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  • Late
  • UCAS Code:
    P210
  • Institution:
    B50
  • Delivery:
    Sandwich (Thick) out of college.

Public relations is a diverse and exciting industry that continues to grow, and because every organisation needs to communicate there is demand for PR practitioners in many spheres. Be it sport, politics, fashion, media, business, music or something else entirely, you’re sure to find excellent career prospects in a realm of interest that suits you.

Accredited by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), the PR Consultants Association and Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing, this PR degree was the first-established of its kind. Taught by industry-savvy guest speakers, alongside expert academics and professional practitioners, the course has been designed to provide you with the necessary foundations to enter the industry; combining a strong theoretical grounding with plenty of practical experience. As testament to this, in year three you’ll have the opportunity to complete a crucial 30-week work placement at home or abroad, giving you the chance to practise everything that you learn on campus, reap a wealth of professional contacts and potentially boost your job prospects. Furthermore, in year four you’ll choose from an extensive list of compelling units to tailor your curriculum in line with your passions, interests, and ultimately your career aspirations.

BU graduates who studied in this subject area were typically earning £26,700 after five years, this is 20% higher than all graduates who studied this subject. Join us on live chat now to find out more, or register to meet us at an open day.  

Statistics shown are taken from Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO 2017).

For 2018/19 entry: In order to take advantage of new approaches to learning and teaching, as well as developments in industry to benefit our students we regularly review all of our courses.

This course is currently going through this process and we will update this page in September 2018 to give you full information about what we will be offering once the review process has concluded.

Key information

Next start date:

September 2018, September 2019

Location:

Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus

Duration:

4 years (including a minimum 30-week placement). Full-time

Accreditations:

Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), PR Consultants Association, Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing

Entry requirements:

For 2018 entry: 112 - 120 tariff points including a minimum of 2 A-levels or equivalent. BTEC Extended Diploma: DMM.  For more information check out our 2018 entry requirements.

International entry requirements:

If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS (Academic) 6.0 with minimum 5.5 in each component or equivalent. For more information check out our International entry requirements

Course details

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.

Year 1

Core units

  • 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.

Year 2

Core units

  • 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.

Year 3

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.

Year 4

Core units

  • 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

How you will be assessed

You will be assessed by coursework culminating in your final year research project, and you will also undertake group work and written exams. The assessment methods for each unit can be found on the programme profile in the programme specification for your course. As an indication, 85% of the most popular units on this course in 2016/17 were assessed by coursework.

Programme specification

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.

Placement opportunities

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
  • Bosch
  • We Are Base
  • Sony

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.

Your application

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.

Selection methods

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 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

Applicants who are predicted to achieve strong academic results will be eligible for BU’s Unconditional Offer Scheme in recognition of their academic performance and potential to succeed at university. If you are selected for the scheme and commit to us as your firm choice of university, then we will match this commitment by making your offer unconditional, which will guarantee your place at BU.

You will receive a standard conditional offer based on the entry requirements for your course via UCAS Track and your offer letter – it will advise that you are eligible for the unconditional offer scheme. We will then update your offer to unconditional should you choose BU as your firm choice on UCAS Track. We believe that unconditional offers reduce pressure on applicants who will continue to strive to achieve the best grades possible, and we will reward you with an Academic Excellence scholarship of £1,000 in your first year if you achieve AAA or above at A-level or equivalent.

2018 entry requirements

We use the UCAS Tariff to show our entry requirements and will accept a combination of grades from your qualifications. You can use the UCAS calculator to see how your qualifications equate to tariff points.

The entry requirements for this course are 112 - 120 tariff points including a minimum of 2 A-levels or equivalent. BTEC Extended Diploma: DMM.

Excluded subjects: General Studies

GCSEs: This course requires GCSE English and Mathematics grade C (or grade 4 in the reformed GCSE grading) 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 Future Students Enquiries Team to find out more.

Other qualifications

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 Future Students Enquiries Team. It may be that we can still consider it.

Access courses: 112 - 118 tariff points with any combination of Distinction, Merit, Pass grades.

BTEC qualifications:

  • Extended Diploma: This course requires Distinction, Merit, Merit (112 tariff points) 
  • Diploma: Accepted as part of the overall tariff but it must be accompanied by an A-level or equivalent.
  • BTEC National Foundation Diploma/90-credit Diploma: Accepted as part of the overall tariff but it must be accompanied by A-levels or equivalent.
  • BTEC National Extended Certificate/Subsidiary Diploma: Accepted as part of the overall tariff but it must be accompanied by A-levels or equivalent.

Cambridge Pre-U Diploma: 112-120 tariff points from 2 principal subjects.

Cambridge Technical qualifications:

  • Extended Diploma: This course requires Distinction, Merit, Merit (112 tariff points)
  • Diploma: Accepted as part of the overall tariff but it must be accompanied by an A-level or equivalent.
  • Subsidiary Diploma: Accepted as part of the overall tariff but it must be accompanied by A-levels or equivalent.
  • Introductory Diploma: Accepted as part of the overall tariff but it must be accompanied by A-levels or equivalent.

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 30-31 points overall including grade H5 from 2 Higher Level subjects.

Scottish Advanced Highers: 112-120 tariff points from 2 Advanced Highers.

Welsh Baccalaureate: Accepted as part of the overall tariff but it must be accompanied by A-levels or equivalent.

Extended Project Qualification: Accepted as part of the overall tariff but it must be accompanied by 2 A-levels or equivalent.

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) 6.0 with minimum 5.5 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.

Options include:

Careers

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 95% 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
  • Executive
  • 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).

Rose Humphries, BU alumni

“I would definitely recommend the PR degree and BU to others, a lot of people who I studied with have found work locally and a lot are working for large organisations in London. The course content is so varied, which means your opportunities as a graduate are too.”

Rose Humphries, BA (Hons) Public Relations graduate and Marketing Assistant for Health-On-Line – read Rose’s story

Industries worked in

  • Marketing and communications
  • Public relations
  • Business
  • Media
  • Digital.

Further study

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.

Your lecturers

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 Costello

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.

Next steps

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:

No hidden extras

As a student at BU we will provide many things to support you and there will also be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying at BU. The information below will help you understand our provision and what you need to budget for.

What you can expect from us

All of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including, lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of support and services, many of these are included on the Next Steps insert enclosed with your offer letter.

  • One set of study-related consumables such as a memory stick/ DVD
  • Materials for laboratory and field-based teaching activity
  • Support for placements (UK or abroad) and fieldwork, and non-financial support whilst on placement
  • A range of student services – advisors, help desks, counsellors, placement support and careers service
  • The Library – access to a wide range of electronic resources (databases, e-journals and e-books), print and multimedia collections, subject librarians and study spaces
  • IT labs (some open 24/7), wireless network, AV equipment to borrow
  • Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme
  • Disability and additional learning support
  • The BU Language Centre to help you develop/improve foreign or English language skills
  • 24 hours a day, 365 days a year security team.

Costs of living and other expenses you need to consider

  • Accommodation and living costs: view our price guide.
  • Text books: remember that our award-winning library is stocked with a large range of text books for all courses, as well as online resources such as industry journals, free of charge
  • General stationery and other supplies such as print and presentation materials: the Students’ Union shops stock a wide range of stationery supplies on both campuses
  • Travel to, from and between BU campuses: our bus service operates in the local areas offering a subsided travel rate; we also have a large number of secure bike storage compounds
  • SportBU membership: check out our student membership packages, sports events, varsity teams, information about our new facilities and more on the SportBU webpages
  • Optional fieldwork travel, outdoor wear and footwear (where applicable)
  • Telephone and travel costs incurred when undertaking interviews for coursework/securing placements.
  • A fee will be payable towards the cost of an Educational Psychology Assessment if this is required in connection with additional learning support. BU pays for approximately two-thirds of the cost of this assessment for UK students. For more details and current pricing please visit the Students section of the website.

Repeat units

If you need to repeat one or more units during the course of your studies (with or without attendance)|, you may be required to pay an additional fee of £1,500 per 20 credit unit. 

Financial help available from BU

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to students who are beginning their studies at BU. Our website also provides details on living costs, budgeting and paying your tuition fees.

Course changes

The table below indicates the latest changes to this course.

Date Changes to this course Where the change was made Previous text
14/11/2017

After an annual review of the placement year tuition fee,  a price increase in line with current inflation, equating to 3% has been introduced.

Fees £790
6/9/2017

2018 entry requirements have changed to 112 - 120 tariff points including a minimum of 2 A-levels or equivalent. 

Key facts and 2018 entry requirements 

The entry requirements for this course are 120-120 tariff points from 3 A-levels

6/9/2017

you'll need IELTS (Academic) 6.0 with minimum 5.5 in each component or equivalent.

Key facts and international entry requirements

you'll need IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with minimum 6.0 in each component or equivalent.

6/9/2017

2018 GCSE entry requirements have changed to This course requires GCSE English and Mathematics grade C (or grade 4 in the reformed GCSE grading) or equivalent qualifications.

2018 entry requirements

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.

6/9/2017

you'll need IELTS (Academic) 6.0 with minimum 5.5 in each component or equivalent.

International entry requirements

you'll need IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with minimum 6.0 in each component or equivalent.

What our students say

Kelly Phelps

Working at UKTV really ignited my passion to work in the TV industry. I've done things I didn't think I could do, like being an extra in Dave Gorman’s shoot.

Hear from our staff

Anastasios Theofilou

You’ll be rubbing shoulders and sharing ideas with tomorrow’s top advertising creatives, journalists, media producers and screenwriters.

What employers think

David Wilson

All three successful candidates for our PR internships so far have been from BU. That speaks very highly indeed of the calibre of candidate that BU produces.

Additional information

Students in Dylans Bar

Fees and funding

Find out about fees and funding, including scholarships and bursaries.

Open day walking courtyard

Open Days and tours

Discover what makes our Open Days and tours so enjoyable and useful – and register to attend one of our events.

Purbeck House common room

International students

We have a strong international student community. Find all the practical advice and information you need here.