Good University Guide 2023

Birmingham City University

National rank

Firsts / 2:1s
Completion rate

Key stats

Teaching quality
Student experience
Research quality
Graduate prospects
Birmingham City University

Contact details


University House, 15 Bartholomew Row, Birmingham , B5 5JU,

View on map



The doors of the £70 million STEAMhouse innovation centre are due to open in November 2022, completing the transformation of a Victorian factory into a Birmingham City University (BCU) campus for computing and digital technology students. They will be on the spot for creative collaborations with entrepreneurs based at the centre on real industry-based projects.

The development on the City Centre campus in Birmingham’s up-and-coming Eastside — the site of the Curzon Street HS2 rail station, due to open in 2026 — is part of a £340 million university expansion programme.

The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s 500-seat concert hall, rehearsal rooms and teaching spaces are also based at the City Centre campus, overlooking Eastside City Park. Courses taught here include music, business, English, social sciences, acting and media. 

Facilities for healthcare students at the City South Campus in Edgbaston are also being improved with a £3.57 million investment in hands-on training resources enabled with 5G technology. BCU’s world-renowned School of Jewellery, founded in 1890, is based in the city’s Jewellery Quarter, while the Birmingham Institute of Fashion and Creative Art is the university’s outpost in Wuhan, China, in partnership with Wuhan Textile University.

BCU more than doubled its submission to the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021), compared with the previous national assessment in 2014. Creative writing and English produced the best results, while land and property management, building, and town and country planning also did well. Birmingham City moves up seven places in our research quality index to rank 91st.  

Rated silver in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the university gained accolades for its consistency in retaining students most at risk of dropping out. The TEF panel also praised personalised learning and the use of peer mentors, including a black and minority ethnic support scheme. 

The university has set up the Centre for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the Arts, which holds public lectures and workshops. The university’s Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity, named in honour of the BCU chancellor, opened in 2020.  

Scores have slipped year-on-year for student satisfaction with teaching quality and the wider undergraduate experience. Our analysis of the latest National Student Survey, published in summer 2022, shows that satisfaction with teaching has fallen 19 places to 62=. Contentment with the overall experience has cooled by 11 places (81=). 

Student mentoring, summer schools and interactive workshops under the Aimhigher scheme contribute to BCU’s work to widen participation in higher education. The university also provides advice and guidance talks to pupils and parents, as well as study skills sessions. BCU Forward, a new attainment-raising initiative with partner schools, engages pupils from year 7-13 in a programme of workshops and tailored guidance. The university is in the top 20 for its proportion of first-generation students (56.2 per cent) and 36th for social inclusion overall.

Applications to study at BCU rose by 6 per cent in 2021 and enrolments nudged up by about 3 per cent.  

Three degrees will begin in September 2023: computer science with artificial intelligence, digital animation, and creative advertising. A foundation degree in sports coaching and development will also welcome its first students.

A package of specialist courses for those with combined hearing and sight loss is being introduced in 2023 partnership with national charities, leading to a certificate or diploma in deaf-blind studies. 

About 50 professional accreditations are embedded within BCU’s courses, recognised by professional bodies such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the Royal Institute of British Architects. Students can also build experience through the Graduate+ range of extracurricular, employment-related activities, recording their achievements in an online e-portfolio. 

BCU has also teamed up with industry partners to launch I Built It — a networking, recruitment and training initiative for the construction industry that aims to fill skills shortages in the West Midlands. The university falls 13 places in our analysis of graduate prospects to 82=, however, based on the proportion of students in highly skilled work or further study within 15 months of finishing their degree.

The university’s wide-ranging portfolio of 21 higher and degree apprenticeships — providing training for nearly 1,500 students — includes three programmes new for 2022: fire safety engineer, speech and language therapist, and senior healthcare support worker. Two more are in development in diagnostic and therapeutic radiography. The university expects to have 1,700 degree apprentices by September 2023.

Students have access to an 80-station fitness suite, eight-court sports hall and workout and spinning studios at the Doug Ellis Sports Centre at Perry Barr. There is also a sports pavilion with an all-weather pitch, 12 football pitches and two rugby pitches.

All first-years are guaranteed accommodation if they apply in time, but most students commute to classes. The UK’s second-biggest city has a total of 80,000 students and its vibrant, affordable lifestyle will not disappoint.  

show more


Category Score Rank
Ranking - 94 (83=)
Teaching quality 75.4 62nd=
Student experience 70.3 81st=
Research quality 29 91st
Ucas entry points 120 81st=
Graduate prospects 70.3 82nd=
Firsts and 2:1s 72.8 101st
Completion rate 84 76th
Student-staff ratio 17.2 81st=
World ranking - 1001= (1001=)

Vital statistics











Applications/places 36,875/6,950
Applications/places ratio 5.3:1
Overall offer rate 64.1%


Places in accommodation 2,500
Accommodation costs £125 - £171
Accommodation contact


UK/EU fees £9,250
Fees (placement year) £1,850
Fees (overseas year) £1,350
Fees (international) £13,980 - £27,325
Finance website
Graduate salaries £24,000


Sport points/rank 190, 84th
Sport website

Social inclusion and student mix

Social Inclusion Ranking 36
State schools (non-grammar) admissions 96.6%
Grammar school admissions 1.7%
Independent school admissions 1.7%
Ethnic minority students (all) 59.3%
Black achievement gap -20.3%
White working class males 3.3%
First generation students 56.2%
Low participation areas 16%
Working class dropout gap -1.2%
Mature 24.2%
EU students 2.5%
Other overseas students 5.6%

Student satisfaction with teaching quality

Creative writing 91.4%
Sports science 86.3%
English 84.7%
Materials technology 84.4%
Architecture 83.7%
Electrical and electronic engineering 83.6%
Art and design 83.5%
Music 80.6%
Civil engineering 79.7%
Education 79.4%
Drama, dance and cinematics 79.3%
Computer science 78.6%
Social work 77.1%
Business, management and marketing 76.3%
Sociology 76.2%
Criminology 75.9%
Economics 75.1%
Psychology 74.3%
Land and property management 74.2%
Subjects allied to medicine 74%
Communication and media studies 73.7%
Aeronautical and manufacturing engineering 71.1%
Accounting and finance 70.8%
Law 69.3%
Nursing 68%
Building 66.1%
Radiography 65.9%
Mechanical engineering 64.5%