Public Relations (BA)


Effective 1 June 2016 through 31 May 2017

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

This program offered by School of Communications/Communications and Journalism Department

Program Description

The public relations major combines a strong base in academic study with opportunities to test concepts through projects with actual clients. Writing proficiency is a necessary element of the major, as writing and knowledge of target audiences form the basic foundation of good public relations.

Students learn theories and gain hands-on experience in creating strategic information programs, internal communications plans, media relations, and special events as they build their professional portfolios using all available formats of media (print, video, radio and television, and digital and electronic applications).

Students learn from practicing professionals who are their professors, lecturers, mentors, and clients, bringing a real-world substance to the major. Internships augment the experience.

Learning Outcomes

Successful graduates of this program will be able to:

  • Apply research practices and methodologies to gather information that informs public relations target audience analysis and organizational public relations problem solving and decision-making.
  • Create public relations plans that use correctly defined goals, measurable objectives, strategies, tactics and evaluations.
  • Create, package and edit public relations message content and distribute it through appropriate media to select target audiences of business and non-profit organizations.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of public relations plans in meeting their defined goals and objectives.
  • Conduct themselves with professionalism in project management, client relationships, portfolio development, presentations, and work relationships.

Portfolio Review Course Requirements

  • PBRL 1010 Fundamentals of Strategic Communications and Public Relations (3 hours)
  • EPMD 1010 Introduction to Production for Journalism (3 hours)
  • PBRL 2920 Writing for Public Relations (3 hours)
  • PBRL 2800 Organizational Internal Communications (3 hours)

Degree Requirements

A minimum of 128 credit hours consisting of the following:

  • 42 required hours in the Public Relations program
  • 18 required hours in the Communications and Journalism Department
  • 30 Applicable University Global Citizenship Program hours
  • Electives
  • Successful passing of Portfolio Review

Required Courses

  • PBRL 1010 Fundamentals of Strategic Communications and Public Relations (3 hours)
  • ADVT 2350 Introduction to Visual Communications for Advertising and Public Relations (3 hours)
    or INTM 2350 Digital Production Tools (3 hours)
  • PBRL 2400 Public Relations and New Media: Content Creation and Management (3 hours)
  • PBRL 2800 Organizational Internal Communications (3 hours)
  • PBRL 2920 Writing for Public Relations (3 hours)
  • PBRL 3500 Public Relations Research (3 hours)
  • PBRL 3600 Public Relations Cases, US & Global (3 hours)
  • PBRL 4250 Media Relations (3 hours)
  • PBRL 4300 Crisis Communications and Issues Management (3 hours)
  • PBRL 4920 Public Relations Campaigns* (3 hours)
  • MEDC 4950 Internship (3 hours)
    or PBRL 4620 Senior Overview (3 hours)

*Capstone Course

In addition, a minimum of 9 credit hours from the following:

(Although any combination of these courses can be taken to fulfill the 9-hour requirement, courses are grouped by topic for those students who want to focus on a particular track by taking multiple classes in that area of study.)

  • MEDC 2800 Cultural Diversity in the Media (3 hours)
  • PBRL 3150 Topics (1-3 hours)
  • MEDC 3260 International Communications (3 hours)
  • PBRL 4050 Special Events (3 hours)
  • PBRL 4700 Professional Development in Public Relations (3 hours)

Visual Communications

  • ADVT 1940 Introduction to Marketing Communications (3 hours)
  • ADVT 3500 Visual Communications for Advertising and Public Relations (3 hours)

Business and Management

  • MNGT 3700 Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management (3 hours)
  • BUSN 3710 Entrepreneurial Financial Management (3 hours)
  • MNGT 3720 Entrepreneurial Marketing (3 hours)

Speech Communications

  • SPCM 1280 Interpersonal Communications (3 hours)
  • SPCM 2200 Group Communications (3 hours)
  • SPCM 2400 Persuasion (3 hours)
  • SPCM 3500 Presentations for Media Professionals (3 hours)

Required Courses in the Department of Communications and Journalism

In addition to the 42 credit hours required in the Public Relations program, the following 18 credit hours are required to provide all students with a solid foundation in communication and journalism theory and applications.

  • EPMD 1010 Introduction to Production for Journalism (3 hours)
  • MEDC 1010 Introduction to Mass Communications (3 hours)
  • JOUR 1030 Fundamentals of Reporting (3 hours)
  • MEDC 1050 Introduction to Media Writing (3 hours)
  • MEDC 2200 Ethics in the Media (3 hours)
  • MEDC 4100 The Law and the Media (3 hours)

Minors Encouraged

Public Relations students are strongly encouraged to pursue a minor (18 hours). Academic programs of particular relevance to the Public Relations BA are:

  • Advertising/Marketing Communications
  • Business
  • Journalism
  • Management
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Speech Communications