Public Relations


This module investigates the development and evolution of public relations as a discipline and profession.

The module begins with a description of the purposes of public relations and the manner in which the public relations function deals with corporate problems and opportunities.

Key topics dealt with include the interface between public relations and employee relations.

Other aspects of public relations examined include:

  • Media relations
  • Community relations (including CSR)
  • PR issues and crises management
  • Investor relations
  • Consumer relations
  • Ethics

Areas examined include the codes of practice and regulation of PR; the relationship of PR and other elements of the communications mix; and PR's business, political and socio-economic context.

Throughout the course, basic communications theories and their application in influencing perception, motivation, attitudes and behaviour are utilised in examining practical case studies.

To this extent, key functional aspects of PR, which build upon the Media Skills unit taught in first year, are the importance of writing style and editorial skills; and the role of visual elements, such as photography and graphic design, within communications.

The module allows students to explore the distinctive role of public relations as a discipline and develop a portfolio of skills, techniques and tools essential to the practice of public relations in today's people-oriented businesses.

The course provides a comprehensive analysis of contemporary case studies in PR issues; including a selection of familiar current and classic precedent-setting cases.

Case topics that students will examine include broad matters of public concern such as:

  • Animal rights activism
  • GM foods and labelling
  • Corporate environmental responsibility
  • The political correctness debate
  • Unsafe products
  • Financial takeovers


Two-hour exam (100%)

Key skills

By the end of the module the student should be able to:

  • Identify elements of the development of public relations
  • Describe a range of public relations tactics, tools and planning techniques
  • Critically assess and explain key public relations models and theory
  • Outline and illustrate different methods of public relations delivery
  • Identify and compare relationships between public relations, and other disciplines including marketing, advertising and journalism
  • Identify and analyse risks and issues faced by particular organisations