Course Information Undergraduate prospectus

Contemporary Issues in PR Practice

Course summary

Course code: MEDS1078
Level: 6
Credits: 30
School: Business Faculty
Department: Marketing, Events and Tourism
Course Coordinator(s): Mark Phillimore



Contemporary Issues forms a critical component of the PR programme with the management and awareness of contemporary issues being integral to PR practice.

Specifically, the course will assist you to:
Develop into autonomous learners and independent thinkers;
Engage with leading edge theory in a positive and open-minded way;
Appreciate the complex range of issues that PR professionals might face within the work environment and be able to adapt this knowledge to a range of different contexts;
Develop an in-depth theoretical underpinning of ethics, new influences in PR, reputation, corporate social responsibility, the role of relationships, diversity and regulation of the industry in the context of public relations practice;
Be able to contribute confidently to discussions, applying in-depth knowledge and critical thinking to leading edge research and practice in the PR field;
Critically evaluate and be able to develop a framework for understanding ethical issues in PR;
Develop a critical awareness of current contemporary issues and the application of that knowledge to a range of complex situations in business;
Envisage the impact of current and future trends on the role and implementation of public relations.

Learning outcomes

A Knowledge and understanding of:
The potential role of contemporary issues in the context of communications within organisations.
How an in-depth comprehension of contemporary issues plays an important role in the long term success and reputation management of the organisation.
The complex and diverse nature of contemporary issues that the PR industry currently faces.
The evolution of corporate social responsibility and its integral role within all perspectives of business.
Ethics and the importance of ethical practice in building and maintaining a good reputation for the PR industry.
An overview of the range of contemporary issues that PR practitioners might face.
An insight into the different stakeholder perspectives in relation to ethics, corporate social responsibility and professionalism.

B Intellectual Skills:
Appreciate the challenges of modern PR practice.
Consolidate knowledge and develop innovative approaches to handling contemporary issues within business.
Appreciate the continually changing environment within which organisations are operating and be able to anticipate the impact this might have on practice.
Appreciate the importance of professionalism, ethics and CSR in developing contemporary PR strategies.
Understand the importance of sound communications planning and management within the challenges of modern day communications.
Critically reflect on academic and professional perspectives of public relations, developing skills as a reflective learner and practitioner.
Improve critical and analytical capacity.
Consolidate verbal, written, listening, discussion, verbal reasoning and presentation skills.
Develop an in-depth understanding of the relationship between theoretical and professional perspectives of contemporary issues in PR.
Become a critical and reflective learner and practitioner.

C Subject practical skills:
Confidently undertake more sophisticated communications using a wider range of expertise and knowledge as a practitioner.
Analyse, interpret and extrapolate information.
Anticipate likely issues that might arise and accommodate them ¿ both tactically and strategically.
Debate controversial issues relating to contemporary issues in PR.

D Transferable skills:
Take a more enquiring and critical approach to learning materials.
Critically evaluate statements in terms of evidence presented.
Critically evaluate conflicting ideas and approaches and evaluate their merits.
Refine their research skills using a range of academic and professional sources.
Develop selectivity in reading, writing and communicative work.
Use software packages to prepare effective written work.
Improve presentation of information both orally and in writing in a range of formats.
Develop confidence in contributing to discussions and debates.
Develop skills in effective listening, critical debate and verbal reasoning.

Indicative content

To demonstrate an in-depth systematic understanding of the current and new insights into contemporary issues faced by PR professionals and their impact on practice.
To appreciate and critically examine the range of diverse contemporary issues that influence and impact upon communications in business.
To be able to critically evaluate how contemporary issues challenge PR practice and through interpretation identify approaches and knowledge to meet those challenges.
To relate your in-depth knowledge of contemporary issues to a range of different scenarios and contexts, facilitating confidence and ability in handling potentially difficult situations.
To be able to critically analyse a range of issues faced in PR and consider the impact on communications strategies and wider business practice .
To critically evaluate current research and advanced scholarship in the PR discipline.

Teaching and learning activity

Lead discussions and debates, interactive seminars, guided learning activities, self-managed exercises and guided reading, learning-sets to work together on review activities, meetings with tutors presentation and dissemination skills to peer groups, investigation and preparation of written coursework.

Learning Time (1 credit = 10 hours)
Contact Hours:
Lectures 24;
seminars 24;
Tutorials 40;
Other 20;
Private Study 69;
Assignments: course work and other forms of assessment:
Coursework 80;
laboratory work 40;
Examinations 3.


Examination - 40% weighting, 3 hours. Examination paper providing the opportunity for students to consolidat learning throughout the course.

Coursework - 60% weighting, 3000 words. Individual coursework reflecting on theoretical and professional aspects of contemporary issues in PR practice, explored throughout the course.

Pass mark 40%.