Public Relations Major - Bachelor of Communication Studies

Public relations is the professional management of external and internal communication to manage the reputations of a wide variety of  organisations and causes. Increasingly public relations communicators are being called upon to plan and manage the communication of nations, cities, communities, charities and corporations.

Organisations need expert writers and speakers to ensure excellent internal and external communication. These experts work in public relations, non-profit organisations, government, politics, and general management. They are skilled in persuasion, relationship building and strategic planning.

The major enables you to develop an understanding of reputation management and develop ethical judgments about strategic communication and communication planning. It provides the capacity to advise on corporate social responsibility, communication and relationships. You will acquire in-depth understanding of managing reputations, people, and public relations writing.

In this well-rounded and sought-after major you will also learn about communication in a business environment, sponsorship and promotion, internal communication, persuasion, and social media as well as communicating with diverse audiences.

More information about the Bachelor of Communication Studies


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
Introduces essential theory and practice as a basis for later specialisation. This focuses on media and interpersonal communication and the relationships between communication, technology and New Zealand society.

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)
285008 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 writing styles.

Level 6:
146719 Intercultural Communication (15 points)
146723 Media Communication IIA (15 points)
146718 Public Relations Communication (15 points)
146761 Writing for Professionals (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
You will learn about managing reputations, crises and issues in Reputation Management while Persuasive Communication offers the opportunity to develop persuasive skills. You can also learn more about event sponsorship th rough Sponsorship & Promotion and about financial communication through Communication in a Business Environment. You will then complete either Public Relations Strategy & Practice or Professional Communication Practice.

Public Relations Strategy & Practice

Professional Communication Practice

  • Acquire skills to become a reflective, professional communication practitioner. 
  • Opportunity to research and complete an authentic project related to a New Zealand communication issue of your choice. You will be required to make contact with the chosen organisation or cause and develop a professional strategic communication plan specifically for them.
  • Focus on informed practice, covering a wide range of relevant theory while emphasising the practical development of writing and oral skills in a professional context.


Level 7:
147717 Media Communication III (15 points)
147718 Reputation Management (15 points)

SELECT 30 points from:
147829 Professional Communication Practice (30 points)
147840 Public Relations Strategy and Practice (30 points)

SELECT 15 points from:
147720 People and Organisations (15 points)
147723 Persuasive Communication (15 points)
147828 Producing Professional Documents (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)
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)
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)
JOUR702 Mobile Journalism (15 points)
JOUR703 Data Journalism (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.

Career opportunities

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

Last updated: 09-Mar-2015 3.13pm

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