Syllabus

Below are full details of our Public Affairs Diploma syllabus.

Module 1 – The political landscape, trends and challenges

Suggested teaching time: approximately 25%

Aim:

To provide an understanding of the political landscape and public policy environment in the UK and Europe:

  • Defining public affairs, campaigning and political communications
  • How the political environment impacts on organisations
  • How decisions are made – role of the executive, legislative, judiciary and other aspects of policy formation including the role of devolved administrations and the impact of pressure groups and opinion formers
  • Where decisions are made – local, regional, national and supra-national institutions and political parties
  • The philosophical backdrop to power, democracy, liberal pluralism and the public sphere
  • Contemporary issues for public affairs practice

Learning objectives:

You will learn:

  • The political landscape and the way policy evolves, is shaped and becomes law
  • The impact the political environment has on organisations
  • The importance of engaging with political audiences to enhance reputation
  • Emerging issues and trends that affect contemporary public affairs practice

Learning outcome:

You will be able to use knowledge of:

  • The political environment to enhance organisational reputation, minimise risk and secure (or maintain) policy change or resourcing

Module 2 – The art and science of lobbying and campaigning

Suggested teaching time: approximately 25%

Aim:

To provide an advanced understanding of the role of lobbying and the art of persuasive communication:

  • Psychology of communication including the concepts of persuasion and rhetoric
  • How to influence decision makers and opinion leaders
  • Creating effective lobbying campaigns and using the media to reinforce; messaging – organisational and pressure group and campaigning perspectives
  • Understanding the role of political parties, election campaigning, the concept of political marketing and other ways of engaging the electorate
  • Moving from channels to conversations, dialogue and discourse
  • The concept of relationship management
  • Ethical dimensions and codes of conduct

Learning objectives:

You will learn:

  • The strategy and tactics of lobbying and campaigning and the theories underpinning the process
  • Knowing when and how to engage in the political process and policy formation
  • How to leverage media and public affairs activities to shape the agenda

Learning outcome:

You will be able to use knowledge of:

  • The way lobbying and campaigning can inform and shape public policy

Module 3 – Public affairs in the context of reputation management

Suggested teaching time: approximately 25%

Aim:

To put public affairs into the context of managing organisation reputation:

  • Organisational and political reputation and what it means
  • The connection between public affairs and issues and crisis management
  • The importance of understanding stakeholders and stakeholder theory
  • The link with corporate social responsibility, trust and transparency

Learning objectives:

You will learn:

  • The importance of reputation management and its components
  • How to drive reputation by understanding the link between public affairs, issues and crisis management and CSR in a way that adds value
  • The importance of authenticity in effective communication

Learning outcome:

You will be able to use knowledge of:

  • Public affairs as a component of reputation in order to drive value across the organisation

Module 4 – Research project

Suggested teaching time: approximately 25%

Aim:

To provide an advanced understanding of undertaking applied research:

  • Doing a research project
  • Planning the project
  • Reviewing literature
  • Conducting secondary research
  • Analysing findings and making recommendations

Learning objectives:

You will learn:

  • How to conduct a relevant research project, including how to use the Harvard system of referencing
  • How to review the literature and carry out relevant secondary research
  • The importance of critical analysis and applied recommendations

Learning outcome:

You will be able to use knowledge of:

  • How to apply academic research to practice

Assessment

Assessment is the completion of a 6,000 word research project report based on an investigation into how public affairs, campaigning or communication with the electorate has been used by an organisation or political party.