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Public Relations

  • Bachelor of Arts Major
  • Erie, Pennsylvania

The art of proper portfolio-building is taught starting during a student’s first year. Hands-on opportunities with the student-run media and class projects are great portfolio additions, and a notable advantage for graduates looking for their first jobs.

  • GU Possibilities
    • Class projects allow students to build the portfolio of work that potential employers want to see. Portfolio building starts during a student’s freshman year, preparing him or her for a career. This is a great advantage for graduates looking for their first jobs.
    • Located in the Center for Communication and the Arts, the program has access to the resources of all of the University’s communication, media and arts faculty and technology under one roof. Students benefit from the synergy this co-location provides.
    • Gannon University’s student-run radio station, 90.5 WERG-FM, was the national champion in two categories at the annual Intercollegiate Broadcasting System Conference in 2017, and a finalist for the Best College Station in the Nation award, an honor the station received in 2014.

    You Will Learn

    The public relations profession is about influencing, engaging, and creating  relationships with key audiences to contribute to the way an organization is viewed. The public relations professional has skills that will help to offer insights into the development of an organization’s message across multiple channels to internal and external publics within the for-profit, not-for-profit and government sectors. Students in this program will develop strategic planning, writing, organizational, digital media and interpersonal skills that will enable them to assist an organization in multiple promotional activities. The public relations program in the University’s School of Communication and the Arts, provides students an integrated approach to the discipline. Classes, assignments, projects, practica and a required internship draw on all of the promotional tools to ensure the knowledge and skills necessary for career success in the fast-changing world of the integrated public relations industries.

    You Will Experience

    Students enrolled in the public relations program are required to complete three credits of experiential practicum or internship prior to graduation. Students are encouraged to complete additional on- and off-campus placements to better prepare themselves for life after graduation. Placement locations can be local, national or international. Placement opportunities include: 

    • public relations agencies
    • advertising agencies
    • businesses and industry
    • government agencies
    • nonprofit organizations
    • social media providers

    You Will Achieve

    The public relations program, taught as an integrated communication approach, can lead to jobs at a variety of client- and agency-side marketing, public relations and advertising organizations, with the government and in the nonprofit sector. There 
    is a strong demand for young professionals trained in social media in the public and private sectors. Such opportunities include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • public relations specialist
    • corporate communications
    • community relations specialist
    • copywriter
    • internet marketing manager
    • press officer
    • social media specialist
    • publicist

    You Will Earn

    Salaries in the field vary depending on the location and type of organization.

    • Starting salary: $43,400
    • Mid-career salary: $79,400

    You Will Study

    Example Course Descriptions

    Through its integrated curriculum, the public relations program allows students to draw on multiple areas of knowledge and skills necessary for career success in public relations and related fields. Public relations majors take various core and elective courses including:

    COMM 372 Principles of Public Relations

    This course is an introductory-level course on the topic of public relations. Strategies and communication tools are studied in relation to an organization's efforts to communicate and position itself with its internal and external publics.

    COMM 389 Strategic Public Relations

    Strategic Public Relations is designed to develop the student's public relationship skills with an understanding and application of the strategies used in a comprehensive public relations effort.  The course will provide students the opportunity to apply the fundamentals of the industry with an actual identified client.  The class will include public relations case studies, issues in the industry (technology, research, ethics) and the development and execution of a public relations plan.  Strategies and communication tools will be studied and applied as they relate to an organization's efforts to communicate with and position itself with its internal and external audiences.

    COMM 402 Integrated Marketing Campaign Development 

    During this course, students become an in-class ad agency to compete and win the account of an actual local nonprofit organization. Students work with a local advertising professional who provides guidance and support. Through the application of the students' previous knowledge and skills, students determine how their proposed campaign will influence not only their target audience, but the world around them as well.

    Liberal Studies Core

    The Liberal Studies Core Curriculum is one reflection of Gannon University's commitment to its Catholic identity. The Core's design offers students a defined, integrated, shared experience as the foundation for their undergraduate program.