Module
descriptions

for Liberal Studies (Public Relations)

Introduction to PR Strategies and Management

This module is designed to introduce the principles and practice of public relations as a managerial discipline responsible for managing relationships between organisations and their stakeholders. It covers the broad planning process of information gathering and assembling, objective setting, designing an influencing strategy, implementing a programme and evaluating results . A range of important organisational contexts in which public relations operates, will be covered to provide a broad overview of the field.

Interpersonal Communications

Students learn to apply the contexts and skills associated with interpersonal communication competence, the intrapersonal constructs necessary for effective interpersonal communication, as well as skills and behaviours associated with relating with others. Topics include: self-disclosure, listening, nonverbal communication and conflict.

Writing for the Media

This module will offer you an understanding and appreciation of a range of media writing techniques, including news, features, PR and radio writing. You will explore and develop skills in writing, researching, sourcing, editing and interviewing and become adept at meeting deadlines. You will learn how to structure and style a piece of media writing and learn how this differs according to the medium you are writing for. You will also be expected to put these skills into practice, on outside reporting visits. You will learn about news values and how they differ, depending on the publication or medium you are writing for. You will also gain an understanding of different media outlets, in order to place their writing in context.

Media Relations

The media relationship is key for successful public relations professionals, whether a corporation, a not-for-profit or an advocacy organisation. This module offers you the opportunity to understand the relationships between organisations and the media. You will develop techniques and strategies for communicating key messages, providing media with the contacts and context they need, and preparing an organisation for effective media management and engagement. You will learn effective verbal and nonverbal communication techniques and apply these to a series of real-world simulations, such as handling media during a crisis situation. You will learn the skills to attract, work with, and be interviewed by, members of the media (including for radio, television, online and print journalists), by taking part in a number of public relations scenarios.

Understanding Social Media

This module introduces social media through its history and development, focusing on current thinking on social media. Leading research informs critical examination of the role of social media in contemporary societies, interpersonal relations, culture, politics and technology. This module focuses on dominant social media platforms (such as Facebook, YouTube, Wikis, Apps etc.) and bridges contemporary theory with practice, through applied exercises exploring the purpose and functions of each of these platforms. This module aims to equip you to critically understand the role of social media, within society and within the social media landscape. You are expected to apply these skills to specific social media platforms. This module is informed by prominent social theories like convergence, network society and participatory culture.

Corporate Communications Management

This module offers you the opportunity to understand and learn techniques for managing corporate communication in a modern business setting, exploring all aspects of the public relations role within a medium to large company. Through case studies and practical scenarios, you will develop strategic solutions for communications, to both internal and external publics. You will become familiar with essential elements of corporate communications techniques, using traditional and new media channels, presentations, marketing materials and meetings.

Identities and Media

The purpose of this module is to introduce you to the ways in which intersectional identity is portrayed in the media. The module will investigate film, television, journalism, gaming cultures and social networking in light of theories of race, class, gender identity, sexuality, disability, age and others. You will learn about the cultural context behind the development of each theory in relation to media representation, as well as the conceptual impact of identity theories, along with their current and possible future effects on the global community.

Introduction to Public Relations Strategy and Management

This module is designed to introduce the principles and practice of public relations, as a managerial discipline responsible for managing relationships between organisations and their stakeholders. It covers the broad planning process of information gathering and assembling, objective setting, designing an influencing strategy, implementing a programme and evaluating results. A range of important organisational contexts in which public relations operates will be covered to provide a broad overview of the field.

Media and Ethics

This module introduces the descriptive and normative philosophy of ethics in relation to media, including journalism, photography, film, video, digital and social media, public relations, and advertising. This module focuses on current and influential cases, where difficult ethical decisions must be made based on professional, social and legal standards. You will evaluate the logic and ethical reasoning informing media professionals within rapidly changing industries. Based on a mix of practical review of specific cases and ethical theory, you will learn to analyse core ethical issues and consequences in contemporary media practices. This module prepares you for understanding and practicing applied ethics in professional and applied media contexts.

Visual Communications for Public Relations

This module aims to introduce the role of visual media in public relations. You will be expected to understand and design images across media platforms for public relations. This module aims to provide you with essential knowledge and key skills in preparation of future public relations practice. This module will enable you to build skills and experience, with industry standard graphics software (such as InDesign and Photoshop) through applied exercises, review and creative project development. This module also aims to prepare you to successfully approach design and communication challenges, by exploring problem solving techniques, innovation strategies and creative approaches for visual communication and public relations. This module encourages you to incorporate industry specific standards and practices into your own creative approaches to visual communication. This module will include a combination of instruction techniques, including lectures, demonstrations, group work and team collaboration, workshops, design exercises, creative work and other methods appropriate to visual communications and PR. 

Managing Public Relations Campaigns

This module is designed both to give you the experience in planning and producing public relations campaigns and to introduce a critical understanding of the decisions and processes that PR agencies, charities and other organisations use to develop, launch and manage campaigns. You will learn to create your own strategic PR campaign from scratch, from taking a brief, through to preparing a project proposal, carrying out research, developing objectives, strategy and tactics, defining messages and media. The module looks at public relations campaign planning using digital and social media techniques, as well as more traditional methods of communications. An integral part of the process will be evaluating the outcomes of PR campaigns and showing an understanding of the decisions made at every stage. Weekly class discussions will draw student research into academic debate (on PR issues from both journals and of industry publications), from which case studies will be discussed and evaluated.

Political Communications

This module will analyse the structure of political communication networks and information sources and examine the influence of mass communications on the development of the political decision making process. The module will examine the relationship between the media and these political processes. It will offer a critical review of key aspects of contemporary theory and research in political communications. There will be an examination of the range of interconnected issues concerning the politics and media relationship: global media and political collaboration; media and political influence; political marketing; branding and news management; media and public knowledge; the crisis of current civic communications; political reporting, and public diplomacy. It will provide an insight into the relationship between political actors, professional communicators and media personnel in the context of ever changing national and international political and advanced technological systems for instantaneous forms
of communication.

Current Issues in Media and PR

This is an open module designed to facilitate advanced studies of emerging and cutting-edge issues, relevant to media and public relations related fields. This module reflects the dynamics of subject areas, which are marked by rapid change, widespread innovations and the continual emergence of contemporary issues and phenomenon. This module may examine particular topics, cases, theories and practices related to the fields of media and communications and public relations. Broadly, this module addresses current issues relevant in preparation for a variety of professional contexts. This module may focus on any subject related to change or traditions in media and public relations disciplines and practices. Some topics could include content on, Diaspora and media; Reality Television: Theory and Practice; Branding, Advertising and Image in Politics; New Media and Society; Marketing and Culture; Global Trends; or other timely topics.

Media and the Law

This module aims to offer participants a thorough grounding in various legal disciplines, that underpin Media Law. It focuses on the ways relevant legal provisions apply to traditional media and explores how the law has struggled to respond to the growth of 24/7 news and the new world of social media. Ample emphasis is placed on seminal cases and cutting edge issues, as the law cannot be divorced from media practice. In particular, the module seeks to cultivate an appreciation of the centrality of human rights to the development of the law in this field; to inform learners how the law approaches social media communications and help them navigate the risks involved in the use of social media tools; to equip participants with a critical understanding of the crucial role of intellectual property rights in protecting innovative and creative endeavour in the media sector; and finally, to engage learners in a critical evaluation of domestic media law as compared to the constraints affecting the media in other jurisdictions (especially the USA and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights). You will acquire a sound grasp of various legal issues which will enable you to make justified and informed decisions, and persuasively argue how those decisions can be applied within a dynamic multi-mediated and more digitally connected world.

Crisis and Strategic Communications

This module offers you the opportunity to understand and learn techniques for dealing with sudden and unexpected situations that have a negative impact on organisations and their images to key constituencies. Through case studies and mock crises, you will develop strategic solutions for crisis situations and create a generic crisis communications plan that can be included in your personal portfolios. You will become familiar with essential elements of crisis preparation and communications techniques from traditional and new media channels.

 

Major Capstone (Dissertation)

The purpose of this module is to bring together the breadth of a Liberal Arts student’s learning and experience to bear on a major project. Starting from the student’s major area of study the project will reach out to incorporate elements from the totality of learning on the programme and the realisation of the breadth that a Liberal Arts graduate has achieved. The Capstone can take the form of a reflective practice-based project or a traditional written dissertation subject to meeting the word-length equivalencies below. The Capstone will run over two semesters and will be supervised by a minimum of one supervisor although two may be allocated depending on the nature of the work.