This course is jointly delivered by the University of Stirling, School of Arts and Humanities, and Lund University (Sweden), Institute for Strategic Communication.
Public Relations practitioners provide direction for organisations of all sizes and sectors to communicate with their stakeholders and to manage relationships and emerging issues on the public agenda. Here at the University of Stirling and at the Lund University, we take a strategic approach to the field, encompassing a variety of perspectives and disciplines.
This variant of our established MSc in Strategic Public Relations & Communication Management course is delivered jointly with our partner Lund University in Helsingborg, Sweden. This course provides students with a solid European and international perspective on public relations and provides an opportunity to study in both Stirling, UK, and Helsingborg, Sweden.
This course is taught completely in English and students will obtain a double MSc degree from the University of Stirling and Lund University. Students spend Semester 1 at the University of Stirling and then move to Lund University for Semesters 2 and 3 before deciding if they’d like their dissertation supervised by Stirling or Lund.
This new Master’s course has unique features
- Opportunities to study in two countries at universities recognised for leading public relations and communication management education within Europe
- A focus on public relations and communication management, including strategic PR planning, media relations, digital media, public affairs, lobbying and advocacy, and organisational communication all within an international context
- An internship during the third semester of the course
- Rigorous research methods modules which enable students to build up confidence to engage in high quality qualitative and quantitative communication research
- The MSc Strategic Public Relations is also the English language line of the MARPE* – Euprera network and students will be able to interact and collaborate with students on the Iberian, French language lines and attend intensive public affairs seminars and workshops in Belgium
The key benefits of this course include:
- Internationalisation: unique multicultural and intercultural experience
- Knowledge: an innovative and challenging curriculum which develops both a theoretical and practical understanding of strategic communication
- Skills: transferable personal and intellectual skills including core management skills required by strategic managers in the developing global public relations industry
- Career opportunities: graduates are equipped to take up public relations and communication management positions in the private, public and non-profit sectors
- Contacts: a multi-national course team which is internationally-recognised for teaching and research and an alumni base built up over two decades
- Additional opportunities: specialist industry seminars and workshops on public affairs and lobbying delivered by leading practitioners and key experts in Brussels
The MSc Strategic Public Relations equips you with the necessary practical and analytical skills for an internationally focused professional career by examining how to design, implement and evaluate public relations (PR) and communication management courses.
*MARPE is the abbreviation for Master Relations Publiques Européenne. MARPE is a framework for Public Relations courses initiated by the European Public Relations Research and Education Association (EUPRERA)
A minimum of a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.
English language requirements
If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your proficiency such as a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 (6.0 in all bands).
If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard.
Our range of pre-sessional courses.
Modes of study
Full-time, based at the University of Stirling, Scotland and at Lund University in Helsingborg, Sweden.
Course start date
Structure and content
Double Award (University of Stirling and Lund University)
Students spend an additional semester at Lund University in order to gain the double award.
Certificate: three months
MSc: 21 months
Delivery and assessment
Methods of assessment include case studies, timed assignments, essays, presentations and reports. Students also complete a 12,000-word Dissertation.
To get you started there are a few suggested text books you may want to take a look at before the start of the semester – they are also available in the University Library but with limited copies available:
PREP62 Strategic Public Relations and Public Communications: Theories & Contexts:
L’Etang, J. (2008). Public Relations: Concepts, Practice and Critique, London: Sage
Ihlen, Ø., van Ruler, B., & Fredriksson, M. (2009). Public Relations and Social Theory: Key Figures and Concepts, London: Routledge.
PREP63 Media Relations:
Hicks, Wynford (2006) English for Journalists, 3rd ed, London: Routledge
Hicks, Wynford (2008) Writing for Journalists, 2nd ed, London: Routledge
English Dictionary & Thesaurus
PCMPX2 Public Affairs & Advocacy:
Davis, A. (2010). Political Communication and Social Theory. London: Routledge
Harris, P., & Fleisher, C.S. (2005). The Handbook of Public Affairs, London: Sage
McGrath, C. (2006). Lobbying in Washington, London, and Brussels: The Persuasive Communication of Political Issues. The Edwin Mellon Press
van Schendelen, R. (2005). Machiavelli in Brussels, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press
PREP64 Research Methods for Dissertation:
Daymon, C., & Holloway, I. (2011). Qualitative Research Methods for Public Relations and Marketing Communications. London: Routledge.
The timetable below is a typical example, but your own timetable may be different.
Lectures, seminars and workshops are scheduled each week. For the Stirling semester students have four modules that run concurrently. A semester timetable is made available prior to students arrival and usually the lectures, seminars and workshops are scheduled on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. For the Lund semesters students take one module at a time over a five-week period and the schedule is issued before the module start.
Students on this course will study the following modules and do a 12,000-word Dissertation:
- Strategic Public Relations Planning: Develops the ability to identify and diagnose public relations problems and design campaign strategies. Presentation and media broadcast skills are taught
- Public Relations and Public Communications: Theories and Contexts: Provides an overview of key contexts, and practice contexts such as business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), crisis and employee relations
- Public Affairs and Advocacy: Critically evaluates political and social science theories relating to public opinion, public affairs practice, lobbying and advocacy environments
- Organisational Communication: Provides an overview of the major theories and themes in organisational communication. Initially the module covers the historical development of the field and the different major perspectives, namely the post-positivistic, interpretive and critical perspective. The latter part of the module focuses on areas such as change processes, leadership and power from a communicative perspective.
- Research for Dissertation: Teaches the necessary research skills to carry out academic research in the field of public relations and communication management
- Research and Evaluation for Practice: Teaches the necessary conceptual and computational research skills to operate as a public relations manager
- Research Design: Focuses on quantitative approaches to research
- Specialist Research Methods: Focuses on the methods approaches students are considering for their dissertation
- Internship: students are required to complete an internship
- Public Relations and Public Communication Theories
- Media Relations and Production
- Public Affairs and Advocacy
- Research Design and the Philosophy of Science
- Strategic Brand Communications
- Research and Evaluation for Practice
- Crisis Communication
- Qualitative Methods
- Quantitative Methods
- Strategic Communication Theory
Strategic Public Relations Dissertation
Study abroad opportunities
Students spend Semester 1 at the University of Stirling and then move to Lund University for Semesters 2 and 3 before deciding if they would like their dissertation supervised by Stirling or Lund.
Why study Strategic Public Relations (Double Degree with Lund University)(MSc) at Stirling?
Dr Howard Northhaft, Lund University
Communications, Media and Culture had 95% of its research classed as of international standard, with 70% in the top two categories, 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent', in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).
Students benefit from an international academic team at Stirling and Lund, which is recognised for their teaching and research; students are able to study in two different countries enabling the development of intercultural communication skills and an international network; the course includes an industry placement.
Students are able to attend a two-day Public Affairs and Lobbying seminar series delivered in Brussels (additional cost).
We currently have 17 students on our course from Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, UK and Ireland.
Living in Germany last year made me realise that there is more than my safe environment in Belgium. So, the international experience was one of the main reasons that made me choose the Master in Strategic Public Relations.
Not only studying in two different countries, but also living and studying together with people from different countries all over the world, with international experiences far beyond the European borders only broadened my perspectives. I got a first-hand insight on how different nationalities deal with different issues, and in many cases national stereotypes were confirmed!
The semester in Stirling taught me about press releases and lobbying, gave me insight in theories and contexts in public relations and so much more.
Although my decision to start in Stirling was last-minute, I would definitely do it again tomorrow if I had the choice!
Barbara Bruynooghe, MSc Strategic Public Relations (Double Degree with Lund University)
The Master of Science double degree at the University of Stirling and Lund University seemed like a perfect match regarding my academic and cultural interests as well as my previous work experiences. I think that this programme is rather unique in Europe, as it offers to study a promising field in two countries known for its academic expertise. Getting the chance to be part of a truly international environment - there are students from nine different countries - is a once in a life time opportunity before settling down for work life. Not only does it broaden your horizon from any point of view, it also trains and nurtures international management and organisation skills. The possibility to get a scholarship from the University of Stirling additionally encouraged me to join the programme. It is by far not the easy way to earn a degree, but it will definitely improve self-organisation, discipline and soft skills/social competence.
Robin Hüdepohl, MSc Strategic Public Relations (Double Degree with Lund University)
This course prepares students for careers in public relations and related areas in consultancies and private sector companies, (in-house positions, such as communications officer/manager, public relations officer/manager, press officer, internal communications officer/manager) NGOS, international organisations (such as the EU, UN etc.).
Graduates of our Master's level courses in public relations have successfully established careers in the public relations field working for a wide range of organisations all round the world. Recent examples include Nike, the UK Government, EU Parliament, Pfizer, Office Depot, the National Museum of Wales, as well as within the non-profit/charity sector.
Many of our graduates work for public relations consultancies, including some of the big names in the PR world, and some have even gone on to start their own business. Others stay in academia, going on to gain PhDs and then work as lecturers, teaching and researching public relations in universities all over the world.