How do you compare PR degree courses?

The Guardian has published its University Guide 2008 – but it is impossible to draw any conclusions relating to public relations from this.  

Does the subject fall within business and management which includes: business studies, management studies, finance, accounting, marketing, human resource management and business and administrative studies?

Or is it included in , summarised as: How we communicate – includes information services, publicity studies, media studies, publishing, journalism and mass communication?

The aim of the data is “to provide a guide for first-time students” – but with a lack of clarity regarding where public relations might fit, how do those looking to take a degree in PR make their choice? 

The same problem is apparent at the  (Teaching Quality Information) site which has a lot of searchable data and a good facility for comparing Universities – but without a clear category for public relations.  Is it media studies, communications and informations studies or management?  Is this lack of clarity an issue for students thinking about taking a degree in public relations?

Searching the site for public relations revealed 281 courses – with a huge number of combined subject options.   approves PR courses at 24 Universities in the UK.  Presumably this listings are helpful with links to more information about individual courses on University websites.  There are also opportunities such as open days to learn more about studying PR. 

But I am not aware of any comparison tables for studying PR at UK universities – or whether such rankings are helpful.  With the growth in opportunities to study PR – which undoubtedly brings challenges regarding the quality of courses on offer – would it be a benefit to be able to compare PR degree courses in some way?  If such tables already exist – where can I find them?

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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.

4 thoughts on “How do you compare PR degree courses?”

  1. Thanks Jill – but that is still a listing (and not as comprehensive as CIPR or UCAS). I am interested in seeing any attempts to compare the different courses if such a thing exists.

  2. Results are one of the factors that are used by the likes of the Guardian and TQI when assessing/rating/ranking Universities and their courses. It is hard to take out the performance of the PR degree courses from these tables as they fall in different departments in different places and could be included in any of the discipline areas that I mentioned.

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