Chartered Institute of Public Relations Advanced Certificate - AdvCert

Part Time
November 2018, January 2019
£2,590 for UK/EU Part Time 2018 entry (view all fees)

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations Advanced Certificate will enable you to make a real difference to your organisation, from improved effectiveness at work to enhanced decision-making skills. We are the only centre in the West Midlands approved by the CIPR to offer this course, which is accredited by the Creative Skillset and industry recognised in the UK and worldwide. The course is run part-time, allowing you to work while you study.

Graduates with the Advanced Certificate have quickly gained promotions in their current employment, and many have gone on to exciting roles such as Communications Specialist or PR Account Manager.

The West Midlands' Only CIPR Centre

Birmingham City University is the only West Midlands centre approved by the CIPR to offer this course and students may enrol to commence studies either in October or January each year.

What's covered in the course?

Our course will help you enhance your skills and stay ahead of the game in your job in PR. This course is for you if you’re a practitioner who has recently joined the PR profession, thinking of pursuing a new career in PR, or looking to enhance your skills and knowledge as part of your continuing development.

You will develop an understanding of the history of PR and its business, political and social context, learn how to write for the media and how to plan and manage effective PR campaigns. You will gain confidence and abilities as a communicator along with the ability to focus on strategy - essential skills to any PR professional.

The course takes place on our prestigious City Centre Campus at Millennium Point, with one two-day and seven one-day teaching blocks throughout the year, combined with five-six hours of independent study per week during the course. Alongside this you will have access to our online learning environmentwhere you can contact your tutor and fellow students at any time.

Studying part time allows you to work alongside the course, putting into practice the skills you are learning as you go along.

Our graduates have gone on to work with prestigious companies like the NHS at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and Gutenberg Communications. Others have gone on to study the CIPR Diploma which offers accreditation to our MA in Public Relations.

The course timetable features regular speakers from industry leaders in PR and journalism and workshops with visiting practitioners.

“The skilled practitioner of today will become the dinosaur of tomorrow if they don’t commit to continuing professional development. The Advanced Certificate is a superb qualification. I recommend it unreservedly for those wanting to develop their PR skills.” Jason MacKenzie, President at Chartered Institute of Public Relations

Why Choose Us?

  • We are the only centre in the West Midlands approved by the CIPR to offer this course.
  • The course is designed for people already working in PR, with part-time study that fits in around your full-time work.
  •  The course is accredited by the Creative SkillSet Tick, the industry kitemark of quality.
  • Thanks to our excellent connections with industry, you can expect regular guest speakers from industry experts in PR and journalism.
  • 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.

Students outside Millennium Point

Open Days

Our next Open Day for this course will take place on Saturday 30 June 2018. Book your place to see our facilities and speak to our staff and students.

Book your place

This course is not open to International students

Speak to an expert

If you’ve got any questions about the course, we’d love to hear from you. Please email the Course Director: Philip Young.

Email Course Director

Alternatively, you can register for our next postgraduate open day.

Where our students go

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

  • Gutenberg Communications

And in jobs such as:

  • Sr Account Executive

This course is accredited by:

Creative Skillset Tick

Entry Requirements

UK students

Applicants must have one of the following:

The CIPR Foundation Award

Any UK degree

Two years' relevant full-time employment in public relations (or related sectors e.g. marketing, journalism) and 5 GCSEs grade 4 (C) or above, one of which must be English Language.

The LCCIEB Group Diploma in PR, plus one year's experience in PR

Equivalent qualifications are acceptable.

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
AdvCert Nov 2018 PT 1 year £2,590
Jan 2019 PT 1 year £2,590

International Students

Sorry, this course is not available to international students.

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 up to a maximum of five per cent.

Personal statement

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:

Your passion and motivations

Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?

Why this course?

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.

What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?

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.

Relevant academic or work experience

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.

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 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.

View additional costs for this course

You will be notified as soon as possible whether your application has been successful. Provided candidates satisfy the entry criteria, places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

The deadline for applying is usually two weeks before the course start.

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

Course Structure

The course requires 48 hours of class contact, divided between one two-day, and seven one-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 such as writing for both digital and traditional media, media planning and evaluating PR campaigns. 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.

Assessment methods

Class contact consists of 48 hours provided in one two-day and seven one-day teaching blocks throughout the year in the Birmingham School of Media. In addition, you would be expected to spend approximately five to 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.

Further Information

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

Student Stories

Jon Perks Graduate Profile Image

Jon Perks
Account Director at Liquid PR

After a 17-year career in journalism, I made the move to the world of PR – freelancing for several months before joining Liquid as an account manager.

While I (hopefully) knew how the media worked – what made a good press release, how not to ring a journalist when they were on deadline etc – I knew what I wanted/needed was more knowledge of the theory of PR; how to give structure to the creative side of things. After researching what was available, the CIPR Advanced Certificate course seemed to best suit my needs – theory and practical application combined.

I thoroughly enjoyed it; the class size of around 10 was perfect, with a good cross section of in-house and agency professionals – and a friendly bunch of people. The three lecturers complemented each other perfectly, with the right mix of both academic nous and industry experience. BCU’s location and facilities also made the whole experience that bit more enjoyable.

As with most higher education courses, the amount of additional work away from the classroom is up to you, but the workload in terms of assignments and coursework was just right, given that we were all juggling the course alongside full-time jobs. I’d recommend the course to anyone – and BCU would be my first choice for any further PR courses I might consider in the future.

Ciara Jagger profile

Ciara Jagger
Communications Co-ordinator at Aspire Housing

The course gives you a fantastic platform to expand your horizons and pick up skills from people at the top of the profession. The lecturers are extremely informative and approachable, and the small class of communicators from different sectors created a collaborative learning experience. The highlight of the course was the visits from expert speakers who are inspirational. I found the coursework challenging but it is relevant and contemporary. I immediately started using some of the campaign planning tactics in my job.

Exploring the academic PR theories helps you appreciate the bigger picture and the state of the industry. Initially, I felt daunted about returning to the world of academia after a break of more than 10 years but I’m glad I did. It has given me a confidence boost in my role and a great network of new contacts.

This course is accredited by the following organisation:

Creative Skillset Tick
Creative Skillset Tick

The Creative Skillset Tick is the quality mark for excellence in training courses and education in the Creative Industries. It identifies the UK’s most industry-focused courses and apprenticeships enabling universities, colleges and employers to recruit the brightest talent.

Our Creative Skillset accreditation shows that we will provide you with industry-relevant skills and good links with companies and potential employers.

The accreditation also assures employers that students graduating from our course have the levels of knowledge and skills they need.

Further study

Successful completion of the Advanced Certificate will qualify you for entry to the CIPR Diploma, which is also offered by the Birmingham School of Media.

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 practical skills you will learn from the CIPR Advanced Certificate will enable you to work as an effective PR professional in the public or private sector, from in-house to consultancy. You will have gained practical skills such as how to write for the media, and produce other media products suitable for publication.

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.

Whether you are looking to advance your career or you are just starting out in PR, this course will give you the competitive edge you need to get ahead.

Student Stories

Vinny Graduate Profile Image

Vinny Bolina
Area Communications Manager at West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service

As a career civil servant, I thought I had the knowledge and skills to do my job, but the field of communication is constantly changing and evolving, and I realised that if I did not embrace these changes then I would be doing a disservice to my employer, my stakeholders as well as myself. 

Every year, each member of staff within the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is allocated an individual training allowance from which they can select a training course which will not only improve their skills, but also maintain a professional standard which will enable them to meet the challenges of the future.

As someone who works in communications, there were many training courses available to me, but being a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CPIR) and someone who was completing their Continuous Development Programme, I spoke to my manager and we both agreed that the CIPR Advance Certificate would be the most appropriate course for me to complete.

Being a mature student, plus doing a demanding full time job, it was a bit daunting going back to university but my fears evaporated on the first day when I met my fellow students and the staff at Birmingham City University who could not do enough for us.

The course itself was well pitched and delivered at a pace which was easy to follow and understand. This was helped by having a team of lectures who not only possessed the PR knowledge, but as they were PR practitioners themselves, they were able to relate the academic studies to real life situations.

Since completing the course and obtaining my qualification, I have become a CIPR Accredited PR Practitioner, which is a sign of committed professionalism. I have also used what I have learnt and put this into practice by developing an internal staff engagement plan, which was later held up as best practice in the CPS. I have also helped a number of local charities with their communication strategies using tips and skills which I picked up from my academic studies.

Learning never stops and in order for you to be the best at what you do, you need to continually develop yourself. The Advance Certificate was my springboard for greater things and I have already held discussions with my employers about my future development opportunities, and I will soon be applying to become a chartered practitioner in public relations.

Julie Wareing Profile Image

Julie Wareing

I successfully completed the foundation award in 2012, whilst expecting my first baby! I always wanted to continue my studies so once I’d returned to work I started looking into the advanced certificate. 

Having already gained a good few years’ experience in public relations for government organisations, I wanted to make sure I was fully equipped to progress to the next level.  The course appealed to me as it provided more in-depth learning about the various elements of PR and I liked the idea of having modules to work through, each with a day at university. 

I chose Birmingham for the proximity to Liverpool, but also as the course dates fitted in with my personal commitments, and I was really glad I did. The course was great, it was really well structured and the lecturers were tailored to the different modules dependent on their own knowledge and experience.  We were also given the opportunity to hear from guest speakers, which provided really useful insight to PR in practice. 

I really enjoyed the experience and met some lovely people on my course, it’s so nice to share your learning and experience with people from various backgrounds.  It was difficult at times to fit the course in with working full time and home life, but it was worth it – it has definitely helped me in my current role and I have recommended it to another member of my team who is getting ready to start the next course.


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 Senior Accounts Executive at Gutenberg Communications.

Parkside and Curzon Buildings

Our Facilities

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.

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.

Our Staff

Our teaching staff comprises specialists in their respective fields, including academics and industry professionals, all of whom are perfectly placed to offer a wealth of experience and knowledge. Birmingham School of Media students also benefit from access to high-profile guest speakers from across the industry.

A dynamic community that is responsive to the changing face of the media industry, Birmingham School of Media is the perfect starting point to your media career.

Philip Young

Senior Lecturer

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.

Read Philip's full profile

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 6295

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Contact the admissions team

+44 (0)121 331 6295