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McGill SCS Graduate Certificate in Strategic Public Relations and Communication Management


The online 15-credit Graduate Certificate in Strategic Public Relations and Communications Management program is designed for you if you are working in the field and want to advance your expertise in Public Relations and Communications, or if you have obtained the Graduate Certificate in Public Relations and Communication Management Practice and are interested in continuing to further your knowledge. The program focuses on how to strategize, conceptualize, implement, and measure communications efforts in various contexts according to ethical codes and standards. It explores specialization areas including corporate communication, media and influencer relations, communication strategy, and PR measurement and analytics.

The program aims to give you the skill set needed to advance in your career in a PR agency, the corporate or non-profit sector, government, or as a freelancer consultant.

You may also be interested in McGill SCS Graduate Certificate in Public Relations and Communication Management Practice


Type:   Graduate Certificate
Courses:   5
Credits:   15
Schedule:  Full-time or part-time
Time:   Weekday evenings
Delivery:   Online
Unit:   Global and Strategic Communication
Questions?   info.conted [at]





Message From the Academic Program Coordinator

I look forward to welcoming you to our Graduate Certificate in Strategic Public Relations and Communications Management. The program is consistently updated to give you the knowledge and skills needed to thrive and evolve as a strategic public relations and communications professional in any industry or as a freelancer.

Our instructors and students make up a community passionate about public relations and communications. We have created an online environment that makes learning fun, hands-on, and engaging. Our students come from Canada and other parts of the world, as well as from a variety of backgrounds, both those employed in PR and those who are not.

This program builds on the knowledge you have already acquired through either completing the Graduate Certificate in Public Relations and Communications Practice or from your work experience in the field. It hones your skill set in various areas of public relations practice including media relations, corporate and organizational communications, and public relations strategy and measurement.

Nicolette Papastefanou, PhD
Academic Program Coordinator

Dr. Nicolette Papastefanou

Key Features
  • The program covers the evolving and emerging knowledge and skills needed to be a vital asset in the public relations and communications field with a skill set in a wide range of activities in communications strategy, media relations, social media, corporate and organizational communications, public relations measurement and analytics, and reputation management.
  • All courses focus on honing practical skills (alongside a solid theoretical background) through hands-on workshops, exercises and assessments, cases, and “live” clients.
  • Networking opportunities are embedded in all courses through our many guest lecturers from various industries, settings (agency, corporate, non-profit, entertainment, tech, etc.), and work backgrounds.
  • Those enrolled in this program can register as student members of the following professional associations: the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) and the Société Quebecoise des Professionnels en Relations Publiques (SQPRP).

Graduate Certificate (Gr. Cert.) Strategic Public Relations & Communications Management (15 Credits)

Who Should Apply

This program is a good fit for you if you are:

  • A graduate with a bachelor's degree (in any discipline) who has been working in a communications-related field for at least two years and are interested in gaining knowledge to further develop as a strategic public relations professional, being promoted to a higher-level position, or starting your own consultancy or freelancing business.
  • A graduate of the Graduate Certificate in Public Relations and Communication Management Practice interested in expanding knowledge and developing a skill set by delving into the strategic applications of public relations.

Learning Outcomes

This program will enable you to:

  • Further your career as a strategic public relations professional by building on previous learning acquired through either the Graduate Certificate in Public Relations and Communications Management Practice or from your communications-related work experience
  • Design and measure a public relations strategy for a real-world client
  • Appy theories, principles, and best practices of corporate communication in equity, diversity, and inclusion, corporate social responsibility, financial communication, global and intercultural communications, and mergers and acquisitions
  • Cultivate an awareness of organizations’ cultural, geographic, and global contexts, and of audience diversity
  • Gain the skills needed to use data, metrics, analytics, and primary and secondary research to measure public relations strategies and communicate the results to management and other relevant stakeholders.
  • Build relationships with members of traditional and social media, pitch these media, and create media kit material aligned to a media strategy
  • Discover emerging and evolving trends of PR and apply such knowledge to your practice.
  • Recognize ethical issues in public relations or communications, and propose alternative solutions based on foundational theories of ethics and professional codes of conduct

Delivery Format and Schedule

This program is offered in an online format as a blend of synchronous and asynchronous (self-directed) components.

The live virtual classes give you the opportunity to have lively discussions, participate in practical workshops, and meet guest lecturers. Classes are generally scheduled during weekdays from 6 to 9 p.m. ET.

Admission Requirements
  1. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent as recognized by McGill University) in any discipline with a minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 3.0 out of a possible 4.0, or a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.2 out of 4.0 in the last two years of full-time studies.

    * If your CGPA is lower than the above requirement, please submit the following for consideration with your application and official transcript.

    a) Letter of Intent: A letter, one to two pages in length, single-spaced, written in English or French, which addresses the following:

    • basis for interest in the program;
    • your knowledge that would be pertinent to the program;
    • your interest in the field of study and the reasons for applying to our program;
    • plans for integrating the training into your current or future career;
    • a description of your professional experience and its relevance, if applicable, to the program;
    • awards received or other contributions;
    • any additional information relevant to your application.

    b) Curriculum Vitae

    c) Two Letters of Reference: At least one should be from a current or former employer.

  2. In addition, applicants must:

    a) have successfully completed the McGill Graduate Certificate in Public Relations and Communications Management Practice


    b) have a minimum of two years recent, relevant work experience in public relations or the communications industry and include a letter of intent, curriculum vitae, and two letters of reference with their application.
  3. Applicants must provide proof of English Language proficiency.

Career Spotlight

Professional communicators are active in every industry, from banking, pharma, education, and the performing arts, to lifestyle and entertainment. These organizations look to someone with public relations and communications best practices to build essential relationships, communicate with their audiences, establish a media presence, manage their reputation, and enhance their credibility.

Nationally, employment demand for public relations and communications professionals grew 4.51% per month on average from December 2017 to November 2020. However, it is projected that employment for these professionals with graduate-level credentials will increase 4x faster nationally and 8x faster regionally (in Quebec) than the average occupational growth. This bodes well for future demand in the field.

A solid communications skill set is a vital asset to any public relations endeavour whether you’re working for an agency, a corporate client, the non-profit sector, the government, or freelancing. This includes conducting media outreach, drafting pitches or media releases, organizing and hosting events, driving and measuring strategic campaigns, conceptualizing behavioural change interventions, issuing financial communications, launching global communications initiatives, and managing crises.

Online Tuition

Students who have been admitted to online programs will be subject to deregulated fees if they are studying with a residence address outside the province, as the government does not fund the University for credit activities that are followed outside Quebec. All students will have to self-declare their location of study each term in Minerva. Consult the student accounts website – Online Programs page for more information.

International Students

This program is an Online (Distance Learning) program.

Since by definition distance learning does not require one to be in Canada, a study permit cannot be issued for this type of program, nor can one’s immigration status be changed (or renewed). For more information, please visit Immigration Quebec and Immigration Canada.

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 ChecklistReady to take the next step?

Be sure to review all the necessary instructions and guidelines to help make your application process smooth and easy.

How to Apply

Application Deadlines

Language Requirements

Financial Aid

Tuition and Fees

International Students

Return to Areas of Study

Need help applying?

Contact us at info.conted [at]
or call 514-398-6200

Questions about your admission?

Contact us at admissions.scs [at]
or call 514-398-6200

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