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Department of Communication and Sociology

Martin Bldg., Room 136
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660.543.4840
Email: smyers@ucmo.edu





Public Relations Major

FAQs

Is UCM's PR curriculum any good?
Yes it is!  In fact, it is closely aligned with the recommendations made by the Public Relations Society of America Commission on Education 2006 found in “Public Relations for the 21st Century” (see www.commpred.org). In addition, class sizes are small and students have the opportunity for interaction with professors inside and outside of the classroom. 

What can I do with a degree in PR?
You can do just about anything you want!  Our former students hold careers as CEOs, vice presidents, directors, managers, lobbyists, new business developers, account executives, account coordinators, and agency owners.  They work in for-profit and non-profit organizations.  They work in pharmaceuticals, medical care, hospitality, entertainment, sports, education, philanthropy, finance, travel, and veterinary care.  Further ideas for what you can do with a PR degree are found on the Public Relations Student Society of America website: http://www.prssa.org/career/career_tools

Has anyone who majored in PR at UCM been successful?
Yes, one of our alumni is now head of communications at Novartis, the third largest pharmaceutical company in the world.  Another is the director of public relations and marketing at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics.  A third serves as the chief editor at the Public Relations Society of America.  A fourth is CEO and president of Aircraft Electronics Association.  And finally, another is VP for communications, marketing and public affairs for UT Southwestern Medical School.  This is just a tiny sample of our graduates’ success stories. To hear first-hand what some of our alumni have to say about the UCM PR Program, check out alumni testimonials.

Who can assist me with my four-year plan and help me decide what courses to take?
Someone with Academic Advising will help you initially. Academic Advising will also help you as you take General Education courses and the required major course preparatory to applying for formal admission to the public relations program.  One of those courses is COMM 1100: Introduction to Communication Studies.  The instructor of this course will help you develop your own individualized four-year plan.  You can also ask any of the public relations instructors/professors for help at any time. The program coordinator is Dr. Hansen-Horn.  She can be reached at hansen-horn@ucmo.edu.

I am a transfer student. Can I get through the PR Program in two years?
Yes. Someone in the Office of Transfer and Transition Services will help you initially. Academic Advising will also help you as you take General Education courses and the required major course preparatory to applying for formal admission to the public relations program.  One of those courses is COMM 1100: Introduction to Communication Studies.  The instructor of this course will help you develop your own individualized 4-year plan.  Click here to view course transfer equivalencies. You can also ask any of the public relations instructors/professors for help at any time. The program coordinator is Dr. Hansen-Horn.  She can be reached at hansen-horn@ucmo.edu.

How do I apply for the program?
You first complete your gateway courses:  COMM 2620 Introduction to Public Relations, COMM 2625 Writing & Editing for Public Relations, and COMM 3620 Strategic Planning for Public Relations with a 2.25 or above grade average with no course grade lower than a C.  You then apply for formal admission to the public relations major.  Fill out the Application to PR Program form.

How long will it take me to get out?
The PR Program can be completed in four years, as long as you follow the four-year plan correctly and fulfill all requirements.

Can I get any scholarships?
Yes! There are a variety of scholarships available through UCM. Visit this link:http://www.ucmo.edu/sfs/explore/scholarships.  A specific PR scholarship is the Melissa M. Wyatt Scholarship housed in the Department of Communication & Sociology. https://www.ucmo.edu/foundation/scholarships/documents/cahss/communication/wyatt.pdf
There are a variety of scholarships available through UCM. Visit http://www.ucmo.edu/sfs/explore/scholarships/
Scholarships are also available through professional organizations including PRSA and IABC.

Who are the PR instructors?  Will I have real professors or only graduate students and adjuncts? 
Public Relations Major students have real professors and the occasional graduate or adjunct instructor.  Everyone who teaches public relations classes is highly skilled in the industry and in teaching.  The three full-time staff are ass follows:
Dr. Tricia Hansen-Horn, Dr. Adam Horn and Ms. Linda Harvey-Yates. For a complete list of communication instructors visit: http://www.ucmo.edu/comm/facstaff.cfm

What do I need to do to be successful in this program?
You need enthusiasm, drive, self-motivation and vision.  We have everything in place for you to become a successful public relations professional.  Work hard in your classes, get to know your program peers, take advantage of opportunities to meet professionals and engage in professional challenges outside of the classroom (we will bring many of them to you), and start thinking of yourself as a professional from the first class you take. 

The answer is simple: get involved and take advantage of every opportunity! Public Relations Major Student Society of America (PRSSA) hosts the annual PRSSA Pro-Day, guest speakers, social media workshops, attends local and national conferences, and much more. Get to know your fellow classmates and make a connection with professors. Feel free to drop by the PR Suite in Martin 132; there are always free snacks and goodies available and other students hanging out.

Do I have to have a minor?
No, but we highly recommend one to be more marketable.  You can make yourself by choosing a minor in an specific area such as finance, graphics, economics, business administration, journalism, and so on.

If I have a minor, which one do you suggest?
That is up to you.  Survey your interests and aptitude.  Then reflect on what you might “need to know” to do well in a very competitive marketplace.  Choose a minor.  There are many excellent minors available at UCM.

How active are the PR students?
They are VERY active.  Most of them join the UCM Robert Kendall Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (see www.facebook.com/ucmprssa) and are active members during their entire UCM career.  Every student completes an internship in public relations external to the campus; many students decide to complete a second or even third internship.  A large number of public relations students apply for, are selected for, and participate in a semester with the student-led public relations firm known as Innovative Public Relations.  In addition, our students serve as alumni ambassadors, admissions representatives, Spotlight committee members, student government representatives, student athletes, members of the Greek community, and the like.

Where do PR students go to hang out?
They hang out and interact at www.facebook.com/ucmprssa.  They also hang out in the Martin Building, Room 132 that is also known as the “PR Suite.”  In addition, PRSSA hosts a number of invigorating professional activities and fun social opportunities. 

Can I go on to graduate school from here?
Absolutely.  A large number of our majors have gone on for a graduate degree.  Some stay at UCM.  Many apply to and are accepted by other universities.  Many of our undergraduates have gone on to earn master’s degrees.  Several have earned doctoral degrees as well.