Below are full details of our Foundation Award.

Aim of the course

To introduce the profession of public relations and develop key writing skills.

Unit 1 – Distinguishing PR activities

Suggested teaching time: approximately 33%

Learning objectives:

  • To enable students to define the field and scope of public relations and its relationship with marketing, advertising publicity, propaganda etc.
  • Students will also be able to demonstrate an understanding of the way that public relations is placed within organisations (in terms of its relative position to the dominant coalition, budget share etc.).
  • Broad introductions will be given to some specialist areas including financial/investor public relations, lobbying, marketing PR (FMCGs) sponsorship, working in-house or in a consultancy and corporate social responsibility.
  • Concepts such as relationship building, reputation management and working with publics with be illustrated.

Unit 2 – Writing for news media and online audiences

Suggested teaching time: approximately 33%

Learning objectives:

To make clear the basics of working in partnership with the news media and meeting their needs:

  • Writing press releases for them
  • Knowing what is news and why it needs currency and human interest
  • Beginning to understand what makes a good picture for print, the right sound for radio and when something might be of interest to television
  • To understand the needs of online audiences and influencers such as bloggers, what makes a good concept for a viral video and to be able to write a blog post or tweet to publicise a news event

Unit 3 – Ethics and the PR professional

Suggested teaching time: approximately 33%

Learning objectives:

  • To establish the role of the professional practitioner - difficult choices will be debated for those working under the CIPR code of conduct.
  • What it means to use an ethical approach and examine a commitment to continuous professional development (CPD)

Learning outcome

At the end of the course you will be able to demonstrate:

  • An understanding of and be able to differentiate between the concepts and practices of public relations; marketing; advertising; publicity; public information, spin and propaganda
  • An understanding of and work with key PR terms: publics; reputation; relationships; media relations; newsworthy; dialogue; mutual understanding; social responsibility; evaluation and communication
  • An understanding of and knowledge of how to work under the CIPR code of conduct
  • An understanding of when and how to write and place a news release, a blog post or a tweet (micro-blog)


A three-hour examination involving a report, a news release/blog post exercise and an essay covering all three units of the Award.