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Birmingham City University
Birmingham City University (BCU) stretches back through the succession of predecessor institutions that have been educating Birmingham for over 170 years, and is an amalgamation of seven sites spread across the city.
As Europe’s youngest city, Birmingham is the perfect setting for a university. Its incredible shopping, nightlife and social scene easily rival that of London, minus the cost! Rich in history, heritage and cultural diversity, a vibrant arts sector boasts a multitude of theatres, galleries, live music venues, design studios, public art spaces and cinemas. The city boasts the largest concentration of professional and financial services outside London, the new £188 million Library of Birmingham, a £600 million transformation of New Street train station and millions of pounds towards city centre transport.
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BCU is formed initially of five individual colleges incorporated in 1971 as the Birmingham Polytechnic: Birmingham College of Art, founded in 1843; Birmingham School of Music, founded in 1859; Birmingham College of Commerce founded, in the early 20th century; South Birmingham Technical College, founded in 1961; and North Birmingham Technical College, founded in 1966. In 1975 three further colleges were incorporated into the Polytechnic.
Having gained university status in 1992, BCU has since merged with the Birmingham and Solihull College of Nursing and Midwifery, the West Midlands School of Radiography, the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine and the Birmingham School of Acting and changed its name to Birmingham City University in 2007.
There are a number of campus sites at BCU including:
City Centre Campus
This is a multi-million pound centre of excellence in the heart of Birmingham’s Eastside development, and supports the creative industries, business engagement, applied innovation and cultural excellence. It is made up of three buildings: Millennium Point, The Parkside Building and The Curzon Building. The Parkside Building opened in 2013 and is home to the Birmingham Institute of Art & Design and Birmingham School of Media. It houses print, textile, wood, ceramics and glass workshops; photography studios and darkrooms; digital print and pattern-making facilities; four industry-standard TV studios; a green screen MILO studio; and radio studios and editing suites. Millennium Point is home to courses from the Faculty of Technology, Engineering & the Environment, as well as housing the £4m purpose-built Birmingham School of Acting. Its facilities include: specialist studios with acoustic panelling and sprung floors; a large performance studio; noise and vibration cells; a robotic laboratory; and recording facilities and a mixing desk. The Curzon Building is home to the Birmingham City Business School, the School of English, the School of Law and the School of Social Sciences, and its facilties include: a library with access to 62 million print and online resources; seminar rooms and lecture theatres; IT and student services support; and a Students' Union.
City South Campus
The campus is situated in Edgbaston to the south of the city centre, and is home to the Faculty of Health. Following a £30m refurbishment and the completion of a new teaching facility, its learning environment includes a mock operating theatre and hospital wards, laboratories and sports clinics, and specialised education facilities.
Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s £57 million teaching, and performance facility is the first of its kind in the digital age and is the perfect fusion of traditional and contemporary.
Featuring 9,000 sq m of purpose designed teaching, rehearsal and state of the art performance space, it offers unrivalled opportunities for their students. The audio and video digital infrastructure is designed to enhance and support live performance and to allow students to experiment with new technologies.
The Conservatoire has a central city location and is also close to the cutting edge media and recording facilities, including four TV studios and Europe’s largest static green screen, offering fantastic collaborative opportunities for students from different disciplines.
Birmingham School of Jewellery
This is the largest jewellery school in Europe and stands right at the heart of Birmingham's famous Jewellery Quarter, where much of the jewellery made in Britain today is manufactured. The Venetian Gothic building houses a complex of traditional style workshops, with equipment such as soldering hearths and polishing machines and lathes and milling machines, as well as teaching and exhibition space.
Birmingham School of Art
The campus is right in the city centre, near the city's museum and art gallery, and the Grade I Venetian Gothic building houses a complex of traditional-style workshops for wood, metal, plaster, fibreglass, ceramics, digital media, print and photography; studios; gallery and installation spaces; and a fine art library.
The Bournville campus
This campus is located in the idyllic setting of the Bournville Village Trust conservation area approximately 5 miles from the City Centre, and has a 100-year history as a centre of learning. It is home to Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC), which provides bespoke pathways for overseas students, leading to undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at the University, in partnership with leading global education provider Navitas Ltd.
Schools and Faculties
Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences
- School of Nursing and Midwifery
- School of Health Science
- Defence School of Health Care Studies
- School of Education and Social Work
Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment
- School of Computing and Digital Technology
- School of Engineering and the Built Environment
Faulty Law, Business and Social Sciences
- Birmingham City Business School
- School of Law
- School of Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts, Design and Media
- Birmingham School of Art
- Birmingham School of Architecture and Design
- School of Fashion and Textiles
- School of Jewellery
- School of Visual Communication
- Birmingham School of Media
- School of English
- Birmingham School of Acting
- Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
- New Technology Institute (NTI)
The results of the 2014 REF was more amibitious than ever before, with more staff submitting more subjects. 11 subjects were assessed as world-leading (4*), internationall excellent (3*) or recognised internationally (2*) with an increase in 4* and 3* research from 40% in 2008 to 60% in 2014.
International & Industrial Opportunities
Students can apply to study abroad at one of BCU partner universities worldwide as part of an exchange programme as part of their degree. They can also apply to study or work abroad with Erasmus+ (within the EU) and may benefit from a grant that can contribute to some of the costs during their stay overseas.
Fees & Finance
BCU offers new UK and EU undergraduate degree students £150 worth of credit to spend in a host of ways, on books and a range of learning materials.
The university also offers a number of scholarships of up to £2,000 to talented international (non-EU) students enrolling on an undergraduate course which will be applied towards the cost of their tuition fees. The award is based on academic results.
BCU’s six libraries contain around 62 million resources including books, online journals, e-book chapters and conference proceedings. The resources at each library have been designed to reflect the subject taught at that campus. Open access computers are available within every library and faculty.
The University’s Centre for Academic Success provides students with access to a range of academic support services, helping to develop students’ study skills. It provides support in the areas of report writing, revision and exam techniques, referencing, stress management, presentation skills, personal and career development, maths, and time management. You can tap into a wealth of resources including one-to-one tutorial sessions, academic and personal development workshops, online study resources and feedback on assignments, prior to handing them in.
BCU’s online student portal, iCity, provides access to information about IT facilities, the students’ course and the University more generally. The virtual learning environment is available both on and off campus, allowing you to combine lectures with web-based resources, self-study and structured revision. iTunesU provides free video resources for students to complement other course material.
In the City South Campus, home to the School of Health, Education and Social Science, there are specialist laboratories for sport and life sciences, a mock operating theatre and hospital wards, a fully equipped birthing room, simulation mannequins, and virtual radiotherapy suite. Located on this campus is SPACE (Skills Practice and Care Enhancement) – a room resourced with equipment and a technician, and is dedicated to you practising your clinical skills in a supportive environment.
In the City Centre Campus, IT features modern facilities including psychology labs, mock court room and CITY trading room.
In the Conservatoire, music students can also take advantage of six state-of-the-art recording and editing studios, over 50 dedicated practice rooms and a specialised library.
The new £8.5 Doug Ellis Sports Centre, which opened in 2010 boasts a fitness suite, workout studio, spinning studio and an eight-court sports hall. The centre offers state-of-the-art fitness training equipment and plenty of room for team sports including five-a-side football and cricket. There is also an all-weather pitch.
BCU Students’ Union is located in the Curzon Building in the City Centre campus. The Union’s facilities include the Eagle and Ball pub, Cafe Lounge on the City South campus, and campus shops where you can get art materials, snacks, sandwiches, confectionery, drinks, newspapers, magazines, stationery items and much more.
The Union offers regular social events and a wide range of societies and sport clubs, as well as professional support through its Advice Centre, campaigns to support student rights, and help in finding accommodation.
Students can volunteer through Birmingham City Students’ Union, and get involved in both internal and external projects as well as one off volunteering projects. ‘Stand Out Award’ is a recognition scheme where you can record the number of volunteering hours you have completed. When you reach certain milestones, you can receive certificates for your hard work and commitment to volunteering.
Religion & Spirituality
The Chaplaincy team offers friendship and support, opportunities for spiritual growth, prayer and worship, opportunities for meeting others, advice on spiritual and ethical concerns and information on places of worship for all religions. The Chaplaincy is inter-faith, representing the Church of England, Catholic, Quaker and Jewish communities. There are facilities for prayer at City South, and City Centre campus.
Health & Wellbeing
The BCU Mental Health and Wellbeing services are free, confidential and can be accessed on or near to the site where you are studying. The services include one-off general advice, or longer-term support, including a mentoring service for students in receipt of Disabled Student’s Allowances.
All students at BCU can access the Counselling Service. The counsellor gives students the opportunity to talk in confidence about issues troubling them, enable them to express their feelings, help explore and understand difficulties, and help them find ways of managing these more effectively. Students can also access a wide range of resources including self-help books, leaflets, useful links, guided relaxation audio exercises, workshops and group programmes and information on the e-counselling service.
Disability and Mental Health Advisers offer advice, information and practical support to all students with a disability, medical condition, illness, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia. Information, advice and practical support include advice about enabling equipment and software; advice, screening and diagnostic referrals for students who think they might have dyslexia or other specific learning difficulties. A Personal Assistance Scheme, supplying one-to-one support workers for study-related tasks, e.g. note-taking, is also available.
The University provides a comprehensive, convenient, NHS health care service for its students, who register as a patient with the University health care provider.
BCU Careers and Employment service offers a wide range of online and face-to face services to help you develop your employability skills, plan your career and access the latest job opportunities.
Career Consultants can help you with all aspects of your career planning and job searching. They offer 30 minute appointment slots at various times throughout the week at the City Centre, and City South campus. Discussions in a careers appointment can include: making decisions about future career; helping with or providing feedback on CV and job applications; planning the job; search strategy and getting relevant work experience.
In addition, there is a range of downloadable resources such as career guides, writing a CV, writing a covering letter, and finding a placement or work experience.
Online e-guidance service allows you to post questions to Careers Consultants, such as getting your CV or application form checked.
At BCU, you can choose to take advantage of the University mentor service, where you can receive 1-2-1 help with mentors from a range of sectors, including finance, law, education and the creative services, It aims to match you with someone who can give you that all important industry insight.
Students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time, temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study and fitting the job around your course. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market. It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.
Birmingham Skills for Enterprise and Employability Network (BSEEN) offers students and graduates a great package of intensive start-up support for new ventures. Successful participants benefit from a variety of workshops, networking opportunities, tailored mentoring, grants, and workspace at one of BCU partner universities (Birmingham University and Aston University).
Self-catered (per week)
Accommodation is split between three University-owned halls of residence as well as a number of private halls within the city. All self-catered. For those who apply to BCU as their first choice, and are full-time international students and undergraduates outside of Birmingham, accommodation is guaranteed.
Conservatoire & School of Acting
English Language Requirements
Please see the individual course for English Language Requirements.
The University's Meet & Greet Service can meet you at Birmingham Airport and give you a free orientation programme to help you settle in. The Student Services team can help you with visa counselling, careers and employment, while there are a number of international societies for you to join.
The University also offers free one-to-one advice and support to improve English language skills
There are currently students at BCU from over 80 countries while there are over 100,000 alumni across 120 countries.