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MSc Strategic Communication and Public Relations (Joint Degree PFU Barcelona)

Study at the University of Stirling and Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, where you’ll gain an international perspective on strategic communication and public relations.

Strategic Communication and Public Relations (Joint Degree PFU Barcelona)

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc
  • Start date September
  • Duration MSc full-time: 12 months
  • Mode of study Full-time, Stand-alone modules

Immerse yourself in a variety of cultures while you study on this interdisciplinary, advanced postgraduate course in Strategic Communication and Public Relations delivered jointly by the University of Stirling and Pompeu Fabra University. You will benefit from an international perspective, having the opportunity to study in both Stirling and Barcelona.

Taught entirely in English, the course offers a hands-on approach, while at the same time providing you with the theoretical foundations you need to practise public relations at a managerial level.

You’ll obtain a joint MSc degree from the University of Stirling and Pompeu Fabra University. You spend Semester 1 at the University of Stirling, and then move to Pompeu Fabra University for Semester 2. You may then decide if you would like to have your dissertation supervised by staff at Stirling or Pompeu Fabra.

Learn more about the course by visiting the Pompeu Fabra University website.

  • Top reasons to study with us
  • Professional accreditations

    Awarded with a CEI label (International Campus of Excellence) by the Spanish Ministry of Education, Pompeu Fabra is a modern university with prestigious international rankings.

  • Flexible learning

    If you’re interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email Graduate Admissions to discuss your course of study.

  • Research

    Communications, Media and Culture at the University of Stirling had 70 percent of its research rated as either ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014). Pompeu Fabra staff are also research active and publish internationally.

  • Academic requirements

    A minimum of a second class honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

    As this is a joint degree with Barcelona, you must additionally be eligible to meet the PFU entrance requirements which are set by the Spanish government.  You can find further details on these requirements on the Pompeu Fabra University website.  

  • English language requirements

    If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

    • IELTS 6.5 with 6.0 minimum in each sub-skill
    • Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE) 176 overall with a minimum of 169 in each sub-skill
    • Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE) 180 overall with a minimum of 169 in each sub-skill
    • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 60 overall with 56 in each sub-skill
    • IBT TOEFL 80 overall with 18 in reading, 23 in writing, 19 in listening and 21 in speaking
    • Trinity ISE II Pass overall and Merit in all sub-skills, ISE III Pass overall and in all sub-skills, ISE IV Pass overall and in all sub-skills

    Last updated: 5 December 2019

    For more information on ways that you can meet our English language requirements, including options to waive the requirement, please read our information on English language requirements.

  • Pre-sessional English language courses

    If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

    Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses.

The course covers a range of modules, including: public relations and public communications theories; strategic public relations planning; media relations; public diplomacy and strategic communication; digital media; public affairs and advocacy; and research methods.



The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery in the next academic intake of this course. These may be subject to change as the University regularly revises and refreshes the curriculum of our taught programmes.

Course Details

  • Teaching

    You’ll be taught by lectures, seminars, workshops, case studies, small group tutorials, field trips and visiting speaker presentations.

  • Fieldwork

    You’ll have the opportunity to attend a Public Affairs and Lobbying seminar series in Brussels, which includes visits to the European Parliament, the European Commission as well as specialist industry seminars with leading public affairs and public relations experts in Brussels.

  • Assessment

    Methods of assessment include:

    • academic essays
    • timed assignments
    • public relations and communication campaigns including presentations and reports
    • press conferences
    • a media relations portfolio which includes press releases, feature articles, and blogs
    • practical communication reports and strategic plans
    • case studies
    • research designs
    • content analysis
    • in-class contributions and presentations

    You will also complete a 12,000-word dissertation.

  • Classroom hours

    The timetable below is a typical example, but your own timetable may be different.



    Public Relations and Public Communication Theories


    Lectures: TUE, 10:00 – 12:00

    Seminar Groups:

    TUE, 14:00 – 18:00

    Media Relations and Production


    THU, 14:00 – 17:00

    Research for Dissertation PREPP64

    Lectures: FRI, 12:00 – 14:00

    Seminar Groups:

    FRI, 09:00 – 10:30

    FRI, 10:30 – 12:00

  • Course director
  • Key staff

    University of Stirling

    Dr Alenka Jelen-Sanchez is Programme Director of the MSc Strategic Communication and Public Relations (Joint Degree), and teaches public relations theories; public affairs and advocacy; and research methods. Her current research focuses on public relations as an academic discipline; relationships between media and politics; gender in media and public relations; and health communication.

    Dr William Dinan teaches and researches on promotional culture, communication and power. Interests include spin; propaganda; political communication; lobbying and civil society advocacy; freedom of information; transparency and governance. More information on his research can be found here…

    Dr Derek Hodge teaches digital media in public relations; strategic public relations planning; media relations; and research methods. Originally trained as a biologist holding a PhD from the Department of Microbial Genetics at the University of Sussex, he was working in a variety of management roles in the retail sector before moving into public relations. He was a partner in a public relations consultancy in Scotland for nine years, working mainly on corporate communications campaigns for clients in the public and private sectors.

    Universitat Pompeu Fabra

    Dr José Fernández-Cavia is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Communication, Universitat Pompeu Fabra. He teaches and researches in the fields of advertising, public relations, place branding and public diplomacy. He currently leads a research project funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness entitled 'The Tourist on the Web. Informational habits and destination choice' (ITOURIST).

    Dr Lluís Mas specialises in the relationship between branding and political communication in social media; sound branding; body image and advertising; and PR strategies. He teaches Public Affairs and Advocacy. 

    Dr Mònika Jiménez-Morales is a Senior Lecturer at the Communication Department of Pompeu Fabra University. She has also been Visiting Scholar in the University of California, Berkeley. Her main research lines are focused on the effects of media discourse, as well as on PR and events management. She has published several papers and books, and has coordinated several studies related to the mentioned topics.

    Dr Frederic Guerrero-Solé specialises in social media, media effects and political communication. He teaches Sociology of Communication; Quantitative Research Methods and Public Relations and Digital Media. He is the Co-Director of the MSc Strategic Communication and Public Relations.

    Dr Reinald Besalú specialises in audience research and political communication. His research focuses on qualitative and quantitative analyses of media texts and discourses. He also teaches communication methodologies.

    Elisenda Estanyol is a Lecturer at the Information and Communication Sciences Department at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) – and an Associate Professor at both the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, the Institut d’Educació Contínua (IDEC-UPF) and at the Istituto Europeo di Design (IED). Before joining the University, she worked for several years in public relations consultancies (Llorente and Cuenca, Hill + Knowlton Strategies) and in-house communication departments (CAATEEB, DiR).  Her research interests are focused on public relations, creativity, social media and gamification.

    Ask an expert

    Dr Katherine Champion Lecturer in Media and Communications

    Lecturer, Dr Katherine Champion, a specialist in Media and Communications, explains how studying at Stirling can enhance your career prospects.

    Ask an expert in media, culture and communications

  • Fees and costs

    Fees shown are per year (fees are different for each course)


    Home/EU Students

    Fees shown are for full-time, one-year Masters course*

    If you’re domiciled in Scotland, you may be eligible to apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for a loan of up to £10,000 to cover your tuition fees and associated living costs. Students domiciled in the EU can also apply for tuition fee support, although may not be eligible to receive funding to support living costs.

    If you're domiciled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, you should be eligible to apply for a loan from your regional body.

    English students apply for a loan of up to £10,609 per year as part of the UK Postgraduate Loan Scheme, Welsh students can apply for a non-means tested loan of up to £13,000 from the Welsh Government and Northern Irish students are eligible to apply for support of up to £5,500.

    *Fees for students who apply for a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate will be paid on a pro-rata basis.

    If the course is taken over two years then the fee will be split evenly over the two years. Fees are not pro-rated for students who enrol on a Masters course and decide to exit with a Postgraduate Diploma - the full fee is charged.


    Overseas (Non-EU) Students

    Fees shown are for full-time, one-year Masters course. Fees for students who apply for a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate will be paid on a pro-rata basis.

    If the course is taken over two years then the fee will be split evenly over the two years. Fees are not pro-rated for students who enrol on a Masters course and decide to exit with a Postgraduate Diploma - the full fee is charged.


    Please note: You will be liable to pay tuition fees for every year you’re in attendance, and your fees will be held level upon entry. If you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for an additional fee.

  • Scholarships and funding

    If you have the talent, ability and drive to study with us, we want to make sure you make the most of the opportunity – regardless of your financial circumstances.

    Learn more about available funding opportunities or use our scholarship finder to explore our range of scholarships.

  • Additional costs

    There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

  • Cost of living

    If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

    EU and overseas students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

    Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

  • Payment options

    We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay

Our Masters in Strategic Communication and Public Relations prepares you for an international careers in public relations, strategic communication or related areas in consultancies, private sector companies (in-house positions), NGOs and international organisations, including the EU and the UN.

Our graduates typically occupy positions such as:

  • Communications Officer/Manager
  • Public Relations Officer/Manager
  • Press Officer
  • Social Media Officer/Manager
  • Internal Communications Officer/Manager
  • Corporate Affairs Officer/Manager

Some graduates have started their own companies or work as project managers. Others stay in academia, going on to gain PhDs and then work as lecturers, teaching and researching public relations in universities.

I feel that my time on the programme has given me the tools and confidence to achieve in various fields, all over the world.
Dagur Óðinsson
MSc Strategic Communication and Public Relations (Joint Degree) with Merit
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