The College of Journalism and Communications offers a Master of Arts in Mass Communication with a specialization in Public Relations. The public relations specialization at the master’s level is a research-based program designed to prepare students for careers and advancement in the industry or for entering doctoral studies. Students learn the conceptual foundations of public relations and develop professional and research competency within the duration of the program.
Courses in the public relations specialization focus on conceptual foundations of public relations, including mass communication and society; professional and managerial skills mastery; and research expertise. The core of public relations courses required of all students includes Public Relations Research, Theories of Public Relations, Public Relations Management, Ethics and Professional Responsibility, and Mass Communication Theory. Students may choose several electives as approved by advisers.Upon completing coursework, students complete a thesis. The specialization requires 36 hours.
This is a Fall only admission.
For admissions information and application materials, contact Sarah G. Lee.
For information about the public relations curriculum and program requirements, contact Dr. Mary Ann Ferguson.
Public Relations Theories
This course surveys theories that form the basis for the body of knowledge in public relations. Theories addressed include, for example, communication (interpersonal, mass, organizational), relational, rhetorical, postmodern, complexity, contingency and critical. The course examines these theories within the context of issues relevant to public relations and communication management.
Public Relations Research
This course addresses research methodologies for basic and applied research in public relations. Included are secondary analysis, particularly online research, as well as the range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies used in public relations research. The course also emphasizes the utilization of research by organizations as well as methods for writing reports and presentation of research findings. (For students who intend to continue their studies at the doctoral level, this course would be supplemented by other appropriate research courses.)
Public Relations Management
This course involves the application of strategic management principles to the development of public relations plans and programs. The objective is to help students develop an understanding of and proficiency in theory and principles of strategic management. Emphasis is on relationship management with key publics using a research-based approach. Students also address business-related issues, such as counseling, budgeting, project direction and client relations.
The program regularly offers public relations electives such as Strategic Public Relations (International); Public Relations and Philanthropy; Public Relations and Fundraising; and Public Relations and Law. Future offerings include courses emphasizing new technologies, persuasion, history, politics, and gender. Examples of other elective courses in the College include International Communication; Mass Communication Theory; Qualitative Research; Race, Class, Gender and Media; Science and Health Communication; Theories of Advertising; Electronic Publishing; History of Journalism; and Content Analysis. Many other electives are offered. Please check ISIS and work with your advisor to select appropriate options.