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BA (Hons) Public Relations

BA (Hons) Public Relations video
  • UCAS Code:
    P210
  • Institution:
    B50
  • Delivery:
    Sandwich (Thick) out of college.

We're proud to recognise that this is the longest-established Public Relations course in the UK, and as such it is widely recognised as one of the best in the country!

Every organisation, large and small, needs to communicate, whether that’s with its customers, business partners, the media or the public. On this engaging and exciting course, you'll cover the theoretical and practical sides of PR, as well as spending 40 weeks on a placement in the sector. This combination of a strong theoretical grounding and plenty of practical experience means that you’ll be ready to take on a variety of roles in this dynamic industry when you graduate.

This course is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and the PR Consultants Association.

Key information

Next start date:

September 2017

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

Relevant subjects:

English Language, English Literature, Psychology, Sociology, Law, Politics, Communication, Media Studies, Business Studies

Entry requirements:

For 2017 entry (we will use the new UCAS tariff): 112 to 120 tariff points from 3 A-Levels, or equivalent qualifications. BTEC Extended Diploma: DMM. For more information check out our 2017 entry requirements page.

International entry requirements:

If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with minimum 6.0 in each component or equivalent. For more information check out our International entry requirements page

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.

Contact hours

The hours below give an indication of how you can expect to spend your time during the first year of this course. You will learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops and practical sessions. Your independent learning could include reading books and journal articles, working on group projects, preparing presentations, conducting library research and writing your assignments.

  • Learning and teaching: 210 hours 
  • Independent learning: 990 hours

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.

Contact hours

The hours below give an indication of how you can expect to spend your time during the second year of this course. You will learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops and practical sessions. Your independent learning could include reading books and journal articles, working on group projects, preparing presentations, conducting library research and writing your assignments.

  • Learning and teaching: 202.5 hours 
  • Independent learning: 997.5 hours

Year 3

The inclusion of a 40 week placement (or a minimum of 30-weeks for 2017 entry) 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.
  • 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.

Contact hours

The hours below give an indication of how you can expect to spend your time during the final year of this course. You will learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops and practical sessions. Your independent learning could include reading books and journal articles, working on group projects, preparing presentations, conducting library research and writing your assignments.

  • Learning and teaching: 165 hours 
  • Independent learning: 1035 hours

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 support to help you find the most appropriate work placement for the subject you’re studying and the career you’re interested in, which means you could be based anywhere in the UK, or even overseas.

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.

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;

  • 20th Century Fox Limited
  • BBC worldwide
  • Warner Bros
  • Sony Computer Entertainment UK limited
  • Panasonic UK ltd.

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.

Find out more about placements and our student experiences here.

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 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 20-60 points below the published tariff.

Unconditional offer scheme - for September 2016 entry

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.

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 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.

BTEC Qualifications

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 Qualifications:

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.

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.

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).

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.

Course statistics

The National Student Survey

The below information all comes from the National Student Survey completed by some of the students who graduated from this course last year.

  • Students agreed staff are good at explaining things - 91%
  • Students agreed staff made the subject interesting - 88%
  • Students were satisfied overall - 86%
  • Students agreed they got sufficient advice and support - 78%

75% of the course is assessed by coursework

The majority of your assessed work will be coursework, however you will also be expected to undertake practical assignments and written exams during your studies.

12% is scheduled learning and teaching activities

This percentage is made up of an average across all four years of the course. During the third year you will undertake a placement and therefore there are no scheduled learning and teaching activities, which reduces the overall percentage.

In the first year, you will have more formal and structured lectures and seminars, which will support you in making the transition from your learning experiences at school or college, to those expected at university. Structured reading and group work will enable you to gain and share the knowledge and understanding why and how public relations is practised, and introduce you to accessing and appreciating the range of subject specific academic and professional resources available to you.

In the second and final years, you will be encouraged to take a greater responsibility for your learning; whilst many units will still include formal lectures, seminars and workshops will include more interactive student-led learning and presentations. By the final year, it is intended that you will be able to demonstrate high levels of independent learning , and will have developed specialised ways of thinking about and implementing public relations.

Guided independent study will supplement scheduled learning and teaching activities across all your years of study.

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
  • 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
  • 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, 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.

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

Fees and funding

Fees and funding

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

Open Days

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

International students

International students

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