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MCH8065 : Theoretical Approaches to PR

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Miss Ramona Slusarczyk
  • Lecturer: Miss Patience Mathambo, Dr Sharon Zheng, Mrs Anne-Marie Lacey
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module will introduce the key theory of Public Relations by providing a thorough grounding of these concepts, ideas and skills in theoretical frameworks that underpin the subject area. The module will look at the history and development of PR, current practices and interconnections with the broader media, and will examine ethical principles and develop reflective practice principles for PR professionals – everything that a well-trained PR specialist needs!

Outline Of Syllabus

The following topics may be developed:                                          
- Definitions, history and development of public relations                              
- Communication theory and public relations concepts
- Defining and prioritising publics and stakeholders                        
- Corporate social responsibility                        
- Internal communications                                                      
- The role of PR in public affairs and influencing decision making                                    
- Ethics, Professionalism and Codes of Conduct
- The role of the PR practitioner
- Financial PR
- Introduction to crisis management                                                                                                                  
- Non-commercial PR

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00Delivered on campus, but can be switched online if needed
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials111:0011:00Interactive non-synchronous lecture materials delivered online
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion225:0050:00Independent preparation for two assessments
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading112:0022:00Independent reading
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00To take place on campus but can be switched online if needed
Structured Guided LearningStructured non-synchronous discussion111:0011:00Guided engagement with videos & podcasts, discussion forums and quizzes
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study184:0084:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The online interactive learning materials will introduce students to various academic ideas and concpets around public relations which can then be expanded upon in live lectures and debated via weekly small-group workshops.
The timetabled small-group sessions will be more practical, using current PR practice and award-winning case studies from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations to allow students to assess the use, or not, of theories in practice.
There will be an element of group work involved and students will find themselves in the position of defending or advocating a theory which they do not agree with or presenting to fellow students an example which demonstrates theory in practice. It is expected that all students will contribute in discussions.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M25Essay plan with annotated bibliography. Up to 1000 words
Essay1A75Academic essay, 3000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The combination of assessment methods – essay plan and academic essay – is designed to allow students to demonstrate their understanding of applying key PR theories and concepts in a practical context (K1, K3, S1). The essay plan will allow students to formulate a structure, accompanied with an annotated bibliography for the summative essay at the end of the semester. This will be a good indicator for identifying levels of understanding of key learning concepts from the model and will help inform academic essay-writing skills (K1-K5, S1, S2). The essay plan will also allow tutors to provide clear and objective feedback which students can use when writing the longer essay at the end of the module.

Produced towards the end of the semester, the essay should indicate if a student has grasped the key theoretical elements and concepts debated in the module and indicate an ability to integrate theory into professional practice (K1-K5, S1, S3-S5).

The essay plan will allow students to demonstrate an initial knowledge and understanding of PR theory (K1-K5). In contrast, the academic essay allows them to look at a specific aspects of PR in some depth. (S1-S5).

Reading Lists