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BA in Communications: Public Relations Emphasis
(49 hours*)



This is a limited-enrollment program requiring departmental admissions approval. Please see the college advisement center for information regarding requirements for admission to this emphasis.

All students admitted to the Department of Communications are required to own a notebook computer. Before purchasing a computer, students should first consult the department website for specifications.

The Discipline

Public relations manages communication to build mutually beneficial relationships between the organization and its vital publics. The public relations program at BYU emphasizes research and measurement; strategic planning; professionally designed, written, and targeted tactics; and ethical practice. We prepare students with critical skills in thinking, writing, research, program planning and management, creative problem solving, and relationship building with publics typical to the public relations challenges of diverse organizations. Those publics include but are not limited to media, consumers, employees, government and other regulatory bodies, and communities. In keeping with the aims of a BYU education, our students and graduates should engage in lifelong learning and professional practice.

Career Opportunities

Virtually all segments of the public and private sectors throughout the world draw employees from public relations. Graduates may work as technical or creative experts or in management communication specialties. They may specialize in media, strategic, crisis, community or employee relations, public affairs, social media, or sever other specialties within the professional arena.

Program Requirements    |    View MAP   |    View Program Outcomes

  1. Complete one course from the following:
      WRTG 150 : Writing and Rhetoric. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WRTG 150 : Writing and Rhetoric. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      OFFERED: Honors also.
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer
      DESCRIPTION: Processes of writing, reading, and research with an emphasis on argumentation and rhetorical analysis.
      NOTE: Fulfills General Education First-Year Writing requirement.

      Course Outcomes


      PHIL 150 : Reasoning and Writing. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      PHIL 150 : Reasoning and Writing. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      OFFERED: Honors also.
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer
      RECOMMENDED: Recommended for philosophy majors and minors.
      DESCRIPTION: Informal grammar, logic, and rhetoric as tools for reading and writing. Library research.
      NOTE: Fulfills GE First-Year Writing requirement. No course challenges accepted.

      Course Outcomes


      Note: Students must receive a B grade or better to be eligible to apply for admission to the program.

  2. Complete the following core courses:
      COMMS 101 : Mass Communication and Society. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 101 : Mass Communication and Society. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      OFFERED: Independent Study also.
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer
      DESCRIPTION: Historical and modern roles of mass media in society, emphasizing media effects on individuals and institutions.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 211 : Media Writing. (3:2:2)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer
      PREREQUISITE: WRTG 150; or PHIL 150; Pre-communications status; a B grade or better in Wrtg 150 or Phil 150.
      DESCRIPTION: Principles and practices of researching and writing mass communication messages in journalism, public relations, and advertising.
      NOTE: Lab required.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 235 : Introduction to Public Relations. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 235 : Introduction to Public Relations. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring
      DESCRIPTION: Philosophy and practice of public relations in business, government, education, and other institutions. Study of publics, media, methods, press relations, and publicity.

      Course Outcomes


      Note: Students must receive a B grade or better from each course to be eligible to apply for admission to the program.

  3. Apply to the major.
  4. Complete the following: (These courses may be taken during the semester in which students apply for admission to the major.)
      COMMS 300 : Media Ethics, Law and Responsibility. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 300 : Media Ethics, Law and Responsibility. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: Major status.
      DESCRIPTION: Introduction to First Amendment history and press freedom, law, and theory; media regulation and policy; relationship between law and ethics; key ethical issues in professional communications.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 303 : Visual Literacy. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 303 : Visual Literacy. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter
      PREREQUISITE: COMMS 101 & COMMS 211 & COMMS 230; or COMMS 101 & COMMS 211 & COMMS 235; or COMMS 101 & COMMS 211 & COMMS 239
      DESCRIPTION: Foundational principles and theories of visual communications.
      NOTE: Students should take this course during the semester in which they have applied for admission to the major.

      Course Outcomes


  5. Complete two courses from the following:
      COMMS 301 : Mass Media History and Philosophy. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 301 : Mass Media History and Philosophy. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
      DESCRIPTION: Historical and philosophical development of today's media. Approaches may include theories of media change, social responsibility, economic factors, and influential pioneers.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 302 : Popular Culture and Media. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 302 : Popular Culture and Media. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
      DESCRIPTION: Impact of new and traditional media on popular culture. Approaches may include media criticism and cultural theories on the artifacts and drivers of cultural values.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 351 : Media and Their Audiences. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 351 : Media and Their Audiences. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
      DESCRIPTION: Understanding media content and channels empowering and improving media consumption and interpretation. Approaches may include new technology, social media, consumer behavior, media criticism, and media literacy.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 360 : Communication Management Principles and Theory. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 360 : Communication Management Principles and Theory. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
      DESCRIPTION: Management principles and theory, emphasizing responsible management benefiting organizations and their stakeholders. Approaches may include crisis communication, media or agency management, and programming.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 381 : International Media Systems. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 381 : International Media Systems. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Communications or international relations major or minor status.
      DESCRIPTION: Comparison of media systems in countries and regions outside the United States. Approaches may include media systems analysis, normative theories of the media, and cultural values and norms.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 382 : Issues in Global Communication. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 382 : Issues in Global Communication. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Communications or international relations major or minor status.
      DESCRIPTION: Issues relating to communicating in a global village. Approaches may include global information and policy, cultural imperialism, intercultural interaction, and multinational communication strategies.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 406 : Media and the First Amendment. (3:3.0:0.0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 406 : Media and the First Amendment. (3:3.0:0.0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: COMMS 300; Major status.
      DESCRIPTION: Advanced understanding of media law, policy, and regulation of free speech and press. Approaches may include Freedom of Information, rights of press, government control, and legal precedents regarding the First Amendment.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 411 : Media Effects. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
      DESCRIPTION: Effects resulting from the interaction between media and members of society. Approaches may include self-image, sterotypes, violence, and other social constructs and behaviors involving media consumption.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 416 : Media Advocacy and Social Change. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 416 : Media Advocacy and Social Change. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
      DESCRIPTION: Communication principles, theories, and approaches applied to effect social change. Approaches may include public policy, grass roots advocacy, social marketing, and social movements.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 480 : Media Ethics and Moral Reasoning. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 480 : Media Ethics and Moral Reasoning. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Comms 300 or instructor's consent.
      DESCRIPTION: Advanced application of moral reasoning and understanding of ethical issues in mass communication. Approaches may include current cases and issues, professional practices, and philosophical foundations of ethics.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 481 : Gender, Race, and Class in the Media. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 481 : Gender, Race, and Class in the Media. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
      DESCRIPTION: Applying critical theory to the interaction between media and underrepresented groups in society. Approaches may include stereotypes and portrayals, access to media, participation, and media ownership.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 482 : Media and World Religions. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 482 : Media and World Religions. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
      DESCRIPTION: The interaction of media, world religions, and beliefs. Approaches may include media coverage and portrayal of religion, religions' use of media, conflict between the two, and communicating across religious cultures.

      Course Outcomes


  6. Complete the following:
      COMMS 318 : Public Relations Research and Measurement. (3:2:1)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 318 : Public Relations Research and Measurement. (3:2:1)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: Major status.
      DESCRIPTION: Research methods and analysis critical to developing strategic public relations and measuring its effectiveness, emphasizing focus group and survey approaches with qualitative and quantitative statistical analysis.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 321 : News Reporting. (3:2:5)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: Comms 300 or concurrent enrollment; major status.
      DESCRIPTION: Research and reporting skills. Database retrieval and interviewing. Beat reporting for newspapers, radio, and online media. Lab required.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 336 : Strategic Planning and Problem Solving. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 336 : Strategic Planning and Problem Solving. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: Major status.
      DESCRIPTION: Cases selected from wide range of actual public relations problems confronting business, government, education, and other institutions. Focus on strategic planning matrix.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 421 : Public Relations Writing and Production. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 421 : Public Relations Writing and Production. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: COMMS 321 & COMMS 336; Software proficiency in InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, Flash, and Dreamweaver demonstrated by portfolio review.
      DESCRIPTION: Professional public relations writing and editing in a variety of formats as used in public relations applications.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 485 : Strategic Public Relations Campaigns. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 485 : Strategic Public Relations Campaigns. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: COMMS 318 & COMMS 336 & COMMS 421; Software proficiency in Flash, Dreamweaver, and Image Ready as demonstrated by portfolio review.
      DESCRIPTION: Capstone course applying communication principles to internal and external publics; fact finding, planning, and evaluating social interrelationships; major campaigns for selected clients.

      Course Outcomes


  7. Complete the following:
  8. After consulting with an advisor, complete an internship in conjunction with 4 credit hours of the following:


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