Public Relations Major - UWO Department of Journalism
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Public Relations Major

We launched the public relations major in 2015, the first in UW System, following more than 40 years of offering a public relations emphasis. This growing major offers writing, visual and digital communication courses to develop practitioners versed in the best practices for public relations techniques, media relations, research, social media and campaigns. These professionals build relationships online and in-person with media, consumers and other audiences in many types of organizations, such as agencies, corporations, government and nonprofits. Connect with a career like those of our award-winning alumni working at brands such as Kohl’s, Discover Wisconsin and U.S. Olympics, or practicing public relations at national and regional agencies such as Bader Rutter, Element Creative and Envano. You’ll also find them working in national, city and state government, such as Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources or Department of Tourism. Students learn about public relations in courses and experiences through internships and clubs, including the Public Relations Student Society for Professional Journalists (PRSSA). UWO has a tradition of placing in national public relations competitions, such as Bateman and the National Organ Donor Awareness Campaign.


The public relations major is certified through the Public Relations Society of America’s Certification in Education in Public Relations.


The public relations curriculum worksheet provides complete information on the major. Information about degree requirements follows.

Students enrolled between Fall 2015 through Spring 2018, please see this worksheet. 

Public Relations program at UWO with CEPR designation
The UW Oshkosh department of Journalism’s public relations program was informed Sept. 9, 2011, that its application for Certification in Public Relations was approved. UW Oshkosh became the first university in Wisconsin and only one of 28 universities in the world with this designation.

The work toward certification began in the summer of 2010 when Professor Julie Henderson submitted a preliminary report. Once a determination was made that the program was eligible for review, the CEPR review teem spent four intensive day in April 2011 meeting with faculty, staff and alumni. In addition, the reviewers spoke with employers, intern supervisors and local PRSSA and PRSA chapter members and other professionals about the UW Oshkosh program, both during the site visit and in separate conversation. In all, reviewers conducted more than 45 interviews.

Next, three levels of voting took place to approve the certification. The site team reviewers, the Educational Affairs Committee and the Public Relations Society of America Board of Directors all voted for the CEPR designation at UW Oshkosh.

The reviewers included high praise for public relations students, noting:

“Professionals and professors interviewed think highly of UW Oshkosh students. They shared that students are well-educated, well-rounded, hard-working, want to make a difference, choose projects that make an impact, think big, are devoted to public service and honor their professors and the local public relations community. They are also described by local professionals as being ‘quietly confident, with no arrogance.'”

Degree Requirements


Department Core – 15 Credits:

  • 141 – Intro to Media: News, Public Relations and Advertising
  • 221 – Writing for the Media
  • 251 – Foundations of Multimedia Storytelling
  • 324 – Editing
  • 412 – Law of Mass Communication


Public Relations Core – 9 Credits:

  • 211 – Principles of Public Relations
  • 315 – Public Relations Techniques
  • 319 – Case Studies in Public Relations


Public Relations Electives – 9 Credits:

  • 239 – Media Photography I OR 331 – Visual Media Design
  • 250 – Principles of Advertising
  • 340 – New & Emerging Media
  • 440 – Application of New & Emerging Media OR 457 – Media Organization & Management
  • 455 – Public Relations Campaigns
  • 472 – Research in Strategic Communication 


General Department Electives – 6 Credits:


Three (3) electives between 61-001 and 61-498 from the list of journalism courses. Note that 427, 429 and 452 DO NOT count as electives, and transfer students may count 199 ONCE in department majors or minors


Non-Journalism Required Courses – 12 Credits:

  • Computer Science 125 – Worldwide Website Development
  • History 202 – Modern U.S. History Since 1877
  • Political Science 105 – American Government and Policies


One Statistics Course From the Following:
  • Math 189 – PBIS Statistics;
  • Math 201 – Applied Statistics;
  • Psychology 203 – Elementary Psychological Statistics
  • Sociology 281 – Social Statistics



The Internship (427) course will NOT count toward the 39 credits for the public relations major.