MA Public Relations and Digital Communications with Placement Year

Why choose Herts?

  • Benefit from industry talks and workshops throughout the programme
  • Our course is PRCA approved, assuring it aligns with the skills, practices and knowledge needed to be successful in the industry
  • Our partnership with PRCA (Public Relations and Communications Association) grants you access to numerous benefits to instantly strengthen your prospects and employability
  • One-Year Course and Advanced Research pathways available

Professional Accreditations

The University of Hertfordshire is in partnership with the Public Relations Communication Association (PRCA), the world’s largest and most influential PR professional body today (PRCA, 2022). Its core purpose being to raise standards in PR and communications worldwide. 

The partnership makes our Herts graduates particularly attractive to employers. It confirms that you are knowledgeable of important industry practices and have a strong skill set that could benefit their company. 

By studying this course you will be granted a PRCA membership. This entitles you to invaluable resources including free access to online training courses, networking events, as well as leadership panels, masterclasses and training sessions: all of which can enhance your professional profile. You will also get to use the designatory letters to demonstrate your commitment to professionalism and best practice, gain knowledge of the latest market intelligence and industry insight, and more.

About the course

On this exciting two-year course, you will learn core principles and gain an advanced understanding of public relations and digital communications. The first year of this course is the same as the one-year MA Public Relations and Digital Communications course. It is the second year that differentiates these courses. 

You will find out more about the second year in the ‘What will I study?’ section below. 

This MA Public Relations and Digital Communications course will enable you to: 

  • Develop an understanding of the challenges in the PR and communications industry and apply your knowledge from the course to identify effective solutions to real-life case studies.
  • Feel confident and prepared to work in the industry. This course incorporates theoretical and practical learning styles to equip you for a career in the field. This includes traditional lectures as well as workshops, masterclasses and online study.  
  • Continuously develop and advance your PR and communication skills. You will familiarise yourself with media planning, writing for the press, reputational management and how to strategically analyse data to measure the impact of digital campaigns and more. 
  • Challenge your thoughts and learnings to an advanced level, ensuring you are always open-minded and accepting of different perspectives that will positively influence the way you handle different PR situations.  
  • Explore the public relations industry and trends of today, taught to you by our experienced staff, authentic coursework assignments, and expert speakers. 

Why choose this course?

This course is a conversion course, making it available to students who have not studied PR at an undergraduate level. It covers the theoretical underpinning of PR practices but will also take your knowledge to an advanced level.  

Our close connection with industry allows our students to meet and learn from industry speakers. We deliberately select a diverse range of inspiring, experienced guest speakers to join us and meet our student community to ensure you are exposed to a broad range of career prospects. This provides the perfect opportunity for our students to build their networking skills and connections. 

In the past, we were delighted to have welcomed: 

  • Mandy Pearse, an award-winning public relations consultant 
  • Kate Stephenson, an award-winning blogger and promoter of environmental issues 
  • Charlotte Jones, who is a global content manager for beauty brands. 

You will also be invited to attend regular networking events in London, as well as internal workshops and talks covering topics such as inclusion, women in business, PR global issues and more. 

You will be taught by influential, committed experts who are widely experienced in the international communications industry. Our staff have extensive experience, from being media practitioners to PR and digital communication specialists in the fields of governmental communication, health communications, media research, general public relations and digital media management. 

Extracurricular opportunities

Your CV will be taken to the next level through our extracurricular opportunities such as:  

  • participating in Public Relations Communication Association (PRCA) groups to network and increase industry expertise 
  • getting involved in MA Research seminars or our internal insight platforms such as our Media Matters series
  • take up mentorship opportunities
  • uncover the partnership with Google Digital Garage. 

All additional exposure will strengthen your PR and digital understanding, whilst also inspiring your coursework.

What will I study?

Year one

The core focus of this course is to help you confidently apply theoretical knowledge to practical settings. You will explore industry challenges, where you will be required to provide a detailed solution answering the hows, whats and whys. The understanding you will gain of fundamental industry practices such as audience analysis, creating your own communications plans, PR campaigns and crisis plans, will all come into play to help formulate your response. 

On top of that, you will be able to exercise your creative flair on media production projects. You will produce a variety of digital publications suited for different online platforms, getting involved in the messaging, design and software.  

You will study the details of public relations, corporate social responsibility, and the importance of ethical PR, legal frameworks and the risks involved. Advertising and marketing also go hand in hand with PR and digital communications, making it important you recognise the close intersections and how this industry enhances PR communications by promoting messages further and to more targeted audiences.  

You will learn more about the current digital environment and online culture so you will be able to make careful but strategic decisions. The course will cover the latest digital trends, personalisation, audience participation, SEO practices, metrics and the issues that this diverse online setting welcomes. 

Throughout, you will learn a mixture of traditional PR skills as well as immersing yourself in the shifting PR landscape made up of more advanced digital technologies that are able to reach changing consumer demographics; all of which will greatly enhance your CV.

Year two 

On completion of your first year, you will undertake an exciting one-year work placement: an opportunity to expand your career prospects and professional network whilst gaining professional experience in the real-world.  

Our Placement Team will support you along the way, helping to identify placement opportunities that reflect the skills and knowledge you have learned in your first year of learning. You will also be supported during your application process, where you will have access to targeted support with CV and interview techniques. 

Our strong industry links increase the work placement opportunities available to you, however, placements cannot be guaranteed. With that said, public relations is a growing industry and so the likelihood of securing a placement should be relatively high. 

In the second year, alongside your placement you will complete a related assessment and dissertation in the area of your choice. 

  • Level 7
    Module Credits Compulsory/optional
    Media Dissertation 60 Credits Compulsory
    Research Methods 1: Critical and Theoretical Debates 15 Credits Compulsory
    Digital Communications Management 15 Credits Compulsory
    Public Relations Theory and Practice 30 Credits Compulsory
    Crisis and Reputation Management 15 Credits Compulsory
    Advertising and Marketing Communications 15 Credits Compulsory
    Media Placement Year 60 Credits Compulsory
  • Key staff

    Dr Chanda Mfula
    Lecturer and researcher across a range of media, communication, and journalism fields. He has professional experience as a practitioner in public relations, corporate communications, and broadcast journalism.
    Find out more about Dr Chanda Mfula

    Dr Genevieve Bosah
    Senior Lecturer in Media, Chartered PR practitioner with the CIPR and PRC board. She has worked with media institutions and governments, and consulted for international development projects sponsored by USAID and DFID.
    Find out more about Dr Genevieve Bosah

    Further course information

    Course fact sheets
    MA Public Relations and Digital Communications (Sandwich) with Sandwich Placement Download
    Programme specifications
    MA Public Relations and Digital Communications (Sandwich) with Sandwich Placement Download
    Additional information

    Sandwich placement or study abroad year

    Mandatory

    Applications open to international and EU students

    Yes

    Student experience

    At the University of Hertfordshire, we want to make sure your time studying with us is as stress-free and rewarding as possible. We offer a range of support services including; student wellbeing, academic support, accommodation and childcare to ensure that you make the most of your time at Herts and can focus on studying and having fun.

    Find out about how we support our students

    You can also read our student blogs to find out about life at Herts.

    Learning experience

    You will experience a blended learning approach. Primarily, you will be taught in traditional seminar environments where you will be expected to conduct independent study to develop yourself professionally. Alongside this, you will also engage in workshops and seminars to encourage interactive learning and team collaboration.

    You will take part in group presentations, impromptu pitches and simulated activities where you will gain invaluable skills such as team working, using your initiative, problem solving and decision-making.

    Our seminars are recorded for you to watch on demand so you can refer back to them if needed.

    Right from the start of your journey, a personal tutor will be designated to you, where you’ll be able to receive guidance and voice any concerns. Whilst all Herts students have access to our Academic Support Services, you will also have a module to help you strengthen your academic skills.