Public and Organizational Relations (MA)

School of Communication and Media

Program Coordinator: Yi Luo

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Public and Organizational Relations: The Big Picture

Whether talking to the media, presenting to an audience or addressing an organizational crisis, effective communication is key to success – and to your professional advancement.

The Master of Arts (MA) in Public and Organizational Relations is a highly marketable credential for both aspiring and seasoned professionals who wish to advance in such fast-growing, fast-paced fields as corporate communications, public relations, healthcare communication, organizational consulting, marketing and non-profit development.

The program builds four key areas of expertise to help early and mid-career professionals develop communication competencies for the digital age:

1. Strategic thinking in order to recognize opportunities and challenges in organizations and develop optimal plans and communication strategies.

2. Communication skills to create compelling and persuasive messages for different audiences across media platforms.

3. Media savvy in order to understand varied audiences and how to foster meaningful and engaging relationships with them.

4. Leadership mindset with an eye toward pragmatic problem-solving and collaborative innovation.

The program offers a rich set of courses that address both public relations and organizational issues with opportunities to refine both conceptual and applied skill sets.

Alumni of the program have advanced professionally in corporate, nonprofit and academic careers including those in public relations, marketing, human resource management, sales, organizational consulting, broadcast media, higher education and public administration—virtually all professions and industries that value highly-developed communication skills.  At the same time many graduates aspiring to academic careers go on to doctoral studies.  In the School of Communication and Media, we are committed to educating the next generation of communication leaders and scholars and, thus, aim to provide one of the best masters-level experiences in the country.

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What You Will Study

Through carefully designed coursework, students are immersed in a dynamic environment of stimulating dialogue and hands-on, career related projects. Featured courses include:

  • Public & Organizational Relations in a Digital Age
  • New Media Applications
  • Leadership & Collaborative Innovation
  • New Media Business Models
  • PR Writing & Media Relations
  • Crisis Communication
  • Persuasion & Media Campaigns

Taught in small classes that allow for individualized attention provided by an expert faculty, coursework explores the full-range of communication practices, both internally and externally.  You will develop your abilities toward persuasion, a capacity for active listening, advanced appreciation for cultural diversity and global networking, and knowledge of how cutting-edge new media is strategically incorporated into public relations and organizational communications plan. You will also have the flexibility to pursue an independent study, if desired, or take a class outside of the School to satisfy a particular area of interest.  Students also pursue internships in prestigious settings that span various industries including business, non-profit and government settings. The final semester culminates in a capstone course that explores the communication implications of today’s global environment through case studies.

Classes typically meet once a week in the evening, enabling students to maintain a daytime job. The program's 33 credits may be completed full-time over 4 semesters or over 5-6 semesters part-time. As you near completion of the program, you will have the option of writing a thesis or taking a comprehensive examination and completing an alternative project, through elective coursework, that demonstrates your growth in communication competence and analytical rigor.

For complete course requirements and descriptions, go to:

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Careers and Professional Resources

The School of Communication and Media is dedicated to your professional growth and, thus, provides meaningful internship opportunities. In this regard, we maintain a progressive network of relationships with Fortune-500, government and nonprofit entities as well as broadcasting networks, PR firms and sports organizations.   Students also participate in professional associations which provide opportunities to present scholarship as well as network with influential specialists.

Graduates of the program have a diversity of professional options, either to advance in an industry or pursue studies at the doctoral level.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a very positive outlook for careers in Communication and Media.  Below is a sampling of career areas and titles:

  • Chief Executive Officer
  • Chief Operating Officer
  • Corporate communications (product, service and information industries)
  • Government relations (public affairs, environmental affairs)
  • Issues/crisis management
  • Events Planning
  • Executive Coach
  • Human Resources (employee relations)
  • Institutional Advancement
  • Media Manager
  • Organizational Change Manager
  • Team Leader/Manager
  • Time Management Consultant
  • Media and Public Affairs Officer
  • Account Supervisor – Public Relations & Communication
  • Community Relations/Engagement Liaison
  • Political Campaign Manager
  • Strategic Communication Director
  • Branding Officer
  • Client Services Manager
  • Communication/Change Analyst
  • External Affairs Officer
  • Government Relations Director
  • Corporate Teams Leader
  • Compliance Manager
  • Customer Service Manager
  • Stakeholder Relations Advisor
  • Global Communications Consultant
  • Public Relations Strategist
  • Lobbyist
  • Sales Manager
  • Political Campaign Director

Please visit the links below for additional professional and career-related information:

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Apply Now

The M.A. in Public and Organizational Relations is appropriate for emerging and established professionals including those anticipating doctoral studies.

Applicants are recommended to have completed an undergraduate major from a relevant humanistic or social scientific area of study such as anthropology, broadcasting, business, communication studies, journalism, political science, psychology, or sociology.

For application instructions, go to:

Admission to: Public and Organizational Relations (MA)

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