The Public Relations Concentration

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Public relations is a dynamic, complex and fast-paced industry with multiple career opportunities. The Public Relations concentration at UMass Amherst is designed to help you become a better communicator and strategic thinker, preparing you for professionally oriented careers working in various organizational, agency, nonprofit and government settings. You’ll develop your writing, visual/multimedia, research and strategic planning skills, learning from dedicated practitioners and scholars. In addition, you’ll gain real-world, hands-on experience and build your portfolio through course assignments, internships and involvement in student-run organizations like the UMass PR Club and campus media. 

What You’ll Learn

The Public Relations concentration balances theory and practice through a rigorous mix of journalism, multimedia and public relations coursework. Students will earn a B.A. in Journalism with a Concentration in Public Relations.

At the bottom of this page is an overview of the sequence of the six courses (19 credits plus an internship) required for earning a Public Relations concentration. Also included are the journalism classes necessary to complete the major requirements. You can also find a list that includes the pre-requisites for each course on the major requirements page.

Jobs in Public Relations

A market research study commissioned by the UPCEA Center for Research and Strategy projected “Public Relations Specialist” and “Public Relations Managers” as two of the most in-demand jobs in Massachusetts. Across Massachusetts, the number of job postings looking for students with a bachelor’s degree focused on public relations went up by approximately 70 percent between 2016 and 2019. 

UMass Journalism alumni already have successful careers in public relations as founders and owners of their own companies or as award-winning digital storytellers for large corporations. Our growing alumni network can help you take the next step in your career. Plus, you’ll have opportunities to interact with industry professionals through your coursework, campus events and involvement with student-run organizations such as the UMass PR Club.

Associated Faculty

Senior Lecturer Jennie Donohue is the Director of the Public Relations Concentration. She and assistant professor Ah-Ram Lee teach many courses in the concentration, as well as adjunct professors with professional experience.

The Public Relations Concentration Course Sequence

• Journal 191: Journalism Success (1 credit) (recommended)
Journal 235: Introduction to Public Relations (3 credits) (open to first years and sophomores of any major)
• Journal 300: Newswriting and Reporting (4 credits)
• Journal 336: Writing for Public Relations (4 credits) (pre-reqs. Journal 235 and Journal 300)
Counts as Journalism major’s advanced writing/reporting requirement
Journal 352: Public Relations Research and Analytics (3 credits) (pre-req. Journal 235)
Counts as one of two Journalism major electives
Journal 361: Public Relations Ethics (3 credits) (pre-req. Journal 235)
• Journal 398/Public Relations Practicum (internship, at least one credit with 120 hours of work)
• Journal 432: Public Relations and Integrated Communication Cases (3 credits) (pre-req. Journal 235)
Counts as one of two Journalism major electives
Journal 452: Public Relations Campaign Management (3 credits) (pre.reqs. Journal 235, Journal 336, Journal 352)
Capstone experience/integrative experience and final course in the PR sequence
One international course: choose one from the following: one course, departmentally and IPO approved, taken during study abroad; one foreign language course at any level; or one course from SBS international/intercultural topical courses list
• Two visual/multimedia courses: choose two from the following Journalism Department courses, i.e., Introduction to Multimedia Reporting, Multimedia Journalism, Introduction to Visual Storytelling, Introduction to Radio and Podcasting, Data-driven Storytelling, Video Content Creation, Web Design for Journalists, Broadcast Performance or Social Media & Public Relations.
• Another area of study of at least 15 credits. A major, minor, or certificate will fulfill this requirement.


The new UMass Amherst Library PR Subject Guide has useful tools and resource materials relevant to the Public Relations industry.

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