What courses? Broadcasting; broadcast media; broadcast journalism; radio production; media production; radio; TV and film production; television and broadcasting; broadcast technology; broadcast operations.
What do you come out with? A BA, although a tiny minority of technically-focused courses end with a BSc.
Why do it? "Every minute counts in broadcasting whether you’re tracking down the perfect person to explain the recession or filming inner city riots live. It’s a fast-paced and ever- changing environment that calls for a clear head and a good grasp of the latest technology. You need skill to record and edit material, creative flair to script and put it altogether, and a passion for communicating. If you’ve got the passion, degrees in broadcasting can give you the rest." - Carole Fleming, programme leader, BA broadcast journalism, Nottingham Trent University.
What's it about? The wonderful box (or flatscreen) that all our furniture points to in the lounge (not to forget it’s older, wireless relative) and the way events in the real world are transported into our homes via rapidly developing technologies. Broadcasting covers all things television and radio, with courses focusing specifically on various areas, including their applications in journalism, as well as the technology behind the screens and speakers. The internet is also becoming an increasingly powerful force in broadcasting, and institutions are slowly adapting courses to allow for this - the University of Salford now offers a degree in digital broadcasting technology, exploring the computer systems behind Youtube and on-demand internet television services. On more traditional broadcast journalism courses you’re likely to develop core journalistic skills before going on to learn to make news ‘packages’ for TV or radio (or blogs, podcasts and blogs at the more with-it universities) both in the studio and out ‘in the field’. If you’ve got a face for the radio or a voice for silent movies, a media technology or production degree may be more to your liking, during which you spend a higher proportion of your time behind the camera, mixing desk or in the edit suite. Depending on your course, assessment will come in many forms, including essays, show reels, recordings, presentations and portfolios.
Study options: In most cases, you’re looking at three years full-time, although a couple of universities, including Brunel, Kingston and Salford give students the opportunity to take a year out to work in the industry. Most universities have their own radio stations, and several have web-based television channels, where you’ll be expected to perfect your craft in your spare time, and short work placements during holidays periods are also common.
What will I need to do it? A background in media is helpful and if you’re going to be in front of the camera or speaking on the radio, a grasp of English is obviously desirable, although universities tend not to demand specific A-level subjects. For more production-heavy courses or those with a more digital focus, previous study in IT or computing will put you ahead of the rest. When it comes to grades, it’s a mixed bag – at Leeds you’ll need AAB, at Nottingham Trent it’s BBB and at Huddersfield you’re asked for three Cs for its broadcast journalism course. You may be asked to produce a portfolio of related work and attend an interview at some institutions.
What are my job prospects? Depending on the area their course focuses on, most graduates will head for the big names in broadcasting, to pursue careers in television and radio at various levels. Journalism students may use their transferable skills to head into other media, including print and web, or explore avenues in PR and publishing. More technically-minded students go into wireless and telecommunications, and film production as well as more mainstream broadcasting production roles. Whatever your career plans in this area, it is one of the most competitive industries in the graduate market, and media and communication studies came at the bottom of The Times’ graduate prospects league in its Good University Guide 2012. Although, according to the guide, over a third of students found themselves graduate-level work within six months of graduating, 14 per cent were still unemployed. Graduate salaries are third lowest of all subjects, averaging around £17,300.
Where’s best to do it? Nottingham Trent was the highest ranked university in the Complete University Guide 2012 for communication and media studies that offers a specifically broadcasting-based degree. Leeds is the only other university in the top ten for communication and media studies that offers broadcast journalism. Students at UCLAN, which offers a BSc in media production and technology, came out well for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey, with 94 per cent of students questions saying they were happy with their course.