Catalogue 2018 - 2019

Master of Arts in Communication with Concentration in Public Relations


The University offers an online Master of Arts in Communication with a concentration in public relations. The program is designed to enable public relations specialists and media strategists currently working in the field receive additional training in cutting-edge public relations approaches and advance more quickly in their careers; to help business professionals enhance their knowledge of and facility with current research methods and practices; and to allow working professionals without an undergraduate degree in or professional experience with public relations to develop the skills and background to enter this rapidly-growing field.  The program uses a dynamic online environment and small class sizes to help students develop a collegial relationship with their faculty and with other students.  Students will regularly sharpen their professional writing, research, and analytical skills; develop approaches to handling public relations crises; and develop a principled approach to practicing public relations.  This program is also designed to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Program Objectives

The Master of Arts in Communication with a concentration in public relations program is intended to offer students the opportunity to:

  • learn modern methods of analyzing the effectiveness of public relations strategies for both for- and non-profit organizations;

  • sharpen crisis management skills;

  • develop principled approaches to managing public relations campaigns;

  • learn how to design and execute public relations strategies for use in multiple media platforms;

  • develop writing skills necessary for effective public relations campaign management; and

  • become fluent in both qualitative and quantitative research strategies.


  • The program is designed for part-time participation; all courses are offered online.

  • To complete the program, a student must take 10 courses, 30 credit hours, at least seven of which must be.

  • The program uses the 11-week term calendar to include two courses per semester, summers included, with courses sequenced to run every two years/every three summers.

Degree Requirements

Required Courses - 18 credits

Students must complete thirty (30) credits to receive a Master’s degree in Communication with a concentration in Public Relations. 

Eighteen (18) credits must be accumulated from required courses and twelve (12) credits must be accumulated from the list of elective courses.  Up to six (6) credits may be transferred from other graduate programs with the approval of the program director and department chair.  No course can be repeated for credit. 

COMM 501Principles & Practices of Public Relations

3 cr

COMM 505Writing for Communication Professionals

3 cr

COMM 510Communication Research Methods

3 cr

COMM 525Ethics in Public Communication

3 cr

COMM 550 Manufacturing and Managing Public Opinion

3 cr

COMM 570Crisis Management and Public Relations

3 cr

Total Credit Hours:18

Elective Courses - 12 credits

Variable credit courses (COMM 680 and COMM 699) are designed to allow students to move through the program more quickly if they desire and are in position to execute an independent study project or thesis significant enough in size and scope to warrant more than three credits.  Proposals to undertake a variable credit course must be approved by the program director and have the number of credits they will be worth established prior to registration for such courses.

COMM 605Strategic Approaches to Public Relations

3 cr

COMM 620Strategies for Social and Digital Media

3 cr

COMM 625Public Relations for NonProfits

3 cr

COMM 680Independent Study in Public Relations

3 - 6 crs

COMM 699Masters Thesis in Public Relations

3 - 6 crs

Total Credit Hours:12

All courses have connection to the Frameworks and are determined by the backgrounds of the students enrolled in the program.

Total Credit Hours: 30