You should possess at least an upper second class first degree (or equivalent), or have considerable experience in a related field with evidence of outstanding ability and potential. Good spoken and written English are vital. IELTS level 6.5 is a minimum. You should have sound academic skills (research, writing, presentation) and basic competence in IT skills. Above all, you need to have an inquiring mind, an aptitude for sharing and communicating ideas, and a desire to develop as an independent and self-motivated thinker.
Our close links with business and the professions mean that our courses are always relevant, up-to-date and meet the exact needs of the current marketplace. Wherever possible, we involve employers in planning the curriculum, while many of our lecturers come from and maintain their links with industry, ensuring they are up to speed with the latest developments. Employability will be an integral outcome of your studies.
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 a panel of employers who meet regularly to provide case studies, live projects, mentoring 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. As a result of studying PR at this university, you will build up the knowledge and skills needed for employment in the public or private sectors, plus a level of professional experience of live project and campaign work and a network of contacts that will dramatically enhance your employability.
The course is based on a modular structure. You will undertake four taught modules, each worth 30 credits. Two of these are compulsory modules, PR Context and Critique and PR Strategies and Practice. You will select an option module from a wide choice within the MA suite offered by the Birmingham School of Media or from the postgraduate marketing programme offered by the Birmingham City Business School. The fourth module is selected from one of two modules that prepare you for the final MA stage of the course. If you intend to complete the MA by Practice, you will take the Production Lab module. If you opt for the MA by Dissertation, you will study the Research methods module.
MA Public Relations may be studied as a full-time (1 year) or part-time (2 year) programme. Accreditation is available for students who have successfully completed the CIPR Diploma.
Course Modules: PR Context and Critique (30 credits), Option module (30 credits), PR Strategies and Practice (30 credits), Production Lab or Research Methods (30 credits), MA by Practice or Dissertation (60 credits). Core modules for this programme provide a balance of theory and practical study.
PR Context and Critique: PR Context and Critique examines theoretical approaches that have informed western PR practice from the early 20th century to the present day and promotes a critical understanding of social, political, technological and global contexts of PR practice. Topics addressed include: excellence theory and PR as a management discipline; models of PR practice from propaganda to relationship-building; media relations; PR and promotion; issues management and crisis PR; public opinion – PR and the public sphere; new media landscapes; global PR issues. Students present a research paper for assessment, focusing on an issue or debate pertinent to contemporary PR. They also give an oral presentation of findings and discussion to an audience of peers and PR professionals.
PR Strategies and Practice: PR Strategies and Practice develops skills in strategic thinking in the identification and solution of a client’s public relations problem. Skills range from research and analysis to creative thinking and persuasive pitching of campaign ideas. Topics addressed include: planning models; situational analysis; audience research and stakeholder analysis; strategic thinking: determining objectives, content and tactics; delivery – budget, resources and timescales; evaluation. Students complete a campaign plan based on research, situational analysis and development of a strategy for assessment; this takes the form of a pro-active or reactive PR campaign on behalf of a potential client. Students also prepare and present a pitch of their campaign proposal. They also submit a reflective journal which includes a critical assessment of the viability of the campaign proposal and what has been learned about professional PR practice.
Placements: Placements are encouraged throughout the academic year. These can be combined with MA projects that take place from June to September.
Assessment methods include research papers, production projects, campaign plans and pitches and critical evaluation. There are no assessments by examination.
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