Bachelor of Science with Honours
Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
School of Communication and Media
Developing knowledge and skills in Public Relations and Communication.
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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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.
As a part time student you can take from between 5 and 9 years to complete your degree. More specifically, within one year you can take one or up to four modules (a full-time student will study 6 modules in a year, that is, three per semester). One module equates to approximately 3 hours class time per week, over a 12 week semester. 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, so it is worth taking all of this into consideration before making your decision. Please contact the Course Director to discuss the various possibilities for study.
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.
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 near the start date and may be subject to 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 of attendance will often 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 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 Masters 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 via one method or a combination e.g. examination and coursework . 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 four learning outcomes, and no more than two 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.
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 Masters 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 Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
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 (20%) or Lecturers (55%).
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) by Advanced HE - 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 2021-2022.
The Belfast campus is situated in the artistic and cultural centre of the city, the Cathedral Quarter.
High quality apartment living in Belfast city centre adjacent to the university campus.
At Student Wellbeing we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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%).
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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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.
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 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.
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.
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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.
Part-time students are not eligible for placement.
Fees illustrated are based on academic year 22/23 entry and are subject to an annual increase.
If your study continues into future academic years your fees are subject to an annual increase. Please take this into consideration when you estimate your total fees for a degree.
Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply.
The price of your overall programme will be determined by the number of credit points that you initiate in the relevant academic year.
For modules commenced in the academic year 2022/23, the following fees apply:
|Credit Points||NI/ROI Cost||GB Cost||International Cost|
NB: A standard full-time undergraduate degree is equivalent to 120 credit points per year.
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.
It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. 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 Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.
There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as a part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs, as well as tuition fees. See www.ulster.ac.uk/student/fees-and-funding/tuition-fees/tuition-fees-202223/ni-roi-students for most up to date costs.
Course Director: Mrs Kerry-Ann Porter
Admissions Contact: Laura Irwin
T: +44 (0)28 9536 5650
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"