Public Relations required courses
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Public Relations required courses

Required Credit Hours and Courses for a Major

All students working for a bachelor’s degree at Drake must complete the Drake Curriculum (Areas of Inquiry). A minimum of 124 total credit hours are required to graduate, including up to 44 credit hours in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC).

All SJMC majors must complete (for students entering Fall 2015 and after):

  • JMC 30 Mass Media in a Global Society – Introduction to the role and functions of mass media. Survey of newspapers, magazines, books, radio-television, advertising, public relations, digital media and the Web. Discussion of media issues and professional opportunities. Fall semester reserved for entering first year JO majors.
  • JMC 31 Multimedia Lab –  Introduction to multimedia communication; lab component of JMC 030.
  • JMC 40 Pre-Professional Workshop – A short course introducing students to policies, practices and principles in internships and cooperative education. Course covers the nature of internships; developing resumes, portfolios or talent/audition tapes; and other concerns. The course is required of all JMC majors and should be completed during the sophomore year.
  • JMC 41 Financial Fundamentals for Communication Professionals – This one-credit course provides an introduction to basic business principles and terminology for non-business majors, with an emphasis on communications professionals. Topics include fundamentals of business organizations; reading and interpreting business financial statements; investment basics; understanding economic indicators; writing a business plan, and basic applied math. Must be sophomore classification.
  • JMC 55 Digital Media Strategies – Digital Strategies will introduce students to the tools and best practices to cut through the digital din. Students will understand how to grow, engage and maintain a digital audience, creating effective native social content and email newsletters while also using analytics to drive and adapt a multi-platform plan. Students will also delve into the complexities of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), data journalism, and data visualization, as well as investigate the latest tech advances popping in Silicon Valley, on the Silicon Prairie, and from the world at large.
  • JMC 54 News and Reporting Principles – Information evaluation, fact-gathering methods and journalism style, with extensive practice.
  • JMC 59 Introduction to Visual Communications: This course helps students master the fundamental principles of good design, color, balance and contrast using different media to convey a message. Photography, print, and web will be explored. Instruction on using digital cameras, PhotoShop, InDesign and other softwares will illustrate the elements of design and communication for each medium.
  • JMC 104 Communications Law and Ethics – Press freedom, ethics, social responsibility, pressures and problems; legal limitations, including libel, privacy, intellectual property and obscenity. Must be Junior Status. Not open to first-year students or sophomores.

A minimum of 48 credit hours must be taken in Arts and Sciences course work and must include Political Science 1 and a sociology course; 40 credit hours must be in upper division courses numbered 100 or above.

Area of Concentration: In addition the JMC graduate must have completed a 21-credit-hour block of non-JMC courses approved by the adviser and dean. This concentration, taken in a single department or as a unified area of concentration crossing departmental lines, usually is one particularly appropriate to the student’s major or otherwise of special interest. At least 12 credit hours in the concentration must be taken in courses numbered 100 and above. Courses taken to satisfy other graduation requirements also may count toward this requirement.

Required Courses

For first year students entering Fall 2013 and after:

  • JMC 85  Public Relations Principles: This course explores the role of public relations in today’s organizations. Students will develop an appreciation for and understanding of the critical thinking, research, planning and communication skills necessary for the effective practice of public relations. Students will acquire a solid foundatin in the basic theories and concepts of communication, persuasion, motivation and learning which are integral parts in the success of public relations and in engaging people. Prereq.: Sophomore standing
  • JMC 123 Public Relations Writing: Objective and persuasive writing for print, broadcast and social media and internal communication channels. Prereq: JMC 54 and JMC 135 or 085.
  • JMC 136 Public Relations Research: An examination of research methods and applications and interpretation of research findings to public relations planning and problem solving. Prereq.: JMC 123.
  • JMC 143 Public Relations Planning & MGMT: This course explores the role of strategic planning and issues management in public relations, helping you gain essential skills you will need to thrive as a practitioner. You will learn how to identify and assess the ways in which emerging issues may affect public relations practice, and design and defend a comprehensive public relations plan on behalf of a community partner. Throughout the course, we will strive to balance proactive and reactive (i.e. crisis) strategies. Prereq.: JMC 059 & JMC 123.
  • JMC 144 Case Studies Analysis: This course is designed to prepare public relations students through both instruction and practice to execute professional-level thinking, analysis, writing and presentation skills needed for successful public relations campaign management. JMC 135 or 085 JMC 123 strongly recommended .
  • JMC 146 Public Relations Campaign Strategy: Planning and executing a major public relations campaign through the fact-finding, planning, communicating and evaluation stages. Class teams simulate competitive counseling firms. Prereq.: JMC 040, 123 and 143.
  • ECON 2 Microeconomics
  • PSY 1 Introduction to Psychology
  • MKTG 101 Marketing Principles
  • MGMT 110 Mgmt Process and Behavior

Ideal course of study

Semester 1
JMC 30: Mass Media in a Global Society
JMC 31: Multimedia Lab

Semester 2
JMC 54: Reporting & Writing Principles (Pre-Req for JMC 123: PR Writing)
PSY 001: Intro to Psychology (Doesn’t have to complete in this semester – anytime will work) WITH LAB FOR AOI
POLS 001: American Political Systems (Doesn’t have to complete in this semester – anytime will work)

Semester 3
JMC 40: Pre-Professional Workshop
JMC 85: PR Principles
SCSS 001: Survey of Sociology (Doesn’t have to complete in this semester – anytime will work)
ECON 2: Principles of Microeconomics (Pre-Req for MKT 101)

JMC 41: Financial Fundamentals (required for students entering Fall 2015 or later; sophomore or junior year)

JMC 55: Digital Media Strategies (required for students entering Fall 2015 or later; sophomore or junior year)

Semester 4
JMC 123: PR Writing
JMC 59: Intro to Visual Communication (Pre-Req for JMC 131: PR Collateral Materials)

Semester 5
JMC 144: PR Case Studies Analysis
JMC 66: Media Responsibility Over Time (not required for students entering after Fall 2015)
MKT 101: Marketing Principles

Semester 6
JMC 143: Publicity
JMC 104: Communication Law & Ethics
MGMT 110: Management Processes and Behavior

Semester 7
JMC 136: PR Research (yearlong capstone)

Semester 8
JMC 146: PR Campaigns (yearlong capstone)

Additional Important Information about ideal course of study

  • Only SJMC Core/Major Requirements Listed Here
  • All PR courses are sequential and must be completed prior to moving along in the curriculum. Some allowances have been made on a case-by-case basis for transfer students and others changing majors.
  • Graduating early is a possibility, but you must plan for a yearlong capstone beginning in the Fall semester.
  • We can offer from 1 to 3 credits for an internship experience. This must be pre-approved by a PR faculty member.
  • It is possible to study abroad as a PR major, with many students choosing sophomore or junior year to do so. With a yearlong capstone, you may not study abroad during your senior year.

Academic Preparation

No specific courses are required; however, students are encouraged to take journalism and writing courses while in high school.