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Communication and Public Relations - PgDip/MSc

The course combines academic grounding with uptodate professional skills with frequent contributions from established profession leaders.

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Overview

In this section

The course combines academic grounding with uptodate professional skills with frequent contributions from established profession leaders.

Summary

This newly developed programme is based on our popular and successful courses in Communication, Advertising and Public Relations, Political Lobbying and Public Affairs, and Health Communication. We have updated and re-structured the course to ensure that it reflects the latest trends in contemporary theory and practice. The innovative new design incorporates a ‘Communication and Public Relations’ core with opportunities for you to specialise and study streams in advertising, political lobbying or healthcare. This means that all students will study four core modules plus two taught modules in your particular specialism (see Course Structure). This model:

  • provides you with flexibility of choice that allows you to maximise your individual and professional needs
  • enables you to develop a critical understanding and expertise in the academic and professional bases of communication and public relations with the facility to develop such understanding in specialist areas of advertising, political lobbying or healthcare
  • offers a unique and distinctive design with a broad focus on many of the elements important to a career in the communication industry
  • allows your named specialism to appear on your parchment

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About this course

In this section

About

This programme is a linked Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) and Masters (MSc). The PGDip comprises six modules. Part-time students will take two modules per semester beginning each September. The PGDip element is completed after two years.

For an MSc award you will also undertake an individual dissertation (12,000-15,000 words). Each student is allocated a supervisor who will support their individual research project.

Each module is weighted with credit points indicating the amount of student effort required. Full-time students are required to complete 30 credits per semester (1 credit point equates to approximately 10 student effort hours).

Attendance

Full-time students normally attend classes on 2 or 3 days per week. Part-time students normally attend classes on 1 or 2 days per week. The specific timetable will vary depending on your specialism. Classes are usually held during the day and full-time and part-time students share the same classes. Exact times vary, but each module generally involves 2-3 hours per week of class time that may be divided between lectures and seminars/workshops/practicals. Outside of this, you will also be expected to spend considerable time in independent study and you may also be involved in meetings with staff or with your fellow students on group projects.

Start dates

  • September 2019
How to apply

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

The following are the minimum overall percentages used to determine the final grading of candidates:

Pass with Distinction 70%

Pass with Commendation 60%

Pass 50%

A mark of 70% or above must also be achieved in the Dissertation for the degree to be awarded with Distinction.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

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The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.

Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.

Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.

Modules

Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

In this section

Year one

Public Relations and Society: Theoretical Perspectives

Year: 1

Employing insights from a range of academic disciplines, this module provides students with an opportunity to critically engage with the key debates surrounding public relations and its role in contemporary society. These theoretical insights are then applied to a range of areas of public relations practice to give students the tools to critically analyse them.

Advertising

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module explores the role of advertising in marketing, the main creative approaches to advertising and the main media available to advertising, as well as providing a fundamental understanding of the structure and regulatory system of the advertising industry. It further explores the key issues facing advertising practitioners and advertising academics and equips students with knowledge and skills to challenge academic research and to undertake practical advertising activities.

Politics, Policy and Communication

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module explores the interaction between politics, communication and the political process and the implications of this for representation and policy formation and policy change. The module adopts a broad perspective and considers the relationship between public affairs and political decision making structures in majoritarian systems such as the UK and the USA and in consensual systems such as the European Union, and how these play out in political debates, practice and campaigns.

Leadership and Management in Healthcare Communication

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module examines leadership and management within healthcare communications. This module will provide students with the opportunity to explore and critically appraise leadership and management styles and issues to enable them to effectively work with personnel at all levels, within and across organisations. Students will gain an understanding of the leadership and management of communications in healthcare, and the critical awareness of the theories, policies, skills and issues in leadership and Management in Healthcare Communication contexts.

Public Health Communication

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module provides an overview of the current issues within public health communication. Students will have the opportunity to explore the challenges and opportunities of communicating to a range of audiences/stakeholders within healthcare. They will gain a detailed understanding of communication skills, theories and concepts related to the complexities of communicating in healthcare. The module will enable them to evaluate a range of health transactions and contexts including managing stakeholders, partnership working, risk communication and crisis management. Students will be aware of risk communication and acquire knowledge of managing a health crisis. Current communication issues in healthcare will be discussed. Lecture material will be supported by practical work in the Communication labs, applying the theory to practice within interviews and group discussions. Students will have experience working on a work-based project in a communication department within a health setting, which can be either be in public, private or voluntary sectors, thus transferring the theory to application and practice. During the module, studentswill havedeveloped and presented a communication plan for an issue within healthcare.

Marketing Principles

Year: 1

This module is optional

Overall, this communication and marketing module, aims to provide students with a comprehensive overview of the field of Strategic Marketing and Communication in an international business context. It will develop students' knowledge and understanding of the significant role of Communication and Strategic Marketing practice.

Public Affairs and Lobbying

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module offers a theoretical and practical insight into the rapidly developing field of Public Affairs and Lobbying. It provides an opportunity to explore some of the key questions and issues facing academics and practitioners in the field and to examine how pressure/interest groups can strategically develop and manage their relationships with governmental stakeholders in order to successfully influence public policy.

Strategic Marketing

Year: 1

This module is optional

Overall, this interdisciplinary and internationally focussed module, aims to provide students with a contemporary and challenging introduction to the field of Strategic Marketing. It will develop students' critical and reflexive knowledge and understanding of the value (co)creating nature and impact of Strategic Marketing activity and practice.

Year two

Strategic Communication

Year: 2

A leader within a modern complex organisation faces a number of demands on their communication skills. These skills are seldom formally presented and usually a manger is expected to develop communication skills spontaneously. This module addresses these issues by presenting the key areas in management communication competence from both a conceptual and practical perspective. These skills are contextualised within organisational settings and contexts.

Public Relations Practice

Year: 2

This module provides students with a professional grounding in key debates surrounding public relations and its role in contemporary society and an insight into specialized areas of public relations practice. Emphasis will be placed on the development of critical and strategic thinking. It helps to prepare students for their role as the key co-ordinator of communication with in the broad field of Public Relations, and gives students the opportunity to analyse and assess the role of the communication professionals in a range of sectors in which they may eventually practice.

Research Methods

Year: 2

This module aims to provide information that will enable students to make appropriate and considered research decisions. It is designed to develop students' understanding of the nature of research, key research traditions, the research process and the range of methods available to the researcher, including qualitative and quantitative approaches. It also aims to help students acquire a critical understanding of the issues and methods in the generation and analysis of data and in the communication and evaluation of research findings.

Year three

Dissertation

Year: 3

The Communication dissertation aims to enable students to design and carry out an independent piece of research. It is intended that this will strengthen their ability to interpret and apply research data to a work environment. The research will focus in depth on one area of communication.

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

In this section

Entry Requirements

This programme is suitable for graduates in any academic discipline as well as those already in employment who wish to enhance their existing skills. Applicants must have gained at leats a 2:2 classification (Hons) in any subject from a recognised institution or an equivalent qualification. In exceptional circumstances, where an individual has experiential learning, a portfolio of written evidence demonstrating the meeting of graduate qualities may be considered as an alternative entrance route. Evidence used to demonstrate graduate qualities may not be used for exemption against modules within the programme.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Careers & opportunities

In this section

Career options

Due to the breadth of the course, you have a range of options upon graduation across the public, private and non-profit sectors, in communication, public relations, advertising, marketing, political lobbying and internal communication. While some previous graduates choose to specialise in a particular area, our students are equipped to be communication ‘all-rounders’ able to incorporate an integrated approach to communication management. Further PhD research study is also an option.

Professional recognition

Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)

Recognised by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).

Apply

How to apply Request a prospectus

Applications to our postgraduate courses are made through the University’s online application system.

The closing date for applications is the end of August.

Start dates

  • September 2019

Fees and funding

In this section

Fees (total cost)

Important notice - fees information Fees illustrated are based on 19/20 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees

Northern Ireland & EU:
£5,900.00

International:
£14,060.00  Scholarships available

Where the postgraduate course selected offers multiple awards (e.g. PG Cert, PG Dip, Master’s), please note that the price displayed is for the complete master’s programme. Postgraduate certificates and diplomas are charged at a pro-rata basis. Find out more

Additional mandatory costs

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.

We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.

There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.

Please contact the course team for more information.

Contact

Course Director: Dr Fred Morrison

T: +44 (0)28 9036 8860

E: f.morrison@ulster.ac.uk

Admissions Contact: Amber Crozier

T: +44 (0)28 9536 7043

E: a.crozier@ulster.ac.uk

Admissions Service

T: +44 (0)28 9036 6309

E: admissionsjn@ulster.ac.uk

For more information visit

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

School of Communication and Media

Disclaimer

  1. The University endeavours to deliver courses and programmes of study in accordance with the description set out in this prospectus. The University’s prospectus is produced at the earliest possible date in order to provide maximum assistance to individuals considering applying for a course of study offered by the University. The University makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in the prospectus is accurate but it is possible that some changes will occur between the date of printing and the start of the academic year to which it relates. Please note that the University’s website is the most up-to-date source of information regarding courses and facilities and we strongly recommend that you always visit the website before making any commitments.
  2. Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
  3. If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
  4. The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
  5. The University cannot accept any liability for disruption to its provision of educational or other services caused by circumstances beyond its control, but the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise the resultant disruption to such services.