public relations major

Public Relations Degree

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 particular 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.

Find Your Degree Focus

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.). There are three options you can choose from: social media, event planning, or traditional public relations. 

social media minor
 
SOCIAL MEDIA

Major or Minor

ENTERTAINMENT & MUSIC BUSINESS

 
EVENT PLANNING

Major or Minor

communication minor
 
TRADITIONAL PR

Major or Minor

Program Overview

Public Relations

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

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Program Options

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

While enrolled, students learn about communication professionalism 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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After Graduation

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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    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 2021, 100% of Anderson University PR graduates found employment in the field or started graduate school due to strong internship opportunities with companies such as:

    • Ascension St. Vincent Foundation
    • BLASTmedia
    • Bohlsen Group
    • Children’s Bureau
    • 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
    • United Way
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    Public Relations Student Society of America

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

      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

      Dr. Stefanie Leiter

      Associate Professor of Public Relations

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