The MSc Strategic Communication and Public Relations offers an unparalleled balance in UK postgraduate courses of teaching in internal and external communication, as well as strategic communication, for both private and public sectors.

The block face-to-face teaching approach enables students to combine studying with working.

This is the course entry for the academic year 2018/19.

You will find case studies on students and graduates of this course at the foot of this page.

Course Overview

Is this the right course for me?

It is if you:

  • want to start a career in communication and public relations (PR) - you’ll do an industry placement (optional) and we’ll support you in developing knowledge and skills, and producing a portfolio, and provide you with opportunities to meet, work alongside and network with current practitioners;
  • already work in a communication or PR role and want professional development - you can tailor your studies to your own development needs and study part-time, or
  • want to progress to a research career in communication or PR - members of QMU’s teaching team author key texts and regularly present at conferences all over the world.

Exit Awards

MSc (180 credits)/ PgDip (120 credits)/ PgCert (60 credits)

Learning, Teaching and Assessment

Students learn from an academic team which includes internationally published researchers and practitioners with years of professional experience.

Teaching is delivered face-to-face at our modern campus in Scotland’s capital city of Edinburgh. You are also supported by QMU’s online virtual learning environment. As well as lectures, seminars and workshops, you will also work with live clients, respond to communication briefs, undertake analysis and research, blog, reflect, create materials and content, engage in digital media, work in groups, make presentations and develop proposals.

Teaching Hours and Attendance

Our carefully designed delivery pattern provides continuous and frequent face-to-face teaching for full time students. Part-time students benefit from a delivery pattern which requires attendance at short intensive blocks and which you can fit alongside other commitments. On many modules you will learn alongside communication and PR practitioners and students. This helps you start your professional network and develop a deep understanding of the relevance of theory to practice. Our shared community of learners approach also provides access to a busy programme of activities and events offered across our PR programmes. On your 20 day placement (optional module) you’ll gain invaluable professional experience and develop your learning in a work setting.


Modules include:

  • Communication and Digital Skills for Working in PR *
  • Media and Campaigning
  • Critical Reflections on Public Relations
  • Understanding Research
  • Strategic Communication Planning
  • Communications Impact on Policy Making
  • Strategic Internal Communication in a Digitized World
  • Master’s Communication Placement *
  • Project

Students who already work in communication and PR can select from a list of modules, including business focused ones, instead of those marked * above.

If you select to do the Master’s Communication Placement module, you can undertake this with your employer.

You can also focus your Project on a topic which is relevant to your professional role. If you already have CIPR Diploma, CIPR Internal Communications Diploma or CIPR Public Affairs Diploma you are awarded credits and exempted from selected modules.

The modules listed here are correct at the time of posting (September 17), but are subject to change. In the event that modules have to change, QMU will seek to use reasonable endeavours to ensure that there is no detrimental impact to students.

Single Modules for CPD

Register as an associate student to study single modules in areas of interest. Contact Sally Chalmers for more information.


As a CIPR accredited course, the MSc Strategic Communication and Public Relations is benchmarked against CIPR career progression requirements. This means there is a clear articulation between the course and developing your career. For students who are already associate or full CIPR members, the MSc counts towards the Institute’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme.

Quick Facts

  • QMU is the only CIPR accredited UK Institution to offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses and teach the CIPR Professional Public Relations Diploma, CIPR Diploma in Internal Communications Practice and CIPR Diploma in Public Affairs Practice.
  • The block face-to-face teaching approach enables students to combine studying with working.
  • Our PR academics are recognised nationally and internationally for their excellence in research.

Entry Requirements

A UK honours degree or equivalent from a relevant subject area (arts, humanities or social sciences). Students without a traditional honours degree may be admitted (subject to interview) if they have other relevant qualifications and/ or appropriate work experience.

International: Where your honours degree has not been studied in English, you will be required to provide evidence of English language competence at no less than IELTS 6.5 and no individual component score below 6.0.

Accreditation of prior learning: Students who have already been awarded a Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Diploma receive 45 credits towards the MSc Strategic Communication and Public Relations, exempting them from specified parts of the course. Students who have already been awarded the CIPR Internal Communication Diploma/ CIPR Public Affairs Diploma receive 30 credits exempting them from specified parts of the course.

Application Deadline


More Information and Contacts

Admissions or Sally Chalmers on tel: +44(0)131 474 0000.

Links with Industry/ Professional Bodies

QMU is an accredited teaching centre of the UK’s professional body, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and a partner institution of the UK’s Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA).


Start dates

September for full-time and part-time students. Part-time students can also start in January.

Please Note:

The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2018/19 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Postgraduate).






Course Overview

Block attendance at QMU supported by online learning
Full-time: 1 year; Part-time: 2-7 years
Start Date
September 2018
January 2019
Study Abroad
School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management
Subject Area
Fees & Funding

Related Professional Bodies

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