Develop your skills in Public Relations (PR) planning and integrated communications management with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Professional PR Diploma. Delivered part-time over one year, this course will boost your career and improve your decision-making and effectiveness at work.
You will gain a critical understanding of the issues facing PR practice in today’s society and the business community. This course offers excellent contact with creative workers and policy bodies, as well as regular guest lectures from industry leaders.
As part of BCU’s commitment to providing excellent student experience, the content and structure of this course is being refreshed to ensure that it continues to meet the highest educational standards. This page will be updated with the revised course documentation by 30 June 2019.
Aimed at people with some experience as PR professionals, the Diploma focuses on strategic public relations and its role as an integral part of both public and private sector communications.
Studying for the CIPR Professional PR Diploma will give you the boost your career needs to take it to the next stage, helping you to develop your team more effectively and progress towards senior management levels. Taking an in-depth look at PR, you will learn to put theory into practice and apply the concepts you learn to your own sector.
The course is taught and assessed at the same level as a postgraduate degree. You will learn through three modules, taught over one year on a part-time basis, with individual tutor support by email and via the course’s online learning environment. The course is taught by academics and practitioners who are full members of the CIPR.
Class time will be based in the Millennium Point building on the City Centre Campus, in the heart of Birmingham’s Eastside development. You will attend four two-day sessions (Fridays and Saturdays) from October to May.
Graduates with the Diploma feel it really improved their career prospects. Whether it is gaining a promotion, like Fiona Denning, who rose from Communications Assistant to Communications Specialist at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, or the complete change of career you are looking for, the CIPR Professional PR Diploma offers the skills you need to get ahead in this highly competitive sector.
Our next Open Day for this course will take place on Sunday 24 November. Register your interest and we'll send an email update nearer the time. Visit us to see our facilities and speak to our staff and students.
If you’ve got any questions about the course, we’d love to hear from you. Please email the Course Director: Philip Young.
Alternatively, you can register for our next postgraduate open day.
Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:
You must have at least one of the following:
If you feel that you haven't reached this level of study, please take a look at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Advanced Certificate, also offered by Birmingham City University. Or, if you feel you have already achieved this level, please take a look at the Masters in Public Relations.
Starting: Oct 2019
Sorry, this course is not available to EU and 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.
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.
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.
The additional costs listed here are to be used for indicative purposes only and are based on the additional costs for the 2018/19 academic year. The additional costs for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible.
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 can apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,906 for some courses and options?
The content of this course is determined by the CIPR.
PR Strategy and Planning
This Unit situates public relations within a strategic management framework, enabling critical and ethical examination of the role and responsibilities of the function, and senior practitioners, within a contemporary context. It considers practical challenges and conceptual underpinnings relating to public relations strategy and planning in a variety of situations and types of organisation. The importance of organisational and functional objectives is emphasised with a focus on research and analysis to support problem identification, stakeholder mapping and objective setting.
An analytical perspective is applied to encourage a reflexive approach to your own experience, considered alongside case studies of organisations and scenarios.
PR Content, Communications and Engagement
This Unit focuses on PR strategies involving content, communications and engagement. It investigates the contemporary media landscape and helps you to develop creative solutions, create and curate multimedia content, and apply communications concepts to a variety of situations facing a range of organisations.
A professional approach emphasises the importance of ethical practice, maintaining trust, reputation management, and informed judgement. You are encouraged to draw on your own experience as well as reflecting on case study examples of campaigns and strategic practice.
PR Management, Measurement and Evaluation
This Unit concentrates on performance improvement in respect of the management, measurement and evaluation of professional PR practice. It offers critical examination of the effectiveness of public relations strategies, campaigns and programmes. Principles relating to accountability, socio-cultural considerations, ethical practice and continuous professional development will be applied. You will be able to examine your own processes and practices a well as reflecting on case study examples.
This course is designed to fit around your working life, delivered in a series of intensive sessions across one year. It requires 48 hours of class contact, into four two-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 in campaign management and evaluation, as well as engagement with traditional and social media. 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.
Class contact consists of 48 hours provided in teaching blocks throughout the year in the Birmingham School of Media. In addition, you would be expected to spend approx five-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.
At set times throughout the course you will submit three items of coursework for assessment, reflecting each of the three assessed units. These consist of:
If you wish to further your studies when you have successfully completed the CIPR Diploma, you may apply for a 60-credit exemption against the 180-credit MA in Public Relations.
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.
The Diploma enables you to analyse and critique a range of public relations theories and concepts, and apply them to practice. This aids your decision-making skills and effectiveness at work.
Giving you the necessary skills to lead a team more effectively, you will leave the course with the knowledge and understanding you need to progress towards senior management and work at board level.
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.
I decided to do the CIPR diploma after 12 years in PR and 25 years after I did my National Council for the Training of Journalists pre-entry qualification. Journalism is famously a trade, not a profession, but the route into PR is so well trodden that it’s possible to forget that there’s no qualification at all to cross to “the dark side”.
I considered doing the diploma after a few years with a PR agency but was worried at the amount of work it would involve at a time I had young children. I was then able to move to more senior roles using my experience and the excellent “on the job” training I had received. The CIPR did not seem directly relevant to my work.
The experience of being made redundant at the end of 2014 and looking for new jobs, however, made me realise the value of a solid grounding to my professional practice. So much PR is done on the basis of instinct and experience of what works, but without the theory of why it works or the evidence to show its value, I found. To make the case for PR around the executive table, practitioners need both their instinct and their evidence. On a personal level I also needed something extra to differentiate myself from other job applicants. So I signed up for the diploma at Birmingham City University. The eight teaching days were good and our tutor Alison Theaker guided our small group through the syllabus with plenty of challenge.
The course guide warns to expect to do around 10 hours a week of self-directed study and more at the time of assignments. That’s probably about right and it’s certainly substantially more when approaching an assignment deadline. Maybe it was just that it’s been a long time since I was at university, but I found the academic reading and writing hard work. Harvard referencing and the style of writing is so very different from what I’ve done in the workplace.
I arranged with my employer, an NHS organisation, to work four days a week to help me manage and allow a few hours off at weekends. They were supportive and it helped that a couple of colleagues had done the diploma and understood what I was going through. After getting pass grades in my first two assignments I was feeling that post graduate study was perhaps not for me, but I was determined to pass and so put all my effort into the final research project.
It took some tough questions and critique from Alison to get a subject that was suitable and manageable. It was an immense amount of work to identify the people in group I wished to study, plus doing the literature review and the analysis. However, the effort was rewarded with a good response and willing participation.
Like any journalist, I work to a deadline and I spent the final two weeks before submission analysing, drafting, writing and looking for further information until it was done. I was utterly stunned nearly three months later to have the work graded as a clear distinction, lifting my overall grade to a merit.
I’m onto my next contract now and I’ve been able to use the skills gained from my diploma there. The ability to understand PR theory, develop strategy, carry out research and use evidence is all of practical use to me. More than that, however, I think I’ve learned that it’s not good enough simply to learn new skills in the workplace and adapt to a fast changing world. To be really on top of your game you need to constantly challenge yourself and understand that instinct, experience and even past success are not enough. You need to set your own practice in a framework of professional knowledge and keep learning from others who share the same approach.
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.
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 PR Account Manager at Press Vine.
Others have seen their prospects improve in the form of a promotion. Fiona Denning, a multiple graduate from the university, was promoted from Communications Assistant to Communications Specialist for the NHS at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham after completing her CIPR Professional PR Diploma. She attributes this to the strategic focus and confidence in her communication abilities that the course gave her.
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.
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 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.
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.