Chartered Institute of Public Relations Diploma - Diploma

Part Time
October 2016, October 2017
£2,990 for UK/EU Part Time 2016 entry (view all fees)

Develop your skills in Public Relations (PR) planning and integrated communications management with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Diploma. Delivered part-time over one year, this course will boost your career and improve your decision-making and effectiveness at work.

You will gain a critical understanding of the issues facing PR practice in today’s society and the business community. This course offers excellent contact with creative workers and policy bodies, as well as regular guest lectures from industry leaders.

This course is changing

To ensure its qualifications remain professionally relevant and rigorous, the CIPR are making changes to the structure and content of this course as well as changing the name from CIPR Diploma to CIPR Professional PR Diploma.

Please refer to the CIPR website for more information.

What's covered in the course?

Aimed at people with some experience as PR professionals, the Diploma focuses on strategic public relations and its role as an integral part of both public and private sector communications.

Studying for the CIPR Diploma will give you the boost your career needs to take it to the next stage, helping you to develop your team more effectively and progress towards senior management levels. Taking an in-depth look at PR, you will learn to put theory into practice and apply the concepts you learn to your own sector.

The course is taught and assessed at the same level as a postgraduate degree. You will learn through three modules, taught over one year on a part-time basis, with individual tutor support by email and via the course’s online learning environment. The course is taught by academics and practitioners who are full members of the CIPR.

Class time will be based in the Millennium Point building on the City Centre Campus, in the heart of Birmingham’s Eastside development. You will attend four two-day sessions (Fridays and Saturdays) from October to May.

Graduates with the Diploma feel it really improved their career prospects. Whether it is gaining a promotion, like Fiona Denning, who rose from Communications Assistant to Communications Specialist at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, or the complete change of career you are looking for, the CIPR Diploma offers the skills you need to get ahead in this highly competitive sector.

Why Choose Us?

  • This course offers regular guest speakers from industry leaders in PR and journalism, with excellent contact with creative workers and policy bodies globally.
  • You have the opportunity to contribute to real-world research projects and policy initiatives in the creative industries.
  • Birmingham School of Media saw 88 per cent of its 2011 postgraduate leavers in employment and/or further study within six months (DLHE survey), with 93 per cent of those achieving a graduate-level destination.
Visit our open day

Postgraduate Open Day

Our next Postgraduate Open Day will be on Wednesday 23 November. Registration will open shortly.

In the meantime, register your details and we'll contact you when more information is available.

Sign up for Open Day info

This course is open to International students

Birmingham School of Media

Discover the Birmingham School of Media

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Press Vine

And in jobs such as:

  • Pr Account Manager

Entry Requirements

UK students

You must have at least one of the following:

  • Postgraduate professional qualification in a related discipline, or a relevant MA, plus one year’s relevant full-time employment in PR.
  • Degree in business/marketing, plus one year’s relevant full-time employment in PR.
  • Any UK degree, plus two years’ experience in PR
  • CIPR Advanced Certificate in PR.
  • plus one year’s experience in PR.
  • Four years’ relevant full-time employment in PR and five GCSE passes, one of which must be in English Language.

If you feel that you haven't reached this level of study, please take a look at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Advanced Certificate, also offered by Birmingham City University. Or, if you feel you have already achieved this level, please take a look at the Masters in Public Relations.

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
Diploma Oct 2016 PT 1 year £2,990
Oct 2017 PT 1 year TBC

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

International Students

Sorry, this course is not available to international students.

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Fees - further information

Please note that the fees are are VAT zero rated and include:

  • CIPR registration and assessment fees: £1035 (VAT zero rated)
  • Birmingham City University tuition fees: £1,955(VAT zero rated). Cost includes access to all university facilities. You will also be provided with lunch and teas/coffees.

If you are not already a CIPR member, you will be able to join at a specially discounted rate of £145 for your first year of membership.

For self funding students it is possible to pay the University fees by instalments. Please email for further details.

If you already have an equivalent level qualification, you may be charged a higher fee for your course. For further information visit the fees area of the Student Info section.

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

This course is available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Did you know that you will soon be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans


The content of this course is determined by the CIPR.

PR Strategy and Planning

This Unit situates public relations within a strategic management framework, enabling critical and ethical examination of the role and responsibilities of the function, and senior practitioners, within a contemporary context. It considers practical challenges and conceptual underpinnings relating to public relations strategy and planning in a variety of situations and types of organisation. The importance of organisational and functional objectives is emphasised with a focus on research and analysis to support problem identification, stakeholder mapping and objective setting.

An analytical perspective is applied to encourage a reflexive approach to your own experience, considered alongside case studies of organisations and scenarios. 

PR Content, Communications and Engagement

This Unit focuses on PR strategies involving content, communications and engagement. It investigates the contemporary media landscape and helps you to develop creative solutions, create and curate multimedia content, and apply communications concepts to a variety of situations facing a range of organisations.

A professional approach emphasises the importance of ethical practice, maintaining trust, reputation management, and informed judgement. You are encouraged to draw on your own experience as well as reflecting on case study examples of campaigns and strategic practice. 

PR Management, Measurement and Evaluation

This Unit concentrates on performance improvement in respect of the management, measurement and evaluation of professional PR practice. It offers critical examination of the effectiveness of public relations strategies, campaigns and programmes. Principles relating to accountability, socio-cultural considerations, ethical practice and continuous professional development will be applied. You will be able to examine your own processes and practices a well as reflecting on case study examples.

Course Structure

This course is designed to fit around your working life, delivered in a series of intensive sessions across one year. It requires 48 hours of class contact, into four two-day teaching blocks throughout the year. You will study independently for five to six hours per week throughout the course.

We will teach you the theory of public relations so you can use this knowledge to enhance your professional skills. You’ll learn the ethical and societal context in which public relations operates as a developing discipline, accompanied by practical skills in campaign management and evaluation, as well as engagement with traditional and social media. Through workshops with visiting practitioners and research in recommended texts, you will gain an understanding of the principles of PR which will greatly improve your decision-making skills and effectiveness at work.

Teaching Schedule 2016-17

Fri 21 – Sat 22 October

Fri 4 – Sat 5 Nov 

Fri 3 – Sat 4 Feb 

Fri 3 – Sat 4 Mar 

Assessment methods

Class contact consists of 48 hours provided in teaching blocks throughout the year in the Birmingham School of Media. In addition, you would be expected to spend approx five-six hours per week on independent study over the length of the course. You will also have access to a website where you can contact your tutor and fellow students at any time.

At set times throughout the course you will submit three items of coursework for assessment, reflecting each of the three assessed units. These consist of:

  • An executive report and situational analysis based on a case study
  • A thought leadership article for a business publication
  • A management proposal outlining recommendations for performance improvement in a chosen organisation

Further Information

The content of this course is determined by the CIPR. Please visit the CIPR website for detailed information about the course syllabusreading list and course regulations.

Further study

If you wish to further your studies when you have successfully completed the CIPR Diploma, you may apply for a 60-credit exemption against the 180-credit MA in Public Relations.

Student stories Fiona Denning

Working for NHS

Fiona Denning is a multiple graduate of Birmingham City University. After graduating with her first degree, BA (Hons) Media and Communication, Fiona’s career got off to a flying start, taking responsibility for city centre communications for the West Midlands Police. Keen to make more of her skills Fiona soon returned to the university to improve her career prospects with a part-time CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relation) postgraduate diploma. It was a commitment that certainly paid off.

Enhancing your employability skills

The Diploma enables you to analyse and critique a range of public relations theories and concepts, and apply them to practice. This aids your decision-making skills and effectiveness at work.

Giving you the necessary skills to lead a team more effectively, you will leave the course with the knowledge and understanding you need to progress towards senior management and work at board level.

You’ll have the chance to learn from experts in PR and journalism during our annual series of PR Masterclasses, when leading guest speakers come to the university to share their experience.


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Graduate jobs

Graduates from the course instantly see their career prospects improve along with their ever-advancing skills. Following the course, past students have gone on to exciting positions such as PR Account Manager at Press Vine.

Others have seen their prospects improve in the form of a promotion. Fiona Denning, a multiple graduate from the university, was promoted from Communications Assistant to Communications Specialist for the NHS at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham after completing her CIPR Diploma. She attributes this to the strategic focus and confidence in her communication abilities that the course gave her.

International Students

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Parkside - City Centre Campus
Parkside - Milo Studio
Parkside - Photography Studio

Birmingham School of Media is recognised as a key centre of excellence in interactive media training, television production and education by Creative SkillSet, the UK Sector Skills Council for the audio visual industries.

State-of-the-art facilities

You will learn in our state-of-the-art facilities - including the £62m fully-digital Media Centre - located on the City Centre Campus. You will enjoy access to extensive studio and workshop space including four TV studios, six radio studios and broadcast-standard edit suites, as well as cutting-edge equipment and software.

Facilities include the largest TV floor of any university in the UK, a ‘green screen’ and the MILO motion control camera - we are one of just two universities in Europe to offer MILO technology.

Edit Suites

Our four broadcast-standard edit suites are based on the industry-standard Avid editing system, used in almost all films and the majority of UK television. Two of the suites are specialised for Audio Finishing and Colour Grading. Our six digital radio studios are all linked an equipped with the best news and production software.

Dubbing Suites

You will have access to our full broadcast-standard dubbing suites, which are based on a multi-layered ProTools desk and can dub both film and TV with up to 120 simultaneous sound sources. We also have an ADR (Additional Dialogue Recording) booth and the ability to record Foley (additional live sound).

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295