Erica Emmich

Social Media and Public Relations

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 gives students hands-on training to become leaders and influencers in one the world’s most vibrant communication fields. In our program, students learn the art of storytelling, how to do publicity and promotions and run events and campaigns for everything from celebrities to global corporations.You will master the tools of the trade, using social media to drive public opinion and digital analytics tools to measure your success. You’ll work with influencers and produce digital media content to reach the public, working across disciplines with world class faculty. You’ll get real world experience in our School’s PRSSA Chapter and in Hawk Communications, our School’s student PR agency. And you’ll intern for some of the world’s most important PR agencies, companies, and brands, all located right here in our dynamic NY metropolitan area.The opportunities to transform yourself into a highly marketable PR candidate are virtually limitless!

Our students excel academically and professionally. Over the past four years, three Montclair State Students have been awarded the Future Public Relations Professional honor by the New Jersey chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

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

  1. Common-Core School Curriculum (12 credits) — 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 (18 credits) — sequential instruction specific to the major-concentration
  3. Major Elective courses (18 credits) — further development of interdisciplinary and major-related expertise
  4. General education courses (39-42 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)
  5. Free electives (21-30 credits) — exploration of additional areas of interest; internships or inclusion of a Minor

For more information about the Public Relations BA:

Four-year Course Sequence View the Social Media and Public Relations Course Catalog
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:

Al Roker Entertainment
Channel, Inc.
Food Network
National Basketball Association
NBC Universal

NY Jets
NY Sports Club
Saks Fifth Avenue
Sirius/XM Satellite Radio
The Late Show With Stephen Colbert
The Wendy Williams Show
The Yes Network
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.

View more videos

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