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Place Branding MA

Learn about the course below
September 2024
1 year full-time
2 years part-time
Distance Education Online
September 2024: £9,800 (UK)*
£12,600 (INT)*
Course leader
Dr Giannina Warren

Cities, regions, and countries have, in the post-pandemic era, significantly ramped up their capacity in marketing, communications, branding, tourism, economic development and resident engagement. As cities cope with increased migration, climate action mitigation and sustainability goals, shifting work patterns, and increased tourism competition, the need for trained personnel who understand the nuances of place branding strategies and implementation is growing exponentially.

This wide-ranging course will be led by a team of academics with industry experience working in cities and countries in North America, Europe, Africa and the UK. Embedded in the degree will be access to world-leading professionals and firms, agencies, government bodies, DMOs and people working in the field from all over the world. It will encompass four core modules and a major project. There will be an opportunity to work towards a real-world client problem or brief for credit.

Graduates of this course will gain a Masters of Arts in a discipline that offers diverse employability prospects, while professionals seeking further academic training will learn transferable skills ideal for further career development, while also deepening awareness and understanding of the pressing issues facing cities, regions, countries and even neighbourhoods today.

Why study Place Branding MA at Middlesex University?

With innovative collaborations with major industry partners, this degree ensures that students gain access to the leading insights, techniques, frameworks and client case studies available internationally. Channels for internships, work placements and working in local communities offer pathways to employability in this expanding field.

Who Should Apply?
Graduates in related disciplines such as marketing, advertising, public relations, branding, communications, tourism, hospitality, geography, sociology, history, public administration, planning. You are welcome to apply if you do not have a formal qualification but have extensive relevant experience. This includes professionals working in tourism, culture, marketing or economic development.

Those interested in working in:

  • Tourism
  • Local Government
  • DMO (Destination Marketing Organisation) Operators
  • Film and Culture Promotion
  • Public Administration
  • Economic Development
  • Special Events and Festivals
  • Sport and Attractions
  • Business Improvement Districts/Neighbourhoods
  • Brand Agencies with tourism/development clients
  • Development and Property Management
  • Embassies

As this a distance education degree, professionals can enhance their skills and knowledge while remaining employed.

Working professionals might be most interested in the part-time offer or would have the potential to undertake a sabbatical from their current role to pursue studies.

Middlesex university undergraduate alumni can benefit from a 20% discount to start their Place Branding MA in January.

Course highlights

  1. First degree in the world to offer a degree in the holistic, creative, strategic and practical aspects of promoting cities, regions and countries.
  2. Practical, work-based learning, including live briefs and industry access.
  3. Combining academic theory with practice through a tailored, high-flex online delivery.
  4. Ongoing relationships with external collaborators such as the Borough of Barnet in North London that offer live briefs and an opportunity to solve place-based challenges.
  5. Internship pathways, networking opportunities and work placements available through industry partnerships with Bloom Consulting and other public and private sector organisations.

"Places, just like products, require a brand strategy to compete in today's international globalised environment. Cities, regions and nations worldwide are using promotional strategies to position themselves favourably in the minds of target groups such as tourists, businesses, potential residents and foreign investors. This MA will equip future professionals for innovative, strategic and creative work in this fast-growing field."  - Malcolm Allan, President, Bloom Consulting

Find out more

Sign up now to receive more information about studying at Middlesex University London.

What will you study on Place Branding MA at Middlesex University?

  • In-depth and advanced knowledge and understanding of theories, concepts and practicalities of place branding, informed by current practice, scholarship and research.
  • Critical awareness of current issues and global developments within the discipline and profession of place branding.
  • Practical, political, socio-economic, creative and strategic factors involved in constructing a place brand strategy and action plans.

What skills will you gain?

  • Managerial competency in place branding implementation strategies, and the complex context in which they exist.
  • Develop strategic action plans for a place that consider broader socio-economic, social and cultural factors.
  • Construct a competitive and creative brand strategy for a place.
  • Demonstrate leadership by working collaboratively with stakeholders and industry practitioners.
  • Qualitative and quantitative research methods; writing and project management.
  • Modules

    • Place Branding Theories and Concepts (30 credits)

      Place Branding has established itself firmly as a global and burgeoning field. Students will be introduced to the historical and current developments in theory, as well as the broader context in which place branding operates.

    • Place Brand Strategy Implementation (30 credits)

      Setting the strategic direction for a place is not the end, it is just the beginning. The success of Place Branding ultimately stands on its implementation and integration across all stakeholder groups. The module focuses on the practicalities of place brand implementation – from building the right team, funding considerations and stakeholder management to execution across brand touchpoints.

    • Stakeholders, Sustainability and Social Cohesion (30 credits)

      Exploring the significant geo-political and socio-economic forces impacting the field including social justice, sustainability and stakeholder management, with the intention of arming students with a broad understanding of the biggest challenges facing places today. The module will be focused on action plans -- leveraging awareness of inequities and crises to develop strategies that encourage resilience and anti-fragility, beginning with the profession of place branding itself.

    • Competitive Advantage, Creativity and the Central Idea (30 credits)

      The process of positioning and promoting a place brand through ideas, images and words. This practical module will inform students about the larger competitive landscape and the need for creative differentiation. Place-based strategies will be developed to determine the Central Idea and its subsequent creative execution. Students will leverage research and intelligence to create a brand strategy, complete with visual identity, for a place of their choice.

    • Research Methods and Major Project (60 credits)

      A significant, supported programme of research, project management and execution. Students can choose one of three pathways: dissertation route, major project route or work placement route. There will be an opportunity to work towards a real-world client problem or brief for credit.

For more details on this course, please download the Place Branding MA specification (PDF).

We review our courses regularly to improve your experience and graduate prospects so modules may be subject to change.

How is the Place Branding MA taught?

The Course will be structured in the following way:

  • Two online real-time classes per week, allowing students to maximise the potential of both asynchronous learning online along with synchronous learning that encourages discussion and debate.
  • 9am Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) (London) will accommodate time zones from UTC 1-12 (i.e. stretching from Rome, Dubai, Hong Kong and Sydney).
  • 6pm UTC will accommodate those that fall within UTC -1 to -11 (i.e. stretching from Caracas, New York and Vancouver).
  • Key readings are provided electronically.
  • A clearly structured week-by-week schedule.
  • Weekly videos by the module leader to explain the learning objectives each week.
  • Pre-recorded 'lectures' given by experts in the field.

Online discussions focused on the 'key questions' of the week.


This course will be assessed purely through project-based work including essays, case studies, reports, strategic plans and brand strategies. Coursework will be individual and include a mix of written work, design work and presentations. Tutorials will feature peer-reviewed, formal and informal feedback. All assessments will be submitted digitally, and tutorials will occur through online platforms.

Applicants should normally have:

  • A second class honours undergraduate degree or above in any discipline awarded by a UK University or a recognised overseas institution, or
  • An equivalent qualification accepted by the Academic Registry of the University, or
  • A professional qualification deemed to be of an equivalent standard

Those without formal qualifications are welcome to apply and may be required to attend an interview. Additionally, these applicants will need to provide evidence of a minimum of three years of relevant work experience.

The fees below refer to the 2023/24 academic year unless otherwise stated.

UK students


International students


The fees below refer to the 2024/25 academic year unless otherwise stated.

UK students


International students


MDX graduates will receive a 20% scholarship via the reduction in fees.

For more information and to answer your frequently asked questions, please visit our postgraduate funding page.

How can the Place Branding MA support your career?

Diverse career pathways are available in both private and public sectors, fulfilling branding, communication, public relations, community engagement, stakeholder management, political and public administration roles.

Marketing positions exist across the tourism and hospitality sector, as well as in cultural institutions, museums, galleries, attractions, and promotional agencies. There’s also potential expansion for new roles to be found in the public sphere – BIDs (Business Improvement Districts), Boroughs, Councils small towns and distinct urban centres and neighbourhoods.

The private sector offers opportunities such as advertising and PR agencies pursuing place-related clients, as well as the property management and development sectors. Finally, opportunities exist within the broader scope of festivals/events, public art, culture and retail development.

Giannina Warren
Programme Leader

Giannina Warren is a Senior Lecturer in Place Branding and Promotional Culture and the Programme Leader for Place Branding MA. Her expertise sits at the intersection of theory and practice, combining two decades of industry experience in Toronto, Canada, with leading academic research in place branding and promotional occupations. She is an expert in the ‘professionalisation’ of the place branding practice and has developed a new framework for understanding the occupational challenges and opportunities that place marketers face in their work. She is a career specialist in marketing, branding and public relations, and has consulted with cities, agencies and government departments internationally.

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