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Public Relations - B.S.

A public relations major can take you from corporate boardrooms and creative agencies to sports arenas, the halls of Congress, global nonprofits, hospitals, fashion runways and beyond. You can even work from home as a community advocate, consultant or social media influencer. Coursework focuses on developing writing, critical thinking and digital, social media and visual communication skills, as well as analytics and strategic multimedia storytelling. You’ll graduate with a grounding in the practice of responsible advocacy and a firm grasp of inclusive communication

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Public relations is crucial to every sector of the economy. At Kent State, students learn and practice the ways strategic communication can enhance organizational transparency and trust, mobilize social movements and drive behavior. 

Public relations professionals use planning and communication skills to deliver messages over multiple channels: through social media, events, speeches, websites, printed materials, public policy and much more. The Kent State public relations major is rooted in professionalism, with a focus on developing writing and presentation skills and building students’ understanding of multimedia storytelling. Many classes incorporate client work, where students conduct research and develop communication plans alongside local professionals. 

Coursework and Involvement

Classes routinely involve researching, creating and presenting a public relations plan for real clients. Thanks to this and a number of student involvement and job opportunities outlined below, students will graduate with strong portfolios and a robust professional network.

PRSSA Kent

Award-winning chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America that provides networking, professional development, conference attendance and participation in national case study competitions.

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Public Relations Internships

All students complete at least one professional internship, and many complete multiple.

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Flash Communications

Student jobs assisting University Communications and Marketing with web content, public relations and social media

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IdeaBase

Student-powered design agency, providing student experience and jobs in research and project management, serving campus and local clients.

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Program Information

Program Description

Full Description

The Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations can take students from corporate boardrooms and creative agencies to sports arenas, the halls of Congress, global nonprofits, hospitals, fashion runways and beyond. Graduates even work from home as a community advocate, consultant or social media influencer.

Kent State boasts the only public relations program in Ohio that is both certified by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC). Kent State’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and its members consistently win awards at national conferences, placing the chapter in the top tier nationwide.

Coursework in the Public Relations major focuses on developing skills in writing, critical thinking, digital, social media and visual communication; as well as analytics and strategic multimedia storytelling. Classes routinely involve researching, creating and presenting a public relations plan for real clients. Students learn to deliver messages through social media, websites, podcasts, videos, press releases and other media tools, events, public policy and more. Students build a strong portfolio through hands-on learning opportunities, including two student agencies, a required professional internship and public relations campus jobs. They graduate with a grounding in the practice of responsible advocacy and a firm grasp of inclusive-communication practices.

Students may apply early to the following master's degree programs and double count 9 credit hours of graduate courses toward both degree programs. See the Combined Bachelor's/Master's Degree Program Policy in the University Catalog for more information.

Admissions

Admission Requirements

The university affirmatively strives to provide educational opportunities and access to students with varied backgrounds, those with special talents and adult students who graduated from high school three or more years ago.

First-Year Students on the Kent Campus: First-year admission policy on the Kent Campus is selective. Admission decisions are based upon cumulative grade point average, strength of high school college preparatory curriculum and grade trends. Students not admissible to the Kent Campus may be administratively referred to one of the seven regional campuses to begin their college coursework. For more information, visit the admissions website for first-year students.

First-Year Students on the Regional Campuses: First-year admission to Kent State’s campuses at Ashtabula, East Liverpool, Geauga, Salem, Stark, Trumbull and Tuscarawas, as well as the Twinsburg Academic Center, is open to anyone with a high school diploma or its equivalent. For more information on admissions, contact the Regional Campuses admissions offices.

International Students: All international students must provide proof of English language proficiency (unless they meet specific exceptions) by earning a minimum 525 TOEFL score (71 on the Internet-based version), minimum 75 MELAB score, minimum 6.0 IELTS score or minimum 48 PTE Academic score, or by completing the ELS level 112 Intensive Program. For more information, visit the admissions website for international students.

Transfer Students: Students who have attended any other educational institution after graduating from high school must apply as undergraduate transfer students. For more information, visit the admissions website for transfer students.

Former Students: Former Kent State students or graduates who have not attended another college or university since Kent State may complete the reenrollment or reinstatement form on the University Registrar’s website.

Admission policies for undergraduate students may be found in the University Catalog's Academic Policies.

Some programs may require that students meet certain requirements before progressing through the program. For programs with progression requirements, the information is shown on the program's Coursework tab.

Current Kent State Students: Active Kent State students who wish to change their major to Public Relations must have a minimum 2.000 overall GPA to be admitted.

Learning Outcomes

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates of this program will be able to:

  1. Understand global and cross-cultural influences in public relations practice and help drive diversity and inclusion as true organizational values and convey those values to internal and external publics.
  2. Critically analyze data and trends and conduct research to inform strategic planning, support organizational objectives and measure return on investment.
  3. Be effective strategic communicators and clear, concise writers who are skilled at creating meaningful content across a variety of genres and platforms.
  4. Serve as ethical, responsible advocates who advance the public interest and serve as the conscience of an organization.
  5. Act as strategic planners with a solid grounding in reputation management, risk and crisis based on public relations and communication theory and who serve as critical and independent thinkers, from research to implementation to evaluation.
Coursework

Program Requirements

Major Requirements (courses count in major GPA) (min C- grade required in all courses)
EMAT 10310MY STORY ON THE WEB 3
or MDJ 20011 PRODUCTION FUNDAMENTALS
MDJ 20001MEDIA, POWER AND CULTURE (DIVD) (KSS) 13
MDJ 20008RESEARCH AND MEASUREMENT IN ADVERTISING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS 3
MDJ 26001WRITING FOR MEDIA 3
MDJ 26007REPORTING 3
or MDJ 26008 BROADCAST REPORTING
MDJ 28001PRINCIPLES OF PUBLIC RELATIONS 3
MDJ 31007DIGITAL ANALYTICS IN ADVERTISING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS 2
MDJ 38002PUBLIC RELATIONS CASE STUDIES 3
MDJ 40011ETHICAL ISSUES IN INTEGRATED COMMUNICATION 1
MDJ 40016LAW OF ADVERTISING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS 3
MDJ 40027RACE, GENDER, CLASS AND DIS/ABILITY IN MEDIA INDUSTRIES (DIVD) 3
MDJ 40092INTERNSHIP (ELR) 1
MDJ 41199CAPSTONE: CAMPAIGNS IN ADVERTISING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS (ELR) 3
or MDJ 48099 CAPSTONE: PUBLIC RELATIONS CAMPAIGNS (ELR)
MDJ 48001MEDIA RELATIONS AND PUBLICITY (WIC) 3
MDJ 48002PUBLIC RELATIONS TACTICS 3
MDJ 48003DIGITAL PUBLIC RELATIONS AND SOCIAL MEDIA 3
MDJ 48006PUBLIC RELATIONS PUBLICATIONS 3
Media and Journalism Electives, choose from the following:5
CCI 45091
SEMINAR IN MEDIA AND MOVEMENTS (ELR)
MDJ 21008
SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIES
MDJ 26005
MULTIMEDIA JOURNALISM
MDJ 40201
PUBLIC RELATIONS PRACTICE: PUBLIC AFFAIRS
MDJ 40202
PUBLIC RELATIONS PRACTICE: CRISIS COMMUNICATION
MDJ 40295
SELECTED TOPICS IN MEDIA AND JOURNALISM
MDJ 41111
FASHION PUBLISHING
MDJ 41150
GLOBAL ADVERTISING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS
MDJ 41192
PRACTICUM IN ADVERTISING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS (ELR)
MDJ 41395
SELECTED TOPICS IN ADVERTISING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS
Additional Requirements (courses do not count in major GPA)
UC 10001FLASHES 101 1
College of Communication and Information Core Electives, choose from the following:9
CCI 10095
SPECIAL TOPICS IN COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION
CCI 40089
BRANDING AND SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIES FOR ITALIAN LIFESTYLE (DIVG) (ELR)
CCI 40095
SPECIAL TOPICS IN COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION
CCI 40189
ITALIAN POP CULTURE (DIVG) (ELR)
CCI 40289
ITALIAN CINEMA (DIVG) (ELR)
CCI 40389
DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING (DIVG) (ELR)
CCI 40489
MULTIMEDIA EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING (DIVG) (ELR)
CCI 45089
INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE IN THE COLLEGE OF COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION (DIVG) (ELR)
CCI 46089
INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE IN THE COLLEGE OF COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION (DIVG) (ELR)
COMM 15000
INTRODUCTION TO HUMAN COMMUNICATION (KADL)
COMM 35852
INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION (DIVG)
EMAT 25310
CREATIVE CODING
EMAT 33310
HUMAN-COMPUTER INTERACTION
LIS 30010
INFORMATION FLUENCY IN THE WORKPLACE AND BEYOND
UXD 20001
INTRODUCTION TO USER EXPERIENCE DESIGN
VCD 13000
VISUAL DESIGN THINKING
Kent Core Composition6
Kent Core Mathematics and Critical Reasoning3
Kent Core Humanities and Fine Arts (minimum one course from each)9
Kent Core Social Sciences (must be from two disciplines)3
Kent Core Basic Sciences (must include one laboratory)6-7
Kent Core Additional6
General Electives (total credit hours depends on earning 120 credit hours, including 39 upper-division credit hours) 226
Minimum Total Credit Hours:120
1

A minimum C grade must be earned to fulfill the writing-intensive requirement. If course is not being used to fulfill the writing-intensive requirement, a minimum C- grade must be earned.

2

A maximum of 4 credit hours of Physical Activity, Wellness and Sport (PWS) courses may be applied toward the degree program. For students interested in developing a global perspective, foreign language courses or any of the following general elective courses are recommended: ANTH 18210, ANTH 48245, COMM 35852, GEOG 22040, MCLS 20091, MUS 22121, PACS 32030, PACS 32040, PH 10002, POL 10500.

Progression Requirements

  • No grade lower than a C- in a MDJ course will be counted toward graduation or as a prerequisite for a subsequent class.

Graduation Requirements

Minimum Major GPA Minimum Overall GPA
2.000 2.000
Roadmap

Roadmap

This roadmap is a recommended semester-by-semester plan of study for this major. However, courses designated as critical (!) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation.

Plan of Study Grid
Semester OneCredits
MDJ 20001 MEDIA, POWER AND CULTURE (DIVD) (KSS) 3
MDJ 26001 WRITING FOR MEDIA 3
MDJ 28001 PRINCIPLES OF PUBLIC RELATIONS 3
UC 10001 FLASHES 101 1
Kent Core Requirement 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
 Credit Hours16
Semester Two
EMAT 10310
or MDJ 20011
MY STORY ON THE WEB
or PRODUCTION FUNDAMENTALS
3
MDJ 20008 RESEARCH AND MEASUREMENT IN ADVERTISING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS 3
College of Communication and Information Core Elective 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
 Credit Hours15
Semester Three
MDJ 38002 PUBLIC RELATIONS CASE STUDIES 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
General Elective 3
 Credit Hours15
Semester Four
MDJ 26007
or MDJ 26008
REPORTING
or BROADCAST REPORTING
3
MDJ 48002
or MDJ 48006
PUBLIC RELATIONS TACTICS
or PUBLIC RELATIONS PUBLICATIONS
3
Kent Core Requirement 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
 Credit Hours15
Semester Five
MDJ 31007 DIGITAL ANALYTICS IN ADVERTISING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS 2
MDJ 48002
or MDJ 48006
PUBLIC RELATIONS TACTICS
or PUBLIC RELATIONS PUBLICATIONS
3
Media and Journalism Elective 2
Kent Core Requirement 3
General Electives 6
 Credit Hours16
Semester Six
MDJ 40027 RACE, GENDER, CLASS AND DIS/ABILITY IN MEDIA INDUSTRIES (DIVD) 3
MDJ 48001 MEDIA RELATIONS AND PUBLICITY (WIC) 3
MDJ 48003 DIGITAL PUBLIC RELATIONS AND SOCIAL MEDIA 3
College of Communication and Information Core Elective 3
General Elective 3
 Credit Hours15
Third Summer Term
MDJ 40092 INTERNSHIP (ELR) 1
 Credit Hours1
Semester Seven
MDJ 40016
or MDJ 41199
or MDJ 48099
LAW OF ADVERTISING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS
or CAPSTONE: CAMPAIGNS IN ADVERTISING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS (ELR)
or CAPSTONE: PUBLIC RELATIONS CAMPAIGNS (ELR)
3
Media and Journalism Elective 3
College of Communication and Information Core Elective 3
General Electives 6
 Credit Hours15
Semester Eight
MDJ 40011 ETHICAL ISSUES IN INTEGRATED COMMUNICATION 1
MDJ 40016
or MDJ 41199
or MDJ 48099
LAW OF ADVERTISING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS
or CAPSTONE: CAMPAIGNS IN ADVERTISING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS (ELR)
or CAPSTONE: PUBLIC RELATIONS CAMPAIGNS (ELR)
3
General Electives 8
 Credit Hours12
 Minimum Total Credit Hours:120
Program Delivery
  • Delivery:
    • In person
  • Location:
    • Kent Campus
Accreditation

Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC); Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) - Certification in Education for Public Relations

Career Outlook

Kent State public relations graduates learn the business, they master the skills, and they get jobs.  They can be found working in corporate boardrooms, creative agencies, sports arenas, the halls of Congress, global nonprofits, hospitals, fashion runways and beyond. Statistics below are projected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics through 2031.

8%
Public Relations Specialists, Managers
18%
Event Planners
10%
Ad, Promotions, Marketing Managers
11%
Fundraisers
80 to 90 percent
of graduates secure a job within the public relations field within a year of graduation. Others find jobs in human resources, sales and other related fields, or pursue graduate education.

Alumni Outcomes

Our alumni have worked/interned at these organizations, companies and agencies:

  • Akron Children's Hospital
  • BET Networks
  • Boys & Girls Club
  • Cleveland Cavaliers, Indians and Browns
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame
  • The J.M. Smucker Co.
  • The White House
  • Walt Disney Company
  • Washington Nationals
  • Victoria's Secret
  • AKHIA
  • Allied Global Marketing
  • Dix & Eaton
  • Marcus Thomas LLC
  • Prosper for Purpose
  • Ruder Finn
  • thunder::tech
  • Whitespace Creative

Zach Zdanowicz, '22| Community Manager/Social Media

As a Community Manager for JOANN Stores, Kent State alumna Zach Zdanowicz, ‘22, credits his experiences in Kent State’s Public Relations program for successfully preparing to engage with and manage the brand's digital communities every day.

During Zach’s time at Kent State, he was involved in Kent State’s chapter of the Public Relations Study Society of America (PRSSA). Through this student organization, he gained plenty of professional development and networking experiences by holding various executive board positions and eventually serving as president during his senior year.  

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Meghan Caprez, '15 | Communications Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

Beyond the magical experiences guests have at Walt Disney World every day, there’s a communications and public affairs team spreading the magic all over the world.

Kent State alumna Meghan Caprez, B.S. ’15, M.A. ’17, is part of that team. As a communications manager for the Walt Disney World Resort, she handles internal and external communication and strategy for Disney Resort hotels, transportation, security and more. Prior to that, she served as a public affairs manager, where she helped ensure a seamless integration of communications and public affairs for major events, including some of the lead-up to Walt Disney World’s 18-month-long 50th anniversary celebration.

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Dan Armelli, '17 | Director of New Media, Washington Nationals

As the Washington Nationals marched their way toward a World Series victory in 2019, Kent State alumnus Dan Armelli was the face behind the team’s social media presence.

The Mentor, Ohio, native earned a degree in public relations from Kent State in 2017, and after honing his skills as an intern with the Cleveland Indians, he left in late 2018 for a new challenge as Manager of New Media with the Nationals.

“Ever since I knew I wanted to work in social media for a pro sports team, the dream was to win a championship with a group of players that were fun and recognized what my role was and were able to play to that,” Dan says. “That’s exactly (what happened) with this team. There are so many guys that are not only great players, but they’re fun to work with and make my job so much easier.”

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Mary Jo Spletzer, '10 | Public Relations Manager at Atlantis Resorts Dubai

A degree from Kent State’s School of Media and Journalism can lead to opportunities to work across fields and businesses — and all over the world. Alumna Mary Jo Spletzer, ’10, has used what she learned as a public relations major to make her mark at Atlantis Resorts in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  

Spletzer met the man who would become her husband — an exchange student from Germany — during her senior year, so “it was inevitable that I ended up living and working outside of the U.S.”  But she began her career locally at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Akron working in internal communications. She also spent time on public relations teams at the J.M. Smucker Company and Marcus Thomas before moving to London in 2016. For a little over a year now, she has led global public relations campaigns for Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai. Spletzer said she credits her education at Kent State for providing the skills needed to work professionally and switch between industries and countries.  

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Public Relations in Our World

Watch now: Associate Professor Luke Armour gives examples of public relations at work in our world.