Please note the January 2024 intake is only open to Home applicants who will not require a visa to study here.
Strategic Communication and Public Relations - PgCert
Are you looking to start a career in communication and PR or do you already work in the sector and want professional development?
This flexible PgCert in Strategic Communication and Public Relations course 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.
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.
The course is delivered both full and part-time with start dates in September and January.
- Meeting employer’s needs: You will develop the modern strategic communication skills that employers are looking for.
- Industry accreditation: Earn an internationally respected postgraduate qualification on a course that is accredited by the Public Relations and Communications Association.
- Staff expertise: Our academic team includes internationally published researchers and practitioners with years of professional experience.
- Our reputation: QMU has a track record in delivering specialist communication courses recognised by professional bodies (Chartered Institute of Public Relations and Public Relations and Communications Association).
- Convenient delivery: Flexible block-study means you can combine study with your existing work and life commitments.
Studying Strategic Communication and Public Relations
Strategic Communication and Public Relations (PgCert): More information and what you will achieve
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.
In our digital age there is a rising demand for communications professionals with the skills to plan strategic communication campaigns and drive success for businesses, charities and government organisations.
On this course you will develop the skills needed to communicate effectively across a range of media and digital platforms. 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.
How will I be taught?
Structure and exit awards
For the PgCert (60 credits), you will complete three 20-credit modules, but on completion there is the option to progress your studies to a PgDip or MSc Strategic Communication and Public Relations.
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
We timetable most teaching to take place on Fridays and Saturdays to enable people in full-time work or with caring responsibilities to take part. Your own timetable will depend on what you choose and whether you study full-time or part-time. The two semesters run from September to December and mid-January to mid-April. Assessments are mostly due at the end of each semester.
Class sizes will depend on the modules chosen but will normally be between 15 and 30 students.
You can read more about the teaching staff on this course at the bottom of this page. Please note that teaching staff is subject to change.
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.
NB The modules listed are correct at time of posting (October 2022) 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.
Strategic Communication and Public Relations (PgCert): Entry requirements and application information
Students will normally possess an honours degree or equivalent from a relevant subject area (eg 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.
Applying for this course
For more information on applying, or to apply for this course, please follow the links in the 'Start your application' box at the top right of this page.
Terms and Conditions
The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2023/24 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Postgraduate).
More information and QMU contacts
Contact Paolo Casteltrione (Programme Leader) or contact Admissions
Opportunities to meet us
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