Curriculum

The master’s degree concentration in public relations consists of 12 courses, three credit hours each, for a total of 36 credit hours.


PR Theory and Ethical Practice

This course introduces students to the public relations profession by exploring both the theories and processes employed by PR practitioners.  Through a deep examination of the theoretical basis of the field and how those ideas are used in organizational settings, students will strengthen their critical thinking skills within a public relations context.

PR Management

This course examines public relations as a part of an organization’s management function and business management broadly as it relates to communication.  By broadening the students’ understanding of management thought and how communication plays a vital role in the business world, they will gain deeper knowledge of how public relations works for and with other vital pieces of an organization.

Social Media and PR

This course provides an in-depth study of social media and public relations, emphasizing how the two are used by organizations to build stronger relations with consumers, media, analysts and others. Grounded in foundational public relations ideas, students will learn how to use social media to benefit organizations and deepen relationships, while also broadening their understanding of social media tools.

Strategic Writing and Messaging

The ability to write remains at the heart of communication, even as professionals employ new technological innovations. Focusing on writing and strategic messaging, this course helps students become more skilled and confident communicators. Course content includes skill building in online and traditional mediums.

Values and Ethics Management

This course examines the ethical foundation that underpins the public relations practitioner’s professional career. By examining case studies, ethics theory, values and management thought, students will develop a broader understanding of ethics and its consequences throughout one’s career.

Financial Issues in Public Relations

This course focuses on financial topics related to a career in public relations, particularly the role of communicators in the growing field of investor relations. Course objectives include deepening students’ financial literacy, increasing their compliance and financial reporting expertise, and polishing their financial public relations skills so they can successfully deal with analysts, shareholders, and the financial media.

Law for Advertising and Public Relations

This course examines important legal issues in public relations and communications in general, including case studies related to the First Amendment, libel, invasion of privacy, regulation of broadcasting and new media, copyright and access to information. The focus is on the theories underlying these issues, as well as practical application of the legal concepts.

Online Tactics for Public Relations

This course examines web topics ranging from social media tools to skills development using the full range of cybermedia techniques. The focus of the class is to broaden students’ ability to use social media and web tools as tactical elements of strategic planning initiatives, with an emphasis on “hands-on” learning.

Measurement and ROI

Strategic management and tactical planning is critical to the success of communications programs. Once an overlooked part of the process, organizations and public relations professionals recognize that measuring outcomes is an essential part of the strategic process. This course provides students with an in-depth understanding of communication measurement and return on investment (ROI), particularly as it relates to social media.

Internal Communications

This course examines the multi-faceted, fascinating world of internal communications. Ranging from the development of organizational intranets to employee-focused communications channels, internal communications is one of the most important and fastest-growing segments in the communications field. Organizations understand that keeping employees cognizant of overall goals and aspirations is essential to long-term success.

PR History and the Modern World

This course focuses on the development of public relations as a formal industry, focusing on the 20th century. Through detailed study of historical case studies, campaigns and initiatives, the course provides students with historical context for current and future work in the field, making them more equipped and smarter professionals.

Master’s Culminating Experience (Capstone)

Working under the supervision of the capstone course faculty member, students will build individual portfolios that represent the best work they have completed in the program.  The portfolio will demonstrate the student’s synthesis of knowledge, while also providing a selection of work to demonstrate mastery for potential employers.