PgCert Strategic Communication and Public Relations
This flexible PgCert will enable you to develop your communications and public relations knowledge and skills without the commitment of full-time study, making it ideal for those with existing work commitments.
On this course you will develop the specialist skills needed to communicate effectively across a range of media and digital platforms. It’s important to understand the bigger picture, and you will study within a framework that emphasises strategic thinking and a critical stance, enabling you to make an effective, ethical and responsible contribution to your organisation.
- Develop the modern strategic communication skills that employers are looking for.
- Earn an internationally respected postgraduate qualification on a course that is accredited by the Public Relations and Communications Association.
- Tailor your learning to your future career, developing knowledge, skills and learning in a rich and diverse environment from tutors who are
internationally published researchers and practitioners with years of professional experience.
- Flexible block-study means you can combine study with your existing work and life commitments.
The course is delivered in blocks of attendance with further online learning. It is ideal for those who wish to study at master’s level when in employment.
The course is suitable if you:
• want to start a career in communication and PR. We’ll support you in developing industry-relevant knowledge and skills, help you to produce a professional portfolio, and provide you with opportunities to meet, work alongside and network with current practitioners; or
• already work in a communication or PR role and want professional development. You can study part-time and tailor your learning to your own development needs.
You will complete three 20-credit modules, but on completion there is the option to progress your studies to a PgDip or MSc.
Teaching, learning and assessment
Students learn from an academic team that includes internationally published researchers and practitioners with years of professional experience. In many modules, students learn alongside and network with practitioners working in communication and public relations roles.
Teaching comprises a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops, and tutorials. Teaching involves face-to-face and directed learning as well as your own self-directed activity. Face-to-face teaching is delivered on campus. Core module assessments may include case studies, essays, projects, blogs, proposals, campaign materials and briefing documents of between 1,000 and 5,000 words.
Teaching hours and attendance
Students benefit from a delivery pattern that requires attendance at intensive day/ half-day blocks and that you can fit alongside other commitments. Your own timetable will depend on what you choose and whether you study full-time or part-time. We timetable most teaching to take place on Fridays and Saturdays. The two semesters run from September to December and mid-January to mid-April. Assessments are mostly due at the end of each semester.
Industry links and accreditation
QMU is a partner institution of the Public Relations Consultants’ Association (PRCA).
You must gain 60 credits from the following modules:
- Media Theory and Campaigning (20 credits) - This module aims to provide a solid disciplinary orientation to key problems and theories in the field of mass communication and media studies in a historical perspective. It introduces persuasion and theories of learning to contribute to students’ ability to engage critically with media campaigning and public communication. Students apply their theoretical knowledge to campaigning and reflect on the ethics of professional practice. The module provides students with the theoretical expertise needed to examine critically the concept and practice of public relations.
- Strategic Communication and Digital Practice (20 credits) - On this module students develop a critical understanding of the role of strategic communication within wider contexts including business, organisations, agencies, campaign groups and NGOs. They take a critical perspective to ethics, social responsibility and social justice and explore how strategic communication can impact on society. Theory is applied to produce creative PR campaigns including a range of communication activities and digital tactics.
- Digital Communications (20 credits) - The evolution, diffusion, and adoption of digital technologies have fundamentally altered the way we live, work, relate to one another, and conduct business. These technological and societal changes are having a far-reaching impact on the communications, public relations and marketing disciplines, presenting huge challenges as well as opportunities to the industry. This module provides a sound theoretical and practical knowledge of digital communications based on a critical understanding of current and emerging technologies, digital strategies and social media platforms. The module examines a number of topics including: digital strategy; social media; search engine optimisation; online community building and management; stakeholders analysis; issues management; web analytics and big data; content marketing; web design; online customer journey; ethical and legal aspects of digital communications; and more.
- Public Affairs (20 credits) - On this module students to develop knowledge of public affairs as a strategic organizational function focused on the political environment. It enables students to develop a sound conceptual framework for professional public affairs practice (with special attention to aspects of political communication) and strategic planning and public affairs competencies including research and problem definition, argumentation and campaign planning. Students reflect on public affairs as a professional practice including consideration of ethics and regulation.
Specified module exemptions are awarded to applicants who already hold some CIPR diploma level awards.
The modules listed are correct at time of posting (October) but are subject to change. In the event that modules change, QMU will seek to use reasonable endeavours to ensure that there is no detrimental impact on students.
Where this course takes you is up to you. Our graduates have an impressive track record in achieving their career aspirations, going on to take key communication roles in a wide range of organisations across the globe. The course has also provided professional development for those already working in consultancy and in-house roles and is a pathway to an academic career in the subject area.
Students will normally possess an honours degree or equivalent from a relevant subject area (e.g. arts, humanities or social sciences). Students without an honours degree may be admitted (subject to interview) to the course if they have other relevant qualifications and appropriate work experience.
International: 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.
PgCert (60 credits)
For International applicants only (Jan 2023 start): Applications submitted after Sunday 20th November 2022 will automatically be considered for the next available intake after January which will be in September 2023.
Class sizes will depend on the modules chosen but will normally be between 15 and 30 students.
Opportunities to meet us
Fees and transitionary scholarships for postgraduate EU students in 21/22 and 22/23
As part of our management of the Brexit transition, for many of our courses, including this one, we have introduced an EU transitional scholarship for EU full-time postgraduate students commencing their studies on campus in academic years 2021/22 and 2022/23. This provides a 40% discount on international tuition fees. The scholarship is available to EU students for whom the international fee rate applies and covers the courses marked with a # in the Postgraduate Fees – Full-Time Study section of our Fees page. This transitional scholarship is not applicable to students from the Republic of Ireland, who will continue to be eligible for the home fee rate.
The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2022/23 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Postgraduate).