International Liaison and Communication MA
Alternative attendance modes for this course
Courses start in September, unless otherwise stated
View course-specific entry requirements
You will normally be a graduate or have equivalent professional status. You must offer two languages, including English; you must be an habitual user or fluent in one language, and be capable of listening, speaking and reading in the other language to at least Council of Europe Level B2/C1. You must also demonstrate valid reasons for wishing to study the course, understanding of the nature and demands of the course and the conceptual and intellectual foundations needed to study at postgraduate level, and you may be invited to an interview. If English is not your first language, you will need an IELTS score of 6.5 (or equivalent). The University offers pre-sessional summer courses if you need to improve your English before starting your course.
This is a dynamic, pioneering interdisciplinary Masters course which meets the global demand for greater professionalism in interpersonal and inter-institutional bilingual communication. The course will focus on enhancing your personal skills as a communicator and facilitator of communication. This can be as an advocate, as a mediator, communication strategist, intermediary or communication facilitator. Firmly grounded on the latest international communications theories and using real life simulations, you will learn to locate and analyse resources, pre-empt communications challenges and develop strategies to overcome obstacles to successful interaction.
The course will enrich your knowledge and application of the key paradigms of international communication, information handling and presentation in a range of contexts from the field of public diplomacy to international media, intelligence, business and international NGOs. It also enhances your competencies in handling information across and between languages and cultures, in various professional settings. You will have the training and preparation to make significant contributions in your chosen profession.
Course applicants typically come from fields such as language studies, translation and interpreting, social work, teaching, journalism and other areas of the media as well as from public office. However, the course will prove invaluable to anyone with high-level bilingual competence and experience in mediation between peoples from different cultural backgrounds.
You will take three core modules, two of which are taught and the third is research based. Theories and Practices of Global Communication covers the key underpinning knowledge and analytical tools for the programme as well as your abilities as a presenter of information. International Liaison focuses on your practical communication competences. In the research component you have the choice of an MA Thesis (the Dissertation module), conducting research into a topic of your choice, or a Professional Project where you apply your knowledge and expertise to creating a communication strategy. In both you are required to demonstrate research competence at Masters level. You then have the choice of four option modules to complete the MA.
The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course. For more details on course structure and modules, and how you will be taught and assessed, see the full course document.
As one of the two research options, this module will help you to develop an understanding of the major components of research methodology: locating and using available research sources, which include general and specialised libraries, reference works, indices and bibliographies, abstract services, and online databases; recording information and material collected; analysing data for reliability, comprehensiveness, bias and factuality; and finally assimilating material gathered into a dissertation.
As a result, you will have established research skills such as locating and using available research sources and being able efficiently to analyse the material that you have collected. For your dissertation you will be required to synthesise the skills, factual knowledge, methods and perspectives that you have acquired. You will also need to provide evidence of independent enquiry and a creative approach. Thus the Dissertation should accurately reflect both your personal development and the educational effectiveness of the course.
This module considers current theories and practice of information processing, communication and interpretation and their relevance to global co-operation. It provides the knowledge and competencies needed to operate successfully in multi-cultural environments and examines, simulates and critically evaluates the techniques and strategies required to facilitate global bilingual/lingua franca advocacy and collaboration. It covers issues such as framing and reframing, active listening, and metacommunication. It also examines the ethical dimensions and challenges of international liaison. Particular emphasis is placed on the enactment of the role of the liaison official as facilitator, advocate and representative of others in a variety of professional contexts.
As one of the two research options and as the culmination of the MA, the project gives you the opportunity to demonstrate not only your understanding of how theories apply in the real world, but also to show a wide range of research and international communications competences that will serve you in the workplace. The professional project gives you the opportunity to develop and enhance your research competences in a professional rather than a purely academic context. You will select and research a business, network or project opportunity on behalf of a client or customer and devise appropriate communication strategies. The module outcome is a four-part portfolio that follows the chronology of developing and implementing a communication strategy within a professional environment. It contains a proposal, research report, professional product and a commentary. In this way the module brings together the theories you have studied, language competence and critical and reflective abilities together with high-level research competence.
Theories and Practice of Global Communication
This module introduces the key theories of global communication that underpin the MA, and considers how they are applied to current environments. Topics include world system theory, cultural imperialism, language and power and the impact of the rise in the use of technology. As well as analysing the application of these theories in relevant contexts such as international business, public diplomacy and NGOs, the module encourages you to reflect on your own competences and strategies as a global communicator, and how you can develop them so as to succeed in increasingly fluid multilingual international contexts.
Analysing Spoken and Written Discourse
This module considers theories of genre and discourse analysis; audience design, purpose and style; rhetoric and persuasion; text-types, text structures, grammatical and lexical features typical of texts drawn from a wide variety of sources. By applying different techniques of discourse analysis and critical discourse analysis, you will enhance your ability to decode and understand spoken and written material.
The module covers key theories and principles governing intercultural communication. It deals with the impact of cultural diversity on diplomacy and relations in the international community, an understanding of which enables you to develop your skills and competencies (cultural fluency) to be better prepared to live harmoniously and work effectively overseas. It provides you with coping strategies and models based on the practical application of intercultural communication theories and research by the main cultural ‘gurus’.
International Organisations and Institutional Discourse
This module aims to develop a critical understanding of the interaction between language, discourse and power, as it is projected in an institutional communication context. The module is designed to help linguists and communicators to analyse a number of social interactions (speeches, interviews, etc.), institutional discourses (European Union and United Nations) and to reflect on their own discourse building competences in a professional institutional context. The module supports linguists and communicators in understanding how institutional narratives are created and developed.
Migration and Cultural Encounters
Starting from the assumption that migration is one of the key drivers of globalisation and of the evolution of contemporary societies, the module provides you with an understanding of crucial aspects of the interdisciplinary field of migration, from the specific perspective of intercultural communication. After a brief introduction to the political and social issues related to the most vulnerable areas affected by contemporary forms of global passages, the module will investigate various forms of representation of these very issues in different media, from mass media to visual arts (including documentaries, films and video art performances) in order to facilitate an understanding of the production of (in)visibility of migrants and refugees in social and cultural scenarios of migration contexts from around the world. Issues of identity formation, belonging and citizenship will be analysed in relation to these forms of representation and communication, in both mainstream and counter-narratives.
This module introduces sociolinguistics – the study of the concepts, issues, approaches, and methods involved in the analysis of languages as a means of communication in its social context. It also gives you the opportunity to carry out empirical work relating to the concepts and methods you acquire.
This module offers an advanced introduction to transculturality and translation as an interdisciplinary critical practice. It is built around the work of key theorists in contemporary cultural and translation studies. Through selected readings of their work, it examines the complex interactions of translation and culture within and across societies.
Values, Beliefs and Media Narratives
The module will examine how values, ideologies and attitudes are broadcast via the media and how this impacts on communication between different communities. It will consider contemporary theories and issues such as agenda setting, the rise of infotainment and the phenomenon of citizen journalism. It will explore the way our perceptions of the world and its affairs are constructed and depicted by the news media and other media sources, as well as the issues of ‘media objectivity’ and ownership of narrative. Within this context, it will examine the effects of transnational mass media organisations on global communication as well as the rise of new digital forms of reporting and their impact and the role of the individual or non-professional.
Course graduates have gained success in communications-related positions in NGOs, diplomatic missions, international divisions of business and international organisations, as well as achieving a step-change in their original professions.
You are normally required to have a good first degree or equivalent in a relevant subject. Mature applicants with no formal qualifications but with appropriate work experience will also be considered. You need to be fluent to advanced level (C1 as defined by the CEFR) in at least two languages. Although not an absolute entry requirement, to succeed well on the course you need be up to date with world events and the different interpretations put on them by various stakeholders.
Additional costs information
To check what your tuition fees cover and what you may need to pay for separately, see our What tuition fees cover page.
Our dedicated Career Development Centre is actively working with an ever-expanding network of over 3,000 employers to provide you with exceptional employability support and guidance. As a result we were nominated as finalists for a significant industry award – the NUE Awards Most Improved Commitment to Employability 2016.
We provide our students with work placements and international opportunities to support them in becoming highly employable, globally engaged graduates, and with one million businesses operating within 20 miles of the University of Westminster, over 84% of our students are in work or further study six months after graduation. Our graduates work in a variety of sectors and organisations, from small/medium-sized companies and start-ups to large not-for-profit organisations and corporates.
During your time at Westminster you will be able to use our comprehensive online vacancy service and meet with our experienced careers consultants, providing you with thorough training and support on CV writing, application forms, interview preparation and assessment centres.
In addition to this, you will receive careers support from academic staff and faculty work placement teams, offering targeted course-specific careers advice and assistance in securing a work placement during your time at Westminster. You can find out more about course-specific career opportunities by visiting the Prospects website.
For more details, visit the employability section on our site.
Career Development Centre
Our Career Development Centre can help and support you throughout your study and after graduation.
We can help you to:
- find part-time/vacation, placement and graduate jobs, including voluntary experience
- explore how to develop the skills that employers are looking for
- plan your career development
- identify your career options
- market yourself effectively in CVs, application forms and at interviews
- develop your enterprise skills
We also organise a range of presentations and networking events with employers, professional bodies, alumni and other organisations throughout the year to help you with career planning.
Find out more about the Career Development Centre.
Our Work Placement Teams are based in your Faculty Registry Office and can help you find a suitable placement, as well as support you in making applications, writing CVs and improving your interview technique.
More details on work placements can be found on our Work placements page.
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Fees, funding, bursaries and scholarships
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Study Abroad and Summer School programmes
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If you are already studying outside the UK, the programme offers you the opportunity to study with us for one or two semesters, or for a period in the summer.
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