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public relations

School of Humanities & Behavioral Science

If you’re asking yourself, “Do I want to study public relations or marketing?” you’re not alone. These two majors lead to similar careers, with public relations having a broad focus, and marketing using a direct approach.

Public relations uses objective and trustworthy two-way communication to build relationships and earn unbiased support, often without the use of paid advertising. Marketing is similarly focused on gaining support, but is more specific in its efforts, using pricing, distribution, and promotion to create brand awareness for a specific product or service. Together, public relations and marketing work to build trust and encourage customer loyalty and company support. When combined, they comprehensively tell the brand’s story while maintaining credibility and a strong reputation.

A degree in public relations enhances your résumé and makes you more marketable, because it develops your skills in storytelling, message distribution strategy, and brand awareness.

PR vs. Marketing

If you’re asking yourself, “Do I want to study public relations or marketing?” you’re not alone. These two majors lead to similar careers, with public relations having a broad focus, and marketing using a direct approach.

Public relations uses objective and trustworthy two-way communication to earn unbiased support, often without the use of paid advertising. It creates broad support for an organization or initiative by focusing on trust and relationships. Marketing is similarly focused on gaining support, but is more specific in its efforts. Marketing professionals use pricing, distribution, and promotion to create brand awareness for a specific product or service.

Together, public relations and marketing work to encourage customer loyalty and company support. When combined, they comprehensively tell the brand’s story while maintaining credibility and a strong reputation.

PR vs. Communication

Once you understand the differences between the fields of public relations and marketing and how they successfully work together, it’s important to understand the study of communication. Communication is a broad field and includes written, verbal, and nonverbal expression.

A public relations degree focuses on strategic brand reputation and credibility, giving students the opportunity to communicate to a specific industry (e.g., healthcare, sports, fundraising, nonprofits, corporations, crises, etc.). A degree in public relations enhances your résumé and makes you more marketable, because it develops your skills in storytelling, message distribution strategy, and brand awareness.

Hear a podcast about our Public Relations Student Society of America chapter:

Program Overview

Public Relations

Public relations strategically builds and maintains relationships with organizations by communicating ethical and consistent messages. During AU’s course preparation in public relations, students learn foundations, feature and digital writing, campaigns, research, ethics, social media, and event planning, with a focus on faith and hands-on experiences.

According to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the field will soon see a 60% increase in hiring. Likewise, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an above average hiring pace by 2026. In 2020, AU’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Chapter received the national Pacesetter Award.

Because the field is redefining itself through new technology, there is a high demand for well-prepared professionals. Anderson University’s program cultivates graduates who will not only find jobs upon graduation, but who will lead the field in the decades to come.

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Track Options

  • Major in public relations.
  • Major in public relations with a concentration in event planning.
  • Major in public relations with a concentration in social media.
  • Complete the degree in 3 or 4 years.
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Classes

While enrolled, students learn about the professional practice of public relations and develop a minimum of 10 pieces of work for their portfolio by the time they graduate. Among the classes in the 52-hour major are:

  • Public Relations:
    • Foundations
    • Campaigns
    • Writing
    • Research
  • Event Planning & Management
  • Global Communication
  • Communicating Through Social Media

View the complete curriculum.

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Careers

PR professionals can use their skills generally or specialize in almost any area or context. Common job titles in the field include:

  • Communication Specialist
  • Content Manager
  • Internal Communications Coordinator
  • Fundraising Specialist
  • Social Media Manager
  • Copywriter
  • Media Relations Manager
  • Program Coordinator
  • Events Coordinator
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Internships

In 2019, 100% of Anderson University public relations graduates found employment in the field or started graduate school due to strong internship opportunities with companies such as:

  • BLASTmedia
  • Eiteljorg Museum
  • Indianapolis Colts
  • Indianapolis Motor Speedway
  • Kalitta Motorsports
  • St. Vincent Hospital Foundation
  • The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
  • The U.S. Attorney’s Office

Your AU Story Begins Now

The PR program sets students up for success in a future career by providing real-world opportunities before graduation, including working on projects with real clients. Aside from helping me build an awesome portfolio, one of these client assignments ended in an internship offer, rounding out my practical experience even further.

Caroline States ’21

I credit the education I received at Anderson University for helping me develop the roots to establish a successful career in public relations and marketing. I walked away with the foundational knowledge and tools I needed to take off quickly – strong core skills in writing, practical experiences with real businesses to extend what I learned in the classroom and the confidence to let my natural curiosity and creativity lead the way.

Rachel Faulkner BA ’00

Director of Public Relations, Genesys

AU is the connection to my past, present, and future. I learned so much while I was there – about myself, about people, and about what I wanted out of a career. And it’s because of an AU connection that I found my job at Fishhook. That job has turned into a calling to a mission that I hope to be part of for a very long time.

Aimee Cottle BA ’12

Director of Marketing, Fishhook

OUR FACULTY

Let’s connect during your campus visit.

Public Relations

Stefanie Leiter, an employee of Anderson University in Indiana

Stefanie Leiter

Assistant Professor of Public Relations

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