Skip to navigation Skip to content

Course search

Communication Management and Public Relations
BSc (Hons)

2021/22 Full-time Undergraduate course

Award:

Bachelor of Science with Honours

Faculty:

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

School:

School of Communication and Media

Campus:

Jordanstown campus

UCAS code:

P9P3
The UCAS code for Ulster University is U20

Overview

Integrating Theory & Professional Practice.

Summary

Emerging out of long established teaching and research in the field of Communication, and links with the continually developing Communication industries, the Communication Management and Public Relations degree places the study of Communication processes at the heart of an understanding of the Communication industries in general, and the Public Relations industry in particular. On this course, you will develop knowledge and skills in strategic internal (interpersonal, group, organisational) and external (public relations, political, media) communication.


Sign up for course updates

Sign up to register an interest in the course.

About this course

About

The Communication Management and Public Relations degree will give you the opportunity to study both Internal Communication which will focus on our relationships with others in for example personal and work contexts and External Communication which will focus on the theory and practice of Public Relations, including media and political contexts. New and emergent digital technologies relevant to these fields are reflected throughout the curriculum. A key aim of the course is to foster a deeper understanding of theory and professional practice in applied, work-based settings. An optional placement year where students work in a supervised, industry based setting is also offered. There are also formalised options to study abroad as part of the degree in year 2 (usually 1 semester) and to spend a year (between 2nd and final year) studying specialised electives at a US university as an alternative to placement.

The opportunity to plan and undertake research in the field of Communication and Public Relations is key aspect of the degree particularly in the final year, thus providing students the opportunity to work independently and learn effective time management skills. In addition, critically reflective skills necessary for continuing personal development will be developed.

Students will work in close collaboration with industry and professional bodies like the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, Public Relations Institute of Ireland, the Northern Ireland Government Affairs Group, and the International Association of Business Communicators. Many staff are members of the key academic subject association in the area, the International Communication Association.

In the School of Communication & Media, we understand the importance of communication to personal and professional success. Communication is core to all of the subjects we offer, so no matter what course you choose, you will learn how to become a more effective communicator.

Employers consistently list ‘effective communication’ as the most desirable skill when recruiting. It’s therefore not surprising that many graduates from our Communication programmes enjoy senior roles in the public, private and not for profit sectors. While you may not know our graduates, you will certainly be familiar with the organisations they work for!

Associate awards

Diploma in Professional Practice DPP

Diploma in Professional Practice International DPPI

Diploma in International Academic Studies DIAS

Find out more about placement awards

Attendance

Attendance is full-time.

This will normally mean you are expected to attend timetabled classes which equate to approximately 10 hours per week in total. However, it must be stressed that this can vary with individual modules. You will also be expected to engage in group and team work in some of your modules and so may need to have further meetings outside of class time.

Start dates

  • September 2021

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Modules on the programme feature a strong link between learning, teaching and employment. A broad range of methods are used including, but not limited to, Face to face teaching, peer review, reflective practice, integration of theory and practice, strategy and evaluation projects, research projects/reports & placement. Content of modules and their assessment activities (including traditional essays, presentations, practical projects and groupwork) focus students on key concepts and ideas. The broad range of skills that are taught and assessed are transferable across the subject areas and most importantly into the professional context and future employment. In the classroom students are encouraged to present and debate ideas & observations in a rewarding environment, helping them to be socially and intellectually equipped for both their present and their future in the professional context and the wider community.

  • Read more

    Content

    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:

    • the relevant generic national Qualification Descriptor
    • the applicable Subject Benchmark Statement
    • the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.

    Attendance and Independent Study

    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

    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.

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.

  • Read more

    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.

Year one

Communication and Language

Year: 1

The module explores the complex relationship between language and communication, focusing on competing models of communication and the multi-layered multi-faceted nature of meaning in communication involving language. It explores how understanding features of language informs the study of communication and how reflecting on communication aids reflection on the complex nature of language and meaning.

Social Psychology of Communication

Year: 1

This module is designed to introduce students to key Social Psychology theories and concepts directly related to the study of Interpersonal Communication. It explores social behaviour and interaction in a variety of social contexts, and is concerned with both how we as individuals understand ourselves, and how our social environment shapes us. Students are introduced to the fields of social psychology and communication, exploring key aspects of the interactive process and encouraging students to apply this knowledge base to everyday situations.

Interpersonal Communication: Skills and Strategies

Year: 1

This module introduces the students to the concept of interpersonal communication as skill and strategy. It introduces the idea of different approaches to communication performance and the importance of context in selecting an appropriate or effective approach. It presents and discusses a series of core communication skills used in interpersonal interaction. The emphasis throughout is on the application of theory to practice and on developing skills of behaviour discrimination, self-awareness, critical analysis and skill enhancement.

Principles of Marketing

Year: 1

This module provides students with an appreciation of the nature, scope and breadth of the principles of marketing. It represents a key underpinning to subsequent marketing related modules within degree programmes.

Language, Media and Society

Year: 1

The module considers:

• How language and communication are used differently by different people
• How language and communication are used differently to and about different people
• How all of this is related to aspects of people's identity like gender and ethnicity
• How all of this is affected, reinforced and constructed by the media
• How all of this is related to power

Principles of Public Relations

Year: 1

The module introduces students to students to the study public relations. Students will examine theoretical concepts and examples of public relations practice to approach the subject, allowing students to experience and reflect on examples of public relations. With the module grounded in the wider study of the media and communication, it is intended that the student will gain a core understanding of how public relations operates within the wider media industries. Assessment is by two pieces of coursework, an essay (40%) and a report (60%).

Year two

Advanced Interpersonal Communication

Year: 2

This module extends the study of interpersonal communication by examining advanced interpersonal skills relevant to specific professional contexts. It offers the opportunity to explore underlying theories and concepts, which in turn provides knowledge and understanding of situationally specific communication processes. Behaviour analysis, critical reflection and skill enhancement are the heart of the module. A special feature is the use of CCTV laboratories in the Communication Skills Centre of the University.

Research Methods

Year: 2

This module has been designed to enable students to develop their skills in designing, executing and writing up quantitative and qualitative research projects. It provides an important foundation for the final year Project.

Communication in groups & teams

Year: 2

The purpose of this module is to examine and understand how communication processes reflected in our everyday experiences of groups, teams and group life. It is designed to give students an appreciation of the many aspects of task and social groups and how they impact upon our daily lives, in terms of our membership (or not), in them; their influence on our attitudes and behaviour, and their effect on our ability to perform and make decisions.

Written Communication for Public Relations and Advertising

Year: 2

Written communication is a vital part of being an effective communication professional. The module, by integrating theory and analysis with practical skills development, will enable students to develop the skills to write in a range of genres with technical accuracy, creativity and responsibility.

Digital Communication

Year: 2

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.

Political Communication

Year: 2

The module introduces students to the role of political communication in the political process, and its impact on democracy. Students will examine various aspects of government communication and party-political communication, and address the relationship between politics, the media and the public. The module is structured around theories of democracy, the public sphere, public opinion, spin, celebrity politics and the normative category of deliberative democracy. Emphasis will be placed on the development of critical thinking. Assessment is by a coursework assignment (essay) and a two-hour exam.

Student exchange programme

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module allows students in second year to study abroad for the first or second semester. Students take the equivalent number of relevant credits offered by the host institution, during their period of study there. Decisions related to what students study in the host institution are taken in conjunction with the host institution adviser and their studies adviser at Ulster.

Year three

Work Placement

Year: 3

This module is optional

Work-based learning provides students with experience of working within the communication field. The placement option is a complement to and extension of the work engaged in at the University and provides the opportunity for each student to apply theory to practice, enhance their employability portfolio and improve their career planning skills and knowledge.

International Academic Studies

Year: 3

This module is optional

This module provides an opportunity to undertake an extended period of study outside in the US under the Study USA programme. Students will develop an enhanced understanding of the academic discipline and its applied contexts whilst generating educational and cultural networks.

Year four

Organisational Communication

Year: 4

This module offers a theoretical and practical insight into traditional, relational, cultural and network communication strategies used by organisations to address current challenges and achieve organisational goals. Such understanding forms the basis for an appreciation of a range of issues including challenges of leadership, organisational uncertainty and conflict, change and crisis management. Students undertaking the module will acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to assess the effectiveness of strategies adopted by organisations and to offer proposals for improved communication, innovation and performance

Critical Perspectives in Public Relations

Year: 4

This module provides students with a professional and theoretical grounding in key debates surrounding public relations and its role in comtemporary society and an insight into specialised areas of public relations practice. These areas include media relations, crisis communication, political communication and public affairs, community relations and brand communications. Emphasis will be placed on the development of critical and strategic thinking. Assessment is by individual assignment and a group PR strategy document.

Dissertation

Year: 4

The project enables students to apply methods and techniques to exending and applying their knowledge and understanding of Communication and allows them to further develop their conceptual, rational and creative thinking within the field of Communication. It incorporates all aspects of completing a research project, from topic selection through to writing up and builds upon research skills acquired in Years 1 and 2.

Political Lobbying

Year: 4

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.

Rethinking Communication

Year: 4

This module is optional

The module considers the theoretical and conceptual trends that appear to be shaping future notions of the study of communication. The module extends the conceptual and theoretical appreciation of the student and enables them to engage with the disputes and debates out of which the future of the domain will emerge.

Groups, Identities and Relations

Year: 4

This module is optional

The module focuses on the study of inter-group communication and the way in which this relates to both personal identity processes and macro-level societal and cultural issues such as prejudice, discrimination and conflict. Throughout, there a strong emphasis on empirical research applications.

The Communication Consultant

Year: 4

This module is optional

The module presents students with a range of assessment and evaluation instruments currently in use in the measurement of communication and organisational behaviour. Students will develop their skills in analysing data, summarising their findings and presenting useful recommendations in a form that can assist in the achievement or organisational improvement.

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.

A level

The A Level requirement for this course is BBC*-BBB*.

* Applicants can satisfy the requirement for the C (if the offer is made at BBC) or the third B (if the offer is made at BBB) A-Level grade by substituting a combination of alternative qualifications recognised by the University.

Applied General Qualifications

Overall BTEC Level 3 QCF award profile DDD

OR

BTEC Level 3 RQF National Extended Diploma with profile DMM (if grades are set as the equivalent of BBC) or DDM (if grades are set as the equivalent of BBB).

You may also meet the course entry requirements with combinations of different qualifications to the same standard. Examples of combinations include:

A levels with BTEC Level 3 QCF Subsidiary Diploma or BTEC RQF National Extended Certificate

A level with BTEC Level 3 QCF Diploma or BTEC Level 3 RQF National Diploma.

For further information on the entry requirements for this course please contact the administrator as listed in Contact details.

Irish Leaving Certificate

Overall Irish Leaving Certificate profile H3H3H3H3H4 - H3H3H3H3H3H.

English Grade H6 (Higher Level) or above, or Grade O4 (Ordinary Level) or above, if not sitting at Higher Level, is required.

Scottish Highers

The Scottish Highers requirement for this course is BBCCC - BBBCC.

Scottish Advanced Highers

The Scottish Advanced Highers requirement for this course is CCD - CCC.

International Baccalaureate

Overall International Baccalaureate profile minimum of 25 points (12 at higher level) - 26 points (13 at higher level).

Access to Higher Education (HE)

Overall Access profile 65% - 70%.

GCSE

GCSE Profile to include GCSE English Language grade C or above (or equivalent).

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.

Exemptions and transferability

Transfer may be possible between full-time and part-time modes of study.

Careers & opportunities

Career options

The BSc Hons Communication Management and Public Relations degree has been designed to match a host of new career developments in integrated communications, public relations, digital professions, politics, public affairs, broadcasting, management and consultancy. Its broad and varied modules are appropriate for careers in the public, private and voluntary sectors, both local and international. The degree is built on the heritage of the BSc Hons Public Relations degree and BSc Hons Communication suite of degrees, which have developed a reputation for nurturing their graduates many of whom now hold senior management positions locally, nationally and internationally.

Work placement / study abroad

The degree offers an optional placement in year three. Placement provides students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in a workplace setting. The School regularly has nominations and has been successful on a number of occasions in the University’s Placement Employer of the Year Awards. On successful completion of the Placement students are awarded a Diploma in Professional Practice (DPP). Alternatively, students can elect to complete a year's Study Abroad option in 3rd year. This is normally a year in the USA. On successful completion of this students are awarded a Diploma in International Academic Studies.

Students may elect to spend a semester in 2nd year at a European University, as part of the ERASMUS scheme.

Apply

Applications to full-time undergraduate degrees at Ulster are made through UCAS.
Please apply by 15th January.

Start dates

  • September 2021

Fees and funding

Scholarships, awards and prizes

Communication at Jordanstown holds a prize giving ceremony every year to recognise student's academic achievement. Many of the prizes are sponsored by our Communication Industry Partners.

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: Mrs Kerry-Ann Porter

T: +44 (0)28 9036 8102

E: ka.porter@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.
  Course Content