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MSc Social and Public Communication

About the MSc programme

This programme explores communication as a social psychological process central to the conduct of everyday life, in public as well as in private. Communication is both the foundation of social life as well as a professional activity to influence and persuade, to gain advantage, to build and sustain a community of trust, and to reach a common understanding on a controversial issue. You will be provided with an overview of theories of communication that enable you to analyse communication events and the practical dilemmas faced by those working in different domains of public communication. Central themes will include:

  • the psychological and societal process involved in public communication
  • conceptual frameworks for analysis, evaluation and design of public communication
  • developments in the analysis, evaluation and design of public communication in politics, business, development, health and science and technology
  • new communication and media technologies are not central to this analysis, but will be analysed by their emerging (dys)function

The programme is not simply a training programme in social marketing offering you a box of tools and rhetorical tricks for efficient and effective persuasion. It is an academic, research based programme that will enable you, through a range of core and topical courses to engage critically with existing tools of analysis, evaluation and design of communication endeavours. We offer a comparative approach, with a focus on clear language across a range of domains where public communication is pivotal. This includes an awareness of international attempts to establish professional competence in public communication. The programme is exclusively recognised by the professional certification of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations in the UK.

To be considered for a place you should normally have an upper second class honours degree in one of the social sciences and have relevant professional experience.

Programme details

The programme involves completing four course units, including a dissertation of 10,000 words.

Compulsory courses

(* half unit)

Students will be expected to choose courses to the value of one unit from a range of options including research methods.

You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses for MSc Social and Public Communication in the Programme Regulations section of the current School Calendar.

You must note however that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up to date and correct, some circumstances may cause the School to subsequently change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will neither be liable for information that after publication becomes inaccurate or irrelevant, nor for changing, suspending or withdrawing a course or programme of study due to circumstances outside of its control. You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee places on its courses. You should visit the School's Calendar, or contact the relevant academic department, for information on the availability and/or content of courses and programmes of study. Certain substantive changes will be listed on the Updated graduate course and programme information page.

Graduate destinations

Our graduates find excellent employment and career opportunities in a range of sectors of the communications industry including consultancy, journalism, publishing, advertising, public relations, education and outreach, and in international organisations. Several former graduates have created their own business.


Application code: L7U5 (check availability)

Start date: 22 September 2016

Duration: 12 months full-time, 24 months part-time

Intake/applications in 2014: 23/104

Minimum entry requirement: 2:1 in social science and relevant professional experience (see entry requirements)

English requirement: Standard (see English requirements)

GRE/GMAT requirement: None

Fee level: UK/EU £12,504; overseas £19,344

Financial support: Graduate Support Scheme (see Fees and financial support). MSc Social and Public Communication (Research) is accredited for ESRC funding as part of a four-year award (see ESRC)

Application deadline: None – rolling admissions. For consideration for ESRC funding: 12 January 2016

Note: Some options may be counted towards the CIPR Diploma (exemption from up to two units)