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BA (Hons) Communication & Media

  • UCAS Code:
    P900
  • Institution:
    B50
  • Delivery:
    Full time according to Funding Council definitions

If you’re unsure about what area of the media you would like to work in this is an excellent course to choose. It not only provides a fascinating overview of the sector, but also focuses on academic study of the media and society, whilst teaching you all the practical skills necessary to work in this fast-paced environment.

On this versatile course, you'll embrace approaches taken from humanities and social science disciplines and examine the different ways in which people communicate, including face-to-face interaction, everyday language use and through the media.

90% of our students said they were satisfied with the quality of the course. Come along and meet us and find out for yourself what makes this course so good.

From a practical point of view, you’ll learn how to write in a variety of styles and formats, such as: scripts, short stories and pieces for online and digital media. Then, in your final year, you can choose specialist options in advertising, public relations and journalism to cultivate a learning package that is better tailored to your future career plans.

All statistics shown are taken from Unistats, Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE), BU institutional data and Ipsos MORI (National Student Survey) unless otherwise stated.

Key information

Next start date:

September 2017, September 2018

Location:

Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus

Duration:

3 years including a 4-week placement (or 4 years including a minimum 30-week placement). Full-time

Relevant subjects:

English Literature, English Language, Psychology, Sociology, Theatre Studies, Media Studies, Philosophy, Law, Communication, History, History of Art

Entry requirements:

For 2017 entry (we will use the new UCAS tariff): 112 to 120 tariff points, from 3 A-levels, or equivalent qualifications. BTEC Extended Diploma: DMM. For more information check out our 2017 entry requirements page

International entry requirements:

If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with minimum 6.0 in each component or equivalent. For more information check out our International entry requirements page

Course details

On this course you will usually be taught by a range of staff with relevant expertise and knowledge appropriate to the content of the unit. This will include senior academic staff, qualified professional practitioners, demonstrators, technicians and research students. You will also benefit from regular guest lectures from industry.

Year 1

Core units

  • Communication & Marketing: You'll discover marketing and branding theory, contextualising the marketing mix and the techniques of persuasion and research within the media and communications industries.
  • Media & Society: This unit analyses the role of the media in society by examining the nature, history, structure, social and cultural roles of print, broadcast and digital media.
  • Introduction to Communication Theory: You will explore and critically examine major theories of communication processes from different perspectives, and engage with relevant contemporary issues related to the study of communication.
  • Adaptation: You'll discover the study of adaptation, focusing on key theoretical perspectives and debates, for example about fidelity and medium-specificity.
  • Academic & Writing Skills: This unit supports students in their transition to undergraduate study by focusing on core academic and writing skills.
  • Language Matters: You will examine the complexities and possibilities of language use in both oral and written communication, and across a wide range of media. You will be introduced to key theoretical and analytical tools to equip you to undertake textual analysis of a variety of discourses.

Year 2

Core units

  • Media & Marketing Research: You will be introduced to the aims, principles and techniques of social, media and marketing research and will be equipped with the skills needed to conduct primary research.
  • Media: Messages & Meanings: This unit examines how messages are constructed, conveyed and received over a range of media and by different audiences.
  • Web & Mobile Communication: This unit aims to give you a strategic overview and knowledge of the role played by web and mobile communication in contemporary society.
  • Narrative Structures: Contemporary narrative texts will be analysed and evaluated, providing a theoretical overview of a variety of contemporary narrative texts from film, television, journalism, magazines, the internet and prose fiction.
  • Writing for the Media: The unit aims to strengthen your professional journalistic skills and your creative writing skills. You'll also learn how to use industry-standard software and will lay out your writings in magazine format.

Option units (choose one)

  • Popular Texts & Intertexts: Studying a variety of popular texts across the media including literary, cinematic, televisual and graphic, you'll encounter genres including detective, romance, horror, fantasy, children’s literature, chick lit/lad lit, fan fiction and online communities.
  • Global Current Affairs: You will engage with current debates in international and multimedia journalism, while being introduced to major global developments and their impact on news reporting.

Please note that option units require minimum numbers in order to run and may only be available on a semester by semester basis. They may also change from year to year.

Year 3

Choose either a 4 week or optional 30 week (minimum) placement, giving you the chance to gain experience and make contacts for the future.

Year 3/4

Core unit

  • Dissertation: You'll undertake original and independent research to produce a 10,000-word dissertation on a topic or problem of your choice, using a communication, humanities or social science approach.

OR

  • Creative Dissertation: An original piece of writing such as a set of short stories; a script for tv or screen; an extract from a novel, supported by a rationale and critical evaluation.

Option Units (choose four)

  • Celebrity Culture: This unit will introduce you to celebrity as a site of cultural and political power, and equips you with the skills to evaluate the risks and opportunities that celebrity culture poses for contemporary media as a site for democratic debate
  • Advertising: You'll discover how advertising can be used as a strategic marketing communications tool and will gain strategic and tactical skills in developing advertising campaigns and the evaluation techniques and measurements used to assess advertising success.
  • Public Relations: This unit introduces the theory and practice of public relations.
  • Media, Crisis & Conflict: Periods of crisis, such as war, conflict, civil unrest, epidemics, famines, and natural disasters, can alter the complex relationships between media, audiences and governments. This unit will analyse these relationships through four interrelating themes.
  • Media & Trauma: This unit aims to explore critical and cultural responses to traumatic experience and death across a range of media or texts from print and broadcast journalism to filmic and literary representation. The unit will focus on how trauma is interpreted, recorded, represented, constructed and produced across a range of media and in a variety of social, professional and medical contexts.
  • News & Journalism: This unit seeks to provide you with a critical perspective on journalistic outputs and the ability to report and produce news and other forms of journalism in a digital world.
  • Writing, Editing & Publishing: A practical unit which combines study of publishing processes and practices with creative writing.
  • Fact & Fiction: This unit explores the diverse panorama of non-fiction works produced in the realm of literary, or narrative, journalism. It will analyse ethical issues such as objectivity, accuracy, and the social and historical context of the genre over the centuries.
  • New Media Narrative: You'll examine the evolution of narrative forms in relation to the development of new (digital) media, especially exploring non-linear and interactive narratives and make critical evaluations of theoretical, critical and creative texts.
  • Community & Digital Engagement: This unit will help you develop a critical and practical understanding of community and digital engagement with a view to acquiring advocacy techniques that can engage citizens in local problem-solving.

Please note that option units require minimum numbers in order to run and may only be available on a semester by semester basis. They may also change from year to year.

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

Contact hours

This is a broad academic course with some vocational units and a strong emphasis on writing skills. The course is designed to help you develop analytical and evaluative skills through the study of literary and media texts, as well as enabling you to operate in dynamic environments such as the workplace and new media.

Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, workshops and one-to-one tutorials. In addition, to these scheduled sessions, there will also be multimedia screenings, interactive exercises, media experiments and other innovative forms of learning & teaching, allowing you to develop a range of both transferable and subject-specific skills.

Year 1 – 16% of your time will be spent in timetabled learning & teaching activities

  • Learning and teaching: 177 hours
  • Independent learning: 1023 hours

Year 2 – 17% of your time will be spent in timetabled learning & teaching activities

  • Learning and teaching: 190 hours
  • Independent learning: 1010 hours

Year 3/4 - 15% of your time will be spent in timetabled learning & teaching activities

  • Learning and teaching: 169 hours
  • Independent learning: 1031 hours

79% of the course is assessed by coursework

  • Year 1: 65%
  • Year 2: 83%
  • Year 3/4: 90%

The majority of your assessed work will be coursework; however you will also be expected to undertake practical and written exams during your study.

Assessment methods include essays, written and oral exams, case studies, portfolios of journalism, research and creative writing, pitches and presentations. Other methods include a Dragons’ Den exercise, the development, delivery and evaluation of a Communication Skills Training programme and a poster display.

Programme specification

Programme specifications provide definitive records of the University's taught degrees in line with Quality Assurance Agency requirements. Every taught course leading to a BU Award has a programme specification which describes its aims, structure, content and learning outcomes, plus the teaching, learning and assessment methods used.

Download the programme specification for BA (Hons) Communication & Media.

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the programme specification, the information is liable to change to take advantage of exciting new approaches to teaching and learning as well as developments in industry. If you have been unable to locate the programme specification for the course you are interested in, it will be available as soon as the latest version is ready. Alternatively please contact us for assistance.

Placement opportunities

At BU, we recognise that placements are extremely valuable and can give you a head start when it comes to your future career; therefore we now offer every new student the opportunity to undertake a work placement as part of their course.

We will provide a great deal of support to help you find the most appropriate work placement for the subject you’re studying and the career you’re interested in, which means you could be based anywhere in the UK, or even overseas.

A placement should be a highly rewarding experience for you and the employing company and we do our best to ensure that everyone involved feels that they have got the most that they can from the experience.

The benefits to you as a placement student are many. You will have the chance to:

  • Put the theory learnt throughout the course into professional practice
  • Enhance your study and help you decide on subject options (where appropriate)
  • Learn a wide range of skills such as time management, problem solving and team work (all of these are important to succeed in any career)
  • Make contacts, as it is not uncommon for our students to be offered permanent positions to return to after graduating
  • Gain a real insight into how the industry operates in roles that would be almost impossible to achieve for an outsider
  • Many of our students, during their placement, are given responsibilities normally associated with graduate trainees.

Our students have previously worked for:

  • Microsoft
  • The Walt Disney Company
  • Adobe Systems Europe Ltd
  • Panasonic
  • BMW Mini
  • The Football Foundation

How long is my placement?

You will begin your placement after completion of your second year of study and can choose to complete 4 weeks or a minimum 30 week placement.

Find out more about placements and our student experiences here.

Your application

Background and experience

For BA (Hons) Communication and Media we are looking for applicants who can:

  • Demonstrate both intellectual and creative abilities
  • Work well within a team as well as individually
  • Demonstrate good presentation skills
  • Enjoy reading a variety of texts including literature and newspapers.

Students must be able to demonstrate an interest in media including television and newspapers, and have a broad knowledge of how the media industry works. Overall students must have a strong creative ability and have an interest in writing. Students must have basic computer literacy, including knowledge of Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Selection methods

We’ll be selecting the candidates for this course by looking at their UCAS applications, there are no interviews or selection activities needed. For that reason, make sure your application really stands out from the crowd, and leave us in no doubt as to why you should be joining BU. You can find some handy hints about filling in your UCAS form on our how to apply webpages.

Our offer making process

Our offer making will typically be based on your three main graded qualifications, including any required subjects. Additional study may be valuable for breadth of study, and we will look at a range of qualifications and subjects, including the Extended Project Qualification and General Studies, although these may not be part of our offer.

If you do not meet the criteria of your original offer, we may still offer you a place. We will review your whole application and consider all academic qualifications (including those not in the offer) and the rest of the application to see if you have the academic potential to succeed on the course. If we feel the answer is yes, we will still confirm your place.

How we'll assess your application

We look at individual applications and make a tailored offer based on your potential to succeed on the course considering a range of factors, including your academic achievements, work and other experience, predicted grades, reference and personal statement, and in some cases, your performance at an interview/selection test.

If you meet one or more of our contextual data indicators for educational disadvantage (such as being in care, living in a low participation neighbourhood or in an area with less advantaged socio-economic characteristics), your offer could be between 6-20 points below the published tariff.

Unconditional offer scheme

Our Unconditional Offer Scheme seeks to reward exceptional applicants who are predicted to achieve top academic results. The scheme is offered to applicants on all courses who are predicted AAA at A-level/triple Distinction in BTEC Extended Diploma, or above, or equivalent, subject to any course selection measures and meeting other entry criteria (i.e. required qualifications). What’s more we’ll recognise your achievement if you meet these grades with an Academic Excellence Scholarship from £1,500 when you arrive*.

We believe that unconditional offers will reduce pressure on applicants who will continue to strive to achieve the best grades possible. Excellent grades will become a part of applicants’ CVs and are also required for BU’s scholarships. International qualifications are considered in the scheme; however applicants must satisfy the English language requirements.

*Our scholarships are subject to terms, conditions and eligibility criteria, detailed on our scholarships pages.

2017 entry requirements

The new UCAS Tariff will be used for September 2017 entry.

The entry requirements for this course are 112 to 120 tariff points, from 3 A-levels, or equivalent qualifications. BTEC Extended Diploma: DMM

UCAS have created a helpful calculator so you can calculate points to use for courses starting from September 2017 onwards.

Excluded subjects: This course does not accept General Studies

GCSEs: This course requires a minimum of 4 GCSEs grades A* to C (or grade 4 or above in the newly reformed GCSE grading), including Maths and English or equivalent qualifications.

Numeracy and literacy: We need to be sure that you can express yourself in written English and have basic numeracy skills. We look at Level 2 of the National Qualifications Framework, which includes GCSEs, iGCSEs, Key Skills and Functional Skills Level 2. If you do not have formal qualifications to this level or have alternatives, we may still be able to consider your application – please contact the askBU Enquiry Service to find out more.

Other qualifications

We have outlined below other qualifications that we consider for this course. If you are studying a qualification that is not listed, please contact the askBU Enquiry Service, it may be that we can still consider it.

Access Courses: BU welcomes Access to HE Diploma applicants. This course requires applicants to Pass the Access to HE Diploma (with 60 Credits - at least 45 at level 3, remainder at level 2 or equivalent).  Any combination of grades to meet the overall tariff is acceptable

BTEC Qualifications

  • Extended Diploma: This course requires Distinction, Merit, Merit.
  • Diploma: This course requires a Distinction, Merit in addition to an A-Level Grade C in a relevant subject.
  • 90-credit Diploma: The 90-credit Diploma will be accepted as part of your overall tariff but it must be accompanied by A-Levels or equivalent qualifications.
  • Subsidiary Diploma: This course requires a Distinction in addition to two A-Levels in relevant subjects to achieve the overall tariff.

A combination of BTEC qualifications to meet the overall course tariff is also acceptable.

Cambridge Pre-U: We welcome applicants studying the Cambridge Pre-U Diploma or a combination of Pre-U subjects and A-levels.

European Baccalaureate: Applicants are required to achieve a minimum score of 75%.

International Baccalaureate Diploma: The IB Diploma is welcomed as part of the International Baccalaureate (IB). This course requires 30-31 points including 5 points from each of the 3 Higher Level subjects.

Scottish Qualifications: Scottish Advanced Highers, Scottish Highers and other Scottish qualifications are all welcomed providing that your results meet the overall course tariff.

Welsh Baccalaureate: The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma is welcomed alongside A-Levels or equivalent, to meet the overall course tariff.

OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Qualification: The OCR Extended Diploma or a combination of one Diploma plus one Introductory Diploma is acceptable for entry to this course.

Extended Diploma: This course requires Distinction, Merit, Merit.

Other combinations of OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical qualifications to meet the overall course tariff may be acceptable.

Extended Project Qualification: The grade achieved for the Extended Project may be taken into account when considering whether or not to accept a candidate who has marginally failed to meet the conditions of their offer.

Deferred Entry: We are happy to consider applicants for deferred entry.

Personal skills

Flexibility is a quality much sought after by employers. The BA (Hons) Communication and Media course produces flexible and versatile graduates who have developed transferable skills valuable in management, writing and communication industries. Many students choose BA (Hons) Communication and Media because, while knowing they want to work in the general area of communication, they have not decided precisely which jobs to pursue. In years one and two all students study language, literature, writing, media and society, research methods and the psychology and behaviour of individuals and groups. In year three students choose options from professional and academic units. Graduates embark upon a variety of careers including journalism, public relations, publishing, management, training, research and authorship.

We therefore look for applicants who are committed to a career in communication and clear evidence of an interest in literature, communication and media in the personal statement.

IT Skills

Computers are an ever present feature of working life. The University has extensive open access computer facilities, from the library to the Internet cafe. Many of the computers have Internet access and each student has an e-mail address. The main centres have computer staff to help students with their queries. Certainly familiarity with computers will help. But don't worry; our experience is that new students to BU soon become proficient in handling a PC or a Mac.

Visual and Internet Communication

On the course students have access to the School's Electronic Publishing Unit, and in the Writing, Editing and Publishing units students are taught how to use the electronic publishing programs for document creation and design. Students also use a statistical package to analyse research data. You may already possess a number of these skills, but if not, we will help you to develop them throughout the course.

Individual and teamwork

You will be expected to work hard both individually and in groups. Self-motivation and the ability to manage your time effectively are important requirements. You should enjoy reading widely. Individual work includes conducting research, writing in a variety of styles, completing assignments and preparing for seminar sessions. We develop your team working abilities on the course by requiring you to work on group presentations. Some of the group work is assessed.

Depending on the professional units selected in the third year you may be required to undertake the following: develop and evaluate a public relations programme; develop, execute and evaluate a training programme; analyse case studies; gather, write and process news articles; write a proposal for a radio or TV programme or a book.

Communication

You should enjoy writing and be prepared to learn how to write in different styles appropriate for different media, for example, news releases, articles, dialogue, short stories and poetry. You should also be interested in using information technology for design and graphics.

The course develops these abilities in the Writing Foundation Skills unit in year one and extends them in the Professional Writing unit in year two. Journalism and Writing, Editing and Publishing options in the final year offer an opportunity to develop these skills further. Verbal skills are important too for talking persuasively to groups and individuals.

Creative thinking and critical analysis

The course draws on perspectives from the humanities and social sciences enabling students to evaluate and practise the many aspects of communication and media. Therefore you need to enjoy analysing a wide range of verbal and visual texts, for example poems, novels, soap operas, news stories and advertisements.

You should be capable of creative and original thinking, with an ability to confidently express your own individual ideas, based on sound reasoning, and present informed opinions. You should develop an awareness of communication issues in the wider social context.

Curiosity and a willingness to evaluate different points of view are vital for undergraduate study, as well as your future career.

Students should, above all, be interested in people. BA (Hons) Communication and Media is about people and how they communicate, whether this is face to face or through the media and literature. Students should be avid readers and enjoy newspapers, television, films and books.

International entry requirements

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:

IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with minimum 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

View further information about our English language requirements.

If you do not meet the English language requirement for your degree then why not join our Pre-Sessional English course. Successful completion of our Pre-Sessional English course will meet your English language requirement, without the need to re-take IELTS.

Academic entry requirements

You can find details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our entry requirements for non-UK students’ page.

We offer a number of preparatory programmes through the Bournemouth University International College. These courses offer you progression from High School in your home country to a Bachelor’s degree at BU.

Options include:

Careers

This course is multidisciplinary, which means you'll be able to enter a wide variety of careers after you finish university thanks to the diverse skills you'll develop. Within six months of finishing their degree 91% of our students are continuing their studies or working*, taking on jobs such as:

  • Account executive
  • Assistant media executive
  • Communications officer
  • Concept manager
  • Digital account executive
  • Junior copywriter
  • Marketing and communications coordinator
  • PR executive

Among the organisations they are working for are B&Q, BMW Mini, Daily Mail, Generation Media, Imagine Publishing, NSPCC, Quadrant2design, Red Bull, Target Media and We Are Social.

Industries worked in

  • Advertising
  • Management
  • Public relations
  • Journalism
  • Publishing

Further study

Once you have completed an undergraduate Honours degree, you can further develop your education by studying for a postgraduate degree. Please visit our Postgraduate section for further details about our range of Master's degrees.

*All statistics shown are taken from Unistats, Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE), BU institutional data and Ipsos MORI (National Student Survey) unless otherwise stated.

No hidden extras

As a student at BU we will provide many things to support you and there will also be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying at BU. The information below will help you understand our provision and what you need to budget for.

What you can expect from us

All of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including, lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of support and services, many of these are included on the Next Steps insert enclosed with your offer letter.

  • One set of study-related consumables such as a memory stick/ DVD
  • Materials for laboratory and field-based teaching activity
  • Support for placements (UK or abroad) and fieldwork
  • A range of student services – advisors, help desks, counsellors, placement support and careers service
  • The Library – access to a wide range of electronic resources (databases, e-journals and e-books), print and multimedia collections, subject librarians and study spaces
  • IT labs (some open 24/7), wireless network, AV equipment to borrow
  • Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme
  • Disability and additional learning support
  • The BU Language Centre to help you develop/improve foreign or English language skills
  • 24 hours a day, 365 days a year security team.

Costs of living and other expenses you need to consider

  • Accommodation and living costs: view our price guide
  • Text books: remember that our award-winning library is stocked with a large range of text books for all courses, as well as online resources such as industry journals, free of charge
  • General stationery and other supplies such as print and presentation materials: the Students’ Union shops stock a wide range of stationery supplies on both campuses
  • Travel to, from and between BU campuses: our bus service operates in the local areas offering a subsided travel rate; we also have a large number of secure bike storage compounds
  • SportBU membership: check out our student membership packages, sports events, varsity teams, information about our new facilities and more on the SportBU webpages
  • Fieldwork travel, outdoor wear and footwear (where applicable)
  • Telephone and travel costs incurred when undertaking interviews for coursework/securing placements.
  • A  fee will be payable towards the cost of an Educational Psychology Assessment if this is required in connection with additional learning support. BU pays for approximately two-thirds of the cost of this assessment for UK students. For more details and current pricing please visit the students section of the website.

Repeat Units

If you need to repeat one or more units during the course of your studies, you may be required to pay an additional fee of £1,500 per 20 credit unit. 

Financial help available from BU

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to students who are beginning their studies at BU. Our website also provides details on living costs, budgeting and paying your tuition fees.

www.bournemouth.ac.uk/funding

What our students say

3rd year Communication & Media student

It definitely gives you the option to explore. First I wanted to be a journalist, then work in PR and I'm now working in marketing alongside my degree!

What our graduates think

Anushka Naidoo

Studying at BU was a great experience. It equipped me with the professional and life skills needed to get a career in the field of communications and media.
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Fresher Publishing

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New Media Writing Prize

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Additional information

Fees and funding

Fees and funding

Find out about fees and funding, including scholarships and bursaries.

applicant open days

Open Days

We give a warm welcome to anyone who comes to meet us and we love showing off our campuses and Bournemouth to prospective students and their families. 

International students

International students

We have a strong international student community. Find all the practical advice and information you need here.