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  • B.S. in Communication Studies: Public Relations

    Join the dynamic and exploding field of communications and public relations
    Our students routinely hold high-profile, exciting internships in New York City and Westchester where they gain real-world experience.
    Degree:
    B.S.
    School:
    School of Liberal Arts
    Location:
    Dobbs Ferry
    Credits:
    120

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Communication Studies: Public Relations B.S. Curriculum

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

Students who choose the Communication Studies/Specialization in Public Relations major must complete:

Foundation Courses

  • COMM 220 Intercultural Communication
  • COMM 330 Communication Law and Ethics
  • COMM 398 Communication Research
  • COMM/SPCM 200 Interpersonal Communications

Specialization Requirements

  • COMM 225 Visual Communication
  • COMM 370 Effective Presentations
  • COMM 450 Advanced Practice of PR
  • MEDA 154 Publicity Writing
  • MEDA 252 Practice of Public Relations
  • COMM 399 Internship in Comm Studies

In addition, students who choose the Communication Studies/Specialization in Public Relations major select three courses (nine credits) in any combination from these four Specialized Elective Categories as well as COMM 295 Topics in Communication Studies:

Communication Theory

  • MEDA 145 Media in America
  • MEDA 231 Propaganda
  • MKTG 225 Principles of Marketing
  • SPCM 219 Group Behavior
  • SPCM 249 Persuasion
  • MEDA 385 The Communication Revolution

Production and Technology

  • MEDA 110 Radio Production I
  • MEDA 115 Fundamentals TV Production
  • MEDA 215 Video Editing Workshop
  • CART 219 Web Design I
  • COMM 356 Communication Technologies
  • COMM 365 Newsletter Practicum
  • MEDA 132 Copy Editing & Graphics
  • MEDA 201 Intrvw Technique Today's Media
  • MEDA 255 Creative Advertising

Writing

  • MEDA 130 News Reporting I
  • MEDA 134 The Feature Article I
  • ENGL 202 Business Writing
  • ENGL 217 Intro Creative Writing
  • ENGL 266 Writing for the Web
  • ENGL 402 Applied English Grammar

Speech and Theatre

  • SPCM 249 Persuasion
  • SPCM 246 Elements of Theatre
  • SPCM 259 Oral Performance of Literature
  • SPCM 262 Introduction to Acting
  • SPCM 263 Scene Study
  • SPCM 282 Play Directing

With approval from the Program Head, other Specialization Electives may be substituted based on the student's career interests.

Up to three internships may be taken by a student majoring in Communications Studies. 

Academic Program Sequence Map
What is the first step in the admissions process?
Click on "Apply Now" on the Mercy homepage or call 1.877.MERCY.GO to apply for admission to Mercy College and arrange for an appointment with an Admissions Counselor. Bring your completed application form and copies of your high school and/or college transcripts with you at the time of your appointment.
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.
Is this program offered online?
Communication Studies is not offered online; the courses are scheduled for daytime at the Dobbs Ferry campus.
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 many credits can be transferred from another institution?
Up to 75 credits from a two-year institution. Up to 90 from a four-year institution. Up to 90 credits combined however the credits may not exceed 75 credits from any combination of two-year institutions as they apply to your chosen degree. In addition you may only transfer in two courses of upper-level business credit (six credits) to apply to the major / specialization.
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.
Is Mercy College a nonsectarian institution?
Yes. Qualified applicants are admitted without regard to race, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age or physical disability.
Tell me about the faculty in the Communication Studies program.
The program curriculum is taught by faculty with the combined credentials of strong academic and scholarly preparation in the field plus extensive and current professional practice. Because the Public Relations profession draws upon so many disciplines----public speaking, writing, communication theory, psychology, business----you will have the benefit of learning from instructors with a variety of professional experiences.
Paul Trent Associate Professor, Speech Communication
Richard Medoff Associate Dean, Associate Professor, Speech Communication

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 will receive a solid grounding in communication theory and will get expansive opportunities to practice and polish their communication skills in real-world settings. Students will be permitted 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. In addition, "Studio: the Advanced Practice of Public Relations" offers the ultimate PR challenge: to solve a communication problems for a local organization or client. It is a rare opportunity for students to collaborate in developing creative solutions for local businesses.

Communication Studies: Public Relations FAQS

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.
Tell me about the faculty in the Communication Studies program.
The program curriculum is taught by faculty with the combined credentials of strong academic and scholarly preparation in the field plus extensive and current professional practice. Because the Public Relations profession draws upon so many disciplines----public speaking, writing, communication theory, psychology, business----you will have the benefit of learning from instructors with a variety of professional experiences.

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, or employee newsletter editors. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 24% increase in job opportunities for public relations specialists from 2008 – 2018. Students can choose between positions as PR generalists or can align with a particular field such as finance, healthcare, or arts and entertainment. The program also prepares students for graduate school, including such areas as marketing, law, media, political science, non-profit management, journalism, public affairs, and education. In addition to the benefits of the program curriculum, faculty membership in professional associations such as the Advertising Club of Westchester, Public Relations Society of America, and the International Association of Business Communicators gives students access to valuable networking events, juried awards programs, and workshop/seminars on the hottest topics in organizational communication.

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