Social Media Management with Integrated Foundation Year BA (Hons)

Apply Online

If you are applying for this course from within the UK/EU, click apply now.

Course starts: 13 December 2018Apply now

If you are applying for this course from within the UK/EU, click apply now.

Course starts: 16 September 2019Apply now

Apply Now

This is a four-year version of our popular BA (Hons) Social Media Management course, with an integrated foundation year. Master social media platforms to engage online audiences. Embrace experimental approaches to create great content. Develop cutting edge and highly transferable skills to meet a growing need for Social Media Managers and build your own following.

Register your interest


Almost every employer, from Nike to Netflix, has a social media presence. On this exciting new course you’ll develop cutting edge and highly transferable skills to meet the growing need for social media managers.

In the first year – the foundation year – you will study 5 modules; a module about the foundations of media, humanities and creative industries, an essential skills module, a foundation project module, practical numeracy skills and a subject-related module. After completion of this foundation year, you will then move onto the Social Media Management honours degree course.

Become an expert in social media platforms with the ability to create, curate and share content, and analyse and engage online audiences. Learn media law, with the unique opportunity to gain an additional qualification recognised by leading employers nationally.

Gain valuable skills in the management of social media channels and online communities, while developing your personal online brand.

Use cutting-edge tools as part of an experimental approach to content creation, tracking and reaching audiences. Develop transferable skills in self-management, critical reasoning, interpersonal awareness, communication and presentation. Take optional modules from media and marketing courses to enhance the flexibility of the course and your skill set.

In our innovative mediaHUB you’ll work on live websites and social channels, and rub shoulders with BBC Newcastle digital journalists and content creators as you prepare for a rewarding career in the creative industries.

Upcoming start dates
13 December 2018
16 September 2019

Why us?

  • We are a University that is nationally recognised for supporting learners particularly from non-traditional backgrounds and many students come to us with no formal qualifications but with valuable work experience
  • Work alongside our experts including YouTube certified teaching staff and specialists in Media Law
  • Superb industry contacts with regular masterclasses and newsdays run by Sky News, Sky Sports News, BBC, ITV and Guardian journalists
  • Rub shoulders with BBC Newcastle, Made in Tyne and Wear and internationally award-winning Spark; all based in our dedicated Media Centre
  • Life-changing educational trips plus guaranteed placements and excellent job prospects with recent graduates working at Sky Sports News, West Ham United, BBC (including Radio 1), MTV, Elle, The Guardian and many more
  • Cutting-edge kit and facilities such as 360 degree cameras, the bustling mediaHUB, TV studios, radio studios and our 203-seater cinema
  • All students studying on-campus undergraduate media courses can take up a CV-enhancing work placement

Course structure

This course will enable you to develop key skills identified as areas of high demand by employers. You’ll be working alongside leading researchers and experienced industry professionals, including Rich Keith, Chief Revenue Officer of Yogscast, a YouTube network with over 23 million subscribers and 100m monthly views.

In your second year you will realign your understanding of social media as a professional business tool. You will learn how to get the most out of existing social media platforms and begin to create content using the latest visual and storytelling tools. You’ll also begin to look at online audience behaviour and use data to analyse and manage those audiences, engaging in academic arguments about the role of social media and digital communities. To support your social media skills you’ll also learn essential journalism techniques like how to identify a story and a clear angle, enhancing your ability to communicate through social media. You’ll also learn media law to ensure you are legally safe to publish social media content, and you’ll learn the basic public relations principles of protecting and building a brand.

In the third year you’ll continue to develop your content creation skills, learning short-form video production, and data analysis and visualisation. You’ll also be learning to develop social media and PR strategies for businesses and putting learning into practice on an industry placement. This culminates in the final year when you’ll work on a social media management project developing a strategy, producing content and managing audiences for a specific client. Meanwhile, you’ll consolidate your PR skills, master online community management theory and practice, and experiment with the latest digital content creation tools from 360 video to AI, to enhance your final year social media project.

Teaching methods include, lectures, seminars, group work and e-learning and you will be assessed via coursework, written examinations, presentations and practical assessments.

Foundation Year

The Media, Humanities and Creative Industries Integrated Foundation Year includes five modules: 

  • Foundations of Media, Humanities and Creative Industries (40 credits)
  • Essential Study Skills (20 credits)
  • Foundation Project (20 credits)
  • Practical Numeracy Skills (20 credits)
  • Subject-related Module (20 credits)


Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

Year 1 (national level 4):

  • Introduction to Social Media (20 credits)

Social media is becoming an integral part of daily life. This module gives a broad introduction to a fast-changing field, placing particular emphasis on building practical skills needed to create, maintain and sustain a social media reputation (‘Brand of Me’). It will also look at the challenges presented to ‘traditional’ media practice by networked digital communications and encourage you to critically examine the ever-changing boundaries between public and personal.

  • Introduction to PR Theory and Practice (20 credits)

Learn the theory and practice of public relations, enabling you to position PR within a business context. Trace the emergence and development of PR through analysis of case studies and theoretical models. Develop key skills in planning, strategy, team working, news release writing and communication skills across a range of media.

  • Introduction to Digital Media Cultures (20 credits)

Study an introduction to digital media culture, historically referred to as the study of cyberculture or ‘new media’. Encounter an historical overview of pertinent technological developments ranging from the origins of the internet, the personal computer, video games and mobile media devices. Address various digital media phenomena such as cybercrime, piracy, digital publishing, online gaming and social networking.

  • Essential Journalism (20 credits)

Examine the role of the journalist and the range of practical skills needed to produce news, magazine and sports content including research, newsgathering, interviewing, copy presentation and writing style. You will work independently in the newsroom every week producing stories and features for your portfolio and websites.

  • Community Engagement (20 credits)

Gain the essential knowledge and skills required to effectively build and participate in digital communities. Develop your awareness of the historical trajectories, current, and future trends affecting and shaping the digital community sector. Explore examples of both good and bad practice when considering community relations across a range of digital platforms. Build, sustain and engage with small-scale communities, employing preparatory data analytics and community management strategies.

  • Essential Media Law and Regulation (20 credits)

What you can say and when you can say it. Essential for media professionals.

Year 2 (national level 5):

  • Social Media: Theory and Practice (20 credits)

Learn how to plan a small-scale social media strategy around specified conversion goals. Discuss how social media management is influenced by social media advertising and the latest digital marketing trends including the rise of visual marketing, the emergence of pay-to-play and the rise and role of mobile technology.

  • Data Analysis and Visualisation (20 credits)

Create visual, interactive and written data-driven content. Develop your knowledge and practical skills in relation to statistics, data analysis, spreadsheet functions, database management, data scraping, programming languages, big data, statistical software, visualisation tools and data storytelling techniques.

  • Shoot. Edit. Share. (20 credits)

Develop a suite of skills and grow your confidence in the key components of video production. Learn procedures and techniques needed to produce and self-shoot, short form video for a unique consumer. Draw on traditional film and video techniques of shooting, editing, sound-design and digital graphic/after effects.

  • Practical Public Relations: Strategy and Theory (20 credits)

Examine the key elements in the process of creating a PR strategy for a real world client. Understand the importance of research and ethical codes that aim to guide practitioners in the minefield of modern day PR practice.

  • Placement and Practice (20 credits)

Gain valuable experience during a one-week placement and learn how news organisations work.

  • Optional module (20 credits)

Select from a range of Arts and Creative Industries modules (availability and timetable permitting).

Final year (national level 6):

  • Multiplatform News (20 credits)

Apply your knowledge to a portfolio of original work using a wider range of journalistic styles. Combine traditional and digital methods of reporting and gather a variety of stories for your portfolio, including those produced using experimental and emerging online techniques.

  • Advanced Community Engagement (20 credits)

Develop your understanding of user behaviour within the context of digital communities and community engagement. Analyse how social media platforms serve as listening and outreach tools for building awareness and promoting issues, as well functioning as sources of valuable data-generation. Through tools such as internet forums, message boards, blogs, wikis, podcasts, picture and video sharing services, and social networking, you will develop skills to leverage social media applications as powerful alternatives to mainstream communication channels.

  • Practical Project (40 credits)

Generate an original idea for a social media management project suitable for a client, brand or media organisation. Build and engage with audiences throughout the production and the dissemination of your project. Pitch your idea to tutors and peers in a presentation, followed by a question and answer session in which you must defend your pitch.

  • Advanced Public Relations (20 credits)

Learn about the economic value of corporate reputation and goodwill along with the implications for corporate responsibility and community relations. Learn how to carry out a communications audit to establish whether the practice matches the theory. Continue to develop your practical skills in a wide range of PR techniques, including speechwriting and acting as a spokesperson.

  • Optional module (20 credits)

Select from a range of Arts and Creative Industries modules (availability and timetable permitting).

  • We’ve got thousands of relevant books and e-books, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. We also subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals so you can access the most reliable and up-to-date academic and industry articles.

    Resources which will be particularly useful for Journalism and Media studies include:

    • Lexis, which provides full-text newspaper articles as well as access to legal information
    • JSTOR (short for ‘Journal Storage’), which provides access to important journals across the humanities, social sciences and sciences
    • Archival Sound Recordings with over 12,000 hours of recordings
    • British Universities Film and Video Council (BUFVC), which provides resources for the production, study and use of film and related media in higher education and research
    • Screen Online (BFI), which is an online encyclopaedia of British film and television, featuring clips from the vast collections of the BFI National Archive
    Library Services - journalism and media
  • The mediaHUB is a bustling multimedia newsroom on the top floor of our David Puttnam Media Centre where you will get a real taste of life as a working journalist.

    BBC Newcastle have a team of journalists based here, and they are joined by visiting journalists from organisations such as Trinity Mirror (Newcastle Chronicle, Journal) and Johnston Press (Sunderland Echo).

    The mediaHUB runs websites covering sport, news, entertainments and fashion, provides the content for news bulletins on our award-winning radio station Spark, and is responsible for writing and editing Spark magazine.

    The ground-breaking workspace is designed to be a professional environment and even has a cloud filled sky line, funky colour scheme and a shed for a meeting room. It includes plenty of workstations each with industry-standard software including NewsCutter, Burli and ENPS, and a Sky feed with two 40” plasma screens. The whole space is managed by an ex-Sky Journalist, who is on hand, with her team to point you in the right direction.

    The mediaHUB
  • Learn in our 203 seat cinema and 7.1 surround sound facility. Get hands-on in our two broadcast-quality production studios complete with green room and changing facilities. Access four Steadicam rigs plus dolly, track and mini crane. Our field camera systems, comprises Blackmagic Ursa, Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro, Blackmagic 4K Production Camera and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, with associated location kits, lighting, field monitors and audio mixers.

    Get experience with Made in Tyne & Wear, based in the Media Centre providing placements to students and jobs to several of our graduates.

    Go on-air in one of five radio studios, including a larger radio drama studio and a transmission suite for Spark, our award winning student-run community radio station. Spark has a target audience of 15 to 24 year-olds and broadcasts 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

    Develop your skills in our digital audio post-production area with voice-over booths and 70 workstations with state-of-the-art HD Edit systems, including Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer and Premier Pro. You'll also use DaVinci Resolve for colour correction. 

    TV and radio studios
  • Map and directions


The David Puttnam Media Centre is a thriving place to study and experience media. Rub shoulders with BBC Newcastle and Made in Tyne & Wear, who are both based in the building. Volunteer with award winning Spark Sunderland, write for one of our suite of websites, or edit Spark Magazine in our mediaHUB. Get hands on in our TV and Radio Studios, Journalism and Digital editing suites. Learn from experts in this centre for excellence for training.

Entry requirements

The Integrated Foundation Year is specially designed to support you where you have just missed the grades required for direct entry onto a three-year degree, or if you have relevant work experience and are now looking to broaden your subject knowledge but want more time to develop study skills before starting your degree.

Entry requirements are provided for guidance only and we may offer you an entrance interview which will help us determine your eligibility for your chosen degree. This enables us to consider making you an offer if you are perhaps a mature student who has been out of education for a period of time, or you have gained significant knowledge and skills through employment rather than traditional education.

Eligible entry qualifications:

1. Normally a minimum of three Level 2 qualifications (NVQ, GCSE or equivalent ), including Maths and English at grade C or above** and a minimum of 40 UCAS tariff points from Level 3 qualifications (e.g. A or AS Levels, BTEC certificates/diplomas, access courses or equivalent)
2. Demonstrable evidence of appropriate knowledge and skills acquired from at least three years of post-school work experience.

If you are unsure of whether you think you might be suitable for the course, please contact us!

** If you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above. Equivalent alternative qualifications are also accepted, such as Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have not achieved a grade C in Maths and English we may be able to work with you to ensure that you are able to gain these in the first year of the course, depending on your experience.

If English is not your first language, please see our English language requirements.

For more information about Integrated Foundation Year programmes, including more detailed module information, please see our Help and Advice articles.

Fees and finance

If you join us in December 2018, the foundation year will be £4,000.

If you join us in September 2019, the foundation year will be £4,500.

For the following three years, the annual fee will be £9,250 but you will receive £1,250 cash-back in the first and final year of the full-undergraduate course.

In addition, you may receive free travel across the Tyne and Wear region and a University of Sunderland StudyPLUS Card loaded with additional offers up to the value of £200, plus a bundle of study skills books worth £80.

If you are a full-time UK student you may be eligible to receive financial support to cover your fee and maintenance loan for the full four years.

Please note, this course is not available to international students.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

This information was correct at the time of publication.

Students graduating at the Stadium of Light


This degree prepares you for an exciting career in social media management, marketing and the digital industry. It is also highly relevant to many positions in industry, commerce and the Civil Service, as well as to jobs in the arts and voluntary sectors.

Real-world experience, right on-campus

Rub shoulders with BBC Newcastle journalists, get advice from former Sky News journalists and see a Newsroom in action in our innovative mediaHUB. Students are responsible for all news-gathering, programme production and advertising.

Other opportunities for real-world experience available on campus include Spark online magazine, Fashion North, SR-News, Northern Lights and SportsByte, which are all linked to our Journalism and Media courses.

Superb industry links

Be inspired by our academics and their strong industry contacts. We have excellent links with national employers, social media managers and bloggers across the country. These include Armani, BBC, ITV, Michael Kors, NHS Trust, Sky, Traidcraft and Premier League football clubs - all destinations for recent graduates of our media courses. We also have strong ties with regional media, public relations and marketing companies and students will have the opportunity to network with prospective clients and employers.

Rub shoulders with regional and national high-profile journalists such as Kevin Maguire, Associate Editor at the Daily Mirror and Visiting Professor in Journalism at the University, and ITV News Correspondent Alastair Stewart. Both regularly visit the University along with a host of experienced journalists to give insight into the industry via masterclasses and lectures.

Broaden your horizons through inspiring trips. Recently students have enjoyed visits to London fashion masterclasses, press access to Wembley finals and Europa league games at FC Shalke 04 in Germany.

Work placements

All students studying on-campus undergraduate media courses can take up a CV-enhancing work placement, a University-led industry initiative, or a professional and business development boot camp. By the term placement, we are offering you a taste of the industry which might last anything from two days to four weeks on a part-time basis.

Join award-winning students

Our students and graduates have been making a splash, winning awards and prizes across the board.

  • Sophie Dishman (pictured), highly commended for Best Reporter in the National Student Publication Association (SPA) Awards 2017
  • Ben Holden won the NCTJ Sports Journalism award 2016, winning a space in the NFL press box at Wembley match to see the Washington Redskins and Cincinnati Bengals
  • Eve Conlon, took Bronze at The Charles Parker Prize 2016 for her piece Student Gamblers. and featured in a special programme on BBC Radio 4 Extra
  • Alice Winney, won the Royal Television Society North East Student Award for News 2017 for her story about flooding in Corbridge
  • Bethany Elsey, shortlisted for Royal Television Society North East Student Award for Best Documentary
  • Amy Stark, won NCTJ Best Student Project 2016 for her project Weird and Wonderful Subcultures
  • Luke Bidwell, highly commended NCTJ Student Sports Journalism Award 2016
  • Ryan Lim, shortlisted for Best Photographer in the National Student Publication Association (SPA) Awards 2017

Meet the students

  • The University of Sunderland is a hot bed of enthusiasm, expertise and initiative.
    Josh Halliday, Journalism graduate

    Josh Halliday

  • Thanks to my tutor, I secured a two-week placement with the BBC.
    Nadia Haif, Broadcast Journalism graduate case study

    Nadia Haif

Sign up to receive more information

Sign up to receive emails about your subject area.

Oops! You've not opted in to receiving other useful information about the University of Sunderland.

Using Your Personal Information
The University of Sunderland is collecting this data in order for you to receive information on your chosen subject(s). Your information will be stored securely in our Customer Relationship Management system which is provided by a 3rd party and used only for the administration and provision of this information. Should you choose to opt in to further communications we will also use your information to facilitate other useful marketing information based on your preferences. Further information on how your data is stored and used can be found in our Privacy notice - marketing.