Module
descriptions

for Liberal Studies (Public Relations)

First year modules

MED404 Understanding Social Media

This module introduces students to social media through its history and development, focusing on current thinking about 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 students to critically understand the role of social media within society and within the social media landscape. Students 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.

Core module for Public Relations majors.

PRL401 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 organizations 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 organizational contexts in which Public Relations operates will be covered to provide a broad overview of the field.

Core module for Public Relations majors.

PRL402 Writing for PR and Media

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

Core module for Public Relations majors.

PRL403 Media Relations

The media relationship is key for successful public relations professionals, whether a corporation, a non-for-profit or an advocacy organisation.

This module offers students the opportunity to understand the relationships between organisations and the media. Students 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.

Students 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. They 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.

Core module for Public Relations majors.

COM401 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.

Core module for Public Relations majors.

Second year modules

MED501 Media and Ethics

This module introduces the descriptive and normative philosophy of ethics to students 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. Students 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, students learn to analyse core ethical issues and consequences in contemporary media practices. This module prepares students for understanding and practicing applied ethics in professional and applied media contexts.

Core module for Public Relations majors.

PRL501 Visual Communications for PR (InDesign)

This module aims to introduce students to the role of visual media in public relations. Students will be expected to understand and design images across media platforms for public relations and. This module aims to provide students with essential knowledge and key skills in preparation of future public relations practice. This module will enable students 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 students 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 students to incorporate industry specific standards and practices into their 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.

Core module for Public Relations majors.

COM501 Corporate Communications Management

This module offers students 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, students will develop strategic solutions for communications to both internal and external publics. Students will become familiar with essential elements of corporate communications techniques, using traditional and new media channels, presentations, marketing materials and meetings.

Core module for Public Relations majors.

PRL502 Managing Public Relations Campaigns

The class is designed both to give the student 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. Students will learn to create their own strategic PR campaign from scratch, from taking a brief, though 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.

Core module for Public Relations majors.

MED502 Media Research Methods

This module introduces core research methods in media and communications, including research design, qualitative and quantitative methodologies and the logic informing particular research traditions and practices. Students are expected to become familiar with a wide range of research methods and current debates related to particular approaches. Based on applied exercises, students will broadly understand research principles and techniques and will be expected to develop expertise in selective quantitative and qualitative methods, as well as research design. This module aims to provide students with essential practical and theoretical skills so that they are able to develop and conduct accurate, original and high quality media and communications research.

Core module for Public Relations majors.

Third year modules

MED603 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.

Core module for Public Relations majors.

COM601 Crisis and Strategic Communications

This module offers students 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, students develop strategic solutions for crisis situations and create a generic crisis communications plan that can be included in their personal portfolios. Students will become familiar with essential elements of crisis preparation and communications techniques from traditional and new media channels.

Core module for Public Relations majors.

COM602 Political Communications

This module will analyse the structure of Political Communication networks and information sources and will 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.

Core module for Public Relations majors.

MED605 Current Issues in Media and Public Relations

This is an open module designed to facilitate advanced studies of emerging and cutting-edge issues relevant to Media and/or 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/or practices related to the fields of media and communications and/or public relations. Broadly, this module addresses current issues relevant to students 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.

Core module for Public Relations majors.

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.