On this course you will usually be taught by a range of staff with relevant expertise and knowledge appropriate to the content of the unit. This will include senior academic staff, qualified professional practitioners, demonstrators, technicians and research students. You will also benefit from regular guest lectures from industry.
- Principles of Public Relations: This unit will introduce the concept of public relations as a persuasive form of public communication.
- Public Relations, Media & Society: You will become familiar with the relationship between PR and other promotional and communication industries.
- Public Relations Skillset: This unit focuses on a range of tangible skills required for the successful study, pursuit and practice of PR, as practitioners and scholars.
- Reputation Management in a Global Context: You will gain an understanding of the major theoretical perspectives on reputation management and relate these to public relations practices in a global context.
- Public Opinion & Persuasion: This unit introduces the theories of persuasion in contemporary society and the concepts publics and public opinion.
- Applied Public Relations Campaigns: You will consider why organisations plan and implement campaigns and how PR can contribute to objectives like raising awareness, informing, changing attitudes and behaviour, and managing relationships.
- Media Management: You'll develop practical skills in engaging with the media in public relations activity and reflect on the tensions inherent in relationships between public relations and media professionals at all levels.
- Digital Communications: This unit aims to provide an understanding of emerging digital technologies, to assess, apply and evaluate the role of digital communications in the promotional and media communications industries.
- Developing the Research Imagination: You will get hands-on experience of qualitative and quantitative methods, modes of analysis, interpretation and presentation of research findings to understand how research is done from beginning to end.
- Stakeholder Insights: By the end of this unit you will be able to identify and evaluate stakeholder interests relevant to the design of an effective stakeholder management communications plan.
- Creativity for PR: Here you'll be introduced to techniques and approaches that foster creativity and apply the different approaches in a range of communication situations, both tactical and strategic.
- Live Public Relations Campaigns: You'll gain an understanding of the role and processes of media relations in communicating messages to target publics and to develop their ability to represent an organisation via a range of media relations techniques.
The inclusion of a 30 week (minimum) placement is a key feature in helping you to develop your abilities and understanding of advertising in the work environment. It also provides a platform for successful entry into the profession following graduation.
- Academic Dissertation or Consultancy Dissertation: The dissertation offers you the opportunity to become an expert on a topic of particular interest and to develop a study that connects your learning with real-world observations
- PR Innovation & Enterprise: Here you will develop an awareness of the role of innovation, enterprise and entrepreneurial management within the PR industry.
Option units (choose three)
- Advertising Culture: The unit addresses the sometimes rather marginalised subject area of the influence that advertising has on the broad area of culture.
- Applied Creativity: This unit will concentrate on developing nonlinear, creative thinking in addressing problems that motivate solution-finding, generating and developing ideas, and implementation (‘design thinking’).
- Behavioural Economics: This unit will focus on learning's from cognitive neuroscience, and how these can be appropriated for enhanced strategy and creativity.
- Brand Meaning: You will create your interpretation of brand meaning for a brand of your choice, producing meaning appropriate for a 21st century brand.
- Campaign Planning: You will work both within groups in pairs and alone with a problem-solving approach to marketing communications in the context of agency life. You will learn how to produce a campaign plan in its entirety.
- Consumer Futurising: You will gain a critical appreciation of state of the art thinking within consumer culture studies.
- Corporate Social Responsibility: You will be introduced to ideas relating to the creation of corporate social responsibility strategies, tactics and initiatives.
- Corporate Sponsorship: This unit will enable you to analyse the growing importance of corporate sponsorship as a marketing communication tool.
- Creative Direction & Copywriting: This module will extend your capacity to generate appropriate ideas, concepts, proposals and solutions, to critically assess the quality of your ideas.
- Data Driven Marketing: This unit provides the forum to critically assess, from a theoretical and professional perspective.
- Digital Futures: This option allows you to critically investigate the rise, impact and future of digital culture and digital technologies.
- Environmental Communication: You will explore and be equipped to understand how significant environmental communication is for organisations.
- Health & Science Communications: You will engage critically with health and science communications concerns.
- International Fashion Marketing Communications: You will be introduced to the key concepts, models and central philosophies, thinking and practice within the context of international fashion marketing.
- Media Economics: You will develop a critical understanding of the commercial dynamics of media industries, markets and firms in a period of profound change.
- Media (in) Equality: You will critique historical development of the representation of race, gender and class in the media from a range of critical perspectives and conceptual frameworks.
- Persuasion & Influence: The unit will explore theory and practice as it relates to persuasion and influence.
- PR & Journalism: In this unit you will analyse the sometimes contentious relationship between PR and journalism in contemporary society.
- Promotion Power & Democracy: You will be exposed key theoretical ideas from social and critical theory, political economy and political philosophy.
- Psychology of the Media: This unit introduces you to those major paradigms in individual and social psychology which have been applied to the consumption of media.
- Relationship Marketing: This unit provides an opportunity for conceptual analysis of the scholarship within relationship marketing and consideration of the implications of this analysis for relationship marketing practice.
- Social Communications: This unit will encourage you to create new ways of using promotional communication perspectives, insights and skills for social purposes.
- Strategic Management for PR: Gain a critical view of the major perspectives and theoretical approaches in strategic management and appreciate the role that Public Relations has in shaping corporate and business level strategies.
- Transcultural Communications Practices: You will critically evaluate the main theories, concepts and principles of intercultural communication in order to apply them to varied communication practices.
Please note that option units require minimum numbers in order to run and may only be available on a semester by semester basis. They may also change from year to year.
Scheduled learning and teaching activities
The emphasis of this course is in guided independent learning, which helps you develop into a self-motivated learner. When not attending lectures and seminars, you will be expected to read around the subject. Your typical week’s activities will include reading books and journal articles, working on group projects, preparing presentations, conducting library research and writing your assignments. The hours below give an indication of how you can expect to spend your time during each year of this course.
Year 1 – 17% of your time will be spent in timetabled learning & teaching activities
- Learning and teaching: 210 hours
- Independent learning: 990 hours
Year 2 – 17% of your time will be spent in timetabled learning & teaching activities
- Learning and teaching: 202.5 hours
- Independent learning: 997.5 hours
Year 3 – Placement year
Year 4 – 15% of your time will be spent in timetabled learning & teaching activities
- Learning and teaching: 165 hours
- Independent learning: 1035 hours
54% of the course is assessed by coursework
- Year 1: 67%
- Year 2: 72%
- Year 3: 0% (placement year)
- Year 4: 75%
Throughout the course you will be assessed by coursework culminating in your final year research project, but you will also undertake group work and written exams.
Programme specifications provide definitive records of the University's taught degrees in line with Quality Assurance Agency requirements. Every taught course leading to a BU Award has a programme specification which describes its aims, structure, content and learning outcomes, plus the teaching, learning and assessment methods used.
View the programme specification for BA (Hons) Public Relations.
Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the programme specification, the information is liable to change to take advantage of exciting new approaches to teaching and learning as well as developments in industry. If you have been unable to locate the programme specification for the course you are interested in, it will be available as soon as the latest version is ready. Alternatively please contact us for assistance.
At BU, we recognise that placements are extremely valuable and can give you a head start when it comes to your future career; therefore we now offer every new student the opportunity to undertake a work placement as part of their course.
We will provide a great deal of help and support to ensure you achieve a rewarding and satisfying placement. What’s more, you can also choose to undertake your placement abroad, giving you the opportunity to develop yourself personally, academically, and professionally and gain skills to help you stand out in the job market.
A placement should be a highly rewarding experience for you and the employing company and we do our best to ensure that everyone involved feels that they have got the most that they can from the experience. Why not read about some of our students’ experiences?
The benefits to you as a placement student are many. You will have the chance to:
- Put the theory learnt throughout the course into professional practice
- Enhance your study and help you decide on subject options (where appropriate)
- Learn a wide range of skills such as time management, problem solving and team work (all of these are important to succeed in any career)
- Make contacts, as it is not uncommon for our students to be offered permanent positions to return to after graduating
- Gain a real insight into how the industry operates in roles that would be almost impossible to achieve for an outsider
- Many of our students, during their placement, are given responsibilities normally associated with graduate trainees.
Our students have previously worked for;
- Blue Ant Media
- Quantum Marketing (Europe) Ltd.
- Spider PR
- We Are Base
How long is my placement?
You will begin your placement after completion of your second year of study and you must complete a minimum of 30 weeks, although most students choose to work for a full year.
Background and experience
For BA (Hons) Public Relations, we are looking for applicants who can:
- Demonstrate both intellectual and creative abilities
- Show an understanding of how the world of public relations works
- Work well within a team as well as individually
- Demonstrate the ambition and drive that will allow you to succeed in a competitive environment
- Demonstrate good written and oral communication skills.
You must have a good understanding of the PR industry and potentially some work experience in this area. You should be able to communicate why you want to come on this course, what appeals to you about working in this industry and why you feel you have the edge over your peers. You must have basic computer literacy, including knowledge of Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
We’ll be selecting the candidates for this course by looking at their UCAS applications – there are no selection activities needed. For that reason, make sure your application really stands out from the crowd, and leave us in no doubt as to why you should be joining BU. You can find some handy hints about filling in your UCAS form on our how to apply webpages.
Our offer making process
Our offer making will typically be based on your three main graded qualifications, including any required subjects. Additional study may be valuable for breadth of study, and we will look at a range of qualifications and subjects, including the Extended Project Qualification and General Studies, although these may not be part of our offer.
If you do not meet the criteria of your original offer, we may still offer you a place. We will review your whole application and consider all academic qualifications (including those not in the offer) and the rest of the application to see if you have the academic potential to succeed on the course. If we feel the answer is yes, we will still confirm your place.
How we'll assess your application
We look at individual applications and make a tailored offer based on your potential to succeed on the course considering a range of factors, including your academic achievements, work and other experience, predicted grades, reference and personal statement, and in some cases, your performance at an interview/selection test.
If you meet one or more of our contextual data indicators for educational disadvantage (such as being in care, living in a low participation neighbourhood or in an area with less advantaged socio-economic characteristics), your offer could be between 6-20 points below the published tariff.
Unconditional offer scheme
Our Unconditional Offer Scheme seeks to reward exceptional applicants who are predicted to achieve top academic results. The scheme is offered to applicants on all courses who are predicted AAA at A-level/triple Distinction in BTEC Extended Diploma, or above, or equivalent, subject to any course selection measures and meeting other entry criteria (i.e. required qualifications). What’s more we’ll recognise your achievement if you meet these grades with an Academic Excellence Scholarship from £1,500 when you arrive*.
We believe that unconditional offers will reduce pressure on applicants who will continue to strive to achieve the best grades possible. Excellent grades will become a part of applicants’ CVs and are also required for BU’s scholarships. International qualifications are considered in the scheme; however applicants must satisfy the English language requirements.
*Our scholarships are subject to terms, conditions and eligibility criteria, detailed on our scholarships pages.
2017 entry requirements
The new UCAS Tariff will be used for September 2017 entry.
The entry requirements for this course are 112 to 120 tariff points from 3 A-Levels, or equivalent qualifications. BTEC Extended Diploma: DMM
UCAS have created a helpful calculator so you can calculate points to use for courses starting from September 2017 onwards.
Excluded subjects: This course does not accept General Studies.
GCSEs: This course requires a minimum of 4 GCSEs grades A* - C (or grade 4 or above in the newly reformed GCSE grading) including Maths and English or equivalent qualifications.
Numeracy and literacy: We need to be sure that you can express yourself in written English and have basic numeracy skills. We look at Level 2 of the National Qualifications Framework, which includes, but is not limited to, GCSEs, iGCSEs, Key Skills and Functional Skills Level 2. If you do not have formal qualifications to this level or have alternatives, we may still be able to consider your application – please contact the askBU Enquiry Service to find out more.
We have outlined below other qualifications that we consider for this course. If you are studying a qualification that is not listed, please contact the askBU Enquiry Service – it may be that we can still consider it.
Access to HE Diploma: BU welcomes Access to HE Diploma applicants. This course requires applicants to Pass the Access to HE Diploma (with 60 Credits - at least 45 at level 3, remainder at level 2 or equivalent). Any combination of grades to meet the overall tariff is acceptable.
Extended Diploma: This course requires Distinction, Merit, Merit.
Diploma: This course requires a Distinction, Merit in addition to an A-Level to achieve the overall tariff.
90-credit Diploma:The 90-credit Diploma will be accepted as part of your overall tariff but it must be accompanied by A-Levels or equivalent qualifications.
Subsidiary Diploma:This course requires a Distinction in addition to two A-Levels to achieve the overall tariff.
A combination of BTEC qualifications to meet the overall course tariff is also acceptable.
Cambridge Pre-U Diploma: We welcome applicants studying the Cambridge Pre-U Diploma or a combination of Pre-U subjects and A-levels.
European Baccalaureate: Applicants are required to achieve a minimum score of 75%.
International Baccalaureate (Diploma): The IB Diploma is welcomed as part of the International Baccalaureate (IB). This course requires 30-31 points including 5 points from each of the 3 Higher Level subjects.
Scottish Advanced Highers, Scottish Highers and other Scottish qualifications are all welcomed providing that your results meet the overall course tariff.
Welsh Baccalaureate: The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma is welcomed alongside A-Levels or equivalent, to meet the overall course tariff.
OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Qualification: The OCR Extended Diploma or a combination of one Diploma plus one Introductory Diploma is acceptable for entry to this course.
Extended Diploma: This course requires Distinction, Merit, Merit.
Other combinations of OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical qualifications to meet the overall course tariff may be acceptable.
Extended Project Qualification: The grade achieved for the Extended Project may be taken into account when considering whether or not to accept a candidate who has marginally failed to meet the conditions of their offer.
Deferred Entry: We are happy to consider applicants for deferred entry.
International entry requirements
English language requirements
If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:
IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with minimum 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.
View further information about our English language requirements.
If you do not meet the English language requirement for your degree then why not join our Pre-Sessional English course. Successful completion of our Pre-Sessional English course will meet your English language requirement, without the need to re-take IELTS.
Academic entry requirements
You can find details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our entry requirements for non-UK students’ page.
We offer a number of preparatory programmes through the Bournemouth University International College. These courses offer you progression from High School in your home country to a Bachelor’s degree at BU.
Every business, large and small, needs to think about its PR and how it manages its profile. This means there is always a demand for skilled and enthusiastic graduates within the industry, whether working in-house for a specific company, or at a PR consultancy.
Within six months of graduating 85% of our students are in work or further study, earning an average salary of £20,000 per year*. Our graduates are working in the top PR consultancies such as Hill & Knowlton, Weber Shandwick, Freud, Ketchum and Grayling; as well as in other major organisations such as the Department of Health, Coca-Cola and Manchester United. Many others have set up their own PR consultancies.
Among the roles you can take on are:
- Account executive
- Communications manager
- Media and PR officer
- Publicity co-ordinator
- Senior publicist and strategist
The degree is recognised by the two leading professional bodies within the sector: the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA).
Industries worked in
- Marketing and communications
- Public relations
Once you have completed an undergraduate Honours degree, you can further develop your education by studying for a postgraduate degree. Please visit our Postgraduate section for further details about our range of Master's degrees.
All statistics shown are taken from Unistats, Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE), BU institutional data and Ipsos MORI (National Student Survey) unless otherwise stated.
Our staff are actively engaged in research and professional practice in the public relations sector which is integrated into the teaching of this course. Find out more about some of the staff and their research activities who will be teaching on this course below.
Joyce is from the US Army/Department of Army and spent 19 years as a broadcast journalist and public affairs specialist. She has dealt with a wide variety of international crises around the world ranging from the first free elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina, to UN inspectors being kicked out of Iraq, humanitarian aid missions in Central America, Asia and Africa and the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics to name a few. Additionally, she has taught foreign officials, NATO allies and non-profit groups’ leaders in communicating to a variety of stakeholders, dealing with the media and reputation management while in the Middle East and Europe. She has been teaching PR and Leadership at BU since September 2014. Her research focus is on public service motivation and corporate social responsibility.
If you’re not ready to apply just yet, there are plenty of things you can do to find out more about our courses, and what it’s like to be a student at BU: