University of Technology Sydney

55995 Honours Seminar in Communication and Society

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2020 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Communication: FASS Communication Core
Credit points: 12 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject explores some of the key theories and methodologies that are utilised in communication research, particularly those related to media, communication and culture. By exploring a range of concepts and approaches commonly found in the social sciences and the humanities, students enhance their theoretical and practical abilities as informed and critically aware researchers and professional communicators. The subject draws on different intellectual traditions and explores their usage in different contexts, thereby assisting students in developing an awareness of the theoretical and methodological choices available to them.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

a. Explain a range of critical theoretical tools relevant to communication research.
b. Evaluate the use of various theoretical and methodological tools used in social sciences and humanities research.
c. Situate their research interests within conceptual themes raised in classes.
d. Reflect critically on their personal knowledge assumptions and how they affect their research practice.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject engages with the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs), which are tailored to the Graduate Attributes set for all graduates of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences:

  • Possess an advanced knowledge of professional practice in a specific communication industry (1.1)
  • Apply theoretically informed understanding of a communication industry in an independent research project (1.2)
  • Possess information literacy skills to locate, gather, organise and synthesise information across diverse platforms to inform the understanding of a communication industry (2.1)
  • Be reflexive critical thinkers and creative practitioners who are intellectually curious, imaginative and innovative, with an ability to plan and execute a piece of research (2.2)
  • Demonstrate an awareness and knowledge of global contexts and openness to cultural exchange (3.1)
  • Integrate knowledge of Indigenous issues in professional practices and engage responsibly in communicating with and about Indigenous people and communities (4.2)
  • Possess well-developed communication skills and proficiencies to present a clear and coherent exposition of knowledge and ideas to a variety of audiences (6.1)

Teaching and learning strategies

This subject will be taught by seminars which will include extensive discussion of set reading material. Content delivery, lessons, and exercises may also be undertaken online. Students will be required to engage actively with the multidisciplinary literature in preparation for seminars and as part of the assessment process. There is an emphasis on independent work.

Students will receive feedback in class from both peers and teaching staff as part of workshopping and development of assessment work. Assessments that do not achieve a passing grade will be double marked.

Content (topics)

This subject will introduce students to a range of theories used in relation to developing an understanding of the relationships between communication and society. Subject content will be structured around three broad themes to be determined by teaching staff. Through the key themes, students will:

  • Explore key theorists and theories that have informed contemporary understandings of communication and its relationship with society, media and culture.
  • Develop a understanding of the different methods that are used by communication researchers working the social sciences and humanities, their evolution, and their appropriateness for specific kinds of projects.
  • Undertake an exploration of theories and methods so that students can work as informed and critically award researchers capable of identifying and utilising appropriate methodologies for a given project or issue.
  • Undertake a self-reflexive analysis of their own values and assumptions.


Assessment task 1: Reflective Statement On Theme 1


a and c

Weight: 15%

1,000 words

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Depth of reflection 30 a 2.2
Quality of analysis 30 c 3.1
Appropriateness of insights 15 a 2.1
Awareness of Indigenous perspectives 15 c 4.2
Clarity of expression 10 a 6.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: Discussion Paper on Conceptual Framework


a, b and c

Weight: 35%

2,000 words

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Depth of conceptual understanding 35 a 2.2
Sophistication of synthesis of different perspectives 35 b 2.1
Quality and range of analysis 20 c 2.1
Clarity of expression and structure 10 a 6.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 3: Essay or Creative Work


a, b and c

Weight: 50%

3,000 words or equivalent

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Breadth and depth of reseacrh 35 a 2.1
Strength and sophistication of argumentation 20 a 2.2
Appropriateness and relevance of methodology 10 b, c 1.1
Depth of conceptual understanding 15 b 1.2
Clarity of expression and structure 20 a 6.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Minimum requirements

Classes are based on a collaborative approach that involves essential work-shopping and interchange of ideas with other students and the tutor.

In this subject assessment tasks are cumulative so that each task builds understanding and/or skills, informed by formative feedback. Consequently, all assessments must be submitted in order for you to receive feedback. Students who do not submit all assessments will not pass the subject.