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Study information

Intercultural Communication

Module titleIntercultural Communication
Module codeSML2246
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Professor Sonia Cunico (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Module description

The aim of this module is to introduce you to intercultural competence and to the important role it plays in multilingual and multicultural encounters. The module will allow you to explore concepts such as communication, identity, culture, and othering in a wide range of contexts and media, and to apply them to your own personal experience. You will engage with core discipline readings and draw on them to identify, describe, and interpret specific case studies and situations in which communication can break down and intercultural conflicts arise. The module will help you to reflect critically on cultural and linguistic diversity and increase your intercultural communication awareness.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The module aims to:

  • Understand and explain the relationship between communication, culture/s, and identity/ies
  • Recognise the role cultural practices play in your life and develop an ability to respond appropriately to unfamiliar ones
  • Demonstrate a greater sensitivity to cultural and linguistic diversity through engagement with critical concepts such as culture, identity, othering, mis/communication in a range of different contexts and through different media
  • Adopt an interdisciplinary approach and help you to develop a familiarity with different analytical tools and approaches
  • Develop the ability to engage with and research an individual topic

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate understanding of the key theoretical notions and concepts in Intercultural Communication Theory as well as their relevance in multilingual and multicultural contexts
  • 2. Demonstrate the development of your Intercultural Competence through the analysis of data which illustrate instances of cultural diversity and/or mis/understanding

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Recognise, describe, and evaluate (under guidance from the module tutor/s) a variety of critical responses to case studies, scenarios, and sources
  • 4. Demonstrate the development of intercultural awareness within a structured framework
  • 5. Recognise and understand the role of language/s as a key locus of personal and sociocultural identity as well as of intercultural mis/understanding
  • 6. Demonstrate familiarity and ability to draw on a range of research literature to support an argument
  • 7. Engage with a variety of research approaches, including ethnography of communication, contrastive pragmatics, and discourse analysis

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Develop intercultural awareness and competence based on engagement with a variety of readings and case studies
  • 9. Undertake an independent essay, which involves the analysis of some data using appropriate analytical frameworks

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics: 


  • Diversity and globalisation 

  • What is Communication? Models of communication 

  • Understanding culture  

  • Different value orientations and cultural dimensions 

  • Contexts, culture/s and identities–  

  • Linguistic and non-linguistic barriers to communication 

  • Intercultural transitions: immigration and acculturation  

  • Intercultural miscommunication and conflict management 

  • Co-construction and resistance of cultural identity and communities 

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching15Lectures and seminars
Scheduled Learning and Teaching1Available for consultation re project
Guided Independent Study134Private study and seminar preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay500 words1-9Written and/or oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Reflective piece401,000 words1-8Written and oral
Essay601,500 words1-9Written and oral

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Reflective pieceReflective piece1-8Referral/Deferral period
EssayEssay1-9Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Successful referred students will receive the maximum achievable mark of 40 for their reflective piece and essay. Successful deferred students will have their re-assessment treated as a first attempt, thus the full range of marks will be available. 

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Hua, Zhu (2013) Exploring Intercultural Communication: Language in Action (Routledge Introductions to Applied Linguistics). Routledge
  • Holliday, A, Hyde, A, and Kullman, J. · (2010) Intercultural Communication: An Advanced Resource Book for Students. Routledge
  • Jackson, J. (2014) Introducing Language and Intercultural Communication, London: Routledge. Available online via MyiLibrary
  • Liu, S., Volcic, Z., and Gallois, C. (2014) Introducing Intercultural Communication, London: Sage. Available from the University bookshop
  • The Routledge Handbook of Language and Intercultural Communication, edited by Jane Jackson, Taylor & Francis Group, 2011. ProQuest Ebook Central,

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Intercultural competence, identity, pragmatics, miscommunication

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date

February 2015

Last revision date