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Course content

About the course

This course examines the role of public relations in shaping media output both within media organisations themselves and in relation to the external impact of PR on the media.

The field of public relations has grown dramatically in the past 20 years and this has had profound implications for the media and other institutions that rely on the media to disseminate knowledge.

This course will investigate the rise of public relations and its links with global media institutions from historical perspectives and in relation to the contemporary media landscape. It will offer a critical examination of the role of PR in the mediation of power as well as the role of public relations in a range of media arenas.

You will be encouraged to reflect critically and theoretically on the function of PR in relation to: the role of the media in political communication, media policy, celebrity culture, film marketing, alternative media, media campaigning, and new media technologies.

You will be offered the opportunity to plan PR campaigns and reflect on their role in the knowledge economy.

This combination will provide you with the opportunity to examine the context in which PR practice takes place and to develop the knowledge and skills needed to work ethically in PR at an international level.


You will gain an advanced knowledge of the relevant theories of public relations which explain and debate its significance.

You will learn about the history of the role of public relations in the media.

You will acquire an advanced understanding of the functioning of public relations in the contemporary media.

You will gain the knowledge and skills necessary to undertake advanced scholarly research in the field of media and public relations.

You will be able to reflect critically on public relations practices within media organisations and to reflect intellectually on their PR practice.

You will develop the knowledge and skills necessary for the ethical development of your career in Media PR.

Course Content

The MA consists of both compulsory and optional modules, a typical selection can be found below. Modules can vary from year to year, but these offer a good idea of what we teach.

Compulsory modules:

Public Relations Propaganda and Spin
Key Issues in Media and Public Relations
Building a PR Campaign
Media Marketing and Public Relations

Optional modules:

Media and Public Relations Major Project 1
Media and Public Relations Major Project 2


The Media and Public Relations MA is taught through lectures, seminars, workshops, screenings and industry speakers.


The MA will be assessed through a combination of essays, reports, case studies, campaign design and a dissertation.

Special Features

The academic study of public relations and the media is very new and this MA puts us at the forefront of this development. Most of the MAs in Britain either focus on corporate public relations and are either predominantly practical or are theoretical courses that sit within more traditional mass communications curriculum and focus on the important area of political communications and the news media. Our
MA is innovative because it combines theory and practice.

Also innovative is our combined examination of the impact of public relations on the media and the use of public relations practices within media organisations including film, TV and other news organisations, with particular reference to their promotional cultures. This provides students with a broad and advanced understanding of the relationship between public relations and the media.

We have experts teaching on the course with both theoretical and practical experience.

This programme has grown out of the research interests and expertise of the team, giving it a distinctive character.

The focus on PR within the media will range from that of large corporations to smaller-scale, alternative forms including ‘DIY’ practices employed directly by lower-budget producers via social media and other online channels, key areas of contemporary development in PR and marketing more generally.

Visit the Media and Public Relations - MA page on the Brunel University London website for more details!





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