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Advertising, Public Relations and Branding BA Honours

In the age of new media, how brands are created and managed has evolved which means this is the perfect time to launch your exciting career in Advertising, PR or Branding
Code
N567
Start
October 2023
September 2023: EU/International induction
Duration
3 years full-time
Usually 5 years part-time
Attendance
Full-time
Part-time
Fees
£9,250 (UK) *
£15,100 (EU / INT) *
Course leader
Giannina Warren

The only degree in the UK that combines advertising, public relations and branding, this course is aimed towards those people who want a high performing, fast-paced career in the world of marketing and communications.

A degree from Middlesex University is a sign you can meet the professional demands employers are looking for. Our graduates have gone on to work for companies such as Ogilvy, Warner Bros, Universal, Adidas and many more.

Keep up with this constantly evolving industry

People are creating, consuming and sharing content in new and innovative ways. If you’re passionate about working in advertising, brand management or publicity campaigns, then our course will set you up with the tools to succeed.

The course covers core topics such as brand management, campaign planning, public relations, social media marketing and digital advertising. You’ll be equipped with the creative thinking, communication, and strategy skills required for a fast-paced and ever-evolving career.

During your course, you'll develop your understanding of the roles that PR, advertising and branding play in every aspect of society. You'll also build a portfolio of work by planning and implementing campaigns, producing adverts and other kinds of promotional content for both traditional and online channels.

You’ll also learn how to work in virtual teams using a variety of project management tools, and you’ll have free licensed access to the latest industry standard software such as the Adobe Creative Suite to ensure you’ve got the digital skills employers are looking for.

We support you and your career goals

London is the global centre for advertising and PR, and we use this to host virtual networking opportunities and online guest lectures with some of the industry's top performers. You'll also have an opportunity to take part in a work placement to build your professional network.

You’ll have a Personal Tutor directly related to your course and if you'll receive support with academic writing, numeracy and library skills. Our Student Learning and Graduate Academic Assistants have studied your subject and can support you based on their own experience.

Diversity and decolonising the curriculum

We are working to actively overcome the prejudices both direct and indirect that young people (especially young people of colour and those from less advantaged backgrounds) might face in higher education and media industries. We have taken concrete steps in decolonizing our curriculum and we work hard to ensure we offer a diverse range of learning materials, resources and space for exploration and creativity for all students in our quest to further that commitment.


Find out more

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What will you study on the BA Advertising, Public Relations and Branding?

This innovative course explores a broad range of subjects and practices within the fields of advertising, PR and branding, from creative advertising and promotional video production to social media PR and place branding. You will learn about the traditional differences between paid, earned and owned media, but also the ways in which brand communications are transforming this media landscape.

This course will enable you to develop all the practical skills that are integral to the disciplines of advertising, PR and branding. You will learn the full range of qualitative and quantitative research methods, including digital data analytics, to generate insights into consumer behaviour. These insights will inform the design, development and pitching of creative work and campaigns, which will see you producing strategy documents and promotional media that will include social media content, adverts, events and videos.

By the end of the course you will have developed a compelling portfolio of academic and creative work, but also essential skills in self-branding and reputation management.

Modules

  • Year 1 - Compulsory

    • Brands, Media and Society (30 credits)

      This module provides a historical and critical introduction to the development of brands and their complex relationship with media and power in contemporary society.

      Specific practices, processes, and industries will be explored alongside key theories and debates about promotional practices within a broader social, cultural, ethical, and political context.

      We will consider the role played by the promotional industries in shaping society through consumer culture and the commercial dynamics of media industries during a period of profound change.

      The module will draw on case studies to examine how brands both shape culture and are shaped by it.

      The foundation for the learning will be core reading from academic and contemporary media sources that will enable you to develop critical and practical vocabularies in preparation for the second and third years of your degree.

    • Public Relations Practice (30 credits)

      Public Relations is both the art and science of managing reputation. Every organisation, large and small, relies on people who can communicate with customers, business partners, the media, or the public.

      This module will introduce the concept of public relations as a persuasive form of public communication that exists within the dynamic media environment.

      Through exposure to industry examples and case studies, you will consider how PR can assist in raising awareness, changing attitudes and behaviour, and managing relationships.

      You will gain skills in copywriting for both traditional and digital media, editing, story-telling, media relations, presenting, and project management.

    • Creative Advertising (30 credits)

      Creativity is central to successful advertising but plays an equally important role in developing brand strategy and Public Relations campaigns.

      The ability to conceptualise, develop and hone creative ideas is a foundational skill for you taking BA Advertising, PR, and Branding: graduates who possess an aptitude for creative thinking and innovation are in high demand in a range of related roles across the creative industries.

      This module equips you with foundational strategies and skills in conceptualisation and concept development for a range of advertising applications that will be put into practice and further developed throughout the course.

      This module equips you with foundational strategies and skills in conceptualisation and concept development for a range of advertising applications that will be put into practice and further developed throughout the course.

    • Content Design (30 credits)

      This module focuses on the design of content for print and online publications. You will learn how to design material that communicates information clearly and persuasively, gaining an understanding of the conventions and practices of content design and exploring the history and context of its development in the advertising, PR, and branding industries.

      The module will explore the influence of design theories on the production of material in print and web design and you will have to work with industry-standard desktop publishing and web design software to produce material in response to creative briefs.

      You will develop an appreciation for the unique demands of designing across different media and for the challenges and opportunities offered by producing material in print, online and mobile formats.

      You will use the knowledge and skills developed in this module to gather, analyse and present information in ways that are creative and communicate meaning effectively.

  • Year 2 - Compulsory

    • Understanding Consumer Culture (30 credits)

      With social media and mobile use now ubiquitous, it has become ever more crucial but also more feasible for brands and companies to monitor consumers’ everyday practices and participate in their shared culture.

      In order to integrate such grass-roots consumer culture into their advertising, branding, and PR processes, companies need to deploy traditional market and social research methods but also augment these with new methodologies capable of accessing and providing insight from an ever-expanding range of digital data sources.

      This module provides you with cognitive skills and ad hoc methodologies for researching consumer culture across offline and online spaces.

      Through a range of lectures, case studies, and practical workshops combined with ample and varied opportunities for formative feedback, you will learn how to collect, organise, analyse, visualise and interpret qualitative, quantitative, and digital data as well as connect them to advertising, PR and branding strategies.

    • Campaign Planning (30 credits)

      Every day the public encounters a variety of media campaigns, be they advertising, PR, political, or expressions of popular democracy. Whatever the purpose, they all involve communication and conversations within society and a ‘call to action' in the receiver.

      This module explores the practical process of campaign planning and how best to communicate awareness of a product, service, idea, or societal issue in an effective and engaging way.

      Emphasis will be placed on problem-solving and over the course of the module you will undertake primary and secondary research into the audience, develop measurable and achievable goals, conceptualise and develop creative ideas, prepare a media strategy, and finally present a cohesive and compelling IMC campaign plan.

      The module will develop your practical campaign planning skills based on briefs set by external clients or organisations and will consist of group work which enable you to develop skills in interpersonal communication and team working.

      You will use Industry-standard online project management tools for team organisation and communication as well as keeping track of workflow.

      Individually as well as in groups, you will develop creative ideas and produce promotional material in a range of formats, further developing the practical skills acquired in the first year modules in Creative Advertising, Public Relations Practice, and Content Design.

    • Brand Management (30 credits)

      Brands have become integral to all aspects of social life, from the constantly evolving ways in which people use brands as a means of constructing their identities and creating social bonds, to the political as well as commercial value they hold for companies, public institutions, and even individual workers.

      In a context where such a diverse range of organisations and individuals are required to imagine and communicate themselves as brands, i.e., as a set of symbols, values, and emotions that convey a certain narrative vision of the world, brand management has emerged as a key discipline that integrates a range of competencies from across the spectrum of marketing communications.

      This module introduces you to the discipline of brand management and aims to provide: a critical understanding of the historical development of brands and branding practices; the ability to critically assess the roles of brands in the contemporary global culture and economy; the ability to analyse the components of brand equity and assess different measures of brand value; the ability to design and manage brands.

  • Year 2 - Optional

    • Creative Industries Work Placement (30 credits)

      The nature and practices of work are constantly evolving and the creative industries are at the forefront of this evolution. The aim of this module is to establish an in-depth understanding of the creative industries and their specialist sectors.

      This module offers key employment and job-seeking skills, including networking, personal branding (including portfolio, CV, and online profile development), and interview training.

      It provides you with the opportunity to learn from the experience of recent graduates who have moved into full-time roles as well as network with seasoned professionals. It reviews theoretical frameworks and provides you with a comprehensive understanding of the nature of contemporary working practices.

      The module pays particular attention to the role of evolving online technologies in shaping and changing the world of work in the creative industries.

      This module also requires you to complete a work placement (100 hours) in a selected sector of the industry, and runs in cooperation with MDX Works as well as external partners such as futurerising.com.

      You will evaluate your own performance and learning from your own work experience, as well as reflect on the cultural role of the organisation and its place in the industry in which the work experience took place. The work done in this module can feed into a number of third-year modules.

      Some students draw upon their work experience as the basis of their final year dissertation while the self-presentation and personal branding skills acquired in this module are developed further in the Social Media and Public Relations module (APM3002).

    • Promotional Video Production (30 credits)

      Short and long-form video content has become an essential component of the promotional mix, ranging from corporate videos for the Business to Business (B2B) sector to branded lifestyle content for social media.

      This module will enable you to gain experiences working in professional ‘client-led’ promotional video production scenarios. It enables you to get an insight into working with clients in a professional context in order to enhance their transition into a range of roles across the advertising, PR and branding industries.

      The module will also introduce you to ethical and compliance issues by providing them with production opportunities with both external clients and in-house productions.

    • Promotional Cultures (30 credits)

      The emergence of neoliberalism as a dominant paradigm in political-economic thinking and policy since the early 1980s has seen the extension of the market into all aspects of public and private life.

      Coupled with the rise of digital communication technologies, the imperative for promotion has become intrinsic to contemporary forms of self-presentation and socialisation, labour, and affect.

      This module provides an opportunity to critically engage with the major ethical issues, regulatory frameworks, and political debates arising from these transformations.

      Through a range of case studies and independent studies, you will learn about the changes brought about through the rise of promotional cultures and develop advanced skills in critical analysis.

  • Year 3 - Compulsory

    • Independent Project (30 credits)

      This module aims to enable you to demonstrate, in the execution of a complex and large-scale project, high-level academic and/or practical skills, relevant to their field of study and creative and professional interests.

      It seeks to test your confidence in your intellectual abilities and capacity to organise your time through an emphasis on self-directed learning and independent research.

      It will enable you to identify and apply relevant critical frameworks drawn from their degree programme and relevant to their professional interests and to demonstrate independent thinking in the application and development of theoretical/practical projects.

    • Social Media & Public Relations (30 credits)

      The ubiquity of social media has transformed the way organisations communicate with audiences and individuals present themselves to the world.

      This module introduces you to the ways in which organisations use social media to develop and deliver public relations campaigns and to how those technologies can also be used by individuals to develop a professional profile online.

      You can expect to develop skills in the strategic planning, design, and evaluation of online campaigns and in developing their own personal brands, promoting their achievements and capabilities to enhance their employability.

      You will gain a strong critical understanding of the modern public relations industry and undertake practical work directly applicable to their development as creative professionals.

      In developing their own online professional persona, you will draw upon the work you have produced and the skills you have developed throughout your degree, applying practical and theoretical knowledge in branding and promotion to your own professional development.

    • Digital Advertising (30 credits)

      Advertising has been transformed by the emergence of digital communication technologies and related cultural shifts.

      No longer solely concerned with creating and publishing persuasive messages in broadcast media, advertising now involves the co-creation and placement of content across hybrid digital ecosystems by both human and nonhuman actors.

      This module provides you with the necessary knowledge to understand the complex relationship between digital technologies and consumer behaviour in this evolving context.

      It equips them with the skills to produce and manage advertising content in the major digital platforms (including specific skills in Search Engine Marketing, eg. Facebook Advertising and Google Adwords) as well as, crucially, the ability to adapt to continual change in relation to technology, culture and professional practice in these fields.

  • Year 3 - Optional

    • Campaigns and Social Impact (30 credits)

      From angry street protests to sophisticated charity lobbying and from populist political insurgencies to online activism, campaigns designed to change society are an integral part of the Twenty-First Century media environment. This module seeks to help you understand how these campaigns develop, what they mean and how they reflect the way in which power works in our societies.

      • You will have the opportunity to put these lessons into action as they plan and deliver a campaign designed to address an issue of importance to their community.
      • You will gain knowledge of a range of different theories of social change and study how those ideas are reflected in recent global events and apply these lessons to the conduct of your own campaign.
      • You have the opportunity to bring together the skills you’ve developed through your degree to plan and deliver a campaign, usually in partnership with an external campaigning organisation.

      The process builds your confidence in dealing with the public, press, and authority figures and provides the experience in managing their work in a small group to deliver a real, public-facing, campaign.

    • Entrepreneurship (30 credits)

      This module aims to enable you to understand and develop an awareness of, and capacity for, innovation and enterprise through the initiation and exposition of a proposal and business plan with creative and commercial potential.

      The module encourages you to apply your acquired knowledge of advertising, public relations and branding, and new and emerging media processes and techniques, to opportunities for self-employment, entrepreneurship, and business start-ups.

      Students taking the module will develop core entrepreneurial skills, including networking, negotiation, presentation, pitching, skills, project planning, time management, and market research.

    • Place Branding and International Diplomacy (30 credits)

      Places, just like products, require a brand strategy to compete in today’s international globalised environment.

      Cities, regions, and nations worldwide have begun to use promotional strategies to position themselves favourably in the minds of target groups such as tourists, businesses, potential residents, and foreign investors.

      As an entry into a relatively new and highly interdisciplinary field, this module will explore tourism, investment, migration, planning, and governance through a promotional lens.

      Through an interactive mix of lectures, guest lectures, and case studies, you will gain a global understanding of international communication flows and place promotion strategies.

      They will also benefit from skills developed in audience segmentation, stakeholder relationship management, public administration, and promotional policy implementation.

More information about this course

See the course specification for more information:

Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

  1. Overview
  2. Teaching and learning
  3. Assessment and feedback
  1. Standard entry requirements
  2. International (inc. EU)
  3. How to apply
  1. UK
  2. EU / International
  3. Additional costs

How can the BA Advertising, Public Relations and Branding support your career?

You will have developed knowledge and skills that are valuable across the creative industries, most specifically in advertising, public relations, brand strategy/consultancy and Marketing, but also in related roles in a range of sectors. You may go on to become self-employed and run your own business, agency or start-up, or go on to postgraduate study in a cognate area of media communications, media management and marketing.

Recent students successfully gained employment in the following roles after graduating:

  • Creative Copywriter at Forever Beta
  • Senior Account Executive at Whynot!
  • International Events Director at Innovation Enterprise
  • Social Media Specialist at Marin Software
  • Account Manager at APS Group
  • Researcher at THIRD BRIDGE
  • Student Engagement and Marketing Officer at Compass Group
  • Content and Social Media Manager at HeadShotBG
  • PR Account Executive at Samphire Communications Ltd
  • Community Manager at Adidas
  • Account Executive at TBWA

The students in the last two roles also won the coveted Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence for the highest grades across the School on graduation, exemplifying not just the calibre of the degree but also our vision of how academic achievement and practical expertise go hand in hand.

Dr Giannina Warren
Programme leader

Dr Warren is a Senior Lecturer in Advertising and Promotional Culture and holds several Postgraduate Certificates in promotional fields and an MA in International Communications with a specialism in place branding and public diplomacy. Prior to embarking on her PhD studies, her career spanned 17 years as a specialist in visual identity, branding, advertising and public relations in high impact sectors such as finance, energy, legal, tourism and economic development. She spent six years at Toronto City Hall, working on city branding strategies, international promotional campaigns for public cultural events, resident-engagement programmes and tourism initiatives before coming to the UK.

She was honoured to be awarded the ‘Outstanding Academic of the Year’ for the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries in 2017, and shortlisted for ‘Most Inspiring Teacher of the Year’ in the Student-Led Teaching Awards at Middlesex University in 2018.

Dr James Graham
Senior Lecturer, Director of Programmes

Dr Graham teaches broadly across media and communications and researches in the fields of postcolonial media and literary studies. He is the convenor of the Promotional Cultures Research Cluster and has supervised two PhDs to completion in this area. Prior to taking on the role of Director of Programmes, he led the BA Advertising, PR and Branding programme, taking it through two successful reviews and overseeing its expansion and delivery internationally in London, Dubai, Mauritius and Vietnam.

He was shortlisted for the ‘Most Innovative Teacher' at the 2015 Student Led teaching Awards and won the award for ‘Academic Staff Member of the Year’ at the 2018 awards.

Dr Tim Riley
Lecturer in Branding and Digital Media

Dr Riley's specialisms concern the internet, social media and digital design. He holds a PhD from University of Westminster, where he explored digital content creation and online sharing. In 2008, he completed an MA in Digital Media that investigated the use of online creative repositories and new mediums of distribution, accessibility and interactivity on the internet. Previous to this he worked as a senior motion graphics graphic designer, director and manager in broadcast television and media organisations for over 24 years.

Martin McGrath
Lecturer

Martin has 30 years’ experience of working in public relations and the media. He worked in film PR and as a magazine editor before moving into political public relations, working in the NHS and then for a number of British trade unions before going freelance in 2010. He started teaching part-time at Middlesex University in 2012 and continues to mix teaching with practice as a freelance PR professional. He graduated from Brunel University in 1991 with a BSc in Communications and Information Studies, went back to university a decade later to do an MA in Politics and then completed a PhD on the impact of the internet on political debate at Nottingham Trent University. He has had work published on the science fiction of playwright Alan Ayckbourn and author Arthur C Clarke, amongst others, and is currently interested in the radical political roots of public relations practice. He holds Accredited Practitioner status with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, is a Fellow of Advanced HE and has a PGCert in Higher Education Teaching. He teaches public relations, branding, social media and social campaigning, is the author of over 30 published short stories, a member of the National Union of Journalists and was 17th in the Daily Mail’s list of the funniest tweets of 2014 for a joke about an American tourist locked in a London bookshop.

  • Denize student

    Denieze Rudo Nyarirangwe

    Advertising, PR and Branding BA, 3rd Year Student

    Everyone is so warming and was so ready to support me from the start. I enjoy using the Grove building as a little hub to meet like-minded people from different creative areas.  I specifically enjoy the campaigns that we work on within the course. They all come in at different times and you have all these diverse briefs and they are so helpful in terms of presentation skills and getting ourselves out there, really thinking about how we can make an impact when we graduate. This course has given me great presentation skills and I learned how to brand myself and believe in myself so that when I introduce what I do and what I have learned from this course I feel extremely confident.

  • Student

    Evana Carmel Sequeira

    Advertising, PR and Branding BA, 3rd Year Student

    I chose Middlesex University because it is very multicultural and I wanted to study with a lot of different people from different cultures. I really like the lecturers, they are very experienced and they have done a variety of things in the past so is great to pick their brains. In terms of the course I specifically enjoy the social media element, and I first had the opportunity to use my skills while working for the North London Story festival on campus.  I now also work in the library, I help with their communications so I can use all the knowledge from the course in real life situations.

  • Bogdan Gheorghe

    Advertising, PR and Branding BA, 2nd Year Student

    I enjoy the practicality of the course. I feel inspired by all the things that we are taught and I like that I have my creativity challenged. In class, we had a guest speaker who made us create some fictional campaigns and I took that and I created it for myself just so I can expand my portfolio. My graphic design and photo editing skills have been improved the most and those areas are the ones I have been enjoying the most too.  I am interested in video production and video editing, but I am also now diving into campaign planning and visual arts.

  • Caryn Coley

    Advertising, PR and Media BA graduate

    I cannot express how glad I am to have undertaken this course. The lecturers were well informed, approachable and really cared about the future of their students. The course itself was interesting and challenging, providing me with the theoretical understanding and practical skills I'd need to excel in my career. I graduated with a 1st, but like many others, I needed more than that to set myself apart from the competition. For me, these were the transferable skills I acquired along the way:

    • building rapport; an attribute I learned from lecturers and later used in interviews and when managing clients
    • Critical thought; a skill which proved immensely important when overseeing advertising campaigns for the likes of Sainsbury's, Porsche and Clinique
    • being adaptable; there is no handbook for success and success means something different to each person, but being able to adapt to the challenges you will face in life is key. Being adaptable is at the heart of growth and is something that was impressed upon me from day one of the course

    If you are fortunate enough to be accepted, know this is your ticket to an amazing future.

  • Lotte Pernille Backer Jaeger

    Advertising, PR and Media graduate

    My experience at Middlesex made me aware of all the opportunities that are opened to you with a degree in Advertising, PR and Media. I got a job before I graduated as a project manager at Mediaplanet back home in Oslo.

    I have nothing but positive things to say about my three years on the degree. I loved the combination of the different modules, I feel like I got a lot out of the years at Middlesex, and that it prepared me for a future job and career in the media business.


We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.

Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.

Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.

At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.

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