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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.

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.

Watch previous students presenting their PR campaigns.

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.

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 the only university in New Zealand - and one of only four outside the United States - whose Public Relations programme is certified by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). This is your guarantee of a world-class learning experience, as the PRSA sets the gold standard for PR education.

We're also ranked in the world's top 200 universities for Communication & Media Studies in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2019.

You'll be studying at Waikato Management School, which is ranked in the top 1% of all business schools globally with our prestigious Triple Crown Accreditation from EQUIS, AMBA and AACSB.


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 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.

Apply to enrol

Key information

Study Locations:Hamilton, Online
Papers offered differ by location. The Catalogue of Papers has full location info.
Area of Study:

Career opportunities

  • Public relations executive
  • Communications advisor/manager
  • Community liaison manager
  • Content writer
  • Digital and social media manager
  • Events and sponsorship manager
  • Internal communications advisor
  • Media relations adviser
  • Press secretary
  • Sponsorship/fundraising manager
  • Stakeholder and engagement manager

100 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
ACCTN101Accounting for Management15.021A (Hamilton), 21B (Hamilton), 21B (Tauranga), 21C (Waikato Pathways College) & 21X (Zhejiang University City College, Hangzhou China)
This paper explains that accounting is an important social practice; an integral aspect of organisational management and covers both the technical aspects of the provision and use of accounting information.
COMMS100Fundamental Skills for Media and Creative Industries15.021A (Hamilton) & 21B (Hamilton)
This paper introduces students to creative technologies and tools that enable the development of creative ideas and expression in a digital world. Students will develop key skills necessary to generate creative works and projects in an interdisciplinary environment that comprise and blends visual art, design layout, audio-visual pr...
COMMS101Communication Competencies15.021A (Hamilton) & 21B (Hamilton)
This paper introduces students to the significance and meaning associated with our everyday communication choices. From inscriptional technologies (pencil, pen, typewriter, word processor), modes of address to communication applications, these choices serve to communicate something about the message maker and the appropriateness an...
COMMS102Communication in a Digital World15.021A (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.
COMMS103Communication and Organising15.021A (Hamilton)
The paper introduces students to key communication theories within organisational contexts. It will demonstrate the power of communication in constructing organisational and social reality. The paper will also provide a brief introduction to three major organisational communication practices: public relations, marketing and leaders...
ECONS101Business Economics and the New Zealand Economy15.021A (Hamilton), 21A (Secondary School - Unistart), 21A (Tauranga), 21B (Hamilton), 21B (Waikato Pathways College) & 21X (Zhejiang University City College, Hangzhou China)
This paper offers insights into the behaviour of consumers, firms and the government within the economy, giving students skills in analysing and predicting the actions of individuals and businesses.
FINAN101Introduction to Finance15.021A (Hamilton), 21B (Hamilton), 21B (Tauranga), 21B (Waikato Pathways College), 21H (Hamilton) & 21X (Zhejiang University City College, Hangzhou China)
This paper introduces the three core areas of finance - financial management, investments, and capital markets and institutions. The paper also examines applications of corporate finance concepts to personal finance.
MGSYS101Integrated Thinking - Digital Business and Supply Chain Management15.021A (Hamilton), 21A (Tauranga), 21B (Hamilton), 21B (Waikato Pathways College) & 21X (Zhejiang University City College, Hangzhou China)
This paper explores the dual concepts of digital business and supply chain management. The interactive lectures help in developing critical thinking skills and highlight many topical case studies.
MRKTG101Fundamentals of Successful Marketing15.021A (Hamilton), 21A (Tauranga), 21B (Hamilton), 21C (Waikato Pathways College), 21H (Hamilton) & 21X (Zhejiang University City College, Hangzhou China)
This paper focuses on the role of Marketing in business, introducing students to marketing research, consumer behaviour, and analysis, as essential tools for developing brand positioning strategies that create value.
PUBRL101Introduction to Public Relations15.021A (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.
STMGT101Introduction to Management15.021A (Hamilton), 21A (Waikato Pathways College), 21B (Hamilton), 21B (Tauranga), 21B (Waikato Pathways College), 21C (Waikato Pathways College), 21X (Hamilton) & 21X (Zhejiang University City College, Hangzhou China)
Explores the world of management in organisations, the roles of managers and how they strategise, plan, organise, and motivate staff to achieve goals.

200 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
COMMS200Communication Ethics15.021A (Hamilton)
This paper provides a foundation in communication ethics by working with students to examine, negotiate, and take sound decisions on ethical issues in a variety of contexts including interpersonal, intercultural, organisational, societal, mass media, and social media ones.
COMMS202Intercultural Perspectives in Communication15.021B (Hamilton) & 21C (Hamilton)
This paper examines concepts of intercultural communication where consideration is given to individual and cross cultural values and practice. Communication will be considered through a range of themes including Treaty partnership in Aotearoa, cultural understanding and influences, perceptions and personality, motivation, decision ...
PUBRL201Media Relations and Publicity15.021B (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 Communication15.021B (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.
PUBRL204Contemporary Public Relations Writing15.021A (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 Points Occurrence / Location
COMMS300Communication Consulting Project15.021B (Hamilton)
This paper introduces the use of action research methodology for an integrated work experience to identify communication needs in specific organisations from business, government, community or non-profit sector. Needs assessments and interventions are covered.
DIGIB301Creating Value with Social Media Analytics15.021B (Hamilton)
The paper offers advance concepts and techniques needed to extract hidden business insights from big social media data while developing critical thinking of social media security and privacy issues.
LCOMM301Professional Speaking15.021A (Hamilton) & 21G (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
PUBRL301Stakeholder and Community Engagement15.021A (Hamilton)
This paper is designed to develop capacity in students to develop and facilitate ethical collaborative communication and relationship engagement activities with a diverse range of stakeholders within communities.
PUBRL302Issues and Crisis Management15.021B (Hamilton)
PUBRL302 takes a case study approach to learning to understand and strategically adapt to a wide range of issues and to respond to crises that may threaten organisational viability and wellbeing.
PUBRL303Events Management15.021A (Hamilton) & 21A (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.
WSOMM396Management Internship15.021A (Hamilton), 21A (Tauranga), 21B (Hamilton), 21B (Tauranga), 21C (Hamilton) & 21C (Tauranga)
The Management Internship provides students with the opportunity to apply their management discipline-based knowledge to an authentic project within an organisation.
WSOMM399Report of an Investigation15.021A (Hamilton), 21A (Tauranga), 21B (Hamilton), 21B (Tauranga), 21C (Hamilton) & 21C (Tauranga)
This paper offers students the opportunity to complete a directed investigation of an approved topic relevant to an organisation or industry and in an area related to their management discipline of study.

500 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
LCOMM502Managing Virtual Team Communication15.021B (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...
LCOMM583Leadership, Communication and Transformation30.021A (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...
LCOMM584Sustainable Futures30.021B (Hamilton) & 21B (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...
PUBRL591Public Relations Dissertation30.021X (Hamilton)
A report on the findings of a theoretical or empirical investigation.
PUBRL592Public Relations Dissertation60.021X (Hamilton)
A report on the findings of a theoretical or empirical investigation.
PUBRL593Public Relations Thesis90.021X (Hamilton)
An externally examined piece of written work that reports on the findings of supervised research.
PUBRL594Public Relations Thesis120.021X (Hamilton)
An externally examined piece of written work that reports on the findings of supervised research.

800 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
PUBRL800Public Relations MPhil Thesis120.021X (Hamilton)
No description available.

900 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
PUBRL900Public Relations PhD Thesis120.021X (Hamilton) & 21X (Tauranga)
No description available.

Jacinda Ardern Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern completed a Bachelor of Communication Studies at Waikato Management School in 2001.

Read stories from other Public Relations students

Scholarships and prizes

New to Waikato? The International Excellence Scholarship is worth up to $10,000.

Visit our Scholarship Finder for information about possible scholarships

Find your scholarship

Public Relations as a 1st Major (Bachelor's degree)

Public Relations as a 2nd Major or Minor (Bachelor's degree)

Graduate qualifications

Postgraduate qualifications


Management Student Centre (MSC)

Phone: +64 7 838 4303
Email: [email protected]

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.