Public Relations and Advertising BA Honours
Our 2016 undergraduate courses feature some exciting new changes based on student feedback, which include providing more opportunities for you to broaden your knowledge and skills while here. See full details about the changes to our undergraduate courses.
View course-specific entry requirements
TYPICAL OFFER FOR SEPTEMBER 2015
|A Levels||BBB excluding General Studies|
|International Baccalaureate||28 points (including a minimum of 5 in Higher English)|
|Edexcel BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma||DMM-DDM depending on subject taken and overall academic profile|
|Access to HE Diploma||
Pass with 45 credits at Level 3 with a minimum of 36 Level 3 credits at Merit or Distinction plus English GCSEs at at least grade C.
If English is not your first language, you must have an IELTS score of 6.5 overall with at least 6.0 in each element. Selected candidates will be interviewed by staff and students.
This course places equal emphasis on mastering practical skills and developing your academic potential. You will receive intensive professional training provided by active practitioners, and will analyse the role PR and advertising play in society and their relationship to the media. You will also develop a critical understanding of the media industries, their products and their audiences.
The Department’s media research interest means you study broader issues alongside students of journalism, television and radio. We have very strong links with the PR and advertising industries, inviting in a range of guest speakers, and organising events and visits. Work experience is required to obtain your degree and, given London’s leading position in the world of PR and advertising, it is readily available.
Our students are very successful in getting employment in PR and advertising in the UK and across the world. Many students go on to enter postgraduate programmes.
You will learn how to analyse media output and examine the relationships between media, society, politics, culture and technology through a variety of core and option modules.
The lecturers are among the top names in their ﬁeld and are regularly supplemented by current practitioners. There are no exams, and all practical work is assessed on output such as individual and group activity, including written work, oral participation and presentations. All analysis work is assessed on essays, other written work or artefacts and performance in seminars.
Subjects of study
The following subjects are indicative of what you will study on this course. For more details on course structure and modules, and how you will be taught and assessed, see the full course document.
Year 1 (Credit Level 4)
You are introduced to key public relations and advertising skills – from writing press releases and dealing with journalists to responding to advertising briefs and understanding campaigning – as well as academic approaches to the subject. You will take media theory modules in the ﬁrst year, which introduce you to the frameworks in which the media operate and some of the major theoretical tools for analysing them. They consider the place of the media in society, politics, arts and culture.
Year 2 (Credit Level 5)
You will study online PR and advertising and campaigning in more depth. You will also learn how law and ethics relate to PR and advertising. At the same time you will take a range of media theory modules, some compulsory, some optional. Examples of optional media theory modules include: Audience Studies; Creativity; Media and the Law; News and Public Opinion; and Sex, Violence and Censorship.
Year 3 (Credit Level 6)
You produce a major PR and advertising ﬁnal project and study current issues. Past projects have appeared in print, broadcast and online media around the world. You will study Strategic Communications and another optional module, with subjects including celebrity culture and the media; media around the globe; multiculturalism and the media; and aspects of journalism.
You will also produce an academic dissertation, a substantial original piece of work on a media/ PR/advertising-related subject.
As part of your course you can take elective modules. Electives are an exciting opportunity to widen your experience at university and to gain skills and knowledge that will help make you more employable. Find out about Westminster electives.
Trish Evans, Course Leader
You will be encouraged to undertake as many work experience placements as possible.
There is also a compulsory work experience element to the degree, to be done between the end of Year 2 and the end of Year 3, or in the intervening vacations. You will need to ﬁnd your own placements and write reports on your work.
You can take advantage of our Study Abroad agreements with overseas universities, spending half an academic year at another university in countries such as Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong and the USA. Your work there will count towards your degree at Westminster.
Westminster is a partner university of the Public Relations Consultants Association and all students are entitled to become members.
Additional costs information
To check what your tuition fees cover and what you may need to pay for separately, see our What tuition fees cover page.
International Foundation course
We work in partnership with Kaplan International College London to provide Foundation courses for international students who do not meet our Bachelor’s degree entry requirements. For more information visit the Kaplan International College's website.
The Public Relations (PR) industry covers a range of activities from the more creative campaign, product and brand promotions, to press and media relations, reputation management, public affairs, product placement and sponsorship, to the more detailed elements of media, audience and market research. The number of digital roles - including creating written and visual input - is increasing significantly.
As part of the core Final PR Project module in the third year of the course, students are encouraged to seek work experience in the industry. This lasts for at least two weeks but is usually longer. It also often leads to offers of full-time employment after graduation.
Students typically do this component of their course in Public Relations Agencies in London. Examples of work experience in recent years include:
- Media relations for clients
- Press release writing for products, people and projects
- Media briefings
- Media event organising including press conferences
- Social media engagement
- On-line monitoring
- Updating blogs and websites
- Writing, editing, texting, tweeting and sharing images
- Creating headlines, messages, angles and ideas
- Fact-checking and updating
One PR graduate sums it up ‘What Do We Do?’ as:
We harness online, print, broadcast and social media to create high profile campaigns; our captivating stories and outlandish stunts to get first class coverage, plus higher profiles, better sales, bigger audiences.”
Some seventy percent of PR professionals are employed within private, public and voluntary sector organisations - as distinct from agencies and consultancies - and are known as in-house public relations advisors. Many of Westminster University’s PR graduates are now employed by these companies and organisations and seek our students for work experience.
Students get a chance to see how a large successful organisation functions and work on social media and social marketing projects as well as range of specific activities relating to each sector, such as transport (e.g. TfL), healthcare (pharmaceuticals and NHS), government, media (e.g. BBC), IT, consumer (retail, fashion, music, travel, food and drink) and financial sectors, where experience can be gained in:
- Promotion and sales PR
- Branding and reputation management
- Media inquiries
- Digital press office
- Product development & promotions
- Digital promotions & management
- Direct marketing
- Market research.
The good news is that in tough economic times, not least for the media industries, the PR world seems to be doing better than most. The sector is expanding and new jobs frequently come to our attention. Many PR firms run graduate recruitment schemes and offer paid work placements. All are on the look-out for high quality recruits. Increasingly PR employers seek out PR graduates, people who have demonstrated a commitment to the industry and who have the skills and knowledge to hit the ground running.
London is probably the world’s number one centre for PR, offering opportunities in all fields, from fashion, celebrity and consumer PR through to corporate, political and not-for-profit communications. We have very strong links with the UK’s public relations industry, with numerous guest speakers, industry events and visits, and are one of the UK’s Public Relations Consultants Association's partner universities. All offer crucial chances to network. Our Visiting Professor of Public Relations was formerly Chief Executive of the UK’s largest PR group and remains closely involved in the life of the industry. All of this means that we receive many approaches from PR firms and other organisations seeking students both for internships and full-time jobs. Our students tend to find London’s PR agency world, with its hundreds of PR agencies, particularly attractive.
Many of our students are from beyond the UK, from places where the PR industry is newer. In such countries PR is often growing at a phenomenal rate, and our students find qualifications from London equip them well for this prospect, often after acquiring some experience in London.
We will help you and advise you on how to pursue these exciting opportunities. Our students have a particularly high success rate in gaining employment in PR and other, related sectors. Recent graduates have gone to top PR agencies and in-house PR teams in the UK and internationally. A number of students each year progress to postgraduate courses.
Recent success stories
Courtney Robinson announces his recent appointment to the position as Director of the Turks and Caicos Islands Red Cross, saying, “It is my endeavour to be a leader that will form formidable partnerships with stakeholders, decision makers, community groups, volunteers and the general public – thus being that person who will inspire voluntary action to strengthen the Turks and Caicos Islands communities to prepare for and respond in times of crisis, while upholding the ethos of the Turks and Caicos Islands Red Cross, saying, “It is my endeavour to be a leader that will form formidable partnerships with stakeholders, decision makers, community groups, volunteers and the general public – thus being that person who will inspire voluntary action to strengthen the Turks and Caicos Islands communities to prepare for and respond in times of crisis, while upholding the ethos of the Turks & Caicos Islands Red Cross.”
Sylvia Quagraine is a busy Press Officer on the Corporate Desk at Transport for London.
Ana Thorsdottir at Mischief PR, says her current position is Assistant Account Executive. I work on the Ben & Jerry’s, St. Ives and Bandai accounts, and my previous accounts were Playboy Club London and SEGA Sonic video games.
Charlotte Vigstrom at Borkowsky, the veteran arts & entertainment PR agency, manages PR for musicians, artists, festivals and films, including WOMAD, Virgin Media’s Louder Lounge and The Great Escape.
Claudia di Stefano says 'I am very happy to inform you that I got accepted for the internship at the Corporate Social Responsibility Department at the Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt. Thank you again for your help!'
Our dedicated Career Development Centre is actively working with an ever-expanding network of over 3,000 employers to provide you with exceptional employability support and guidance. As a result we were nominated as finalists for a significant industry award – the NUE Awards Most Improved Commitment to Employability 2016.
We provide our students with work placements and international opportunities to support them in becoming highly employable, globally engaged graduates, and with one million businesses operating within 20 miles of the University of Westminster, over 84% of our students are in work or further study six months after graduation. Our graduates work in a variety of sectors and organisations, from small/medium-sized companies and start-ups to large not-for-profit organisations and corporates.
During your time at Westminster you will be able to use our comprehensive online vacancy service and meet with our experienced careers consultants, providing you with thorough training and support on CV writing, application forms, interview preparation and assessment centres.
In addition to this, you will receive careers support from academic staff and faculty work placement teams, offering targeted course-specific careers advice and assistance in securing a work placement during your time at Westminster. You can find out more about course-specific career opportunities by visiting the Prospects website.
For more details, visit the employability section on our site.
Career Development Centre
Our Career Development Centre can help and support you throughout your study and after graduation.
We can help you to:
- find part-time/vacation, placement and graduate jobs, including voluntary experience
- explore how to develop the skills that employers are looking for
- plan your career development
- identify your career options
- market yourself effectively in CVs, application forms and at interviews
- develop your enterprise skills
We also organise a range of presentations and networking events with employers, professional bodies, alumni and other organisations throughout the year to help you with career planning.
Find out more about the Career Development Centre.
Our Work Placement Teams are based in your Faculty Registry Office and can help you find a suitable placement, as well as support you in making applications, writing CVs and improving your interview technique.
More details on work placements can be found on our Work placements page.
Career options in your subject area
Our team of careers consultants work closely with Faculty departments to deliver tailored employability support, including subject-specific workshops, employer events and careers information, advice and guidance.
Study in the city
If you study at the University of Westminster, everything that London has to offer is on your doorstep.
Our central London campuses are ideally located for the city's fantastic learning institutions including libraries, archives and museums, as well as opportunities for shopping, eating out, enjoying London's nightlife or just simply relaxing.
After choosing your course, one of your biggest decisions will be where to live, and we aim to make that choice as easy as possible. Whether you want to apply for our Halls of Residence or live in private housing, we can help you to find the right accommodation.
Fees, funding, bursaries and scholarships
In recent years the University of Westminster's scholarship scheme has been the largest university scholarships scheme in the UK, and our Scholarships Department won the Times Higher Education inaugural Award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students.
All students on courses of a year or more and who are registered for more than three modules will be allocated a personal tutor.
Your personal tutor will be there to support you from induction onwards, helping you to integrate into the University, academically and socially, at an early stage. They will be able to give you advice and support on academic and personal matters affecting your study, as well as developmental advice through regular individual and group tutorials.
Polylang is a University-wide programme through which you can study a language as a free choice module.
Personal advice and counselling
While most students overcome any problems with help from friends, family or a personal tutor, the University's free counselling and advice services are there if you need them.
With one of the UK's largest international student populations, the University of Westminster has plenty of experience in giving you the help and support you need to make the most of your time with us.
Study Abroad and Summer School programmes
Westminster's Study Abroad programme has been running for more than 15 years, and is one of the largest in the UK – each year we welcome hundreds of visiting students from universities all over the world.
If you are already studying outside the UK, the programme offers you the opportunity to study with us for one or two semesters, or for a period in the summer.
Sport and recreation
The University has extensive sport and recreation facilities, with a sports hall and gym at Harrow, a state-of-the-art gym at Regent Campus, and the University sports ground by the River Thames at Chiswick.
University of Westminster Students' Union (UWSU) aims to make sure you have the best university experience possible by providing a range of activities and support, from sports clubs to society groups, educational advice and social events.
Second year PR students milking in central London despite the weather.
Milking reaches thousands as a protest against government 'milking' student fees.