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.
Drop in to one of our informal postgraduate events - our staff and current students will be on hand to answer all of your questions.
Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.
Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:
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 2018||FT||1 year||£5,900|
|MA||Sep 2018||FT||1 year||£12,000|
If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index 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.*
Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.
Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:
Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?
Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.
Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.
Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?
You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.
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 your course. 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.
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
This module functions as a masters level tool kit that prepares you for the project or dissertation that you undertake in the final stage of the programme. It will also provide core methodological and project management skills applicable to both the theoretical and production practice routes of the award. This module aims to facilitate a shared skillset that aids the successful completion of the MA route project, as well as the potential for routes into PhD progression beyond.
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
The aim of this module is to engage with diverse academic texts in order to inform your practice in relation to cultural entrepreneurship or intrapreneurship. This includes critical analysis that challenges the nature of entrepreneurship itself and asks you to consider the significant challenges facing entrepreneurs in the creative and cultural industries. You will then be required to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of these theoretical concepts by testing them and applying them to your own ideas.
The purpose of this module is to enable you to develop professional attributes and subject skills through experience in the work place. The module includes supporting seminars and tutorials that will support you to critically reflect upon your learning in a professional context.
The module will help develop employability skills help you broaden your understanding of the range of creative occupations in the creative economy. Furthermore, the module will help you to develop mutually beneficial relationships with creative workers and situate yourself within professional networks.
Practical Project or Dissertation
This module will enable you to undertake an in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area of personal interest.The outcome may take the form of a written dissertation or a practical outcome with accompanying reflective, critical and contextual material.
The main consideration when choosing your topic is that it must be relevant to your programme and the relevance of this topic to your future academic or professional development. You will receive one-to-one support from your supervisor, who will be familiar with your chosen topic area.
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.
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.