Leeds Beckett is introducing a degree in TikTok

The course includes viral video history, producing content, and internet ethics


This article is an April Fools! Seems like we got a lot of you.

Leeds Beckett University is introducing a degree in TikTok to start in the 2021/2022 academic year.

MA Viral Media will be hosted by Beckett’s Leeds Art School and Leeds Business School. It will be studied in the brand new art building next to Central Village and CitySide accomodation, set to open later this year.

The course is based on viral media, but will mainly focus on TikTok, which has 800 million active users, is the number one most downloaded app of 2020, and is estimated to be worth $78 billion dollars, making it the most valuable start up in history.

Tiktok was stated by Beckett as “the most innovative and game-changing social media platform on the internet”, therefore worth devising a degree about.

Professor Tim Clock, Media and Communications at Birkbeck University of London, who will be a guest lecturer for the module and said: “There is a lot of snobbery around viral digital media in the academic world, so I’m really pleased Leeds Beckett University have decided to introduce MA Viral Media.

“It will help to dismantle the obsolete discourse which prejudices against viral content in university spaces. It is often seen as unworthy of academic study, so I’m looking forward to helping change that”.

Modules include “Growth Strategy: Devising and producing viral content”, in which students will study the themes the make successful viral content and produce their own, with a focus on video. “The ethics of TikTok” will explore the “ethics of the homogenisation of digital content”, reasons for banning certain social media platforms, and impacts of becoming a viral star. You can also study the history of viral media in a module looking at YouTube, Vine, and Tiktok and the history of memes.

Leeds Beckett are expecting to have guest lecturers proficient in viral media, including members of the Wave House, Zoe Sugg (Zoella), and Charlie Davies-Carr’s brother (“Charlie bit my finger”, 2007) to talk about the social impacts of viral stardom in the ethics module.

It is the only course explicitly geared towards TikTok in Europe, though an online university based in Italy offers a course in becoming an influencer.

A spokesperson for Leeds Beckett University said: “We’re extremely excited to launch this new course which combines media and communications, business strategy, and creative practice.

“At Leeds Beckett, we celebrate practical skills and those with diverse career prospects, so this is a unique opportunity which will allow creators and those interested in viral media to hone their skills and gain experience to really set them apart in the industry.”

“We’re expecting a lot of applicants as the course is so unique”

Tuition fees for the course are £8,000, and is due to start in September 2021.

By the way, have you checked the date today?