University of Chester

Programme Specification
Digital Marketing PGCert
2016 - 2017

Postgraduate Certificate

Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing

University of Chester

University of Chester


Postgraduate (Taught)

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

1 year full time, 2 years part time

3 Years

Biannual - February - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Business and Management Warrington School of Management

Although not in direct alignment the QAA Benchmark statements for Masters awards in Business and Management and for Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies have been used as points of reference.

University of Chester

MSc Management Programme Assessment Board

Tuesday 1st April 2014

This Postgraduate Certificate is designed to reflect the expectation that candidates joining the award will have some suitable marketing and/or business education or expertise. A key educational aim will be to further develop this knowledge / expertise and augment it with broader, business-based strategic digital marketing/ media knowledge and skills. This 'combined' offering between the Business School and Department of Media is designed to provide students with the necessary elements to pursue, or further enhance, a career in marketing, with specialist digital marketing knowledge and skills. The programme places a strong emphasis on developing relevant professional capabilities to help accelerate career advancement in a specialist area that currently has skills gaps. All modules will enable students to demonstrate an insight into the complexities of business and marketing and the potential value of theoretical frameworks. More specifically, digital marketing education will encompass some of the following (dependent on the award title), providing graduates a higher level of insight to, and broader knowledge and skills base of areas such as:

  • Digital marketing strategy and planning
  • Digital marketing tactics for acquisition, conversion and retention
  • Social and digital media
  • Advertising in a converged age
  • Motion graphics for smart media

The modular structure of the Certificate reflects these educational aims. Therefore, the key educational elements of this award will enable graduates and industry professionals to develop core and transferable business and marketing skills, while also enhancing specialist knowledge in their field. Based on this principle, specific learning outcomes will require students to:

  • Critically evaluate core theories and concepts in digital marketing.
  • Develop an ability to analyse complex management, organisational and environmental issues and formulate alternative response strategies for management
  • Propose and justify relevant technical knowledge and its application in a digital business environment
  • Think critically, argue coherently and make a convincing business case for digital marketing strategy/ tools, through informed and innovated decision making

Modules highlighted in bold are compulsory modules for the following awards:

PG Cert Digital Marketing , PG Cert Digital Marketing and Media

Modules underlined are optional modules relating to the above awards and core modules for PG Cert Digital Media

  • To encourage students to reflect on their own experience and practice as consumers and stakeholders in a global context - BU7717, ME7245
  • Apply knowledge of contemporary digital marketing /mediastrategies and techniques - BU7717, ME7244
  • Reflect on personal experience and practice as both a consumer and wider stakeholder - BU7717, ME7245
  • Assess and evaluate the theoretical basis ofdigital marketingstrategic decision making- BU7718, ME7244
  • Assess and evaluate the theoretical basis of strategic marketing management - BU7717, BU7718 (in a traditional and digital context)

  • Evaluate critically key digital marketing tools and approaches which enable organisations to develop a more accurate understanding the nature of the consumer/ stakeholder - BU7717, BU7718, ME7243
  • Critically reflect on the changing nature of marketing communications in a cultural and technological context - BU7718, ME7244, ME7245
  • Analyse and evaluate the approaches to the management of digital marketing techniques in a range of organisations -BU7717, ME7245
  • Assess critically the strengths and limitations associated with various approaches to the organisation, planning and implementation of digital marketing strategies and plans - BU7717, ME7244

  • Recommend how digital marketing functions should be structured to deliver competitive advantage and organisational success - ME7244, ME7243, BU7717
  • Formulate appropriate marketing and interactive media responses to enable the organisation to better achieve its objectives - ME7245, ME7244, BU7717


Transferable Professional Skills - All modules (BU7717, BU7718, ME7243, ME7244, ME7245)

  • Demonstrating self-direction in both formal and informal learning environments
  • Being competent in the use of information technology
  • Working autonomously and collaboratively, and leading a team
  • Demonstrating higher literacy, critical appraisal and numeracy skills
  • Inter-professional collaboration and partnership working
  • Exercise of initiative and personal responsibility
  • Decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations
  • The independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.

  • Assess and critically evaluate the theoretical and commercial impacts of strategic digital marketing communications - BU7717, ME7244
  • Analyse and interpret data and, by the integration of theory and practice, investigate appropriate digital marketing techniques to solve a business issue or help make its operations more efficient / effective - BU7718, ME7245
  • Apply at an advanced professional level such strategies through the design of an innovative and effective digital communication strategy - ME7243, BU7717
  • Critically evaluate the social, ethical and conceptual implications of the uses/applications of these interactive communicative technologies - ME7245, BU7718

The programme has been designed to develop an appropriate balance of underpinning theoretical knowledge and understanding, and relevant practical competences and skills to enhance the employability of graduates in the areas of digital marketing communications and media.

The programme consists of three (20 credit) level 7 taught modules, which can be from the following (depending on award title): 

Digital Marketing Strategy & Planning (BU7717), 20 Credit Points

Digital Marketing Acquisition, Conversion & Retention (BU7718), 20 Credit Points

Motion Graphics for Smart Media (ME7243), 20 Credit Points

Social and Digital Media (ME7244), 20 Credit Points

Advertising in a Converged Age (ME7245), 20 Credit Points

The programme has been designed to develop an appropriate balance of underpinning theoretical knowledge and understanding, and relevant practical competences and skills to enhance the employability of graduates in the areas of digital marketing and interactive media. Having a strong practitioner engagement and involvement with the programme in the form of guest lectures and work-based projects is recognised as essential to enhancing the student's overall learning experience.

The Masters programme provides postgraduate study equivalent to and consistent with the standards of FHEQ level 7. Graduates “will develop an understanding of a complex body of knowledge, some of it at the current boundaries of an academic discipline”. Through this, a graduate will develop “analytical techniques and problem-solving skills that can be applied in many types of employment”. The graduate will be able to “evaluate evidence, arguments and assumptions, to reach sound judgements, and to communicate effectively”. A graduate should have the qualities needed for employment especially in situations requiring the exercise of “personal responsibility” and “decision-making in complex and unpredictable circumstances.” The programme outcomes have been distributed through all the modules so that upon successful completion of all the module-specific assessment tasks and activities, that each of the programme outcomes have been achieved by a student.

The taught modules will be delivered on intensive two - three day block periods either over a three year period for part-time students or over a one year period for full-time students. This flexibility of delivery is recognised as an essential part of the programme, in order to attract and retain students who are increasingly having to balance work, family and financial commitments. Students may also be allowed to switch between the FT and PT mode of delivery, where circumstances allow / demand this.

Programme Awards:


Postgraduate Certificate in Digital Marketing (60 Credits)

Compulsory Modules for Award: 
BU7717 Digital Marketing Strategy & Planning  20 Credits
BU7718 Digital Marketing Acquisition, Conversion & Retention 20 Credits
Optional Modules for Award (only one of the following needed): 
ME7243 Motion Graphics for Smart Media 20 Credits
ME7244 Social and Digital Media 20 Credits
ME7245 Advertising in a Converged Age 20 Credits


Postgraduate Certificate in Digital Marketing & Media (60 Credits)

Compulsory Modules for Award (only one of the following needed): 
BU7717 Digital Marketing Strategy & Planning  20 Credits
BU7718 Digital Marketing Acquisition, Conversion & Retention 20 Credits
Optional Modules for Award (two of the following needed): 
ME7243 Motion Graphics for Smart Media 20 Credits
ME7244 Social and Digital Media 20 Credits
ME7245 Advertising in a Converged Age 20 Credits
OR (if not taken as a compulsory module):
BU7717 Digital Marketing Strategy & Planning  20 Credits
BU7718 Digital Marketing Acquisition, Conversion & Retention 20 Credits


Postgraduate Certificate in Digital Media (60 Credits)

Compulsory Modules for Award: 
ME7243 Motion Graphics for Smart Media 20 Credits
ME7244 Social and Digital Media 20 Credits
ME7245 Advertising in a Converged Age 20 Credits


This programme of study has partly been designed with the needs of part-time students in mind who are practitioners in the field or in related areas of workplace engagement. Such students are likely to benefit from the CPD updating opportunities this course would offer them. It is also possible that students on negotiated pathways of study (including individually negotiated routes via the Work Based & Integrative Studies programme) may choose to integrate some of the specialist taught modules presented here into their own negotiated study. Such students will need to justify their modular choices and demonstrate academic coherence in the usual way by incorporating relevant modules into a WBIS Approved Studies Learning Agreement for Level 7.

Also, some students may have sufficient prior learning through their experience in the workplace to submit an AP(E)L claim for specific areas of their previous learning, enabling them to gain credit for one or more modules. Work for APEL claims on the Programme is marked on a pass/fail grade only. Where AP(E)L claims relate to taught subject modules, criteria written for those modules will apply.

This programme has been accredited by The Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM), which means that students have the option to sit at least one IDM examination in order to gain an additional IDM qualification. The examination is three hours in duration and will be hosted at the University of Chester. The Certificate grade will be determined by the exam result: a Pass is over 45%, a Credit is over 60% and a Distinction is over 70%.

IDM Qualifications are dependent on students studying the following modules and taking an IDM examination:

IDM Certificate in Digital Marketing
BU7717 Digital Marketing Strategy & Planning


Digital Marketing Acquisition, Conversion & Retention


Social and Digital Media


Advertising in a Converged Age

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
BU7717 7 Digital Marketing Strategy & Planning 20 Optional
BU7718 7 Digital Marketing Acquisition, Conversion & Retention 20 Optional
ME7243 7 Motion Graphics for Smart Media 20 Optional
ME7244 7 Social and Digital Media 20 Optional
ME7245 7 Advertising in a Converged Age 20 Optional

All study occurs at Level 7 and allmodulesare worth 20 credits each.

The normal entry requirement for students is the possession of a second-class Honours degree in a relevant discipline, and/ or to have appropriate professional business experience in a marketing / business development role in lieu, as judged by the course team. All applicants will complete an application form and may be invited to interview to further explore their suitability for the programme. Candidates should also meet the University's requirements for English at this level, usually IELTS 6.5 or equivalent. Applicants with non-standard qualifications will be considered for entry onto the programme.

As highlighted earlier, there are no specific benchmark statements for Marketing discipline areas and as a result the General Business and Management Benchmark Statements have been used as a guide. The purpose of general business and management programmes is seen as broadly threefold:

  • study of organisations, their management and the changing external environment in which they operate
  • preparation for and development of a career in business and management
  • enhancement of lifelong learning skills and personal development to contribute to society at large

'Organisations' should be understood throughout this text to include a wide range of different types including, for example, public, private and not-for-profit, together with a comprehensive range of sizes and structures of organisations. Similarly, the term 'business' should be interpreted generically. Preparation for business should be taken to mean the development of a range of specific business and more specific digital marketing and media knowledge and skills, together with the improved self-awareness and personal development appropriate to graduate careers in these fields. This includes the encouragement of positive and critical attitudes towards change and enterprise, so as to reflect the dynamism and vibrancy of the business environment.

Not every student will engage subsequently in a career in marketing / media, or will have entered directly from secondary education. Therefore, lifelong learning skills should be understood to include the development and enhancement of a range of general transferable intellectual and study skills, which, while being highly appropriate to a career in business and management, are not restricted to this.  While there is a clear expectation that all such general degree programmes should cover these three purposes, the actual balance will vary to reflect the requirements for recognition by the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM). The particular balance of the programme being delivered will reflect the programmes specified learning outcomes.  Within the framework of these three broad areas, it is expected that students will also be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding in the following areas:

  • markets - the development and operation of markets for resources, goods and services
  • customers - customer expectations, service and orientation
  • communication and information technology - the comprehension and use of relevant communication and information technologies for application in business and management
  • business policy and strategy - the development of appropriate policies and strategies within a changing environment, to meet stakeholder interests
  • pervasive issues - sustainability, globalisation, corporate social responsibility, diversity, business innovation, creativity, enterprise development, knowledge management and risk management
  • media systems - the ownership, operation of and reach and influence of different media
  • the development, role and process of public relations within organisations
  • communication/ public relations strategies and tactics

Digital Marketing has a strong practice orientation and therefore there should be a strong link between the development of skills and employability of students. Students should be able to demonstrate a range of cognitive and intellectual skills together with competencies in techniques specific to digital marketing and interactive media along with demonstrating relevant personal and interpersonal skills. These skills include:

  • Cognitive skills of critical thinking, analysis and synthesis. This includes the capability to identify assumptions, evaluate statements in terms of evidence, to detect false logic or reasoning, to identify implicit values, to define terms adequately and to generalise appropriately
  • Effective problem solving and decision making using appropriate quantitative and qualitative skills including identifying, formulating and solving business problems. The ability to create, evaluate and assess a range of options together with the capacity to apply ideas and knowledge to a range of situations
  • Effective communication, oral and in writing, using a range of media which are widely used in business such as the preparation and presentation of business reports
  • Interpersonal skills of effective listening, negotiating, persuasion and presentation
  • Ability to conduct research into business and management issues, either individually or as part of a team for projects/dissertations/presentations. This requires familiarity with and an evaluative approach to a range of business data, sources of information and appropriate methodologies, and for such to inform the overall learning process

The QAA Subject Benchmarks for Business and Management indicate that a graduate should possess general knowledge and understanding in certain areas.  These areas of knowledge and understanding are covered by, and contained within ,the Business and Management modules within the programme, specifically those mentioned below:

  • Markets and customers; the development and operation of markets for resources, goods and services; expectations of customers and equivalent stakeholders, service and orientation
  • The concepts, processes and institutions in the production and marketing of goods and/or services; the management of resources and operations
  • The uses and limitations of a range of research methods/techniques, both qualitative and quantitative, and an understanding of their strengths and weaknesses for providing information and evaluating options in an uncertain organisational environment
  • The development, management and exploitation of information systems and their impact on organisations.  
  • The use of relevant communication and information technologies for application in business and management within a global knowledge-based economy
  • The development of appropriate business policies and strategies within a changing context to meet stakeholder interests
  • A range of contemporary and pervasive issues which may change over time. Illustrative examples may include innovation, creativity and enterprise; e-commerce, knowledge management; sustainability, business ethics, values and norms; globalisation

From the QAA Subject Benchmark statements: Communication, media, film and cultural studies – the following defining principles apply:

 1. Degree programmes within communication, media, film and cultural studies share the aim of producing graduates who have an informed, critical and creative approach both to understanding media, culture and communications in contemporary society, and to their own forms of media, communicative and expressive practice. In so furthering students' academic and personal development, programmes within communication, media, film and cultural studies are committed to forms of pedagogy that lay emphasis on developing critical and creative independence, flexibility, sensitivity to audience, and self-reflexiveness, across both individual and group work, and both critical and production work.

2. Most programmes promote a combination of understandings and skills. Many that emphasise critical engagement also require students to produce a substantial piece of self-managed research and/or a creative production or portfolio of work demonstrating their command of specific skills. Similarly, programmes that concentrate primarily on media practice or production also require students to develop analytical and research skills together with a critical grasp of their responsibilities as practitioners, and awareness of the dynamics - whether cultural, economic, ethical, legal, political, social or affective - which shape working environments.

Postgraduates from modules ME7243, ME7244 and ME7245 are expected to engage with and critically evaluate a range of texts and genres, as well as forms of critical analysis, argument and debate, expressed through a command of appropriate communication and production forms. An awareness of the diversity of approaches to communication via the media is encouraged throughout.   

The programme planning team recognise the importance of developing students' capabilities to function effectively at a strategic and operational level within the marketing / digital media functions and this requires the development of both relevant and current knowledge and skills. Therefore, the programme delivery strategy will combine both more conventional lectures and seminars with workshops and real world project work, allowing students to engage with the industry problems and challenges.

The teaching programme will be supplemented by regular guest speakers / industry-led workshops to enhance the curriculum and make sure that knowledge and practice are in line with industry in this fast-paced sector. This will also help facilitate student networking with key firms and individuals within the fields of digital marketing and interactive media.

This programme has also been developed with an understanding of the importance of developing the students' ability to work and learn autonomously. To facilitate this, emphasis will be given to shared responsibility for learning, encouraging independent work to support tutor-led sessions and encouraging students to engage in self-directed learning. This includes utilising e-learning tools, such as discussion forums, on Moodle. Student autonomy and autonomous learning will be particularly developed within the dissertation, and it is appropriate that this element occurs in the latter half of the programme, after students have had the opportunity to develop appropriate skills, knowledge and understanding in the earlier stages of the programme.

The overall programme is designed to support both part-time students who will study over a two year period and full-time students who will study over a one year period. Therefore, modules will be taught in two blocks of two/three day periods, with blended learning and support in between via e-learning tools such as Moodle.

Further support to learning is afforded through weekly 'drop-in' sessions for each of the modules where students can follow-up issues they identify with their tutors in a more informal setting.

A pastoral support hour will be offered throughout the taught part of the programme; this will support the students learning on this programme. Examples of typical subject matter to be covered here are: referencing correctly and avoiding plagiarism, designing and giving presentations, structuring and writing level M assignments. The Business librarian will also be using these sessions for research workshops on occasions throughout the year. As appropriate, learning and teaching methods more specifically orientated to the Media will be adopted e.g. workshops, exercises, presentations and pitches. In applying skills to a technically, intellectually demanding area, students will be guided through initial stages of idea generation and production skills, allowing them to gain confidence as they progress. The concurrent and subsequent reflection on their own and current industry practices should enhance the student’s portfolio. Students will be expected to keep up to date with current affairs and developments, especially in the area of digital communications and emerging media technologies. 


Assessmentofknowledge and understanding is achieved using a range of assessments which include:-

  • Assignments
  • The analysis and critical use of evidence, which may be drawn from a variety of sources
  • Presentation / practical production portfolio
  • Practical and applied assessment
  • Case study report
  • Reflective report/essay
  • Business research proposal
  • Research project presentation and report

The assessment of cognitive skills is incorporated within and integral to the assessment strategy of the programme and modules. Students are encouraged to use a wide range of evidential sources and information references as the basis for the production of work submitted for assessment.

The use of individual skills of critique, analysis, evaluation and synthesis are a requirement of module assessment outcomes. Lecturers are expected to utilise a balance of diagnostic, formative and summative assessment during the programme appropriate to their module.

Assessment methods and tariffs

Assessments will normally be related to a careful balance between assessing theoretical knowledge, applied concepts and practically focused, employment related activity. Case study evaluation, and business project proposal work and simulated activity will all be used and will parallel the exploration of the theoretical basis for business practices. Assignments are designed so that they meet QAA subject benchmark statement requirements and the overall programme learning outcomes. A wide range of assessment methods will consequently be employed in the assessment of the participants.

International students are required and expected to meet the regulatory stipulations of the UKBA while they are registered students at the university. Students will also be expected to honour obligations to other students and staff when engaged in group work or work placements.


The assessment strategy will be communicated in writing to each student, at the commencement of the module. It will also be available electronically.

Assessment on this programme is designed to provide feedback to students on their performance in order to shape future learning and to verify achievement. 

In the early stages of the programme, the formative role of assessment to help students learn may be as important as the summative assessment for certification. The assessment strategy of this programme is based on the following assumptions and practices:

1. Assessment is acknowledged to be a major driver of student learning

2. A variety of assessment practices will be employed in order to provide students with a range of opportunities to display intellectual, practical and transferable skills, and to accommodate the different learning styles of individual students

3. Clear criteria for grading and the rules and regulations for assessment and awards will be available for all students throughout their programme

4. Assessment at early stages of the programme will focus on evidencing the acquisition and development of knowledge, skills and understanding: later stages of the programme will focus on the demonstration of students’ ability to independently synthesize advanced knowledge and skills. Assignments and projects initially will be largely tutor determined. As the academic year progresses students will have significant elements of self-determination in their coursework and extended written project

5. Tutors delivering the programme have explored and discussed maps of module aims, learning outcomes and assessments across the programme during the programme’s design process in order to understand how their module assessments complement others in the programme and to develop equivalences in assessment weightings and balances.

This qualification will appeal to both marketing/media graduates who have recently completed their first degrees, who would undertake the programme on a full-time basis; and working individuals within or aspiring to the industry who could complete through part-time study (including media professionals).

Therefore, this course is designed to support students who wish to move into strategic digital marketing positions. They will either want to complement their previous professional /academic qualifications or to build upon workplace experience.

As well as marketing professionals / graduates, this programme will also appeal to entrepreneurs with online businesses, digital agencies within technical and account management roles, digital marketing managers and marketers operating in specialist areas such as: content marketing, search marketing, e-CRM, website design, digital PR, online advertising, social media, etc. Opportunities to secure a career within the specialist area of digital marketing will be enhanced through study.

This programme of study in fully embraces the University’s commitment to the active promotion of equality of opportunity. The University seeks to ensure that no student is disadvantaged or discriminated against on the grounds of: gender; age; marital or parental status; sexual orientation; racial group (race, colour, nationality, ethnicity or national origins); creed (religious, political or personal beliefs or principles); membership or non-membership of a trade union; and socio-economic background. It also aims to ensure that disabled people and those with special needs do not suffer unfair discrimination, and that they are enabled to achieve their full potential as students. The ultimate objective of the programmes delivered are to ensure all aspects of delivery are open to all sections of society and in whose activities all students can participate to the best of their ability. This programme is designed to ensure inclusivity and to ensure that the diverse needs of our students are provided for. In addition, within this programme:

  • Admission requirements are clearly set out in promotional materials and due consideration is given to a policy of widening access, participation, diversity and equality.
  • Each module has been developed in line with University policy to both promote equality and diversity and encourage all students in the development of their learning.
  • There is flexibility in materials and delivery of teaching to support students with disability or from culturally diverse backgrounds and the Department works closely with Learning Support in delivering this support through Learning Support Plans where appropriate.
  • The induction activities are designed to integrate all students both academically and socially and to make academic staff aware of any issues. Students are made aware of avenues of support if they a have any issues regarding diversity and equality.
  • Supportive formative exercises are presented in modules to give all students an equal chance of succeeding.
  • Assessments are designed to afford equal opportunity to all students to display their knowledge and skills. The introduction of anonymous marking also enhances equal opportunity to all students.
  • In order to ensure that the needs of all students are met any barriers to access (physical, environmental and curriculum) are identified and promptly notified to the University for removal or for reasonable adjustment to be made based on requirements.
  • All students are made aware of the Department structures to discuss issues should a concern arise.
  • The Programme Leader acts as PAT for all students. An appointment system also exists whereby any student can make an appointment to see any member of staff, including the Head of Department and Dean.

One of the key elements of this course is that digital marketing communications is a fast-paced industry sector, which is constantly evolving. Therefore, to stay up-to-date with industry developments and skills requirements it is important to have close interaction and engagement with experienced practitioners. The programme team will build on their existing network of contacts in the digital marketing/ creative industry professions to form a Professional Advisory Group (PAG), which will advise on curriculum developments and help with identifying expert speakers, 'live' case studies, etc.

Students on the programme will be eligible for a Certificate in Digital Marketing from The Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM), subject to modules studied and sitting relevant examinations; full details are in section 24. The IDM is the UK's only Government approved institute for the digital, direct and data marketing professional; it also has a partnership with Google for supplying up-to-date online support materials.

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