Communication Studies (BA); Public Relations Concentration -- School of Communication and Media
Communication Studies Coordinator: Dr. Yi Luo
- Public Relations (BA): The Big Picture
- What You Will Study
- Careers and Professional Resources
- Apply Now
Why do corporations, politicians and rock stars hire PR specialists? Public Relations professionals provide highly-valued services to just about every entity invested in a goodwill relationship with the public.
The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Communication Studies, Public Relations concentration offers a progressive course of study to prepare students for careers in public relations and related professions including human resources, marketing, advertising, consulting, politics, to name just a few, that place an importance on building dynamic people-relationships. Through coursework and practical experience you will learn to develop and evaluate strategies which enhance communication between an organization or individual and their respective stakeholders, consumers, constituents and “fans.”
The PR Specialist . . .
Public relations (or “PR”) specialists aim to persuade and "shape" public opinion as well as that of investors, partners, employees and other stakeholders of an organization or client. Common objectives include speaking at conferences, winning industry awards, working with the press, and communicating with employees. Practitioners help organizations cultivate relationships with all who are affected by their company mission. The role of PR specialists has additional value to society when they help clients practice social responsibility and respond to the interests of consumers. Their activities may includepitching story ideas to editors to elicit media coverage. They may also serve as company spokespeople to represent their organization’s position on a topic.
PR specialists must be skilled in areas such as:
- Planning strategic communications (incorporating media, print, activities);
- Communicating with the public (preparing speeches, running news-conferences);
- Writing documents (developing news releases, brochures, memos, training materials); and
- Managing interpersonal/group processes (incorporating conflict management and negotiation strategies.)
As a Public Relations student, you will learn about current PR theories, research and practices, including the use of traditional and new media. Through course work and practical experience, you will be introduced to responsibilities and trends that have shaped the profession. You will also learn about:
- Contemporary strategies that influence corporate/public interaction, social movements and political outcomes.
- Research methods for diagnosing problems.
- Genres of writing, including news releases, feature stories, fact sheets, media kits, speeches, company backgrounders, advertisements, newsletters, brochures and Web publications.
- Use of social media outlets.
- Crisis management strategies.
- Global developments in international communications.
The Public Relations curriculum is comprised of 120 credits (3 cr. per course) and includes five areas of requirement:
- Public Relations courses (15 credits) -- sequential instruction specific to the major-concentration
- Common-Core School Curriculum (18 credits) -- a broad foundation for understanding all communication and media disciplines (required of all students in the School of Communication and Media)
- Major Elective courses (15 credits) -- further development of major-related expertise
- General education courses (45-48 credits) – exploration of studies that comprise a liberal arts education – e.g. in writing, humanities, math, and the natural, social and computer sciences (required of all University students pursuing a bachelor of arts degree)
- Free electives (15-24 credits) -- exploration of additional areas of interest; or inclusion of a Minor
In addition, students often pursue internships to acquire practical experience related to the major.
For complete course requirements and descriptions, go to:
- Communication Studies Major, Public Relations Concentration (B.A.) - Undergraduate
- Four-Year Course Sequence
- Common-Core School Curriculum
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a very positive outlook for careers in Communication and Media, including growth in Public Relations and related professions.
Below is a sampling of career titles related to the profession:
- 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
- Sales Manager
- Political Campaign Director
Visit the links below for additional professional and career-related information:
To apply to the Public Relations Concentration, or to any program in the School of Communication and Media, please visit School Admission.