If you enjoy rubbing shoulders with celebrities, thinking up strategy and steering a company through an image crisis, the best thing to do is to top up your bachelor’s degree with a master’s in public relations. Somewhat similar in structure to the masters in mass communication, a degree in public relations equips you with the specialised skills needed to build strong brands and manage the reputation of organisations and individuals.
Competition in this industry is quite fierce and a degree earned abroad would add much more value to your curriculum vitae.
What the courses teach you
A master’s degree in public relations includes both practical and theoretical elements where students will have an opportunity to participate in a press conference and also put together a professional pitch.
Initial part of the course will focus on tactics, strategies, and creative approaches important to effective public relations. Students also learn about consumer behaviour and marketing principles important to integrated communication management. The second half of the course usually allows you to work in groups, deliver presentations, challenge and discuss ideas with your tutors, conceptualise and implement live PR campaigns. This will be followed by a dissertation in your area of interest. You can gain first-hand experience through internships or placements.
As there are different braches of PR such as Corporate PR; consumer PR; fashion PR; marketing PR; NGO and charity campaigns and PR; political communications; and public affairs, you can choose the one that interests you the most. Courses today are focussing more on the advantages of using the internet and social media networks as effective PR tools to promote brands.
The mode of teaching employed in these programmes abroad is usually a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops and self-directed study (for instance, reading and researching both in the University library and online). Work is assessed by essays, exams, projects, portfolios and oral presentations.
International students applying for a master’s degree in public relations will be required to have completed a bachelors’ degree, and submit their IELTS score.
Given the cut-throat competition between brands, there is definitely no dearth for career opportunities in public relations, both in India and abroad. Not only do corporate and NGOs hire PR professionals to manage their brands, many celebrities cannot do without their PR managers. You can land well-paid jobs by being creative, smart and hands on!
Where can you study public relations?
Many leading universities abroad offer public relations at the post-graduate level.
- Bournemouth University, UK
- AUT University, New Zealand
- Curtin University, Australia
- Michigan State University, USA
- Newcastle University, UK
- University of Waikato, New Zealand
- University of Westminster, UK
- University of New South Wales - UNSW, Australia
Some of these universities offer their courses in partnership with national bodies working in the field of public relations. For example, Bournemouth University offers MA in Public Relations, which is recognised by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and the Chartered Institute of Marketing.