Public Relations - MA

Attendance:
Full Time, Part Time
Starting:
September 2016, September 2017
Campus:
Fees:
£6,500 for UK/EU Full Time 2016 entry (view all fees)

Public Relations (PR) is widely regarded as vital to the success of any enterprise organisation, from private businesses to multinational corporations, from public sector departments to governments.

Advertising and marketing may improve your chances of selling your product or service to a consumer but public relations can enhance your overall reputation with everyone you deal with - not only consumers but also suppliers, support services, policy makers, workforce and the community in which you operate - any stakeholder who may be affected by your organisation or could have an impact on what you do.

Advertising is what you say about yourself but PR is what other people say about you; and what they say matters.

Please note: Applicants who also hold a CIPR Diploma in Public Relations will be automatically given 60 credits APL and exemption from the two core modules:

• MED 7076 PR Context and Critique
• MED 7077 PR Strategies and Practice

They will have to agree with the Course Leader which is the most appropriate optional module to take.

New for 2017/18

Public Relations

If you’re looking to start this course in 2017, it's important to know that the content and structure are undergoing a substantial review and are likely to be different to what is outlined here. We’ll publish more detailed information about the changes over the next few months. If you’re starting in 2016, the course content/structure won’t be affected by the review.

Sign up for course updatesMore about our new curriculum

What's covered in the course?

The MA in Public Relations is taught jointly by two departments within the University: Birmingham School of Media and Birmingham City Business School. This reflects the multidisciplinary nature of the public relations profession today and provides a study programme that meets the needs of the global PR industry. Whether your background and interest is in marketing or media, here is an ideal environment to gain a well-rounded understanding of PR and develop the wide range of skills needed to build a successful career in PR.

Both departments already have extensive experience in teaching the skills and knowledge that PR organisations worldwide are looking for. In addition to well-established undergraduate programmes offered by Birmingham School of Media and Birmingham City Business School, we also work closely with the leading professional body for PR in the UK, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, as well as teaching their qualifications - the CIPR Advanced Certificate and Diploma.

We also have the distinction of being based in Birmingham, England's second city and a major centre for PR activity in both the public and private sectors. We work closely with employers from public and private sector organisations who support us with visiting speakers, resources and case studies, enabling students to work on genuine and realistic PR campaigns as part of their assessed work.

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:

  • Gutenberg Communications
  • Press Vine

And in jobs such as:

  • Sr Account Executive
  • PR Account Manager

New £10,000 postgraduate loans

You may be able to take advantage of the government’s plans to make loans of up to £10,000 available for postgraduate study.

More about postgraduate loans

Entry Requirements

UK students
Essential

Applicants should possess at least an upper second class first degree (or equivalent), or have considerable experience in a related field and be able to demonstrate outstanding ability and potential.

Good spoken and written English are vital. IELTS level 6.5 is a minimum.

Applicants should have sound academic skills (research, writing, presentation), an interest in ideas and their application, as well as some basic competence in IT skills (word-processing, internet activities etc).

Above all, applicants need to have an inquiring mind, an aptitude for research, sharing and communicating ideas, and a desire to develop as an independent and self-motivated thinker.

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MA Sep 2016 FT 1 year £6,500
PT 2 years £3,250 per year
Sep 2017 FT 1 year TBC
PT 2 years TBC

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

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MA Sep 2016 FT 1 year £12,000
PT 2 years £6,000 per year
Sep 2017 FT 1 year £12,000
PT 2 years £6,000 per year

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

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.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

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

Modules

PR Context and Critique
30 credits

PR Context and Critique examines theoretical approaches that have informed western PR practice from the early 20th century to the present day and promotes a critical understanding of social, political, technological and global contexts of PR practice. Topics addressed include:

  • Excellence theory and PR as a management discipline
  • Models of PR practice from propaganda to relationship-building
  • Media relations
  • PR and promotion
  • Issues management and crisis PR
  • Public opinion – PR and the Public Sphere
  • New media landscapes
  • Global PR issues

Students present a research paper for assessment, focusing on an issue or debate pertinent to contemporary PR. They also give an oral presentation of findings and discussion to an audience of peers and PR professionals.

Option module
30 credits

Students select an option module from a range available in the School of Media's MA suite and which reflect the student's specific scholarly or production interest. Subject to availability, modules include: Enterprise, New Journalism in Context, Globalisation and Communication, Social Media and Events and Exhibitions.

PR Strategies and Practice
30 credits

PR Strategies and Practice develops skills in strategic thinking in the identification and solution of a client's public relations problem. Skills range from research and analysis to creative thinking and persuasive pitching of campaign ideas. Topics addressed include:

  • Planning models
  • Situational analysis
  • Audience research and stakeholder analysis
  • Strategic thinking: determining objectives, content and tactics
  • Delivery – budget, resources and timescales
  • Evaluation

Students complete a portfolio of campaign planning and management activities for assessment pertinent to the management of a pro-active or reactive PR campaign on behalf of a potential client. They also submit a reflective journal which includes a critical assessment of the viability of the campaign proposal and what has been learned about professional PR practice.

Production Lab or Research Methods
30 credits

Students wishing to complete their MA through dissertation should enrol for Research Methods. Students completing their MA through a project should enrol for Production Lab.

MA by Practice or Dissertation
60 credits

Placements are encouraged throughout the academic year. These can be combined with Master's projects that take place from June to September.

Employment Opportunities

There are many opportunities for PR students at Birmingham to build strong links with the professional community in the region and worldwide.

PR programmes taught at this university are supported by an active panel of employers who meet regularly to provide case studies, live projects and placement opportunities. You will have several opportunities for direct contact with employers, not least through our annual PR Students Conference in which students from all our PR programmes present papers to delegates of peers and professionals.

As a result of studying PR at this university, you will not only build up the knowledge and skills needed for employment in the public or private sectors, but also a level of professional experience of live project and campaign work plus a network of contacts that will dramatically enhance your employability.

OpportUNIty

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.

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

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

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our public relations course is most popular with international students from:

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