Public Relations (MSc-Postgraduate Diploma) (Full-time or Online Learning) - Online

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  • Objectives
    The MSc in Public Relations equips you with the necessary practical and analytical skills for a professional career and it examines how to design, implement and evaluate PR programmes. The programme will help you understand and apply communication theory in a variety of contexts, analyse organisational cultures and communicate effectively to a range of audiences.
  • Entry requirements
    Entrance Requirements Qualifications equivalent to an upper second class first degree from a British Higher Education Institution. Applications will also be considered from those with significant experience in public relations, but without the normal qualifications for entry (normally for the Diploma in the first instance).
  • Academic Title
    Public Relations (MSc/Postgraduate Diploma)
  • Course description
     Structure and Content

    In 2007/08 the degree will consist of the following modules:
        PR Contemporary Practice: Develops the ability to identify and diagnose public relations problems and design campaign strategies. Presentation and media broadcast skills are taught.
        PR Critical Concepts and Debates: Explores issues such as reputation, rumour, persuasion, ethics and propaganda.
        Media Relations: Describes the context within which journalists operate and teaches you to write press releases and feature articles.
        Professional Skills for Research: Teaches the necessary conceptual and computational skills to operate as a public relations manager.

    Plus two of:
        Strategic Management: An MBA module that explains the process of managing strategic change within organisations.
        Marketing Communications: Examines the role of advertising, branding, PR and corporate identity.
        PR and Technology: Explores the impact of internet and communication technologies on the theory and practice of public relations.
        Sports PR: Explains the structure of sports business and the role of public relations within it.
        Health PR: Reviews theories relevant to health promotion. Explores risk, lifestyles, media representation of health issues, pharmaceutical PR, and alternative and complementary medicines.

    Plus a piece of empirical research bearing upon an aspect of public relations practice written up as a 13,000 to 15,000 word dissertation.

    Online Learning

    The MSc PR Online helps those already in PR practice to develop their strategic analytical skills and understanding of the field. Current modules are:
        Public Relations – Concepts and Cases: Aims to introduce the academic field of public relations and discusses a variety of theoretical and applied approaches.
        Foundations of Communication: Introduces you to core concepts in interpersonal, organisational and mass communication relevant to PR practice.
        Public Relations and Organisational Communication: Relates PR to management theories and practice.
        Corporate Communications: Explores strategic concepts in practice.
        Public Relations in Health, Sport and Science: Draws on theories of health promotion, risk communication, persuasion, crisis communication, sports studies and media sociology to explore the role of PR in these specialised applications.
        International Communication and Practice: Explores issues such as globalisation, technology, media and cultural identity in the context of different media systems worldwide.
        Research Methods: Teaches professional research and evaluation competencies.

    Currently the programme also includes residential schools held at Stirling.

    Public Relations (Health)

    Health PR is a growing sector of practice encompassing health promotion, pharmaceutical PR, consultancy work for a range of health and health-related clients. Students taking this variant share some modules with the MSc PR but follow a particular pathway to ensure a tight focus. The taught programme is followed by a piece of empirical research written up as a 13,000 – 15,000 word dissertation.

    Public Relations (Sport)

    Sports is a major business and an important feature of contemporary society. This degree fills the need for specialised practitioners and prepares students for work in a variety of sports-related environments. The taught programme is followed by a piece of empirical research written up as a 13,000 – 15,000 word dissertation.

    Public Relations (Tourism *)

    Tourism is the world's most important economic activity and has major global socio-cultural and economic impacts. This programme addresses many different types of tourism and explores broader issues such as globalization, diplomacy and issues of cultural identity. The taught programme is followed by a piece of empirical research written up as a 13,000 – 15,000 word dissertation.

    (*This specialist Master's route is subject to approval).

    Delivery and Assessment

    The full-time programmes are taught over two semesters through lectures, seminars, workshops, case studies and followed by a 15,000 word dissertation. There is both individual and group assessment. The degree has been officially recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).


    The online programme is taught through that medium, with printed support materials also supplied. Assignments are often case study based or based on students’ own organisation or work experiences. Residential schools take place annually in Stirling. Certificate and Diploma qualifications are also available.

    Both degrees have been officially recognised by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (UK).

    Career Opportunities

    The degrees offer necessary conceptual skills for managerial careers in public relations, organisational communication, corporate communications and communication management and related posts in a variety of contexts and sectors. Those taking MSc PR (health) and MSc PR (sport) are prepared for specific sectors of public relations activity although core theories and skills are taught that may be applied in other contexts.

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