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Public Relations

The world of public relations is fast-growing and exciting. Get the public relations skills you need to help an organisation build trusted relationships with its key stakeholders and enhance its public reputation.

If you enjoy writing and talking to different people, and love framing ideas in imaginative and engaging ways, then a career in Public Relations may be right for you.

Public relations practitioners plan and implement communication campaigns to influence people’s attitudes and behaviour. They are effective networkers who work closely with journalists to manage media publicity, and act as a crucial link between an organisation and its publics, such as the community, customers and corporate shareholders.

Public Relations professionals are also involved with crisis and issues management, government relations, lobbying, events, sponsorship and fundraising, and employee relations.

Practical, hands-on learning

The assignments for this subject are highly practical. You’ll plan and deliver an innovative public relations campaign for a real client, take part in a mock media conference, build a website, use social media, create a range of advertisements, and write media releases for print, broadcast and online media. You'll also learn how to organise events, prepare corporate documents and deliver professional speeches.To learn more, visit the department's website.

Our students enjoy visits from a wide range of professional guest speakers in class, who will share their insights about what it's like working in the public relations industry.

If you choose to major in Public Relations for your degree, you'll take the exciting core paper MCOM333 Public Relations Campaigns, where you'll compete against other teams to deliver a real-life campaign on behalf of a not-for-profit organisation. You'll then present your campaign results to a live audience and panel of industry experts to demonstrate your knowledge of effective public relations strategies. Could you be the next winner of the Gordon Chesterman Public Relations Campaigns Award? Watch previous students presenting their campaigns.

Public Relations students can get involved with the award-winning Management Communication Students' Association (MCSA), a student club that organises regular activities for its members. You'll also be eligible to join the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ).

Internationally recognised

Waikato is one of only 37 universities in the world whose Public Relations programme is certified by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), putting us on the global map for excellence in teaching quality and practice-relevant content.

We're also ranked in the world's top 150 universities for Communication & Media Studies and Business & Management Studies, by the prestigious QS Subject Rankings.

You'll study at our internationally recognised Waikato Management School, which has Triple Crown Accreditation from AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA, placing it in the top 1% of all business schools worldwide.

Career Opportunities

  • Public relations manager
  • Public relations account executive
  • Communications advisor
  • Internal communications manager
  • Media relations adviser
  • Events manager
  • Community relations manager
  • Sponsorship manager
  • Press secretary

Qualifications

These are all the qualifications where you can study Public Relations

TITLE TYPE QUAL TYPE
Bachelor of Arts Bachelors Degree
Bachelor of Business Analysis Bachelors Degree
Bachelor of Communication Studies Bachelors Degree
Bachelor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences Bachelors Degree
Bachelor of Electronic Commerce Bachelors Degree
Bachelor of Entrepreneurship Bachelors Degree
Bachelor of Laws Bachelors Degree
Bachelor of Management Studies Bachelors Degree
Bachelor of Maori and Pacific Development Bachelors Degree
Bachelor of Media and Creative Technologies Bachelors Degree
Bachelor of Music Bachelors Degree
Bachelor of Science Bachelors Degree
Bachelor of Science (Technology) Bachelors Degree
Bachelor of Social Sciences Bachelors Degree
Bachelor of Sport and Leisure Studies Bachelors Degree
Bachelor of Tourism Bachelors Degree
Certificate Certificate
Diploma Diploma
Doctor of Philosophy Doctor of Philosophy
Graduate Certificate Graduate Certificate
Graduate Diploma Graduate Diploma
Master of Arts Masters Degree
Master of Arts (Applied) Masters Degree
Master of Laws Masters Degree
Master of Management Studies Masters Degree
Master of Maori and Pacific Development Masters Degree
Master of Science Masters Degree
Master of Science (Research) Masters Degree
Master of Science (Technology) Masters Degree
Master of Social Sciences Masters Degree
Postgraduate Certificate Postgraduate Certificate
Postgraduate Diploma Postgraduate Diploma

200 level

300 level

Professional Speaking and SpeechwritingMCOM33020.0 Points
Professional and Public Relations WritingMCOM33220.0 Points
Public Relations CampaignsMCOM33320.0 Points
Public Relations CasesMCOM33420.0 Points
Media and Public RelationsMCOM33520.0 Points
Negotiation and PersuasionMCOM33620.0 Points
Communication InterventionsMCOM33820.0 Points
Events and Communication ManagementMCOM33920.0 Points
Communicating Social ChangeMCOM34020.0 Points
Diversity LeadershipMCOM37620.0 Points
Special TopicMCOM38020.0 Points
Communication InternshipMCOM38720.0 Points
Directed StudyMCOM39020.0 Points
Communication Investigation in the WorkplaceMCOM39920.0 Points
Industry Experience 2MSYS31920.0 Points
Smart Technologies and Social MediaMSYS35320.0 Points

400 level

Professional Speaking and SpeechwritingMCOM43020.0 Points
Negotiation and PersuasionMCOM43120.0 Points
Professional and Public Relations WritingMCOM43220.0 Points
Public Relations CasesMCOM43420.0 Points
Communication InterventionsMCOM43820.0 Points
Communicating social changeMCOM44020.0 Points
Diversity LeadershipMCOM47620.0 Points
Special TopicMCOM48020.0 Points
Directed StudyMCOM49020.0 Points
Industry Experience 4MCOM49520.0 Points
Report of an InvestigationMCOM49920.0 Points

Prescriptions for the GradCert(PR) and GradDip(PR)

A Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma are available to graduates who have not included Public Relations at an advanced level in their first degree. The requirements for the Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma are prescribed in the Waikato Management School Student Handbook.

Prescriptions for the BMS(Hons), PGCert(PR), PGDip(PR), BCS(Hons) and MMS

Public Relations may be taken as a major for the BMS(Hons) and as a subject for the BCS(Hons) and MMS. A Postgraduate Certificate and a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Relations are also available. The requirements for the major, subjects, Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma are prescribed in the Waikato Management School Student Handbook.

Students enrolling in 500 level Public Relations papers should normally have a minimum of a B average in undergraduate Public Relations papers, with no less than that in 300 and 400 level Public Relations papers. All students should discuss their programme with the Management Student Centre before enrolling.

Management Student Centre (MSC)

Phone: +64 838 4303 or 0800 654 303
Email: msc@waikato.ac.nz
Website: www.management.ac.nz/msc

Opening hours: 8.45am - 4.45pm Monday to Friday
Location: MSB.1.50, Hillcrest Road, University of Waikato, Hamilton

One of the best times to pop into MSC is Open Advice Day, held every Wednesday from 10am to 2pm.

Department of Management Communication

Dr Alison Henderson
Undergraduate Convenor (Public Relations)
Email: alison@waikato.ac.nz

Dr Fabrice Desmarais
Undergraduate Convenor (Public Relations)
Email: fabrice@waikato.ac.nz

Professor David McKie
Graduate Convenor (Public Relations)
Email: dmckie@waikato.ac.nz

Bobbie Wisneski
Administration manager

Phone: +64 7 838 4195
Email: bobbie@waikato.ac.nz

Bachelor of Management Studies (BMS)

To complete the requirements for a Bachelor of Management Studies major, you'll need to pass 120 points at 200-level or above from one subject area, and include at least 60 points at 300-level or above, of which 40 points must be at 400-level. You'll also need to meet the specific requirements prescribed for any subject.

The specific requirements for Public Relations are that you must include:

  • MCOM233 Public Relations Practices
  • MCOM333 Public Relations Campaigns
  • MCOM335 Media and Public Relations
  • MCOM432 Professional and Public Relations Writing

And choose 40 points from:

  • MCOM220 Communication Theory and Research
  • MCOM231 Interpersonal Communication at Work
  • MCOM238 Communication, Health and Well-being
  • MCOM292 Business Communication
  • MCOM239 / 339 Events and Communication Management
  • MCOM330 / 430 Professional Speaking and Speechwriting
  • MCOM334 / 431 Negotiation and Persuasion
  • MCOM338 / 438 Communication Interventions
  • MCOM340 / 440 Communicating Social Change
  • MCOM376 / 476 Diversity Leadership
  • MCOM387 Communication Internship
  • MCOM390 Directed Study
  • MSYS353 / MSYS453 Smart Technologies and Social Media
  • MCOM490 Directed Study

If Public Relations is your second major, then you can count MNGT221 as a major paper for this subject.

Bachelor of Management Studies with Honours (BMS(Hons))

To complete the requirements for a Bachelor of Management Studies with Honours subject major, you'll need to pass 120 points at 200-level or above from one subject area. You must include at least 60 points at 300-level or above, which includes at least 40 points at 400-level or above and at least 30 points at 500-level. You must also meet the specific requirements for any subject.

The specific requirements for Public Relations are that you must include:

  • MCOM233 Public Relations Practices
  • MCOM333 Public Relations Campaigns
  • MCOM585 Public Relations: Context and Applications

And at least one of the following:

  • MCOM335 Media and Public Relations
  • MCOM432 Professional and Public Relations Writing

And choose 30 points from (see note below):

  • MCOM502 Managing Virtual Team Communication
  • MCOM503 Networking
  • MCOM504 Organisational Change and Communication
  • MCOM505 Internal Communication
  • MCOM506 Reputation Management
  • MCOM508 Communication for Investor Relations
  • MCOM566 Special Topic
  • MCOM584 Sustainable Futures
  • MCOM587 Communication Internship

If you are taking two majors you can count either the compulsory 599 or MNGT596 towards your WMS major papers provided it is approved as relevant to that major and you have included a further 30 points at 500-level in that major.

Don't forget, you must pass 120 points at 500-level for the qualification and submit a Portfolio of Achievement. If you have only selected 30 points at 500-level for your major, then a further 90 points at 500-level is required to meet this degree regulation.

Bachelor of Communication Studies (BCS)

To complete the requirements for a Bachelor of Communication Studies subject major, you'll need to pass 120 points at 200-level or above from one subject area, and include at least 60 points at 300-level or above. You'll also need to meet the specific requirements prescribed for any subject.

The specific requirements for Public Relations are that you must include:

  • MCOM233 Public Relations Practices
  • MCOM235 Media and Public Relations
  • MCOM332 Professional and Public Relations Writing
  • MCOM333 Public Relations Campaigns

And choose 40 points from:

  • MCOM231 Interpersonal Communication at Work
  • MCOM238 Communication, Health and Well-being
  • MCOM292 Business Communication
  • MCOM239 / 339 Events and Communication Management
  • MCOM330 / 430 Professional Speaking and Speechwriting
  • MCOM334 / 434 Public Relations Cases
  • MCOM336 / 431 Negotiation and Persuasion
  • MCOM338 / 438 Communication Interventions
  • MCOM340 / 440 Communicating Social Change
  • MCOM376 / 476 Diversity Leadership
  • MCOM387 Communication Internship
  • MCOM390 Directed Study
  • MCOM399 Communication Investigation in the Workplace (see notes below)
  • MSYS353 / MSYS453 Smart Technologies and Social Media
  • MCOM490 Directed Study

If Public Relations is your second major then you can count MCOM220 as a major paper for this subject.

Please note: MCOM399 is only available if you are undertaking two of the following majors: Leadership Communication, Marketing, or Public Relations.

Bachelor of Communication Studies with Honours (BCS(Hons))

To complete the requirements for the Bachelor of Communication Studies with Honours, you'll need to pass 120 points at 500-level, include at least 60 points from one subject area and at least 30 points in research (Directed Study, Dissertation or Research Methods Papers), and submit a Portfolio of Achievement. You'll also need to meet the specific requirements prescribed for any subject.

The specific requirements for Public Relations are that you must include:

  • MCOM585 Public Relations: Context and Applications
  • MCOM584 Sustainable Futures

and choose no more than 60 points from:

  • MCOM502 Managing Virtual Team Communication
  • MCOM503 Networking
  • MCOM504 Organisational Change and Communication
  • MCOM505 Internal Communication
  • MCOM506 Reputation Management
  • MCOM508 Communication for Investor Relations
  • MCOM566 Special Topic
  • MCOM576 Intercultural Communication
  • MCOM579 Communication in Organisations
  • MCOM583 Leadership, Communication and Transformation
  • MCOM587 Communication Internship
  • MCOM590 Directed Study
  • MCOM591 Dissertation
  • MNGT501 Research Methods in Management Studies

Please note: If you fail a paper or papers (no more than 30 points), then you may repeat the paper once, or take an alternative paper. If you fail more than 30 points you will not be permitted to proceed with the degree.

Bachelor of Electronic Commerce (BECom)

To complete the requirements for a Bachelor of Electronic Commerce subject major, you'll need to pass 120 points at 200-level or above from one subject area, and include at least 60 points at 300-level or above. You'll also need to meet the specific requirements prescribed for any subject.

The specific requirements for Public Relations are that you must include:

  • MCOM233 Public Relations Practices
  • MCOM332 Professional and Public Relations Writing
  • MCOM333 Public Relations Campaigns
  • MSYS319 Industry Experience 2 (see note below)

Please note: If you are taking Public Relations as a second major for the BECom then MSYS319 may be replaced with another paper ticked as available for this qualification.

Public Relations as a second major

Even if you are enrolled in an undergraduate degree that doesn't list Public Relations as a major subject, you may normally still take it as a second major. In these circumstances you are required to pass 120 points at 200-level or above from one subject area, and include at least 60 points at 300-level or above. You must also include:

  • MCOM233 Public Relations Practices
  • MCOM235 Media and Public Relations
  • MCOM332 Professional and Public Relations Writing
  • MCOM333 Public Relations Campaigns

Graduate Certificate (GradCert)

To complete the requirements for a Graduate Certificate in Public Relations, you'll need to pass 60 points at 100-level or above and include at least 40 points at 300-level or above. At least 40 points must be from one subject area. You'll also need to meet the specific requirements prescribed for any subject.

There are no specific requirements for this subject.

Please note: You may need to meet any additional paper prerequisites unless a waiver is obtained and depending upon your programme of study.

Graduate Diploma (GradDip)

To complete the requirements for a Graduate Diploma in Public Relations, you'll need to pass 120 points at 100-level or above and include at least 80 points at 300-level or above, and pass the Writing Competency Module. You'll also need to meet the specific requirements prescribed for any subject.

The specific requirements for Public Relations are that you must include:

  • MCOM233 Public Relations Practices
  • MCOM332 Professional and Public Relations Writing
  • MCOM333 Public Relations Campaigns
  • MCOM335 Media and Public Relations

And choose 40 points from:

  • MCOM239/339 Events and Communication Management
  • MCOM334/434 Public Relations Cases
  • MCOM336/431 Negotiation and Persuasion
  • MCOM338/438 Communication Interventions
  • MCOM340/440 Communicating Social Change
  • MCOM376/476 Diversity Leadership
  • MSYS353/MSYS453 Smart Technologies and Social Media

Please note: You may need to meet any additional paper prerequisites unless a waiver is obtained and depending upon your programme of study.

Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert)

To complete the requirements for a Postgraduate Certificate in Public Relations, you'll need to pass 60 points at 500-level from one subject area and meet the specific requirements prescribed for any subject.

The specific requirements for Public Relations are that you must meet with the department's Graduate Convenor to discuss an appropriate personal programme of study.

Please note: If you fail a paper then you may repeat it once. If you fail more than one paper, or you fail the same paper twice, then you will not be permitted to proceed with the Certificate. You may need to meet any additional paper prerequisites unless a waiver is obtained and depending upon your programme of study.

Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip)

To complete the requirements for a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Relations, you'll need to pass 120 points at 500-level and submit a Portfolio of Achievement (see the Postgraduate Diploma qualification information for further details). You must also meet the specific requirements prescribed for any subject. You can choose to take up to 30 points from other graduate subjects with the permission of the department's Graduate Convenor.

The specific requirements for Public Relations are that you must meet with the department's Graduate Convenor to discuss an appropriate personal programme of study and include:

  • MCOM584 Sustainable Futures
  • MCOM585 Public Relations: Context and Applications

And choose no more than 60 points from:

  • MCOM502 Managing Virtual Team Communication
  • MCOM503 Networking
  • MCOM504 Organisational Change and Communication
  • MCOM505 Internal Communication
  • MCOM506 Reputation Management
  • MCOM508 Communication for Investor Relations
  • MCOM566 Special Topic
  • MCOM576 Intercultural Communication
  • MCOM579 Communication in Organisations
  • MCOM583 Leadership, Communication and Transformation
  • MCOM587 Communication Internship
  • MCOM590 Directed Study
  • MCOM591 Dissertation
  • MNGT501 Research Methods in Management Studies

Please note: If you fail more than 30 points you will not be permitted to proceed with the diploma. You may need to meet any additional paper prerequisites unless a waiver is obtained and depending upon your programme of study.

Master of Management Studies (MMS)

The completion requirements for the Master of Management Studies are dependent upon your admission criteria. Please refer to the qualification information for further details. However you'll need to:

  • Meet with the department's Graduate Convenor to discuss an appropriate personal programme of study and to ensure any specific subject requirements are met
  • Take MNGT501 Research Methods in Management Studies (unless passed previously)
  • Take a dissertation (591/592) or thesis (593/594) in your subject area
    Submit a Portfolio of Achievement (see MMS information for further details).
  • Meet the specific requirements prescribed for any subject

The specific requirements for Public Relations are that you must include (unless passed previously):

  • MCOM585 Public Relations: Context and Applications

You may choose any additional papers required from:

  • MCOM502 Managing Virtual Team Communication
  • MCOM503 Networking
  • MCOM504 Organisational Change and Communication
  • MCOM505 Internal Communication
  • MCOM506 Reputation Management
  • MCOM566 Special Topic
  • MCOM576 Intercultural Communication
  • MCOM579 Communication in Organisations
  • MCOM583 Leadership, Communication and Transformation
  • MCOM584 Sustainable Futures
  • MCOM587 Communication Internship
  • MCOM590 Directed Study

Please note: If you fail a paper or papers (no more than 30 points), then you may repeat the paper once, or take an alternative paper. If you fail more than 30 points you will not be permitted to proceed with the degree. You may need to meet any additional paper prerequisites unless a waiver is obtained and depending upon your programme of study.

Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Please contact the Department's Graduate Convenor.