Specialist Certificate in Strategic Communications and Engagement

Course SC-SCE (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Year and Campus: 2016 - Parkville
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Duration & Credit Points: 25 credit points taken over 6 months part time.


Associate Professor Tim Lynch


School of Melbourne Custom Programs

Currently enrolled and future students:

Course Overview:

The Specialist Certificate in Strategic Communications and Engagement is designed for communications professionals working in government and public sector organisations. Students critically engage with a range of theoretical and practice-based material relevant to a rapidly changing communications environment, develop a critical understanding of the role of communications in a government context, and gain practical tools of effective communication and stakeholder management, with a particular emphasis on the integration of strategic communication to the policy design process. A particular focus of the course is the diversification and transformation of media and communications industries and the emergence of new and innovative forms, formats and forums in public communication and engagement. Students will gain an applied knowledge of conventional and emerging research principles, techniques, technologies and methodologies relevant to communications and engagement in government. Students will acquire a critical understanding of the interpretation and use of data, information, research methods, communication techniques and interpersonal and communication skills necessary to professional communications activities, including stakeholder engagement, consultation across a range of constituencies and sectors; interviewing, workplace discussions, negotiation, and inter-cultural communication. On completion of the course students should be able to link theory and practice, and to make sound and ethical decisions in practice, achieved through a variety of learning experiences such as case studies, work-integrated reports and communications plans.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this course students should:

  • be able to demonstrate an advanced understanding of how communication and engagement operates within and across government and public contexts;
  • be able to demonstrate a well-developed understanding of the main theoretical frameworks in public policy and understand methodologies for researching contemporary policy issues;
  • be able to demonstrate a well-developed understanding of the history and future of communications;
  • be able to demonstrate a well-developed capacity for information literacy and understanding of the nature and veracity of sources;
  • be able to demonstrate a high level of transportable, practical communication skills across a range of traditional and new media;
  • be able to demonstrate a well-developed capacity to meet the challenges of multicultural and global communication, through critical discourse analysis and intercultural communication skills.
  • be able to demonstrate a well-developed understanding of methodologies for researching contemporary policy issues and apply these methods to the design of communications strategies;
  • be able to demonstrate well-developed skills in the facilitation of effective communication with stakeholders in policy development and implementation, across consultation, the communication of policy options, negotiation and conflict resolution;
  • be able to demonstrate a well-developed and comparative understanding of the potential of different media platforms to reach target audiences;
  • be able to demonstrate a high level understanding of goals-based and issues-based strategic planning and the use of idea generation and strategic development tools and techniques;
  • be able to demonstrate high level understanding of a range of modalities to negotiate shared bases for communication, including discourse variations between cultures;
  • be able to relate these models to key theoretical frameworks in public policy and its strategic communication
Course Structure & Available Subjects:

The course is a part-time 25-point certificate comprising 2 sequenced level 9 subjects (12.5 points):

  1. Communications in Government
  2. Strategic Engagement and Communications
Subject Options:

Core subjects

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Entry Requirements:

1. In order to be considered for entry, applicants must have completed

  • an undergraduate degree in any discipline or equivalent, or
  • at least five years of documented professional experience in communications and engagement at a senior level, which demonstrates the capacity to undertake the course successfully, and
  • a statement of intent in seeking entry.

Meeting these requirements does not guarantee selection.

2. In ranking and/or assessing applications, the Selection Committee will consider:

  • prior academic qualification and performance;
  • the personal statement of intent; and, if relevant
  • professional experience.

3. The Selection Committee may seek further information to clarify any aspect of an application in accordance with the Academic Board rules on the use of selection instruments.

4. Applicants are required to satisfy the university’s English language requirements for postgraduate courses. For those applicants seeking to meet these requirements by one of the standard tests approved by the Academic Board, performance band 6.5 is required.

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability

Further Study:

Graduates may progress to a range of other graduate coursework programs, including the Master of Public Policy and Management and Executive Master of Arts.

Graduate Attributes:

The Melbourne Experience enables our graduates to become:

  • Academically excellent:
    • have a strong sense of intellectual integrity and the ethics of scholarship
    • have in-depth knowledge of their specialist discipline(s)
    • reach a high level of achievement in writing, generic research activities, problem-solving and communication
    • be critical and creative thinkers, with an aptitude for continued self-directed learning
    • be adept at learning in a range of ways, including through information and communication technologies
  • Knowledgeable across disciplines:
    • examine critically, synthesise and evaluate knowledge across a broad range of disciplines
    • expand their analytical and cognitive skills through learning experiences in diverse subjects
    • have the capacity to participate fully in collaborative learning and to confront unfamiliar problems
    • have a set of flexible and transferable skills for different types of employment
  • Leaders in communities:
    • initiate and implement constructive change in their communities, including professions and workplaces
    • have excellent interpersonal and decision-making skills, including an awareness of personal strengths and limitations
    • mentor future generations of learners
    • engage in meaningful public discourse, with a profound awareness of community needs
  • Attuned to cultural diversity:
    • value different cultures
    • be well-informed citizens able to contribute to their communities wherever they choose to live and work
    • have an understanding of the social and cultural diversity in our community
    • respect indigenous knowledge, cultures and values
  • Active global citizens:
    • accept social and civic responsibilities
    • be advocates for improving the sustainability of the environment
    • have a broad global understanding, with a high regard for human rights, equity and ethics
Links to further information: http://www.commercial.unimelb.edu.au/commsengagement/

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