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 2020
Full time 2 years including professional placement September 2020
Location Kingston Hill

2020/21 entry

If you are planning to join this course in the academic year 2020/21 (i.e. between August 2020 and July 2021), please view the information about changes to courses for 2020/21 due to Covid-19.

 

Continuing students

Students who are continuing their studies with Kingston University in 2020/21 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 2020/21. 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

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 a 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

Home and European Union 2020/21

  • MA full time £10,080

Overseas (not EU) 2020/21

  • MA full time £15,300

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:

Changes to courses for 2020/21 due to Covid-19

Changes detailed here are for students joining this course in the academic year 2020/21 (i.e. between August 2020 and July 2021).

Course information (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Composition of the course

We do not anticipate making any changes to the composition of the course, i.e. the number of modules or credits in a year for part-time postgraduate courses, as a result of the pandemic.

In order to safeguard our students' health and safety and to minimise the risk of disruption to their studies, the University has postponed all Study Abroad programmes for outgoing students in the first teaching block of 2020/21 (from September 2020 to December 2020). The University will review this decision before the second teaching block and will take into account relevant government advice at that time.

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 to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to the composition of the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

Modules

We do not anticipate making any changes to module titles and summaries or to the availability of modules as a result of 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 and/or availability of modules will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

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, e.g. re-sequencing those modules that can be delivered more effectively under the current restrictions with those which would be more difficult to deliver, such as practical modules and placements.

Entry requirements (changes for 2020/21 entry)

We have not changed entry requirements as a result of the pandemic. However, the range of accepted alternatives have increased as has the way in which we select students, which now includes virtual interviews and online portfolios.

Entry requirements for international students

We have not changed entry requirements for international students as a result of the pandemic. However, in response to the pandemic, we now accept a much broader list of English language exams for entry to the course; the level of these exams remain the same.

Teaching (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Changes to the way the course will be delivered

Due to the current pandemic the course's teaching and learning activities will be delivered through both online and on-campus methods (blended learning) in 2020/21. In order to provide all students with a comparable on-campus experience, the University has committed to ensuring that all courses provide at least 30% of their teaching and learning activities on-campus.

While physical distancing measures remain in place, you will receive your learning and teaching via a blend of on-campus and on-line activities. Should your circumstances prevent your attendance at on-campus sessions, you will still be able to engage with your course in a way that allows you to progress. Where this is not possible, support will be available to consider what options are open 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 current 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 the University will aim to deliver the course fully online. This may require some additional changes being made to planned teaching and learning activities, including assessments. 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 significantly, 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 appropriately. Students will be supported in these situations to ensure they are able to make the right choices for their particular circumstances.

In the event that the current social distancing restrictions are fully lifted and the University is able to resume normal delivery of teaching and learning activities, courses will assess whether it is in the students' interest to resume normal delivery. In some cases it may be better to continue and complete modules under the planned blended delivery mode.

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 teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours will not be made as a result of the pandemic. However, it is possible that some adjustments might be made at module level, e.g. a few more scheduled activities, in order to help ensure student engagement with blended learning.

Any changes made to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

'Scheduled teaching' includes teaching that is online either live or recorded / on demand.

Timetable

Your individualised timetable for teaching block 1 (i.e. from September 2020 to December 2020) should be available by the end of August 2020. Timetables for teaching block 2 (i.e. from January 2021) will not be available until the autumn. Whilst we make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week between 9am and 9pm. To accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing, we will need to maximise the time available for teaching. This means, we may have to use Wednesday afternoons and enrichment week for additional teaching slots. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.

Assessment (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Changes can be made to modules, including how they are assessed, as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our modules up to date with current developments in that subject area. Due to the current restrictions in place, i.e. social distancing, it is anticipated that many formal on-campus examinations, including practical examinations, will be replaced with alternative assessments which can be completed online. These changes will be considered and approved through the University's processes to ensure that student assessments will be able to demonstrate they have achieved the expected learning outcomes. The approval process will also assess whether the change impacts the status of any professional body accreditation the course benefits from.

Any changes to the overall methods of assessment for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

Staff (changes for 2020/21 entry)

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

As a result of the social distancing restrictions in place, on-campus teaching activities may need to be split into smaller groups which may require the support of teaching assistants and student mentors, who will be managed by experienced staff.

Fees, funding and additional costs (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Tuition fees

There will be no changes to published tuition fees for 2020/21.

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

As a result of the blended delivery of courses in 2020/21, where a significant proportion of the teaching will be done 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 will be restricted due to social distancing requirements.

Students should also consider the cost of buying textbooks especially if they are unable to travel to the library to borrow books. Not all recommended text books for this course are available as e-books from the library. The textbook for the CIM module will not be provided by the University and students will have to buy their own copy.

The University is considering how best to provide support to students who do not have access to suitable hardware and software requirements and access to the internet. Identifying students who require this type of support is an important milestone for the University in our journey to ensure equity of access while we continue to deliver our blended approach. Information about the support that will be available will be provided to students during the induction period.

Funding

There will be no changes to any existing University funding arrangements for 2020/21. 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 2020/21.

Work placements and field trips (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Placements (including work and clinical placements) and field trips included as part of the course will go ahead as planned. However, to ensure students are able to gain maximum value from these activities, it may be necessary to reschedule them to later in the year when current restrictions have been lifted. We acknowledge that this year it may be more difficult for students to secure appropriate placements. In those situations, students will be guided and supported through the various options that will be available to them, including switching courses or interrupting their studies until a time when they can complete their placement.

Any proposed changes to placements or field trips would go through University's agreed processes where the impact of the change will be carefully considered. Students will be advised of any changes that may become necessary and appropriate support will be available to students to guide them through the various options that may be available to them.

In the interest of the health and wellbeing of our students, the University will ensure that appropriate risk assessments are 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.

Voluntary placements or field trips may be rescheduled, or, as a last resort, cancelled if it becomes difficult to deliver them and doing so is in the interest of the health and safety of our staff and students.

Award, qualification and accreditation (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Qualification

No changes will be made to the qualification awarded, e.g. MSc, as a 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 during the induction period.

Additional (changes for 2020/21 entry)

International students

International students should maintain awareness of the UK government's and their home country's government 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.

Students who are unable to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities

The University will ensure students who are unable to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities are able to effectively engage with their studies remotely. For certain courses an inability to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities may not be in the students best interest, as it may impede their chances of succeeding in the course or lead to them receiving a poor learning experience. In such cases students will be advised and guided through the various options available to them, such as deferring their studies until they can engage fully with the course.