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MA Public Relations


Course Description

This course is designed for recent graduates with little or no public relations (PR) experience, who want to pursue a career in an exciting and expanding sector. It is also ideal if you are a public relations practitioner with one or two years of experience, looking to develop your strategic and analytical skills whilst gaining a broader understanding of the PR industry.

The course combines academic learning and professional practice with a hands-on approach. Key areas of study include:
-The origins and history of PR from a global perspective.
-How PR is used to manage and restore organisational reputation.
-Public affairs and government communication.
-How charities and campaigning groups use PR.
-The ethical dimensions of PR and how to be an ethical PR practitioner.
-The impact of globalisation on PR practice and how to create compelling and relevant international PR campaigns.

You learn the latest techniques to succeed in the fast changing world of communications, and gain the analytical, strategic, management and organisational skills to succeed at the highest levels in PR. You develop your ability to:
-Critically evaluate key concepts, theories and debates.
-Plan and manage PR campaigns.
-Write for a wide range of communication media including print, broadcasting, and online.
-Work effectively across a wide range of media channels.
-Think and work creatively.
-Critically reflect on your own professional development.
-Develop a strong and effective social media profile.
-Use social scientific research skills across academic and industry work.

During the course you put important PR campaigns under the spotlight and work on live briefs to develop your professional skills in real-life situations. You learn how to work with bloggers and journalists, to meet their needs and develop your organsiation's reputation, and bring new ideas into the public sphere. You also develop an understanding of how academic research helps us understand the practice and development of public relations across the world.

You gain practical skills in: content creation and curation; writing news releases; organising events; researching and creating strategic PR campaigns; dealing with the media; blogger relations; crisis management; creative use of online and social media; advocacy approaches to engage with hard-to-reach audiences.

We give you the skills you need to communicate with key audiences across different media channels including print, broadcast, social media and online. It is not about ‘spin’, but great writing and verbal skills, critical and creative thinking, and understanding how the media works. You are encouraged to think about an organisation's aims and objectives and how PR knowledge can be used to achieve or question them.

The course is delivered by a team that includes award winning PR industry specialists with national and international experience across TV, health, charity, public and private sectors.

Public Relations Consultants Association

This course also benefits from Partner University status with the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA). A limited number of Universities are endorsed by the PRCA for offering excellent courses which are intellectually rigorous and esteemed by employers.

Our students gain automatic free student membership of the PRCA and all the benefits that come with it, including: exclusive access to work placements; internships; graduate schemes and entry level jobs; free and unlimited online training; free access to the industry recognised PRCA Online Certificate.

Follow our BA and MA Public Relations Twitter feed @Shefhallam_PR

For more information, see the website: https://www.shu.ac.uk/study-here/find-a-course/ma-public-relations

Professional recognition

This course is recognised by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).

When you enrol on a course recognised by the CIPR you are eligible for CIPR Student Membership. This gives you access to the members area of the CIPR website, where they have a dedicated student area which offers help and advice on getting into the PR industry.

Course structure

Full time – 13 months.
Part time – 2 or 3 years.
Starts September

Postgraduate Certificate – core modules
-PR – essential theory and history
-PR for the digital era
-Practical PR and professional experience
Postgraduate Certificate – optional modules
-Writing for PR
-Media law and regulation

Postgraduate Diploma – core modules
-PR issues and crisis management
-Corporate communications
-PR, politics and lobbying
Postgraduate Diploma – optional modules
-International journalism and PR
-Print and online news reporting

MA modules
-Dissertation

Assessment: essay; dissertation; portfolio and critical evaluation of professional standard work.

Other admission requirements

If your English language skill is currently below an IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in all skills we recommend you consider a Sheffield Hallam University Pre-sessional English course which will enable you to achieve an equivalent English level. You may also be considered if you do not hold a degree but can provide evidence of relevant professional experience.

Visit the MA Public Relations page on the Sheffield Hallam University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Normally: an honours degree (2.2 or above) or equivalent in any subject; a good standard of written and spoken English. Overseas applicants from countries whose first language is not English must normally produce evidence of competence in English. An IELTS score of 6.5 with 5.5 in all skills (or equivalent) is the standard for non-native speakers of English. See course description for more details.

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