Public Relations and Corporate Communications MA

Why choose this course?

Our Public Relations and Corporate Communications MA is a highly specialised and focussed programme designed for those who want to pursue a career in the broader field of corporate communications and public relations. This includes working for an agency or in-house for a company or organisation. Roles may include PR manager, internal/external communications or investor relations.

Over the course of the programme, you will learn to:

  • Identify and understand different stakeholder groups and markets, enabling you to develop effective communication styles for clients of a multitude of different educational or cultural backgrounds;
  • Understand value and competitive advantage;
  • Utilise the latest research in corporate and marketing communications and adapt this to a practical setting through workshops and projects;
  • Understand best practice in relation to marketing communications in general and, more specifically, corporate and public communications.
Mode Duration Start date
Full time 1 year September 2022
Full time 2 years including professional placement September 2022
Location Kingston Hill

2021/22 entry

If you are planning to join this course in the academic year 2021/22 (i.e. between August 2021 and July 2022), please view the information about changes to courses for 2021/22 due to Covid-19.

 

Continuing students

Students who are continuing their studies with Kingston University in 2021/22 should refer to their Course Handbook for information about specific changes that have been, or may be, made to their course or modules being delivered in 2021/22. Course Handbooks are located within the Canvas Course page.

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • Though collaboration with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), the course features a bespoke programme of professional development. This will set you on the path to becoming an accredited CIPR practitioner.
  • You will benefit from our connections with senior practitioners in the industry who share their expertise during guest lectures.
  • Kingston Business School is one of only five per cent of the world's business schools to be accredited by AACSB International.
  • Free car parking at the Kingston Hill campus is available for students of this course. The campus can also be easily accessed by public transport. Halls accommodation is just a walk away from the classrooms.

Kingston Business School Accreditations

Kingston Business School holds the prestigious international accreditation by the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) in recognition of the excellence of its business education. This accreditation has been earned by just 5% of the world's business schools and recognises the high quality and standard of our business degree offering.

Kingston Business School Accreditations

Accreditation

Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)

Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)

Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)

Accredited by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR): Through our unique collaboration with the CIPR we have embedded a bespoke programme of professional development into the course structure. This will set you on the path to becoming an Accredited CIPR Practitioner, adding value to your CV and marking you out as an industry expert.

What our students say

My course has provided me with career guidance from expert industry professionals, it has helped me grow and learn, preparing me to become a successful public relations officer.

Stuti Misra, Public Relations and Corporate Communications MA

Stuti Misra, Public Relations and Corporate Communications MA

Grace, a Public Relations and Corporate Communications Master's student from Belgium talks about what she is looking forward to as a KU student.

What you will study

With the kind of practical, hands-on learning experiences that encourage flexible thinking, and a fundamental basis in business and marketing rather than journalism, our MA in Public Relations and Corporate Communications will help propel you into a range of high-level careers in challenging or commercial environments. We enable our students to graduate with the ability to effectively adapt their communications technique to succeed in any cultural, social, commercial or non-profit context.

Year 1

Year 2 (optional placement year)

The Public Relations and Corporate Communications MA is made up of six core modules worth a total of 180 credits.

Core modules

Managing Cross-Cultural and Internal Communications

30 credits

This module combines two key elements: cross-cultural communications and internal communications management. Cross-cultural communications involves the study of issues and problems which arise when people from different cultural backgrounds interact and when organisations interact with different foreign cultures. Internal communications encompasses the planning and managing of multidirectional communication within a business to ensure that employees are informed, engaged and can fully contribute to the achievement of organisational goals and strategy and the development of investor relations. An understanding and competence in both areas are essential for success in today's increasingly global environment.

The aims of this module are to build students' understanding of cross-cultural awareness and effective internal communication leading them to success in organisations and to equip them to develop and implement communication plans that meet the needs of organisations and people operating in fast-changing business environments. It is delivered through a combination of lectures, case studies, group presentations and individual assignments. The importance of this subject increases with increasing globalisation and will have a major impact on the students' future work experience and career development.

Marketing Communications

15 credits

The module is relevant to all students who want to equip themselves for a career in marketing communications, either on the agency or client side. Marketing communications involves planning, organising, managing and evaluating communications between a company or organisation and its stakeholders. It traditionally involves the integration of advertising, sales promotion, public relations and interactive marketing. This module ensures that you understand the practical issues involved in creating effective integrated communications plans which incorporate both traditional and innovative elements. It also builds an understanding of the theoretical issues which underpin effective communications.

The module is delivered via lectures, in-class exercises, workshops, electronic learning and is supported by guest speakers. There is a strong emphasis on student-centred learning and you will be regularly asked to contribute to sessions with discussion of research projects, presentations and practical assignments.

Public Relations Strategy

30 credits

The module is relevant to students who want to equip themselves for a career in marketing communications, either on the agency or client side. Public relations is the discipline which looks after reputation - for individuals, products, organisations, governments even countries. This module comprises an in-depth examination of the theory of public relations and the application of its tools and techniques in building and maintaining reputation to an advanced level. In addition, the module considers a range of specialisms and market sector applications within the PR domain, along with potential future developments. It is delivered through a combination of lectures, guest speakers, case study tutorials and group presentations.

You will combine theoretical perspectives and practical applications to ensure that you develop the rigorous research and analytical skills essential for a career in marketing communications. There is a strong emphasis on student-centred learning with regular research projects, presentations and practical assignments.

Market Research and Data Analysis

30 credits

This module will help you understand the elements of effective market research. You will:

  • collect primary data that is valid and reliable for management purposes; and
  • develop practical skills in data analysis to transform this raw data into information that guides marketing decisions.

 

This module can act as a launch pad for a career in market research within the wider marketing industry. The skills you learn in this module also prepare you for your dissertation. You will learn to:

  • critically evaluate commercial and academic published research;
  • construct and execute a programme of research; and
  • analyse and present the results.

 

The module is delivered through a combination of class sessions, workshops and computer mediated practical sessions covering both quantitative and quantitative aspects of data collection and analysis.

Research Proposal and Dissertation

60 credits

You will research a specific area of marketing in depth by indentifying a topical issue or problem using appropriate theory and research methods. You will put the knowledge you've developed during the course to the test by writing a research proposal and dissertation that combine academic rigour with practical marketing implications. You will then communicate these findings as you would do in the workplace – by writing a management report.

This module teaches you how to select appropriate research methods and leads to a theoretically-grounded research project which generates findings that inform management decisions. It will teach you to apply your research skills and gain experience managing a large-scale research project. These advanced research skills will prepare you for a highly adaptable career in marketing, and differentiate you as a future business leader.

Managing Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development

15 credits

This module will help you develop a critical understanding of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainable development (SD), and recognise their development and growing importance. You will learn contrasting methods while you evaluate CSR and SD practices as applied to various business functions and how to manage organisations and their activities in a socially responsible way.

The professional placement year is optional. It takes place after the full-time year. It allows students to do a 12-month work placement as part of their course. The work placement is an assessed part of the course and is therefore covered by a Tier 4 visa.

Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme.

Core module

Professional Placement

120 credits

The Professional Placement module is a core module for those students following a Master's programme that incorporates an extended professional placement that follows completion of the first 180 credits of taught modules and project or dissertation. It provides students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in an appropriate working environment, and to develop and enhance key employability skills and subject specific skills in their chosen subject.

It is the responsibility of individual students to locate and secure a suitable placement opportunity; this will normally involve one placement which must be completed over a minimum period of 10 months and within a maximum of 12 months. The placement must be approved by the module leader prior to commencement to ensure its suitability.

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

Embedded work-experience

Within the course, students are given the opportunity to gain real-life work experience. Recently students worked on a live-client project with Rose Theatre Kingston. They were given their brief by the theatre's Chief Executive. Then in a formal pitch process the students presented their ideas to the team from the Theatre.

"Our students get the opportunity to understand current challenges that real businesses face, understand the marketing context of an organisation and present solutions to real problems in a formal process."
Course Director Dr Shalini Ramlall

Embedded work-experience

What this course offers you

  • Broad and deep knowledge of public relations, internal communications, and corporate social responsibility, with a basis in business disciplines rather than journalism.
  • Career and employability focus through integrated tasks and workshops.
  • Highly interactive lecture sessions will develop your critical thinking by putting the emphasis on discussion and debate and the exchange of ideas between lecturers and students.
  • You will put theory into practice through applied in-class exercises as well as an exciting assessment that enables you to devise a strategic communications plans via a live company brief.
  • Guest lectures by specialist practitioners and industry experts will give you unique insight into the challenges faced by organisations in today's competitive landscape.
  • Special industry events organised by our Alumni department provide excellent opportunities for networking.

After you graduate

Recent alumni from our range of marketing postgraduate courses have taken numerous professional roles, including:

  • Campaign manager at Conde Naste Publications;
  • Business manager for North America at RHN;
  • CEO at British Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce;
  • Consultant at Marketability;
  • Director at Matrix Data;
  • European consumer insight manager at Unilever Bestfoods;
  • Media planner at Mindshare Media Agency;
  • Relationship marketing manager at Eurostar;
  • Senior marketing manager at the AA;
  • Strategic design consultant at Royal & Sun Alliance;
  • UK advertising manager at HSBC; and
  • Vice-President at City Group.

Some graduates decide to continue their studies at Kingston University though doctoral research, and many decide to use the skills they have learned to set themselves up in business.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

A good bachelors degree, or equivalent, in any discipline. You do not need to have a background in business to study the Public Relations and Corporate Communications MA, but you will need to have a strong interest in internal communications, public relations or corporate social responsibility.

Pre-Masters programme

If you do not meet these entry requirements, our pre-masters programme can prepare you for the course.

International

Please note: most students from countries outside the European Union/European Economic Area and classified as overseas fee paying, are not eligible to apply for part-time courses due to UK student visa regulations. For information on exceptions please visit the UKCISA website or email our CAS and Visa Compliance team.

All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirement, which is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall with no element below 5.5. Make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we consider.

Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements could be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.

Applicants from recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Teaching and assessment

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects and preparing coursework assignments and presentations. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the online virtual learning platform.

Support for postgraduate students

As a student at Kingston University, we will make sure you have access to appropriate advice regarding your academic development. You will also be able to use the University's support services

Your workload

Public Relations and Corporate Communications MA

17% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity

Professional Placement Year

100% of your time is spent on guided independent study and placement

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

Public Relations and Corporate Communications MA

Professional Placement Year

Public Relations and Corporate Communications MA
  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 300 hours
  • Guided independent study: 1499 hours
Professional Placement Year
  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 50 hours
  • Placement: 1150 hours

How you will be assessed

Assessment typically comprises practical assessments (eg presentations) and coursework (eg essays, reports, self-assessment, portfolios, dissertation). The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows, though depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose:

Public Relations and Corporate Communications MA

Professional Placement Year

Public Relations and Corporate Communications MA
  • Coursework: 95%
  • Practical: 5%
Professional Placement Year
  • Coursework: 100%

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Your timetables

Each student receives a personalised timetable. This is usually available after you have completed your online enrolment, which is typically accessible one month before the start of your course.

Class sizes

You will be part of an intimate cohort of students which supports dedicated academic guidance and advice and the opportunity to build a life-long network of colleagues. Some modules are common across other postgraduate programmes therefore you will be taught alongside students who are on these courses within the School.

Who teaches this course?

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on this course. The team includes senior academics and professional practitioners with industry experience. The following group of staff members are currently involved in the delivery of different elements of this course. This pool is subject to change at any time within the academic year.

Fees for this course

2022/23 fees for this course

Home 2022/23

  • MA full time £10,640

International 2022/23

  • MA full time £16,300

2021/22 fees for this course

Home 2021/22

  • MA full time £10,330

International 2021/22

  • MA full time £15,800

Fees for the optional placement year

If you choose to take a placement as part of this course, you will be invoiced for the placement fee in Year 2. Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme and the costs for the placement year.

Funding and bursaries

Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:

If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.

We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni:

Additional costs

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs that are not covered by tuition fees which students will need to consider when planning their studies. Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, access to shared IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees. 

Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering), security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.

Textbooks

Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to buy your own copy of key textbooks – this can cost between £50 and £250 per year.

Computer equipment

There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet which you can use around campus and in halls of residences. Free WiFi is available on each of the campuses. You may wish to purchase your own computer, which can cost from £100 to £3,000 depending on your course requirements.

Photocopying and printing

In the majority of cases written coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing, binding and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees, this may cost up to £100 per year.

Travel

Travel costs are not included in your tuition fees but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses, Surbiton train station, Kingston-upon-Thames train station, Norbiton train station and halls of residence.

Placements

Students who choose to take a placement will need to allow for travel costs. Cost will depend on the location of the placement. If placement is based in London travel costs may vary from £0 to £200 per month, for 12 months.

Changes to courses for 2021/22 due to Covid-19

Course information (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Composition of the course

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and, therefore, we do not anticipate having to make any further changes to the course, i.e. number of modules or credits in a year, in response to issues arising from the pandemic. However, if this becomes necessary, the changes will be highlighted to students via email before enrolment.

Unless government advice instructs otherwise, Study Abroad programmes will take place in 2021/22. The safety of all our students is paramount, therefore, as per normal practice, all Study Abroad activities must also be approved by the University's insurers to ensure that students are adequately protected during their period abroad. We will provide updates as the pandemic situation stabilises and/or further government advice is released.

Changes can be made to courses as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and in response to feedback from students and other key stakeholders. Any such changes made to the composition of the course will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

Modules

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and, therefore, we do not anticipate having to make any further changes to module titles and summaries or to the availability of modules in response to issues arising from the pandemic.

Changes can be made to modules as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to module titles, module summaries and/or availability of modules will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

Length of course

We expect to deliver the course within the planned timescales to enable successful students to progress through and graduate from the course without delay.

In exceptional circumstances the sequence of learning and teaching activities may be changed in 2021/22, e.g. moving those modules which can be delivered more effectively to the first teaching block and moving back those – such as practical modules and placements – which may be more difficult to deliver due to some ongoing restrictions.

In some cases, it may be necessary to delay placement modules which may then impact the length of the course. In these circumstances the University will guide students through the appropriate options available to ensure students are able to make informed choices.

Entry requirements (changes for 2021/22 entry)

We have not changed entry requirements as a direct result of the pandemic.

Entry requirements for international students

We have not changed entry requirements for international students as a direct result of the pandemic.

Teaching (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Changes to the way the course will be delivered

As we transition from the pandemic restrictions, we expect to steadily increase the proportion of on-campus teaching. We will continue to provide a proportion of online learning, as experience has shown that this enriches and supports the student learning experience.

If the pandemic affects teaching and learning activities in 2021/22 more than we currently anticipate, the proportion of online learning will increase. However, unless a lockdown is enforced, we will ensure that all courses provide a reasonable percentage of their teaching and learning activities on campus.

Should your circumstances prevent your attendance at on-campus sessions, you should still be able to engage with your course remotely in a way that allows you to progress. Where this is not possible, for example on courses with high practical content, your course team will be able to advise you on the options available to you.

Changes to teaching in the event of a further lockdown or adjustments in government advice

The University will continue to closely monitor government announcements and advice in relation to the pandemic and, where required, will take any necessary action in order to comply with such advice.

In the event that a further lockdown is enforced in 2021/22 the University will aim to deliver the course fully online once more. The majority of our courses are prepared to be delivered fully online if the situation requires it. Where the quality of the student experience may be compromised, or the course is unable to be delivered fully online, the University may need to suspend the delivery of that course until a time that it can be delivered. Students will be supported in these situations to ensure they are able to make the right choices for their particular circumstances.

Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours for Year 1

Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled learning and teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours were not and will not be made as a direct result of the pandemic.

‘Scheduled learning and teaching' includes teaching delivered online, either live or recorded/on demand.

Timetable

Your individualised timetable for teaching block 1 (i.e. up to December 2021) should be available by the end of August. Timetables for teaching block 2 (i.e. from January 2022) will not be available until the autumn. We make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible.

In 2020/21 it was agreed that scheduled learning and teaching could take place on any day of the week between 9am and 9pm, to maximise the time available for teaching in order to accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing. This meant we sometimes had to use Wednesday afternoons and enrichment week for additional teaching slots. If we need to accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing in 2021/22 we expect to adopt a similar approach. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.

Assessment (changes for 2021/22 entry)

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and, therefore, do not anticipate having to make any further changes to the course, i.e. to the overall methods of assessments, in response to issues arising from the pandemic. However, if this becomes necessary, the changes will be highlighted to students via email before enrolment.

Changes are made to modules, including how they are assessed, as part of normal enhancement processes to keep our modules up to date with current developments in that subject area and in response to feedback received from students and other key stakeholders. Any changes to the overall methods of assessment for Year 1 of the course will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

If social distancing or lockdown restrictions are in place in 2021/22, online alternative options to formal on-campus examinations, including practical examinations, will be made available to students where possible.

Staff (changes for 2021/22 entry)

No changes are expected to the general level of experience or status of staff involved in delivering the course.

Staff are engaged in Continuous Professional Development activities to develop their teaching expertise, as part of the normal enhancement processes, to ensure that course teams have the required breadth of expertise.

Fees, funding and additional costs (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Tuition fees

There will be no changes to published tuition fees for 2021/22.

Additional costs (e.g. field trips, materials, equipment, etc.)

As we transition from the pandemic restrictions, we expect to be able to increase student access to on-campus facilities. Students will therefore have access to University computers and library facilities.

If, due to an increase in social distancing requirements or the enforcing of a lockdown, it becomes necessary to significantly increase the proportion of teaching delivered online, students will need a personal laptop or computer and access to the internet to participate in online teaching and learning activities. Students who are able to travel will have access to computers on campus, however, it should be noted that access to on-campus facilities might be restricted if social distancing requirements are enforced.

The University is committed to supporting students who are unable to access suitable technology to ensure equity of access in a blended delivery mode.

Funding

There will be no changes to any existing University funding arrangements for 2021/22. Currently there are no indications from the UK government that there will be any changes to government funding arrangements.

Fees and funding for international students

There will be no changes to published tuition fees or funding arrangements specifically relating to international students for 2021/22.

Work placements and field trips (changes for 2021/22 entry)

We are anticipating that placements (including work and clinical placements) and field trips included as part of the course will go ahead in 2021/22. However, to ensure students gain maximum value from placement activities, it may be necessary to reschedule them to later in the year, when any impacts from the pandemic restrictions are minimised.

Any proposed changes to placements or field trips would go through the University's agreed processes where the impact of the change will be carefully considered.

In the interests of the health and wellbeing of our students, all placement arrangements must be approved by the University's insurers and the appropriate risk assessments made before students are sent on a placement.

Courses which require placements or field trips to be completed in order to pass relevant modules will have contingency plans in place in the event that a placement or field trip cannot be completed due to another lockdown or more stringent social distancing measures.

Award, qualification and accreditation (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Qualification

No changes will be made to the qualification awarded, e.g. BSc (Hons), MSc, etc., as a direct result of the pandemic.

Changes can be made to courses, including the qualification awarded (although very rare), as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area. Any changes made to the qualification awarded for the course will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

Accreditation

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and in accordance with any professional body requirements. We do not anticipate making any further changes to courses in response to any issues arising from the pandemic and which would put at risk any professional body accreditation status.

Additional (changes for 2021/22 entry)

International students should maintain awareness of the UK government's and their home country's government's advice on possible travel restrictions. The University will closely monitor advice and guidance published by the UK government and assess its impact on our international students. Appropriate advice and guidance will be provided as and when required.