Degree Profile of 

Master of  Arts in Strategic Communication Studies

Institution: Midlands State University
Type of Degree:  Masters
Credit Load: 270 credits (minimum)
Level: SADC-QF – Level 9
Accreditation Organisation(s): Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education
Period of reference: 2018


Purpose of the Programme
To develop knowledge, skills and competences in the field of Communication relevant to various employment capabilities and careers in the world of work and society. To prepare students for further studies and lifelong learning in the field of communication.


Programme Characteristics
Areas of Study: Communication
Specialist Focus: Communication theory, business communication, public relations, public communication, practical aspects of communication, discourse, communication technology 
Orientation:  Research and innovation oriented. Teaching and learning are professionally oriented and focused on both theoretical and practical aspects.
Distinctive Features: The programme builds on communication needs in Zimbabwe and abroad and focuses on knowledge development and application using a student-centred approach


Career Opportunities and Further Education
Employability: Careers as Senior Public relations practitioners, Senior Researchers, Senior Consultants, Teachers and lecturers, Liaison officers, Marketing practitioners, Publishers, Editors, Advertisers and Translators
Further Studies: Doctoral studies in Communication or related fields


Programme Delivery
Teaching and Learning Methods: Lectures, tutorials, seminars, group work, research project, individual independent study
Assessment Methods: Written and oral examinations, tests, seminar presentations, research project report, continuous  assessments


Programme Competences

  • Multidisciplinarity: Ability to draw appropriately from multiple academic disciplines to define and solve problems based on understanding of complex phenomena
  • Quantitative and innovative reasoning: Capability to draw on big data and use analytics for informed decision making and strive to seek new ways of doing things
  • Communication skills: Ability to communicate effectively and to present information orally and in writing and using ICTs to both expert and non-expert audiences
  • Analysis and synthesis: Capacity for analysis and synthesis using logical arguments and proven facts.
  • Ethical commitment: Professional integrity and awareness of impact of communication on society and the environment
  • Entrepreneurial skills: Capability to identify and create new business ventures based on knowledge and new thinking paradigms
Discipline specific:

  • Deep knowledge: Ability to analyse and develop communication texts of various genres in terms of underlying principles and knowledge and by means of appropriate communication methods
  • Communication skills: Ability to communicate effectively in a variety of settings including the academic, business, political and social environment. Good writing, verbal and computers skills for specific purposes
  • Language Skills: Ability to use language effectively, identify its properties and engage in multi-lingual experiences
  • Problem-solving skills: Ability to reflect and act upon societal problems through communication 
  • Analytical skills:  Ability to use data to analyse social, political, cultural and economic phenomena 


Intended Learning Outcomes
  • Ability to demonstrate knowledge, understanding and mastery of communication
  • Ability to use principles of language and communication to understand personal and interpersonal communication
  • Ability to identify and define different communication systems and practices
  • Ability to analyse communication texts of various genres
  • Ability to identify and solve communication-related organizational problems 
  • Use appropriate research methods to create new insights into communication theories and practices
  • Develop new communication practices and technologies that enhance efficiencies and outputs of the communication industry
  • Create new business ventures in the text-book writing and communication industries
  • Communicate effectively and present information using multi-media to both expert and non-experts in the communication industry


    1. These regulations shall be read in conjunction with the University’s General Academic Regulations for Postgraduate Diplomas and Taught Masters degree programmes, hereinafter referred to as the General Regulations.
    2. The MA Degree in Communication Studies (MASCS) is a three-semester degree programme, offered on Block Release, structured to meet the communication needs of Zimbabwe, the region and beyond. Its goal is to equip students with the skills needed to apply the insights of contemporary communication theories and practices to problems encountered in business environments.
    3. The MASCS degree programme can be done on a full-time or part-time basis to visiting students.
    1. To equip students with research, analytical and practical skills in the various fields of Communication, such as Public relations, professional business communication and language use in the workplace.
    2. To prepare students to solve problems related to communication in the current globalized world.
    3. To introduce students to the relationship between communication theory and communication practice.
    4. To provide an understanding of contemporary theoretical foundations and analytical issues in communication.
    5. To equip students with knowledge of the strategic role of communication in organisational activities.

Students who graduate with the Master of Arts in Communication Studies have career opportunities as:

  • Senior Public relations practitioners
  • Senior Researchers
  • Senior Consultants 
  • Teachers and lecturers 
  • Liaison officers
  • Marketing practitioners
  • Publishers
  • Editors
  • Advertisers
  • Translators

To be admitted into the programme an applicant must normally have a good Honours Degree in English and Communication Studies, Linguistics or related disciplines, or, in addition a Post Graduate Diploma in Communication or related disciplines.


5.1 The Master of Arts in Communication Studies Degree (MASCS) shall be conducted through taught modules. Continuous assessment and examinations shall be offered each semester.

5.2 Students shall also be required to write an examinable dissertation.

5.3 Normally, the programme is completed over a period of eighteen (18) months comprising of two semesters of taught modules and continuous assessment) spread over twelve (12) months and six (6) months dedicated to research work (dissertation).


6.1 Each student is required to earn at least two hundred and ten (210) credits in the taught component of the programme, and sixty (60) credits in the dissertation.

6.2 Students may select any combination of modules on offer to satisfy the requirements of the degree

6.3 To successfully complete the programme a student must pass all the core modules.


7.1 Overall assessment shall be based on continuous assessment and formal examination.

7.2 Continuous Assessment

7.2.1 Assignments related to the objectives of the programme shall be set. These may include essays, group presentations, tests and reports. 

7.2.2 A candidate who fails to fulfil continuous assessment requirements may be barred from sitting the examination.

7.3 Examinations

7.3.1 Examinations shall normally be written at the end of each semester.

7.3.2 Each module shall be examined by a paper which is at most three (3) hours long.


8.1 Refer to General Regulations for Masters programmes.


9.1 Examinations contribute 60% towards the final mark of a module

9.2 Continuous assessment contributes 40% towards the final mark of a module.

9.3 Normally, for a dissertation’s assessment, a viva contributes 25% while the written copy contributes 75% to the final mark.


Students shall retain credits from modules passed. All module work must be completed before registering for the dissertation.


Refer to Section 42 of the General Regulations.


12.1 No requests for remarks of examinations shall be entertained unless Senate directs such requests.

12.2 However, a student who has been given a withdraw decision may appeal against such a decision to the Registrar, in writing, within 21 days after publication of examination results


80% -100% Pass with Distinction

70%-79% Pass with Merit

50%-69% Pass

0%-49% Fail


Level 1 Semester 1

Code Module Description Credits
MASCS 701 Strategic Communications: Theory and Practice  30
MASCS 702 Research for Strategic Communication   30
MASCS 703 Principles in Persuasion  30
Elective Modules
Code Module Description Credits
MASCS 704 Professional Copy-Editing and Evaluation 30
MASCS 705 Communication Variation and Register 30
MASCS 706 Advanced Occupational Discourse 30
MASCS 707 Communication for Social Change 30
Level 1 Semester 2
Code Module Description Credits
MASCS 708 Online Communication Management 30
MASCS 709 Communication Models 30
MASCS 710 Communication within Organisations 30
Elective Modules
Code Module Description Credits
MASCS 711 Performance Communication 30
MASCS 712 Global Communication and Culture  30
MASCS 713 Non-Profit Communication Strategy 30
Level 2 Semester 1
Code Module Description Credits
MASCS 801 Dissertation 60

MASCS 701 Strategic Communications: Theory and Practice 

This module emphasizes theoretical and practical aspects of communication between organisations and their major stakeholders including employees, customers, donors, investors government, NGOs and other associations.

MASCS 702 Research for Strategic Communication 

The module covers the importance of researching a communication strategy. It focuses on the analytical skills, techniques and methodologies necessary to identify and gather useful data on social, economic, political, cultural and technological trends which affect communication strategy. Such information is important for making decisions that affects an organisation and its environment  

MASCS 703 Principles in Persuasion 

The module introduces students to strategies and processes of persuasion and social influence while underlining the theories and concepts which underpin such strategies. The goal is to create professional communicators who have the ability to influence people’s beliefs and attitudes regarding various topics through advertising, political campaigns and activism, among other endeavours, while remaining ethically grounded.

MASCS 704 Professional Copy-editing and Evaluation

This is a practical module meant to equip students with practical skills in editing and proof-reading, and the procedures required in publication of print and web material. Attention is expanded to include information on production, design, market research, commissioning, product development, project management, quality control and product promotion.

MASCS 705 Communication Variation and Register

The module explores the varieties of language associated with various groups in society. Drawing insights from linguistic and sociological theories, the module pays attention to the distribution of specific registers across sections of society. In this regard, the ways in which identity markers such as gender, ethnicity, race, class and geographical origin sculpt communication shall be carried out.  

MASCS 706 Advanced Occupational Discourse

The module focuses on language development and use in occupational contexts. It examines how various professionals use technical language in communicating within particular discourse communities in order to get something done. Examples shall be drawn from several professions including law, medicine, politics and teachers.

MASCS 707 Communication for Social Change

The module looks at how communication techniques, principles and practices can be utilised to address real life challenges and to foster a culture of dialogue and change. It emphasise innovative communicative approaches to reach out to marginalised communities with a view of facilitating change. 

MASCS 708 Online Communication Management

The module is intended to offer conceptual and operational tools for administering online communications in organisations. It takes cognisant of the evolution in communication processes in both small and big organisations.  The goal is therefore to equip students with the skills of organising and directing effective online communication strategies and tactics across a range of settings such as advertising and marketing.

MASCS 709 Communication models

The module focuses on the various conceptual models used to explain the human communication process. It provides a historical and theoretical overview of the models that have been used to understand communication from classical times to the present. Models relevant to African and Zimbabwean contexts shall be emphasised.

MASCS 710 Communication within Organisations 

The module addresses the various dimensions of communication among individuals within an organisation. Emphasis is on patterns, practices, processes and channels of communication among individuals of similar and different stations. Resultantly, questions of leadership, organisational culture and team dynamics become pertinent. 

MASCS 711 Performance Communication

The module dwells on a number of verbal skills such as rhetoric, interviewing, story-telling, poster presentations and debating. It covers the conceptual and practical issues surrounding conversational practice and performance.

MASCS 712 Global Communication and Culture

The module emphasizes the role of new communication technologies in shaping a global culture. Students look closely at the emergence of network societies, the benefits of global communication networks and the risks they pose to individuals and communities. 

MASCS 713 Non-Profit Communication Strategy

The module looks at communication efforts and programs designed to cater for non-profit organisations. It focuses on the various ways in which non-profit companies engage in strategic communications in order to raise funds, carry out service campaigns and appeal to stakeholders.   

MASCS 801 Dissertation 

This is a research module which culminates in the submission of findings to the Department for examining towards the end of the semester. The research shall be in an area of communication approved by the Department.