Public Relations

Public Relations Extension Certificate


Learn from PR professionals in diverse industries and gain relevant information and skills to communicate, design and implement public relations projects in any organization.

Important Notice

The Public Relations Extension Certificate will no longer be offered as of December 20, 2017. Current students must complete all program hours by this date.

A new program will be launching in the Winter of 2018: Public Relations and Communications Management Extension Certificate

If you have any questions, please contact the Student & Program Liaison, Devona Smith by email or phone 403.440.6013.

  • Develop your professional public relations skills
  • Advance your career in PR
  • Earn a recognized credential
  • Complete the 6 required courses plus 30 hours of optional courses (120 hours)
  • Can be completed within 1 year up to a maximum of 2 years

Program Notes

  • Introduction to Public Relations is the prerequisite for all required courses in the program.
  • Required courses may be offered in evening or 2-day formats. Both formats require out-of-class work; however, the 2-day format requires some course assignments to be submitted 1 week after the course has finished.

Earn Credit Toward a Degree/Diploma
This program is eligible for transfer credit. For more information, contact Business and Professional Education at or 403.440.6861. 

Required Courses
(Recommended Order)
Spring '17
Fall ' 17
(Sept. - Dec)
Introduction to Public Relations
Writing and Editing for Public Relations
Communications Research  
Marketing Strategies for Public Relations  
Applied Writing for Public Relations  
Strategic Communication Planning
Optional Courses (choose 30 hours)      
Community and Stakeholder Relations    
Employee Communications    
Crisis Communications  
Effective Media Relations  
Government Relations    
Social Media for Public Relations  
Effective Business Writing
Foundations of Social Media for Business  
Leaders, Culture and Change
Change Management Fundamentals
Introduction to Event Management
The above schedule is subject to change. Courses start on various dates within each semester.
Fall schedule and registration available in June. Winter schedule and registration available in November. Spring/Summer schedule and registration available in March.

Required Courses

Introduction to Public Relations
This foundational course gives you an overview of the public relations field and the diverse roles and responsibilities of public relations professionals. Develop an understanding of public relations in a business context and begin to define the public relations planning process.
Note: This is the first course in the certificate and is the prerequisite for all other required courses.

Subject code: XBPR 20100 15 Hours. Fee: $399  
CRN 90151 5 classes Sep. 5-19 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Tue.,Thu.

Writing and Editing for Public Relations
Writing effectively in a public relations context is a critical and fundamental skill in the practice of public relations and communications. Through in-class exercises and constructive feedback, learn to organize your work, generate copy and edit. Sharpen your proficiency in English grammar and usage and be introduced to the Canadian Press (CP) Style. 
Prerequisite: Introduction to Public Relations

Subject code: XBPR 20001 15 Hours. Fee: $399  
CRN 90245
5  classes Sep. 25 - Oct. 12
(no class Oct. 9)
6:30-9:30 p.m. Mon.,Thu.

Communications Research
Research plays a critical role in designing a strategic communication plan. There are many research techniques and evaluation tools available for the professional practice of public relations. Learn to identify and integrate the appropriate option to use with your organization's communication plan and complete a research project for a public relations scenario.
Prerequisite: Introduction to Public Relations

Subject code: XBPR 20002 15 Hours. Fee: $399
CRN 90152 5 class Oct. 17- 31 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Tue.,Thu.

Marketing Strategies for Public Relations
Marketing and public relations professionals are working more closely together than ever before. Learn to select and integrate the right marketing and communication tools and technology. Analyze the explosive world of social media so that you can discriminate which social media form is most appropriate for your organization.
Prerequisite: Introduction to Public Relations

Subject code: XBPR 20006 15 Hours. Fee: $399
CRN 90189 5 classes Sep. 6 - 20 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Mon.,Wed.

Applied Writing for Public Relations
This second writing course allows you to refine and apply increasingly strong writing skills to the development of common materials utilized by PR professionals, including but not limited to a news release, newsletter, speech writing and web content. 
Prerequisite: Introduction to Public Relations

Subject code: XBPR 20004 15 Hours. Fee: $399  
CRN 90215 5 classes Oct. 30 - Nov. 15
(no class Nov. 13)
6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Mon.,Wed.

Strategic Communication Planning
A strategic communication plan is essential to achieve results and success for a client or organization. In this final required course, develop a detailed strategic plan by applying the fundamental public relations skills of research, analysis, implementation/execution and evaluation. 
Prerequisites: Introduction to Public Relations. We strongly recommend completion of the other 5 required courses before beginning this course.

Subject code: XBPR 20005 15 Hours. Fee: $399  Choose 1 of the CRN's below
CRN 90677 2 classes Sep. 23-30 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.
CRN 90864 5 classes Dec. 4-18 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Mon.,Wed.

Optional Courses

Choose 30 hours
We strongly recommend completion of Introduction to Public Relations before registering in any optional courses.

Government Relations
Governments develop public policy (laws, plans, actions) to address issues. Public relations professionals must develop strategies to navigate, engage, influence and inform government in the best interest of their stakeholders. Learn how to relate public policy to public relations activities, and identify strategies and tactics to create an effective government relations plan.

Subject code: XBPR 10007 7.5 Hours. Fee: $229  
CRN 90868 1 class Oct. 21 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.

Crisis Communications 
Today’s public relations professional must be prepared to respond quickly to internal and external stakeholder groups when difficult situations occur. Having an effective crisis communications strategy in place can prevent, limit or manage the negative impact of a crisis. Learn to evaluate crisis situations and deal with the media so that your organization is represented effectively.

Subject code: XBPR 10006 15 Hours. Fee: $399
CRN 90867 2 classes Oct. 28 - Nov. 4 8: 30 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.

Community and Stakeholder Relations
In a rapidly changing economy impacted by global and cultural influences, organizations must create, foster and maintain relationships with various stakeholder groups. Identify the internal and external communities that make up stakeholder groups. Examine the roles and functions of each group to foster successful interaction. 

Subject code: XBPR 10001 7.5 Hours. Fee: $229  
CRN 90865
1 class Nov. 25 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.

Employee Communications
A key stakeholder group in any organization is its people. Employees can flourish and provide greater support if key organizational messages are communicated to them effectively. Learn to design effective communication strategies, utilize the right tools to implement them and then evaluate their effectiveness. 

Subject code: XBPR 10002 7.5 Hours. Fee:$229
CRN 90866 1 class Oct. 14 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.

Effective Media Relations
Build a mutually beneficial relationship with the media by understanding their role and objectives. Develop a media relations plan that may include print, radio and television interviews, press conferences, photo shoots and public events. Be ready to coach spokespersons in your organization to deliver messages that are consistent with key organizational messages.

Subject code: XVCO 10011 15 Hours. Fee: $389  
CRN 90453 2 classes Sep. 9-16 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.

Social Media for Public Relations
Examine the role and impact of social media on the field of public relations. Be introduced to social media platforms and strategies for building and enhancing brand reputation, engaging with customers and key stakeholders, reaching media influencers, building online communities and managing crisis.

Subject code: XBPR 20007 15 Hours. Fee: $399
CRN 90483 5 classes Nov. 16-30 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Mon.,Thu.

Effective Business Writing
Are your writing skills holding back your career because you struggle to express yourself clearly, concisely and efficiently? Review and apply the principles of effective writing and revising. Learn how to create powerful workplace documents including emails, letters and reports that achieve the results you want. Review the basic design principles and survey professional editing techniques.
Textbook (required): Good Writing is Good Business, Margaret Chandler, available at the BookStore.

Subject code: XTBW 10013 15 Hours. Fee: $419  Choose 1 of the CRN"s below
CRN 90869 2 classes Sep. 29-30 8:30 -a.m.-5 p.m,. Fri.,Sat.
CRN 90439 Online Oct. 2-30    

Foundations of Social Media for Business
Learn to leverage the power of digital word-of-mouth networks. In this foundational course, analyze the role that common social media platforms play in business transactions and explore the power of social media tools to build meaningful relationships with your customers.

Subject code: XCSP 10017 12 Hours. Fee: $379  Choose 1 of the CRNs below
CRN 90635 Online Sep. 11 - Oct. 10    
CRN 90704 4 classes Sep. 18-27  6 p.m.-9 p.m.  Mon.,Wed.

Change Management Fundamentals
The ever-accelerating pace of change is driving organizational strategy and performance at every level. Explore the foundations of change management for organizational success, including essential concepts, the role of a change leader, and the change management life cycle. Gain practical insight into the impacts of change and the importance of change management as a strategic role and discipline.

Textbooks: Course textbooks are strongly recommended as reference materials for all students. These 2 sold as a set: The Change Leader's Roadmap: How to Navigate Your Organization's Transformation, 2nd Ed. (2010), Linda Ackerman Anderson and Dean Anderson, AND Beyond Change Management: How to Achieve Breakthrough Results Through Conscious Change Leadership, 2nd Ed. (2010) Linda Ackerman Anderson and Dean Anderson. Available at the BookStore.

Subject code: XCMT 10001 15 Hours. Fee: $469  
CRN 90237 2 classes Sep. 22-23 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Fri., Sat.

Leaders, Culture and Change

Exemplary leaders use the power of shared vision and instill hope for a better future. Explore leadership and culture as two sides of the same coin, including the leader’s role in building high engagement and high performance cultures. Discover specific strategies and techniques for managing change, including appreciative inquiry, strategic planning and employee engagement. Textbooks for this class are listed below.
Textbooks (required): The Leadership Challenge, 5th Ed., and The Leadership Practices Inventory, available at the BookStore 

Subject code: XLEA 10002 15 Hours. Fee: $469  Choose 1 of the CRN's below
CRN 90149 2 classes Dec. 8-9 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Fri.,Sat.
CRN 90637 2 classes Dec. 15-16 8:30  a.m.-5 p.m. Fri.,Sat.

  Introduction to Event Planning
Be introduced to the art and science of event management in this overview of the certificate program. Gain an overview of the event industry and its associations and designations. Discuss various types of events, the 5-phase approach to event planning and the core competencies of event planners. This course is also the first required course in the Wedding and Social Event Planner Certificate of Completion. (click Here)

Subject code: XEVT 10011 15 Hours. Fee: $259  
CRN 90122
Online Sep. 11 - Oct. 10    
CRN 90111 2 classes Sep. 22-23 8:30 a.m,.-5 p.m. Fri.,Sat.
CRN 90418 Online Nov. 20 - Dec. 18    


Students must provide CE Registration with a current and valid email address. Registered students will receive a welcome/orientation message by email. Course materials will be available through blackboard prior to course start date.

Once you have downloaded your course materials, please bring them to class on a laptop, iPad or other tablet or a printed paper copy.

Required Textbooks
The Canadian Press Stylebook: A Guide for Writers and Editors, 17th ed., and The Canadian Press Caps and Spelling, 21th ed. Both available at the

“Writing and Editing for PR exceeded my expectations for a writing course, providing immediately useful guidelines in both grammar and style that I’d been unaware of."-Jack Giesen, Writing and Editing for PR

“The Public Relations Extension Certificate provided me with knowledge and skills I can apply in my job immediately.”-Erin Friio

“It was a great class...very good instructor and the whole PR program is outstanding. I was impressed by the quality of material and the instructors. There’s nothing really like it at other schools.”-Tim Schutz, Program Director/Music Director, 107.7 The River, Lethbridge

“Very informative. I appreciated the ability to complete the course so quickly. The instructor is very knowledgeable and certainly knows his stuff.”-Tracie Moore, Provincial Public Affairs Coordinator 

Vicki Barnett, BA, MSC MAce_img_Vicki_Barnett
Vicki Barnett, BA (English), BA (Journalism), MCS (Communications Studies), MA (Leadership), has more than a decade of experience working in senior roles in the private and public sectors in public relations, as well as in teaching public relations.

In addition to instructing in Mount Royal’s Public Relations Extension Certificate program, she teaches writing courses in the university’s public relations degree program.  Vicki has taught at three Calgary post-secondary institutions, where she has led courses such as Introduction to Public Relations, Applied Writing for PR, Strategic Communications Planning, Crisis Communications, Social Media for PR, Communications Research, Employee Communications, Media Relations, and Writing and Editing for Public Relations.


Patrick Hammond, APRce_img_hammond

Patrick Hammond, APR, is a public relations professional who has spent his 30-year career within the voluntary sector, working in the areas of post-secondary education, politics, human services and international development. Organizations have included Operation Eyesight Universal and the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Patrick has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Lethbridge (1984), a Diploma in Public Relations from Mount Royal College (1989) and received his Accredited Public Relations designation from the Canadian Public Relations Society in 2008. He currently lives in Lethbridge where he continues working in his field under the auspices of Hammond & Associates, Inc.


Irene Karras, MCS, ABCce_img_irene_karras
Irene Karras is an IABC-accredited communications professional with over 15 years of senior management communications experience as a trusted partner and strategic communications advisor to senior management in various organizations and agencies. Irene has extensive experience and proven success developing and implementing effective communications and public relations plans, strategies and tactics internally and externally. She has had the privilege of leading cross-functional teams, managing large teams of employees, working with Board members, donor groups and volunteers, and managing annual budgets.

Irene has earned her Master in Communications Studies from the University of Calgary. She is an instructor in both the Faculty of Communications Studies (PR) and the Faculty of Continuing Education (PR) at Mount Royal University. Her freelance writing has been featured in Salon, The Calgary Herald, The Calgary Sun, Today’s Bride, Cinefilles, and on CBC Radio.


CE Bio - Marketing - Karen RichardsKaren Richards
As the Word of Mouth Marketing Strategist at Mount Royal University, Karen combines marketing, grassroots community initiatives, a love of brand, technology and social media to ensure she, and the university, are always ahead of the curve. Karen's passion is embracing and creatively implementing word of mouth marketing principles to meet business goals while cultivating a loyal community in-person and online that help spread the good word about MRU.

Karen developed the curriculum, and is an instructor for, the Marketing Strategies for PR course within the PR Certificate program at Mount Royal.

Karen holds a Bachelor Degree Psychology from the University of Calgary, is an active member of the international Word of Mouth Marketing Association, a presenter, workshop facilitator and is personally very active in the Calgary community using social media to create unique events and connect people with businesses, charities and each other.

Melissa Rolfe  MA, APR

With 25 years of wide-ranging communications experience in diverse organizations in Alberta, Manitoba, the Yukon and Ontario, Melissa brings a well-rounded perspective to the practice of public relations. She has been a manager of communications and stakeholder relations at electricity and oil and gas companies, a senior practitioner at a leading non-profit organization and an agency-based consultant. In addition to teaching at Mount Royal University, she is an independent communications consultant specializing in stakeholder relations and writing and editing.

Melissa earned a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Radio and Television Arts from Ryerson University, and a Master of Arts in Integrated Studies from Athabasca University, with a focus on work, organization, and leadership. Her areas of research included organizational culture and learning, adult education, gender and management, and trust in the workplace. Her final research project was an examination of the effects of techno-stress on organizations and employee well-being.

Melissa’s teaching focus is instilling a high standard of ethics and professionalism in the practice of public relations and, in particular, raising standards in writing as a core competency among practitioners. Melissa has been teaching the PR certificate program since 2011. She is also a sessional instructor in MRU’s public relations degree program, and is accredited by the Canadian Public Relations Society.

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Contact us

For information about this program:
403.440.6013 or 1.888.392.3655
Mount Royal University, 4825 Mount Royal Gate SW, Calgary AB  T3E 6K6

Customize this program for your organization through our Corporate Training department.

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