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What Classes Do I Need for a Public Relations Degree?

by C.P. Brown, studioD

Individuals wishing to help organizations build positive relationships with the public can seek a degree in public relations. The courses needed to complete a public relations degree help students explore the various aspects of this line of work and acquire the knowledge needed to be a successful practitioner in the field.

Writing to Relate

Communication skills are the heart of public relations, so it is no surprise that university degree programs require students to take courses to enhance their written communication. Degree programs such as that of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio, require classes such as effective writing for strategic public relations, business and professional writing, and media research and writing within their prescribed courses of study.

Communication's the Key

Since public relations rely heavily on interactions with the public for a specific purpose, many colleges offering this degree program house the discipline within their School of Communication. Being able to take advantage of communication instruction teaches students to use qualitative and quantitative data to communicate with target markets. Within the program located at Boston University, for example, public relations students within the College of Communication are required to take the core subjects of mass communication research and theory and process of communication.

Mindful of the Media

As technology progresses, media has become a major factor in public relations. Virginia Commonwealth University informs prospective students that practitioners in this field must be able to “maintain a presence in social media outlets.” Aligned with this admonition, public relations course inventory at VCU includes topics in media relations in its degree plan. Collegiate programs with a more robust media track, such as the University of Texas, have adopted course requirements in media sales, special topics in sports media, and other more specialized topics in media interaction.

Ethically Inclined

The Institute for Public Relations asserts that consistent ethical behavior promotes trust and positive relationships between organizations and the general public. College-based public relations programs at universities such as Marquette and Syracuse stand in agreement with such a notion, offering classes such as ethical problems of mass communications and the ethics of advocacy. These courses offer students the opportunity to learn the principles and standards that guide positive relationships between organizations and the markets that they serve.

About the Author

Based in Houston, C.P. Brown is a writer with experience in children's fiction, poetry, the arts and education. Her work has appeared in the "Houston Chronicle" and various poetry publications. Brown is the founder of a nonprofit organization that promotes fine arts and a former charter school administrator. She holds a Master of Education from Harvard University.

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