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.

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.

Our lecturers have industry and academic expertise with a national and global outlook. Their strong industry connections mean that as a PR student you could go on industry field trips and gain paid PR experience during your degree.


This is part of the Bachelor of Communication Studies.

Discover the expanding role PR has in building ethical relationships with journalists, industry bodies, investors, employees, consumers, business partners and advocacy groups. You'll learn about PR specialisations which include marketing, event management, community relations, investor relations, international relations, advocacy, issues management and consumer relations.

Students participate in live campaigns and industry field trips, and work in AUT’s Student PR Consultancy for a real client.

Most papers last one semester and are worth 15 points. Students must complete 120 points each year (360 points for the entire degree).

Year 1

Compulsory papers:

You also choose 30 points from the optional papers listed below or any other paper in the Bachelor of Communication Studies.

Year 2

You study the following papers:

You also choose 60 points from the optional papers listed below or any other paper in the Bachelor of Communication Studies. We recommend that you take prerequisite papers from another major. If you want to take a minor, 30 points of these papers at level 6 can be in your minor subject area.

Year 3

This year, you can plan and execute PR strategies through Outside the Square (OTS), our student-run consultancy. Students work in teams and take a brief from a real client while working with an independent industry mentor. They then create and carry out a PR strategy on time and on budget, often winning industry awards.

Recent clients have included Bike Auckland, Mercy Ships, Diabetes Auckland, Everybody Eats, KidsCan, Keep New Zealand Beautiful, MOTAT, Surf Lifesaving and Volunteering Auckland.

Outside the Square (OTS)

You study the following papers:

And choose one paper from:

You also choose 45 points from the optional papers listed below or any other paper in the Bachelor of Communication Studies. If you want to take a minor, 30 points of these papers at level 7 can be in your minor subject area.

Throughout the year you can also apply for internships and gain work experience.

Optional papers

Level 5  papers

Level 6  papers

Level 7 papers

More details about papers in this programme

Detailed programme structure and paper outlines (Blackboard)

Search for a paper (Arion)

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

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 and Spark PR

PRINZ networking events

There’s a longstanding relationship with the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ) and students are encouraged to attend industry networking events.

  • Corporate communication executive
  • Public relations consultant
  • Marketing communications executive
  • Government communicator
  • Internal communications advisor
  • Media relations manager
  • Community relations manager
  • Social media 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
  • Gain experience in our student-run PR consultancy, Outside the Square
  • Includes a PR project for a real client
See yourself as
  • A collaborative colleague
  • A strategic thinker
  • A builder of reputations and relationships
  • A good writer, speaker and organiser
Simon Hebden
Brooke Hurndell
Freya Munro-Goodey

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