Social Media Management BA (Hons)

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Course starts: 17 September 2018Apply now

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

Course starts: 17 September 2018Apply now

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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.

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Almost every employer, from Vogue to Formula 1, has a social media presence. Become an expert in existing social media platforms with the ability to create, curate and share content and analyse and engage online audiences. Learn media law, with the opportunity to gain an additional qualification recognised by leading employers nationally. Develop highly marketable skills in the management of social media channels and online communities, plus your personal online brand.

Master the differences between leading social media platforms, embrace an experimental approach to new tools for creating great content, tracking and reaching audiences. Develop transferable skills in self management, critical reasoning, interpersonal awareness, communication and presentation. In our innovative mediaHUB, you'll work on live websites and social channels and rub shoulders with the BBC and media professionals as you prepare for a rewarding career in the creative industries.

Why us?

  • Superb industry contacts with regular masterclasses and newsdays run by Sky News, Sky Sports News, BBC, ITV and Guardian journalists and guaranteed placements, including opportunities at the biggest broadcasters in the world
  • Rub shoulders with BBC digital journalists as you prepare for a rewarding career in the creative industries
  • 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
  • All our teaching staff have worked as senior journalists

Course structure

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

You will grow your knowledge and understanding in the mediaHUB, a cutting edge learning space housed in the David Puttnam Media Centre. 

As well as taking part in workshops, seminars, lectures and presentations you will work with real clients, designing, producing and delivering content across social channels. You will also boost your employability and real world knowledge by undertaking an industry placement.

You will be assessed on the creation of content for a range of platforms mirroring the requirements of industry and will develop essay writing, research and presentation skills through extensive feedback and 'feed forward' support. 

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 cyber culture 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.


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

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.

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.

The David Puttnam Media Centre,
Sir Tom Cowie Campus,
St Peter's Way,


  • Perfect your craft in our four journalism suites, each with 18 Apple Mac workstations with design applications and video editing. There’s an additional open access project completion suite with 20 more workstations and colour laser printing.

    In addition, technicians are available to help you use all the software and equipment. Each workstation has industry-standard software including NewsCutter, Burli and ENPS.

  • 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
  • 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.

    Radio studios
  • Get hands-on in our two broadcast-quality production studios complete with green room and changing facilities.

    You’ll 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.

    TV studios


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

Our typical offer is 112-120 UCAS points from a minimum of two A Levels or equivalent (e.g. 1 x AVCE double award).

We accept a maximum of 6 points from Level 3 Key Skills qualifications. We also require three passes at GCSE grade C or above, which must include Mathematics and English Language, or a minimum of Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above.

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

Fees and finance

Full-time fees

The annual fee for this course is:

  • £9,250 if you are from the UK / EU
  • £10,750 if you are an international student

Part-time fees

The part-time fee for this course is £5,000 per 120 credits.

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.

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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 such as the BBC, ITV, Sky and Sky Sports News, Armani, 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
  • 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

Meet our academics