Public Relations - MA

Attendance:
Full Time
Starting:
September 2019
Campus:
Fees:
£6,100 per year for UK/EU Full Time 2019 entry (view all fees)

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.

What's covered in the course?

The MA in Public Relations combines theory and practice, providing real intellectual challenge with a sharp focus on real-world events and firmly grounded in extensive industry links. We recognise that most applicants are looking to build a career in PR and our emphasis is on employability.

We look at techniques for raising awareness, listening to stakeholders and influencing ethical policies. We will develop your strategic planning and help you to engage with a wide range of tactical devices, including building expertise in using a range of social media platforms and tools. You will also learn techniques that will build your confidence as a presenter and a communicator.

The MA explores the ever-changing media landscape while critically examining PR’s impact on society.

Birmingham City University has extensive experience in teaching the skills and knowledge that PR organisations worldwide are looking for. In addition to well-established undergraduate programmes, the Birmingham School of Media works 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 Professional Certificate and Professional Diploma.

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.

Why Choose Us?

  • Emphasis on employability
  • Wide range of career paths
  • Excellent industry links
  • Up to the minute course design
  • Stimulating choice of modules

This course is open to International students

Where our students go

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

  • Gutenberg Communications
  • Press Vine

And in jobs such as:

  • Sr Account Executive
  • PR Account Manager

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.

Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements
Essential

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.

International Students

Entry requirements here

International Students

Don't meet our entry requirements? You could apply for courses at our International College.

Apply now

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MA Sep 2019 FT 1 year £6,100 per year

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MA Sep 2019 FT 1 year £12,300 per year

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

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

.

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. 

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.

View additional costs for this course

Additional costs

The additional costs listed at the bottom of the page 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.

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 £10,906 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans

Modules

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 140 credits):

PR Theory and Context
20 credits

PR Theory and Context is the core module for the PR MA route. It teaches the fundamental elements of PR theory and examines the societal implications of PR practice. Topics include models of PR practice from propaganda to relationship-building, media relations, PR and promotion, issues management and crisis PR, the role of the PR practitioner, public opinion and the public sphere, and global PR issues.

Download the full module specification

Communication Planning and Action
20 credits

Communication Planning and Action is designed to complement Semester 2 option module Strategic Communication for Social Change. It is possible to study either module independently or both simultaneously. In Communication Planning and Action the emphasis will be on communication for commercial organisations, from blue chip corporates to fashion and lifestyle businesses. Throughout the course students will be reminded that PR can be seen as a strategic management function designed to deliver organisational objectives over the short- medium- and long-term.

Download the full module specification

Research in Practice
20 credits

The module is intended to help you develop and consolidate your ideas for your MA Major Project. By providing a common module that comprises of all MA Media cohorts, Research in Practice aims to facilitate a shared skillset that aids the successful completion of the MA Major project, as well as the potential for routes into PhD progression beyond. It is also designed to encourage interdisciplinary discussions across MA awards.

Download the full module specification

Major Project (Dissertation)
60 credits

The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. It is important that we can support you appropriately, so you will be guided towards choosing a research topic which is relevant to your discipline and in which your lecturers have expertise. 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 you should consider the relevance of this topic to your future academic or professional development.

Download the full module specification

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete of one the following CORE modules (totalling 20 credits):

Entrepreneurship in Practice
20 credits

This module asks students to explore the emerging field of scholarly research which draws on cultural entrepreneurship studies, cultural and media studies and creative economy work. The aim of the 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 ask 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 media production ideas.

Download the full module specification

Work Placement
20 credits

The purpose of this module is to enable you to develop professional attributes and subject skills through experience in the work place, and to critically reflect upon your learning in that context. You will normally be expected to arrange your own placement, with support from academic staff and BCU Careers. Typically, the placement duration is 70 hours. This can be achieved in one block, or can be dispersed over a longer period of time, if required. It is also possible to fulfil this module via a shorter placement of 35 hours duration and a linked ‘live’ project set by the employer.

Download the full module specification

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 40 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.

Narrative: From Media to Interactive Media
20 credits

Within the context of media integration and convergence, Narrative: from media to interactive media aims to help students to build a flexible skillset that provides a basis to critically adapt to both new and developing storytelling technologies.

Download the full module specification

Social Media as Culture and Practice
20 credits

This module is intended to give an overview of the current state of scholarly research into the use of social media platforms as a communication tool and also enable students to develop as social media practitioners who can develop innovative solutions to communications problems and develop their expertise at using social networking platforms in sophisticated ways. To that end, the module combines engagement with academic texts through lectures and seminars, with a series of practicebased workshops. The module explores the role of social media as an aspect of everyday communications, examining the technologies and practices that are put to use by citizens, activists, media producers and others, examining the range of practices that are emerging and their social and cultural role and character.

Download the full module specification

Live Events and Festival Management
20 credits

This module offers an extension to the other modules on the MA Events, Festivals and Exhibitions Management pathway. Whilst being an integral part of the pathway the module also works as a standalone optional module for those students on other pathways who can apply the key learnings to their own specialism.

Download the full module specification

Media Law and Regulation
20 credits

Media Law and Regulation focuses on key areas of UK and international media law. It will examine the ethical, regulatory and legal constraints under which media workers create content. The module will cover issues including defamation, censorship, human rights law, copyright, privacy, security and contempt. It will enable you to develop a critical understanding of the limitations imposed by law and regulation on reporting and publishing and also look at those areas of law that work to protect journalists. You will develop a critical pe rspective on key debates in media law and regulation affecting media work. The module is open to all students pursuing MA awards in the School of Media.

Download the full module specification

Transmedia Terror
20 credits

This module critically evaluates horror narratives in their cultural, historical and generic contexts across both visual and audio traditions, and asks you to analyze how debates in this area impact on creative and production practices in the field.

Download the full module specification

Film Festivals, Marketing and PR
20 credits

This module provides an in-depth look at a major crux for the film industry: film festivals. Film festivals play a part in the financing, distribution and marketing of independent films and therefore the study of them is a core part of the overall. The present module will give students an understanding of the importance of film festivals to the industry, and give them insight into the skills needed to mount a successful marketing and public relations strategy at a festival.

Download the full module specification

Strategic Communication for Social Change
20 credits

This module develops a sophisticated understanding of the processes and outcomes of planning a communications strategy for a range of organisations that strive to bring about social change. 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.

Download the full module specification

 
Please note lists of optional modules are indicative only. Students’ choice will not be guaranteed for optional modules but a fair and transparent process will be adopted and shared with students.

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.

Classroom activities and projects

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.

Student Stories

Tarek Temrawi

Tarek Temrawi

Tarek is a current student on the MA Public Relations course.

Employment Opportunities

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

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

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:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

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

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.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our public relations course is most popular with international students from:

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.

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

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.

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