Curriculum for Public Relations Degree Programme in Nigerian Universities

Public relations is one of the most sought-after degree programmes in media and communication training schools in Nigeria and across the world. Many Nigerian graduates want to major in public relations primarily due to the exciting, prestigious and lucrative nature of this discipline. Even graduates without a background in communication can major in public relations with basic training in this discipline. People who have written and verbal communications skills needed to be spokespeople for various organizations, have skills for coordinating special events and fundraising campaigns, who have knowledge of how to run political campaigns, and basic social media management skills, excel as public relations executives within and outside Nigeria. The field of public relations is rapidly evolving.

Philosophy, Aim and Objectives

The philosophy and mission statement underlying the Bachelor of Social Sciences (B.Sc. Honours) degree, in Public Relations of the Faculty/School of Communication and Media Studies is to produce graduates imbued with the ability to understand and make contribution to the development of Nigeria and the global Community. The B.Sc. Public Relations degree is designed to produce highly knowledgeable, skillful and socially responsible, and self-reliant graduates, who are equipped with entrepreneurial knowledge and skills in Public Relations  and other components of public communication to enhance development in all sectors of the Nigerian society.

 

Course Structure

Course Structure at 100 Level

COURSE CODE COURSE TITLE UNITS STATUS
100 LEVEL  1ST& 2ND SEMESTERS
CMS 101 Introduction to Communication I 2 C
CMS 102 Introduction to Communication II 2 C
CMS 103 History of Nigerian Media 2 C
CMS 104 Writing for the Media 2 C
CMS 105 Traditional African Communication Systems 2 C
CMS 106 Introduction to Computer & Computer Applications 2 C
CMS 107 Introduction to Statistics I 2 C
GST 111 English for Communicators 2 C
GST 112 Logic, Philosophy & Human Communication 2 C
GST 113 Nigerian Peoples & Culture 2 C
GST 121 Use of Library, Study Skills & ICT 2 C
GST 123 Basic Communication in French 2 E
GST 124 Basic Communication in Arabic 2 E
GST 126 Basic Communication in Nigerian languages

(Option of any one Nigerian language)

2 E
Courses from the Faculty of Social Sciences 6 R
Courses from other Faculties 6 E
TOTAL 34

 

Course Structure at 200 Level

Course Code Course Title Units Status
200 LEVEL  1ST& 2ND SEMESTERS
CMS 201 Feature Writing 2 C
CMS 202 Critical and Review Writing 2 E
CMS 203 Editing & Graphics of Communication 2 E
CMS 204 Theories of Communication 2 C
CMS 205 Foundations of Communication Research 2 C
CMS 206 Introduction to Statistics II 2 C
CMS 207 Nigerian Constitutional Development 2 C
CMS 209 Media and Information Literacy 2 C
CMS 211 Media Attachment 3 C
GST 222 Peace & Conflict Resolution 2 C
GST 223 Introduction to Entrepreneurial Skills 2 C
GST 224 Leadership Skills 2 C
PRS 201 Principles of Public Relations 2 C
PRS 202 Media Relations 2 C
PRS 203 Digital and Social Media for Public Relations 2 C
PRS 204 Writing for Public Relations 2 C
PRS 205 Public Relations  for Not-for Profit Sector 2 C
PRS 206 Public Relations   and  Society 2 E
PRS 207 Marketing and Advertising in Public Relations 2 E
PRS 209 Social Relations 2 E
Courses from other Departments in Communication & Media Studies 4 R
TOTAL 42

 

Course Structure at 300 Level

COURSE CODE COURSE TITLE UNITS STATUS
300 LEVEL  1ST & 2ND SEMESTERS
CMS 301 International Communication 2 C
CMS 302 Communication & Society 2 C
CMS 303 Gender & Communication 2 C
CMS 304 Media Attachment 3 C
PRS 301 Public Relations  Research I 2 C
PRS 302 Business Writing & Presentation Skills for Public Relations 2 C
PRS 303 Brand Communication 2 C
PRS 304 Corporate Social Responsibility 2 C
PRS 305 Financial Public Relations 2 C
PRS 306 Crisis Communication 2 C
PRS 307 Community Relations 2 E
PRS 308 PR for Business Organisations 2 E
PRS 309 Stakeholders Relations 2 E
PRS 310 Political Communication 2 E
PRS 311 Media and Communication Planning and Strategy 2 R
Courses from other Departments in Communication & Media Studies 6 R
TOTAL 33

 

Course Structure at 400 Level

COURSE CODE COURSE TITLE UNITS STATUS
400 LEVEL  1ST& 2ND SEMESTERS
CMS 401 Media Law 2 C
CMS 402 Media Ethics 2 C
CMS 403 Data Analysis in Communication Research 2 C
CMS 404 Safety of Media Professionals 2 C
CMS 405 Media Economics and Sustainability 2 C
CMS 406 Communication for Development 2 C
CMS 499 Original Research Project I & II 6 C
PRS 401

 

Public Relations Campaign Planning and Execution 2 C
PRS 402 International Public Relations 2 C
PRS 403 Public Relations Research II 2 C
PRS 404 Public Relations Production Techniques (Multimedia/Interactive) 2 C
PRS 405 Entrepreneurship in Public Relations 2 C
PRS 406 Organisation and Management of PR firms 2 C
PRS 407 Public Relations Seminar 2 E
PRS 408 Case Studies in Public Relations 2 E
PRS 409 Comparative Public Relations Systems

 

2 E
PRS 410 Public Affairs Management 2 E
Courses from other Departments in Communication & Media Studies 4 R
TOTAL 36

 

 

Course Synopses

 

100-Level Courses

CMS 101        INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNICATION I

A global overview of the history, institutions and functions of communication in human society; an examination of the concepts, levels/categories and elements of human communication; survey of the role and influence of cultural beliefs and practices as well as changing technologies in human communication.

CMS 102        INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNICATION II

Consideration of media communications as a sub-type of human communication; an overview of the progress; models, and elements of media communications; survey of the media, including their adjuncts are discussed. It also presents an examination of the characteristics, functions, contents, operations and impact of the media as well as national media systems and communication between/across nations.

CMS 103        HISTORY OF NIGERIAN MEDIA

This course traces the major trends in the development of the communication and media in Nigeria; as well as their adaptation and contribution to the political, religious, economic and social development in Nigeria.

CMS 104        WRITING FOR THE MEDIA

Instruction and practice in writing for the media with the major emphasis on development of effective styles in professional communications and proficiency in grammar and the use of language.

CMS 105        TRADITIONAL AFRICAN COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS

Survey of African traditional communication forms, channels, contents, technologies and institutions. Students are exposed to the significance and influence of these traditional structures on modern communication systems, as well as on contemporary African Political Culture and development.

CMS 106        INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTER & COMPUTER APPLICATIONS

Instruction and practice in computer operations aimed at enabling the students to acquire the basic knowledge and skills essential for communication professionals.

CMS 107        INTRODUCTION TO STATISTICS I

Role of statistics in social science inquiry; Nature of measurement;  presentation of data. Central values measures of deviation, correlation, nature of sampling; Probabilities and normal distribution, inference hypotheses testing.  Test of significance.

 

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200-Level Courses

 

CMS 201        FEATURE WRITING

This is a practical course designed to enable students to become proficient in preparing a publishable feature articles. Focus is on writing, analysing and marketing feature articles for offline and online newspapers and magazines. Subject research, investigation of editorial needs, ethical and legal problems and manuscript preparation are also discussed in this course. It provides excellent material from the Nigerian and foreign news media for study and imitation.

CMS 202        CRITICAL AND REVIEW WRITING

Prerequisite; news writing or consent of instructor; theory and practice of reviewing the arts for newspapers. Students write reviews of plays, movies, television programmes, musical and dance events.

CMS 203        EDITING & GRAPHICS OF COMMUNICATION

Students are taught how to write and edit copy in a style appropriate to the news media. Emphasis is placed on the preparation of articles and photographs in photo editing for newspaper publications, online and multimedia. Editing symbols and news proofreader’s symbols will be used in this course.

CMS 204        THEORIES OF COMMUNICATION

Exploration and analysis of major theories that deal with the nature, uses and effects of media and communication; the relationship between theory and research and the relevance of the latter to the success of the former are discussed.

CMS 205        FOUNDATIONS OF COMMUNICATION RESEARCH

The primary aim of this course is to introduce students to the logic and methods of research in communication. Principles of research design, instrumentation, data collection and analysis are taught to enable students apply them effectively.

CMS 206        INTRODUCTION TO STATISTICS II

The nature of statistical methods. The role and significance of statistics in Social Research; Frequency distribution; Measures of Central Tendency – Mean, Mode, Median; Measures of dispersion – Range, Variance, Standard Deviation; Elementary Probability Theory; Binomial, Normal and Poisson Distributions. Tests of Hypotheses; small sample tests – t – test, x2 – test and F – test; Regression analysis; Analysis of Variance; Time series analysis; Index numbers; Sources of Statistical Data in Nigeria.

CMS 207        NIGERIAN CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT

A chronological and critical survey of the development of the Nigerian Constitution from colonial times to the present; the developmental processes and features of the Richards Constitution, the McPherson Constitution, the Littleton Constitution, the Independence Constitution, The Republican Constitution, and the 1979 Constitution are all highlighted.

CMS 209: MEDIA AND INFORMATION LITERACY

This course empowers students to learn, and to pursue lifelong learning. It aims at educating students to become media and information literate, to be informed and rational citizens. The course also equips students with competencies needed to seek and enjoy the full benefits of media exposure. It embodies essential knowledge about (a) the functions of media, libraries, archives and other information providers in democratic societies, (b) the conditions under which news media and information providers can effectively perform those functions, and (c) how to evaluate the performances of these functions by assessing the content and services they offer.

CMS 211 & CMS 304           MEDIA ATTACHMENT

This is a compulsory course for all Students, who are sent to relevant organizations for practical experience. It is a supervised activity and students must supply a weekly log-book and portfolio for all work carried out during the period of internship, the least should be 12 weeks in each of the two sessions.

PRS 201 PRINCIPLES OF PUBLIC RELATIONS

This course is designed to acquaint students with conceptual issues around nature, process, roles and problems of Public Relations.  It covers basic introduction to PR and processes, philosophies, underlying PR practices; PR channels and relationships and differences between PR and other PRA tools.

PRS 202: MEDIA RELATIONS

The course exposes students to knowledge and skills in their engagement with media stakeholders, including journalism, broadcasting, entertainment media, media regulatory bodies and media publics.

PRS 203: DIGITAL AND SOCIAL MEDIA FOR PUBLIC RELATIONS

Digital Media (DM) is an intensive course in which students will learn the technical and conceptual tools to understand the basics of digital media as well as begin to learn the language of the visual imagery. In this class each student will develop his blog as a means of communicating and presenting work to a wider audience. Students will be required to build an integrated campaign and web site using software, which includes Photoshop, InDesign, iMovie, Dreamweave, Flash and other applications. Students are to develop an understanding of the process of design consisting of ideation, strategy and execution. Basically, students will be introduced to the dynamics  of the social media and its usages in public relations. Emphasis will be placed on Facebook, twitter, linked-In and the YouTube.

PRS 204:  WRITING FOR PUBLIC RELATIONS 

Students are to learn how to write specific public relations items. These include press release, feature articles, proposals, re-joinders, letter, speech/address, invitation card and how to produce educational literatures like diary, calendar, annual reports, corporate brochures, direct mail, leaflets and handbills.

PRS 205: PUBLIC RELATIONS  FOR NOT-FOR PROFIT SECTOR

This course will expose students to public relations in support of non-commercial organisations. Non-commercial organisations will include government at local, state and federal levels, NGOs, church, mosque, palaces, central bank, national insurance commission, PENCOM, and other non-profit making organisations. Commercial organisations will include banks, insurance companies, manufacturing companies, and others in the real sector.

PRS 206: PUBLIC RELATIONS AND  SOCIETY

Public Relations tools are essential to the success of the economy, politics and society. This course examines the influences of marketing communication tools on segments of gender, children, the environment, politics and so on. Ethical issues in Public Relations are also examined.  An overview of Public Relations in macro society for socio-economic environment; freedom of expression; economic and socio-cultural impact of Public Relations; deception and other ethical issues; Public Relations and propaganda; Public Relations and minority groups are also examined.

PRS 207: MARKETING AND ADVERTISING IN PUBLIC RELATIONS

This course will address marketing and advertising bringing out their similarities and differences in one hand and their similarities and differences with public relations. Also students will be exposed to how to integrate the three elements in a campaign for the benefits of the sponsor.

PRS 209: SOCIAL RELATIONS

The student is on Internship in any of the PRA firms, public affairs departments, corporate communications departments and other relevant private and or public organizations

 

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300-Level Courses

CMS 301        INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATION

This course is an overview of the world’s media systems. The focus will be on the flow of information between the industrialized and advancing nations; how ideology, culture, economy and international market structure have all contributed either in hindering or advancing the international flow of news and entertainment among nations. The scope, characteristics, peculiarities and current issues in international communication  will  be  exhaustively  treated  so  as  to  acquaint  the  student  with  a thorough knowledge of the politics and manipulative nature of international communication.

CMS 302        COMMUNICATION AND SOCIETY

Examination of the media of communication as social institutions with particular attention to pertinent sociological concepts, themes and problems; the role and relationship of the mass media vis-à-vis other major social institutions. Focus on the sociology and professionalism of media communicators, media  contents  and  the  issue  of cultural imperialism and media dependency; internal dynamics and control of media organizations and mass communication politics. The role of communication in development is critically examined.

CMS 303        GENDER & COMMUNICATION

Gender issues are critical to development. Accordingly, the course examines the ways in which gender relations are impacted by culture, conventions, policies, communication and media as well as other  dynamics in society.

PRS 301:  PUBLIC RELATIONS  RESEARCH I

This course focuses on quantitative data analysis in marketing research.   The course emphasizes core statistical techniques, the application of statistical software and the interpretation of statistical outputs. Ethical issues in marketing research are also discussed. SPSS software is required.

PRS 302: BUSINESS WRITING AND PRESENTATION SKILLS FOR PUBLIC RELATIONS 

The course equips students with knowledge and skills for business writing and presentation.  It includes writing for internal communications in business, government and non-governmental organisations. It also equips students with skills for speech delivery, writing newsletters, business proposal writing and making pitches in PR, Advertising and other promotional areas.

PRS 303: BRAND COMMUNICATION

This course examines key issues needed to develop strong global brands by considering past successes and failures in strategy, addressing the importance of knowing local culture in communication and positioning, and discussing emerging issues in brand globalization.

PRS 304: CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

This course will underline the place of corporate social responsibility as the anchor of corporate philanthropy and bring out the tenets and their uses. Such tenets include corporate social investment, patronage, donations, and endorsement. How these are used to uplift the society will be exposed, so is how corporate organizations can use them to leverage its reputation, brand, personality, etc.

PRS 305: FINANCIAL PUBLIC RELATIONS

Here students will be exposed to financial relations and events. These include financial news analysis, annual general meeting which is a statutory responsibility of any organization, understanding capital market, banking relationships, how banks create money, functions of banks, insurance companies, central bank, national insurance commission, PENCOM, microfinance, micro-insurance, investors relations, etc.

PRS 306 – CRISIS COMMUNICATION

This course is designed to acquaint students with the theoretical and operational issues underlying conflict and crisis in the society.    It also examines the nature, causes and methods of handling conflicts and crisis in organisations and society through professional use of PR.  It is also designed to teach the art and science of conflict analysis as a prelude to deploying PR tools towards conflict management. Issues management and its techniques will also be given adequate treatment. This is because if issues are well treated, crises are well managed.

PRS 307: COMMUNITY RELATIONS

An understanding of the principles and techniques of profitable engagements with community publics are examined.  The concept of community, theories of community relations, managing community issues and concerns, historical development of community relations in Nigeria, planning and execution of community relations programmes and case studies in community relations are discussed.

PRS 308: PR FOR BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS  

This course examines uses of public relations in commercial organisation, stock exchange, financial services, and other for-profit purposes. This is advanced PRS PR for Public & Private Sectors as detailed above. Here to include NACCIMA, LCCI. NECA, MAN, International Chambers of Commerce involving selected countries like Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce, Nigeria-USA, Nigeria-South Africa, Nigeria-China, Nigeria-India, Nigeria-Brazil, Nigeria-Russia, etc.

PRS 309: STAKEHOLDERS RELATIONS

Efforts will be made to differentiate publics of a firm from the stakeholders of the firm. Also, what stake is the stakeholder holding in an organisation will also be identified; community relations will also be treated here. Critical stakeholders of an organization will also be identified here and relationship management techniques will also be examined.

PRS 310:  POLITICAL COMMUNICATION

Theories and practice of political marketing are examined. Specialized aspects of political communication are also discussed including propaganda, marketing of candidates, lobbying, political advertising; public relations and politics, political campaigns, and so on.

PRS 311: MEDIA AND COMMUNICATION PLANNING AND STRATEGY

The course addresses the role of media analysis and planning in  Public Relations. It covers basic media terminology and media math, the distinctions between media objectives, strategies and tactics and the different ways of allocating resources in media.  Students will be introduced to tools of strategic planning like SWOT, TOWS, PEST, Porter’s Five Forces, etc.

 

400-Level Courses

 

CMS 401        MEDIA LAW

Study of the legal framework within which mass media institutions operate in Nigeria; the development and constitutional growth of freedom of expression in Nigeria, the privileges and restraints affecting  the  mass  media, such as  libel,  sedition,  privacy,  contempt,  obscenity, copyright, etc. and government regulation.

CMS 402        MEDIA ETHICS

Ethical and moral standards applicable to the media and communication professionals; ethical responsibilities of individuals, groups, and organizations engaged in message construction, transmission or consumption, particularly in the field of news and public affairs, entertainment and persuasion.

CMS 403        DATA ANALYSIS IN COMMUNICATION RESEARCH

Students are introduced to data analysis techniques, particularly the use of tables, graphs and other statistical techniques and procedures. They are taught how to present and interpret data, using these techniques.

CMS 404        SAFETY OF MEDIA PROFESSIONALS

In today’s environment of violent conflicts, international organized crime, and government impunity, the safety of journalists and media professionals has become of prime concern. This course analyses the issues and challenges involved in safeguarding the lives of journalists whose work put them in harm’s way. Institutional and other remedies are considered and debated.

CMS 405        MEDIA ECONOMICS AND SUSTAINABILITY

Critical issues have arisen over the last few decades on sustainability of the media in the face of a rapidly changing economy and importantly changing media technology. This course will examine principally emerging media occasioned by contemporary realities.

CMS 406        COMMUNICATION FOR DEVELOPMENT

This is an introductory study of the role of communication in the development process.  The role of the   media   in   relation   to   interpersonal   networks,   including   the   multi-media   approach   to communication in the development process is emphasized, along with the dynamics of development and communication variables that influence development.

CMS 499        ORIGINAL RESEARCH PROJECT I & II

Each student is required to select, in consultation with the supervisor, a topic/problem and study this in detail, apply necessary theories/concepts and appropriate methods. Students initiate and execute a project following the steps in the research process, or do a professional production in one of the following areas: journalism, advertising, public relations, radio/television broadcasting, film or multimedia. However, each candidate is advised to orient his/her research project in a relevant area of specialization in Communication and Media Studies. Original Research Project I focuses on at least the first three chapters of the final research project. In Original research project II, the final research project is expected to be submitted to the Department for assessment by Internal and External examiners. The project may also be defended before a panel of examiners.

PRS 401:  PUBLIC RELATIONS CAMPAIGN PLANNING AND EXECUTION 

This course is designed to acquaint the students with the activities involved in, and the different roles played by the key actors in the planning and execution of PR campaigns.  Major areas include identifying the key actors in the different stages of PR campaign planning and execution including the advertiser, PR firms, media, regulatory agencies and consumers.   Stages of PRS planning and execution include briefs, creative strategy documents, copy platform, visuals, media planning, execution and evaluation.

PRS 402: INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC RELATIONS 

This course focuses on the analysis of trends, issues and problems confronting PR organisations in international trade and politics. It also covers principles of PR in various countries, cultural norms and choosing of appropriate symbols and images.

PRS 403: PUBLIC RELATIONS RESEARCH II 

This course focuses on qualitative data analysis in marketing research.   The course emphasizes the use of specialised designs such as interviews, focus groups, participant observation and ethnographic studies.  Ethical issues in qualitative marketing research are also discussed using relevant analytical tools.

PRS 404: PUBLIC RELATIONS PRODUCTION TECHNIQUES (MULTIMEDIA/INTERACTIVE) 

This is a practical course that allows students to plan, produce and present communication campaigns suitable for the various challenges of public relations, using multimedia and interactive devices. Skills in PowerPoint Presentation, use of Excel, Photo shopping and animation schemes are acquired.

PRS 405: ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN PUBLIC RELATIONS

This course captures the essence of opportunities in business and social investments and their exploitations in PR.   Students are going to be exposed to how to fish for opportunities, plan, get access to finance and execute projects in PR for results.

PRS 406:   ORGANISATION AND MANAGEMENT OF PUBLIC RELATIONS FIRMS

Students are exposed to theories and practice of management. Specific attention is devoted to management issues in public relations and related IMC firms. Client-agencies relationships are discussed, along with accounts management.

PRS 407: PUBLIC RELATIONS SEMINAR

Seminars should be organised on topical areas of public relations involving local, national and international issues. This course should not be examined but graded on seminar paper, seminar paper re-work, seminar participation, etc.

PRS 408: CASE STUDIES IN PUBLIC RELATIONS

Selected cases of PR campaigns in several sectors of the economy, business, politics and social/behavioural change communications are examined. Each student presents a discussion on a selected case.

PRS 409: COMPARATIVE PUBLIC RELATIONS SYSTEMS

The course equips students with knowledge and issues surrounding the practice of public relations across the globe with particular references to Europe, America, Asia and the African continents.

PRS 410: PUBLIC AFFAIRS MANAGEMENT

The course discusses conceptual and theoretical issues around public affairs as a specialized aspect of communication management.  It also exposes students to global best practices in public affairs communication.

 

(Source: DRAFT PROPOSAL OF A REVISED BMAS FOR UNDERGRAGRADUATE PROGRAMMES IN COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA STUDIES SUBMITTED TO THE NATIONAL UNIVERSITIES COMMISSION (NUC), ABUJA)

The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a communication researcher with several years of lecturing experience in Nigerian universities.

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