Public Relations shapes our world. Organisations use PR to get noticed, to change opinions, and pass on vital information that helps us to make decisions about health, education and welfare. PR is a fast-growing discipline, employing 83,000 people in a £13bn industry offering a wide range of job opportunities.
Our MA teaches you how to construct an effective PR campaign, combining theory with the practical skills needed to communicate persuasively on behalf of businesses, charities, public bodies, community groups and activists.
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.
The course combines theory and practice, providing real intellectual challenge with a sharp focus on real-world events and firmly grounded in extensive industry links.
We look at techniques for raising awareness, listening to stakeholders and influencing ethical policies. We also explore the ever-changing media landscape while critically examining PR’s impact on society.
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.
Our next Postgraduate Open Day will be on Wednesday 26 April 2017, between 3pm and 8pm. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities. You can't book your place just yet, but register your interest and we'll send you an email when you can book.
Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.
Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:
You may be able to take advantage of the government’s plans to make loans of up to £10,000 available for postgraduate study.
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.
|MA||Sep 2017||FT||1 year||£5,900|
If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.
|MA||Sep 2017||FT||1 year||£12,000|
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.
UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*
The personal statement 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:
Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.
Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.
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.
*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.
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.
Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.
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?
PR Theory and Context
The core module for the PR MA route. You will learn the fundamental elements of PR theory and examine the societal implications of PR practice. Topics include relationship-building, media relations, issues management and crisis PR, and the role of the PR practitioner,public opinion and the public sphere, and global PR issues.
You will see public relations as a strategic activity, and get to know the public relations toolkit – the range of tactical devices employed for delivering messages and engaging with stakeholders. You will consider ethical issues surrounding PR activity.
Research in Practice
Communication Planning and Action
Here you learn the essential skills of strategic campaign planning and master a range of tactical devices. Content includes planning models; situational analysis; audience research and stakeholder analysis; strategic thinking: determining objectives, messages and tactics; delivery – resources and timescales; evaluation.
You look at communication for commercial organisations, from blue chip corporates to fashion and lifestyle businesses.
This module develops a sophisticated understanding of the processes and outcomes of campaign planning. Throughout the emphasis is on the communication challenges facing activist, not-for-profit, charity, and public sector organisations and developing persuasive messages to explain complex issues to a range of stakeholder groups.
You also choose one of the following modules:
Entrepreneurship in Practice
Practical Project or Dissertation
MA Public Relations takes a year to complete, full-time. You study three modules in Semester One (Sept-Jan), three in Semester Two, (Feb-May) then complete a dissertation or practical project that you submit in late August
Depending on your option choices, you will probably spend about 12 hours a week at University, probably split across two days. Teaching is through a fluid mix of lectures, seminars and workshops, complemented by a significant amount of self-directed study. You can expect to get to know your lecturers well and they will support you through tutorials throughout your studies
Mixing theory and practice we work together to plan campaigns, dissect case studies, and analyse topical examples. You will hone your presentation skills, and learn to talk confidently and persuasively on behalf of a range of organisations.
Tarek is a current student on the MA Public Relations course.
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.
We work closely with practitioners, including the CIPR, to match skills with industry expectations, PR demands flexibility, imagination, focus and creativity and we explore many ways to build personal profile and contribute to industry debate.
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 prospects.
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.
You will be ready to apply for account executive jobs in a PR agency, with or to join inhouse communications teams, or with charity, NGO and activist organisations.
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:
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.
When you join Birmingham City University, the first thing you will notice is the high standard of our campuses. With an investment of £260 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.
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.
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.
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.
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).
The Parkside Building has been designed to maximise light and encourage collaboration between artists and students. It is the perfect setting for the workshops and teaching spaces of our design courses, as well as the state-of-the-art media centre for the advanced teaching facilities of Birmingham School of Media.
All this ensures that The Parkside Building offers a first class learning environment and a true central location for students in Birmingham City Centre.
Building on substantial practical experience in Public Relations and journalism course leader Philip Young has been teaching and researching into Public Relations for 15 years, and has an international reputation for expertise in understanding social media.
A Senior Lecturer for Public Relations at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, Philip has significant experience as an award-winning journalist and owner of a successful PR company.
Before joining Birmingham City University in 2015, Philip previously taught at the University of Sunderland, where he organised and spoke at several innovative PR conferences, which introduced almost 1,000 practitioners to social media. He has been investigating the impact of social media on PR since 2005, as a lead researcher on the pioneering EuroBlog project, as well as being a co-author of Online Public Relations.
Philip has also previously taught at Lund University in Sweden, as well as participating in conferences and talks in Poland, Belgium and Germany.