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Guide to IC qualifications in the UK

Many people ask me about qualifications, so I’ve outlined a brief recent history of IC education here with a quick overview of the qualifications that are available in the UK.

In 2000, Kingston University in London launched the first postgraduate diploma in internal communication management in the U.K. It was established when senior communications managers from Parcelforce, BT and IBM approached the Industrial Society and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) with the aim of forming an association of internal communication practitioners. A key objective was to develop a qualification that would help to ensure consistent high standards and contribute to transforming the discipline into a profession. This year, the programme matured into a full Masters qualification.

In 2008, I developed a specialist certificate in internal communication for the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and this was followed in 2009 by a specialist diploma qualification that I also developed, taught at Masters level. Both qualifications emphasise the linkages between internal communication and employee engagement and can be studied face-to-face or online. I am the course leader for the CIPR Internal Communication Diploma taught in London and online. The first edition of Exploring Internal Communication was published in 2010 to accompany both qualifications.

In 2008-9, IoIC launched two qualifications; a foundation-level diploma of proficiency in internal communication accredited by Southampton Solent University and an advanced diploma of proficiency in internal communication. The foundation includes a significant focus on practical skills such as writing, sub-editing and proof reading, the advanced certificate takes a broader approach, both including elements of assessment by interview panels.

The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) offers an accreditation programme with three stages; application, production of a portfolio, and an examination, including all elements of the communication process including ethics.

More recently, in 2012, the University of Central Lancashire launched a full Masters qualification in internal communication management, led by Dr Mary Welch. This is designed for part-time students who are generally in full-time employment in a range of sectors and organisations and it is taught through a blended learning delivery course format.

Fees for these qualifications for UK students are:

CIPR Internal Communication Certificate

London and online – £1000 plus vat plus awarding body fee (£270, vat exempt), plus CIPR membership (£145, vat exempt)

CIPR Internal Communication Diploma

Edinburgh – £700 (vat exempt) plus awarding body fee (£320, vat exempt), plus CIPR membership (£145, vat exempt)

London and online – £1200 plus vat plus awarding body fee (£320, vat exempt), plus CIPR membership (£145, vat exempt)

IABC Accreditation programme

Applications are currently suspended while a revised programme is developed, so no fee information was available at the time of writing.

IoIC Foundation Diploma of Proficiency in Internal Communication

Members – £1450 plus vat
Non-members – £1980 plus VAT (includes one year’s IoIC membership)

IoIC Advanced Diploma of Proficiency in Internal Communication 

Members who have completed the Foundation – £800 plus vat
Members who have not completed the Foundation – £1800 plus vat

Kingston University MA in Internal Communication Management

£5495 plus vat

University of Central Lancashire MSc in Internal Communication Management

Firm data for practitioners working in internal communication and completing a qualification is not available. However, more than 600 students have now completed a CIPR specialist internal communication qualification, 130 students have completed an IoIC qualification and it is estimated that 350 people have completed the Kingston University post-graduate diploma.

I will be running an interactive break out session on IC qualifications at the Simply SMILE conference in London on 23 September.


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    May 2, 2014 12:57 pmPosted 3 years ago

    Hi, I work in Internal Communications in Abu Dhabi for a government organisation. I came across your article, which I found to be very helpful and precise.
    I am very interested in the Phd that you are currently pursuing in the measurement of Internal Communication.
    Is there any way I can know more about your research?
    Thank You

    • May 11, 2014 10:50 amPosted 3 years ago
      Kevin Ruck (Author)

      Hi Meha,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      The PhD tests a new Internal Communication and Organisational Engagement (ICOEQ) measurement tool, developed by my supervisor, Dr Mary Welch at the University of Central Lancashire.

      I have conducted the research in five different organisations in the UK. This has generated 2066 responses to the questionnaire. I have also conducted 27 semi-structured interviews and 9 focus groups.

      I am now analysing all the data. The early conclusion is that a number of specific aspects of internal communication are positively associated with organisational engagement, and this positive association is significant.

      In particular, senior manager communication and employee voice stand out as the aspects most strongly associated with organizational engagement.

      I aim to complete the thesis next year and then the details will hopefully be published in an academic journal.
      Best wishes.


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