Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations
The BA (Public Relations) is a rigorous, comprehensive and career oriented programme that prepares you for work in the dynamic and constantly evolving field of Public Relations (PR) and communication.
Studying a BA (Public Relations) will prepare you for a multi-disciplinary environment where PR is increasingly viewed as a strategic imperative for modern organisations. You will cover PR and media specific ore modules, as well as more general communication and commercial subject areas. The core modules are Public Relations, Communication Science, English, Marketing, Journalism Writing and Media Theory. You also cover subject areas such as Internet Marketing, Broadcast Journalism, Business Ethics and Webpage Design, as well as a choice of specialised electives.
Much of the success of our BA (Public Relations) degree is due to our inspired teaching staff, a curriculum that is relevant and ahead of trends, and state-of-the-art media facilities. Most importantly, our focus is on real-world application, completing projects, and on practicing essential PR skills such as writing, presenting, researching and planning. This blended approach ensures that you gain essential skills and PR-specific abilities such as communicating effectively, building relationships, collaborating with others, meeting deadlines, self-management and being creative.
Are you always up to date with the latest trends and the world around you? Are you a natural communicator, super organised and do you have a passion for all forms of media?
Help businesses build relationships
Teaching methods and assessment
- We use a blend of lecture-led learning and Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL).
- You are issued with a tablet for learning and research.
- Our smaller class sizes allows for individualised attention.
- Our teaching staff is a mix of full-time academics and working professionals to ensure you benefit from quality academic and industry-specific inputs.
- You have access to campus resource centres, broadcast and photographic studio, the journalism computer lab with design and editing software, a variety of media resources and WiFi.
- You will complete theoretical written assignments as well as practical individual projects and case studies, to prepare you for assessment.
- You will need to create a Public Relations campaign for an NPO.
- Once all second year modules are completed, you will need to complete an internship with an industry appropriate organisation.
- Curriculum and level review by the Public Relations Advisory Board.
Students are introduced to the basic principles of public relations and communication. Computer literacy and various introductory marketing modules are included.
Communication Science 1
English Language Studies 1
Journalism Writing 1
Media Theory 1
Public Relations 1
And a choice of one of the following elective groups:
Group 1: Consumer Behaviour
Introduction to Business Management
Group 2: Broadcast Journalism 1
Year 1 module descriptions
Communication Science 1 (ACCS102)
Communication 1 provides a sound foundation in the theory and practice of communication. The approach in this module is to provide an understanding of communication as a science, and to relate this knowledge to the students' everyday experiences. The purpose is to motivate students to learn about communication and to become actively involved in developing their personal and professional communication competence.
Computer Skills (ITSK110)
This module is designed to enable the student to use the personal computer and peripherals functionally and to apply selected application programs, on an introductory level, independently and with confidence.
English Language Studies 1 (SSEL102)
Language is central to most human interactions. The English Language 1 course introduces students to the academic study of "language", with a specific focus on English. The aim is for students to understand what language is, how language works, and how language is used in specific contexts. The course incorporates theoretical components and practical application of knowledge gained through the analysis of a variety of texts.
Internet Marketing (COIM121)
E-business is the continuous optimisation of a firm’s business activities through digital technology. E-commerce is the subset of e-business and is focused on transactions. E-marketing is the use of information technology in the processes of creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers, and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organisation and its stakeholders. It is also the application of information technology to traditional marketing practices. Students will explore all these factors in this module.
Journalism Writing 1 (ACJW102)
The focus of this module is on the different media and their audiences. The approach is to explore all the basics of journalism. Students will have the opportunity to learn about a variety of issues such as media audiences, functions and effects of the media, and the power and ownership of the media in South Africa. Students will also learn the basics of news writing and the process of reporting.
Marketing 1 (COMK111)
In today’s competitive environment, good interpersonal skills are highly valued, and therefore this module will equip students with the marketing skills that they require to be more successful in both their personal and business lives. Marketing 1A will also provide students with the basic foundations for understanding all the marketing concepts and the 4P’s.
Media Theory 1 (ACMT102)
Media Theory 1: Media History and Mass Communication adopts a historio‐social approach to the study of the media; this ensures that students are able to situate the media within various political, social and cultural contexts. Students will be able to identify and explore individual and societal relationships within media structures and the production of media content. Students will also gain an understanding of media effects.
Public Relations 1 (ACPR101)
Public Relations 1: Fundamentals, Techniques and Practices develop the foundational knowledge and skills necessary in the public relations industry. Through introducing the principles, practices and fundamentals of the field, this module provides the core knowledge in terms of historical, social and ethical context in the development of the public relations discipline. To understand this context, it explores the relationships between public relations and other fields such as marketing, advertising, communication and the media.
And a choice of one of the following elective groups:
Consumer Behaviour (COCB121)
In today’s competitive environment, understanding the behaviour of consumers is crucial in enabling business’s to sustain a competitive advantage. This module will therefore equip students with the skills that they require to be more successful in both their personal and business lives. Consumer behaviour will also provide students with the basic foundations for understanding all the major aspects of building good relationships with their customers.
Introduction to Business Management (COIB111)
Introduction to Business Management, will provide students with a good understanding of the three economic systems and the value of business management. Students should be able to analyse the relationship between the enterprise and its environment. Students will also study the various functions of the enterprise, including: finance, purchasing, marketing, human resources and general management, and understand the interdependency of these various functions. Students will also encounter an entrepreneurial component and will thus learn to draw up a business plan and analyse the viability and feasibility of a small business.
Broadcast Journalism 1 (ACBJ102)
The ACBJ102 module introduces the student to the video production process and provides a basic knowledge of broadcast journalism. Students learn the fundamentals of the broadcast equipment and technologies, and take a look at the broadcast environment and people before delving deeper into the various types of writing associated with the industry. Documents like AV Scripts, Treatments, Storyboards, VR Logs and Edit Decision lists are a few of the formats with which the students will be familiar when they complete the module.
Students develop an intermediate level of knowledge and skill in the field of public relations and related communications fields.
Communication Science 2
Journalism Writing 2
Media Theory 2
Public Relations 2
And a choice of one of the following electives:
Broadcast Journalism 2
Year 2 module description
Communication Science 2 (ACCS202)
Communication Science 2: Interpersonal, Organisational and Business Communication develops an awareness and understanding of communication within organisations. The extent to which communication methods and communication networks affect organisations is probed, in addition to dealing with conflict within the organisational environment. The module further explores various management approaches to communication, the use of the promotional mix in integrated marketing communications, and the implementation of online communications.
English 2 (SSEN202)
This course follows on English Language Studies 1, and English literature of the 20th century is covered. The focus is on American literature, which is contrasted with African literature and feminist writings.
Journalism Writing 2 (ACJW201)
Print specialisations and production focuses on the complex writing skills and techniques necessary for newspaper and magazine publications. The approach is to equip students with the necessary practical writing skills, based on theory. Students will learn the techniques for interviewing for news stories, how to edit, and how to write hard and soft news stories according to industry standards. They will also learn the basic design required to produce different publications.
Marketing 2A (COMK211)
Marketing 2A addresses a wide range of marketing principles and strategic marketing. Organisations and entrepreneurs alike require a broad and deep understanding of the current marketing issues that affect business in the new economic order, so as to handle the complexity of changing environmental trends and to avoid unexpected circumstances. This module allows students to understand Marketing in the 21st Century, and to deal with marketing strategy design, implementation and control, based on thorough environmental analysis and marketing research.
Marketing 2B (COMK221)
By integrating what has been learnt in Marketing 2A, this module allows students to understand Marketing in the 21st Century, and to deal with marketing strategy design (product, pricing and marketing channels) by intermediaries and creatively employing multiple forms of communication. Students will gain knowledge on how to shape market offerings, tap into global markets and manage a holistic marketing organisation for long term growth.
Media Law (LWML221)
Media Law is aimed at providing students with an overview of the legal position in South Africa with reference to the sources, classification, and organisation of the South African legal structure. Furthermore, it is aimed at giving the student an insightful approach to, and detailed knowledge of: Media Law in South Africa, with specific reference to democracy and freedom of expression; media liability and defamation; the law of copyright, as well as court reporting, invasion of privacy and journalistic privilege.
Media Theory 2 (ACMT202)
Media Theory 2: Media, Reality and Society explores the institutional nature of the media; the sociology of news; the political economy of the media and media developments; trends; and debates. The critical approach adopted in this module ensures that students develop the ability to analyse the media critically by probing practices, ideologies and content.
Public Relations 2 (ACPR202)
Public Relations 2: Planning, Management and Campaigns builds and develops the foundational knowledge and skills, and transfers the focus to implementing public relations programmes and methods. Through an analysis of public relations as a management function, this module considers the application of various approaches, techniques as well as the administration and coordination of public relations departments within organisations. It situates public relations as a communication process in terms of public opinion, perceptions and positioning within the environment.
And a choice of one of the following electives:
Broadcast Journalism 2 (ACBJ202)
ACBJ202 focuses on the practical side of producing investigative reports and talk shows for television. Students will learn comprehensive interview skills and gain in‐depth knowledge of cameras, audio and lighting. This includes understanding single and multi‐camera productions, proper camera use, advanced camera techniques and basic editing. During the second semester, students will complete a production from conceptualisation to final product and live online broadcast.
New Media (ACNM101)
Technology has changed the way media content is gathered, processed, produced and transmitted worldwide and within organisations. The approach in this module is to provide knowledge in the following technologies: over-the-air broadcasting, radio and television satellite and wireless communication. Students will engage in the use of social media and computer-assisted reporting and research, and learn the basics of journalism on the Internet.
Students develop an advanced level of knowledge and skill in the field of public relations and related communications fields. They apply these in real world Public Relations projects.
Communication Science 3
Public Relations 3
Web Page Design and DTP
Public Relations Internship
Media Theory 3
Product and Promotion Management 3 and Strategic Marketing
And a choice of one of the following elective groups:
Group 1: Advertising and Sales Promotion and Research Methodology
Group 2: English 3
Group 3: Broadcast Journalism 3
Group 4: Journalism Writing 3
Year 3 module description
Business Ethics (COBE311)
This course is designed to provide students with a thorough knowledge of basic ethical theories, decision-making techniques and some of the more prevalent ethical issues facing entrepreneurs in the contemporary business environment.
Communication Science 3 (ACCS302)
Communication Science 3: Development Communication, Research and Corporate Communication Strategy provides the student with an advanced knowledge of development communication with specific reference to the South African and African context. It also provides the student with in-depth knowledge of communication strategies and plans, practically enabling students to develop communication strategies and plans for a variety of organisations.
Public Relations 3 (ACPR300)
Public Relations 3: Advanced Practices and Functions introduce students to the strategic role that public relations play. It explores public relations in context to highlight and examine the conflicts and possibilities for future practitioners. Students will learn how to manage themselves and their portfolios through understanding the contextual considerations of the professional environment.
Public Relations Internship (ACPI320)
Students who have completed all first and second year modules are required to do an internship in Public Relations. The 80 hour internship must be completed at an appropriate organisation and aims to give students real-life experience in their chosen field.
Web Page Design and DTP (ACWP300)
Web Page Design and Desktop Publishing introduces students to a variety of current design software and online tools needed when building, producing and publishing web and print media. The nature of the subject is practical, and consists of in-class tutorials, demonstrations and exercises enabling students to complete their assignments in class and in their own time. The course will help students to understand concepts relating to online media and the World Wide Web, empowering them to utilise these technologies to their advantage.
Media Theory 3 (ACMT302)
Media Theory 3: Media Analysis, Research and Methods explores the various traditions from which theorists present their understandings of the roles, characteristics, purposes, assumptions, intentions, structure, influence and power of the media. This module explores media and communication research methods, studying media content, audience research, and assessing media research and inferences.
Product and Promotion Management 3 (COPP311)
Product and promotion management is related to decision-making in the marketing environment where customers must be supplied with products and services to satisfy their needs. Promotion activities will keep these consumers well informed about the benefits of these products and services. Under the topic of product and promotions management, students will be required to apply the theory to real-life case studies as is applicable to the content of the different chapters.
Strategic Marketing (COSM321)
Strategic marketing provides a reference point for decision-making. Strategy requires that an organisation manages its resources efficiently through the selection of profitable markets in reaction to the changing business environment. This module introduces students to the building blocks for strategic marketing, namely the strategic analysis of the various environments, the development of market strategies in reaction to the dynamic environment, implementation of strategies, strategy evaluation and control of these strategies.
And a choice of one of the following elective groups:
Advertising and Sales Promotion (COAS221)
This module covers several aspects of advertising: advertising as part of a company’s marketing process; marketing communication; setting up and coordinating campaigns; and copywriting. Under the topic of Sales Promotion, students learn about media research, media planning and the purchasing of media coverage.
Research Methodology (CORM211)
This module addresses the synergy between quantitative and qualitative approaches to form a single research process. It will allow students to comprehend the simple beginnings of research design through to data analysis and research reporting.
English 3 (SSEN302)
This module builds on the framework established in the first and second years of English studies. It introduces students to a study of intertextuality and Existentialism, and exposes them to a diversity of literary texts from various literary genres (novels, plays, films) and historical periods (Renaissance, Victorian, Modern/20th Century etc.). The focus of this module will be on developing the students’ critical and analytical skills in the analysis of multiple texts within a theoretical framework.
Broadcast Journalism 3 (ACBJ300)
The third year of Broadcast Journalism focuses on the practical application of knowledge gained during the previous two years of studying. The student will learn how to compile a comprehensive PPF (producer's proposal form) which is used to apply for the commissioning of investigative report inserts. The student will also plan, produce, direct, film and edit a one-minute public service announcement and a five-minute investigative report for television.
Journalism Writing 3 (ACJW301)
This module focuses on writing features for various media platforms. It takes the student from developing story ideas to investigating, organising and producing different types of features (including profiles, reviews and trend stories) for specific publications. It introduces students to skills necessary to write features, and to freelancing as a career option. It aims to help the student develop and hone writing skills, and understand how to use and market these in the workplace.
• National Senior Certificate (NSC) with Bachelor degree entry or an equivalent foreign secondary qualification on an NSC level with Bachelor degree entry approved by Universities South Africa (USAF).
• If you have an international school-leaving certificate, you need to provide a certificate of exemption issued by Universities South Africa (USAF).
• You should have successfully completed the relevant Pearson Institute foundation programme. On successful completion of the foundation programme, students are required to apply to Universities South Africa (USAF) for a certificate of exemption in order to be admitted to a degree programme.
• You should have successfully completed a relevant higher certificate qualification. On successful completion of the higher certificate, students are required to apply to Universities South Africa (USAF) for a certificate of exemption in order to be admitted to a degree programme.
• You need 25 Pearson Institute points or more
• You need 50% or above for Grade 12 English
Calculation of points
90% - 100%
80% - 89%
70% - 79%
60% - 69%
50% - 59%
40% - 49%
30% - 39%
0% - 29%
Pearson Institute Points
- Accredited by the South African Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) of the Council on Higher Education (CHE).
- Registered with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).
The career choices for you, as a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations graduate, are varied and employment options include:
Qualification facilities and campuses
Journalism Lab which is also accessible to public relations students. Broadcast and photography studio. Computer labs with design and editing software.
The qualification is offered at Pearson Institute Midrand Campus
Additional notes / comments / information
• Students who did not complete their secondary schooling in English as the language of teaching and learning or who are uncertain about their English language skills are advised to do an English course to prepare them for degree studies.
• PRISA - Individual students can join PRISA
• Theory - Synergy. Public Relations - campaign, which teaches students to write and put a campaign together - execute NGO plan which can be added to the students portfolio.
How does this qualification make a student real world ready?
The qualification covers a range of theoretical and practical modules and is designed to provide students with a well-rounded and broad education that equips them with the knowledge, theory and methodology of the Public Relations field and related areas. Students get to practice their public relations, writing, communication, broadcast and basic design skills during the three years. Students are required to complete an internship in the industry.
In addition to employability, students are prepared for the world of work and can be confident in their ability. This is achieved through the structure of the programme which combines both theoretical knowledge with practical and industry application where they acquire career specific high level skills.
How do we ensure that this qualification is of the highest academic standard?
The Public Relations Advisory Board advises on the level and relevance of the theoretical and practical components of the programme. This is considered in terms of the applicability of the theories to the academic and industry requirements for Public Relations. All final assessments are externally moderated by academics from other Higher Education institutions, who are specialists in their field. They consider the level and standard of academic rigour for the programme.
This qualification would be perfect for someone who...
Outgoing, networker, communicator and good organizer and planner. Broad general knowledge and interest in current affairs. A passion for language, writing and communicating in English. Prepared to do accurate and comprehensive research