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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.

PR Campaigns_B Sem_2015

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.

Our graduates go on to pursue exciting careers in a wide range of organisations. Watch videos here.

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.

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 papers Health Communication Campaigns, where you'll compete against other teams to develop a real-life campaign on behalf of a not-for-profit organisation. You'll then present your campaign results to a panel of experts to demonstrate your knowledge of effective public relations strategies. Watch previous students presenting their PR 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 200 universities for Communication & Media Studies, as well as Business & Management Studies, by the prestigious QS World University Subject Rankings 2018.

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.

Qualifications

If you wish to take Public Relations as your 1st Major subject, you'll need to enrol for either the Bachelor of Communication Studies, the Bachelor of Business, or the Bachelor of Management Studies with Honours.

Otherwise you can normally take it as a 2nd Major (8 papers) or Minor subject (4 papers) for any other bachelor's degree offered at the University of Waikato.

If you'd like to gain specialist expertise at postgraduate level, take a look at our Master of Management Studies in Public Relations.

Apply to enrol

Key information

Study Locations: Hamilton; Tauranga; Online
Faculty:

Career opportunities

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

Level 1

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
LCOMM102Communication in an Online Society18B (Hamilton)
This paper introduces students to communication practices, concepts, and issues that they are likely to encounter as citizens, communicating professionals, community members, and participants in a highly mediated online world.
PUBRL101Introduction to Public Relations18A (Hamilton)
This paper introduces students to various kinds of tools and expertise used by public relations practitioners in their effort to build relationships between an organisation and its stakeholders.

200 level

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
LCOMM200Management Communication18A (Hamilton) & 18B (Hamilton)
This paper focuses on the processes by which managers communicate with those inside and outside their organisation. It explores managers' main communicative practices and introduces students to some of the major theories underlying management communication as an area of study.
LCOMM201Professional Speaking18B (Hamilton)
This highly practical paper focuses on the skills, principles, and practices of developing and delivering professional speeches and presentations across a wide range of professional purposes and contexts.
MCOM200Management Communication18B (Hamilton)
This paper provides an introduction to the theory and practice of management communication. The paper focuses on the process by which managers communicate with those inside and outside their organisations.
PUBRL201Media Relations and Publicity18B (Hamilton)
This paper provides students with concepts and techniques that enable them to create and report news for traditional and social media and to communicate effectively on behalf of organisations.
PUBRL202Health Communication Campaigns18B (Hamilton)
This paper explores the construction and evaluation of communication campaigns to address health issues in communities and organisations. The campaigns use communication theory to design persuasive and innovative health campaigns.
PUBRL203Events Management18A (Hamilton) & 18A (Tauranga)
This experiential paper draws together best practice in event management from a practical, business, and operational perspective. The paper covers researching, designing, planning, and implementing an event for a client.
PUBRL204Contemporary Public Relations Writing18A (Hamilton)
Modern communications professionals write to represent organisations across many different audiences, purposes and contexts. PUBRL204 teaches students to select and use a range of genres from established media to emerging digital platforms.

300 level

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
MCOM330Professional Speaking and SpeechwritingThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
MCOM332Professional and Public Relations Writing18A (Hamilton) & 18A (Tauranga)
This paper focuses on the theory and practice of written communication in public relations and other professional contexts. Students learn to design, write and edit a portfolio of documents, including a brochure, an annual report narrative, and a newsletter.
MCOM333Public Relations Campaigns18B (Hamilton) & 18B (Tauranga)
This paper may not normally be counted towards a Leadership Communication major. It is recommended that BCS students complete MCOM220 prior to enrolling in this paper. This paper will be delivered to Tauranga via Video-conference.
MCOM334Public Relations Cases18T (Online)
This paper provides students with the concepts and techniques needed to evaluate the public relations strategies of organisations.
MCOM335Media and Public Relations18A (Hamilton), 18A (Tauranga), 18B (Hamilton) & 18B (Tauranga)
This paper focuses on the skills, principles and practices of managing ethical and sustainable relationships with media stakeholders. It includes writing for news media, working with television appearances.
MCOM336Negotiation and Persuasion18B (Hamilton)
This paper examines the theory and practice of persuasion and negotiation in a range of professional contexts.
MCOM338Communication InterventionsThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
MCOM339Events and Communication Management18A (Hamilton) & 18A (Tauranga)
Event management is a strategic public relations, marketing and communication tool for organisations of all sizes. This experiential learning paper draws together best practice in event and communication management from a practical business and operational perspective. The paper covers all aspects of event planning. Students will r...
MCOM340Communicating Social Change18B (Hamilton)
This paper examines a range of theoretical and practical approaches to the communication and management of social change, especially the health and well-being of communities, organisations, and other social groups, and emerging human rights issues.
MCOM376Diversity LeadershipThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
MCOM380Special TopicThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
MCOM387Communication InternshipThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
MCOM390Directed StudyThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
MCOM399Communication Investigation in the WorkplaceThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
MSYS319Industry Experience 218C (Online)
This paper requires a period of four to thirteen weeks work experience in an appropriate and approved host organisation with relevance to the student's degree and major. Investigation of three research topics supports the academic component of the paper.

400 level

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
MCOM430Professional Speaking and SpeechwritingThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
MCOM431Negotiation and Persuasion18B (Hamilton)
This paper examines the theory and practice of persuasion and negotiation in a range of professional contexts.
MCOM432Professional and Public Relations Writing18A (Hamilton) & 18A (Tauranga)
This paper focuses on the theory and practice of written communication in public relations and other professional contexts. Students learn to design, write, and edit a portfolio of documents, including a brochure, an annual report narrative, and a newsletter.
MCOM434Public Relations CasesThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
MCOM438Communication InterventionsThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
MCOM440Communicating social change18B (Hamilton)
This paper examines a range of theoretical and practical approaches to the communication and management of social change, especially the health and well-being of communities, organisations, and other social groups, and emerging human rights issues.
MCOM476Diversity LeadershipThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
MCOM480Special TopicThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
MCOM490Directed StudyThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
MCOM495Industry Experience 418C (Online)
A period of four to thirteen weeks internship is spent in a host organisation with relevance to the student's major, located in New Zealand or overseas. Students find their own host organisation, which is then approved by the departmental co-ordinator. In addition to the time spent in the host organisation, Weekly small group elect...
MCOM499Report of an Investigation18D (Hamilton), 18E (Hamilton), 18F (Hamilton), 18G (Hamilton), 18H (Hamilton), 18I (Hamilton), 18J (Hamilton), 18K (Hamilton), 18L (Hamilton) & 18M (Hamilton)
Directed investigation of an approved topic, available only to students enrolled in the BMS degree.

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 BBus(Hons, BCS(Hons), BMS(Hons), PGCert(PR), PGDip(PR) and MMS

Public Relations may be taken as a major for the BMS(Hons) and as a subject for the BBus(Hons), BCS(Hons) and MMS. A Postgraduate Certificate and a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Relations are also available. The requirements for the major and subject 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.

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
MCOM502Managing Virtual Team Communication18B (Online)
Managing and participating in teams is a feature of organisational life and the everyday workplace. Increasingly, work teams are dependent on communication technologies for effective communication. This paper investigates theory and practice of team communication with specific reference to the capacities of communication technologi...
MCOM506Reputation ManagementThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
MCOM508Communication for Investor RelationsThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
MCOM512Applied Communication AnalysisThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
MCOM513Professional and Public Relations WritingThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
MCOM517Internship and Action Research for Public RelationsThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
MCOM518Public Relations Best Practice - an InvestigationThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
MCOM519Applied Research in Public RelationsThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
MCOM532Public Relations CasesThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
MCOM566Special TopicThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
MCOM576Intercultural CommunicationThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
MCOM579Communication in OrganisationsThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
MCOM583Leadership, Communication and Transformation18B (Hamilton)
Our focus in this paper will be on leadership communication, or the ways leaders and followers interact and the ways leaders attempt to create and shape meanings through images and words. We will also explore a range of ideas about what it means to lead and the assumptions, beliefs, and values embedded and shaped in diverse leaders...
MCOM584Sustainable Futures18A (Hamilton) & 18A (Online)
Individuals and organisations operate in contexts that are increasingly complex and uncertain. They face issues that are global in nature and which threaten long term sustainability. To successfully meet fast changing futures, contexts and stakeholders must be addressed. New styles of leadership and management are thus required, ac...
MCOM585Public Relations: Context and ApplicationsThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
MCOM587Communication InternshipThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
MCOM589Directed StudyThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
MCOM590Directed StudyThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
MCOM591Management Communication Dissertation18C (Hamilton)
A report on the findings of a theoretical or empirical investigation.
MCOM592Management Communication Dissertation18C (Hamilton)
A report on the findings of a theoretical or empirical investigation.
MCOM593Management Communication Thesis18C (Hamilton)
An externally examined piece of written work that reports on the findings of supervised research.
MCOM594Management Communication Thesis18C (Hamilton)
An externally examined piece of written work that reports on the findings of supervised research.
MCOM599Report of an Investigation18D (Hamilton), 18E (Hamilton), 18F (Hamilton), 18G (Hamilton), 18H (Hamilton), 18I (Hamilton), 18J (Hamilton), 18K (Hamilton), 18L (Hamilton) & 18M (Hamilton)
Directed investigation of an approved topic, available only to students enrolled in the BMS(Hons) degree.
MNGT501Research Methods in Management Studies18A (Hamilton), 18B (Hamilton), 18B (Online) & 18T (Hamilton)
This paper aims to introduce students to the assumptions underlying the different methodologies and methods for performing research in the social sciences.The focus is on interpretive, positivist, critical, and mixed methods. The paper attempts to give students the conceptual and methodological resources needed to think and convers...

Nita  Harding Nita Harding didn’t set out to get an MBA – a promotion to a business manager role led the veterinary scientist to look for ways to help her do her job better.

Read stories from other students


Scholarships and prizes

Visit our Scholarship Finder for information about possible scholarships

Find your scholarship


Public Relations as a single major for the BBus, BCS or BMS(Hons)

If you wish to take Public Relations as a single major for the BBus, BCS or BMS(Hons), you'll need to pass 135 points (9 papers) in this subject area, including at least 105 points above 100-level and 60 points above 200-level.

As all papers are 15 points, you will need to complete 2 x 100-level, 3 x 200-level and 4 x 300-level papers for your major. No more than three 200-level papers may be included in this major.

The specific requirements for a single major in Public Relations are that you must take the following 9 papers:

  • PUBRL101 Introduction to Public Relations
  • PUBRL201 Media Relations and Publicity
  • PUBRL202 Health Communication Campaigns
  • PUBRL204 Contemporary Public Relations Writing
  • PUBRL301 Stakeholder and Community Engagement
  • PUBRL302 Issues and Crisis Management
  • One of the following papers:
    • ACCTN101 Accounting for Management
    • ECONS101 Business Economics and the New Zealand Economy
    • FINAN101 Introduction to Finance
    • MGSYS101/201 Integrated Thinking – Digital Business and Supply Chain Management
    • MRKTG101 Fundamentals of Successful Marketing
    • STMGT101 Introduction to Management
  • Remaining papers are selected from:
    • DIGIB301 Social Media Analytics
    • LCOMM301 Professional Speaking
    • PUBRL303 Events Management
    • LCOMM303 Leading Social Change
  • Bachelor of Business (BBus): The BBus single major requirements state that you must include MNMGT495/6/9 Industry Experience/Internship/Report of an Investigation as part of your major.
  • Bachelor of Communication Studies (BCS): The BCS single major requirements state that you must include LCOMM300 Communication Strategies as part of your major.
  • Bachelor of Management Studies with Honours (BMS(Hons)): The BMS(Hons) honours stream requires you to include a further 60 points at 500-level in papers that are relevant for your first major (see the degree planner for details).

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

To complete the Bachelor of Communication Studies with Honours, you'll need to pass 120 points at 500-level, including at least 60 points from the subject area of Public Relations, and at least 30 points in research (Directed Study, Dissertation or Research Methods Papers).

You will also need to submit a Portfolio of Achievement (see BCS(Hons) qualification information for further details).

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
  • 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

Public Relations as a 2nd Major with any bachelor's degree

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. If Public Relations is your second major then you must pass 120 points in this subject, including at least 90 points above 100- level, of which at least 45 points must be above 200-level.

As all papers are 15 points, you would therefore complete two x 100-level, three x 200-level and three x 300-level for each major.

The specific requirements for the 2nd Major in Public Relations are that you must take the following 8 papers:

  • PUBRL101 Introduction to Public Relations
  • PUBRL201 Media Relations and Publicity
  • PUBRL202 Health Communication Campaigns
  • PUBRL204 Contemporary Public Relations Writing
  • PUBRL301 Stakeholder and Community Engagement
  • PUBRL302 Issues and Crisis Management
  • One of the following papers:
    • DIGIB301 Social Media Analytics
    • LCOMM301 Professional Speaking
    • PUBRL303 Events Management
    • LCOMM340 Leading Social Change
  • One of the following papers:
    • DIGIB301 Social Media Analytics
    • LCOMM301 Professional Speaking
    • PUBRL303 Events Management
    • LCOMM340 Leading Social Change

Public Relations as a Minor subject with any bachelor's degree

To complete a minor in Public Relations, you must complete 60 points, including at least 30 points above 100-level from PUBRL papers.

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

  • PUBRL101 Introduction to Public Relations

Graduate Certificate (GradCert) in Public Relations

To complete the requirements for a Graduate Certificate in Public Relations, you'll need to pass 60 points at 100-level, including at least 45 points at 300-level or above. At least 45 points must be from the subject area of Public Relations.

Papers can be chosen from those ticked for this qualification in the tick-chart table. For full details of available papers visit papers.waikato.ac.nz/subjects/PUBRL

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) in Public Relations

To complete the requirements for a Graduate Diploma in Public Relations, you'll need to pass 8 papers (120 points) at 100-level or above, including at least 5 papers (75 points) at 300-level or above. At least 6 papers (90 points) must be from the subject area of Public Relations.

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

For full details of available papers visit papers.waikato.ac.nz/subjects/PUBRL

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) in Public Relations

To complete the requirements for a Postgraduate Certificate in Public Relations, you'll need to pass 60 points at 500-level in the subject area of Public Relations.

Papers can be chosen from those ticked for this qualification in the tick-chart table. For full details of available papers visit papers.waikato.ac.nz/subjects/PUBRL

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

Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in Public Relations

To complete the requirements for a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Relations, you'll need to pass 120 points at 500-level, including at least 90 points from the subject area of Public Relations.

You will also need to submit a Portfolio of Achievement (see the Postgraduate Diploma qualification information for further details).

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

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

And choose no more than 60 points from:

  • MCOM502 Managing Virtual Team 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: 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) in Public Relations

The completion requirements for the Master of Management Studies depend on your admission criteria. Please refer to the qualification information for further details. However all students must:

  • 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
  • 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

For full details of available papers visit papers.waikato.ac.nz/subjects/PUBRL

Please note: 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.


Documents

Waikato Management School Student Handbook


Contacts

Management Student Centre (MSC)

Phone: +64 7 838 4303
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.

Public Relations subject convenors:

Dr Margalit Toledano
Senior lecturer in Public Relations
Email: toledano@waikato.ac.nz

Dr Alison Henderson
Senior lecturer in Public Relations
Email: alison@waikato.ac.nz