Public Relations and Events

The success of modern business owes a great deal to marketing, public relations and events operations. The three areas, although individual specialisms, are very closely linked and marketing, events and PR professionals more often than not work alongside one another to reach a common goal of raising awareness of a company or its product, or indeed an event, and building and maintaining the company’s reputation with both internal and external stakeholders. A career in this field often appeals to people who enjoy combining skills in analysis, planning, organisation, writing and creativity.

Why QMU?

With a degree in events or PR from QMU, you can be sure that you are well prepared for a successful career. Our teaching staff, many of whom still work in industry, ensure that they are up to date with all the latest news and developments in their field. Our staff have close links to professional bodies including the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and the Public Relations Communications Association (PRCA).

Many staff are also actively involved in ground-breaking research projects, present papers at international conferences and regularly publish in academic journals.

Our courses not only focus on the subject matter at hand but also enable you to gather a wide range of transferable skills, such as making presentations, research techniques and IT, further preparing you for the workplace.

There are a number of benefits to studying at QMU, such as placements and study abroad options. Our public relations and events students benefit from a compulsory placement, but we actively encourage all students to gain some work experience whilst on their course. Our students tell us that work experience is a highly beneficial aspect of their course work, enabling them to put what they have learned into practice. It enables them to utilise knowledge gained from earlier years of their course. The opportunity to study a semester abroad is also beneficial. Previous students have reported the experience as exciting, useful and very interesting to see how other countries deal with the subject matter.

Our approach to learning and teaching

Our degrees are modular and you will benefit from a variety of teaching methods including lectures, seminars and workshops. There is a focus on problem-based learning and group work to develop key skills required in the work place. Assessment methods also vary and include examinations, written reports, essays, presentations and peer assessment. Our assessment methods include formative and summative components, so students receive early feedback on progress made and can use it to help inform final assessment coursework.

Industry is extremely supportive of our courses and students will benefit from hearing guest lectures from a range of practitioners and visiting professors. Building contacts and networks are key to gaining an understanding of the industry and securing work experience and employment on graduation.

The PR courses hold a networking lunch giving students an opportunity to meet and talk to 40 senior PR and marketing practitioners, and hold a placement interviewing event to match students with host organisations.

Events management and PR students enjoy the opportunity to plan and run their own event in Year Two. Recent events have included a fashion show, a charity run and a drive-in movie night.

The PR courses also have an advisory panel made up of senior professionals from a range of public, private and third sector organisations. Regular meetings provide a forum for debate and discussion covering current trends and issues affecting the industry. One panel member described coming to QMU as being like ‘entering an oasis of ideas’. The advisory panel also enriches our teaching and helps maintain currency.

Centres of excellence

QMU plays host to The Edinburgh International Forum for the Study of Planned Events – the only institution of its kind in the world dedicated to providing governments, event professionals and sponsors with rigorous evidence of the linkages between planned events and education, health, wealth, environmental sustainability and social cohesion. We provide assessment and evaluation, research and development services for government officials and policy makers, event professionals in corporations, festivals, sports and corporate sponsors.

Our knowledge exchange Centre for Dialogue and Public Engagement promotes a dialogic approach to communication which helps facilitate change and improves the ways in which we live, operate and make decisions as individuals and members of communities or organisations.


The majority of our staff are actively engaged in research which means that the content of the courses is cutting-edge and inspirational. Staff in film, media, creative industries, cultural management, cultural policy, and cultural studies were submitted to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2014 to the Media, Communication, Cultural and Media Studies, Library and Information Management panel. Our submission was ranked 1st in Scotland for our world leading and internationally excellent publications in terms of originality and significance, and 12th in the UK on the same measures.

Recent and ongoing scholarship includes: human trafficking for the sex industry in large-scale events such as the Olympic Games; constructions and commodification of masculinity at Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo, Austin, USA; women boxers at London 2012 Olympic Games; tourism and sports public relations; PR expertise; PR history; dialogue, engagement and action research; informational justice; critical PR and critiques of communication management.

Career prospects

It is our aim to prepare our students for employment and as a graduate of QMU you will have the skills, knowledge and experience sought by employers. Our graduates go on to work in a variety of careers, not only in the UK, but across the world. These are mentioned on the course pages which follow. However, should you choose to remain in Scotland, you are well placed to benefit from job opportunities, with Edinburgh playing home to the second highest number of public and private sector headquarters in the UK after London.


Find out more information on how to apply for a course at QMU.