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Overview

Important notice – campus change This course will move to the Belfast campus.  Students will change campus part way through this course. Find out more

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.

International Students

If you don't meet our entry requirements for this course you may want to consider our International Foundation Programme (IFP)

The International Foundation Programme (IFP) will prepare you for studying an undergraduate degree at Ulster.

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About this course

In this section

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.

The modules studied cover a range of topics within the broader strands of Internal and External Communication, and are listed below.

YEAR ONE

Principles of Marketing

Language, Media and Society

Interpersonal Communication

Creative PR Professional

Social Psychology of Communication

Communication and Language

YEAR TWO

Political Communication

Digital Media Communication

Advanced Interpersonal Communication

Communication in Groups and Teams

Research Methods

Written Communication for PR and Advertising

YEAR THREE

Advanced Public Relations

Political Lobbying

Organisational Communication

Dissertation (working on your own piece of research)

Optional Module Choice

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 will need to have further meetings outside of class time, as well as attend other meetings with your Studies Advisor and Course Director.

Start dates

  • September 2018
How to apply

Modules

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

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

In this section

Year one

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 looks at language and communication in use, the importance of context, and the increasingly mediatised nature of language and communication. It applies theory to ?real life? examples, considers language and communication in relation to various aspects of identity, situations, and genres, and enhances awareness of how language and media both reflect society and construct it.

The Creative PR Professional

Year: 1

This module allows students to study the theory and techniques of creativity and then apply them to a creative project in public relations, advertising, film or other area as agreed. Students will also reflect on the creative process of their creative project.

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, including the writing process, audience, needs analysis and writing for specific purposes, is a vital part of being an effective communication professional and manager. The module provides students with the knowledge, theoretical appreciation and writing skills to play a productive role within the advertising and public relations industries across a range of sectors, focusing specifically on press releases, speech writing, radio ads and social media.

Digital Media Communication

Year: 2

Developing further prior knowledge of the principles underpinning online digital communication, this module provides students with an appreciation of the importance of strategic alignment of digital media objectives alongside organisational goals. It affords practical understanding of the range of online digital media tools and techniques available to engage with customers and other stakeholders. Through the use of example digital media campaigns students will be able to critically evaluate the characteristics of individual online digital media, and select appropriate tools to plan, develop and evaluate online digital communication campaigns in support of stated objectives.

Political Communication

Year: 2

The module introduces students to the role of political communications in the political process. Students will examine various aspects of government information policy and the relationship between government, the media and the public. The module is structured around theories of the public sphere, public opinion, agenda building and agenda setting, censorship and propaganda. Emphasis will be placed on the development of critical thinking. Assessment is by a coursework assignment 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

Communication and Organisations

Year: 4

The module presents students with a range of theoretical and conceptual perspective in organisational communication. It will present students with the main controversies and challenges within the area of organisational communication and how we can develop our understanding of these issues further.

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.

Metrics and Evaluation in Organisational Communication

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.

In this section

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.

BTEC

Overall BTEC award profile DMM (to include a minimum of 8 distinctions) - DDM (to include a minimum of 9 distinctions)

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.

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.

Teaching and learning 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.

Exemptions and transferability

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

Careers & opportunities

In this section

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.

Academic profile

In the School of Communication 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 the School of Communication 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!

Apply

How to apply Request a prospectus

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

Start dates

  • September 2018

Fees and funding

In this section

Fees (per year)

Important notice - fees information Please note fees displayed are for 2017/18 Academic Entry. Fees are correct at the time of publishing. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages to find out more

Northern Ireland & EU:
£4,030.00
England, Scotland & Wales:
£9,000.00  Discounts available
International:
£13,240.00  Scholarships available

Scholarships, awards and prizes

The School of Communication 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