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Unlocking creative genius Betty Jackson CBE Internationallyrenowned fashion designer Graduated 1971

Winter 2013/14

OUR GRADUATES ARE SHAPING THE WORLD Research for all Innovative solutions for contemporary problems

An exciting milestone Boosting the economy Anton Perreau One of PR Week’s ‘Top 30 under 30’ Graduated 2012 Enriching lives Laura Mvula MOBO award winner Graduated 2008

The Parkside Building welcomes its first students

Innovative teaching From ethical hacking to virtual patients

Writing to impress Make the most of your Personal Statement



Contents 02-03 04-05 06-09 10-13 14-15 16-17 18-19 20-21 22-23 24-25 26-27


Welcome Shaping the world Graduate success Leading academics Investing in your future Enhancing your employability Innovative teaching Research for all Why Birmingham? Your Students’ Union Next steps

A very warm welcome to a University whose graduates have been shaping the world for 170 years – and are continuing to do so today. By studying one of our innovative, industryrelevant degrees, you could be our next success story. You may have already seen our new ‘Shaping the World’ campaign, which we recently launched to share some of the achievements of our former students. You can read about some of them in this magazine on pages 4-5. You can also find out more about what we are doing to ensure you enter the workplace ready to make an impression – our innovative teaching, groundbreaking research and multi-million pound investment in facilities.

Professor Cliff Allan Vice-Chancellor Birmingham City University Check out our online prospectus at prospectus or visit for the latest updates.

Keep up to date For the latest news and information relating to Birmingham City University, you can follow us on Twitter at @MyBCU, using the hashtag #gobcu for information particularly relating to new starters. If you have any queries relating to starting at BCU this year, you can tweet us your question, using the same hashtag, and we will aim to respond to you as quickly as possible.


Our dedicated employment agency, ‘OpportUNIty – Student Jobs on Campus’ provides the opportunity for students to apply for a range of real jobs around the University, and you can read about the first student to progress from this scheme to a full-time position with us on page 17. We have also included some useful advice for you as you prepare to start your journey into higher education this autumn, including our guide to completing your Personal Statement on page 26 and our Students’ Union’s ‘top tips’ for new starters on page 25. I hope that you will start your story with us later this year. If you have any queries in the meantime, please do not hesitate to get in touch – our friendly Course Enquiries team would be delighted to help you.



Why BCU? Are you currently trying to decide where to study? Here are our top 10 reasons to choose Birmingham City University: 01

Our graduates are shaping the world

At BCU, we’ve been educating professionals since 1843. Our commitment to developing graduates with the skills and experience employers need means that nine in 10 of our undergraduate and postgraduate students are in employment or further study within six months of graduating (DLHE survey 2011/12).


Investing in your future

Our £180 million investment programme includes the new £62 million Parkside Building at our City Centre Campus, which welcomes its first students this autumn. Construction on a second new building is currently under way. The Complete University Guide rated us as one of the UK’s top 10 universities for our spending on facilities in 2012 and 2013.


Learn from the best


Encouraging innovation


Earn while you learn

crucial aspects of job application, as well as employability skills to take into the workplace. We aim to be employing 3,000 people through the scheme by 2015.


Industry partnerships

We have a large number of successful industry partnerships working with companies like Apple, Cisco and Cartier to develop cutting-edge curriculums and collaborate on course projects.


Working with you

We work with our students to ensure we are meeting your needs and aspirations at all times. Our award-winning Student Academic Partners scheme teams students up with staff to find ways to make our teaching even better.


continuing to meet your needs. Highlights from the 2013 National Student Survey included 99 per cent overall satisfaction for accounting courses, 96 per cent for finance and 95 per cent for teacher training.

Dedicated to our students

We want to offer everyone who studies at our University the very best student experience and are committed to acting on feedback to ensure we are


Innovative teaching


Relevant research

We use virtual learning environments to bring our courses to life, including the Virtual Case Creator in the Faculty of Health, the School of Law’s Virtual Solicitors’ Office and the School of Education’s virtual school, Green Moor Primary School. Our online learning site, Moodle, provides 24 hour access to resources and flexible approaches to learning. In the most recent audit of our research expertise - the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) - the University had one of the highest percentages of submitted work rated as ‘world leading’ compared to other modern universities in the UK.

The Parkside Building

From the UK’s leading criminologist to a former director of pub and restaurant operator Mitchells & Butlers, our teaching staff come from and maintain links with industry, ensuring you benefit from their knowledge and insight. We are also ranked sixth out of 130 institutions for student teaching time (Daily Telegraph course finder). Our new Concept Factory provides dedicated meeting space for entrepreneurial students and graduates to network, share ideas and form collaborations. Our new student employment agency, OpportUNIty - Student Jobs on Campus, allows you to apply for temporary and casual staffing roles at the University, providing experience in




He initially embarked on a career in surveying before being invited to audition for a pilot of Channel 4’s TV programme A Place in the Sun - Home or Away. Over 200 episodes and nine years later Jonnie still remains one of the show’s presenters today. He also presents BBC’s Escape to the Country and Cowboy Trap and has previously worked on To Buy or Not to Buy.

Graduate success is something to shout about

ANTON PERREAU One of PR Week’s ‘Top 30 under 30’

At Birmingham City University, we’ve been educating professionals since 1843. Our graduates are pursuing successful careers in a wide range of sectors, including the worlds of entertainment and the creative industries, arts and culture, technology and business, health and wellbeing, and teaching and education. To highlight their success, and inspire the next generation of students, we recently launched our ‘Shaping the World’ campaign including poster, press and TV adverts, plus a special website at Featured graduates include former Tesco chief Andrew Higginson; Jamie Barry, one of Birmingham’s youngest headteachers; Neil Edginton, the developer behind some of Birmingham’s most iconic new buildings; and Stephen Harrison-Mirfield, Chief Operating Officer of the Medical University of Bahrain. LAURA MVULA MOBO award-winning singer Originally hailing from the south Birmingham suburbs, musician Laura Mvula is becoming an increasingly familiar face, with her debut album Sing to the Moon reaching the UK Top 10 and earning critical acclaim. She has been nominated


Anton Perreau is a Senior Public Relations Consultant and currently works as the account manager of Battenhall, a brand communications agency for the social media economy. He was recently named as one of the 30 most influential people in Public Relations under the age of 30 in PR Week’s ‘Top 30 under 30’.

for BRIT and Mercury awards and, in October 2013, won MOBO awards for Best Female Act and Best R&B or Soul Artist.

MAK CHISHTY Commander for the Metropolitan Police

Her talents are not confined to the microphone, as she has also recently been named as one of Marks & Spencer’s Britain’s Leading Ladies, which will see her feature alongside actress Dame Helen Mirren and singer Ellie Goulding to promote the High Street chain’s new clothing range.

Born and raised in inner-city Birmingham, Mak Chishty originally joined the police force in Warwickshire as an 18-year-old. He was quickly promoted to CID where he went on to hold a variety of senior positions, before moving back into uniform as Borough Commander for the Warwickshire town of Rugby, where he took a pioneering approach to community relations, involving the public in the drawing up of policing priorities.

Laura admits that when she arrived at Birmingham Conservatoire to study a BMus (Hons) (Composition) she was very shy and uncertain of which direction she wanted to go in musically but her confidence soon developed. “Being around a lot of excited musicians who were happy to be doing what they’re doing was an amazing experience. Studying there taught me confidence,” she explained.



After studying an LLB (Hons) Law degree to learn more about the history of crime and the theories behind it, Mak joined the Metropolitan Police as Commander for North London in 2011, later moving to West London. He has pan-London responsibility in the fields of anti-social behaviour, drugs and alcohol, hate crime, and children and young people, and is the national lead for the sensitive area of honour killings on behalf of the Association of Chief Police Officers.

Anton’s role involves performing PR and social strategy for current and new clients, managing the team and hiring where needed, and working to develop Battenhall, keeping it one step ahead of its clients and competition. He studied Public Relations and Management at Birmingham City University, graduating in 2012. Following University he interned at a small PR agency in Birmingham for two weeks, before moving to a tech PR agency in London for one year. He joined Battenhall in May 2013, and the company has grown exponentially since then.

JONNIE IRWIN Channel 4 and BBC TV presenter The frontman of TV shows including Channel 4’s A Place in the Sun and BBC’s Escape to the Country, Leicester-born Jonnie Irwin studied BSc (Hons) Estate Management with us, graduating in 1997.

of Health and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. His research has been widely published and in 1999 he was the founding editor of the British Journal of Anaesthetic and Recovery Nursing, the official publication of the British Anaesthetic and Recovery Nurses Association.

Jonnie combines his media career with running a small business and property consultancy and he is also a partner of TakeHome Media, a television development and production company.

BETTY JACKSON CBE Internationally-renowned fashion designer

PROFESSOR MARK RADFORD Chief Nursing Officer and journal founder With a solid background in the NHS, Mark Radford now heads up nursing at a large teaching hospital trust that manages two major hospitals. Having first achieved a BSc (Hons) and qualifying as a nurse in 1994, Mark has continued to undertake study alongside his clinical roles, going on to complete an MSc Advanced Practice and PhD, and is now a visiting professor at Birmingham City University, as well as Chief Nursing Officer at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust. His career has seen him work his way up from a registered general nurse to a consultant nurse and eventually moving to UHCW to work as Associate Director of Nursing and later Deputy Director of Nursing, before taking up his current post in June 2012.

Betty Jackson is an internationally-renowned fashion designer who is well known for developing bold and imaginative textile prints and translating them onto clothing. After studying BA (Hons) Fashion, Betty launched her own collection in 1981, scooping the British Designer of the Year award in 1985 and an MBE in 1987. She introduced the Betty Jackson for Men collection in 1986, and opened her flagship shop in London’s Brompton Road five years later. She received a CBE for services to the fashion industry in 2007. Betty is famed for her graceful and innovative, yet eminently wearable designs, evidenced in 2000 by her commission to design Marks & Spencer’s Autograph collection, and more recently by her Betty Jackson Black range for Debenhams. In 2008, she was asked by the Lord Chief Justice for help with modernising the gowns of the civil judiciary, and she also designed costumes for the outrageous characters Eddy and Patsy in the 1990s hit TV comedy Absolutely Fabulous.

Mark’s expertise has been called upon by organisations such as the Department






Emma Noble

Gaining confidence for a successful legal career

Up-and-coming DJ attracts accolades

University life has given Emma Noble the confidence to pursue her goals and the launch pad for a successful future in law.

Dance music DJ and producer Ashique Subhan aka Subb-an, found contacts, inspiration and a great club scene while studying BSc (Hons) Sound And Multimedia Technology at Birmingham City University. He is resident DJ at Below, one of the UK’s most cherished underground clubbing institutions. Ashique has received many accolades, including winner of Best Breakthrough DJ in 2011, when he was also named the third most charted artist by online dance music magazine Resident Advisor. Here, he answers a Q&A about his time with the University. Why did you choose your course? I felt that sound and multi-media would be a good crossover and give me a great insight into many areas. What did you like best about the University? I found that the lecturers were always so easygoing and helpful, which has a huge impact on your learning process and also the people on the courses. You meet some cool and interesting people over the duration of the course. What opportunities came your way through the University? For me it was mainly meeting the people around me, you never know where this will lead. You meet great people who


“I was the first in my family to attend University and I saw studying a law degree as a chance to better my fortunes,” she says. “The course is exceeding my expectations by a mile. I have realised that it is possible to achieve your goals and make your dreams become reality.”

become friends and everyone goes on to do exciting things.

partying. If you leave it then it’s always harder to do when you come back to it.

How supportive were your fellow students? Super supportive. I think everyone helped everyone to get through. Some guys are good in some areas whilst some are better in others.

As soon as you have an assignment, nail it. Also, always have in the back of your mind ideas for your dissertation. This is a huge part, so don’t leave it to the last minute. Always be thinking and on the lookout for interesting subjects and topics that have depth.

What are your plans for the future? At the moment I’m either in the studio, touring or running the record label. This is what I’ve always aimed to do at this stage in my life. As I get older, I plan to calm down the touring and be more in the studio, ideally doing sound for film or games. What would be your top tip for would-be students? As soon as the work is set, complete it while it’s fresh in your head. That way it’s done and then you can crack on with whatever else you want, whether that’s making music, going to the gym or

So how did you go about tackling yours? I did mine on ‘Engaging Young People through Creative Media in Educational and Recreational Environments’; this gave me a lot to research and enabled me to work practically with young people using technology. I saw other students struggle with ideas due to leaving it too late in the game and it really does affect the whole approach you take.

Emma recently completed a vacation scheme placement with law firm Mills and Reeve in its Birmingham office. This proved very beneficial and she has now secured a training contract with them, to commence in 2015. Emma is also a Senior Ambassador for the University, talking to prospective students about her experiences, as well as a member of various societies. She also came runner-up in the Dean’s Award for ‘Promoting the Faculty’, nominated by her peers. She adds: “The move from college or sixth form to university is a huge step and can be quite daunting. I believe the staff within the School of Law are accommodating and supportive, which helps to minimise any nerves about starting a degree. I also believe that without this support, I would not have had the confidence to apply for my vacation scheme placement – so I owe the staff a lot!”

Return to study pays off for RAF medic Returning to full-time study after 20 years in the military was a real change for Sgt Barry Kirkland, a Royal Air Force medic.

TOP TIP Experience everything. Put the hours into your work but remember there’s a social scene for a reason.

But University staff and fellow students made the transition as smooth as possible and the experience was very positive. The Ministry of Defence and NHS came up with a plan to train RAF medics to be paramedics and Barry and colleagues completed the intensive 15-week course, giving them a formal qualification.

TOP TIP Work hard and don’t forget your degree! It is important to have fun and relax too… just don’t get that balance wrong!

“I had an enormous amount of support from the tutors and other staff. It was a good experience. It was different from what I was used to but we were based in halls of residence, which was not dissimilar to barracks. “There’s plenty to do and Birmingham is a fantastic city with a very good social scene,” says Barry, who is now based in Colchester but has been posted to Afghanistan several times. Earlier this year, Barry received the Joint Commander’s Commendation for bravery when he assisted in saving the lives of five soldiers who were critically injured during an ambush. “University gives you the basis and knowledge to build on. It can’t really prepare you for a situation like that but you have a good foundation to help you go forward,” he says.




Stephen Morton-Prior, BSc Enviromental Planning

Opportunities for experience pay off

Building a successful events business

Verity Graham, BA (Hons) Primary Education with QTS

Starting out with just a laptop and a desk in the spare bedroom, Stephen has gone on to build up a successful agency, Clearwater Events, with prestigious clients and exciting projects. Although his business is not directly related to his degree in Environmental Planning, he credits his time at University with giving him the skills needed to develop his career. “Even though I am in a career that’s quite different to my actual degree, the skills and confidence built while at Birmingham City University have been the cornerstone to my career development. “My degree course was subject specific, but lecturers and course leaders cross referenced topics and skills to business life, teaching how to analyse, review and research.”


After a short career in urban planning, he caught the travel bug and took a graduate position at American Express within their travel and events division. “My degree and the incredible skills gained from attending the University were truly the building blocks needed for me to successfully join American Express,” he says. “I was taught how to present, research and harness ideas. I was shown how to believe in myself and also to have confidence in accepting feedback and using it to grow.” Starting as an Event Junior, he left as Senior Manager of Events, North America, having been positioned in Hong Kong, Singapore and Philadelphia. Coming back to the UK, Stephen continued with his events career before very quickly deciding to set up on his own. “Birmingham seemed the natural home for Clearwater Events. The city’s creative scene is growing and its location allows us to be perfectly positioned to service much of the UK and beyond,” he says.

Verity Graham seized every opportunity available to her while studying at the University, and gained teaching experience in the UK and Spain. She took advice from headteachers before choosing her course and says Birmingham City University was reputed to be the best for teaching, which helped her make the decision on where to study. “The School of Education is outstanding due to the work of the staff. The staff’s high morale and eagerness to teach and be there for their students makes the faculty an enjoyable place to be,” she says.

Stephen Morton-Prior is founder of Birmingham events and marketing company Clearwater Events, which is expanding and boasts national and international clients. He is a strong advocate of higher education and still enjoys close links with the University, offering opportunities to students. Here, he reveals how his time as a student helped him achieve his goals.



She says her skills and experience were boosted by a placement in a primary school each academic year. Each placement was at a different school in a different year group so

“Being in Birmingham allows us to offer highly creative event and marketing solutions at a fraction of the price to our London counterparts, but with incredible local graduate talent.”

Jasmine Gilhooly, BA (Hons) Printed Textile Design

Clients include Terex Construction, Barclays Commercial and Sandvik.

Big names spot graduate’s talent

“Our events portfolio is incredibly diverse - one week, our team could be in a muddy field helping to launch a 15-ton truck whilst the next, we can be managing a corporate sales meeting or gala dinner for 400 delegates. The only limit to what we can do is imagination.”

Jasmine Gilhooly’s flair for design saw her talent-spotted by top industry names when she exhibited her stunning bespoke handbags. “Through the University, I was selected to go to New Designers in Islington, where graduates exhibit their work. It gave me a lot of exposure and I got scouted to work for Jimmy Choo’s London headquarters,” says Jasmine. “I did a placement and there were opportunities to stay but I wanted to establish my own business.”

The company works closely with the University and has supported, mentored and provided extensive work experience for students. “I am passionate about helping home-grown talent and our services align brilliantly with the many undergraduates looking to build their own experience,” says Stephen.

She set up her own label, J D’Cruz, with unique designs, hand-made in Britain.

TOP TIP Use all the facilities you can get your hands on.

Her range is available in independent boutiques and online, and has attracted interest from London department store Liberty. It has been featured in magazines such as Fashion World.

she was able to experience a wide range of teaching. During her second year, Verity completed part of her placement in Spain. In addition, Verity took on mentoring roles and helped out on interview days, providing tours, invigilating exams and answering questions from prospective students and parents. She also received a nomination for the Dean’s Awards for the ‘Award for Students who act as an Excellent Representative for the Faculty to the Outside World’. Verity is currently working full-time in teaching and plans to gain further experience in primary education in England before moving to either Spain or France.

TOP TIP Take any opportunities or unique ways to enhance your development and CV and ensure that you have your future career plans in the back of your mind.

Jasmine’s success is the result of hard work and determination. She says: “I combined my end of course show with pitching for a business travel award. It was a risk, but it paid off.” Jasmine is setting up her own studio and is also a youth worker. She hopes to work with her local authority to run textiles and art courses for young people. She says her time at the University was invaluable: “My tutor Jean Ensell was the best support I have ever had. She’s still in contact with me – and she’s got one of my handbags.” Visit Jasmine at or follow her on Twitter @JasmineGilhooly.



Using expertise to tackle online abuse




Ann’s passion for nursing pays off

Imran Awan, Senior Lecturer in Criminology

It would be hard to find someone more passionate about their vocation than Ann Cubbin. Her dedication to district nursing has led to national recognition – and personal reward.

Cyber-bullying is widely publicised but less is reported about specifically anti-Muslim abuse online. Senior Lecturer in Criminology Imran Awan, a leading researcher in Islamophobia, whose expertise is called on nationally, is researching this problem and hoping to influence new legislation to tackle it.

Ann is working hard to raise the profile of district nursing and challenge misconceptions about the profession. “It is a real privilege to be a district nurse but the role is very misunderstood,” says Ann. “A lot of people think it is just about elderly people but the types of patients you encounter are very diverse; there are young people with long-term illnesses such as MS.

A Muslim himself, Imran has experienced cyber abuse first hand, when writing articles for the Guardian and Independent newspapers about Muslim issues. “It isn’t nice to see and sometimes it can get you down,” he says. “But it’s important to raise awareness. I can speak from personal experience; every time I write an article I get trolls attacking me.” Imran sits on the Advisory Board for non-profit organisation Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) and recently presented on the topic of Islamophobia to the All Party Parliamentary Group at the House of Commons. “Abuse is rife on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and chat rooms, ranging from flippant comments to harassment and even death threats – all just for being Muslim. My research shows this abuse is widespread but goes largely unreported,” he says. “The key issue is trying to get more people to report these attacks and raise awareness about this very real problem.” Imran is currently undertaking grassroots research, talking to Muslim families about their experiences, as well as raising awareness of the issues in local mosques. His research is a fundamental part of his teaching method and style and he enjoys the new challenges different students bring. “Talking to students about research often leads to them asking new questions and bringing new challenges, which is a great way of fostering a better understanding of my own research,” he says. Imran is working on creating a number of new modules around Hate Crime and Cyber Crime, which will be part of the Criminology profile, and believes strongly that teaching and research are intertwined.

“The fabulous thing about district nursing is that you go into people’s homes and you get to know a person as an individual in their own environment. You are an important part of their life and in some cases you might be the only person they see all week.

Errollyn Wallen, Visiting Tutor at Birmingham Conservatoire

Tutor’s musical success inspires students Composer and visiting tutor Errollyn Wallen has been commissioned by prestigious music institutions, from the BBC to the Royal Opera House. Her most recent accolade was an Ivors Classical Music Award at this year’s Ivor Novello Awards, which celebrate excellence in British songwriting and composing. She was also awarded an MBE for her services to music in the Queen’s birthday honours list in June 2007.

own Ensemble X, and its motto, ‘We don’t break down barriers in music…we don’t see any’, reflects her free-spirited approach.

But despite her success, she admits that when she was a student herself, she did not know what she would do in the future.

She adds: “Finding your own routine and discipline is tough, with the many distractions around, but give it time. Music is a difficult industry to get into but if you have that inner drive and spark that will help you, and you will meet like-minded people.”

“When I look back at my student years, I had no idea I would become a composer. I just knew I loved music and I had a very open mind,” she says. Born in Belize, she gave up her dance training in New York to study composition at the universities of London and Cambridge. She founded her

Her advice for students today is to make the most of what’s on offer culturally.

Errollyn’s current projects include a collaboration with theatre and opera director David Pountney and a new work for Welsh National Opera to be premiered in 2014. 10

“There is a lot of problem solving and there are challenges every day but it is very rewarding.” Ann has been with the University for 12 years and in her current role for six. The students are qualified nurses who undertake a year’s additional training to become district nurses. She admits it can be a heart-breaking job, particularly when providing palliative care. But the personal rewards and emotional and professional satisfaction are far-reaching. Ann recently received the Queen’s Award in recognition of her achievements in community nursing and was nominated by two of her students. “There are so many opportunities in nursing but the great thing about district nursing is the personal interaction.”

Ann Cubbin, Programme Director for Community Nursing




Talent for IT leads to global academic career Professor Mike Jackson’s talent for computing became apparent when he was a young student and has led to an academic career which has taken him around the world. Now, he is a leading expert in his field and is conducting pioneering research into the early onset of Alzheimer’s.

suffering from amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) – a condition from which 80 per cent of patients are later diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

“I was the first in my family to go on to higher education and had doubts about whether I’d be good enough. I decided to study Computer Science at Sheffield Polytechnic. Although I didn’t really know what it was at first, I found I had a real talent for it and it’s what I have based the rest of my career on.

Scans showed the loss of grey matter in the left hemisphere of the brain was widespread for those patients likely to develop Alzheimer’s, compared with those with no active neurological disorders.

“It has taken me to conferences in Santiago in Chile and a hotel in Cairo with a view of the pyramids. I have met wonderful people from many different countries.” Professor Mike Jackson, Director of Academic Quality and Enhancement, Birmingham City Business School

Recently, Mike was part of a research group conducting brain scan analyses of patients

Nick has always been interested in planning and how decisions affect people and places, and this led to a career teaching and researching the built environment. His work in the educational advancement of the subject has resulted in prestigious national recognition; earlier this year, he was invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) by select nomination. He says: “I am interested in how towns and cities grow and Birmingham is a fantastic place to teach and learn. History tells us that some mistakes were made architecturally



Professor David Roberts, Executive Dean, Faculty of Performance, Media and English

Professor David Roberts’ enthusiasm for his subject and innovative teaching has resulted in national recognition. He recently received a National Teaching Fellowship, recognised as the most prestigious award for excellence in higher education teaching. Even after 30 years in the profession, David still feels passionate about passing on knowledge and fostering a love of literature and drama. “What’s really great is that students still really surprise you and come up with fresh answers; it’s always different,” he says.

Mike, who was an early pioneer in search engine development and presented research papers alongside the founders of Google, also brings a systems approach to business studies, giving students a different way of looking at things.

“I have always loved reading, writing and the theatre so teaching seemed like a natural extension of who I am. “As Dean I want to make sure as many people as possible are teaching and learning with the same enthusiasm and passion. “There are a fantastic amount of things going on here. You can listen to professional standard music from our Birmingham Conservatoire students and see high-quality student drama. Birmingham has an outstanding arts scene and we are a real part of that.”

in the 1960s, but much of the ring road and shopping centre from that time have gone and the city’s redevelopment has been outstanding.

David’s teaching focuses on Renaissance and Restoration drama and his methods are inspirational. “I love doing things that involve the students in creating. I like to have students making their own books, rather than normal essay formats; it gives them a sense of pride.”

“The revamp of industrial spaces for recreation, such as using the canals as a leisure destination, has been particularly interesting. I’m from Birmingham myself and like the city very much. It’s the ideal place to learn about this subject.”

Teaching drama, he has students literally thinking on their feet; they stand up and discuss ways to interpret lines and gestures.

He adds: “The University’s campus is very much part of the urban fabric of the city. Our students have been closely involved in work for our new campus. Some of them have been on placement on the construction sites, which are also being project managed by a team largely made up of graduates from our School.” In addition, Nick is Associate Dean for Student Experience, and welcomes feedback and dialogue: “We have a very strong record of working in partnership. I really believe in working with students to make things better; we want to succeed together.”

Professor’s expertise gets national recognition

Treating Alzheimer’s early is thought to be vital to prevent memory damage and the findings will assist with this.

City landscape stimulates ideas Birmingham is the perfect city for Professor Nick Morton to immerse himself in his teaching, with a rich urban landscape and exciting architectural developments.


David also enjoys teaching children’s fiction, gothic literature, poetry and the environment, creative writing and the early English novel. He has published widely on theatre history.

Professor Dr Nick Morton, Head of School, Birmingham School of the Built Environment and Associate Dean for Student Experience, Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Technology, Engineering and the Environment




Work under way on second phase of development As The Parkside Building neared completion, it was straight onto the next stage of our campus development plans. Construction is now under way on Phase 2 of our City Centre Campus, which will provide a 24,300 sq m building to house our business, law, social science and English courses, as well as new library, IT and student support facilities. The Parkside Building’s spacious central atrium

Our state-of-the-art radio studios

Parkside Building welcomes its first students



It will sit at the eastern end of the new Eastside City Park, and incorporate into its design the Grade II listed Eagle and Ball public house, which has been derelict for a number of years. The first students are set to arrive in September 2015, which will

mean more of our teaching is concentrated on a single, central site, creating a greater campus ‘feel’ and more opportunities for students on different courses to interact. Work on the new development was launched with an official turf-cutting ceremony in August attended by Sir Albert Bore, leader of Birmingham City Council. A time capsule was also buried containing a range of University material, including messages from current staff and students for the ‘Class of 2063’ – the year when the capsule is expected to be re-opened.

“I really like the work spaces around the central staircases. I feel like working here as there are bright open spaces.” Neil Bunce – BA (Hons) Visual Communication

“The new Parkside building is good; I like the use of glass and open-plan work spaces as it feels really spacious. I am more comfortable coming into university on my days off to work as I enjoy being here.” Esther Rainsberg – BA (Hons) Interior Design

Below: New facilities for fashion and textiles students

Students joining us this year on our media and design-related courses had particular cause for excitement as the first to be studying at our state-of-the-art Parkside Building in Birmingham City Centre. The new £62 million facility provides a fitting home for the workshops, teaching spaces and general creative inspiration behind Birmingham Institute of Art and Design (BIAD), as well as a state-of-the-art Media Centre – a cutting-edge location for the advanced teaching facilities of Birmingham School of Media. It includes four TV studios with the latest industry-standard gallery equipment from Sony, plus our green screen MILO studio, providing the largest concentration of TV studios between London and Salford, as well as radio studios and Avid editing suites.

Coffee pods and TV facilities


Students on our design-related courses benefit from dedicated workshops for print, textiles, woodwork, ceramics and glass; photography studios and darkrooms; and digital print and pattern-making facilities, all designed to offer you practical exposure to industry-standard

technology, and a confident transition to your future career. The Parkside Building forms part of our expanding City Centre Campus, at the heart of the city’s creative community. With courses from the Faculty of Technology, Engineering and the Environment and Birmingham School of Acting already based at the campus, the arrival of design and media students is intended to encourage a real creative melting pot of ideas, inspirations and influences. The new extension has been designed around an inner atrium to maximise natural light for our artists and increase opportunities for students from different courses to meet and share ideas. Right on the doorstep of the campus is the new Eastside City Park, providing both an outside space for students to enjoy and a setting for future public events. 15



Placement student lands award for employer A Birmingham City Business School student impressed colleagues at the charity where she spent a year on placement by helping them to win a national award. Marketing, Advertising and PR student Gemma Brittle worked at PDSA, the UK’s leading veterinary charity, as a Junior Marketing Analyst, and entered a project that she had worked on during that year into the FastStats User Group Conference, which took place in November 2012.

Students in the Concept Factory

Enhancing your employability Helping our students gain the skills they need to enter the workplace is our top priority and, as a student here, you start on your career path the minute you join us. You will quickly find yourself building up your experience in professional-standard surroundings appropriate to your course, from mock operating theatres, courtrooms and classrooms to state-of-the-art TV and photography studios. Our close links with business and the professions mean that our courses are always relevant, up-to-date and meet the exact needs of the current jobs market. If you are a law student, you can spend a six-to-eight week internship in an American attorney’s office – potentially working on Death Row cases. • As a media student, you might set up your own internal radio station as part of your final-year assessment – what better way to learn than to create and present your own show? • By inviting world-renowned consultants to mentor final year students, Birmingham City Business School’s new •

SIM babies at the Faculty of Health

Group Management Consultancy Project module offers key practical insight and clear networking opportunities. • Our new Concept Factory provides dedicated meeting space for entrepreneurial students and graduates to network, share ideas and form collaborations. • If you’re studying a health course, you will spend up to 50 per cent of your time on placement from the first year, gaining experience in a workplace setting. • Many household names welcome our students on placement – Bosch, BMW, John Lewis, Canon, Harvey Nichols, Hyundai, McDonald’s, Debenhams, British Sky Broadcasting, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO), the NHS, Hewlett-Packard and Reuters... to name just a few.



The FastStats software package allows users to manipulate and analyse data within a company’s database, and the annual conference provides the chance for people to get together and share ideas and insights on the best ways to use the software. Gemma’s ‘Supporter Journey Tracker’ went on to win the prestigious ‘Best Use of FastStats 2012’ award, after judges were impressed by its presentation of complex information in diagram form, allowing people of different levels of technical ability to identify key trends in the data. Gemma said: “I had a fantastic time while on placement at PDSA, where I was given lots of opportunities to get involved with key projects, helping me to gain valuable skills and experience. “I would highly recommend the placement to other students as the organisation and marketing team that I worked with on placement were extremely supportive and helpful, providing me with some invaluable advice and training.”

Milestone for OpportUNIty as first student moves into full-time role As the University’s in-house employment scheme entered its second year, there was recently cause to celebrate after a student employed through the programme last year became the first to progress to a full-time role with us. ‘OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus’ was set up to help students find paid part-time jobs with the University in a variety of different posts, providing valuable experience of the workplace as well as the chance to earn extra cash. BA (Hons) Business Law and Human Resource Management student Nazush Chohan did just that when she spent the 2012/13 academic year working as an Administrative Assistant for the University’s Human Resources (HR) department. The experience she gained proved invaluable when a full-time Administrative Support Assistant post became available in the same department in June. Her time on the OpportUNIty scheme gave Nazush a valuable insight into the requirements of working in a busy office environment, as she assisted with such areas as employment contracts, filing and payroll, and received ongoing support to develop her employability skills in 22 key areas identified by the University.

milestone for the scheme and it’s great that we have been able to help one of our own students, who studied a related subject with us, to take their first steps on the career ladder. “The aim of OpportUNIty was always to give our students experience that would help them to gain permanent, full-time employment – whether it was with us or elsewhere – and that is what has happened here as, through an open process, Nazush was found to be the best person for the job.” During the scheme’s first year of operation, students have been placed in over 1,200 roles and assignments, including administration assistants, laboratory assistants, marketing assistants, student ambassadors, student academic mentors, copywriter, magazine editor, technical assistant, web developer, video and post-production assistant, database assistant, disability assistant, receptionist and assistant PA.

She said: “When I was working here through OpportUNIty, I was supported in developing the employability skills I needed, and these helped me to put together a better application. “It was great to be able to work at the University, meeting different people and building contacts, skills and experience, which would have been useful for a career in HR wherever I had ended up working.”

We can also help you to gain experience through volunteering, acting as a University ambassador or finding a part-time job – it’s all part of that clear focus on making you your chosen employer’s first choice.

The University’s Director of Human Resources, Angela Pocock, added: “This is a fantastic Gemma (right) receiving her award

Nazush at work in the HR office 16




Unconventional lectures make learning fun

Ron Austin, Senior Lecturer, Computing, Telecommunications and Networks

The positive side of hacking

Sound effects, impressions and popular theme tunes are just some of the features of Matthew Smith’s unconventional lectures. The self-confessed ‘edu-tainer’ is determined to make his teaching lively, interesting and memorable – and has the successful results to prove it works.

Teaching students to hack into systems may not be conventional – but it’s certainly effective in giving them the skills they need for a successful future career. Ron Austin is keen to stress that he is creating ‘ethical hackers’, who will be able to prevent the criminal element from causing chaos. He creates a specific network for the purpose of teaching wireless security, and then shows the students how to break into it. They are then taught how to stop others doing the same. “We teach them how wireless networks work and how to secure them,” says Ron. “It’s a really good career option for them for the future. There is a high demand for these sorts of skills and the Government predicts around 125,000 engineers will be required in the UK over the next few years for networking and security. “Every company is exposed to this problem; there will always be hackers trying to get into systems and we are teaching our students how to tackle this.”

Ron’s teaching skills have helped secure a placement for a student at Capgemini in Telford on a major government IT contract. Security is very strict and it’s the first time they have taken a student in this area. “It is difficult for them to have the confidence to let students onto such a large, complex network so it is a great opportunity and a good reflection of the work we’re doing here. “We are giving our students the confidence to apply. The way we deliver our wireless security module is innovative and the skills are in demand.” Ron has pioneered delivering course materials through mobile devices and virtual learning environments and giving students demonstrations of computer code being written in ‘real time’. He has also developed e-books for the iPad, with embedded video at the appropriate point in the text.

“If students get bored during lectures, they switch off. I try to entertain while I’m educating them,” he says. “I’m always asking for feedback and receive some very positive comments. One dyslexic student said my methods helped her to remember her maths in a much easier way; it’s making that mental connection.” Matthew’s talent for impersonation means he occasionally ‘interrupts’ his own lectures with characters such as Mr Cholmondley-Warner to argue a point and ensure students understand different viewpoints. In addition, he puts ‘bite-sized’ supplementary lectures online, records lectures on MP3 so students can hear them again, and thinks of ways to engage individuals. He is always looking for ways to improve and deliver effective lectures, and is really pleased when he hears students enthusing about his classes afterwards in the canteen. Lectures provide expert insight for all Birmingham City University has recently launched CityTalks – a new public lecture series with a programme of high profile speakers who will share their views and insights on a range of topics. The lectures are open to our own students and staff, as well as people from the city and wider region.


Speakers so far have included economist turned prisons campaigner Vicky Pryce, best-selling author R J Ellory, BAFTA award-winning film director Ian Emes, advertising guru Trevor Beattie and the University’s own visiting lecturer Mark Williams-Thomas who spoke about his expose of disgraced TV presenter Sir Jimmy Savile. For more information, visit



Drama students act out nursing scenarios Students from the Faculty of Health have been able to develop their professional and personal skills in challenging situations thanks to a pioneering pilot scheme. Drama students undertook role play scenarios, giving student nurses a taste of what to expect in their working lives, and helping them to increase their confidence and tackle any potential nerves. Senior Lecturer Debbie Lewis says: “The students were very convincing in the roles. They were given a day’s training and then took on various scenarios linked to situations commonly experienced in clinical practice. “They improvised quite a lot, which was very useful. In real life you cannot always predict how somebody is going to react and you need to prepare for different responses. “It has really helped our nursing students with their learning experience. It is also a potential career for drama students and helps them to develop their own skills.” Scenarios included helping an aggressive older patient who couldn’t return home, discussing the care of a baby with an anxious mother, and managing communication with a patient with autism and limited speech. The Faculty hopes to carry on with role play scenarios in the future and develop them even further, employing students through the OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus programme. Feedback from everyone has been extremely positive. Drama student Josh McAuley said: “The experience of using role play as part of student nurse training was mutually beneficial; it allowed nursing students the chance for hands-on training in a safe environment while also furthering my skills as a performer.”

Innovation benefits health students Healthcare students are benefiting from a range of innovative teaching techniques – all developed within Birmingham City University. The aim is to give nursing students the very best training available anywhere in the world. The Virtual Case Creator (VCC) was devised after students returned from placements saying nursing was far more unpredictable and challenging than they expected. To help them deal with the transition to real-life practice, a series of case studies featuring virtual patients was created to form a holistic, online nurse training simulation. VCC allows students to practise a wide range of skills and make any mistakes safely while gaining experience. Business Development Manager Derek Hopper says: “There is nothing else like it in the marketplace. “Students encounter a multitude of possible ‘correct’ decisions but they must learn to prioritise. It helps instil basic good practice such as reducing the risk of

Matthew Smith, Senior Lecturer, Birmingham School of the Built Environment (second from left)

infection as well as practising - spelling more complex activities like drug administration. It has been adopted by several other universities.” Another innovation is the Virtuar Moving and Handling Theoretical Training Programme. “Since 1993, all nurses in the UK must undertake moving and handling training. Nursing can be very physically demanding and musculoskeletal injury costs the NHS over £400 million every year,” says Derek. “We take the safety of our students very seriously and this programme was developed to ensure key concepts are understood; students must complete all of the theoretical tests successfully before attending practical training. “Our aim is to ensure all our students have long, happy and safe careers ahead of them.” 19



At the forefront of IT research

Dr Carrie Churnside, Assistant Director of Postgraduate Programmes and Lecturer in Music

Andrew heads a team of linguists, software engineers and statisticians who carry out in-depth research into language patterns. Their expertise was called on for a recent campaign to promote Puma’s new range of Sync fragrances. Aimed at 14- to 25-year-olds, the campaign involved the creation of a ‘dance dictionary’ and a website to convert users’ messages to their friends into videos showing dance moves (

Tim Wall, Professor of Radio and Popular Music Studies Associate Dean for Research, Faculty of Performance, Media and English

Research innovation Professor Tim Wall leads a dedicated team of researchers who are finding solutions to contemporary problems. The research team works with organisations ranging from the BBC to smaller independent companies in the music industry, and citizen journalists in the Middle East; and their findings influence the content of BCU’s media courses.

Andrew Kehoe has put his language and computing expertise to good use and is now at the forefront of some of the most innovative research projects in the UK. He studied English Language and Literature, before completing postgraduate study in Information Systems, and the work he does now combines the two areas.



Why today’s pop divas are nothing new! Today’s world of celebrity, with extravagant spending and stars with diva-like demands, sometimes seems a little crazy – but it’s got nothing on the Italian music scene of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Tim himself has written or co-written two major textbooks on media and popular music, which are used nationally and internationally for teaching. He continues to keep abreast of current issues. “We have worked with over 200 music or radio organisations, so we gain a good insight into what they perceive their challenges to be,” he says. “Initially, industry professionals saw downloading music as a real problem. We encouraged businesses to see things differently and realise that they were sharing music and that this could be a new way to make a living out of music.”

The advertising agency behind the campaign, Grey London, needed information about how younger people were communicating online and the most frequently used terms.

Dr Carrie Churnside is a specialist in Italian baroque music, as well as a talented cellist, helping her to give a fascinating insight into this decadent and colourful period, and the wonderful pieces of the time.

“We had to try to predict what people were going to write,” says Andrew. “We used blog data we had already analysed ourselves, as well as Twitter and other social media.

“Much like today, most of the songs are about love, particularly unrequited love,” she says. “Thousands were written and they were hugely popular.”

“Popular words were placed into different groups, so the same video could be used for more than one word, making the content manageable.”

Her research forms part of her teaching as she involves her students in editing and is keen to pass on her passion for music.

“I have just had an article published about the jazz musician Duke Ellington appearing on the radio in 1927. At the time, radio was like the internet was in 2007 – an exciting, new technology. People were discussing how to use wired and wireless technologies – the same things we are discussing 80 years later.”

Carrie is also an expert on the castrati, the singing superstars of the 17th and 18th century whose fame came at a price; they were castrated at a very young age in a bid to retain falsetto voices.

Even after more than 20 years, Tim is still excited by the media industry and passes on his enthusiasm to fellow staff and students.

“They earned huge amounts of money and had patrons looking after them and buying them jewels,” she says.

“We want to future proof our students’ skills. Things are constantly evolving; who knows what it will be like in another 20 or 30 years?”

Interesting observations included the frequent use of opposition, such as ‘ill’, ‘sick’ and ‘rancid’ to mean ‘good’ or ‘cool’. “Working with us helped the agency to realise the complexity of language.” In addition, Andrew’s team develop their own analytical software, and other projects include eMargin, a useful annotation tool for electronic texts, which is widely used by schools and universities ( Andrew Kehoe, Director of the Research and Development Unit for Research Studies


Tim, who also writes about the history of music in the media, believes historical context is vital to gain a true understanding of what is happening today.

As part of her research, Carrie has uncovered the diaries of a composer and nobleman who acted as an impresario and staged an opera. “It reveals how he got singers, staged rehearsals and the whole process,” she says. “At the end, a lavish banquet was held and each of the singers received their payment in the form of a peacock with a pouch of money hung around its neck.” It’s just one image from the historical world of celebrity, which was even more bizarre than today’s.




Why Birmingham?



Left to right: Sea Life Centre, bar life, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Victoria Square

Come to BCU and you won’t just benefit from studying at a student-focused and forward-thinking university – you’ll also be based in the heart of one of the UK’s most exciting and vibrant cities. Investing for the future Birmingham has been transformed over the last 30 years, with recent investment bringing a new £188 million library, the £600 million transformation of Birmingham New Street Station and the £128 million expansion of the city’s tram network. This builds on previous successful developments such as the National Exhibition Centre, the International Convention Centre, Brindleyplace and the Bullring shopping centre.



Europe’s youngest city Birmingham is the UK’s second-largest city with a population of around one million people. It is also the youngest city in Europe, with under-25s accounting for 40 per cent of its population (Marketing Birmingham).


Sporting life Birmingham is a great city for the sports fan with Premier League football, international cricket and athletics venues, not to mention one of the country’s top golf courses. If taking part is more your thing, the city’s renowned Alexander Stadium is open for athletics and gym training, and our own £8.5 million Doug Ellis Sports Centre opened in 2010.


A global city Birmingham is an exciting, diverse city, where immigrants from around the world have made their home. Its communities from the Indian sub-continent, Africa and the Caribbean contribute to its exciting food and cultural scenes, and it is the second mostvisited English city for European tourists (source: Marketing Birmingham).


Shop ‘til you drop With big-name chains in the Bullring, upmarket boutiques in the Mailbox, road after road of Asian fashion, bargains at the city’s 850-year-old Bullring markets and regular farmers markets, Birmingham is one of the top three most popular places to shop in the UK (source: CACI).


A green city Birmingham may be the UK’s second-biggest city, but space to relax and chill out is never far away, with parks covering some 8,000 acres – more than anyother European City (source: Birmingham City Council). Our expanding City Centre Campus is right next door to Eastside City Park – the city’s first new public urban park for 130 years.

A connected city Birmingham’s air, road and rail connections provide access to 400 million people across Europe. It is located at the centre of the national motorway network (M5, M6, M40 and M42), and is at the heart of the UK’s rail and coach networks. Birmingham Airport has direct connections to over 120 cities and handled almost nine million passengers in 2012.



Renowned nightlife From the mainstream bustle of Broad Street to the underground scene in Digbeth and the laid-back bars in student-friendly Selly Oak or bohemian Moseley, you’re bound to find a night out in Birmingham to suit your tastes.



06 Become a culture vulture Birmingham is the only English city outside the capital to have a worldclass symphony orchestra, a royal ballet company, opera company and producing theatre (a theatre that produces its own shows in-house). The city has some of the finest art galleries in the country, including the Birmingham Museum and

Art Gallery, the Ikon Gallery with its stunning contemporary work and leading black-led arts and cultural centre The Drum. It also has a vibrant independent arts sector with internationally-renowned companies such as Sonia Sabri, Punch and Stan’s Cafe, and festivals such as Fierce, Flatpack, Supersonic and the International Dance Festival.

A place to build your career There’s a real demand for graduate skills in our city, and many former students have launched their careers here – often as a result of the experience they gained through placements. Birmingham is home to around 42,000 companies, including 900 international firms (source: Business Birmingham).


Library of Birmingham

Sounds echo across Birmingham at new library launch Staff and students from Birmingham Conservatoire, part of Birmingham City University, were among a large group of brass players from across the Midlands who came together to help mark the opening of the new Library of Birmingham. Together We Breathe, an innovative take on the traditional fanfare created by Australian sound artists Super Critical Mass, brought together local brass players of all ages and backgrounds to play at various locations around the building during the official opening in September. The air was filled with sound as visitors walked around the building on a journey through its state-of-the-art facilities, revealing the Library’s collections and resources. Other performers at the opening event included young musicians from local schools and colleges as well as City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) ensembles. Zoe Poyser, Orchestral Manager at Birmingham Conservatoire, said: “We were delighted to be involved in such an innovative

fanfare to mark the opening of the new Library of Birmingham. “Following an inspirational workshop with the sound artists from Super Critical Mass, we soon extended the call for participants to the whole of Birmingham City University, inviting any of our staff and student brass players to get involved and perform alongside a wide range of local musicians.” The Library of Birmingham — which opened on 3 September 2013 — is a major new cultural destination, open seven days a week. It allows public access to the city’s internationally important collections of archives, photography and rare books for the first time, a new flexible studio theatre, an outdoor amphitheatre, a recording studio and dedicated spaces for children and teenagers.






Top Ten Tips

SU president Joe Boyd with Sophie Drake, student academic partner

There’s a lot to think about in your first few weeks with us – so how do you make sure you’re getting the most out of it? Students’ Union president Joe Boyd is on hand with his top tips for a successful start to university life…. 03

Your Students’ Union Birmingham City Students’ Union (BCUSU) is here to help you make the most of your time with us. As soon as you enrol at the University, you automatically become a member of BCUSU, meaning you are entitled to use all of our amazing services for free:

Union President aiming to make a difference Joe Boyd had a great time at Birmingham City University, and is now working to ensure other students get just as much out of their own experience. As President of the Students’ Union (SU), Joe is relishing the opportunity to make a difference. “I had the time of my life when I came to the University,” he says.

One of Joe’s first tasks was to ensure a bigger physical SU presence on all campuses and make sure all services were accessible to all students.

“The city really impressed me: the scale of the nightlife, the countless job opportunities, everything. I first got involved with the Union when I was a student by playing football, and I loved the events and socials.

He is also proud of how well Welcome Week went. “We recently completed our most successful Welcome Week ever. The daytime activities, the evening entertainments and the Welcome Fair gave thousands of new students the opportunity to meet new people and become part of the Birmingham City University family.

“As President I have the opportunity to steer the SU, to try to make the student experience as good as possible.”

“All year round the Students’ Union works to have a positive impact of the life of every student.”


• Get the help and support you need from our advice centre. • Join one of the many sports teams and societies. • Give something back through volunteering projects. • Stand to represent your fellow students as a student officer. • Or enjoy a great night out! The first time you are likely to encounter us is through the Welcome Week events offered to new arrivals just before the start of term. This fantastic entertainment programme is designed to ease you into university life the fun way. Our Welcome Fair gets bigger and better every year, attended by hundreds of representatives from the University, local and national companies, your Students’ Union and our sports teams and societies. For more information see

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Get connected

UCAS timeline 1 September

Opening date for UCAS applications

15 January

Main closing date for applications

End of March

Deadline for universities to make offers

Making the most of your Personal Statement


Deadline for applicants to accept one firm and one insurance offer

The UCAS process

and any other hobbies or leisure interests. If you are taking, or have taken, a year out, it is useful to state your reasons why and what you achieved or hope to achieve.

As the majority of university courses in the United Kingdom have no formal interview requirements, most decisions on whether to offer you a place will be made entirely on the strength of your UCAS application form – particularly your Personal Statement. This offers you the chance to ‘sell’ yourself, by explaining why you are applying for that particular course and why the university should want you to join them!

What to include

These are some of the main areas you should normally aim to cover in your Personal Statement. Your course choice Discuss why you have chosen to apply for the course(s) concerned. Admissions tutors want to see that you are enthusiastic about your chosen subject, and that you have the right skills and experience. Your future plans Think about what you want to do in the future – whether you have a specific job in mind or just


a general idea of the type of field you want to work in. It may be that the course is directly relevant to your intended career, or perhaps you have already studied the subject and found it particularly enjoyable. School and college life Include details of what you studied at school or college, as well as any sporting or extra-curricular activities, or positions of responsibility (eg prefect, librarian) that you held. This is a chance to show you are ready for the academic rigours of the course and university life in general. Work experience This could include the skills you gained through work experience, showing your dedication and commitment to your future career, or parttime work, which proves you are disciplined and organised enough to balance the time spent working with your school or college commitments. Interests and activities Highlight the skills you have gained through activities you are involved in outside of school, such as voluntary work, music, team sports,

A place of your own

Social Media

If you’re leaving home for the first time, what could be more exciting than the independence and freedom of your own place?

Start of Clearing process for those who have not yet secured a place


Exam results published

Things to remember

• Good spelling and grammar is very

important; it may be a good idea to ask a teacher, careers adviser or friend to take a look over it. • Give evidence for your claims – don’t just

say you have good organisational skills, try to provide an example. • Don’t be tempted to copy parts of someone

else’s statement or lift ideas from the web – UCAS operates a Plagiarism Detection Service, which checks forms against a statement library and web sources to ensure all statements are personally written. • Make sure you keep a copy of what

you’ve written as it may be referred to at interview (if you have one) – or the information may be useful in future job applications.



BCYou is our personalised news and information service, giving you everything you need to know about studying at Birmingham City University. By registering, you’ll receive regular email updates straight to your inbox, including a tailored BCYou newsletter and crucial information about Open Days, application deadlines and Clearing – ensuring you never miss a thing.

UCAS Extra process for those without an offer to make an additional application July

We know that you may like to keep in touch with your friends via Facebook and Twitter – and the good news is you can communicate with us that way as well. Just visit to find out the latest University news and information or contact us with any queries you have.

Visit Us Living in halls is a great way to meet new friends, and rooms are available at a range of prices to suit everyone. Accommodation is available at our three University-owned halls of residence as well as at a number of private halls within the city. For full-time undergraduate students from outside Birmingham, if you make Birmingham City University your first choice and apply by the deadline, you will be guaranteed a place in University accommodation for your first year of study. For international students, there’s a guaranteed place for the duration of your studies. There’s something safe, secure and affordable for everyone, including adapted accommodation if you have any special requirements. All our halls of residence have CCTV coverage and security staff patrol the campuses 24 hours a day. Public transport between our sites is excellent, with cost-effective student travel cards available. For more information see

Student Homes A number of rooms are available for returning students, but many students choose to live with friends in shared houses from their second year onwards. If you’re looking for shared accommodation, we can support you through Birmingham City Student Homes, a student-focused letting agency owned and operated by our Students’ Union. The not-for-profit organisation only deals with reputable and accredited landlords and offers decent, reliable and safe accommodation. See

To really get a feel for life at the University, there is nothing better than visiting us in person. At our Open Days you can chat with staff and students, view our fantastic facilities, learn more about the Students’ Union or take a tour of our accommodation. If you have already applied to study with us, you will be invited to an Applicant Visit Day, which will give you the perfect opportunity to meet staff and students and view our excellent facilities. Even if you have already attended an Open Day, attending an Applicant Visit Day will give you a more in-depth picture of the course and how to make the most of it. You can also see our students’ work at concerts, plays and art exhibitions, while our new CityTalks series of public lectures allows people from the city and the wider region to gain insights from high-profile speakers on a range of topics.

Talk to Us Our friendly advisers on the course enquiries hotline can help you to find the best course for your aspirations and interests. Call us on +44 (0)121 331 5595 or visit our website.


Finding new solutions Katie Ferrier Head of Supplier Engagement, Network Rail Graduated 2002

Building a better society Mak Chishty Commander at the Metropolitan Police Graduated 2004

Improving health and wellbeing Professor Mark Radford Chief Nursing Officer at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust Graduated 2012

How to contact us Birmingham City University City North Campus Perry Barr Birmingham B42 2SU

For International Course Enquiries T: +44 (0)121 331 6714 E: F: +44 (0)121 331 6314 W:

T: +44 (0)121 331 5000 E: F: +44 (0)121 331 7994 W:

For UK/EU Applicant Enquiries T: +44 (0)121 331 6295 E:

For UK/EU Course Enquiries T: +44 (0)121 331 5595 W:

For International Applicant Enquiries T: +44 (0)121 331 5389 E:

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