, create wikis, and employ social media channels and other interactive media to support your work and self-development.

Whether you see yourself in front of the microphone or in the background as an editor, researcher or producer, this pathway allows you to gain the competence, confidence and contacts to make yourself a valuable part of any team in the radio industry.

Working in our enviable facilities, including our complex of six radio studios, you learn how to operate a studio, present a show, record interviews, and use digital technology to edit and mix sound. As your studies advance, you put together music radio shows and short features as you prepare to run a live radio station at the University.

“I’d definitely recommend coming to Birmingham City University to study Radio. Not only have you got these fantastic facilities, but you’ve also got lecturers and tutors that have been in the industry for many, many years and know exactly what they’re talking about. You also get hands-on time, which you don’t get everywhere, as well as time in the studios, which really got me where I am today”. Ben Stones, producer, Station Sound, BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra, Radio 2, BBC 6 Music and BBC Asian Network

Why Choose Us?

  • Enjoy the flexibility to opt for a general study of Media and Communication, or a specialist route in Radio, Television, Web and New Media, Journalism, Event and Exhibition Industries,  Music Industries or Public Relations
  • Two (or more) industry placements give you invaluable insight, contacts and lessons from life
  • We provide specialised, sophisticated equipment for every area in our £62 million home in the city centre, including six radio studios, four TV studios, the largest free-standing green screen in Europe, editing suites, music production studios, a new media suite, a newsroom, and photography studios (including a half and a full infinity cove)
  • Enjoy the supportive guidance and contemporary perspective of staff who are established media professionals
  • We run a huge range of guest speaker masterclasses, which have included newsreader Huw Edwards; Twitter’s Jo Geary; UB40’s Brian Travers; Vogue fashion photographer Eliot Siegel; and BSkyB’s Head of Production Services, Dave Rooke
  • Mixing media production skills with an academic study of the industry, the course encourages you to take creative risks and be a ‘thinking’ media worker, able to adapt to a fast-moving industry and lead change. 
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:

  • Global Radio
  • Bauer Media
  • BBC

And in jobs such as:

  • Radio producer
  • Radio programmer
  • Commercial radio producer
Creative Skillset Tick

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) Combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 56 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) 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 5.5 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

From A Level, not including A/S Levels

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

(e.g. an academic essay or report. This does not have to be media-related) 

An example of your interest in the media

(e.g. details of any work experience you have undertaken in the media industry or a media-related hobby)

An example of any practical media work

(e.g. 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

Radio Production

You will learn how to operate the radio studios and design your own live radio programme. You will also learn multi-track, digital audio editing (Adobe Audition) skills and how to use the University’s range of portable audio recorders and microphones. This industry standard equipment will allow you produce a short radio feature / documentary.

Professional Media Practice

You will create an online profile of yourself that you can send to prospective employers, as well staging a media festival and going on a two-week placement.

Studying the Media

This module introduces you to media theory and the different research methods that you will find useful.

Radio and Popular Music

This module introduces you to key analytical concepts in the study of histories, institutions, texts and audiences relating to the radio and music industries. You will be encouraged to reflect critically on your own consumption of radio and popular music, and the techniques you will use for your radio production work.

Year two

Live Radio

In this module you will develop production, editorial and technical skills from the previous year and apply them to a range of styles and formats of live radio programmes. This involves programme design, interviewing, editorial decision-making, music programming and presentation skill as well as building team-working skills and developing a clear understanding of the professional practices required for contemporary radio.

Radio Documentaries

You’ll  explore a range of approaches to the production of radio documentaries and short features, and learn how to develop programme ideas, research, plan, record and edit documentaries on subjects of your choice.  Students learn as individuals and in teams to create spoken word content for a designated station, audience and timeslot, using industry standard recording and editing equipment.

Music Programming

In this module you will learn the principles and approaches of music programming, and how to programme music for a variety of radio stations, online music sites and other music media. You will become familiar with the techniques and technology of music programming platforms used in radio stations and online music enterprises. Students will learn to use industry standard Myriad play out and programming software.

Commercial Production for Radio

You’ll learn how to write and produce radio commercials for a range of different target audiences.  You will make a series of commercial campaigns and individual advertisements, analyse existing commercials and work both individually and in groups to create radio advertising to a professional standard.

Professional Media Practice
Radio Studies

This module builds on your previous research skills to establish a deeper awareness of the changing nature of the radio industry. Subjects such as the development of music radio, commercial and community radio practices, public service broadcasting and new platforms for radio distribution will be assessed. You will learn to engage intellectually with the issues and debates that have been raised by scholarship in radio studies.

Theory option choice
Managing Media Projects and Dissertations

You will develop ideas and write a proposal for the research you wish to undertake in your final year Dissertation and Production Projects.

Year three

Radio Station

You’ll learn the advanced skills needed to design a radio station for a particular audience, taking account of current changes in the radio industry.  As a professional team you will work together to operate a live radio station. 

Additional practice or theory option

You will pursue a sustained research topic of your own design, dependent on your area of academic interest.

Production Project

As an individual, or in a small group, you will develop and produce a piece of media that showcases your editorial and technical skills.

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

The professional studies strand of the course prepares students 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.

Students will use blogs, create wikis and other interactive media to support their 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 Publishing and visiting tutors and guest speakers regularly hold master class sessions to enhance and enrich students’ learning.

Teaching breakdown

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

Assessment breakdown

3 Written exams DarkOrange
33 Coursework FireBrick
64 Practical exams #fece5a

Classroom activities and projects

Students working on the third-year Radio Station module had the opportunity to ‘take over’ Scratch, the University’s award-winning student radio station. They worked as a team to programme music and run live radio shows. 

The second year Live Radio module teaches the skills needed to be a ‘real world’ live radio presenter. You get hands-on experience, using our industry standard radio studios to run a variety of live radio shows. Our tutors and guest speakers are experienced in live radio presentation and will help you to become confident announcer across a range of different radio station formats.

The third year Production Project is an opportunity for you to create a major radio related project that you design and carry out yourself.

We’ll guide you from the early stages of planning and preparation through until completion. Past students have used these projects to help secure employment in the radio industry. Previous projects have included podcasts, online radio stations, radio dramas, documentaries, talk shows, music programmes - among others.

Student stories

School of Media graduate Ben Stones now works at BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music. In this clip, Ben explains how he added to his radio skills with other specialist modules offered by the course

Creative Skillset Tick
Creative Skillset Tick

The Creative Skillset Tick is the quality mark for excellence in training courses and education in the Creative Industries. It identifies the UK’s most industry-focused courses and apprenticeships enabling universities, colleges and employers to recruit the brightest talent.

Our Creative Skillset accreditation shows that we will provide you with industry-relevant skills and good links with companies and potential employers.

The accreditation also assures employers that students graduating from our course have the levels of knowledge and skills they need.

Overseas Opportunities

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.

Students have the opportunity to apply to study abroad for a semester at Northwest Missouri State University’s Department of Communication and Mass Media in the United States, or the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne Australia

Further Study

As a School, we invest significantly in our postgraduate provision as we recognise that more specialist and professional courses are required across the media industry. Our postgraduate courses include MA Media Production, MA Mobile and Multiplatform Journalism, MA Media and Cultural Studies, MA Future Media and MA Event, Festival and Exhibition Management.

See full list of our postgraduate media courses

Student stories James Gregory

James Gregory began preparing for his successful career in radio while still a student studying BA (Hons) Media and Communication (Radio) at the University.

As well as being involved with our student station Scratch Radio, he says the most beneficial opportunity for him was the recruitment drive that Heart West Midlands ran during his first few weeks at the University.

Enhancing your employability skills

This course is designed to help develop a career in the radio industry, whether in front of the microphone or as an editor, researcher or producer.

The first year concentrates on the fundamental skills of operating a studio and presenting a show, recording interviews, and using digital technology to edit and mix sound. In years two and three, you make music radio shows and short features, in preparation for running a live radio station at the University.

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.


The School strongly believes in the practical application of learning and is fortunate to have very strong links with employers and the media industry. Students on placements have worked with a wide range of organisations including the BBC, Maverick Television and Endemol.

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.

Links to industry

Our students have gained valuable work placements at a range of radio organisations, including Global Radio’s Heart FM, Free Radio, the BBC Asian Network, BBC Radio 1, Radio X and at community radio across the West Midlands.


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 track record for graduate employment is excellent, with the majority of graduates going into a media-related role.

Each course opens up specific employability avenues related to the production route chosen. A high number of graduates have gone into producer/director roles, journalism, public relations, web development, as well as freelancing or owning their own business.

Alumni stories - Chloe Gorman

Chloe graduated in 2009 and is now a creative consultant at Orion Media, which owns radio stations including Free Radio and Gem106. Chloe is responsible for creating enticing material for advertisers – taking in audio, video, online and social media content.

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

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.

Sam Coley

Radio Degree Leader and Senior Lecturer

Sam Coley is Senior Lecturer in Radio at Birmingham City University, where he teaches radio production, online radio, documentary production, commercial production and digital audio editing. He has a background in both the UK and New Zealand radio industries and worked as Creative Director for the Northern Region of New Zealand's TRN Network.

He has worked as a radio trainer for the BBC World Service Trust and as a media consultant for CARE International and the Prison Radio Association. In 2006, 2008 and 2010 Sam travelled to Africa to work on various audio projects and research, including radio programmes and advertising campaigns designed to promote sexual health and reproduction awareness for young Ethiopians.

Sam is a radio documentary producer with an interest in the use of audio slideshows. In 2009 he produced features for BBC WM, Spin 1038 Dublin and Absolute Radio. In 2010 he was nominated as a finalist in the "Best On-line Producer" category of the UK Radio Academy's Production Awards and also worked as a freelance documentary producer for Radio New Zealand.

Siobhan Stevenson

Lecturer in Radio Studies and Professional Development

Siobhan Stevenson is a Lecturer in Radio Studies and Professional Development at the Birmingham School of Media teaching on both the BA (Hons) Media and Communication and the Foundation Degree in Radio. 

As well as teaching across a number of areas including media theory, dissertation and project management, she also teaches Professional Media Practice and Professional Development across all media disciplines. 

As part of her Professional Practice development role, she works with partner organisations to create placement and community outreach opportunities for students in the UK and overseas.

Siobhan is also a member of the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research (BCMCR) and as such previously worked as a co-ordinator on the Arts & Humanities Research Council’s (AHRC) Knowledge Transfer Fellowship (KTF) in New Strategies for Radio and Music Organisations.

She also hosted the Birmingham ‘Community Radio Forum Debate’, a one-off round table debate between community stations in Birmingham about current issues affecting the sector in 2010.

Siobhan has published work on the benefits of radio as a tool for rehabilitation and inclusion and is currently undertaking PhD research into translations of policy to programming in British community radio.  Her further research interests include a focus on community radio, radio programming for multicultural and diaspora communities and prison radio.

Prior to joining the School of Media, Siobhan worked in radio and television production for a number of years in both public service broadcasting (BBC) and the independent sectors, in a number of production and support roles. She also spent a year working with Screen West Midlands developing and monitoring a number of media training programmes and awarding funding to freelancers, before returning to radio. 

Whilst working for BBC network and local radio, Siobhan began to work part-time with the Birmingham School of Media and moved into academia full-time in 2010, but still contributes to content for community stations and health messages broadcast on prison radio.

Event Organisations:
  • Project Co-ordinator: AHRC KTF-New Strategies for Radio and Music Organisations
  • Co-ordinated project led by Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research, liaised with four leading Fellows and external partners
  • Organised and co-ordinated final symposium
  • Forum Co-ordinator: Community Radio Forum (Birmingham)
  • Liaised with Birmingham-based community radio stations, bringing them together
  • Hosted a debate about issues effecting Community Radio Stations.
Social Media and Websites
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