Public Relations (MA)


2014-2015 GRADUATE STUDIES CATALOG
Effective 1 June 2014 through 31 May 2015

Please see the Graduate Catalog Archives for PDF versions of past catalogs.

This program offered by School of Communications

Program Description

The master of arts (MA) degree in public relations is intended for students who have both an interest and background in public relations. The MA in public relations is a specialized concentration available only to individuals who qualify for the program.

All students entering this program are required to consult with a School of Communications academic advisor prior to registration. Qualifications and prerequisite course requirements will be discussed at that time. Qualifications include a strong educational background or a minimum of three years of relevant professional experience in public relations. A résumé may be requested to determine professional experience. Students without a strong educational background or three years of relevant professional experience in public relations are required to enroll in 6 credit hours of prerequisite course work.

Students must earn a grade of “B” or better in the prerequisite courses before they are allowed to enroll in graduate courses. The prerequisite courses are not counted toward the 36 credit hours required for the degree, nor are they considered as part of the credit hours required for advancement to candidacy.

Our degrees are theory and application based and are not intended to be production-oriented. Students interested in developing a creative portfolio or acquiring tactical production skills may wish to consider undergraduate course work in public relations.

This degree is also available online. Online courses require excellent organizational skills, self-direction, and motivation to master the challenges of this learning environment.

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Student Learning Outcomes

Successful graduates of this program will be able to:

  • Demonstrate expertise in problem identification, resolution development and implementation for communication-related issues;
  • Design and perform public relations research and understand findings, in order to solve an organization's communications problems;
  • Develop public relations plans for various internal and external audiences;
  • Demonstrate strategic-level analysis and critical thinking;
  • Assess and apply major tactical-level communication tools based on overall public relations plan strategy;
  • Review trends and anticipate implications for future communications needs and challenges;
  • Identify changes that could have an impact on public relations practices.

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Prerequisite Courses

If prerequisite course work is required for admission into the program, students must complete a minimum of 6 hours of appropriate undergraduate courses as determined by a School of Communications academic advisor. These required courses must be listed on an official transcript. Prerequisite courses could include the following or their equivalents:

  • PBRL 2100 Fundamentals of Strategic Communications and Public Relations (3)
  • PBRL 2920 Writing for Public Relations (3)
  • PBRL 4300 Crisis Communications Management (3)
  • PBRL 4800 Media Relations (3)

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Program Curriculum

MEDC 5000 Media Communications is the requisite course in the public relations program. It examines communications theory and its application to mass media, as well as introduces students to the graduate program, describes program expectations, and discusses academic preparation for MEDC 6000 Seminar in Media Communications. Therefore, students must take this course even if they have academic or professional experience in media communications.

The required and elective courses listed may be taken as directed studies, subject to the conditions stated in the Directed Studies section listed under Academic Policies and Procedures and approved by the director of graduate studies.

The course of study for students working toward an MA in public relations is as follows. Any variation from this curriculum should be approved in advance using a program option request form.

Core Courses (21 credit hours)

  • MEDC 5000 Media Communications (Requisite Course) (3 hours)
  • MEDC 5310 Media and Culture (3 hours)
  • PBRL 5322 Public Relations (3 hours)
  • PBRL 5342 Writing for Public Relations (3 hours)
    -OR-PBRL 5344 Speech Writing (3 hours)
  • MEDC 5350 Media Organization and Regulations (3 hours)
  • MEDC 5360 International Communications (3 hours)
  • MEDC 6000 Seminar in Media Communications (3 hours)

Elective Courses

A minimum of 15 credit hours must be completed from the following:

  • ADVT 5321 Advertising Decision-Making (special prerequisites) (3 hours)
  • MEDC 5010 Introduction to Graduate Studies: Advanced Thinking and Writing (3 hours)
  • MEDC 5300 Strategic Communications (3 hours)
  • MEDC 5343 Writing for Media Communications: Scriptwriting (3 hours)
  • MEDC 5345 Writing for Media Communications: Journalism (3 hours)
  • MEDC 5400 Media Production Management (3 hours)
  • MEDC 5430 Media Communications Technology (3 hours)
  • MEDC 5460 Media Research (3 hours)
  • MEDC 5500 Professional Seminars (1-3 hours)
  • MEDC 5550 Topics in Media Communications (3-6 hours)
  • MEDC 5600 Introduction to Interactive Communications (3 hours)
  • MEDC 5650 Special Topics in Interactive Media (3 hours)
  • PBRL 4190 Public Relations Research (3 hours)
  • PBRL 4800 Media Relations (3 hours)
  • PBRL 5323 Organizational Communications (3 hours)
  • PBRL 5342 Writing for Public Relations (if not used as a core course) (3 hours)
  • PBRL 5344 Speech Writing ( if not used as a core course) (3 hours)
  • PBRL 5451 Communication Strategies for Investors and Financial Stakeholders (3 hours)
  • PBRL 5452 Communication Strategies for Public Affairs and Government Relations (3 hours)
  • PBRL 5453 Communication Strategies for Nonprofit Organizations (3 hours)
  • PBRL 5465 Crisis Management Communications (3 hours)
  • PBRL 5550 Topics in Public Relations (3-6 hours)
  • PBRL 5770 Multinational Public Relations (3 hours)

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Admission

Students who are interested in applying to this degree program should see the Admission Section of this catalog for general requirements.

Send all admission materials to:

Office of Admissions
Webster University
470 E. Lockwood Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63119

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