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Liberal Arts Classroom

Communication Studies: Public Relations Overview

Offering a dynamic combination of theory and practice, the 42-credit Communication Studies program will prepare students to be the communication strategists of tomorrow - and open doors into the exploding field of Public Relations.

Students receive a solid grounding in communication theory and will get expansive opportunities to practice and polish their communication skills in real-world settings.

Built into the program are up to three internships - letting them test the career waters at television studios, advertising agencies, non-profit corporations, and many other businesses in the New York area - America's public relations capital. These hands-on opportunities will give students exceptional employment prospects after graduation.

Students with computers in liberal arts class

Career Opportunities

The opportunities are endless - wherever a brand, service, cause, product, or an idea needs a voice.

Students will be educated to move into positions as:

  • corporate spokespersons
  • public relations assistants
  • intranet content writers
  • corporate video producers
  • community relations specialists
  • marketing communications assistants
  • employee newsletter editors

Students can choose between positions as PR generalists or can align with a particular field such as finance, healthcare, or arts and entertainment.

Students are also prepared for graduate school, including such areas as marketing, law, media, political science, non-profit management, journalism, public affairs, and education. 

What You'll Get

  • Critical and analytical skills needed to articulate various viewpoints using media of their choosing

  • The ability to evaluate and incorporate reliable information in the analysis of communication problems and issues

  • Understanding of the impact of diverse cultures in discussing, analyzing, and developing communication strategies

  • Improved writing and syntax and the ability to produce well constructed, logical, written expressions that conform to standard written English

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I don’t know which area of Public Relations I want to focus on?

The public relations courses will introduce you to all the different applications in the field-----investor relations, employee relations, community relations, for example. You can explore any of these areas through the multiple internship option, your project choices in many of the classes, and attending with your faculty the workshops and seminars sponsored by the local chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, the Advertising Club of Westchester, and the International Association of Business Communicators. Many public relations professionals prefer to be generalists working for clients or small companies providing a variety of communication support: writing, organizing events, preparing publicity materials, responding to media inquiries, etc. Having a broad background in all areas of public relations is the best preparation whatever you choose to do in this field.

How is this Communication Studies major different from offerings at other colleges in the area?

The Communication Studies major at Mercy not only provides a solid foundation in communication theory, but the range of courses gives students exposure to multiple career options. Having the Radio and Television Production Studios in the Humanities building means that students studying Public Relations will have the benefit of practice behind the camera, in front of the camera, and on the radio. The opportunity to take up to three internships in the major is not common in other communication programs. Another unusual feature is the final course Studio: The Advanced Practice of Public Relations in which we operate an in-house public relations agency for students to prepare communication campaigns as a creative team for clients in Westchester, the Bronx, and New York City----building portfolios with real-world examples.

Are department faculty available for academic advising?

Yes, faculty are always ready to help students with questions about what courses to take, the sequencing of courses, and career opportunities, including internships and cooperative education.

How long does earning a degree take?

Full-time students can complete the 120-credit degree program in four years.

Gain Hands on Knowledge

The course "Studio: the Advanced Practice of Public Relations" offers the ultimate PR challenge: to solve a communication problems for a local organization or client. Students are given the opportunity to collaborate in developing creative solutions for local businesses.

Program Details & Curriculum

Curriculum Overview

General Liberal Arts and Sciences
General Education Requirements: 60 Credits

Major Concentration Communication Studies/Public Relations Specialization: 42 Credits
Open Electives: 18 Credits

Total: 120 Credits

For a full curriculum listing visit our catalog. 

 

Program Outcomes

By the end of this program, students should be able to: 

  • Articulate various viewpoints using media of their choosing
  • Apply communication history, theory, and principles to communication problem-solving
  • Evaluate and incorporate reliable information in the analysis of communication problems and issues
  • Be aware of and sensitive to the impact of diverse cultures in discussing, analyzing, and developing communication strategies
  • Present an analysis of how communication law and ethical principles apply to their profession
  • Produce well constructed, logical, written expressions that conform to standard written English
  • Critique and create visual images in support of professional communications
  • Describe the application of theory and skills to address communication challenges, meet goals, and solve communication problems