MA Public Relations and Digital Communications with Advanced Research
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 Placement Year pathways available
Entry requirements and key information
The equivalent of a good 2:2 honours degree (i.e. minimum 55% classification grade) and IELTs of 6.5 including 6.5 in writing.
MA Public Relations and Digital Communications is a conversion programme:therefore we accept students with undergraduate degrees in humanities, business, education, social science and creative arts. Applicants with degrees in other subjects may be considered. For further questions please contact the Postgraduate Admissions Tutor Dr Gwyneth James.
For country-specific qualifications, please visit our your country page. If you do not have the required level of English for entry, our academic English courses can help you to achieve this level.
School of study
School of Social Science, Humanities and Education
- Full Time, 2 Years
- University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield
Sign up for alerts
Get access to personalised content, tailored towards your interests:
- Information on your favourite courses
- Tips to help you through the application process
- Blogs, vlogs and advice from current students
Want to work within a public relations agency, government communications department, company press office, or within brand, reputation, social media or community management? This course will get you there. Our close industry connections and partnerships have helped us to design this MA in Public Relations and Digital Communications to ensure there is a strong emphasis on ensuring you leave well-equipped for whatever career path you choose to pursue.
Typical positions and areas include:
- Community relations
- Media and public relations
- Corporate communications
- Marketing communications
- Strategic communications
- Campaign management
- Brand and social media management
- Account executive
- Advertising copywriter
- Public and external affairs.
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.
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?
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.
On completion of your first year, you will study for an additional year working on an extensive practice-based media project, which will take you to the next level of thinking. You will work with a client on promoting and publicising their brand in an innovative way that benefits their products or services.
This media project can comprise of many different areas; past student projects have involved evaluating and finding new audiences for the brand through publicity, increasing the client’s social media quality and output, and strong emphasis on branded video creation. Should you prefer, you can combine your dissertation study with this media project.
This Advanced Research route will further develop your research skills by delving into specialist theoretical areas of your choosing, with the additional opportunity of studying the Government Communications and Public Affairs module. This year strongly focuses on allowing you to concentrate and develop in the areas that interest you, so you can sculpt the portfolio you leave with.
|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 Project||60 Credits||Compulsory|
|Media Production||30 Credits||Compulsory|
|Media Dissertation||60 Credits||Optional|
|Advanced Media Research||30 Credits||Optional|
|Government Communications and Public Affairs||30 Credits||Optional|
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 with Advanced Research||Download|
|MA Public Relations and Digital Communications with Advanced Research||Download|
Sandwich placement or study abroad year
Applications open to international and EU students
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.
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.
Funding and fees
Other financial support
Find out more about other financial support available to UK and EU students
*Tuition fees are charged annually. The fees quoted above are for the specified year(s) only. Fees may be higher in future years, for both new and continuing students. Please see the University's Fees and Finance Policy (and in particular the section headed "When tuition fees change"), for further information about when and by how much the University may increase its fees for future years.
View detailed information about tuition fees
Living costs / accommodation
The University of Hertfordshire offers a great choice of student accommodation, on campus or nearby in the local area, to suit every student budget.
View detailed information about our accommodation
How to apply
International/EU applicants without pre-settled status in the UK
Apply through our international/EU application portal
Home and EU applicants with pre-settled/settled status in the UK
Start Date End Date Link 26/09/2023 31/05/2024 Apply online (Full Time) 22/01/2024 31/01/2025 Apply online (Full Time)
Start Date End Date Link 26/09/2024 31/05/2025 Apply online (Full Time) 22/01/2025 31/01/2026 Apply online (Full Time)