Public relations is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics. The media plays a vital role in setting the agenda in todays society and therefore is a key stakeholder for an organisation.
This course focuses on the expanding role of PR within the corporate, public and voluntary sectors, with particular emphasis on the way in which media and PR are interlinked as institutions and practices. This professionally relevant course is continually adapted to meet the changing needs of students, employers and society. This flexible, accessible and responsive approach ensures that you will benefit from the latest research, technology and industry practices.
In Year One key concepts within both disciplines are covered and essential practical skills developed. You will study a range of modules which look at the history of PR as well as engaging with contemporary practice, particularly how PR works with traditional and new media. This knowledge informs the development of professional skills.
Modules in Year Two extend the knowledge of professional practices in public relations and build on media production skills. Within PR, we consider how organisations communicate with their employees and external stakeholders through the media. This relationship between media and public relations is examined further in the context of the role the media play in democratic society. Students also learn to take an integrated approach to communications bringing areas of PR, marketing and events management together in practice in a module where they plan, promote, deliver and evaluate an event for a client.
Year Three offers an opportunity to develop public relations knowledge using concepts of strategy and persuasion. Research skills are strengthened and preparation begins for conducting an extensive research project which is undertaken in the final year dissertation.
In Year Four, you are encouraged to work more independently, develop critical skills and follow your own area of interest. This will happen by working on the dissertation research project, choosing public relations and media options. Invaluable practical experience is gained through a PR work placement.
The modules above are correct at time of posting (Mar 2017) but may differ slightly to those offered in 2018. Please check the website for any updates.
You can opt to study for an honours degree over four years or an ordinary degree over three years. You will complete a range of modules, as outlined, each year and a dissertation in Year Four.
Special Information for EU Applicants
The Scottish Government has confirmed that undergraduate EU students enrolling in the 2017/8 and 2018/9 academic years will be entitled to free tuition fees in Scotland for the duration of their course. Those assessed as eligible will remain so for the duration of their course. You must apply to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for funding. For guidance on eligibility and funding please visit the SAAS website.
- QMU is the only Scottish Institution to offer CIPR recognised undergraduate and postgraduate courses, and teach the CIPR Diploma, CIPR Internal Communications Diploma. And CIPR Public Affairs Diploma.
- Senior practitioners in the PR industry support the courses through guest lectures, membership of our Industrial Advisory Panel and attendance at our Networking Lunch.
- QMU PR academics are recognised nationally and internationally for their excellence in research.
- QMU is one of 12 universities in the UK working in partnership with the PRCA.
- Each 20 credit module has a notional 200 hours of learning achieved through class contact time in lectures, seminars and workshops, directed learning and independent study. A student usually takes six modules each year. The placement in Year Four requires students to undertake a minimum of 20 days in the work place.
You will complete a four week placement in Year Four.
You can register as a student member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and a student member of the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA).
Introduction to PR/ Media Relations/ Online PR: Platforms and Practices/ Media Production/ Introduction to Media Studies/
Media Campaigning/ Employee Communication and Dealing with Change/ Critical Thinking and Rhetoric/ Media Production/ Media and Democracy/ Event Management and Evaluation
Public Relations Theory and Strategy/ Persuasive Communication/ PR Research/ Media, Culture and Society/ plus options
Professional Communication Placement/ Dissertation/ plus options including: PR and Activism or International PR
Irish Leaving Certificate:
Pre 2017: BBBB
2017 onwards: H2, H2, H3, H3
English, Media Studies, preferred at Higher/A level or equivalent. Maths and English at S/Int2/ N5/GCSE level are preferred.
Access to Humanities/ Arts/ Business or certain Digital media courses. We welcome applications from mature students with relevant qualifications and /or experience.
Advanced Entry: Year 2 - Scottish Higher: BC at Advanced Higher in relevant subjects plus BB at Higher. A Level: BBB in relevant subjects. Year 2 - HNC Communication with Media/ Advertising and Public Relations with B in the graded units. Year 3 - HND Media Analysis/ Media & Communication with CB in the graded units.
IELTS of 6.0 with no element below 5.5.
Graduates have found employment in a wide range of corporate, public and voluntary organisations and are working as: PR executives; press or information officers; communication managers; publicity and promotions executives; events managers; management trainees; communication consultants; and marketing assistants.
BA (Hons) Public Relations, Marketing and Events
I was looking for a change after having worked in warehousing for around ten years - it was only supposed to be a year out after leaving school! I applied to West Lothian College to study for an HNC in Advertising, Marketing and PR . After completing the HNC, I hoped to progress to an HND. I thought the chance of university had passed me by until I learnt about the articulation route from West Lothian College to QMU. This meant that on successful completion of my HNC, I was able to go straight into second year at QMU as a direct entrant to work towards a degree in PR, Marketing and Events. Ive always been a creative kind of person and within weeks of starting the course it was clear that I had made the right choice at QMU. I never thought I would end up going to university and graduate with a 2:1!
The articulation route played a big part in my decision to study at QMU, and although there were many other options available to me, QMU sold itself best: the graduate destination figures were very encouraging and the University has such a good reputation in general it really was the sensible choice to make.
I loved how the course covered a wide range of topics and, as clichéd as this may sound, I loved the lecturers -they really are experts in their chosen fields and their combined knowledge is scary! The feeling that I got on graduation day, when I introduced my family to the people who guided me through my university journey, was one of pride and it will
stay with me for a very long time. They were a great team of people and bent overbackwards to help their students, motivate them and help them succeed. As a smaller university, you get to know your lecturers and they know you - youre not just a face in a lecture theatre... And that gives you nowhere to hide either!
The course offers a healthy balance of lectures and practical work. I particularly enjoyed Activism in PR which was a module option in Year Four. The module was built around a series of guest lectures from third sector organisations followed by a discussion. Each lecture focused on a different aspect of activism, so when the time came to work on
essays you could relate back to an individual organisation to focus on a particular aspect. I also enjoyed the Persuasive Communication module where we got a chance to take a seminar and, although it was stressful at times, the campaign-based modules were always very rewarding and gave a great insight into how campaigns are run professionally.
The work placement in Year Four did seem a little daunting, but you do get out of it what you put in. I found it to be of great value when applying for jobs as I had a realistic idea of what to expect within the workplace. I took part in the speed networking event held at QMU in Year Four and was fortunate enough to be offered a placement within
the Marketing department of The College of Veterinary Medicine at The University of Edinburgh. I was given responsibility and put in a position of trust. I was tasked with creating a Twitter campaign aimed at recruiting distance learning students. The placement gave me experience in the workplace and the sector. I truly believe this placement was pivotal in me finding employment after graduating.
No two days at QMU were ever the same, which made my student experience very interesting and I embraced the many opportunities which were open to me. I volunteered to be a class rep and I also took part in QMUs Industry Voices Series: students from West Lothian College were invited to QMU to gain a better understanding of the course and meet lecturers and students, and I talked to with them about my experience of the course, the transition from HNC to degree study and I gave them a guided tour of QMU. I also worked at a student facilitator during Direct Entry Induction Week, helping DE students settle into QMU.
Whilst studying, I was also accepted for a paid summer internship working for Bex Colwell PR during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. This allowed me to meet and develop many contacts within the PR world. I looked after comedians such as Des Clarke, Felicity Word and Clive Anderson and it genuinely was one of the greatest experiences of
my life, I learned so much and had so much fun but gained so much knowledge at the same time.
Since graduating, I have come full circle in a sense as I am now back at West Lothian College, but now part of the marketing team. My duties include handling social media, promoting external and internal events and producing both the prospectus and other corporate documents. I work alongside the employer engagement team with the Developing
the Young Workforce Programme and highlight the work the college does, to engage with the students, our employer partners and the wider community. I also still have contact with QMU professionally and actively promote my QMU degree to current West Lothian College students.
QMU played a huge part in me getting here and I would highly recommend the University to anyone. As I said before you are more than just a face in a lecture theatre and it is a great place to study.