Postgraduate Taught › CIPR Professional Public Relations Certificate
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CIPR Professional Public Relations Certificate

Currently viewing course to start in 2022/23 Entry.

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations Professional PR Certificate enables you to make a real difference to you and your organisation. With a deeper understanding of how PR works, you will be more effective in your job, your decision-making will be sharper, and you will be ready to grasp new career opportunities. The course is run part-time, allowing you to study while you work. 

  • Level Postgraduate Taught
  • Study mode Part Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School Birmingham School of Media
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media


The Chartered Institute of Public Relations Professional PR Certificate enables you to make a real difference to you and your organisation. With a deeper understanding of how PR works, you will be more effective in your job, your decision-making will be sharper, and you will be ready to grasp new career opportunities.

The course is run part-time, allowing you to study while you work. 

This course is not open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

The Professional Certificate will help you if you’re a practitioner who has recently joined the profession, are thinking of pursuing a new career in PR, or want to enhance your skills and knowledge as part of your continuing professional development.

Maybe you have been working in a comms role for a little while, so you know what to do, but not always why you do it. The Certificate gives a thorough and robust grounding in the core concepts of PR, giving you the expertise and confidence to take your skills to a new level. Researching, planning and evaluating an effective strategic communications plan is at the heart of the course. You will learn how to set objectives, how to develop and articulate strategy, as well as broadening your arsenal of tactical skills, not least in the fast-changing wold of social media.

To gain the Certificate, you must succeed in three challenging assignments that can be directly relevant to your working life, putting into practice the skills you are learning as you go along - a win-win situation for you and your employer. 

Working closely with experienced tutors who bring a mix of academic insights and practical experience, you will gain a rounded understanding of the PR discipline, and also make new contacts who will help and support you as your career blossoms.

“The skilled practitioner of today will become the dinosaur of tomorrow if they don’t commit to continuing professional development. The Professional 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?

  • The course is designed for people already working in PR, with part-time study that fits in around your full-time work.
  • Your tutors are highly experienced, both as academics and practitioners.
  • The course is taught at our prestigious City Centre Campus and you will have 24-hour-a-day access to our online learning environment, and have regular contact with your tutor and fellow students.
  • Graduates have quickly gained promotions in their current employment, and many have gone on to exciting roles such as Communications Specialist or PR Account Manager. They 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.

Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to explore our campus and facilities in person. You'll be able to hear more about your chosen subject area from our academics.

Register your interest

Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements 

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.

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.


Starting: Nov 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Part Time
  • 1 year
  • £2,800 in 2022/23


Starting: Jan 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Part Time
  • 1 year
  • £2,800 in 2022/23

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.

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.


You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Free access to Rosetta Stone

All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

Personal statement

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.

Course in Depth

Download course specification

Download now

Course Structure

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.

Further Information

The content of this course is determined by the CIPR. Please visit the CIPR website for detailed information about the course syllabus.

Student Stories

Jon Perks Graduate Profile Image

Jon Perks
PR Manager

After a 17-year career in journalism, I made the move to the world of PR.

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.


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.


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.

Facilities & Staff

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 £340 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.

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

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...

More about Philip