Public relations concentration | Marian University

Public Relations Concentration

If you have a talent for crafting engaging, relevant, and timely messages, establishing good relationships with a variety of people, and staying calm, focused, and on message during a crisis, consider a career in public relations.

Adding a concentration in public relations (or PR as it is known in the communication industry) to your Bachelor of Arts in Communication degree will give you excellent career options.

Why choose a public relations concentration at Marian?

​Successful business people understand the value of good public relations.

  • "If I were down to the last dollar in my marketing budget, I'd spend it on PR."
    Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corporation and business magnate, investor, author, philanthropist, and humanitarian.
  • "Advertising is when you say how great you are. PR is when other people say how great you are. PR is better."
    Guy Kawasaki, marketing expert, author, and Silicon Valley venture capitalist.
  • "In the digital era, it's no longer all about your product or service. It's the content you create about it (and around it) that gets you found and noticed."
    Iliyana Stareva, global partner program manager at HubSpot and author of Inbound PR.

PR pros make their career helping companies and clients build and maintain strong public images. They promote and protect brands—like ​the business brands of global corporations, large companies, small businesses, or nonprofit organizations—as well as the personal brands of celebrities, entertainers, professional athletes, politicians, and others.

  • Public relations specialists plan, execute, and evaluate comprehensive public relations campaigns that are strategically designed to shape public perception, disseminate information, increase brand awareness, and create positive impressions or experiences.
  • PR pros use their savvy and experience to anticipate, analyze, and interpret positive and negative public opinions and attitudes that could impact their company, customers, business partners, and employees. They monitor the competitive landscape and media environment to have the latest information at their fingertips. They counsel executives and organizational leaders about the public impacts that could result from their statements and actions.
  • On a daily basis, PR managers have a great deal of variety in their work. They direct photo and video shoots. They write and distribute news releases targeting journalists and key influencers in specific industries and geographic locations. They manage web sites and social media channels, often fielding inquiries from members of the general public who want information or have a problem that needs resolution.
  • They strategically utilize internal and external communication channels (like TV, radio, billboards, websites, blogs, email, magazines, newspapers, and social media sites) to deliver brand messages to the right audiences at the right time.

According to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), public relations professionals have "real, measurable impacts on achieving strategic organizational goals."

​While there are various specialties within the field of public relations, here are some of the most common:

  • Media relations
  • Community relations
  • Corporate affairs
  • Government relations
  • Public information
  • Crisis communications
  • Social media management
  • Employee relations
  • Integrated marketing communications

As a student, Marian University’s concentration in public relations will give you the knowledge, skills, and experience you need to create credible communications and cultivate enduring connections with customers, clients, and key stakeholders.

Here are a few reasons why Marian is a great choice for PR and communication students.

  • Personal plan of study. Communication faculty help you select courses, minors, concentrations, or second majors that add depth and breadth to your studies based on your individual career interests and goals.
  • High-impact teaching. Thanks to Marian's experiential curriculum, you won’t read from textbooks or listen to traditional college lectures. Seminar-style classes promote lively discussions and active student-faculty dialog. You’ll never read a PR textbook—instead you’ll review and study digital content hand-selected by faculty from a range of academic journals and primary sources.
  • Hands-on learning and collaboration. Give presentations and write papers about the latest PR topics and trends. Complete a capstone research project. Develop real communication plans and PR strategies for local organizations who need help to solve a problem, build their brand, or raise awareness about products and services.
  • Leadership and engagement. Express yourself through MU Knightwatch, compete on the speech and debate team, or work as a peer tutor in Marian’s Speaking Studio or Writing Center. Serve as president of your class, represent your peers as a member of the Student Government Association, build community through serving on the Campus Activities Board, and get involved in other student groups.
  • Global awareness and perspectives. You will be encouraged to participate in short-term or semester-based study-abroad courses.
  • Real experience through internships. You will have access to a range of great internship and employment opportunities throughout greater Indianapolis. Many students complete two or more internships before graduation.
  • Big thinker, exceptional communicator, and strong collaborator. Graduate with the PR and communication skills employers want and expect in new college graduates. You'll be well-prepared to enter the workforce and begin your career after graduation or be a competitive candidate for admission to a master’s or doctoral degree program.

What will you study?

Marian University’s 12-credit public relations concentration is only available to communication majors who are completing our 128-credit B.A. in communication degree.

To earn the PR concentration, you will complete these courses:

  • COM 239: Professional Writing
  • COM 245: Fact Finding and Checking
  • COM 365: Strategic Communication

You'll also complete one of the following:

  • COM 330: Speech Writing
  • COM 445: National Advertising Competition

All communication majors are required to complete at least one internship and participate in at least one community engagement course project.

What are your career paths?

As a communication major with a concentration in public relations, you can pursue dynamic career paths such as:

  • Publicist
  • PR manager
  • Media relations director
  • Social media coordinator
  • Content manager
  • Public information officer
  • Corporate spokesperson
  • Account executive at a PR firm

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (, the demand for public relation specialists is expected to grow by nine percent through 2026. The average salary for PR specialists in 2017 was $59,300.

In contrast, employment of experienced public relations managers is projected to grow by ten percent from 2016-26, which is faster than average. The BLS reports average pay for experienced PR managers in 2017 was $111,280 per year.

For admission information

Office of Undergraduate Admission
(317) 955-6300 or (800) 772-7264

For program specifics

Rev. George LaMaster, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Communication
(317) 955-6215

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