Professionalisation and public relations education: industry accreditation of Australian university courses in the early 1990s

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This paper investigates the Public Relations Institute of Australia's introduction in 1991 of a national accreditation programme for university courses. Drawing on an analysis of previously unstudied industry archives, it identifies four themes significant for industry perspectives of education: public relations knowledge industry expectations and experience; public relations curricula; and academic legitimacy. While university education was perceived by institute members to demonstrate the professional standing of public relations, the findings reveal divergent understandings of its role and content and identify considerable resistance to the institutionalisation of public relations knowledge. At the same time, the expansion and marketisation of higher education led to the introduction of new, vocational courses such as public relations. The significance of this study is it offers new insights into the development of Australian public relations education and the role of the professional association.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-631
Number of pages9
JournalPublic Relations Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Accreditation
  • Australia
  • Curriculum
  • Education
  • History
  • Public relations

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