Newcastle University appoints public relations moderniser as Visiting Professor


Newcastle University has appointed Stephen Waddington as a Visiting Professor of Practice in Public Relations in the School of Arts and Cultures.

The Digital and Social Media Director for Ketchum, Stephen advises clients throughout Europe, as well as those assisted globally by the agency.

A former journalist and serial entrepreneur, Stephen is also the 2014 President of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, where he has led a bold modernisation programme over the last twelve months.

His remit as Visiting Professor is to support the University through teaching, engagement with practice, and industry-led research.

Stephen is renowned within the public relations industry for championing best practice and is a published author, international conference speaker and award winning blogger. His lectures will reflect his in-depth understanding of how the media landscape works online and offline and offer the latest insights into current and future trends.

In a keynote at BledCom, the international research symposium on public relations in July 2014, Stephen called on the public relations profession to develop a stronger community of practice that brings together academia and practice.

“There has never been a more exciting time to work in public relations. Today’s graduates are entering a profession that has a critical role in every area of a modern organisation,” said Stephen.

“During the last two years I’ve had the opportunity to guest lecture across the UK as part of Ketchum’s commitment to the future of the profession. Taking up the role of Visiting Professor of Practice in Public Relations with Newcastle University is a privilege and a challenge that I’m very much looking forward to.”

Committed to the provision of world-class teaching, Newcastle University is part of the Russell Group and was ranked in the top 20 by The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2014.

“Stephen has one of the sharpest minds worldwide in the public relations business and is driving the discipline firmly towards professionalism. We’re pleased to have appointed him as a Visiting Professor and hopefully this move will encourage other practitioners to follow his lead and engage with academia.”

Stephen is a very welcome extra addition to an existing strong team delivering CIPR approved PR courses at Masters level here at Newcastle. He joins two CIPR Fellows, a Member and a Dr in Financial Communications to ensure that all our students will get both the very latest up to date theory and practice in their studies.

Visiting Professor is role created by Newcastle University to promote links between academia and industry. The two year appointment will run from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2017.

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Media and Public Relations, MA

Duration: Full-time 12 months, Part-time 24 months


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Public Relations is now established as a professional discipline in media communication. This course offers students the opportunity to study media and public relations at Masters Level, by offering both practical and theoretical components. The course is aimed at two types of student:


  • International, European and home students, for those who wish to develop an understanding of the practices of public relations in the framework of a sophisticated theoretical analysis of the media, and contextualised in wider social, economic, cultural and technological issues.
  • Those who have some experience of public relations and wish to enhance their skills and experience by reflecting on their profession in the context of media, culture and society.
  • The course is fully accredited with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.

Coursework and assessment

Assesment is in the form of essays, oral presentations, reports, projects and dissertation. A Masters’ degree is made up of 180 credits in total. Each module is worth 20 credits, with a 60 credit dissertation. You can see here the list of modules offered this academic year.

Dissertation (60 credits) involving:
Independent research investigating and analysing a chosen theme or issue relating to journalism, with expert guidance and support.

Full-time student will study two compulsory modules and one optional module each of the first two semesters, while the third semester is dedicated to the research dissertation.

Part-time students will study the four compulsory modules during the first year (two modules each of the first two semesters), while in the second year they will study the two optional modules and work on the research dissertation.
Most modules are scheduled during the day and there are no special teaching provisions for part-time students.


After graduation, students can find employment within public, private and voluntary organisations such as advertising, press and broadcasting industries, public relations consultancy businesses. Public relations skills are also sought after in other career contexts such as education, governmental and non-governmental organisations, such as NGOs and charities.

Research Opportunites

Students have the opportunity to undertake further research on completion of the MA, by applying to embark on a PhD in the field of media, communication and cultural studies. The course offers sophisticated conceptual and theoretical knowledge and methodological skills including the ability to formulate research questions, engage in data gathering and analysis, and to complete a dissertation. Students must demonstrate proficiency at MA level and discuss their chosen research topic with relevant tutors who can advise them whether the topic, approach and methodology relate to academic staff research expertise

Entrance requirements

  • Normally a good undergraduate degree on the British model in the arts, humanities or social sciences.
  • Equivalent qualifications from overseas.
  • Equivalent experience is also acceptable. For example, equivalent qualifications, notably the professional Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, or relevant work experience will be considered.
  • Applicants with professional/industrial experience and /or training but who do not meet the normal requirements will be considered on their merits.

English Language requirement

On entry to the MA programme, students must have a qualification equivalent to level 6.5 for English Speaking Union.

  • IELTS score of 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.0 in all sub-skills for a conditional offer)
  • TOEFL IBT (Internet-based test) overall score of at least 90
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English

If you are a non-EU student, the University provides a unique support service tailored especially for the masters programme. It takes the form of an intensive orientation course, starting in early September, with ongoing tutorials and workshops. This support initially helps to orient you to the British learning environment, explores cross-cultural expectations and introduces you to study skills necessary for the master's programme.


Please visit the following link for up to date fees: Current Fees


For the quickest and easiest way to apply

Visit our postgraduate online application site at:

Please note that this masters programme is extremely popular and has only a limited number of places available. The University has implemented an application fee which needs to be paid before an application for these programmes is processed. Application fee payments can be made at the University’s Webstore.

For any queries about admission to this programme please email