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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 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

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


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.