Strategic Communication and Public Relations (M.A.)
The Strategic Communication and Public Relations graduate program prepares students to be effective public relations practitioners and communications managers. Students will combine the study of Strategic Communication focusing on how individuals and organizations work and use communication and media to persuade and influence key audiences with the practical PR skills of effective writing, messaging and audience engagement. At the completion of the program students will have the skills needed to successfully connect organizations with their key publics, including employees, consumers, government and the media. Students will know how to communicate the best message, through the right channels. This innovative curriculum will prepare students to work in today’s changing media environment including simultaneously pitching stories to journalists, writing a blog for the public and posting to social media. The industry demands that public relations practitioners have expertise in writing, information/social marketing campaigns, web design, visual media, critical and strategic thinking, and expertise in media practices and reputation and crisis management.
Featured CoursesSCPR 520 Multicultural Media HistoryThis course will examine the history and development of media images in public relations, mass media, journalism and advertising. Students will examine the ways in which minority groups have been underrepres ented, s tereotyped, and typecast. It will provide students with a historical, multicultural and gender sensitive overview of the development and social role of public relations, journalism and mass media in society. Students will study how media owned and produced by diverse groups cover themselves and the rest of society and analyze the powerful social role of multicultural perspectives in shaping public discussion and driving public discourse. At the end of this course students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the history and role of professionals and institutions in shaping communications; discuss and analyze the role that news coverage plays in the social construction of race, class and gender. Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of diversity in strategic communications and public relations in a global society.
Prerequisites: None SCPR 530 Olivia Pope in the Real World: Rep & CrisisIn the age of Olivia Pope and House of Cards almost everyone is familiar with how much rapid response and crisis management Presidents Fitz Grant and Francis Underw ood need on an almost daily basis. But in real life, crisis management has become a much needed tool in the PR portfolio. A reputation, whether for a business, an organization, a political candidate or an academic institution can take years to build and be ruined in a matter of days or even hours. In this course, students will learn what it takes to build, manage and protect a reputation. Reviewing real life case studies, students will examine the consequences of verbal and financial mistakes and misdeeds, product failures and organization crises, and the tactical and ethical challenges facing PR practitioners seeking solutions.
Prerequisites: None SCPR 540 Journalism and Public Relations WritingWriting for news and public relations introduces students to the foundational principles of journalism and public relations. Students learn the fundamentals of news writing and news media expectations, research and write various communications forms considered "the tools of the public relations trade," including producing a professional "Webinar."
Prerequisites: None SCPR 600 Media LawThis course is designed to give students an understanding of pertinent constitutional, equity and regulatory laws as they relate to mass media, and provide students with a basic understanding of how existing laws control the operation of mass media. Studen ts will use case studies to look at the wide range of media law and policy issues from First Amendment rights and Fair Use of media images to how to navigate copyright issues for websites. Students will explore the issues affecting the First Amendment, free press, free speech, religion and assembly and other legal issues that affect the media including intellectual property and technology. Upon taking this course students will understand and apply the First Amendment principles and the law appropriate to professional practice; understand the role of history and the role of professionals and institutions in shaping communication practices.
Prerequisites: None SCPR 605 Media Ethics Case StudiesGiven the ubiquitous headlines and media coverage of political corruption and ethical dilemmas facing individuals, professional organizations and corporations students need to understand how ethical standar ds are developed and applied in professional practices. This course will explore the ethical practices and challenges in the closely connected areas of public relations and journalism. Students will compare their personal ethical concepts and values with professional codes of ethics and best practices through case studies and guest lectures.
Prerequisites: None SCPR 632 Political Communications and CampaignsStudents will explore the strategic communications planning used in political campaigns including opposition research, messaging, image creation, crisis management, audience analysis, f ocus gro ups and get-out-the vote efforts. The course will include guest speakers who have worked extensively on a variety of national and local political campaigns.
Social Media Manager and Analyst
Senior Editorial Manager & Content Specialist
Manager, Corporate and Internal Communications
Community Relations Specialist
Marketing and Social Media Coordinator
Senior Public Relations Specialist
Public Policy Associate
Dr. Peggy Lewis, Executive Dean, School of Business and Graduate Studies and School of Professional Studies