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Public Relations

The Breakdown

How does a corporation or an individual determine its target audience? How do they know what said audience expects? How do they disseminate their message to the masses? The answers to these questions are the provenance of public relations experts.

Should you decide to pursue the fascinating field of public relations, you will study shaping and influencing public opinion. Through a curriculum that will likely combine both theory and application, you’ll learn about effective communication, problem solving and planning strategies. You’ll also learn how to assess the needs of both a company and a consumer and the best methods to marry the results. Moreover, from press releases and newsletters to promotional ads, you will discover how to create worthwhile, valuable campaigns. It’s also important to highlight the fact that many programs require at least one internship in addition to coursework.

Successful PR strategists and firms are built upon the foundations of good relationships. Therefore, it’s important to be a people person who understands how to traverse any social situation. Of course, public relations is also about crafting targeted messages so effective writing and communication skills are paramount. Finally, you’ll need to be a creative thinker who is able to translate complex ideas into digestible sound bites.

Nuts and Bolts

As a public relations major, your schedule might include courses such as: Integrated Communications Campaigns, Media Law and Ethics, News Writing, Public Relations Principles, Media Production Technique, Mass Media Effects, Writing for Public Relations, Publication Design, Script Writing, Introduction to Advertising, Theories of Media and Visual Culture, Intercultural Communication, and Web and Interactive Media Design.

Decisions, Decisions…

Public relations stands at the crossroads of business, media and creative pursuits. Therefore, it’s common for majors to also consider studying advertising, communications, marketing, business, psychology, journalism, international business, radio/television/film, rhetoric, English, digital media, graphic design and creative writing.

What’s Next?

The good news for public relations majors is that their chosen field gives them wide professional range. Indeed, from film production to pharmaceuticals, many industries rely on PR to support, sustain or generate business. As a practitioner of public relations, you might work in corporate PR, focusing on investor, community or employee relations. Conversely, you can find employment in the non-profit world, addressing both fundraising needs and educational platforms. Additionally, those PR professionals who seek government work ultimately might become press secretaries or public affairs specialists. Lastly, other possible job titles might include publicist, public opinion researcher, account executive, labor relations consultant and convention planner.


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Don Munce