PR at BCU

#BCUWeArePR is an online platform for current PR students at Birmingham City University School of Media and the lecturing team. It also acts as a community for past, present and future students to come together and talk about industry issues and personal achievements. 

This blog is a place where ideas, stories and examples are shared and critiqued and where student successes can be celebrated. It's also a space for industry and university to come together, for the benefit of our students and for professionals in the Midlands area – and beyond.

PR doesn't operate in isolation and neither do we; everything we do is rooted in practice and together, we’re shaping the PR practitioners of tomorrow.



Eastside PR

Our undergraduate students can't wait to put the practical skills and industry awareness we give them through our modules and course into practice. That's why we established Eastside PR - our very own student PR agency where students can work on both internal and external briefs to build their network and develop their experience.

To find out what Eastside PR has been involved in to date, visit our Events page or view the Campaigns we've been involved with, and if you would like to tap into the emerging PR talent we have to offer at BCU School of Media, contact us today.

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Get involved


Follow and join in with our conversations on Twitter, join our Facebook group to network with students and professionals alike and see what #BCUWeArePR has been up to recently on Instagram too.

Also, check out our student events page for the latest news and information on student and industry networking opportunities, collaborations and successes.

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Meet the teaching team


Philip Young 
Public Relations Programme Leader 






Philip joined BCU in 2015 having previously taught at the University of Sunderland and Lund University, Sweden. Before moving into academia he was an award-winning journalist and owner of a successful PR agency. Philip has been investigating the impact of social media on PR theory and practice since 2005, as a lead researcher on the pioneering EuroBlog project then as project leader for NEMO: New Media, Modern Democracy at Lund. He is co-author of Online Public Relations and a contributor to The Public Relations Handbook. His other research interests include science communication, activism and the portrayals of PR in fiction.  

Areas of research Philip is active within: Impact of social media on PR practice, representations of PR in fiction, activism.

View Philip's complete publication list here.

Follow Philip on Twitter: @mediations



Kelly O'Hanlon 
Senior Lecturer in PR, Marketing & Recruitment Coordinator for Birmingham School of Media
CIPR Midlands Treasurer




Kelly is a former BCU Media and Communication graduate who has more than 13 years’ experience in the PR industry. Developing from a graduate to divisional head at WPR Agency over the course of a decade, Kelly has worked on a variety of B2B and B2C accounts, from cookware, kitchens and flooring brands through to pastries, power tools and wood panels, managing and leading the successful home and lifestyle team. She then established a PR arm for creative communications agency One Black Bear, working on stunt orientated PR for high-profile client National Express that recently won awards at CIPR PRide. 
Finalist in 2009 for CIPR Young Professional of The Year, Kelly is passionate about engaging the practitioners of tomorrow and making crucial connections between university and industry. She has instigated a mentor scheme with practitioners, established the student agency, Eastside PR and initiated the #BCUWeArePR blog and social feeds to provide a platform for students to use and contribute towards. 
Kelly has also supported students entering a regional creative industries competition, B-Hive, with five BCU students shortlisted and two winning 16 weeks’ worth of paid work experience between them in 2017. Further still, Kelly is also Treasurer for CIPR Midlands and a blogger, and has given a variety of professional talks, including regular contributions to media interviews and commentary, including being a guest author for Huffington Post.

Through Kelly’s work with CIPR Midlands, and the BCU Professional Panel – founded some eight years ago – the first Midlands PR conference was hosted at and in collaboration with BCU in April 2018. Not only did second year students have the chance to present research papers, but Eastside PR students were instrumental in organising, running and promoting this event. The first of its kind in the region, it demonstrated the close ties forged with industry and the appetite and opportunity to compliment practice and create a platform for the university, the School and the students to see and be seen by industry influencers.
Follow Kelly on Twitter: @KellyinPR
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Study PR at BCU


Undergraduate study

For 2018-19's intake, BCU School of Media will still be running the longstanding and renowned BA (HONS) Media and Communication degree, which features PR modules across all three years' of study... but in addition, for those students keen on pursuing a PR career, there is a specialist pathway in Public Relations, where you will get to experience all PR modules, adding skills from other areas of interest, but will then graduate with a degree in BA (HONS) Media and Communication (Public Relations).

Intimately linked to industry, the Public Relations pathway provides you with the skills and knowledge that today’s PR professionals need in a fast-moving media environment. The course is recognised by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and provides plenty of opportunities to build contacts with some of the UK’s leading PR organisations, working on genuine campaigns and pitching ideas to clients.



In September 2019, undergraduates will be able to choose to study for the new BA (HONS) PR and Media degree which has just been approved and brings together the expertise within the school and close industry links to offer an exciting and practice-led experience for budding PR professionals.


What's covered in the new PR and Media course? Combining practical skills and industry insights, PR and Media offers a truly unique blend of communication perspectives that will put you in the very best position to pursue a PR career. Turn your ideas into a reality and be brave with your approach to your work; in PR, there is no such thing as a bad idea, there is always potential and this course will help you realise yours.
Informed by the working approaches of top PR, communication and digital teams across the UK and beyond, this course will develop your understanding, awareness and appreciation of PR as a concept and a discipline. You’ll become a critical media consumer and you’ll draw upon your own areas of interest to assess influence and impact in action. You’ll turn this knowledge into your own creative campaigns, so from the moment you begin, you will be able to build an impressive production portfolio that will make you stand out from the recruitment crowd.
There will still remain an option to take PR modules as part of wider media study, so for those seeking a broader mix of subjects, take a look at the 2019-20 Media and Communications degree.

Postgraduate study

If you're looking to develop your skills, explore a new area or try something new, public relations is an exciting discipline and the Public Relations MA is an in-depth one year course that can give you the understanding you need to succeed.


Public Relations shapes our world. Organisations use PR to get noticed, to change opinions, and pass on vital information that helps us to make decisions about health, education and welfare. PR is a fast-growing discipline, employing 83,000 people in a £13bn industry offering a wide range of job opportunities.
Our MA teaches you how to construct an effective PR campaign, combining theory with the practical skills needed to communicate persuasively on behalf of businesses, charities, public bodies, community groups and activists.

Professional qualifications

If you're interested in professional development, BCU also runs the only Chartered Institute of Public Relations approved CIPR Certificate and CIPR Diploma qualifications in the West Midlands.

The CIPR Certificate will enable you to make a real difference to your organisation, from improved effectiveness at work to enhanced decision-making skills. We are the only centre in the West Midlands approved by the CIPR to offer this course, which is accredited by the Creative Skillset and industry recognised in the UK and worldwide. The course is run part-time, allowing you to work while you study.


Graduates with the Advanced Certificate have quickly gained promotions in their current employment, and many have gone on to exciting roles such as Communications Specialist or PR Account Manager.
The CIPR Diploma provides the opportunity to develop your skills in public relations planning and integrated communications management with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Professional PR Diploma. Delivered part-time over one year, this course will boost your career and improve your decision-making and effectiveness at work.


You will gain a critical understanding of the issues facing PR practice in today’s society and the business community. This course offers excellent contact with creative workers and policy bodies, as well as regular guest lectures from industry leaders.

See the testimonials page to hear the views of students across undergraduate, postgraduate and professional courses at BCU School of Media.


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