Course Description

This online course is 36 learning hours over twelve weeks. It is recommended that students spend a minimum of 3 hours each week on course work. Students may choose to complete more hours of work on the course in order to explore the content in more depth. 

Study the foundational elements of public communications and its many facets. You'll cover everything from employee communication to media relations, to the changing nature of public communications in a digital landscape. The course content will blend a theoretical overview with a practical application of public communications, focusing on learning by doing – writing, public speaking, media relations and more – on your own and with your peers. Participants will recognize how strategic public communications enables an organization to create and maintain meaningful relationships with its ‘public,’ safeguard its reputation, and communicate effectively in an information-laden society.

Course Outline

Section 1: The Fundamentals of Public Communications

  • Introduction to Public Communications
  • The Requisite Skills for Public Communications
  • Writing: Communication Tactics
  • Public Speaking: Speeches & Presentations

Section 2: The Key Disciplines of Public Communications

  • Internal & External Communication
  • Media Relations
  • Social Media/Public Communications in the Digital Landscape
  • Brand, Image, Reputation Management, Issues Management & Crisis Communication

Section 3: The Strategic Elements of Public Communications

  • Communication Auditing
  • Communication Planning & Strategy
  • Corporate Social Responsibility & Public Communications Ethics
  • Public Communications’ Fit in an Organization & Individual and Collective Responsibilities for the Public Communications function; Public Communications as a Management Function and a Critical Leadership Skill.

What You Will Learn

Participants will learn how to:

  • Analyze communication methods, create strategic communication practices, recognize the ethical and social responsibilities that accompany public communications, and realize the individual and collective responsibilities of the public communications function and its importance as a critical leadership skill.
  • Implement practical public communications tactics and strategies through your newly-honed public communications skills.


Strategic CommunicationsThis course provides learners with the opportunity to earn a microcredential. A microcredential is evidence of a skill or competency that is employment related. Dalhousie microcredentials are developed in collaboration with employers, industries, and/or organizations that relate to the content.Program Design A microcredential can be displayed on social media pages, digital resumes, personal webpages, and in email signatures. To earn the microcredential in this course, learners will need to successfully complete a competency-based assessment.

To learn more about microcredentials and how they can enhance your learning portfolio, watch this 30-second YouTube video (video opens in a new window).


The Faculty of OLCD recommends an intermediate level of English language proficiency for the most effective learning and participation in our online and face-to-face courses. A list of minimum recommended scores on some common English tests can be found on our website. If you have questions about your English language proficiency and ability to succeed in this course, please contact openlearning@dal.ca.


There are no prerequisites for this course.

Recommended For

This course is recommended for anyone interested in strengthening relationships with an organization’s internal and external stakeholders or committed to building their communication skills. Whether you’re a new employee or a retiree, an executive or on the front lines, customer-facing or behind the scenes, everyone in an organization has a role to play in effective public communications. It’s also strongly recommended for anyone considering career advancement given that public communications and communication in general are critical leadership skills.

Thank you for your interest in this course. Unfortunately, the course you have selected is currently not open for enrolment. Please complete a Course Inquiry so that we may promptly notify you when enrolment opens.
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