The big debate – is a PR degree really worth it?

Photograph by Lucy Hayball, 2017

Is it necessary to have a PR degree?

This is a debate that will be happening next month and as you can imagine, this has started to trouble me slightly. Am I really spending £9,000 a year and four years of my life for something that I don’t even need a degree for? Now you can see how this troubles me.

I’m not going to lie to anybody but I wasn’t entirely sure what PR was when I started University. ‘Public Relations – ah, relationships with the publics a.k.a consumers, got it’. Saying this, even now I am sure some of my closest friends and relatives still don’t know exactly what I am studying (I’d love to see who admits it ;)). During Sixth Form I knew I wanted a career in Media/Communications but I just didn’t know where. Researching and comparing Advertising, Marketing & PR led me to decide that PR was the best fit for me. So there I had it, my decision was made and I got ready to pack myself off to University with the vaguest definition in the world of what PR was (don’t worry, I built upon the one above!).

Without my degree, I don’t think that I would have discovered what PR is all about or fallen in love with the communications industry at all. During my time at University (albeit through the times when ‘I just give up’), I have learnt to delve deeper into this amazing industry. Without my University experience, I would not have spent 5 weeks at an agency where PR well and truly won my heart over. I would not have such a deep understanding of what it is all about or be able to follow professionals and see the work in action. The time I am at University is allowing me to find new connections and things about the industry that make me love it that bit more.

In fact, you could go as far to say I would never have discovered PR without University. If I had not chosen to go to University I don’t think that PR would ever have come onto my radar. I’m from a small town in Wiltshire and let’s face it, it’s not exactly a PR’s haven. There are agencies a few miles away in the cities but I don’t think I would ever have even thought about it. I would not have found what interests me or have the love for communications that I do now.

So here’s where the debate lies with me:

If anyone was to ask me: ‘Do you need a degree to succeed in PR’, my answer would be a wholehearted yes.

I think that some of this debate lies within personal opinion, whether it would benefit you. I personally think I do need a degree to open my mind to the industry and expand upon my basic skills. Some courses may not be as industry driven as others, but it allows students to find the parts that interest us the most. Giving us time to get the experience and knowledge before jumping in at the deep end. I am no industry expert, I do not know the skills that we should be taught. But I do know the huge benefit I have already got out of my degree.

Who knows what the future holds or where I will end up – I am only 19! But from this degree experience, I have formed an interest and a love for something and I guess, that is what it is all about.

Well, that is all my brain can muster up now after a day of revision but it is interesting to think how different things could have played out! I may not be able to go up to London for the debate but I will be very interested to hear what was said!


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