Public Relations Major - Bachelor of Communication Studies

What will your day look like?

The world of communication studies at AUT is exciting and varied. Studying public relations as a part of a communications degree at AUT will provide you with a challenging and fun student experience and the best foundation to launch your PR career.

Public relations is about strategically planning and managing communication activities, building relationships and managing reputations. PR professionals work for a range of organisations, from governments to small businesses, and multinationals to non-profit organisations. An effective public relations practitioner needs a wide knowledge of communication, knows how the media works, understands strategy, is culturally sensitive and has a range of writing, visual and audio skills.

In this major you develop an understanding of reputation management and learn to make ethical judgments about strategic communication and communication planning. You gain an in-depth understanding of public relations writing, communication in a business environment, sponsorship and promotion, internal communication, persuasion, social media and communicating with diverse audiences.

Key features

More information about the Bachelor of Communication Studies

Career opportunities


Public relations graduates typically find work with communication teams within large organisations, or as a Marketing or Human Resources communications representative in smaller organisations, but there are so many other opportunities too. To find out more about industry trends, job descriptions, what employers may be looking for, check out the Public Relations Career guide.

Typical roles for public relations professionals include:

  • Corporate communication executive
  • Public relations consultant
  • Marketing communications executive
  • Government communicator
  • Internal communications advisor
  • Media relations manager
  • Community relations manager
  • Social media manager


Most papers last one semester and are worth 15 points. Students must complete 120 points each year (360 points for the entire degree). In each year students study core (compulsory) papers, and select other papers from a range of options.

Year 1
Level 5:
145701 Interpersonal Communication (15 points)
145708 Media Communication I (15 points)
145717 Image and Sound (15 points)
145718 Media Production Workshop (30 points)
PHIL580 Applied Media Ethics (15 points)

SELECT a further 30 points from optional papers listed below or any other paper in the Bachelor of Communication Studies.

Year 2
In the first semester, you will be introduced to current theories, models, and concepts of public relations as well as real-life examples. In the second semester, you will be introduced to a range of PR writing styles.

Level 6:
146719 Intercultural Communication (15 points)
146718 Public Relations Communication (15 points)
COMM601 Media Communication II (15 points)
PUBL600 Public Relations Writing (15 points)

SELECT a further 60 points from optional papers listed below or any other paper in the Bachelor of Communication Studies. Students are recommended to take prerequisite papers from another major. If you wish to take a minor, 30 points of these papers at level 6 may be in your minor subject area.

Year 3
All students take the Reputation Management paper. You learn about managing reputations, crises and issues, as well as building and managing relationships between organisations and publics.

You can then choose whether you want to learn more about internal communication, persuasion or creating content for multimedia platforms.

A key component of this major is learning how to plan and execute communication strategies through real-life industry collaboration. Through Outside the Square (OTS), our student-run consultancy, you work in teams to interpret a client brief, develop a communication strategy and implement the plan on time and on budget. Your responsibilities range from managing communication activities, producing appropriate print and web-based publications, carrying out media relations and liaising with the client.

There is input from the industry’s professional body, the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ) and public relations consultancies including Porter Novelli, Acumen Republic, Botica Butler Raudon PR, Mango, Network Communication, Professional Public Relations and Sparkactivate.

Throughout the year you can also apply for internships and gain work experience, although this is not a requirement of the programme.


Level 7:
147717 Media Communication III (15 points)
147718 Reputation Management (15 points)
147840 Public Relations Strategy and Practice (30 points)

SELECT 15 points from:
147720 People and Organisations (15 points)
147723 Persuasive Communication (15 points)
PUBL701 Digital Public Relations (15 points)

SELECT a further 45 points from optional papers listed below or any other paper in the Bachelor of Communication Studies. If you wish to take a minor, 30 points of these papers at level 7 may be in your minor subject area.

Level 5:
145705 Principles of Writing (15 points)

145719 Introduction to Popular Culture (15 points)

145720 Performance Communication (15 points)

145724 Audio Production Techniques (15 points)

145726 Screen Narrative Production (15 points)

915404 Sound Production (15 points)

915405 Technology and Composition (15 points)

Level 6:
116232 Photography (15 points)
916100 Technology and Creative Expression (15 points)
ADVT602 Media Psychology, Strategy and Planning (15 points)
MARS603 Communications in Marketing, Advertising, Retailing, Sales (15 points)
TVSP600 Screen Production Practice (15 points)

Level 7:
147732 Editing and Design (15 points)
147734 Magazine Journalism (15 points)
147777 The Music Industries (15 points)
147786 Advanced Studio Production (15 points)
147788 Performance for Camera (15 points)
147789 Radio Journalism (15 points)
147790 Photo Journalism (15 points)
147791 Television Journalism (15 points)
147792 Advanced Copywriting (15 points)
147803 Writing for the Studio (15 points)
147804 Screen Production Management (15 points)
147805 Selected Topics in Advertising Creativity (15 points)
147806 Selected Topics in Creative Industries (15 points)
147807 Selected Topics in Journalism (15 points)
147808 Selected Topics in Digital Media (15 points)
147809 Selected Topics in Public Relations (15 points)
147810 Selected Topics in Radio (15 points)
147811 Selected Topics in Television and Screen Production (15 points)
147813 Radio and Society (15 points)
147816 Promotional Culture (15 points)
147817 Broadcast Interviews and Production (15 points)
147825 Reporting the Pacific Region (15 points)
147826 Maori and Pasifika Media Industry (15 points)
147827 Sponsorship and Promotion (15 points)
147829 Professional Communication Practice (15 points)
147832 Advanced Advertising Art Direction (15 points)
147836 Creative Marketplace (15 points)
147837 Creative Industries and Film (15 points)
ADVT702 Specialist Forms of Advertising (15 points)
COMM703 Media and Politics (15 points)
JOUR702 Mobile Journalism (15 points)
JOUR703 Data Journalism (15 points)
MARS705 Trends and Innovations (15 points)
PUBL700 Communication in a Business Environment (15 points)
TVSP702 Screenwriting: Drama (15 points)
TVSP703 Screenwriting: Non-Fiction (15 points)

Click here to view programme structure and paper outlines.

Additional course information can also be found here.

Enrolment in papers is subject to meeting all requirements and availability of papers.

Last updated: 12-May-2016 9.38am

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.