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Public Relations Major

Pursue a career in public relations, a dynamic, growing field where strategic social media campaigns, media relations, special events, promotional activities and digital communication help organizations build relationships with the media, consumers, employees and other target audiences. Students may take advanced courses to develop skills in new and emerging media, media relations, special events, promotions, crisis communication and strategic public relations campaigns.
Apply and expand classroom knowledge through client projects, internships and clubs, including the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). Our program has a strong tradition of excellence resulting in national public relations competition awards, such as Bateman and the National Organ Donor Awareness Campaign.
According to the Public Relations Student Society of America, our public relations major is one of only 40 undergraduate programs worldwide to have earned Certification in Education for Public Relations “for meeting eight standards (PDF) in curriculum, faculty, students, resources and facilities, assessment, professional affiliations, relationships with the total unit and the university and diversity and global perspectives.” The major and minor are also accredited through the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC).
Connect with a career like those of our award-winning alumni working at brands such as Kohl’sDiscover Wisconsin and U.S. Olympics, or practicing public relations at national and regional agencies such as EdelmanBader RutterElement Creative and Envano. You’ll also find our impressive alumni working in national, city and state government and educational institutions, such as Wisconsin Athletics, and Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources and Department of Tourism.

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


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.