What is Typical Coursework in a Public Relations Degree Program?

Per the BLS, most PR professionals must have a public relations degree. PR professionals need a solid education in order to successfully deal with deadlines, sensitive topics and brand and image management. These academic programs typically include the following coursework, but they sometimes include specialized degree options.

Common Classes

Most PR degrees include classes on organizational management, so students learn about planning, leading and controlling functions and concepts. Students learn about the application of management theories to real-life PR situations. Related to this class, marketing strategy coursework helps students learn to develop, implement and evaluate marketing tactics for products and services. Classes on the principles of marketing examine the external factors and internal environments that impact marketing decisions and programs. Advertising classes introduce students to promotional forces, institutions and strategic practices.

Coursework in contemporary business communications cover how to share, process, access, store and evaluate information through technology. Students learn how to compose and format various business documentation. Classes on digital media literacy examine the evolution of digital media and explore current industry trends. Students learn how to focus on message content, creation and visual presentation. PR workshop classes will require students to produce and present promotional writing. They may work on a project to create, edit and share news releases, marketing brochures, executive speeches and external reports.

Marketing and IT Degree Specializations

Many PR degree programs offer specializations, such as in public relations and marketing. This unique degree includes concepts of branding, advertising, branding and corporate communications. These programs focus on how to balance and evaluate the effectiveness of both marketing and public relations messages. Students learn about interdepartmental problem analysis, strategic planning and message development. A PR and marketing program is perfect for students who want career flexibility.

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Some programs offer specializations in PR and information systems, which focuses on developing appropriate technical skills and knowledge. Students may take classes in business systems analysis and learn how to create technical development processes for organizations. Students examine the issues involved in balancing information technology, business confidentiality and public relations needs. Classes on database management systems will provide an understanding of how data is physically and logically stored, accessed and managed.

Project and Global Management Specializations

Some students may want to become a PR consultant, so they can specialize in project management. These degrees teach students about project quality assurance, framework for managing projects and practical techniques for defining, planning, executing and closing projects. Students are introduced to the principles of risk management, issue analysis and traditional project milestones and new data-driven measurements. Part of understanding the psychology of project management involves learning about how to identify, understand, respect and unite various values, goals and objectives.

Studying international management will cover global marketing, which examines how cultural, economic and socio-political factors affect PR practices and results. Students will learn how to understand and appeal to global audiences. Classes on international business examine the functional areas of transnational business activities. Classes on international finance explore corporate finance, capital markets and global banking. Students may also study integrated budgeting and scheduling control, which teaches students how to use different methodologies to reach goals.

A public relations degree will prepare graduates for jobs as social media associates, digital communications coordinators and PR content managers.