Manchester Metropolitan University


Public Relations and Digital Communications

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. 
  • Foundation Days will be conducted at Manchester Met Business School in Manchester.  Watch the video to find out more.
  • Applicants who already hold a CIPR Diploma in Public Relations are eligible to gain 50% of this programme (one unit), which means they can complete the qualification in a shorter amount of time. 
  • This is an innovative new 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.
  • You can study this course from anywhere in the UK or overseas, from your own home or office environment.
  • Units are delivered using a unique blend of webinars and web-based learning platforms.
  • You will study two core units (30 credits each) on the programme.
  • 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 two 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 your individual 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. 
  • You will take part in live webinars with tutors and fellow students, bringing a virtual classroom to your own home or office.
  • Each session will be recorded, allowing you the opportunity to access the material at a later stage, and as frequently as you require.
  • 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 Manchester Met, 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 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:

  • Public Relations Theory and Strategy 
  • Strategy and Planning for Digital and Social Media Communications

Public Relations Theory and Strategy

Public Relations Theory and Strategy 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.

By the end of the unit, you will be able to:

  • Critically reflect on key perspectives of public relations theory and practice
  • Analyse the significance of differing models of public relations and communications practice
  • Understand and evaluate the debates about relationships between public relations and other functions, notably marketing
  • Devise, justify and develop an appropriate public relations strategy for handling organisational stakeholder relationships
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of written, visual and oral communication in its various forms and the ability to produce appropriate communications materials for a variety of media
  • Analyse and formulate campaign planning solutions to a range of complex PR problems
  • Develop creative communication/persuasive messages and presentation skills
  • Demonstrate effective team working and team leadership

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. This unit is taught by MMU on professional marketing courses, including the pioneering MSc qualifications offered by Econsultancy. 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.

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • Develop your understanding and appreciation of the role of digital marketing and social media communications.
  • Critically apply best practices in digital and social media communications
  • Gain the experience of developing an integrated communications strategy for an organization
  • Develop a critical awareness of the process of increasing the effectiveness digital and social media communications
  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of the capability of digital and social media communications components
  • Demonstrate an understanding of customers and stakeholders in the communications process
  • Appreciate the importance of integrating digital marketing with other channels.
  • Identify sources of data to inform your decision making and help present a persuasive business case.
  • Understand the ever-growing importance of measurement and evaluation – and not just web analytics.


To download the full unit specification for the Postgraduate Certificate in Public Relations and Digital Communications course click here.

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

Public Relations Theory and Strategy (PRTS)

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.

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.

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

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].

 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 a PG Cert in a shorter timeframe. The tuition fees for this route are also lower because you only pay for the unit you need to take rather than having to study all the units for the PG Cert.

Practitioners holding a CIPR Diploma in Public Relations are exempt Unit 1 (30 credits) for this course, and as a result will need to undertake Unit 2 to achieve the PG Cert.

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.

Apply online now

Advanced Standing

If your qualifications are relevant, you may be eligible for ‘entry with advanced standing'. This entry route gives academic credit for your current qualifications. 

Please note, advanced standing applications cannot be made using the apply online feature. If this applies to you, please instead complete the Postgraduate Application Form.

Career options after the course

Public relations and digital communications are rapidly evolving and growing industries, with a need for professionals who possess the latest skills. Graduates from professional-level PR and digital courses at Manchester Met Business School have an excellent record in career progression, and substantially improve their employability skills required for these dynamic sectors.

The types of role we expect graduates to progress to or enhance are: PR account executive; PR account manager; digital PR manager; digital project manager; or self-employment in the public relations or digital area. We are affiliated with the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) through the PRCA Partner University initiative.

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.