Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Media and Communication

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MA Public Relations and Society

Public relations is a growing presence in daily life. It’s behind much of the news and websites we read, the social media we follow and brands we choose to buy. It shapes how we see the world around us. This programme examines the social, political, cultural and economic functions and consequences of PR.

Core modules explore theoretical perspectives applied to PR within communication and cultural studies, and introduce you to its role as a cultural intermediary. You’ll learn to deconstruct the strategies and tactics of PR campaigns and understand how they affect both the organisations that use them and their social and cultural contexts.

You can also tailor this programme to suit you: you’ll choose from optional modules to gain specialist knowledge of topics such as new media, political communication, photography or communication and development. This isn’t a practical training course – instead it offers an insight into the way PR changes how we live, work and relate to each other.

Our School has a range of fantastic facilities to support your studies. The 58-seat Phil Taylor Cinema is equipped with Dolby Digital sound and high-definition projection facilities, as well as projectors for 16mm and 35mm film.
You can also work on your own projects in our 44 editing suites, equipped with Avid Media Composer editing software and Adobe Creative Cloud. The fully equipped TV studio also has a large green screen area, lighting and photo-flash facilities. We also have a track and dolly, sliders, Glidecam and various cranes, and you’ll have access to a new photographic dark room.
We also run a loans service where you can borrow a range of HD digital camcorders and various Canon stills cameras to help with your project work.


The programme is based around two core modules that develop your understanding of PR and its role in contemporary society. You’ll think about PR as a cultural force, exploring theories and research in the field to apply them to different PR campaigns. As you investigate the relationships between PR, the media, politics and commerce, you’ll consider PR practices as they relate to other communications functions like branding, and advertising.

On top of this, you’ll build specialist knowledge through your choice of optional modules. These vary every year, but can include topics such as television narrative, media and globalisation, urban narratives, and media and democratisation. The optional modules allow you to focus on topics that suit your own interests or perhaps reflect your career plans.

Throughout the year, you’ll also be preparing for your dissertation through the Dissertation and Research Methods module. Your dissertation is a major independent research project on a topic of your choice, which you submit at the end of the year.

If you choose to study part-time, you’ll complete the MA over two years, instead of one, taking fewer modules each year.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Public Relations Theory 30 credits
  • Public Relations, Culture and Society 30 credits
  • Dissertation and Research Methods 60 credits

Optional modules

  • Technology, Media and Critical Literacy 30 credits
  • Communication and International Affairs 30 credits
  • Feminism, Identity and Media 30 credits
  • Media, Culture and Globalisation 30 credits
  • International Film Industries 30 credits
  • The Media and Democratisation: Global Perspectives 30 credits
  • The Reporting of Politics 30 credits
  • Innovations in Political Communication 30 credits
  • Politics and the Media 30 credits
  • Communication and Public Opinion 30 credits
  • Multimedia Journalism 30 credits
  • Communication and Development 30 credits
  • The Cultural History of Promotional Communication 30 credits
  • Radio Technologies, Industries and Cultures 30 credits
  • Identity, Culture and Technology 30 credits
  • Urban Narratives 30 credits
  • Cultures of Contemporary Photography 30 credits
  • Cinematics and Photography 30 credits
  • Integrated Communication 30 credits
  • Rhetoric and Public Speaking 15 credits
  • Managing Business Across Cultures 15 credits
  • International Organisations: Context, Theory and Practice 15 credits
  • Writing for Professional Purposes 15 credits
  • Critical Debates in Culture and Place 30 credits
  • 'Race', Identity and Culture in the Black Atlantic 30 credits
  • Researching Inequality in the Media 30 credits
  • Reality TV: Truth or Fiction? 30 credits

Learning and teaching

MA modules will use a range of teaching and learning methods including lectures, group learning and project work, seminars, tutorials and workshops. Independent study is also crucial to this degree, as an opportunity to deepen your knowledge of the subjects introduced in lectures and seminars, and to develop your skills in analysis and research. You should anticipate spending at least 20 hours per week on independent study associated with your modules.

Assessment

Assessment methods may vary depending on the modules you choose. They’re likely to include essays, case analyses, group projects and reports. Optional modules may even use literature reviews, campaign reports or even video and photography projects.


Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in a social sciences or humanities subject. Relevant professional experience will also be considered.

Applications based on degrees in other subjects will be considered on an individual basis by the programme leader. We recommend that if you do not have a degree in social sciences or humanities, you submit a brief personal statement explaining why you should be offered a place on the programme.

International qualifications

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information contact the School of Media and Communication admissions team.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

If English is not your first language, you may be able to take a pre-sessional course before you begin your studies. This can help if you:

  • don't meet the English language requirements for your course or
  • want to improve your understanding of academic language and practices in your area of study.

Our pre-sessional courses are designed with a progression route to the degree programme and are tailored to the subject area. For information and entry requirements, read Language for Communication and Society (6 weeks) and Language for Social Science and Arts: Communication and Society (10 weeks).

How to apply

This link takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.
 
If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Documents and information you need

Two references – at least one of these should be academic

Your degree certificate and transcripts, or a partial transcript if you’re still studying

Your most recent CV

If English is not your first language, you’ll need to provide evidence of your English language qualifications.


Admissions policy

School of Media and Communication Taught Postgraduate Admissions Policy

Fees

UK/EU: £6,750 (total)

International: £16,750 (total)

Read more about paying fees and charges.

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Part-time fees are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs

Scholarships and financial support

Each year the School offers four part-fee bursaries to Home and EU students with an excellent academic record. Another four are available to International students who are liable to pay fees at the full cost rate for international students.

The School also offers an Academic Excellence bursary equivalent to 10% of the Home-EU fee for all alumni who achieved a first-class undergraduate degree. This can be claimed in addition to the University of Leeds Alumni Bursary.

You’ll need to submit a bursary application form to be considered for either award.

Read more about MA Fees and Scholarships in the School of Media and Communication.

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.


Career opportunities

This is not a practical training course, but it gives you a real insight into the construction, influence and impact of PR in a range of contexts.

You’ll also acquire or refine high-level skills in areas such as research, analysis, interpretation and oral and written communication, as well as having good cultural, political and critical awareness.

You’ll be well prepared for a career in PR or public affairs in a wide range of sectors, working in-house for large or small organisations or in an agency context. There are also opportunities for PR professionals in specialist sectors such as finance or the non-profit sector.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. Thats one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.


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