Communication Management and Public Relations
BSc (Hons)

2021/22 Part-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

Start date:

September 2021

Overview

Developing knowledge & skills in Public Relations & Communication.

Summary

The Communication Management and Public Relations degree provides 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 areas such as interpersonal, group and organisational communication, as well as studying public relations ideas and strategies in different situations, for example political and media contexts.


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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 explored throughout the curriculum. A key aim of the course is to give you a deeper understanding of different theory & ideas and how these relate to the professional and working environment. 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 giving you the opportunity to work independently and learn effective time management skills.

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 on your own practice and skills, integration of theory and practice, real-life' strategy and evaluation projects, research projects/reports & placement. Content of modules and their assessment activities (including traditional essays, presentations, practical projects and groupwork) focus you, as the student, on key theories 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 you will be encouraged to present and debate ideas, helping you to be socially and intellectually equipped for both your present and future in the work and professional context as well as the wider community. You will also have the opportunity to learn from industry and professional bodies like the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and key employers and public relations practioners in Northern Ireland and further afield, through guest lectures and other events.

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    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:

    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.

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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.

Jordanstown campus

The largest of Ulster's campuses.


Accommodation

Jordanstown is our biggest campus in an idyllic setting surrounded by lush lawns and trees. It's just a few hundred metres from Loughshore Park and promenade, and just seven miles from Belfast city centre.

Find out more - information about accommodation  


Sports Facilities

At our Jordanstown Campus we have world class facilities that are open all year round to our students and members of the public.

Find out more - information about sport  


Student support

At Student Support we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.

Find out more - information about student support  


Jordanstown campus location info

  Find out more about our Jordanstown campus

Address

Ulster University
Shore Road
Newtownabbey
Co. Antrim
BT37 0QB

T: 028 7012 3456

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.

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

Year two

Principles of Marketing

Year: 2

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.

Principles of Public Relations

Year: 2

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%).

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.

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.

Year three

Advanced Interpersonal Communication

Year: 3

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: 3

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.

Written Communication for Public Relations and Advertising

Year: 3

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: 3

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.

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.

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.

Year five

Dissertation

Year: 5

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.

Standard 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

Applicants should satisfy the University General Requirements e.g.

1. Provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English (GCSE English Language grades A-C/ 4-9 or equivalent); and

2. Provide evidence of passes in five subjects, two of which must be at A level (grades A-E) and three at GCSE level* (grades A-C/4-9); or

3. Provide evidence of passes in four subjects, three of which must be at A level (grades A-E) and one at GCSE level* (grades A- C/4-9); or

4. Provide evidence of an approved qualification at an equivalent level such as a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma or Access to Higher Education qualification or equivalent; or

5. Provide evidence, for a process of formal accreditation by the University, of learning you have gained through work or other experience.

* GCSE English Language (grades A-C/4-9) may be used as part of the GCSE requirement.

GCSE

You must satisfy the General Entrance Requirements for admission to a first degree course and hold a GCSE pass in 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

It is possible to transfer from a part-time to full-time mode of study. Students who are already studying part-time will apply via UCAS and be made an offer based on their performance on the programme.

United States of America flagAdditional information for students from United States of America

Undergraduate

Each programme will have slightly different requirements, both in terms of overall points and certain subjects, so please check the relevant subject in the undergraduate on-line prospectus.

Normally Ulster University welcomes applications from students with:

Generally, for undergraduate courses for international applicants we require equivalent to A-Level CCC, for these courses the entry requirements will be one of the following:

Qualification

  • Qualification High School diploma with overall GPA 3.0 and 1000 out of 1600 in SAT (Post March 2016)
  • High School Diploma with overall GPA 3.0 and grades 3,3,3 in 3 AP subjects
  • High School Diploma with overall GPA 3.0 and 580 in 3 subject specific SAT tests
  • High School Diploma with overall GPA 3.0 and 26 in ACT
  • Associate Degree with GPA 3.0

Please note that some courses will have subject specific entry requirements, please check the relevant course entry requirements in the undergraduate on-line prospectus. If there is a subject specific requirement you will be required to get 580 in the Subject Specific SAT or Grade 3 in the Subject Specific AP test.

Some courses may also have additional entry criteria, such as a Skype interview, submission of a satisfactory portfolio, criminal record check or health check, please check the relevant course entry requirements in the undergraduate on-line prospectus.

For courses that require GCSE Mathematics Grade C, you will be required to successfully complete Grade 12 in High School Diploma Mathematics.

Some courses have higher entry requirements, please see list below;


BSc Hons Optometry

(A-level ABB to include 2 science subjects from Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics or equivalent)

Qualification

To include one of the following:

  • High School Diploma with overall GPA 3.0 and grades 5,4,4 in 3 AP subjects to include 2 science subjects
  • High School Diploma with overall GPA 3.0 and 1200 out of 1600 in SAT and 650 in 2 subject specific SAT, to include 2 science subjects
  • High School Diploma with overall GPA 3.0 and 28 in ACT and 2 AP subjects grades 4,4, to include 2 science subjects
  • Associate Degree with GPA 3.2 in an appropriate science subject

    In addition to both of the following:
  • Successful completion of Grade 12 High school Diploma English and Mathematics
  • A satisfactory criminal record check and health screening

MPharm Pharmacy

(A-Level BBB to include Chemistry and 1 science from Mathematics, Physics or Biology or equivalent)

Qualification

To include one of the following:

  • Qualification High School Diploma with overall GPA 3.0 and grades 4,4,4 in 3 AP subjects to include Chemistry and one other science
  • High School Diploma with overall GPA 3.0 and 1200 out of 1600 in SAT and 630 in 2 subject specific SAT to include Chemistry and one other science
  • High School Diploma with overall GPA 3.0 and 28 in ACT and 2 AP subjects Grades 4,4 to include Chemistry and 1 other science
  • Associate Degree with GPA 3.2 in an appropriate science subject

    In addition to both of the following:
  • Successful completion of Grade 12 High school Diploma English and Mathematics
  • A satisfactory criminal record check and health screening

BSc Hons Nursing (Adult) and BSc Hons Nursing (Mental Health)

(A-Level BBC or equivalent)

Qualification

To include one of the following:

  • High School Diploma with overall GPA 3.0 and grades 4,4,3 in 3 AP subjects
  • High School Diploma with overall GPA 3.0 and 1150 out of 1600 in SAT (Post March 2016)
  • High School Diploma with overall GPA 3.0 and 600 in 3 Subject Specific SAT tests
  • High School Diploma with overall GPA 3.0 and 28 in ACT
  • Associate Degree with GPA 3.1

    In addition to all of the following:
  • Successful completion of Grade 12 High school Diploma English and Mathematics
  • A satisfactory Skype interview
  • A satisfactory criminal record check and health screening

Financial Information

In addition to the scholarships and bursaries open to all international students, US students may apply for Federal and Private US loans

English Language

Qualification
Level 12 English Lang in HSD

View more information for students from United States of America  

Careers & opportunities

Career options

The Communication Management and Public Relations degree has been designed to help prepare you for a career in a variety of contexts, e.g. integrated communications, public relations, public affairs, 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

Successful completion of the optional placement year will give you the additional qualification of the Diploma in Professional Practice. We have a dedicated placement coordinator who is also an Academic member of staff. They will ensure you are kept up to date and informed about all relevant opportunites that are available to potential placement students. We also work closely with our Employability and Careers service to offer additional support in CV writing, developing a digital profile and interview skills. Whilst most students opt to stay in Northern Ireland, in previous years students have gained placement in London, Sydney, Barcelona and Dublin, and in organisations such as L'Oreal, Coty and Warner Bros.

If you undertake a formalised option to study abroad for a year (between 2nd and final year) successful completion will lead to the Diploma in International Area Studies. CMPR students have successfully completed the Study USA programme (SUSA) in the last number of years, in NY State, Pennsylvania and Minnesota.

Apply

Start dates

  • September 2021

Fees and funding

Scholarships, awards and prizes

The School of Communication and Media award prizes at the end of each year at a special ceremony. Many of these are awarded to CMPR students and are sponsored by a number of key industry employers in Nothern Ireland.

Additional mandatory costs

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.

Testimonials

Praise for the Course Director and Course Team:

"I just wanted to thank you immensely for all of your continued help and support. Without it, I genuinely wouldn't have even made it to the end of first year, and now I can't believe I've finished, 4 years later.... a lot of my work is a credit to your teaching and guidance"

"...I’ve had a great experience on the course and at Ulster in general! ...I’ll definitely be recommending CMPR to prospective students in the future!"

"I just want to thank you as well for everything you done over the last three years for our class. I really enjoyed the learning experience"

"...you have been an asset to us as students over the last few years ...supporting students through their time at university. It has been a pleasure to be taught by you over the course of this degree"

"...thank you for everything over the past 4 years, none of us could have done it without the support of you and all our other lecturers"