Public Relations Major/Minor

With a major in public relations at Saint Mary’s, students learn how to effectively design communication campaigns, write, produce, and edit content for social media and news releases, and gain basic journalism, public speaking, and graphic design skills.

Throughout the program, students will learn how public relations professionals strategically communicate an organization’s objectives to target audiences and tailor messages relevant to different constituencies. Degree candidates are given internship opportunities, offering them real-world experience and a direct connection to professionals in the field.

Career Options

Advertising, marketing, and public relations manager; graphic designer; social media specialist; multimedia producer; market and survey researcher; public relations specialist; publisher; writer

High School Preparation

Business; Computer Applications; English; Journalism; Psychology; Speech

Enhance Your Experience

Students who major or minor in public relations oftentimes pursue additional studies in English, strategic communication, business, or psychology

Public Relations Minor

Public relations minors learn how to manage and promote the public images of people, businesses, and organizations. Students also gain the people skills necessary to be successful in many careers, making it a minor that pairs well with numerous areas of study.

Degree Requirements

A. Communication Core

AR203 Graphic Design I (3 cr.)

Graphic Design I offers an introductory study of the principles, tools, and techniques of design for publishing and advertising. It includes a study of typography, designer and printer's vocabulary, and the aesthetics of graphic design. This course is taught on the computer using the most widely used software applications in publishing and printing.

COM111 Introduction to Mass Communication (3 cr.)

A study of the history, production methods, and social and economic factors of the mass media. This course gives students an understanding of print media, broadcast media and public relations by analyzing the technical development and social impact of media.

COM150 Social and New Media Communication (3 cr.)

This course provides a study of the evolution, trends, and platforms of social and new media.  This course will give you an understanding of these online and App-based media by analyzing their technical development and media, business, and social impacts.  The course will also address best practices in content creation for use of these media in news content, branding, and public relations.  Specific platforms we will cover include:  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instragram, Pintrest, Google+, YouTube, Blogs, Snapchat, Periscope, and Virtual Reality.

COM201 Beginning Newswriting (3 cr.)

Principles and practice in journalistic writing and related skills and theory, including style and conventions of journalistic writing, news judgment criteria, techniques for interviewing, ethical dimensions. Extensive writing in and out of class.

COM308 Editing (3 cr.)

Exploration of and experience in the professional skills needed to produce news and public relations materials. Includes copy editing, grammar, style and headline writing; organization and structure of texts in news and public relations; computerized editing functions.

COM350 Multimedia Production (3 cr.)

Digital media - including podcasting, multimedia storytelling and editing, and other collaborative content creation platforms - are changing the fields of public relations and journalism.  Hiring managers in communications-related fields expect new college graduates to be "experts" in all multimedia platforms.  Those who can demonstrate true expertise, however, are rare due to lack of formal instruction and training.  This course narrows the focus from the broad field of digital media to cover the specific tools and best practices needed to conquer current and future use of multimedia production in public relations, journalism, electronic publishing, and related fields.

COM488 Contemporary Issues in Mass Communication (3 cr.)

An examination of contemporary ethical situations regarding the media professional's role in determining guidelines to provide the public with relevant contextual material. Emphasis in this course is placed upon an understanding of the limits and guarantees of the First Amendment, the four major theories of the press and the practice of communications as part of a community.

COM490 Senior Portfolio Development (1 cr.)

This course is for seniors in one of the Department of Communication majors/minors only and prepares them for entering a career in a communications field.  Topics include hard-copy and electronic portfolios, professional photos, cover letters, resumes, professional expectations, job interviews, and more.  Guest speakers will be invited as available.

COM496/497 Internship: Communication (1–17 cr.)

An opportunity for qualified juniors or seniors to participate in a field experience under the guidance and supervision of competent professionals.

E295 Practical Grammar (2 cr.)

The purpose of this course is to teach students to identify basic and advanced grammatical structures. Students are asked to apply this grammatical knowledge to exercises that require them to edit for grammar and punctuation.

B. All of the following:

AR315 Graphic Design II (3 cr.)

Graphic Design II provides more defined and specific graphic design problems. Emphasis is placed on working with computer applications, branding, packaging design, and the creation of a personal portfolio.

COM230 Principles of Public Relations (3 cr.)

Theory, history, and practice of public relations in society; consideration of public relations programs, the process of influencing public opinion, the responsibilities of the public relations practitioner, ethics of public relations practice, and professional public relations organizations.

COM314 Public Relations Writing (3 cr.)

Intensive writing in the forms characteristic of public relations; practice in writing news releases, infographics, newsletters, company, brochures, position papers, and speeches.

COM400 Public Relations Research (3 cr.)

This course provides students with an understanding of terms and applications of both quantitative and qualitative public relations research, measurement and evaluation. Students learn what public relations practitioners do to research and evaluate PR campaigns, and then conduct research projects. This course is usually taken in the junior or senior year, but must be taken prior to enrollment in COM443.

COM410 Communication Law (3 cr.)

This course provides students with an understanding of legal and ethical issues involving print and broadcast media and the Internet, including libel, obscenity, invasion of privacy, shielding of sources, freedom of the press, copyright, and government regulation. This course must be taken in the junior or senior year.

COM443 Campaigns and Cases in Public Relations (3 cr.)

Public relations case studies in various organizations including the application of public relations techniques to representative problems and communication materials for various media are planned and prepared.

C. Two of the following:

AR288 Web Design I (3 cr.)

Web Design I is a course covering a range of web and interactive technologies in both technical and design areas. Students learn HTML, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), Adobe Dreamweaver and InDesign DPS tools, as well as basic JavaScript and jQuery. Image editing for the web and image manipulation in Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator are also covered, as well as user interface theory and usability. Students learn how to create image galleries, design, and organize information for ease of navigation, and learn what makes a website into an effective communication or marketing tool.  Students create two major projects including a website and a mobile app.

COM301 Advanced Newswriting (3 cr.)

Hands-on experience in identifying, pursuing, and writing news stories; principles and practice in writing various news-story types.

COM331 Public Affairs Journalism (3 cr.)

An examination of units of local and state government and their coverage in the news media; projects designed to familiarize students with the workings of governmental and quasi-governmental agencies.

COM352 Digital and Social Analytics (3 cr.)

This course will cover the basic and commonly used statistical concepts used for digital information and social media analytics.  It will proved a study of the theory and implementation of different online digital information, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), and search engine marketing (SEM) analytics.  The course will examine methods that have emerged from digital information and media prove to be of value in recognizing patterns and decision-making activities.  Data visualization and date file access will also be part of the course.  We will survey online software and students will have an opportunity for hands-on analysis.

A. All of the following:

COM150 Social and New Media Communication (3 cr.)

This course provides a study of the evolution, trends, and platforms of social and new media.  This course will give you an understanding of these online and App-based media by analyzing their technical development and media, business, and social impacts.  The course will also address best practices in content creation for use of these media in news content, branding, and public relations.  Specific platforms we will cover include:  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instragram, Pintrest, Google+, YouTube, Blogs, Snapchat, Periscope, and Virtual Reality.

COM201 Beginning Newswriting (3 cr.)

Principles and practice in journalistic writing and related skills and theory, including style and conventions of journalistic writing, news judgment criteria, techniques for interviewing, ethical dimensions. Extensive writing in and out of class.

COM230 Principles of Public Relations (3 cr.)

Theory, history, and practice of public relations in society; consideration of public relations programs, the process of influencing public opinion, the responsibilities of the public relations practitioner, ethics of public relations practice, and professional public relations organizations.

COM314 Public Relations Writing (3 cr.)

Intensive writing in the forms characteristic of public relations; practice in writing news releases, infographics, newsletters, company, brochures, position papers, and speeches.

B. 6 Upper-division credits approved by Department of Communication Chair