Today I have news of the UK’s only Masters degree to focus on the strategic practice of internal communication.

Regular readers of the All Things IC blog will know the Kingston University Internal Communications Management qualifications had to find a new home. Congratulations to the Institute of Internal Communication (IoIC) for finding one, I’m so pleased it’s back, well done.

IoIC will be delivering this programme in partnership with Solent University and I’m thrilled to see this essential qualification has returned for internal communicators to benefit from.

This article covers what it is, how the course works, how much it costs (£6000 +VAT), the entry criteria and how to apply.

If you’re serious about your career, seriously consider this degree.

The course plays a key role in the development of the profession, ensuring practitioners have the knowledge and skills to influence at the highest levels in organisations.

As an alumna of the Kingston postgraduate diploma in Internal Communications Management, I’ve been a keen supporter of the Masters course and have delivered guest speaker sessions for students on topics ranging from knowledge management to social media over the years. I always enjoy meeting the current students and hearing about their experiences.

Studying whilst working full-time is full on. There’s no getting away from it. But the effort and energy I invested in my career a decade ago has paid dividends. I’m also still connected with lots of the professional communicators who were on my course and it’s been a pleasure to watch my cohort’s careers grow and develop.

Choosing to study is an investment of your time, money and effort, but it’s worth it, not least for the confidence boost you get from being a data-led, evidence-driven practitioner. Your understanding of theory and best practice blossoms throughout, I now see it first-hand when I run my monthly and bespoke Masterclasses.

What is the course?

The Masters in Internal Communication Management degree has been developed and delivered by senior internal communication professionals who bring a unique mix of practical experience and academic knowledge.

Liz Cochrane, Course Director, told me: “The Masters will equip you for increasingly strategic roles, and provide you with the confidence, gravitas and skill to make a real impact in your business at the most senior level. Acquiring Masters status means that you are demonstrating the skills and knowledge required of a practitioner at the highest level of the IoIC’s competency framework.”

Further reading on the All Things IC blog: IoIC’s new competency framework

What can you expect?

The Masters in Internal Communication Management is designed to fit around busy working lives and is delivered via a combination of two-day face to face workshops held in Central London; online activities; and independent study focused on applying theory to current workplace challenges – allowing students to add additional value to their organisation from the start of their studies. The programme is made up of four units:

Unit 1: Building blocks for communication success: Sensemaking and the organisational environment

This unit sets the context for the strategic management of internal communication, equipping you to assess the practical communication implications of organisational culture, leadership styles, the psychology of how we make sense of the world around us and more.

Unit 2: Thinking and acting strategically: How internal communication can drive the organisation forward

This unit is designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills required to develop, implement and evaluate effective communication strategies to deal with the issues you are likely to encounter including change, complexity, employee engagement plus the radical impact of technology.

Unit 3: Building for the future: The influential internal communication practitioner

This unit equips you with the underpinning knowledge to act as a key influencer and an internal consultant at the most senior level within the organisation, including the psychology of decision-making and the power of rhetoric. You will also explore current and possible leading-edge developments in organisations and appropriate communication responses, helping futureproof your practice.

Unit 4: Conducting robust communication research to drive decision-making

This unit aims to develop your skills in working with a client to identify, diagnose, and make practical recommendations towards solving a workplace management issue through internal communication interventions, acquiring academic standard research techniques and applying them in a research project aimed at resolving a current workplace issues.

Who are the teachers?

The course tutors are the same ones I learnt with back in 2008-9 at Kingston University, they are excellent practitioners and people to learn from. They are:

Course Director – Liz Cochrane
Liz managed communication for major companies within the utility and pharmaceutical sectors before moving into consultancy and training. She now combines her role as Course Director with being the director of a small employee research company. Liz is a Director for the Institute of Internal Communication, with responsibility for professional development (accreditation).

Unit Leader – Jenny Davenport
Jenny’s main work is as a management consultant, working not only on internal communication issues, but more widely on relationships at work, senior management and employer brand projects. Now freelance, Jenny was formerly Managing Director of People in Business. Jenny has degrees in history, law and psychology and a Masters in Organisational Behaviour.

Unit Leader – Domna Lazidou
Domna has a background as a practitioner and academic, and is an expert in culture, engagement and change communication in complex, multicultural organisations. Domna combines consultancy with leading a unit for the Masters and also teaching intercultural communication for business and the professions at the University of Warwick, drawing from the research she did for her PhD.   Domna has designed and runs two popular training courses for the Institute of Internal Communication: Communicating Culture, and Engagement for Communicators.

What are the benefits of doing the Masters?

The Masters is designed to prepare professionals for increasingly strategic roles in internal communication and add business value in a rapidly changing global organisational environment. We could all do with a helping hand in those areas!

The benefits of studying for the MA in Internal Communication Management include:

  • Adding immediate value by putting theory into practice in your – or your client’s – organisation
  • Developing your interpersonal and leadership skills and having impact at the highest level of the organisation
  • Developing your strategic thinking and evidence-based decision-making
  • Gaining essential research and analytical skills to understand and adapt to rapidly changing business needs
  • Producing a valuable piece of tailored research for your organisation
  • Building a strong network of fellow strategic practitioners

By the end of the course, you will be equipped to:

  • Understand the complexities of workplace culture, the psychology of communication, and the implications for your communication practice
  • Develop, implement and evaluate internal communication strategies to meet rapidly changing organisational needs and build engagement
  • Forge leading edge approaches to communication to address the growth of technology and the radical breakdown of organisational boundaries
  • Influence and coach senior managers to ensure optimum communication that meets the needs of the future, and ensure effective leadership communication at all levels
  • Undertake in-depth organisational research to ensure a robust, evidence-based approach to communication interventions.

What’s the entry criteria?

Applications for the Masters in Internal Communication Management will be considered if candidates can demonstrate their suitability for the course, having the motivation and ability to work at postgraduate level.

The Masters programme consists of four units, each of which is worth 30 credits. Candidates are accredited an additional 60 credits on the basis of prior learning and experience of internal communication. This is done via a process known as Advanced Standing.

Candidates should therefore also fulfil one of the following alternatives:

  1. Possess a recognised postgraduate qualification in management and business studies equivalent to 60 level 7 credits.
  2. Possess a degree or professional qualification and have significant experience in the internal communication field and other indicators of achievement (e.g. written reports etc.)
  3. Have substantial relevant experience of internal communication management and other indicators of achievement (e.g. evidence of acceptable training courses attended, written reports etc.), also complete a sample assignment to a pass standard. Applicants will be given support in assignment writing as part of the application process.

How long does it take?

The Masters is a twelve-month programme, beginning in September every year.

How easy is it to combine the Masters with full-time employment?

The programme is specifically designed to fit around busy working lives, with a total of eight days of workshops in Central London, plus an induction day at Solent University.

You will need to devote a considerable amount of time to reading, critical analysis of issues, research, preparation of assignments and participation in on-line discussion boards. The theory into practice approach and focus on your current workplace in assessments means that you can achieve a level of integration between work and study.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment is via coursework rather than exams, and includes assignments, a management report, and assessment of on-line discussion of key topics. All assessments focus on current workplace issues.

How much does it cost?

The fee to study for the Masters in Internal Communication Manager is £6,000 + VAT.

What does the fee include?

The cost of the programme includes all London based workshops, access to Solent University’s online library and virtual learning environment, ongoing support from the course team, supervision of management reports, one year of IoIC membership and graduation at Solent University (there will be some additional costs for graduation gowns and additional tickets to the graduation ceremony).

How do I apply?

To apply for the Masters in Internal Communication Management, please complete the online enquiry form. Following this, you will receive the application form which should be completed and returned to sarah@ioic.org.uk before the end of August 2018.

For more information on the Masters in Internal Communication Management programme, see the IoIC website.

Post author: Rachel Miller

First published on the All Things IC blog 4 May 2018.

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