PR Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Public Relations?

Public relations involves using all forms of media and communication to build, maintain and manage the reputation of particular clients. These can range from public bodies or services to businesses and voluntary organisations.

Public relations professionals shape an organization’s image. They build the brand, spread the organization’s message and minimize the effect of negative publicity.  Public relations officers manage the reputation and image of their clients, working to gain public understanding and support through planned publicity campaigns.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering Public Relations courses in the following subject areas:

  • Public Relations – Gain an understanding of public relations and the issues confronting it in the modern world.
  • Diploma in Public Relations – The study of Public Relations and the fundamentals of earned media.
  • Diploma in Customer Service & Public Relations – Learn what it takes to deliver exceptional customer service and affect the overall growth and development of an organisation.
  • MSc in Public Relations and Strategic Communications – Gain the skills and ability to think strategically and make effective use of the latest tools in modern communications.
  • BA in Digital Marketing, Communication & Public Relations – Gain the skills and knowledge for direct employment within the marketing communications industry.
  • MA / Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism and Public Relations – The study of public relations work with clients in the corporate, political and public affairs space.
  • Strategic Public Relations – The study of the key principles and practices of contemporary public relations from both a theoretical and practical perspective.
  • Practical Public Relations – The study of practical PR techniques including writing press releases, brochure and newsletter design, PR Campaign Planning and developing a PR pitch.

Studying Public Relations in college

There are many Public Relations courses that take place over 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like. Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials and taught modules. Assessments will take place on a continuous basis with written examinations and practical assignments combined in order to achieve a qualification.

You could also consider work experience or volunteering to help with local charities which can give you exposure to planning events, contacting media outlets and writing press releases and articles.

Keep a record or copy of anything you organise or write. Employers also like graduates with experience of writing for student magazines or who have been involved with student radio or university societies.

Work Experience will not only give you the opportunity to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing a course in Public Relations you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of Public Relations and Media.

Working hours are usually full time, Monday to Friday. You should expect to work some evenings and over the weekends on occasion depending on the type of work you do and if you have to attend events. Client deadlines, press launches, crisis management and pitches can all result in extra hours and long days.

The job is generally office-based, but you may have to travel frequently to attend networking and media events and exhibitions, as well as meetings with clients. International travel may also be necessary.

Related jobs include:

  • Advertising account executive
  • Advertising copywriter
  • Event manager
  • Marketing executive
  • Media researcher
  • Public affairs consultant
  • Public relations officer
  • Sales promotion account executive
  • Social media manager
  • Broadcast journalist
  • Charity fundraiser
  • Personal assistant
  • Policy officer
  • Politician’s assistant
  • PPC specialist

Further study

After completing a course in Public Relations you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skillset. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practise in certain career areas such as business management, communication and media studies, English and creative writing, marketing, politics and social sciences.


Are there different types of Public Relations?

  • Some examples of public relations are:
  • Investor Relations
  • Government Relations
  • Community Relations
  • Media Relations
  • Media Production
  • Customer Relations
  • Marketing Communications
  • Influencers

What are the elements of a Public Relations Campaign?

  • Know your target audience. Understanding the target audience is the most important part of any successful public relations strategy
  • Set realistic goals. Think about what you hope to achieve with your brand, and when
  • Develop a message
  • Know your competition
  • Stay relevant

Where can I study Public Relations?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

  • Social media press releases didn’t exist until the early 2000s. The Public Relations industry has vastly changed as technology has evolved. Before there was Facebook there was no need for the social media press release. Before email, press releases were faxed and before fax machines, press releases were delivered by pony express (I’m kidding, but you get my point). With every new advancement of technology, PR professionals have to keep close tabs on how this will impact the industry.
  • The FedEx logo has won 40 design awards and was ranked as one of the eight best logos in the last 35 years.
  • Picking Lindsay Lohan to be your company’s official spokesperson could spark a lot of backlash. But when you connect people with lawyers, the move can produce loads of smiles, publicity, and customers.’s brilliant marketing play resonated with audiences because Lohan’s troubled past and her frequent brushes with the law makes people who might’ve gotten in a little trouble feel like they’re not alone. It also makes them feel better about themselves.
  • To promote gender equality and honour the many achievements of women throughout history, Johnnie Walker launched a female version of its whisky on International Women’s Day called Jane Walker. The limited-edition bottle featured a woman on their iconic logo, instead of a man, which connected the brand to individuals who also support their commitment to social progress. In March 2018, Johnnie Walker released 250,000 bottles of Jane Walker, and for every bottle sold, they donated $1 to organizations that empower women. This tangible impact helped their campaign gain even more support and publicity.

Mariza Halliday

Journalism Courses
Advertising Courses


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