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Public Relations

Become a skilled communicator – defining objectives, developing and executing strategic plans and achieving results.

A man and woman brainstorm tactics and other topics using sticky notes and posting them to the wall.
Start Date:
Typical Length:
1 Year
Graduate Certificate

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To meet the demand for communications professionals, this program blends public relations (PR) theory with practical experience.

Organizations need skilled communicators who are adept at speaking to their employee base, shareholders, the media and the public-at-large. Because of the skills they possess, PR professionals play key leadership roles within their organizations and are valuable contributors to strategy development.

This program will challenge and perfect your research skills, writing skills, presentation skills and strategic-thinking skills – all of which are required by the successful PR practitioner.

Work experience

  • Field experience (work placement) is a mandatory credit course, providing you with the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills outside of the classroom. This placement will prepare you for your first job in the public relations field.
    • Opportunities are typically unpaid and last approximately 5 weeks.
    • Transportation, accommodations and other costs related to work placements are your responsibility.
  • For more information visit Work Experience Opportunities.

Choose NSCC

  • NSCC's unique mentorship program matches you with a practising PR professional throughout the duration of the program. Your mentor will evaluate your work from a real-world perspective.
  • Guest facilitators with a broad range of practical experiences are brought into the classroom regularly.
  • This is a very practical, hands-on program, designed to mirror the processes you find in any public relations or communications agency.

Other info

  • You're expected to have basic Microsoft Office computer skills, be adept at research and comfortable navigating social media.
  • This is an intensive post-graduate program that carries a significant course load.

2022-23 programs

Program delivery may be subject to change based on Public Health guidelines.

September 2022

Campus Location Full time/part time Delivery Availability
Ivany Campus Dartmouth Full time In-class In-classDelivered in-person. Some courses may have online elements. Seats available

Admission requirements

  • Undergraduate degree or diploma in business, arts, journalism or equivalent.
  • You're required to submit an original 300-word essay on why you would like to pursue an education and career in public relations.
  • You must submit 3 writing samples (not including the original essay) for assessment. Writing samples that reflect your experience in a variety of styles are of particular interest and can include business writing, academic papers, journalistic writing or any public relations or promotional pieces you've written.

Program requirements

  • Portfolio development – As part of your studies at NSCC, you develop a portfolio of your work; the portfolio captures your achievements and profiles your skills to employers.


2022-23 tuition will be announced in the late Spring once approved by the government of Nova Scotia. Program costs and fees (textbooks, supplies, etc.) are additional. Amounts below were for the 2021-22 academic year.

Tuition (Domestic):
Tuition (International):

Tuition, fees and program costs

In addition to annual tuition, there are program costs (books, tools, etc.) and student fees for college services, health and dental plans, your student association and parking.

View detailed program fees page(s). Please note that amounts on these pages are meant for planning purposes only. They don't represent final amounts owing.

Career options

  • Graduates are qualified to work in a wide variety of roles, including positions in full-service PR agencies, government and charitable organizations, corporate PR departments and freelance communications.

Future study options

  • Continue your studies at university – this program includes courses that count towards a university degree. Find out more

Courses may include

These are some of the courses offered in this program. It is not a complete list and courses are subject to change in advance of the academic year.

Recognizing prior learning / transfer credits
If you have previous learning (course, employment, etc...) that's relevant to your program, you can apply to earn credit. Learn about our recognizing prior learning (RPL) process.

PREL 1500 - Photography for Public Relations
This first semester course requires the learners to learn the following: introduction to the camera, rules of composition, individual/group posing, proper input and output of images, and basic image editing skills for both print and online.

PREL 2600 - Interactive Media Arts for Public Relations
This course provides an overview of the multiple media required for an interactive approach to communicate (websites, interactive documents, video, image editing, etc.) for Public Relations purposes.

PREL 3600 - Desktop Publishing I
Learners will employ advanced software features in conjunction with desktop publishing techniques to produce high-quality documents. This course focuses on the development of individual creativity and design, as well as the ability to effectively communicate with related professionals.

PREL 4600 - Desktop Publishing II
Building on Desktop Publishing I, learners will develop the ability to meet more demanding and higher level client needs for communications materials.

PREL 5005 - Foundations of Public Relations
This course provides an introduction to the historical and theoretical framework of public relations and is critical to the development of skills and knowledge in all other public relations coursework. This course is presented in three sections: public relations in a historical and contemporary context; external influences on the public relations profession; and public relations/communications theory.

PREL 5006 - Media Literacy I
Successful public relations practitioners must be both culturally and media literate, possessing a certain amount of knowledge in the areas of social and political reasoning. This course develops the learner’s ability to assess current issues, evaluate their importance and summarize key information relevant to these issues. Issues and trends affecting organizations, politics, the nation and the world will be examined using mass media and new media. Upon successful completion of this course, learners will be able to identify newsworthy topics and the elements of a balanced, credible news story.

PREL 5010 - Presentation Skills/Speech Writing I
The public relations professional will frequently be called upon to prepare and deliver oral presentations to both internal and external audiences. The course is designed to develop proper speech writing and oral presentation skills for informal, formal, or seminar-style delivery focusing on developing the presence required for effective delivery. The fundamentals of using technology for presentations will also be examined.

PREL 5015 - Public Relations Practice I
This course covers a broad range of public relations practice, both as a management and a technical function. Areas examined include the role of PR in evaluation, employee communication, strategic planning and special event planning.

PREL 5030 - Public Relations Writing I
Effective writing is fundamental to the practice of public relations. An organization's audiences consist of key publics both within and outside an organization, such as employees and media respectively. The relationship between these publics and management is critical to organizational success. This course focuses on effective written communication. Learners obtain hands-on experience applying persuasive communications as they prepare written documents.

PREL 5050 - Portfolio Development I
Upon successful completion of the Portfolio Development course, learners will have a clear understanding of the portfolio development process. They will be able to articulate learning and experiences related to their personal, educational and professional development. Throughout the process, learners will be challenged to reflect on their past learning and accomplishment; assess, edit and develop their own portfolio materials; and organize documentation clearly.

PREL 5625 - Integrated Marketing Communication
This course provides the students with an introduction to marketing concepts and theories. It also addresses the integrated nature of public relations and marketing processes, and introduces the concepts of public relations consulting. Students will research the converging functions of PR and marketing, conduct market research, and develop an integrated communication marketing plan for a small consulting business.

PREL 6005 - Public Relations Practice II
This course explores other functions of the public relations practitioner such as community, employee and government relations, media/blogger relations, issues management, crisis communications and corporate social responsibility. Learners who successfully complete this course will have demonstrated the formulation of public relations strategies, and the selection and application of communications tools through writing copy, developing a communications plan, producing a media kit, developing budgets, and developing and maintaining client relationships.

PREL 6006 - Media Literacy II
Building on skills developed in Media Literacy I, learners will become familiar with the evolution of content analysis and be able to analyze how various published content portrays an organization, how events and issues impact an organization, and how to develop a well-articulated stance on an issue by relating current issues to public relations practice. The focus will be on understanding and applying persuasive communications skills.

PREL 6010 - Presentation Skills/Speech Writing II
Building on skills developed in the Presentation Skills/Speech Writing I course, this course incorporates presentation skills in broadcast technology, media presentations, and public forums. Learners will write and deliver copy for broadcast, develop a public service announcement package and practice media interviewing skills.

PREL 6030 - Public Relations Writing II
This course will build on the writing skills developed in Public Relations Writing I with a greater focus on online writing. Learners who have successfully completed this subject area will have written news copy and editorials, created media kits, developed brochures, and demonstrated further cultivation of the art of persuasive writing, using clarity, conciseness, completeness and correctness for both electronic and hard copy materials.

PREL 6050 - Portfolio Development II
Upon successful completion of the Portfolio Development II course, learners will have completed portfolios appropriate for the PR job interview process. They will also have demonstrated a good understanding of the process required to develop and maintain their individual portfolios throughout their careers.

PREL 6995 - Work Experience
This work experience practicum is scheduled in the spring term (May and June) and consists of five weeks working full-time. Students who have successfully completed this course will have applied the skills and theory learned in a public relations setting, worked well as a team member, met the expectations of the employer, and written and presented a report on their experience. This is a course of 210 hours spread over six weeks.

SAFE 1000 - Introduction to WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems)
This course offers learners basic overview of WHMIS principles and establishes a solid foundation to support workplace-specific training on the safe storage and handling of controlled/hazardous products. Upon successful completion of the course, students receive basic WHMIS certification.

SAFE 1001 - Introduction to NS OH&S Act
This course offers students an introduction to the Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Act of Nova Scotia, which is required by any person employed in a Nova Scotia workplace. This is a generic, introductory course that provides basic knowledge of the Act for students and is considered to be the basis from which more specific training can be given.

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