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MA PR and Multimedia Communications

Course Description


Passionate about PR and communications? Want to boost your employment prospects? Southampton Solent’s MA PR & Multimedia Communications programme is designed to help graduates build on traditional paradigms of public relations, exploring critically how the PR industry relates to advertising, marketing and journalism.

With an emphasis on the emergence of ‘peer-to-peer’ communications on digital platforms, this course can help improve the employability of both recent graduates and existing practitioners.

- The course curriculum emphasises content creation and management across paid, owned, earned and shared platforms.
- Students study alongside industry experts with a wealth of first-hand insight to share.
- The course is delivered through interactive seminars. These small group sessions allow for open discussion and regular feedback.
- Students will learn how to commission work and manage relationships with advertising, marketing and brand journalism specialists.
- Work placements and freelance projects are a core part of the curriculum, helping to ensure that students graduate with a range of relevant workplace experience.
- Small class sizes allow for flexibility in the curriculum, helping students to tailor the course to their own interests.
- Assignments can be adapted to suit each student’s unique career ambitions or, if they are working, their employer’s needs.
- Students benefit from a range of guest speakers and practical events including a crisis simulation, an ‘eCampaign’ in a day, and participation in industry events.

The industry -

Modern PR practitioners have to grapple with communication that knows no boundaries. The stakeholder relations manager, the corporate journalist, the digital promoter, the brand content manager - these are the jobs of the future, and the graduates filling these posts will need to know how to do their public relations in an integrated way.

The corporate narrative now has to compete with the user generated content. Traditional news and feature journalism is being pushed aside by citizen journalism and brand journalism, causing PR practitioners to re-think their influencer strategies. Advertisers who were once focused on campaigns in print media are now using rich online content, while native advertising is blurring the lines between public relations and advertising. Those who can surf the waves of this multifaceted world will be the most effective (employable) strategic communicators.

The programme -

As the roles of digital newsroom manager, multimedia advertiser, marketing professional, and corporate PR continue to converge, it is increasingly important that students gain first-hand experience of these functions. With opportunities for networking, live client briefs and portfolio development all built into the course, graduates leave Southampton Solent with a wealth of industry relevant experience to show potential employers.

The ‘Professional Development’ unit gives students work-placement and freelance opportunities, enhancing their professional skillset. Students will also be able to pitch for paid work at Solent Creatives, who specialise in connecting students with businesses who need creative support. These projects can help students to strengthen their portfolio of professional work. For full details of each individual unit, please see the ‘course content’ tab.

Learners are encouraged to carry out additional work experience alongside their regular studies. The course team’s close links with industry have helped past students to negotiate placements at top local and national agencies.

As one of the country’s top creative universities (Which? University Student Survey, 2014), Southampton Solent is proud to offer students a range of high-end media facilities. Students also have the opportunity to access an extensive media loans service, where they can borrow high-end video production and photography equipment.

The course concludes with a major project or dissertation. This is another opportunity for students to specialise their knowledge, conducting in-depth research into an area that complements their unique career ambitions.

Course Content

Units include:

- PR in a Multimedia World (30 credits) - this unit covers how the theory and practice of PR changes as communication moves across paid, owned, shared and earned media. Paradigm shifts from traditional PR approaches are considered in the context of actual PR campaigns currently running.
- Multimedia Campaign Planning (30 credits) - students get the opportunity to develop and implement a number of campaign activities across a wide variety of platforms, testing their ability to integrate paid, owned, shared and earned media in a PR campaign.
- Media Measurement & Evaluation (15 credits) - this unit introduces students to the measurement techniques applied in advertising, marketing, promotion and PR sectors, including the evolution of RoE (return on engagement).
- Research Methods (15 credits) - this unit raises the students’ research skills to master’s level and includes SPSS software and other methodologies that are relevant to their particular areas of interest. This is a shared unit.
- Professional Development (30 credits) - this unit positions the MA programme in terms of the student’s career aspiration, identifying skill sets and development needs in a personal development programme. This forms the basis of a freelance/workplace project and informs the student’s choice of dissertation topic.
- Major Project/Dissertation (60 credits) - the culmination of this MA programme. Theory and practice learned in the previous units inform a final research project.

Teaching, learning and assessment -

Work experience:

One unit (Professional Practice) requires a work placement or freelance project to be completed. Students are encouraged to source their own client (through Solent Creatives) or to find a work placement that is appropriate to their career ambitions. The course team will be available to provide support and guidance as necessary.

The placements and projects vary in length, depending on client needs. The minimum required is a two week placement, but on average the client projects last much longer.


Assessment methods include essays, practical portfolios, reflective reports, and campaign outputs. The major project/dissertation unit includes a presentation during the early stages of development. ‘PR in a Multimedia World’ includes an exam.

Our facilities -

We have a fully equipped IT centre with both PC and Mac computers. These feature industry-standard image manipulation, video and audio editing software. Access to camera equipment and professional recording devices for podcast and video creation is highly likely, and access to photographic equipment is always available.

Web-based learning -

Solent’s virtual learning environment (VLE) provides quick online access to assignments, lecture notes, suggested reading and other course information. The unit materials are posted on the VLE and students are expected to have reviewed them prior to attending class. The materials include journal articles, videos and web-based resources.

Why Solent?

What do we offer?

From a vibrant city centre campus to our first class facilities, this is where you can find out why you should choose Solent.

Facilities - http://www.solent.ac.uk/about/facilities/facilities.aspx

City living - http://www.solent.ac.uk/studying/southampton/living-in-southampton.aspx

Accommodation - http://www.solent.ac.uk/studying/accommodation/accommodation.aspx

Career Potential

This course provides students with the skills required to progress onto a range of roles in the public relations and communication industry.

Suitable roles for graduates include:

- Public relations (agency and in-house)
- Marketing
- Digital and social media communications
- Crisis management
- Internal communications
- Research and analysis
- Content management
- Stakeholder relations
- Customer communications analysis
- Brand partnership

Links with industry -

Live client briefs are used for the ‘Multimedia Campaign’ unit. The ‘Professional Practice’ unit requires every student to undertake a work placement or freelance project. Students who are in work while taking the course have the opportunity to adapt the topic of their assignments to suit the needs of their employers. Adaptable units include:

- Dissertation/Final Project
- Multimedia Campaigns
- Professional Practice
- Evaluation and Measurement
- PR in a Multimedia World

There is a strong relationship between the course and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, as evidenced by the participation of the CIPR Presidents in our eBook in a day events. These events have been organised by the MA students for the past two years.

Transferable skills -

MA PR and Multimedia Communication here at Solent offers students the opportunity to develop multiple transferable skills. Graduates will have gained a range of writing, digital, account management, research presentation, marketing and public speaking skills which are valued in many industries.

Further study -

Graduates will be in a good position to pursue further professional qualifications. Chartered Institute of Public Relations diplomas are available in areas of expertise such as crisis management and internal communication. Membership of the CIPR encourages continued professional development (CPD).

MPhil/PhD options are open to those wishing to pursue academic research and teaching.

Tuition fees

The tuition fees for the 2016/2017 academic year are:

UK and EU full-time fees: £6,500 per year

International full-time fees: £10,930 per year

UK and EU part-time fees: £3,250 per year

International part-time fees: £5,465 per year

Other costs -

Students may travel to central London for an agency visit. This has taken place three times over the past six years. Coach tickets can be found for less than £20, and all day tube passes cost around £10.

Graduation costs -

Graduation is the ceremony to celebrate the achievements of your studies. For graduates in 2015, there is no charge to attend graduation, but you will be required to pay for the rental of your academic gown (approximately £42 per graduate, depending on your award). You may also wish to purchase official photography packages, which range in price from £15 to £200+. Graduation is not compulsory, so if you prefer to have your award sent to you, there is no cost.
For more details, please visit: http://www.solent.ac.uk/studying/graduation/home.aspx

Next steps

Do you want to work on PR campaigns, deliver communications strategies and create exciting multimedia content? Southampton Solent University’s public relations and multimedia communications programme is both academically challenging and industry focused, helping to equip you with the essential skills that PR employers require.

Visit the MA PR and Multimedia Communications page on the Southampton Solent University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

2:1 in a related degree, or an international equivalent. More Information: View Website

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