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Postgraduate Studies at the University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham

Birmingham is a collegiate university made up of its five Colleges: Arts & Law, Engineering & Physical Sciences, Life & Environmental Sciences, Medical & Dental Sciences, and Social Sciences, which between them offer a wide variety of different disciplines. 

Consistently ranked in the top 20 universities in the UK and top 100 in the world, the university has a long and proud history, being a founding member of the ‘Russell Group’ of universities, the UK equivalent to the US ‘Ivy League’ elite universities.

Birmingham also stands out in terms of attractiveness to employers, which is why so many students come to the university to secure excellent careers following graduation. 

Birmingham has a history of researching global issues from climate change to cancer treatments, molecular studies, DNA and more, leading to faculty and former students receiving Nobel Prizes in a number of different areas, highlighting the high level and quality of research done. This research impacts the classrooms that students study in as well, as lecturers are practising researchers in some of the most cutting-edge research programmes in the UK.

The Campus

The campus is a source of pride for the university’s staff and students, being very green. At the heart of the campus is the iconic ‘Old Joe’ clock tower. Built in 1905 it even has its own Lego set! With approximately 35,000 students, around 8,000 are international. As a ‘top 100 in the world’ university the facilities are second to none. The large self-contained campus is close to the City of Birmingham, the UK’s second largest city, a ten minute taxi or train ride away. Indeed, the campus has its own train station and many students live in city centre apartments.

Birmingham City is located centrally in the UK, about 90 minutes from both London and Manchester, as well as being close to other major cities. There is also an international airport. The university operates airport pick-up services from Birmingham and London Heathrow.

With a population of 1.1 million people Birmingham is large by UK standards, a modern European cosmopolitan city with some wonderful traditional British architecture. 


Importantly for many students Birmingham is also a very cost effective city, cheaper to live in than places such as London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Nottingham, for example. The university is very flexible with respect to accommodation, meaning students can choose between a variety of different options, for example, including or excluding meals, cleaning, university apartments or private housing. If opting for the latter, the university will help students to find a suitable place.

One example of a dormitory on the university campus is The Vale, one of the most popular choices for students, in a quiet lake area, perfect for postgraduate study when you are spending a lot of time reading and writing essays! It is good to know that university campus accommodation is guaranteed for international students in their first year at Birmingham if they choose this option.

The University of Birmingham – Dubai Campus

Some particularly exciting news is that the University of Birmingham has established a new campus in the heart of Dubai which will open in September 2021. Here you will be able to study exactly the same degree as in the UK, gaining the same certificate and with faculty travelling between Birmingham and Dubai. There is also an extensive scholarship programme available to all students, with the option of being able to stay on to work in Dubai after graduation. 

At postgraduate level there are programmes related to computer science, AI, business programmes, sports, urban planning along with many more. If you are interested in the thought of studying at the University of Birmingham in Dubai you can find out more by following the link at the end of this article. 

The University of Birmingham – UK 

Postgraduate Programmes & Employability

Mark gave some further information on several programmes at the University as requested by several registered participants for the talk, including business programmes. As the International Recruitment Manager at the College of Engineering & Physical Sciences Mark has special expertise in these areas, and he began by looking at computer science.

Computer science is probably the second or third most popular programme with international students. Perhaps a sign of where the world is going in terms of work, while there are some fantastic jobs going in the tech industry, generally the world is still not well trained enough in this area. Excellent programmes are available for both students with a computer science background and those with other backgrounds.

The MSc in Computer Science, for example, is open to students from any undergraduate background, as is Data Science, another very popular programme. If you have studied computer science at undergraduate level, you can apply for artificial intelligence, computer science robotics programmes and much more. With regard to mathematics Birmingham is ranked 5th in the UK and there are programmes such as financial engineering, mathematical finance and more. 

Many multinational tech companies such as Google and Microsoft, as well as local giants like Rolls-Royce, British Telecom and the BBC, employ Birmingham graduates.

With regard to engineering all the key disciplines for engineering are covered, as well as some notable specialisations such as railway and space engineering. September will see the opening of the new engineering block with state of the art labs currently being completed to be ready for the new academic year. 

Again, as with computer science, engineering postgraduates are employed by leading industry giants such as Landrover, itself a Birmingham based organisation, JCB and BAE Systems amongst many others. The University is undoubtedly very well connected in the world of engineering.

There are many programmes to choose from, such as advanced engineering management, which includes elements of business studies. Also the advanced mechanical engineering programme, which encourages applications from students with backgrounds in not just mechanical engineering but also areas ranging from biomedical to aerospace engineering. Birmingham is ranked highly with its programmes related to food safety, hygiene and formulation engineering, and much more. 

In civil engineering there are programmes related to roads structure, railways, geotechnical engineering and various other areas including management. For aspiring railway engineers Birmingham is certainly a ‘go to’ place. The very well-regarded ‘Railway Systems Engineering and Integration MSc’ is possibly the top railways programme in Europe, receiving students from all around the world. 

Birmingham is a top 5 university in the UK for material science, with programmes in nuclear science covering nuclear decommissioning and waste management, alongside physics and the technology of nuclear reactors.

Business Programmes

The Business School on campus is ‘triple-crown accredited’ for MBA studies – meaning it is in the 1% of business schools in the world with this level of accreditation, awarded by the three largest and most influential business school accreditation organisations: AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS. So these programmes are very well-respected.

With a history of over 100 years of education and research in business, including finance, economics and also things related to statistics, the School hosts regular careers fairs both in the UK and abroad. Birmingham graduates are well-respected all over the world.

For MBA programmes Birmingham offers international business, global banking and finance, and an executive MBA for more senior business leaders. An online MBA is available, as well as the option to study your MBA in Singapore.

Other postgraduate programmes available include accounting and finance related areas, economics, management, strategy and marketing. There are also programmes available online, in Dubai as already mentioned, as well as Singapore, for those who would prefer these different modes and locations.


Another area especially asked about by people registering for the Talk was Psychology. There is a generic MSc Psychology programme for psychology graduates. This is not a conversion course. 

Other programmes are brain imaging and cognitive neuroscience, and computational neuroscience and cognitive robotics, which obviously include the tech side to psychology studies. Another increasingly important and popular programme is the MSc in Mental Health, which has a strong focus on Youth Mental Health.

Entry Requirements

While a good 2:1 honours degree from a UK university or equivalent is the general rule for postgraduate entry, the best advice is to visit the university website, select your country (or the country where you gained your bachelor’s degree) and there you will find the information you need.

As English is the language used for learning, evidence of adequate English language proficiency is required of those students whose bachelor’s degree was not undertaken in English. The University does offer pre-sessional English courses to students not quite meeting these requirements and a short course can be completed online by such students. There is a fee for this course, but once passed this will satisfy the University’s English language requirements.

Finally, there is a wealth of information on the university website, but if you need to ask about anything contact the appropriate college regarding specific courses and programmes or the university for other more general matters. Full contact details can be found on the website.

For Birmingham’s postgraduate taught courses see:

For information about the Dubai campus see:

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