Public Affairs Diploma

CIPR Specialist Diploma: Public Affairs
Online Course

About this course

Gain an insight into the process of policy formation, how public affairs relates to PR and corporate communication and the reputational context in which public affairs operates. The CIPR Public Affairs Diploma explores theory while being rooted in practice. Learn how public affairs contributes to organisational success and what is expected of an ethical practitioner in the complex political environment.

This course is taught and assessed at Master’s level. Make sure that this is the right level for you and if you aren’t sure, just get in touch.

You will have access to the course for one year and can decide how quickly you want to complete it within this time. The CIPR exam board meets four times a year and this is when you can submit your work (usually January, March, July and October).

Course detail



Assignments: 1

Study at your own pace

Instalments available

Maximum time to complete: one year

Study Support Package

Easy access to tutor support via Study Hub messaging

Individual feedback on assignment ideas to ensure you're on track for success

Online library with all the books you need

Individual tutorial

Live interactive online workshops

PR Academy Study Hub: bespoke online learning centre

Your investment

PR Academy tuition: £1,550

Our pricing is totally transparent:

CIPR Awarding body fees: £405 (no VAT)

Total: £1,955 (+VAT)

VAT will be calculated upon enrolment depending on your location and situation. VAT inclusive price £2265.

Instalment option

Pay in easy instalments. An initial payment of £465 (payable before course starts) then six monthly payments of £300.


Instalments shown include VAT

Paying by instalment: the first payment is made when you enrol, future payments come out monthly on the same date. For example, if you enrol on the 20th, future payments are made monthly on the 20th.

30 September 2022


Who’s this course for?

Public Affairs practitioners. You are an experienced public affairs practitioner or a communication/PR professional working on public affairs activity and looking to gain a specialist qualification to underpin your skills with theory and analysis.

Gain new skills. You want to gain new skills or improve existing skills by learning about the strategic role of public affairs.

Moving into public affairs. You wish to establish yourself as a public affairs practitioner. The course is designed for both generalist public relations practitioners wishing to enhance their understanding of the discipline and also for those intending to specialise in public affairs as a career.

Master’s level. This is Master’s level course so make sure you are ready to study and be assessed at this level.

Learning outcomes

Discover how the public policy environment operates and how to engage in the process. Learn about the psychology of communication, persuasion, rhetoric, engaging the electorate, the role of the media and political marketing.

Take a strategic look at public affairs practice and how it integrates with other broader reputation management. Emerging issues and trends that affect contemporary public affairs practice are discussed together with the strategy and tactics of lobbying and campaigning and the theories underpinning the process.

Research and develop ethical public affairs strategies and plans which confront and manage political and societal issues, change attitudes and influence behaviours, and so achieve strategic objectives.

Download our course brochure for all the course details including:

  • Full syllabus
  • Assignment details
  • Key dates
  • Reasons to study

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Why get a qualification?

Studying over a period of time leads to a deep level of learning, helping you to become a more strategic practitioner.

Underpinning my transferable skills with a qualification has been incredibly valuable and my experience of completing the course has been very positive. In particular, having my tutor as a resource who has worked in the industry, and being able to listen to her experience and that of others on the course who are already working in public affairs has been both interesting and informative. (See Antony’s case study)

Heather Yaxley, Course Leader

Meet your course tutor Heather Yaxley

I’m a passionate advocate for investment in sustainable professional development and the benefits that effective learning brings to individuals, teams and organisations. At a time of unprecedented change in working practices, we all need to keep up to date with latest thinking, new ideas, and emerging practice.

Your questions answered

For CIPR courses, your course fee is a combination of the PR Academy tuition fee and the CIPR awarding body and registration fee. PR Academy provides all your tuition plus an online learning centre with books and resources and marks your work. You don’t really need to buy any books as most resources are online, but you can of course purchase books if you like and we can help you to decide what to buy.
We offer plenty of support. Some courses offer individual tutorials that can be booked. The course leader is easily contactable and there is always someone in the office who can help with day to day queries.
It's great news that your employer is investing in your development. The first thing to do is get a purchase order - you will need it when you enrol. This is really important as without it we aren't able to raise an invoice. Alternatively, you can pay using a company credit or debit card at checkout - that's probably the easiest way. The second thing is to allow plenty of time! We need payment before the course starts and we know that sometimes company's payment processes can take a while. So act now to get it all sorted in time. If you need any help or advice, just give us a call.
Yes, most of our students are working full time and many have family commitments too. While the courses are demanding – they wouldn’t be of value if they weren’t – the pace of learning and the flexible options make it possible.
They aren't heavily academic. We still discuss theory because that’s what makes us better practitioners, but we show how to apply it in practice. We call it applied learning. The assignments are mostly in the style of business writing rather than academic essays or disserations.
At PR Academy we have been teaching online since we started in 2007. We have a specially designed online learning centre - we don't just put you on Teams! Our teaching is delivered through a mix of on-demand content, guided reading, live workshop sessions (usually recorded for later playback) plus tutor support. We have an online library that we have curated specially for our courses. Some courses offer individual tutorials that can be booked and the opportunity to submit an assignment proposal for individual feedback.
Most of the courses give you a maximum time to complete - usually one or two years, so there is plenty of flexibility. If you want to extend beyond this, then it is usually the decision of the awarding body (e.g. the CIPR)

Find out more about this course

Call Shelley on

00 44 (0) 203 862 6910