Posted March 30, 2009 5:15 pm by with 8 comments

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By Trisha Lyn Fawver

Forget spending years in grad school toiling away on an advanced marketing degree.  Birmingham City University in the UK is going to begin offering a MA course in Social Media.  All you social media junkies out there, grab your backpacks and passports!

Jon Hickman, the course convener, had this to say about the year-long program:

It’s not for freaks or IT geeks, the tools learnt on this course will be accessible to many people.

During the course we will consider what people can do on Facebook and Twitter, and how they can be used for communication and marketing purposes.

There has been significant interest in the course already, and it will definitely appeal to students looking to go into professions including journalism and PR.

While the university has expressed that there’s lots of support and interest already, students are voicing criticism that the course is too simple and could be self-taught.

I have to agree that this seems like it’s enough for a course at a community college, but not enough for an entire Masters program to orbit around.  Most social media is self-taught, and fairly simple to grasp and master.  Programs like this lend credence to the “social media experts” out there that charge $5000 just to set up a Facebook profile for the uninitiated.

Should we give credence to these experts?  I don’t think so, but I’m sure others would disagree with me.  It’s a great thing to see social media gain such widespread acceptance as to add it to college-level curricula.  I’m all for that.  But does it really require its own masters degree?  What do you think?

Trisha Lyn Fawver manages affiliate programs, blogs, and explores the world of social media, all at

  • I am actually in agreement with you Trisha. While I am happy that higher education is getting into the game here, I am not sure it’s necessary to have an entire degree on social media right now. I would however like to see an internet marketing degree in the top marketing programs in the world. It’s time for them to catch up with the world. Something I am hoping to help with someday, but that’s a way down the road. 🙂

  • I agree, it seems like a stretch for an entire MA.

    Trisha Lyn Fawver’s last blog post..California Assembly Bill 178

  • Sounds more like a Bachelor’s program to me. To make it a Master’s level they should add LinkedIn… But maybe they meant not the entire MA program devoted to Facebook and Twitter, but only just 1 course? That I would sort of understand. Although there’s so much free information online on how to get started and plenty of books on Amazon to get into the subject further. Besides, I’m just interested how are they going to build a curriculum around something that’s developing and changing so fast?

    Yelena’s last blog post..Thinking About Getting Into Social Media? Think Again!

  • John R.

    “It’s not for freaks or IT geeks”

    Lost me right there. Sneering at excellence, how corporately academic. Oh whoopie! Another degree mill for the average everyones! Like, let’s all be Conservatives without knowing our ass from a golf hole and go back teh Ole Daze!!! lolz!

    I am quite sure that modern “journalists” would be exactly the right audience for this inflated crap. Hopefully in this new “totally not for omg freaks or geeks profession” will not cause the damage corporate journalism has done.

  • Education about the use of social media and blog is necessary. Some short time program will also help people alot.

  • As a very fluent online communicator: how do you teach an master course in social media? If I were to log all the hours I spend every day absorbing, interpreting, and applying social media, I would have to challenge the course on a 10x level and simply pay hundreds of dollars on the credit.

    This is of course also ironic in the fact that you simply cannot create coursework for something that changes every day. “could be self-taught.” ???? as far as I know, 99.9% of social media is self-taught, working in the trenches and applying it to specific business models.

    This is somewhat also ironic, because Andy has an advertisement running here for Full Sail university and an online marketing degree (which has a social media portion as well.)

    Barry Hurd’s last blog post..Social Media Audits – executives need to ask “Why?”

  • I agree with Barry. People learn social media just by doing it themselves.

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