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Public Relations (BA)

About the Public Relations Bachelor Degree Concentration 

The Public Relations concentration of the Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media Studies helps students to acquire the strategic communication and relationship-building skills needed to succeed in this industry. Public relations is best thought of as a communication process, one that helps organizations maintain mutually beneficial relationships with key stakeholders. Strong writing and oral communication skills are a must, as is the ability to research information efficiently and communicate effectively using the latest social media tools. Jobs in public relations include: publicist, lobbyist, media liaison, copywriter, scriptwriter, corporate spokesperson, and public relations manager.  

Learning Outcomes
  • Understand the scope of public relations and the principle role research, counseling, and communication play in public relations activities.
  • Recognize the ethical component involved in responsible public relations practices.
  • Identify the primary strategic functions of news management, community relations, crisis management, and lobbying and the full-time positions available in each.
  • Conduct a communication audit to achieve client goals and meet the needs of diverse publics.
  • Utilize persuasion and communication theories when formulating public relations tactics.
  •  Assess an organization’s public relations needs and recommend solutions that can be carried out via social media.
  • Create a public relations campaign.
Public Relations Career Track

Opportunities in public relations abound for strong communicators skilled in the most popular social media platforms of the day.  Account executive and manager positions work directly with the client to manage their campaigns; while development officers and fundraising managers plan and organize events to raise funds and awareness for organizations.  PR jobs that focus on publicity and promotion include publicist, public information officer, and public relations director; while positions responsible for pitching stories to news directors and editors include media relations managers, media directors, and new media coordinators.  In addition to the jobs discussed, many organizations require a PR specialist who can do a little of everything, from writing press releases and planning events, to coordinating media coverage and promoting a positive public image for the company.

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Communications and Media Studies Program: Public Relations Concentration

First Year

Course Number Course Title Fall Spring
CM100 Introduction to Human Communications 3  
CM101 Introduction to Mass Communication   3
CS101 Computer Concepts and Applications  3  
EN101 English I 3  
EN102 English II   3
IS105 Common Experience 1  
MG201 Principles of Management    3
PS101 Introduction of Psychology   3
  Free Elective 3  
  Humanities Elective   3
  Math/Science/Computer Science1 3  
  Total Credit 16 15

1 Must take math if placed into MA003 or MA106

Second Year

Course Number Course Title Fall Spring
CM105 Public Speaking   3
CM203 Media Writing 3  
CM225 Introduction to Public Relations   3
CM220/CS234 Introduction to Digital Video Production    
  Website Programming and Development 3  
EN201 Intermediate Writing   3
IS220 Preparation for Careers and Life after College   3
MA121 Basic Statistics  3  
  Science Elective    3/4
  Social Science Elective 3  
  Free Elective  3  
  Total Credits 15 15/16

Third Year

Course Number Course Title Fall Spring
CM300 Communication Theory 3  
CM325 Public Relations Campaigns    3
CM335 Writing for Social Media   3
CM400 Media Criticism    3
CM460 Comm & Media Studies Internship 3  
  Humanities Elective 3  
  Social Sciences Elective   3
  Free Elective 6 3
  Total Credits 15 15

Fourth Year

Course Number Course Title Fall Spring
CM415/CM425 Communication and Gender 3  
  Media Ethics    
CM450 Senior Seminar   3
  Experiential Learning1 3  
  English Elective   3
  Global Awareness Elective 3  
  Free Elective 6 9
  Total Credits 15 15

1May be fulfilled by CM461, IS315, or a program-director-approved research project