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Public Relations and Strategic Communication, BS

Public Relations professionals work at the intersection of business and strategic communication as the “voice behind the voice.” We are everywhere, keeping an organization’s story front and center to help it achieve goals like selling products, connecting people, changing history and setting pathways to new adventures. At the University of Central Missouri, you’ll learn how to achieve this by telling and sharing stories through words, speech, imagery, timing and more to help people, businesses and organizations be heard. Prepare for a career in PR at UCM with a business-oriented bachelor’s degree — that has fewer math requirements.

A PRSA-certified bachelor’s degree focused on strategy, skills and success

To keep up with the changing needs of employers, media outlets and publics, our Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and Strategic Communication program continues to evolve. Other programs with degrees in Public Relations still teach only tactics. At the University of Central Missouri, we’ve grown from a mass communication degree to a communications and journalism degree and finally to a PRSA-certified bachelor’s degree program that integrates strategy and skills throughout the curriculum.

What’s the difference? You’ll gain traditional publicity and media experience, just like most undergraduate degrees in Public Relations. However, you’ll also develop more than 11 applied skills, including social media strategy, video production and story pitching, to help you land jobs within public relations — or start a business in any industry or profession you want.

Public Relations online degree program

UCM’s PR and Strat Comm program offers a Public Relations online degree option through the Office of Online and Learning Engagement. You can enroll part time or full time starting in the fall, spring or summer and finish your bachelor’s degree as a major in Public Relations by taking all online classes.

CEPR Certified

1 of only 2 CEPR-certified schools in MO

97% job or grad school placement rate

97% job or grad school placement rate

PRNews A list icon

Ranked by PRNews as part of its annual Education A-List

Strong network of alumni

Strong network of 1,550+ active alumni

More than 11 PR and Strat Comm skills

11+ applied PR and Strat Comm skills

Online options available

Public Relations online degree option

What you will study

Learn the fundamentals of PR and Strat Comm to explore your options for careers in public relations. Then dive deeper into topics and gain hands-on experience to apply your classroom learning in real-world settings that set the expectations for jobs within public relations.

As a major in Public Relations and Strategic Communication (PRSC) at the University of Central Missouri, you’ll also get 24 semester hours of free electives to study specialized areas of PR. Become an expert in writing, video, crisis communication, design, sports PR, entertainment PR, health care comm, finance and more.

In the PRSC BS program, we don’t practice leveling. This means you can take courses as they fit your schedule, unless they have a prerequisite. In other words, you won’t be tied to only 1000-level courses as a freshman, 2000 as a sophomore and so on. 

Core courses for our major in Public Relations and Strategic Communication include:

  • Design and Layout: We are one of only a few programs in Missouri to guarantee our majors in Public Relations gain foundational skills in basic design.
  • Writing and Editing and Advanced PR Writing: Few degrees in Public Relations dedicate two courses in their curriculum to specialized writing skills. 
  • Special Topics in Public Relations – Entertainment PR: Gain exclusive, behind-the-scenes access to major entertainment venues in Kansas City to see their PR, strategic and business functions in action.
  • Global Sports PR: Get unique insights into the entertainment and business values of Kansas City-based sports organizations and teams — on and off the field — in media studies of major KC-based sports organizations.

The globally certified program curriculum is taught by faculty who are experts in PR strategy and theory and teach what they practice. They have professional industry experience in sports PR, broadcasting and more and use their networks to connect students with Kansas City-area businesses and organizations with high-impact learning opportunities.

 

National Rankings

  • More than 97% of PR majors have jobs within public relations or a related area of interest or are accepted into graduate school within six months of graduation.
  • UCM's globally certified PR and Strat Comm program curriculum has the seal of approval from the Public Relations Society of America and Commission on Public Relations Education. This recognizes its value above and beyond other degrees in Public Relations.
  • Nearly 40% of student internships for PR majors turn into full-time job offers.
  • PRNews has ranked UCM PR and Strategic Communications among the top programs in the nation as part of its annual Education A-List
  • PR and Strat Comm at UCM is one of only two degrees in Public Relations in Missouri certified by the PRSA CEPR, one of 36 in the United States and one of 42 worldwide. Certification in Education for Public Relations is the global standard in public relations education.

 

Unique learning opportunities in PR and Strat Comm

At the University of Central Missouri, we focus on providing you with applied learning opportunities that give you real professional experience by the time you graduate. This way, you’ll be better qualified for competitive jobs within public relations and better prepared for future possibilities in any number of careers in public relations.

  • Internships: Gain job experience while earning course credit with an internship. Exciting opportunities are available through our alumni engagement program, faculty networks and industry connections.
  • PR agency experience: The award-winning, student-led Innovative PR agency offers students who major in Public Relations a chance to work with UCM’s Integrated Marketing and Communications team. Develop leadership and job skills while earning course credit. You can apply to join the agency for up to a year of job experience before you graduate, working for real clients in Missouri, Kansas and the United States, as well as around the world. This is Opportunity in Action at its best.

  • Field trips: Visit sports organizations, cultural attractions, entertainment venues and more. Field trips offer chances to meet and interact with industry pros who work for the Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas Speedway, Visit KC and Ameristar Casino — just to name a few.
  • Study abroad: Make new friends, travel the world, connect with global PR professionals and gain international perspectives on careers in public relations, strategic communication and international business. Upcoming study abroad trips may take you to Australia, Western Europe or other international destinations. UCM is one of the few universities in the country to offer study abroad scholarships and grants.

  • Service learning: Almost every class in our PR and Strat Comm BS program includes a dedicated service-learning component. Through class projects and client work, you will gain job experience, develop your applied PR and business skills and add value to your education to help you stand out to future employers.

 

What can you do with a major in Public Relations and Strat Comm from UCM?

The PR and Strat Comm BS from the University of Central Missouri is a versatile degree that can take you anywhere you want to go. A major in Public Relations pairs well with minors in a variety of undergraduate degree programs. You can minor in Biology and explore different careers in public relations for health care or medical organizations. You can minor in Spanish and work in bilingual jobs within public relations. You can minor in Finance and work in investor relations. You can minor in Conservation and work for the Missouri Department of Conservation. You can minor in Political Science and work as a legislative aide. The list of potential careers in public relations goes on and on.

Plus, our major in Public Relations is enhanced by our connection with UCM’s accredited business school, where you can join the Integrative Business Experience, participate in State Farm and Fastenal sales competitions, attend events such as UCM’s annual American Marketing Association’s Distinguished Alumni event and make close connections with AACSB faculty. You will be well prepared to be a successful business owner of virtually any kind.

Early career jobs within public relations:

  • Community relations manager
  • Corporate events planner
  • Marketing communications specialist
  • Promotions coordinator
  • Social and digital media strategist
  • Brand manager
  • Customer experience specialist
  • Content specialist

More on careers in public relations

Explore more options for future jobs within public relations using the interactive tool below. You can gain insights on PR salaries, job outlooks and more.

 

 
 


 

Financial assistance options for your PR and Strat Comm BS degree

A UCM degree is a valuable investment in your future, no matter which of the many careers in public relations you choose. As a top-ranked university for low student debt, according to LendEDU, the University of Central Missouri offers a variety of resources to help you finance your college education.

In addition to our competitive tuition rates, we also offer several scholarships specifically for Public Relations majors on campus and undergraduate students in the Public Relations online degree program. These are a few examples:

  • Anthony Winders Integrated Communication Scholarship
  • Larry and Kali Schnieders Public Relations Scholarship
  • UCM PR Learning to a Greater Degree Scholarship
  • Melissa M. Wyatt Memorial Scholarship
  • Anthony and Sarah Taylor Scholarship — open to PRSC and six other majors.
  • UCM PR students are highly competitive in the KC Ad Club scholarship competition — two recent program alumni won the KC Ad Club scholarship and a prized mentorship.

 

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Take your degree further.

With a versatile BS in PR and Strat Comm, you can enhance your undergraduate degree or further specialize in a field of study through grad school programs such as:

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Make yourself more marketable.

Add a minor to your major in Public Relations for an enhanced undergraduate degree from UCM. Besides more traditional areas related to public relations, including communication, creative writing and leadership studies, PR majors have paired their bachelor’s degree with a variety of minors such as:

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Explore programs in this exciting field of study.

Not sure a BS in PR and Strat Comm is right for you? You may also be interested in the following undergraduate programs at UCM:

Transfer students majoring in Public Relations

The typical length of UCM’s Public Relations and Strategic Communication bachelor’s degree program is four to five years. If you’re a transfer student with an associate degree, you could finish your bachelor’s degree in Public Relations in as little as two years through:

  • In-person classes on the Warrensburg, Missouri, campus
  • UCM’s Public Relations online degree program

Because we don’t practice leveling with our major in Public Relations, you can take courses as they fit your schedule, unless they have a prerequisite.

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