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. The concentration balances theory and practice through a rigorous mix of journalism, multimedia and public relations coursework. You will also gain hands-on experience through professional class projects, an internship and involvement in the UMass Amherst chapter of PRSSA.
At the conclusion of your studies, you will have earned a B.A. in Journalism with a Concentration in Public Relations.
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 chapter of PRSSA.
The Public Relations concentration involves a sequence of seven courses and requires an accompanying internship. These courses are designed to build upon one another, so please be mindful of the course prerequisites. By completing the following sequence of courses, you will also satisfy all of the requirements needed for the Journalism major.
Recommended: Take FYS 191SBS: Journalism Success—Thriving as a Major (1 cr.)
Take JOURNAL 235: Introduction to Public Relations (3 cr.)
Take JOURNAL 300: Newswriting and Reporting (4 cr.)
Take JOURNAL 336: Writing for Public Relations (4 cr.)
Take JOURNAL 352: Public Relations Research and Analytics (3 cr.)
Take JOURNAL 361: Public Relations Ethics (3 cr.)
Take JOURNAL 398: Practicum (1-18 cr.)
- This allows you to receive course credit for an internship involving at least 120 hours of work
Take JOURNAL 432: Public Relations and Integrated Communication Cases (3 cr.)
Take JOURNAL 452: Public Relations Campaign Management (3 cr.)
Take two multimedia/visual courses from the following menu:
- JOURNAL 301: Introduction to Multimedia Reporting (3 cr.)
- JOURNAL 333: Introduction to Visual Storytelling (4 cr.)
- JOURNAL 334: Introduction to Radio and Podcasting (4 cr.)
- JOURNAL 339: Video Content Creation (4 cr.)
- JOURNAL 340: Multimedia Journalism (4 cr.)
- JOURNAL 343: Data-Driven Storytelling (3 cr.)
- JOURNAL 391PR: Social Media & Public Relations (3 cr.)
- JOURNAL 435: Web Design for Journalists (3 cr.)
- JOURNAL 495BP: Broadcast Performance (4 cr.)
Take one international course from the following menu:
- One course, departmentally and IPO approved, taken during a study abroad experience
- One foreign language course at any level
- One course from the SBS International and Intercultural Course List
Complete another area of study that requires at least 15 credits, such as a second major, a minor, or a certificate
How to Apply
Applying to the Public Relations concentration is easy. If you are a current UMass student, just set up a meeting with a journalism advisor and let them know that you are interested in joining the PR concentration. If you are applying to UMass as a high school student or transfer student, you’ll mark Journalism on your application. Then, you can let your advisor know you would like to join the PR concentration during New Student Orientation.
The Director of the Public Relations concentration is Jennie Donohue. Ah Ram Lee also regularly teaches its core courses. Part-time faculty who bring years of professional experience to the classroom also help teach some core and elective courses in the PR concentration.
The UMass Amherst Library PR Subject Guide has useful tools and resource materials relevant to the Public Relations industry.