Public Relations Major - Bachelor of Communication Studies

Study public relations at AUT and embark on an exciting career where every day promises to be different. Get real PR experience and make industry connections during your studies.

A PR career could be organising top-level celebrities to promote an exotic resort, working with an international health organisation to communicate disease prevention in a developing country, briefing business leaders on a company merger, or lobbying the government to change regulations on behalf of a charity.

You'll learn from lecturers who have industry and academic expertise with a national and global outlook. Their strong industry connections mean that as a public relations student you have the opportunity to go on industry field trips and gain paid PR experience during your degree.

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This is part of the Bachelor of Communication Studies.

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You’ll explore topics like reputation management, relationship management, strategic communication, communication in a business environment, sponsorship and promotion, internal communication, persuasion and negotiation, social media strategies and moral philosophy.

Year 1

This year you take eight core courses that give you an overview of the media world and communication theories:

Year 2

This year you take four courses related to public relations, covering topics like reputation management, relationship management, strategic messaging, communication in business and political environments and the power of persuasion.

You study the following courses:

You also take courses from your second major, your minor(s) or elective courses.

Year 3

Our students can plan and execute PR strategies through Outside the Square (OTS), our student-run public relations consultancy. You work in teams to interpret a brief from a real client, develop a communication strategy and implement the plan on time and on budget. Recent clients included Hockey New Zealand, Surf Life Saving, Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand, The NZ Music Foundation and Starship Foundation.

Outside the Square website

Other courses this year focus on the role of multimedia in public relation campaigns, political and election campaigns, and developing a strategic communication plan.

You study the following courses:

You also continue to take courses from your second major, your minor(s) or elective courses.

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Graduate internships

The lecturers have developed graduate internships with organisations like:

  • Fonterra
  • Auckland Council
  • Ports of Auckland
  • PR consultancies like Porter Novelli, Acumen, Botica Butler Raudon, Baldwin Boyle, Undertow Media and Drum

PRINZ networking events

We have a longstanding relationship with the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ) and we encourage students to attend PRINZ industry networking events.

Majoring in public relations will prepare you for a wide range of roles, including:

  • Corporate communications executive
  • Public relations consultant
  • Marketing communications executive
  • Government communicator
  • Internal communications advisor
  • Community relations manager
  • Cultural mediator
  • Media relations manager
  • Influencer campaign manager

Find out more about industry trends, job descriptions and what employers may be looking for.

Public Relations Careers

Key features
  • Supported by the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ) and leading PR consultancies
  • Participate in live campaigns and industry field trips
  • Work for a real client in AUT’s student-run PR consultancy, Outside the Square
See yourself as
  • A collaborative colleague
  • A strategic thinker
  • A builder of reputations and relationships
  • A good writer, speaker and organiser
Taylor Evans
Scott Telfer
Samantha Smith
Katy McMillan
Jzayla Hughey

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

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