Public Relations Degree in Malaysia

Public relations (PR) is an interdisciplinary field that revolves around influencing the building, maintenance, and restoration of reputation. Methods like issue management, risk and crisis communication, community building and corporate social responsibility are often employed in PR.

What is public relations?

PR is essentially a type of communication practice. It involves creating relationships with individuals, businesses and institutions to promote a good image and gain public support. 

PR practitioners focus on identifying, building, and sustaining relationships between an organisation and their stakeholders.

For example, the chief role of a Public Relations Officer (PRO) under the Malaysian government is to develop and maintain positive relationships with media, community groups and other constituents through various channels to ensure that the government has self-images that align with public perception. 

This role can be filled by professionals who have demonstrated proven abilities in communications, presentation skills and interpersonal skills, as well as effective leadership qualities.

study public relations
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

Types of public relations

There are several types of public relations activities that organisations may engage in, including:

  1. Media relations involve building relationships with journalists and working on getting favourable media coverage.
  2. Crisis management involves developing strategies to manage adverse situations and protect the organisation’s reputation.
  3. Internal communications involve communicating with employees and stakeholders to ensure everyone is informed and aligned with the organisation’s goals and values.
  4. Government relations involve building relationships with government officials and working to shape public policy in the organisation’s favour.
  5. Community relations involve building relationships with the local community and working to engage with and give back to the community.
  6. Social media involves employing social media platforms to communicate with and engage with the public.
  7. Event planning involves planning and executing events, such as press conferences, product launches, or fundraising events, to promote the organisation and its activities.
  8. Corporate social responsibility involves implementing programs and initiatives demonstrating the organisation’s commitment to social and environmental responsibility.
  9. Brand management involves managing and promoting the organisation’s brand and reputation.
  10. Investor relations involves communicating with and providing information to investors and financial analysts.

Why is PR so valuable?

PR can be valuable for organisations. It helps build and maintain a positive reputation and relationship with their stakeholders, including employees, customers, investors, and the general public. It can help organisations:

  1. Build trust and credibility: Organisations can build trust and credibility by communicating transparently and openly with stakeholders. This can lead to increased loyalty and support.
  2. Manage their reputation: By proactively managing their reputation through PR efforts, organisations can mitigate negative situations and perceptions and instead focus on promoting their positive accomplishments and values.
  3. Communicate their message: PR can help organisations effectively communicate their message to their stakeholders, whether it be about their products or services, values, or goals.
  4. Influence public opinion: By shaping how people perceive their organisation, organisations can influence public opinion and shape how people think about their brand or industry.
  5. Enhance their image: By presenting a positive image to the community, organisations can enhance their reputation and appeal to their stakeholders.
  6. Attract media coverage: PR can help organisations attract media coverage, increasing visibility and reach for the organisation.
  7. Build relationships: PR can help organisations build relationships with key stakeholders, such as customers, employees, and government officials, leading to increased loyalty and support.
  8. Support other marketing efforts: PR can support other marketing efforts by providing third-party endorsements and increasing the organisation;s visibility.

Overall, PR can be valuable for organisations because it can help them effectively communicate with and engage their stakeholders, build and maintain a positive reputation, and shape how the public perceives them.

What is a public relations degree?

A public relations degree is an arts degree that focuses on strategic communication and media relations, promoting organisations and businesses. 

This degree will provide you with core knowledge in the field of public relations and develop your skills as an effective communicator within an organisation. 

Public relations degree requirements

To get into a public relations degree programme, you need to meet the entry requirements set by colleges or universities.

For example,  to pursue a Degree in Public Relations in Malaysia, one must complete their SPM or equivalent qualification in a pre-university programme.

The general requirements are:

  • A-Level: Minimum 2 passes
  • STPM: Minimum 2 passes
  • Foundation in Arts or Foundation in Science: Minimum CGPA of 2.00 or
  • Diploma: Minimum CGPA of 2.00

In addition, you’ll also need a minimum of 3 credits in SPM, including English.

Subjects in a public relations course

Upon graduating from a PR program, you’ll have a range of knowledge and skills related to the communications field. This is achieved via the subjects taken during a PR course.

Here are some of the core subjects one may cover:

  • Introduction to mass communication
  • Media writing
  • Visual design communication
  • Principles of public relations
  • Crisis management
  • Media relations
  • Media and communication laws
  • Public opinion and persuasion

In your first year of studying, you will typically be introduced to the fundamentals of communication theory, media writing, and other specialisations such as advertising and marketing. 

Later, you will focus more on PR-specific subjects such as crisis management and media relations. 

Some universities may also require you to complete industrial training or an internship as part of the degree program. This allows you to gain practical experience and apply your knowledge from the classroom in a real-world setting.

Why study public relations?

Do you like meeting new people and helping brands grow through different channels? If you have these interests, a degree in public relations might be for you! 

To succeed in this field, you must be friendly, sociable, and approachable. You must also be skilled at building relationships with influential people, media personalities, and other brands. 

This means attending various events such as product launches, media conferences, and media events. In addition, you must be able to write well because public relations relies on it. 

For example, you might be required to frequently curate press releases, engaging social media posts, or compelling emails requesting publicity. 

What skills do you need for public relations?

To succeed in a PR programme, you need to develop key skills and qualities such as:

  1. Ability to communicate effectively: You must be a great listener and communicator to handle public relations tasks effectively.
  2. Great analytical and critical thinking skills: Problem-solving is vital in public relations. To comprehend your target audience’s demands, you must be savvy with data collection offline and online.
  3. Ability to operate under pressure and within strict timelines: PR specialists are expected to handle various demands and problems as quickly as possible, regardless of the circumstances.

What can you do with a public relations degree?

A wide range of industries, including consulting and media, offer employment opportunities for PR graduates.

Public relations degree jobs

After graduating, you can pursue the following careers:

  • Public relations executive
  • PR and corporate communications executive
  • Media relations officer
  • Marketing communications executive
  • Publicist
  • Social media executive

Is it worth it to study public relations?

Yes. This degree can be worth it if you are interested in communication and media relations. It may also be a good pick if you like a field that involves helping organisations communicate effectively with their stakeholders. 

Remember, public relations professionals create and maintain relationships with organisations, media, customers, employees, and investors.

They use multiple communication tools and tactics. 

These include press releases, social media, and events to promote the organisation and its products or services and to manage its reputation.

Public relations degree salary

In general, public relations professionals in Malaysia may earn salaries that are similar to other professionals in the communication and marketing field. 

According to data from the Malaysia Department of Statistics, the median monthly wage for communication and media professionals in Malaysia was MYR 4,510 (around USD 1,110) in 2020. However, it is imperative to note that this figure is just a general estimate and may not accurately reflect specific PR professionals’ salaries.

It is also worth noting that salary is just one factor to consider when deciding whether or not to pursue a career in public relations.

Other important factors to consider may include your personal interests and skills, the job market in your area, and the potential for professional growth and advancement.

Is public relations a good career?

PR can be a rewarding career for those who enjoy working with people, have strong communication skills, and can think creatively and strategically. It can be a fast-paced and dynamic field that requires the ability to adapt quickly to changing situations.

Is public relations a stressful job?

Like any job, public relations can be stressful at times. Professionals are responsible for managing the communication and reputation of an organisation, which can be a high-pressure and fast-paced job. 

For example, they may be required to respond to inquiries and requests from the media, stakeholders, and the general public on short notice. They may also need to handle sporadic emergency crisis situations or negative publicity.

However, the stress level experienced by public relations professionals can vary depending on many factors. 

For instance, the size and type of organisation they work for, the specific role they hold within the organisation, and their coping mechanisms and work-life balance. 

Public relations degree Malaysia

Bachelor’s degrees in public relations, as well as Masters degrees, are offered by several colleges and universities in Malaysia, one of which is UOW Malaysia KDU

UOW Malaysia KDU Penang University College’s Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Public Relations provides students with in-depth knowledge of communication skills through industrial-based curriculum design. 


Overall, the decision to pursue a public relations path will depend on your personal interests and career goals. However, like any other discipline, one can suitably attain the skills necessary to excel in the PR discipline with persistence and intentionality. 


10 January 2023


Education and Career