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Major: Language and Professional Communication

Language and Professional Communication


Department of Linguistics
Faculty of Human Sciences

This major must be completed as part of an award. The general requirements for the award must be satisfied in order to graduate.

Requirements for the Major:

Completion of a minimum of 24 credit points including the following prescribed units:

Credit points

100 level

3cp from
Language, Culture and Communication (3)
Exploring English (3)
Language Myths and Realities (3)

100 or 200 level

3cp from
LING units at 100 level
LING units at 200 level

200 level

Introduction to Sociolinguistics (3)
Writing in English (3)

300 level

Advanced Communication in Social Institutions (3)
9cp from
Literacy in a Multicultural Society (3)
Bilingualism (3)
Second Language Teaching and Learning (3)
Culture and Language (3)
Language of Science and Technology (3)
Human Services in the 21st Century: Care, Gender and Institutions (3)


Units marked with a C are Capstone units.
Units marked with a P are PACE units.
Overview and Aims of the Program Professional communication theory and practice has long been taught within the broad field of business communication. However, over the past few decades there has been a growing awareness of the need to develop strong professional communication skills within health, community and social service providers, who need finely tuned strategies for communicating not only with their workplace colleagues but also with an increasingly diverse range of clients given the multicultural and multilingual aspects of modern society.

This major in Language and Professional Communication will provide graduates with a good working knowledge of various social, cultural and pragmatic aspects of language use that are recognised as key elements in developing and maintaining successful professional communication strategies.

At the senior level, the 300 level option set is an interdisciplinary one, with the possibility of completing relevant units offered by the Departments of Education and Sociology alongside those offered by the Linguistics Department.

Graduate Capabilities

The Graduate Capabilities Framework articulates the fundamentals that underpin all of Macquarie’s academic programs. It expresses these as follows:

Cognitive capabilities
(K) discipline specific knowledge and skills
(T) critical, analytical and integrative thinking
(P) problem solving and research capability
(I) creative and innovative

Interpersonal or social capabilities
(C) effective communication
(E) engaged and ethical local and global citizens
(A) socially and environmentally active and responsible

Personal capabilities
(J) capable of professional and personal judgement and initiative
(L) commitment to continuous learning

Program Learning Outcomes By the end of this program it is anticipated you should be able to:

1. demonstrate a sound knowledge of various linguistic concepts necessary when developing professional communication strategies for working with colleagues and clients in a variety of professional contexts. (K, T, C, A)

2. demonstrate broad theoretical and practical knowledge of various linguistic and socio-cultural issues relevant to professional communication in a variety of contexts and be able to apply this knowledge to the workplace or to further study. (K, T, L)

3. rigorously conduct and critically evaluate effective analyses of a variety of communicative contexts, demonstrating understanding of the ways that communication is a dynamic system that can vary according to both the USER (ie between contemporary users) and the USE (ie the immediate social or institutional context in which the communication takes place). (K, T, P, I, J)

4. apply an understanding of the relationship between language usage, society and culture to a range of real world professional communication contexts (K, T, E, A, J)

5. competently analyse various samples of professional communication in written, spoken or online contexts, using a range of relevant methodologies (K, T, P, I)

6. ethically design and carry out research in professional communication based research settings and critically appraise the research of others in similar fields. (T, P, C, E, A, J)

7. effectively communicate knowledge about communication strategies appropriate in relevant professional contexts, in standard written and/or spoken English, to the wider community (C, E, A, J)

Learning and Teaching Methods In the Language and Professional Communication major for your Bachelor of Human Sciences, you will be encouraged to acquire theoretical knowledge and understanding of the basic foundations of language study, as well as more specialised theories and practice surrounding professional communication in a variety of communicative contexts. At third year level, the major comprises, alongside the compulsory Capstone unit, an option set of units that allows you to choose from within some specialised area(s) of professional communicative contexts, to follow a path best suited to your interest and future ambitions at work of for further study.

You will be guided to achieve your general linguistic knowledge and a well-developed understanding of professional communication issues both collaboratively and independently through various learning activities. These activities may vary according to your area of specialisation within the option set offered in third year, but will include:

a) background reading from textbooks and academic articles
b) face-to-face lectures, tutorials and seminars
c) online discussions and blogs
d) language data analysis
e) research projects both in groups and as independent researchers.

All learning and teaching in this major is underpinned and motivated by a strong research focus within the Linguistics Department and the other Departments that contribute to the major. Part of our teaching and learning methodology involves informing students about our research as well as encouraging them to participate in it wherever possible.
Assessment Overall, the assessment across the Language and Professional Communication major will offer both formative and summative feedback to students as they progress through the program. Summative feedback is that given at the end of a task and will include both the grade and comments on your performance. Formative feedback is feedback given either while you are progressing through completion of a task, or where feedback on one task is relevant to a subsequent task or tasks, or where one task is nested into a longer one on the same overall topic.

All units in the program will include summative assessment but many will also offer extensive formative assessment – that is you will receive feedback that should advantage you in your performance in a particular task and/or other tasks. For instance, formative feedback is given at first year level by means of a short and comparatively risk free task. This task will often take the form of an essay where students’ academic literacy skills are assessed and commented on. At second and third year levels, formative feedback may occur by way of nested assessment tasks and/or by way of peer reviewed tasks. In such cases, the feedback from an earlier task should help inform your performance in a longer assignment or in a test/examination in a related area.

In each unit of study the Unit Guide will set out clearly what is assessed, how it will be assessed and the weighting of each assessment task. The standards and criteria for the assessment of each assignment task will often be set out in full in the Unit Guide. However in some units, the Unit Guide will contain generalised information about standards and criteria, with the more specific information being delivered by way of detailed instructions accompanying each assessment task.

Depending on choices the student makes from within the option sets at 100 and 300 levels, assessment tasks may involve:

1. writing essays, critical reviews and research reports of various lengths and complexity.
2. critical evaluation of theoretical concepts and/or language data collected by others
3. reporting on and critical evaluation of language data you have collected yourself
4. posting blogs or participating in other kinds of online activities
56. tutorial participation
6. tutorial and seminar presentations (group and/or individual)

The Capstone unit, LING389 Advanced Communication in Social Institutions, is the culmination of your study of in this major, and will build both on the knowledge gained while studying the units that comprise the major as well as on the knowledge gained from the study of LING289, which is a required unit in the B Human Sciences. In this Capstone unit, a major element of the assessment will require you to engage in a piece of independent research relating to professional communication.
Recognition of Prior Learning

Macquarie University may recognise prior formal, informal and non-formal learning for the purpose of granting credit towards, or admission into, a program. The recognition of these forms of learning is enabled by the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy (see and its associated Procedures and Guidelines. The RPL pages contain information on how to apply, links to registers, and the approval processes for recognising prior learning for entry or credit.

Information can be found at:

Support for Learning

Macquarie University aspires to be an inclusive and supportive community of learners where all students are given the opportunity to meet their academic and personal goals. The University offers a comprehensive range of free and accessible student support services which include academic advice, counselling and psychological services, advocacy services and welfare advice, careers and employment, disability services and academic skills workshops amongst others. There is also a bulk billing medical service located on campus.

Further information can be found at

Campus Wellbeing contact details:
Phone: +61 2 9850 7497

Program Standards and Quality

The program is subject to an ongoing comprehensive process of quality review in accordance with a pre-determined schedule that complies with the Higher Education Standards Framework. The review is overseen by Macquarie University's peak academic governance body, the Academic Senate and takes into account feedback received from students, staff and external stakeholders.

Graduate Destinations and Employability Graduates with a major in Language and Professional Communication in the Bachelor of Human Sciences will be well placed to seek employment in:

- workplace training and policy development within public service departments (local, state or federal) in Australia and other parts of the world, especially in departments dealing with social services, immigration, refugees and language policy

- non-government and community organisations, particularly those dealing with social and community services

- private industry, where there are many organisations that welcome graduates with a language/ professional communication background into their staff training, policy planning, media and PR sections

Some graduates from this major will be inspired to undertake further study in related areas, and this major can be a pathway into the Linguistics Department’s Graduate Certificate in TESOL, the Graduate Certificate in Editing and Electronic Publishing, or, for bilingual students, the Graduate Certificate in Community Interpreting or the Masters of Translation and Interpreting Studies.

For those students wishing to move into a Higher Degree Research program, this Language and Communications major can be used by high achieving graduates as a pathway into an MRes (Masters of Research) leading to a PhD program in a related area.
Assessment Regulations

This program is subject to Macquarie University regulations, including but not limited to those specified in the Assessment Policy, Academic Honesty Policy, the Final Examination Policy and relevant University Rules. For all approved University policies, procedures, guidelines and schedules visit

Inherent requirements are the essential components of a course or program necessary for a student to successfully achieve the core learning outcomes of a course or program. Students must meet the inherent requirements to complete their Macquarie University course or program.

Inherent requirements for Macquarie University programs fall under the following categories:

Physical: The physical inherent requirement is to have the physical capabilities to safely and effectively perform the activities necessary to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

Cognition: The inherent requirement for cognition is possessing the intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative capabilities to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

Communication: The inherent requirement for communication is the capacity to communicate information, thoughts and ideas through a variety of mediums and with a range of audiences.

Behavioural: The behavioural inherent requirement is the capacity to sustain appropriate behaviour over the duration of units of study to engage in activities necessary to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

For more information see

2019 Unit Information

When offered:
S1 Day
Permission of Executive Dean of Faculty
HSC Chinese, CHN113, CHN148