Manchester Metropolitan University


Public Relations and Media Management

2017 entry

Features and benefits of the course

  • The programme is taught by industry professionals and highly experienced tutors, who are able to draw upon their substantial experience in public relations.
  • This is an innovative online, interactive and part-time course which has been specifically designed for busy PR professionals to study alongside their working lives or for those wanting to move into the public relations industry.
  • Students can study this course from anywhere in the UK or overseas, from their own home or office environment.
  • Units are delivered using a unique blend of live delivery, webinar and web-based learning platforms.
  • Students will study four core units (30 credits each) on the programme plus undertake a Dissertation (60 credits).
  • You can choose to undertake a Consultancy Dissertation and base your research around your employer, a client, an industry or even a prospective employer. We encourage you to use the Dissertation strategically to conduct original research that will enhance your career prospects.
  • Each unit lasts for one semester over 4-5 months. This comprises 10 teaching weeks with mid-semester breaks followed by 6 weeks for assessment preparation.
  • On average, you can expect to engage in approximately 2 hours of online teaching and tutorials per week, which you will need to supplement with your own reading, preparation and assessment work. This may vary depending on the unit studied and an individual student’s work rate but you can expect an approximate study time of 10-12 hours per week. 
  • Each unit is preceded by two integral Foundation Days, which will introduce you to each topic area and the assignments, and provide an opportunity to engage with tutors and network with fellow practitioners in workshops and discussions. These sessions will be recorded so that students unable to attend can access the material online.  An Induction Day will also be available before your first unit of study to familiarise you with the University and online course delivery.
  • Each unit will include regular contact with tutors and fellow students plus an Assignment Support Session to help you prepare for the assessments.
  • If you are a mature student with relevant professional qualifications or you have previously studied for a postgraduate certificate or diploma, you may be eligible for an advanced standing route on this programme.
  • Through advanced standing we can give you academic credit for your current qualifications. Consequently you only need to study selected units and can achieve an MSc in a shorter time frame. The tuition fees for this route are also lower because you only pay for the units you need to take rather than having to study all the units for the MSc.
  • Practitioners holding a CIPR Diploma in Public Relations are exempt up to 60 credits for this course. This means you are exempt from taking units 1 and 3, and so can join the course at unit 2 stage. Please see below for more details.
  • This course is pending approval by the Chartered Institution of Public Relations (CIPR). We have CIPR Accreditation for all other public relations courses at MMU. We are also a partner university of the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA).
  • As a PR student at MMU, you can gain FREE student membership of the PRCA whilst on the programme, with a range of benefits including access to professional conferences and training.
  • The programme is based in the the internationally recognised multi-award-winning Business School on All Saints Campus in central Manchester. This is where the Foundation Days will be conducted.  Watch the video to find out more.
  • The course will help position you as a 'plus-two' candidate capable of rapid promotion through a strong portfolio of professional skills as well as academic theory.
  • PR Blog - read our PR blog to find out more about some of the activities on current public relations courses at MMU.
  • Access to a strong network of professional mentors and guest speakers.
  • Access to our MMU PR network of practitioners and alumni on LinkedIn at: offering contacts, work experience and employment opportunities.
  • Access to our international alumni network of graduates working in public relations.
  • Access to our dedicated course Facebook page which as a closed group enables you to interact with fellow students and enhance your professional network by connecting with experienced PR and communications academics and practitioners from the UK and around the world. 

Accreditations, Awards and Endorsements

About the course

Units on the programme will cover the following themes:

  • Unit 1 - Public Relations Theory and Strategy 
  • Unit 2 - Strategy and Planning for Digital and Social Media Communications
  • Unit 3 - Corporate Reputation and Media Management
  • Unit 4 - Leadership and Management in Public Relations
  • Unit 5 - Research Project or Dissertation

Typical units of study may include

Year 1

Public Relations Theory, Strategy and Planning

Public Relations Theory, Strategy and Planning aims to provide you with an understanding of the basic PR and communications concepts and theories underlying modern public relations practice, as well as some of the broader key theories of strategy and planning which underpin PR as an academic subject and practical career path.  It examines the way organisations use communication and PR in building relationships with their various stakeholder groups and examines the development and management of effective PR campaigns.  It also examines the range of techniques available to practitioners, and the ways in which these techniques can be employed to address a variety of different issues /problems.

The unit covers three key areas:

  • Communications Theory: Models of linear communication; persuasive communications; identifying stakeholder groups and defining publics; network theory.
  • Public Relations Strategy: PR audit and determination of issues; defining objectives, defining audience and message themes.
  • Campaign Planning: Planning structure and format; integrating communications planning; campaign scheduling and budgeting; researching and evaluating campaign effectiveness.

Strategy and Planning for Digital and Social Media Communications

The digital skills gap is widely recognised as a major barrier to organisations maximising the benefits of successful digital marketing and communications.  This unit integrates digital and social media into organisational communication campaigns. It reviews emerging techniques and assesses their impact within integrated media communication. Learn from digital marketing specialists – each with active practitioner experience in their fields, such as email marketing, search, social media, mobile. On completion, you should be able to spot challenges, opportunities and key factors in the successful planning of a successful digital marketing and social media communications strategy.  

This unit covers three key areas:

  • Digital & Social Media Communications Strategy: Customer acquisition strategy; Developing the digital and social media proposition; user experience, customer effectiveness, experience design and usability.
  • The Digital and Social Media Channel: Search Engine Marketing and PPC; Affiliates; e-mail marketing, mobile applications and mobile futures; approaches to social media marketing. Contemporary and best practice tool use and management
  • Digital & Social Media Communications Campaign Planning: Acquisition and retention planning; Developing digital and social relationships, customer retention and value analysis; managing digital and social media customer value; digital and social analytics, engagement, ROI, ROE, campaign evaluation.

Corporate Reputation and Media Management 

The importance of corporate reputation and media management is increasingly recognised, in part due to the increased social, political, and consumer pressures experienced by organisations to act and to be seen to act in a more socially responsible manner and pay far greater attention to the way their activities impact on society and influence public opinion.  This unit provides you with an understanding of corporate reputation, and key concepts and theories underlying current corporate reputation management practice, as well as some of the broader theories regarding corporate image and identity, corporate branding and corporate communications which underpin corporate reputation as an academic subject.  It also examines media relationship management and explores the journalist/PR practitioner relationship, as well as strategic media relations management. It further explores media law and practice from the perspective of both public and private sector PR specialists, as well as examining media law, media regulation post-Leveson, and the increasingly important area of legal aspects of social and digital media.

This unit covers three areas:

  • Corporate Reputation Management: Managing corporate culture, image, identity and reputation; corporate branding;  relationship management;  integrated communications;  issues and crisis management , including minimising online crises; evaluation and accountability
  • Managing Media Relationships: Strategic media relations management; journalist/PR practitioner relationship management;  monitoring and evaluating media effectiveness
  • Media Law and Practice: Perspectives for public and private sector PR specialists; media law;  media regulation post-Leveson;  legal aspects of social and digital media.

Leadership and Consultancy Management 

This element comprises two smaller units - Leadership and Management Practice in PR (15 credits) and Business Research and Consultancy Skills (Research Methods) (15 credits). Leadership and Management Practice analyses the practical application of higher-level public relations skills in leadership and management, focusing on the language of management, ethics and professionalism. Business Research and Consultancy Skills (Research Methods) will develop your critical thinking, reflective writing and other study skills, including analysis and referencing, in order to successfully study at Masters level. In particular, it will introduce you to both academic and business research methods needed to develop a successful research brief or dissertation proposal.

This unit covers three areas:

  • Leadership and Management: Leadership and management theory;  what leadership means in PR; thought leadership; managing creative teams; language of leadership; budgetary and resource management; influencing management at strategic levels
  • Ethics and Professionalism:  Principles of ethics, codes and guidance; ethics in public relations; corporate social responsibility; professionalism; networks; accountability; CPD
  • Business Research and Consultancy Skills: Research methods; developing a research strategy; qualitative and quantitative research methods; primary and secondary data collection and analysis; planning a research project.

Public Relations Research Project or Dissertation

A Master’s research project or dissertation is intended to test your ability to produce a substantial, original, and independent piece of scholarly work. It should also demonstrate your awareness and understanding of the relevant theories and schools of thought associated with the chosen topic, and demonstrate your ability to identify relevant sources of information and to analyse their value in relation to the topic being investigated.

MMU Business School recognises four approaches or orientations for a Master’s research project or dissertation: empirically-based, library-based, enterprise-based and consultancy-based.

You can work within a single organisation or within multiple organisations when conducting your Masters research. An interesting approach, for example, involves making a comparison of the practices prevalent in a number of organisations.  The aim is to establish how the practices are similar and how they differ with a view to making recommendations about which (or which combination) is most appropriate in different situations.

You may choose to look at two or three separate employers in some depth, or at a dozen or so in less depth.  Either approach is feasible provided sufficient data is collected to enable you to produce a Masters level research project or dissertation.  It will usually be appropriate to focus on organisations which have something in common so that the comparisons you make between them have some purpose.  You might for example want to look at public relations consultancies working in a specific sector (sports, fashion, business etc), or at in-house public relations practices in different private sectors (property, business, pharmaceutical etc) or in the charity sector, or the public sector (e.g. councils, the police, hospitals and so on). You could also focus on international public relations – for example, comparing public relations practices in two or more countries and exploring cultural influences. Or you may want to research key areas and challenges relating to current public relations practice – such as gender issues, crisis communications, public affairs and lobbying, the often-tense relationship with journalists, the impact of social media, and many more topics. Whatever the orientation of your research project or dissertation, it remains important that it is grounded on a specific body of academic literature and that this informs your research objectives.

PR Practitioners – if you are currently working for an organisation, whether in-house or consultancy, or running your own business, you may wish to consider carrying out a Consultancy Dissertation. Here, you can base your research on a particular organisation or company – maybe your own or that of a client – and conduct original research into a specific business problem or area. This is usually done in consultation with that organisation or company, and incorporates both an academic and practical business outcome, such as a set of recommendations or a strategic plan.

As well as providing you with an opportunity to position yourself as an ‘expert’ in a particular field which you will have researched in-depth and where you have (usually) collected primary data, the research project or dissertation is an excellent way of demonstrating to your employer and/or your client not only your research and analysis skills and ability to work independently on a major piece of work at an advanced academic level, but that you hold valuable and original knowledge about a key area of public relations practice. Such a piece of original research work can also be highly valuable and extremely useful from a business perspective to the particular organisation or company studied. Previous students have found their dissertation to be a deciding factor in furthering their career in public relations.

The number of units you study will depend on if you choose the PgCert (60 credits), PgDip (120 credits) or MSc (120 credits of units + 60 credit dissertation).

Programme Review

Each programme of study that we offer undergoes an annual review to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. In addition, we undertake a major review of the programme, normally at 6-yearly intervals, but this can take place at a more frequent interval where required. Applicants should note that the programme currently provided may be subject to change as a result of the review process. We only make changes where we consider it necessary to do so or where we feel that certain changes are in the best interests of students and to enhance the quality of provision. Occasionally, we have to make changes for reasons outside our control. Where there are changes which may materially affect the current programme content and/or structure, offer holders will be informed.

Assessment details

The assessment for each unit on this course is as follows:

Unit 1 - Public Relations Theory and Strategy 

Individual assessment – 50%.  Business Report and Presentation - you will research and present a public relations campaign strategy in response to a live or notional issue and present your conclusions in a presentation and written report.

Individual assessment – 50%.  Theoretical Rationale – you will write a theoretical rationale justifying the campaign plan in terms of public relations and communication theory.

Unit 2 - Strategy and Planning for Digital and Social Media Communications

Individual assessment – 100%  Assessed through one piece of coursework, you will be required to create a report containing a variety of deliverables that combine online media components, such as blog content, infographics, and dynamic content such as video, to reflect current and contemporary communications tools.

Unit 3 - Corporate Reputation and Media Management 

Business Report – 50%. You will compile a business report recommending a corporate reputation management strategy for a specific organisation.

Case Study Response – 50%. You will provide a critical response to a given case study presenting a media relations strategy incorporating media law perspectives.

Unit 4 - Leadership and Consultancy Management 

Leadership and Management Practice in PR:

  • Podcast and Notes – 50%.  You will create a podcast to demonstrate your leadership skills and language, evidenced by an academic rationale for your argument.
  • Online Critical Reflection – 50%.  You will complete an online critical assessment.

Unit 5 - Public Relations Research Project or Dissertation

Individual research proposal - 15%.  You will normally create this using a pro-forma.

Individual research project or dissertation – 85%. 15,000 words maximum

Teaching Staff

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject. Details of departmental staff can be found at:

Typical entry requirements

Typical entry requirements

Normally a good UK honours degree (minimum 2:2), or international equivalent, in any subject. We will consider your application if you have significant, relevant experience or degree equivalent professional qualifications.

Applicants whose first language is not English (and whose first degree was not taught in English) are required to produce evidence of English Language proficiency to TEFL minimum score 600 (minimum 4.0 in written test) or IELTS normal score 7.0 [ must achieve 6.5 minimum in written English ].

Applicants who have an IELTS score of 6.5 may be considered for enrolment provided they successfully complete an approved MMU English Language course.

If you are a mature student with relevant professional qualifications or you have previously studied for a postgraduate certificate or diploma, you may be eligible for an advanced standing route on this programme.

Through advanced standing we can give you academic credit for your current qualifications. Consequently you only need to study selected units and can achieve an MSc in a shorter timeframe. The tuition fees for this route are also lower because you only pay for the units you need to take rather than having to study all the units for the MSc.

Practitioners holding a CIPR Diploma in Public Relations are exempt up to 60 credits for this course, and as a result will need to undertake just 2 units plus the Dissertation to achieve the MSc.

For further information about the course email

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

How do I apply for this course?

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Please note it is not possible to apply online if you want to apply for the advanced standing route for this programme.

Apply online now

If you are unable to apply online, you can apply for full- and part-time taught courses by completing the postgraduate application form. There are exceptions for some professional courses – the course information on our on-line prospectus will give you more information in these cases.

Please note: to apply for this course, you only need to provide one reference.

Career options after the course

Public relations and communications are rapidly evolving and growing industries, with a need for professionals with higher level management and leadership skills.

Graduates from professional level PR courses at Manchester Met Business School have an excellent record in career progression.  Many have reported promotion in their own organisations or appointment to more senior posts in other organisations, in some cases before completing the course.   

The types of role we expect graduates to progress to or enhance are: PR account manager/director; communications manager/director; corporate reputation manager/director; media relations manager/director; digital PR manager/director; senior positions in strategic communications; or self-employment in public relations.

This course will help position you as a 'plus-two' candidate capable of rapid promotion through a strong portfolio of professional skills as well as academic theory.

Confirmation of Regulator

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.

Important Notice

This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate and up to date. Please note that our programmes are subject to review and development on an ongoing basis. Changes may sometimes be necessary. For example, to comply with the requirements of professional or accrediting bodies or as a result of student feedback or external examiners’ reports. We also need to ensure that our courses are dynamic and current and that the content and structure maintain academic standards and enhance the quality of the student experience.

Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us.

The provision of education by the University is subject to terms and conditions of enrollment and contract. The current Terms and Conditions Applicable to the provision of the University’s Educational Services are available online. When a student enrolls with us, their study and registration at the University will be governed by various regulations, policies and procedures. It is important that applicants/students familiarize themselves with our Terms and Conditions and the Key Contract Documents referred to within. Applicants will be provided with access to an up to date version at offer stage. This can be found within the Information for Offer Holders document.