Radio and Digital Production BA Honours
View course-specific entry requirements
Typical offer for September 2015
|International Baccalaureate||28 points (minimum)|
|Edexcel BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma||DDM|
|Access to HE Diploma||Pass with 45 credits at Level 3 with a minimum of 36 Level 3 credits at Merit or Distinction plus Maths and English GCSEs at at least grade C.|
If English is not your first language, you may need to achieve an IELTS score of 6.5 with 6 in writing. Selected candidates will be interviewed by staff and students.
This degree provides intensive professional training by active practitioners, along with modules in media analysis and contextual practice. You will spend roughly half your time engaged on practice/production-based work, and half your time addressing issues of context and theory concerning the media. You learn how to analyse media output and examine the relationships between media, society, politics, culture and technology.
We firmly believe that this balance delivers a rigorous and intellectually stimulating education, along with serious, professional training for a job in the media.
The lecturers are among the top names in their field, and the skills you learn and the ability to work in teams or alone are highly valued across media employment. Our recent graduates have gone to work for the BBC and the commercial radio sector (as broadcast assistants and producers, studio managers and researchers), as well as embarking on careers in digital media as web content producers.
Based at the recently refurbished Harrow Campus – home to the Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design – you will work alongside students from film, photography, music, fashion and journalism, in a unique hothouse of creative opportunity.
The course is delivered around three key strands. The production strand is designed to develop your practical skills in radio, audio and multi-media production, and culminates in an individual project where you use your entrepreneurial skills to secure a commission to create and curate audio for commercial purposes. The research and communication strand develops your ability to research, analyse and communicate ideas relating to theoretical debates across the media, enabling you to produce a major piece of original research in your final year. The media debates and theory strand will develop your understanding of the social, political and economic context within which the media operates, and relate this to your practical work.
Learning takes place through a combination of face-to-face teaching – lectures, workshops, seminars, and small group and one-to-one sessions – and guided independent study in group projects, individual assignments, research tasks and preparation.
Subjects of study
The following subjects are indicative of what you will study on this course. For more details on course structure and modules, and how you will be taught and assessed, see the full course document.
Year 1 (Credit Level 4)
We start with introductory skills in audio and digital production, teaching you how to record, edit and mix for live and pre-recorded items, in sound, video and web content. You will also learn how to operate a studio desk and become proﬁcient in a variety of production roles. At the same time, we teach wider production skills including research, legal, ethical and compliance issues and how to pitch ideas. We also teach you how to critique the aesthetic qualities of audio and the creative use of sound from a theoretical perspective, alongside the social, political and economic signiﬁcance of media institutions. Subjects of study include:
- Bulletins and Blogs
- Celebrity Culture and the Media
- Media and Globalisaton
- Media and Society
- Sound Cultures
- The Audio Lab
- The Digital Lab
Year 2 (Credit Level 5)
You will work on a range of production projects and learn about music scheduling, playlisting and commercial music formats by producing a series of live music programmes including radio commercials, outside broadcasts and social media content. You will produce an individual project, be able to choose from a range of other practical options, and develop your research and your knowledge and understanding of broader theories of media and communication. Subjects of study include:
- Advertising and Promotional Culture
- Creative Encounters
- Cultural Industries and Media Markets
- Digital Story Telling
- Information Society
- Music Radio
- Researching Media and Communication
- Sex, Violence and Censorship
- Talk Radio
- Theories of Media and Communication
Year 3 (Credit Level 6)
In your ﬁnal year you will be part of a group project to create a ‘pop-up’ radio station, which will broadcast on the internet for an extended period. You will also work on an individual project, developing your entrepreneurial skills to secure a commission to produce audio and digital content for a client, and produce an academic dissertation or major research project on any subject concerned with media or communication. Subjects of study include:
- Contemporary Issues in Media Policy
- Digital Entrepreneurship
- Pop-Up Station
- Producing Audio Drama
- Professional Practice
- Transforming Audiences
As part of your course you can take elective modules. Electives are an exciting opportunity to widen your experience at university and to gain skills and knowledge that will help make you more employable. Find out about Westminster electives.
You can take advantage of our Study Abroad agreements with overseas universities, spending half an academic year at another university in countries such as Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong and the USA. Your work there will count towards your degree at Westminster.
Radio students are encouraged to take part in and run our award-winning internet radio station, Smoke Radio (www.smokeradio.co.uk). This is an invaluable opportunity for all students to learn about music scheduling, presentation and production, outside broadcasts, and marketing and branding.
This course is accredited by Skillset, the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for the creative industries skillset.org
Additional costs information
To check what your tuition fees cover and what you may need to pay for separately, see our What tuition fees cover page.
Work Experience and professional development are key components of the course, all students must get at least one 10-day placement during their university career. Students compile a portfolio of the experience and produce a CV. Recent placements have included:
- A1 Vox Ltd (voice over studio)
- Somethin’ Else
- BBC Radio Nottingham
- Pure Tonic
- Radio Verulum
- BBC Radio Ulster
- Channel Four
- BBC 6 Music
- BBC Radio London
- Tonic Productions / BBC 5live
- Absolute Radio
The experience gained through learning skills on the course and the experience of work placements will greatly benefit your professional life.
Our graduates are working for a wide range of radio and media-related employers, including:
- BBC Radio 1
- BBC Radio 2
- BBC 1Extra
- BBC Radio 5live
- BBC Radio Comedy
- Somethin’ Else
- Wise Buddah
- Fun Kids Radio
- BBC Radio London
- French Radio London
- Smooth Radio
In London, there is a plentiful supply of part-time work - most students at the University of Westminster work part-time (or full-time during vacations) to help support their studies.
Graduates of the course are prepared for a career in the radio and audio industries and related fields of digital media production, working at a high level of professional expertise.
Our dedicated Career Development Centre is actively working with an ever-expanding network of over 3,000 employers to provide you with exceptional employability support and guidance. As a result we were nominated as finalists for a significant industry award – the NUE Awards Most Improved Commitment to Employability 2016.
We provide our students with work placements and international opportunities to support them in becoming highly employable, globally engaged graduates, and with one million businesses operating within 20 miles of the University of Westminster, over 84% of our students are in work or further study six months after graduation. Our graduates work in a variety of sectors and organisations, from small/medium-sized companies and start-ups to large not-for-profit organisations and corporates.
During your time at Westminster you will be able to use our comprehensive online vacancy service and meet with our experienced careers consultants, providing you with thorough training and support on CV writing, application forms, interview preparation and assessment centres.
In addition to this, you will receive careers support from academic staff and faculty work placement teams, offering targeted course-specific careers advice and assistance in securing a work placement during your time at Westminster. You can find out more about course-specific career opportunities by visiting the Prospects website.
For more details, visit the employability section on our site.
Career Development Centre
Our Career Development Centre can help and support you throughout your study and after graduation.
We can help you to:
- find part-time/vacation, placement and graduate jobs, including voluntary experience
- explore how to develop the skills that employers are looking for
- plan your career development
- identify your career options
- market yourself effectively in CVs, application forms and at interviews
- develop your enterprise skills
We also organise a range of presentations and networking events with employers, professional bodies, alumni and other organisations throughout the year to help you with career planning.
Find out more about the Career Development Centre.
Our Work Placement Teams are based in your Faculty Registry Office and can help you find a suitable placement, as well as support you in making applications, writing CVs and improving your interview technique.
More details on work placements can be found on our Work placements page.
Career options in your subject area
Our team of careers consultants work closely with Faculty departments to deliver tailored employability support, including subject-specific workshops, employer events and careers information, advice and guidance.
The Radio Production BA Honours course at Westminster is the only Radio course in the top 13 of The Guardian University Guide 2015 for Media and Film Studies.
If you study at the University of Westminster, everything that London has to offer is on your doorstep. London is the heart of media production in the UK, from BBC network radio, to commercial stations and to independent audio and digital content production companies.
Experienced industry teachers
The Radio Production course is run by Dr Matthew Linfoot who worked for the BBC for ten years, and won a SONY Gold award for Best Music Special. Experienced BBC broadcaster Charles Carroll and BBC producer Aasiya Lodhi also teach on the course.
Acclaimed visiting professionals
The course team are regularly joined by visiting lecturers and guest speakers from the radio and audio industries, who share their knowledge through tutorials and workshops to inspire our students. Recent guests have included:
- Tony Phillips (Commissioning Editor, Radio Four)
- Simon Blaxland (Radio Commercials Producer)
- Chris Burns (Audio & Music Group Manager, BBC)
- Sam Gregory (Producer & Talent Manager, Wise Buddah)
- Nina Perry (Radio Producer and Composer)
- Aasiya Lodhi (Radio Producer)
- Sara Parker (Radio Producer)
- Nick Bright (Presenter, Radio 1 Extra)
- Seb Sears (Producer, Smooth Radio)
- Ed Bretten (Radio Presenter)
- Ross Tilley (Digital Content Manager)
- Phil Harris & Jamie King (Producers, Somethin’ Else)
- Johanna Derry (Podium)
- Simon Long (KISS)
- Tom Whalley (BBC 6Music)
Professional quality facilities
Radio Production operates from three radio studios in Harrow, as well as a satellite studio in the Cavendish campus. Smoke Radio also broadcasts from a studio in Harrow.
Outstanding student work
Radio students regularly compete among the best in the country at the annual Student Radio Awards. Find out more about our students' success.
Watch our video about the Radio and Digital Production BA
Study in the city
If you study at the University of Westminster, everything that London has to offer is on your doorstep.
Our central London campuses are ideally located for the city's fantastic learning institutions including libraries, archives and museums, as well as opportunities for shopping, eating out, enjoying London's nightlife or just simply relaxing.
After choosing your course, one of your biggest decisions will be where to live, and we aim to make that choice as easy as possible. Whether you want to apply for our Halls of Residence or live in private housing, we can help you to find the right accommodation.
Fees, funding, bursaries and scholarships
In recent years the University of Westminster's scholarship scheme has been the largest university scholarships scheme in the UK, and our Scholarships Department won the Times Higher Education inaugural Award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students.
All students on courses of a year or more and who are registered for more than three modules will be allocated a personal tutor.
Your personal tutor will be there to support you from induction onwards, helping you to integrate into the University, academically and socially, at an early stage. They will be able to give you advice and support on academic and personal matters affecting your study, as well as developmental advice through regular individual and group tutorials.
Polylang is a University-wide programme through which you can study a language as a free choice module.
Personal advice and counselling
While most students overcome any problems with help from friends, family or a personal tutor, the University's free counselling and advice services are there if you need them.
With one of the UK's largest international student populations, the University of Westminster has plenty of experience in giving you the help and support you need to make the most of your time with us.
Study Abroad and Summer School programmes
Westminster's Study Abroad programme has been running for more than 15 years, and is one of the largest in the UK – each year we welcome hundreds of visiting students from universities all over the world.
If you are already studying outside the UK, the programme offers you the opportunity to study with us for one or two semesters, or for a period in the summer.
Sport and recreation
The University has extensive sport and recreation facilities, with a sports hall and gym at Harrow, a state-of-the-art gym at Regent Campus, and the University sports ground by the River Thames at Chiswick.
University of Westminster Students' Union (UWSU) aims to make sure you have the best university experience possible by providing a range of activities and support, from sports clubs to society groups, educational advice and social events.
Beachy Head: Life on the Edge by Adam Allinson - Winner of the Charles Parker Gold Award for Best Student Feature, 2014
The judges said that this programme was ‘the absolute stand-out entry, which could have been crafted by a radio producer with years of experience behind them;” “it was my first choice by a long way,” commented another judge. A third praised its “beautiful unputdownable opening” and remarkable stories, underpinned with “beautifully handled sound and music.” This aspect was widely admired: “the subtle use of haunting music perfectly matched the harrowing tales that unfurled. The listener never had their emotions milked. The empathetic interview techniques ensured that people’s stories were told with an openness and frankness that left the listener reeling.” Life on the Edge was “professional and mature,” one judge added, “a real programme”; “this was a compelling, intelligent and important piece of radio,” concluded another, “that shone as brightly as the Beachy Head lighthouse.”
Gillian Reynolds’ review from the Daily Telegraph (30 April 2014):
"I stayed with Radio 4 Extra to hear the winners of this year’s Charles Parker Prize for student radio feature programmes, initiated 10 years ago by Professor Sean Street at Bournemouth University, supported by the Charles Parker Archive Trust, Sunderland University and the BBC. All three 2014 winners were impressive, the top prize-winner was simply marvellous, Life on the Edge by Adam Allinson, good enough to be on any BBC network. Commercial radio, alas, doesn’t take features, even outstanding ones with a good backstory. No wonder Allinson, in his final year at the University of Westminster, has such a sense of composition."
Further examples of feature/documentaries made by our final year students in recent years:
The LARP Council UK by Bryony Hawkins
Sites Otherwise Unseen by Darby Dorras
Hello I’m Half Caste by Rhianne Boland
Marzahn: Cities of the Sky by Nora Stout
"I chose to study Radio Production at Westminster as they teach a really good balance of practical radio skills and media theory. I backed up the skills I learnt in making radio with study of the media’s interaction with law, economics, politics and identity.
I carried on this combination when I left. I worked on online radio content for some international magazines, as well as researching BBC Radio 4 documentaries, and at the same time, studied a masters degree in War Studies. The analytical and academic skills I'd learnt at Westminster meant that I was fully prepared for postgraduate learning.
Since then I’ve joined the very competitive Civil Service graduate scheme (the Fast Stream). I’m now in a programme that gives me 6 different jobs in 4 years, as I train to be a future leader working for the government.
I still use the skills I learnt at Westminster every day. The practical skills of working under pressure, team working and communication are invaluable when they’re backed with the analytical skills I learnt from the from all parts of the course."
Luke Beckett, Civil Service Fast Tracker
“The Radio Production course consolidated my passion for radio and my will to pursue a career in the industry. Since first year I presented a show on Smoke Radio. I won 'Best Specialist Music Programming' at the SRA 2011 and was nominated as Rising Star at the Sony Radio Academy Awards 2012. I still do my show and have taken it to higher levels. It is now syndicated on 5 stations in the UK & abroad. On the side I have done freelance paid work for French Radio London and Monocle. I am currently a Studio Manager (audio
engineer) for BBC News Operations, working on all Radio News outlets.”Frank McWeeny, Studio Manager, BBC Radio; winner of Best Specialist Show at the Student Radio Awards
“My time at the University of Westminster was invaluable in laying the foundations for my early career in the radio industry. I was able to use the experience to experiment with ideas, combining theory and practice to produce a number of different projects, ranging across the medium, from online audio, to documentaries to live shows and more. The environment was welcoming, the people were friendly and the teaching was engaging. All of the equipment used on the course was industry standard, which made the transition from classroom to live studio even easier - not only that, the campus has the added benefit of being on the doorstep of some of the largest commercial networks in Europe, which made meeting potential employers incredibly easy.”
Seb Sears, Producer, “Simon Bates at Breakfast” on Smooth Radio
“The course was a great introduction to the radio industry - it opened our eyes to all the different possible careers and prepared us for professional work. I was particularly interested in getting into current affairs, so putting together news programmes for course modules and doing reports for Smoke Radio were invaluable experiences. The people I met at university were great too - the tutors were helpful encouraged us and the friendships I made have lasted long beyond graduation.
After university, I joined Radio 1 Newsbeat as a Broadcast Assistant, where I stayed for 4 years, and I'm now working on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, clipping audio and writing articles for their website.”
“Before studying Radio Production at the University of Westminster, I had never done any previous radio courses and literally had to start from square one. The course and the staff helped me gain the knowledge of Radio Production which I now have today. In my second year I was Head of Branding for the Station which really helped me hone my editing skills, and taught me how to juggle uni life and radio life. Since graduation I have done a number of different jobs, from being a producer for a pop-up literary radio station called 'Fiction Uncovered' broadcasting from Foyles in Charing Cross, working on the Chris Evans breakfast show 500 Words competition in BBC Radio 2, editing The Economist audio version, and I now work at UBC Media Company, where I studio produce, and edit audio books.”
Rhianne Boland, winner of the Silver Award, Charles Parker Prize for Best Student Feature
“The Radio Production course at the University of Westminster provided me with a solid foundation for my radio career. Their commitment to attracting established radio industry figures as guest lecturers was vital to me making links in the wider field, and going forward in my career after University. We were always encouraged by staff to be creative and trust our own instincts, and this has been invaluable in my work so far.”
Sarah Thompson Freelance Radio Documentary Producer, Founder of The Filthy Disco
“My time studying Radio Production at The University of Westminster has been invaluable to launching my career in the radio industry. Not only did the course give me the theoretical and practical grounding needed to succeed, it also presented me with opportunities to make contacts in the industry and gain valuable work experience. Through opportunities offered from a guest lecturer I met on the course I was soon producing a series of documentaries for BBC Radio 2 and this was to become the platform that started my career in radio.”
Darby Dorras Assistant Producer Gardeners' Question Time and The Kitchen Cabinet, BBC Radio 4/Somethin' Else
“The University of Westminster gave me a passion for radio, which I’ve transferred and taken into my career. The skills learnt on the course were vital in my step-up from University, straight into the industry. Everything from the contacts to production techniques put me well ahead of the pack in a very competitive world. And with the University being in London, the heart of the media industry, this was paramount to where I am now.”
Jamie King, Somethin' Else, working on shows for BBC 5Live and Radio 1
"Radio Production at the University of Westminster is probably the best course in the world. If you're wanting to become a doctor or a vet, then I'd look at
doing something else, but for a career in the radio industry it's the perfect starting point. Everything you learn can be used in the real world, and it means that when you do get a chance to work for an actual radio station, you have most of the skills already. For three years I worked on the student radio sports programme and now I get paid to make pretty much the same show for the BBC. All of the techniques are the same, it's just the level of interviewee that's been upgraded."Steve Jones, Producer, BBC 5Live and winner of two Radio Academy Awards 2014, including Gold for Best Sports Programme
Student achievement by Smoke Radio has been recognised by the Student Radio Association at their annual awards. These are our winners:
Smoke Radio is crowned the Best Student Radio station of the year.
Miri Green won Bronze in the category Best Speech programme for 'A Seaside Town'.
Smoke Radio won Gold in the Best Speech category for Rhianne Boland’s feature, ‘Hello, I’m Half Caste’.
The same feature also won Silver at the 2012 Charles Parker Prize for Best Student Feature.
Smoke Radio were nominated twice in the Specialist Music category - one for John Cadigan's ‘World Music Show’ and another for Frank McWeeney's ‘French Toast’.
‘French Toast’ brought home Smoke Radio's Gold of the night, while Natalie Holiday won Silver and Sam Foster's ‘2UP’ also won Silver for the speech category.
Smoke won a bronze award for Best Marketing and Branding. They were also nominated for Best Outside Broadcast, Best Interview, and Best Speech Based Programme.
Smoke won two Gold Awards for Best Marketing and Branding and Best Outside Broadcast, the latter being for ‘Smoke's Summer Send-Off’ - a week long broadcast during the final week of the academic year. They were also nominated for Best Station and Best Technical Achievement.
At the 2008 Student Radio Awards, Smoke Radio also picked up a Bronze Award for Best Interview, for an interview with broadcaster and Westminster alumnus Danny Wallace; and the Gold Award for Best Newcomer was awarded to Dan Roberts.
In 2006 Smoke Radio won the Gold Award for Best Journalistic Programming and two Bronze Awards for Best Marketing and Station Sound and Best Station.
Journalism and Mass Communication - why Westminster?
Smoke Radio, the student radio station, has been nominated for the last five consecutive years at the national Student Radio Awards, and has won an impressive four Golds, three Silvers and Four bronzes.
This course has been awarded the Creative Skillset Tick, the industry kitemark of quality, following a rigorous assessment process by experts working in the Creative Industries. The Creative Skillset Tick is awarded to practice-based courses which best prepare students for a career in the industry.