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Course Description


University Core Module for All SMU Students

Management Communication (COMM 101)

Management Communication emphasizes the importance of effective written and spoken communication within a business setting. This course will equip students with the skills to produce impactful business documents and deliver engaging messages in various business contexts. Students will be exposed to strategies which will enable them to successfully communicate their solutions to organization problems. Students will learn to draw up a Communication Plan, craft persuasive messages and deliver difficult news. By the end of the course, students will have learnt the foundational skills to communicate their ideas and values in a clear, persuasive and memorable way.

Corporate Communication Major's Compulsory Module

Foundations in Corporate Communication (COMM 102)

COMM102 is the core course of the Corporate Communication major. It lays the foundations for managing corporate communications and external relations and connects all other electives via a common structure and understanding. The course understands the corporation as the sum of its stakeholder relationships. Beyond the traditional notion, these stakeholders include not just clients but also the financial community, media professionals, opinion leaders, employees, regulators, governments etc. Using actual client projects, controversies and theories we first look at how stakeholders across markets, media and cultures impact the corporation. The course then highlights all instruments of corporate communication that enable corporations to manage these stakeholder relationships: marketing communication, public relations, intercultural communication, investor relations, internal communication etc.  Students with a Corporate Communication major are thus enabled to choose a focus for their curriculum and/or career.


Corporate Communication Major's Elective Modules

Intercultural Communication (COMM 120)

The course provides strategies on how to read a person's culture. Features of culture such as individualism/collectivism, power distance, masculinity/femininity, and issues related to intercultural adaptation, ethnocentrism, prejudice, stereotyping will be discussed. The aim of this course is to develop intercultural competence, which will make business practices more meaningful and significant.



Digital media has transformed the production, distribution, and monetization of communication services and media content. This course will introduce students to the business models and strategies of game-changing communication and digital media firms. Through the application of conceptual frameworks, case discussions, talks by industry experts, and a substantial project, this course will expose students to the “business logic” of leading communication and digital media firms and answer the question: “How do these firms stay competitive over time?” 


Organizational Communication: A Leadership Instrument (COMM 245)

The course focuses on how the language of organizations--mission, vision and values— exists to communicate goals and strategy. The course examines how the organizational and the communication structure of an organization create its role and identity, forge alliances, and achieve goals that range from profit-making to the betterment of society. The course also focuses on the challenges of team and group dynamics, how conflicts arise, and how power and politics facilitate or block opportunities to stand out as a leader and a colleague. The course culminates with examining how leaders communicate to reach the organizational goals of excellent organizations, with a focus on the competitive challenges of internal and change communication, specifically reflected in mergers, downsizing and other organizational challenges.

This course is designed for those who wish to excel organizationally--and achieve leadership-- by successfully managing communication as the tool that communicates and executes organizational goals and strategy.


Crisis Management and Communication (COMM 246)

The world is becoming increasingly complex and hazardous. Crises and disasters, natural or man-made, are commonplace today. The impact on organisations when crises are not well managed can inflict severe damage on corporate reputation and generate negative reactions from stakeholders. Understanding the role of communication in crisis management is key to reducing significant losses to businesses.  This course aims to equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to recognise an impending crisis. In addition, students will learn how to diagnose the nature of the crisis, how it affects key stakeholders, how to communicate during crisis, and how to learn from the crisis. As the emphasis is on preventing a crisis rather than reacting to a crisis, Wilcox and Cameron’s (2009) framework on proactive-strategic-reactive recovery framework will be adopted to examine the process of planning, implementation and control in crisis management.



Storytelling predates recorded history, but it remains extremely relevant in the digital age. This course combines traditional with studio pedagogy to help you understand and apply the key principles of storytelling, story-mapping, and story-making. In addition, it will show you the power of stories to engage stakeholders, express beliefs and values, and build communities. You will learn the basics of what it takes to craft authentic stories and story experiences that inspire by being responsive to their audiences/stakeholders.


Interpreting and Communicating with Data (COMM 301)

In a career in management, it is required for one to communicate with data by analyzing information in order to make effective decisions and get optimal results.  Managers also use data to convey a persuasive story to stakeholders.  This course introduces students to (1) essential quantitative reasoning and skill sets of analyzing data to make informed managerial decisions, (2) illustrations of how real-world decision makers often engage in errors and biases in their quantitative reasoning, and (3) ways to perform evidence-based business communication and make informed decisions.  This course presents the essential concepts underlying quantitative analysis as a way of thinking—beyond a way of computing—in order to develop analytic decision-making abilities.  The course covers fundamental concepts and statistical techniques in the context of real-world business settings.  Students will use R for all statistical data analysis and presentation.


Media Psychology (COMM 302)

What makes people attend to certain commercials or news and not others?  Why do people find certain content frightening or funny?  How can media content be catchy, convincing, and contagious?  This course will answer these questions (and more, there will be 10 BIG questions) by introducing students to the psychological principles behind media and technology use.  Students will learn the key psychological principles for understanding and evaluating content and media platforms.  In addition, they will learn how media content influences business decisions, and which content contributes to or constrains competitive advantages.



In this course, students will study public relations theory and concepts that are relevant to public relations campaign strategies and tactics. They will plan as well as evaluate public relations campaigns and programs. They will also develop their own proposals for either in-house organizations or future clients.



This course helps students fulfil a key employment requirement of the communication industry: the ability to strategically and at high speed develop communication campaigns that support the competitiveness, the reputation, the market access and the licence to operate of their organization. In a bootcamp with actual clients, participants train their problem solving skills, communicative foresight, planning skills and creativity.

Students are provided with the tools to devise communication and public relations campaigns in international and/or complex environments. We will then practice on a single issue or product. After the term break, the course continues as a competitive pitch for up to 3 major clients. Students will finish the course with the ability to co-create strategically relevant and competitive campaigns. Getting there will mean preparing, presenting and evaluating public relations and communication during a coached, iterative and competitive process with regular, tough and insightful feedback.


Social Media Strategies (COMM 346)

This course examines how communication managers use social media for various types of business communication, such as stakeholder engagement, reputation management, and crisis response. It shows how social media shapes, the way people and organizations interact, and how it impacts business environments and organizational reputations in modern society. By introducing key topics and issues related to social media and the current business environment, this course shows how effective social media strategy  can help an organization achieve its objectives.



Investor Relations introduces students to the essentials of effective Investor Relations (IR).

IR is a strategic management responsibility that integrates communication, finance, marketing and regulatory compliance to enable effective two-way communication between a listed company, the financial community, and other stakeholders (adopted by the NIRI Board of Directors, March 2003.)  

A paradox appears to exist in that, on the one hand, companies are competing for business and need to be sensitive to competitive threats and giving too much information away to the market. On the other hand, companies are competing for capital and need to attract and meet the needs of the investment community.

Students will learn to appreciate how a listed company can successfully communicate with the global investment community; including key stakeholders such as institutional shareholders, retail shareholders, sell-side analysts and financial media.  The course will touch on the factors which determine a company’s investment case and how a company communicates with its stakeholders through its life cycle; from Pre-IPO to IPO, and Post-IPO (including fund raising and M&A). Case studies will primarily cover companies listed on SGX, KLSE, Nasdaq and LSE.


Course Offered by School of Social Sciences: Counts as Corporate Communication Elective

Corporate Responsibility in the Global Era (POSC 217)

The traditional division of labor among business, government, and civil society saw corporations seeking profits, governments regulating corporations, and civil society groups agitating for changes in governmental regulation.  Globalization, privatization, and changing ideas about the roles of business and government have blurred this division. In this new world, corporations increasingly deliver essential services and meet basic public needs, exert heavy influence over public policy and find that their consumers and investors hold them directly accountable for their effects on the environment and on human rights. This course examines how business, government, and society are responding to the changing landscape and explores the options that leaders now face, from rethinking business models to changing notions of governance. It focuses on the drivers for and obstacles to change, the different roles played by companies, governments, civil society, institutional investors and social entrepreneurs in shaping current approaches, and a sense of what the future may hold, particularly in Asia.

(Please check directly with SOSS on offerings)

Last updated on 23 Feb 2017 .