Undergraduate Catalog 2023-2024

Public Relations, Bachelor of Arts (763P, 763)

Program Coordinator

Kenneth D. Payne, ken.payne@wku.edu, (270) 745-3968

Accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC) and certified by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the Public Relations major emphasizes applied research, data and analytics, strategic campaign planning, targeted written communications, digital storytelling, and ethical practice. Public relations is a planned process to influence attitudes and behavior using strategic communications. We prepare students for a career in public relations/strategic communications with skills in critical thinking, writing, digital analytics, research, program planning and management, creative problem solving, and relationship building with key publics. Those publics include media, consumers, employees, government, opinion leaders, communities, and many more.

Virtually all segments of the public and private sectors throughout the world draw employees from public relations graduates. Our graduates work as communications tacticians, strategic planners, digital storytellers, and management counselors. They may specialize in employee relations, community relations, social media communications, crisis communications, public affairs, media relations, or several other disciplines within the professional arena.

Specific objectives of the Public Relations major:

  • To promote a broad understanding and appreciation of the expanding and important role of public relations in modern society;
  • To increase knowledge and develop skills required for positions in the public relations field; 
  • To instill high standards of ethical conduct;
  • To build a foundation for lifelong learning and advanced education in public relations.

Program Requirements (39 hours)

A baccalaureate degree requires a minimum of 120 unduplicated semester hours. More information can be found at www.wku.edu/registrar/degree_certification.php.

Students who began WKU in the Fall 2014 and thereafter should review the Colonnade requirements located at: https://www.wku.edu/colonnade/colonnaderequirements.php.

Admission Requirements

Students wishing to enter the major in public relations initially are admitted as majors seeking admission (reference 763P). Prospective majors may take no more than 15 hours in the major before admission. Students must meet the following requirements before they can be admitted:

  1. Completion of a minimum of 24 hours of coursework applicable to a baccalaureate degree;
  2. A minimum overall grade point average of 2.5;
  3. Completion of JOUR 202 with a grade of "C" or better.
The following 21 hours of Public Relations Core courses are required:
PR 255Fundamentals of Public Relations3
PR 321Communications Analytics in Public Relations and Advertising3
PR 350Legal and Ethical Foundations of Strategic Communication3
PR 356Digital Tactics in Public Relations3
PR 358Public Relations Writing and Production3
PR 454Public Relations Strategy and Planning3
PR 456Public Relations Management3
or PR 489 PR Internship or Practicum
The following 12 hours outside the Public Relations Core are required:
SOM 101Understanding Media Content, Ethics and Technology3
JOUR 202Introduction to News Writing3
COMM 200Communication Foundations3
AD 300Research in Advertising and Public Relations3
or COMM 300 Introduction to Communication Research Methods
or PS 302 Research Design in Political Science
or SOCL 302 Social Research Methods
In addition, three hours of Restricted Electives must be chosen from the following: 13
Fundamentals of Photography
Introduction to Popular Culture Studies
Digital Media
Basic Marketing Concepts
Advertising in a Digital World
Digital Video Production and Distribution
Basic Broadcast News
Survey of Electronic Media Writing
Sport Communication
Multiplatform News Presentation
Feature Writing
Integrated Marketing Communications
User Interface Design
Social Media Marketing
Organizational Communication
Crisis Communication
Seminar in Political Communication
Health Communication
Communication in the Digital Age
In addition, three hours of Diversity Electives must be chosen from the following: 3
International Public Relations
Media Diversity
Interracial Communication
Intercultural Communication
Gender Communication
Communication in Multinational Organizations
Cultural Diversity in the U S
Cultural Connections and Diversity
Social Institutions: Race, Class, and Gender
Diversity in American Society
Total Hours39

A minor, certificate, or second major is required.

Finish in Four Plan - Public Relations (763)

First Year
ENG 1003JOUR 2023
SOM 1013HIST 101 or HIST 1023
MATH 109, MATH 116, or MATH 1833COMM 1453
Colonnade: Arts & Humanities32nd Major/Certificate/Minor Course3
Colonnade: Natural & Physical Sciences w/lab3World Language, if needed OR 2nd Major/Certificate/Minor Course3
 15 15
Second Year
PR 2553PR 3503
COMM 2003BCOM 265 or BCOM 3253
Colonnade: Natural & Physical Sciences3Colonnade: Connections (Social & Cultural)3
PR Restricted Electives32nd Major/Certificate/Minor Course3
2nd Major/Certificate/Minor Course3PR 354, SOM 310, COMM 365, COMM 471, FLK 280, SOCL 362, or SOCL 3753
 15 15
Third Year
PR 3213PR 3583
PR 3563Colonnade: Connections (Local to Global)3
COMM 300, AD 300, PS 301, or SOCL 3023Colonnade: Connections (Systems)3
2nd Major/Certificate/Minor Course32nd Major/Certificate/Minor Course3
2nd Major/Certificate/Minor Course32nd Major/Certificate/Minor Course3
 15 15
Fourth Year
PR 4543PR 456 or PR 4893
2nd Major/Certificate/Minor Course32nd Major/Certificate/Minor Course3
2nd Major/Certificate/Minor Course32nd Major/Certificate/Minor Course3
2nd Major/Certificate/Minor Course3General Elective3
2nd Major/Certificate/Minor Course3General Elective3
 15 15
Total Hours 120