Erica Emmich

Social Media and Public Relations

Social Media and Public Relations BA: The Big Picture

Celebrities, sports teams, major brands, nonprofit organizations, entrepreneurs  — all have one thing in common — they need to tell their story.  Yet, shaping the message and then cutting through the social media clutter in order to reach the right audiences is more challenging and confusing than ever.  The need for top notch public relations professionals has never been more critical to the success of any organization or personality.

The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Social Media and Public Relations helps you explore the growth and pervasive use of social media which has significantly transformed how brands, organizations, entrepreneurs, and individuals tell their stories. Social media has compelled many brands to focus on creating impactful content, amplifying messages, fostering interactive engagement, identifying strategic audiences, and building relationships. The need for top-notch public relations professionals has never been more critical than it is right now. As the first Social Media and Public Relations program in New Jersey, we offer students the fundamentals in social media analytics, multimedia production, graphic design, influencer campaigns, interactive communication, art and science of storytelling, campaign management, crisis communication, publicity, and events promotion. Our alumni are employed in for-profits, nonprofits, public relations/advertising/marketing agencies, government offices, and higher education institutions.

Stevie Vallellanes

  • “Montclair State’s School of Communication and Media helped prepare me for all future endeavors post-graduation. The professors care about how their students are doing inside and outside of their classroom, and provide the necessary skills to excel in various projects. I have had the privilege of completing career-altering projects, leading several organizations, and learning from some of the most established public relations and communication professionals alongside some of my best friends.” Stevie Vallellanes, BA 2021

What You Will Study

Actually, you will not just study – you’ll also do!  And, that’s unique value you will receive in the program.  The foundation of your public relations training is a curriculum that meets the Public Relations Society of America guidelines for PR education.  But, the exciting part is how we build on that classroom experience, most notably by giving students the opportunity to apply their education in a brand new, world class Strategic Communication center.  This hub offers the latest hardware and software programs and allows students to hone their research and analytical skills that are in demand by the public relations industry. You learn about:
  • Strategies that steer the communication efforts of organizations, social movements and political campaigns.
  • Methods for acquiring data and assessing both qualitative and quantitative research for the purpose of creating successful public relations campaigns.
  • How to tell compelling stories through news releases, video, feature stories, blogs, websites, and other traditional communication material.
  • How to use of social media platforms for greater public engagement.
  • The role PR plays in branding.
  • Integrating communication strategies for greater impact.
  • Crisis management strategies.
  • International relations that guide transnational companies and the diplomatic efforts of countries around the world.

The program also offers many co-curricular opportunities: Hawk Communications (student-run firm); Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter; The Bateman Competition

The Social Media and Public Relations curriculum is comprised of 120 credits (3 cr. per course) and includes five areas of requirement:

  1. Common-Core School Curriculum — a broad foundation for understanding all communication and media disciplines (required of all students in the School of Communication and Media)
  2. Social Media and Public Relations courses  — sequential instruction specific to the major-concentration
  3. Major Elective courses  — further development of interdisciplinary and major-related expertise
  4. General education courses  — 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)
  5. Free electives — exploration of additional areas of interest; internships or inclusion of a Minor

Each program (e.g. Social Media and Public Relations and Advertising) offered in the Strategic Communication area is designed for FOUR SEMESTERS of academic work within the major. This will allow students to take all core classes and participate in professionally enriching supplemental activities and courses such as WMSC Radio, The Montclarion newspaper, Hawk Communications PR/Strategic Communications Agency, the Red Hawk Sports Network, Hawk+ OTT streaming platform, News Lab, and participation in campaign contests such as the PRSSA Bateman Case Study Competition. 

World Class Internships

Our internship program is unmatched in the Metropolitan New York area.  Thanks to the university’s proximity to New York, and our industry connections, our students get an unparalleled opportunity to work with some of the area’s sports teams, media corporations, top New York based PR firms, and Fortune 500 companies. Here’s just a small list of some of the organizations offering internship programs to MSU PR students:

Viacom / MTV, Persona PR, The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, CNBC, CNN NY, Food Network, HBO, Jaguar, National Basketball Association, NBC Universal, NY Jets, NY Sports Club, Panasonic, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, The Wendy Williams Show, The Yes Network, NJ Devils, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Bed Bath & Beyond, Pepsi, Prudential Financial, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Johnson & Johnson

The World of PR at your Fingertips

In addition to an updated and rich curriculum, your PR development in the program can be grouped into five specific categories:

1. Real World Clients in the Classroom

Even in the classroom, students get a chance to work with real life clients.  Some of these have included Hall-of-Fame golfer Lorena Ochoa, Choose New Jersey, The Metropolitan Opera Guild, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, NY Fashion Week, New Jersey Advertising Club, and the LPGA.



2. Active Public Relations Student Society of America Chapter (PRSSA)

Our professional student organization, the PRSSA, is one of the state’s oldest and most active. Since 2012, it has produced fundraising galas for Autism New Jersey, headlined by the world’s top Broadway stars — Laura Benanti, Rebecca Luker, Stephanie J. Block, Sierra Boggess, Melba Moore, and Marin Mazzie, raising more than $40,000! The organization has also produced fundraisers for the John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center with Olympic great Shannon Miller.

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3. HAWK Communications: Our student-run PR firm

Hawk Communications is the student run PR firm.  The student members have produced important industry research and worked with clients, including Schumacker Chevrolet and the Montclair Art Museum.

logo for Hawk Communications
HAWK Students

4. PR Speaker Series & Workshops

One of our most invaluable offerings to our PR students is our special Speaker Series. You’ll get an extraordinary opportunity to learn and network with some the world’s top executives in our PR speakers series. Some of our previous speakers have included the:

  • President of L’Oreal Paris
  • Global marketing manager for Coach
  • Director of Integrated Marketing for Dunkin Donuts
  • Marketing Manager for the National Hockey League
  • Top PR firms, such as Edelman, Ketchum, and Rubenstein
Marie Audier Delessandris

As the former Director of Global Marketing for Coach, Marie Audier Dellesandris is one of the fashion and beauty industry’s most influential women.  Marie gave a talk on entrepreneurship.

Don Weiner


The producer of such shows as “Showtime at the Apollo,” “Steve Harvey’s Funderdome,” and “Are You Smarter than a Fifth grader,” Don Weiner led a workshop on event planning.

Elizabeth Fildes

Elizabeth Fildes was one of the PRSSA workshop guest speakers.  She is the publicist for legendary opera singers Anna Netrebko and Placido Domingo, plus Broadway superstar Audra McDonald.


The School of Communication and Media houses state-of-the-art, fully equipped teaching and production facilities. Our classrooms are designed to maximize student engagement and collaboration, the Presentation Hall provides a spectacular space for events and speakers, and multiple production studios and edit labs offer the latest high-end technology and software for content creation and distribution. The latest addition to our arsenal of multimedia spaces includes a strategic communication center, equipped with a social media command center to help students understand how to monitor social media trends and conversations and learn how to launch and expand brands through social media platforms. As industry standards evolve, so does the information, technology and equipment the Public Relations BA offers to students.

For more information:
Facilities at SCM

Careers in Public Relations

Whether you like to create stories visually or through the written word, or you prefer to conduct research or analytics, even work in groups or manage account teams, there’s a career in public relations for you. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an increase in the demand for public relations specialists (check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ recent report on the specific jobs in the public relations field). The latest report from the Bureau states there are almost 260,000 jobs in public relations in the United States alone, and that number is expected to grow by nearly 10 percent over the next few years. Never has there been a better time to begin studying for a career in Public Relations.

Following is just a short list of the kinds of opportunities that await a well prepared public relations graduate:

Social media analysts/managers
Event planners
Marketing communications
Reputation/Crisis Management
Brand Management

Content Creators
Media Relations
Community Relations
Investor Relations
Strategic Communication Managers

Montclair State Public Relations graduates have gone on to careers at the following firms:

Ogilvy logo
Weber Shandwick logo
Panasonic logo
Coyne PR logo
Johnson & Johnson logo
Fleishman Hilliard logo
Walt Disney logo
NJ Chamber of Commerce logo
NJPAC logo
3E PR logo

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

Communication and Media – Professional Resources
College Career Services


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Contact Bond Benton
Morehead Hall, Room 104B
Contact Larry Weiner
Morehead Hall, Room M146