Master of Science
Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
School of Communication and Media
Strategies for success in the digital age.
The purpose of this programme is to enable both practising and aspiring professionals in the business, marketing, communication and information technology sectors to better understand the changing nature of the digital era and how to leverage digital technologies and platforms to achieve competitive advantage.
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In this section
In contrast to traditional methods of communication, digital technologies and platforms facilitate greater consumer interactivity and empowerment. In a highly competitive and connected global marketplace, the unique properties of digital technologies can therefore present both opportunities and challenges for firms. Increasingly, marketing and communication professionals are expected to embrace digital channels to encourage customer and partner engagement. Equally, professionals in technical roles are now required to apply their digital skills and expertise more strategically to drive business value.
Recognising the vital role of digital tools for effective organisational and business communication, and the growing importance of open, collaborative working practices, this course combines expertise from both technical and communication disciplines to provide an enriching and multidisciplinary learning environment.
Specifically, this course will provide you with the opportunity to:
Full-time students normally complete between two and three modules per semester. Modules are normally delivered in intensive block sessions, from 1.00pm until 9.00pm. The maximum number of intensive block teaching days per module is 5 (although not on consecutive days), plus approximately 2 days x 3 hours seminar attendance. You will also be expected to engage in group and team work in some of your modules and so will need to have further meetings outside of class time. In addition, you are also expected to dedicate adequate time for independent study. Part-time students normally complete between one and two modules per semester.
Learning and teaching will take place through a series of lectures; seminars (both face to face and online); industry guest speakers; group work and case-integrated learning.
Assessment Methods:100% coursework which includes: class presentations; group work; critical analysis, strategy development, and campaign development reports.
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
Calculation of the Final Award
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
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.
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.
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
This module offers a theoretical and practical insight into the dynamic area of online digital communication and explores some of the key questions and issues facing academics and practitioners. Students undertaking the module will acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to support the implementation of digital communication objectives in support of business goals including customer acquisition, loyalty and community building. Students will be able to critically evaluate the characteristics of individual online digital media, and select appropriate tools from the range available to execute digital communication in support of organisational objectives.
This module covers all aspects of digital campaign planning and management. It will provide students with the opportunity to apply theory to practice by developing an effective digital marketing campaign and associated content in response to a live brief. It enables students to develop a working knowledge of digital marketing technologies and critically evaluate their appropriateness achieving organisational goals. Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate how the platforms and message chosen support the fulfilment of pre-defined communication objectives with a specified target audience.
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.
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.
This module establishes an effective multidisciplinary foundation for evaluating effective digital marketing communication approaches and technologies to support strategic business goals centred around understanding the digital consumer. Students will critique the online presence of organisations in a variety of contexts and will understand the interrelationship between communication, design and technology in maintaining an effective online customer experience.
Organisations harnessing digital marketing communication can make use of data analytic techniques to identify and translate their digital data into useful, actionable insights for organisational benefit. This module provides postgraduate students with a clear understanding of data analytics techniques as well as the digital marketing communication context of use.
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.
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You will normally be an Honours or non-Honours graduate with an undergraduate degree in, for example, Communication, Business, Marketing or related studies, Information & Communication Technology or a related technical area. The course is also suitable for those already in employment, or who have work experience in a cognate area, and who wish to enhance their existing skills.
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.
In this section
This course enables both practicing and aspiring professionals in the business, marketing, communication and information technology sectors to better understand how to leverage digital technologies and services to achieve competitive advantage.
Key aspects of the course that will help to equip you for a career, or support your continued professional development in the marketing, communication or information technology sectors include: