Media and Public Relations MA
About the course
What is public relations? Who does it and why? How does it relate to the media practices? How do you plan a public relations campaign? And why is it important to have a sophisticated understanding of cultural dynamics in order to understand public relations?
On this MA you will engage with theoretical concepts that can help you understand how Public Relations and the Media work and why they are significant; it looks at PR and media history, engages in lively debates about these industries and teaches you practical PR skills which you can creatively deploy in campaign plans.
While Public Relations has often been taught through business studies or marketing approaches, this MA approaches PR through the lens of media studies and cultural studies. This makes for a fresh stimulating take on PR at a time when media practices are changing radically and when cultural industries, cultural exchange and cultural politics are more important than ever.
This MA will offer you the opportunity to examine the context in which PR practice takes place and to develop the knowledge and skills needed to work in a sophisticated and ethical way in PR.
We are a partner-member of the Public Relations Communications Association. This means that as students you get:
- Unlimited and free access to PRCA online training courses to add to your academic programme.
- The opportunity to get a PRCA Online Certificate
- Free access to networking events.
- Opportunities to enhance your professional development by attending panels, masterclasses and training sessions.
- You will gain an advanced knowledge of the relevant theories of public relations which explain and debate its significance.
- You will learn about the history of the role of public relations in the media.
- You will acquire an advanced understanding of the functioning of public relations in the contemporary media.
- You will gain the knowledge and skills necessary to undertake advanced scholarly research in the field of media and public relations.
- You will develop the knowledge and skills necessary to plan creative PR campaigns.
Contact our Enquiries team.
Course Enquiries: +44 (0)1895 265599 (before you submit an application)
Admissions Office: +44 (0)1895 265265 (after you submit an application)
The MA consists of both compulsory and optional modules, a typical selection can be found below. Modules can vary from year to year, but these offer a good idea of what we teach.
Key Issues in Media and Public Relations
This module will provide students with the essential background to the theories and debates that can help us understand public relations and its relationship to media and culture.
How does PR shape the media and how does the media shape PR? We explore how concepts drawn from cultural studies can help us understand the context of PR as one of contests between different values and perspectives.
The module examines what has been happening to the media in recent decades and the impact of social media on the media and PR. You engage with semiotic analysis of visual communication, with brand theory and the political economy of public relations. We look at crisis communications and how different types of organisations use PR including NGOs and the Third Sector as well as political activists and ‘culture jammers’.
This module has a particular emphasis on how public relations works in the film and television industries. We look at the relationship between PR and marketing, the role of celebrities, social media, product placement and crisis communications in the culture industries.
The module also begins to teach you some practical skills in public relations skills and develop your ability for PR content creation.
Public Relations Propaganda and Spin
This module explores how public relations emerged as part of the burgeoning propaganda industry in the early part of the twentieth century and how even today, powerful organisations, including state actors and corporations, utilise PR as forms of propaganda.
We explore how the shaping of public opinion and perception is clearly a matter of political significance. PR as propaganda can be observed at work in relation to war, consumerism and the promotion of global free market economics. The module looks at theories of specific media and their role in persuasion, such as the press and film and we look at recent trends in political communications.
Building a PR Campaign
This module will provide students with the advanced knowledge, skills and understanding necessary to build a PR campaign and to critically reflect on the role of the PR campaign in the knowledge economy and their own practice.
Students will develop the practical skills in lobbying, press releases, campaign building and related practices. The module will provide students with an understanding of the changing nature of public relations today and the impact of the processes of globalisation and the rise of social media on the practices of public relations.
The module will also provide students with a critical understanding of the expansion of PR across a range of social and media institutions and the effect that this has had on the practices of public relations.
Media and Public Relations Major Project 1
Media and Public Relations Major Project 2
The dissertation module enables students to produce a substantial piece of research on a topic agreed with a supervisor in the area of Media and Public Relations.
You will be able to develop your research from the knowledge and skills you were introduced to at an advanced level on the taught modules and you can choose to develop an area of specific interest.
Students can choose between a long theoretical dissertation (Major Project 1) or a project which combines a practical PR campaign with a shorter dissertation (Major Project 2). You will develop your independent research and study skills under the guidance of an academic expert.
Read more about the structure of postgraduate degrees at Brunel and what you will learn on the course.
Read more about the structure of postgraduate degrees at Brunel
and what you will learn on the course.
- The rise of the political spin doctor.
- An examination of the role of spin in the contemporary relationship between politicians and the media.
- The role of public relations in the media management of a specific political campaign.
- The televised leadership debates in the 2010 General Election.
- Public relations and public diplomacy in times of war: selling ‘humanitarian intervention’.
- Selling an unpopular war: the ‘dodgy dossier’.
- Famous for fifteen minutes: PR agents, pseudo-events and the making of celebrities.
- The greatest PR disaster in corporate history: McLibel.
- Coming attractions: trailers, posters and the shaping of expectations in Hollywood marketing.
- Niche-marketing and reputation in independent, art or cult cinema.
- Marketing 2.0: the use of social media in the selling of contemporary low-budget films.
Careers and your future
Recent graduates have been employed as:
- Communications Officers for NGOs
- Events Officers
- Self-employed PR consultants
At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.
» More about Employability
Entry criteria 2019/20
A 2:2 (or above) UK Honours degree, or equivalent internationally recognised qualification, in Social Sciences; Law; Humanties; Arts or Business.
Other subjects and qualifications will be considered with relevant work experience.
- Applicants may be required to attend an interview
Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.
International and EU entry requirements
If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions
This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.
English language requirements
- IELTS: 6.5 (min 6 in all areas)
- Pearson: 58 (51 in all subscores)
- BrunELT: 65% (min 60% in all areas)
You can find out more about the qualifications we accept on our English Language Requirements page.
If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, you must prove knowledge of the English language so that we can issue you a Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS). To do this, you will need an IELTS for UKVI or Trinity SELT test pass gained from a test centre approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and on the Secure English Language Testing (SELT) list. This must have been taken and passed within two years from the date the CAS is made.
Should you wish to take a pre-sessional English course to improve your English prior to starting your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider for the same reason.
We offer our own BrunELT English Test and have pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet requirements or who wish to improve their English. You can find out more information on English courses and test options at the Brunel Language Centre.
Teaching and learning
The Media and Public Relations MA is taught through lectures, seminars, workshops, screenings and industry speakers.
Assessment and feedback
The MA will be assessed through a combination of essays, reports, case studies, campaign design and a dissertation.
- The academic study of public relations and the media is very new and this MA puts us at the forefront of this development. Most of the MAs in Britain either focus on corporate public relations and are either predominantly practical or are theoretical courses that sit within more traditional mass communications curriculum and focus on the important area of political communications and the news media. Our MA is innovative because it combines theory and practice.
- We are a partner-member of the Public Relations Communications Association.
- Also innovative is our combined examination of the impact of public relations on the media and the use of public relations practices within media organisations including film, TV and other news organisations, with particular reference to their promotional cultures. This provides students with a broad and advanced understanding of the relationship between public relations and the media.
- We have experts teaching on the course with both theoretical and practical experience. This programme has grown out of the research interests and expertise of the team, giving it a distinctive character.
- The focus on PR within the media will range from that of large corporations to smaller-scale, alternative forms including ‘DIY’ practices employed directly by lower-budget producers via social media and other online channels, key areas of contemporary development in PR and marketing more generally.
Fees and funding
Fees for 2019/20 entry
£8,000 full-time; £4,000 part-time
£16,850 full-time; £8,425 part-time
Some courses incur additional course related costs. You can also check our on-campus accommodation costs for more information on living expenses.
Read about funding opportunities available to postgraduate students
UK/EU students can opt to pay in six equal monthly instalments: the first instalment is payable on enrolment and the remaining five by Direct Debit or credit/debit card.
Overseas students can opt to pay in two instalments: 60% on enrolment, and 40% in January for students who commence their course in September (or the remaining 40% in March for selected courses that start in January).
Fees quoted are per year and may be subject to an annual increase. Home/EU undergraduate student fees are regulated and are currently capped at £9,250 per year; any changes will be subject to changes in government policy. International and postgraduate fees will increase annually in line with RPI, or 5%, whichever is the lesser.
There is a range of financial support available to help you fund your studies. Find out about postgraduate student funding options.