School of Humanities & Behavioral Science

Public Relations

Public relations is the strategic building and maintaining of relationships with anyone important to an organization by communicating ethical and consistent messages. Anderson University offers a unique experience for students to not only understand the professional practice of public relations but to acquire at minimum 16 pieces of work for their portfolio upon graduation. Students have three track options to choose from with an option to complete the program in three or four years:

  • public relations
  • public relations with an event planning concentration
  • public relations with a social media concentration

According to the Public Relations Society of America, the field will see a 60% increase in hiring with Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting an above average hiring pace by 2026.

The high demand for well-prepared professionals in a field re-defining itself through new communication technology combined with Anderson University’s strong ethical foundation in Christ-centered communication positions this program to cultivate graduates who will not only find jobs upon graduation, but lead the field in the decades to come.

PR vs. Marketing

If you are asking yourself, “Do I want to study public relations or marketing?” you are not alone. Though similar careers, public relations earns media through third-party endorsement to achieve unbiased support through objective and trustworthy two-way communication. Marketing uses pricing, distribution, and promotion to determine how to create brand awareness for a specific product or service. With the intersection of public relations and marketing, the paid, earned, and owned portions for a product or service encourages customers to loyally support the organization. Combined they comprehensively tell the brand’s story while maintaining credibility and strong reputation.

PR vs. Communication

Once you understand the differences between the public relations and marketing field plus how they successfully work together, it is important to understand the study of communication. While communication is the written, verbal, and nonverbal expression of human communication, the field itself is broad. By focusing on strategic brand reputation and credibility, completing a public relations degree affords students the opportunity to communicate while honing their interest into a specific industry (i.e. healthcare, sports, fundraising, nonprofit, corporate, crisis, etc.). Through storytelling, message distribution strategy, and brand awareness, graduating with a public relations degree enhances your resume to employers making you more marketable.

Your AU Story Begins Now

During the fall of my senior year, I was able to complete an internship at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. Because of classes like PR Foundations and the Fifth Street Communications pr agency, I was confident in my writing skills going in. While my experiences in the classroom helped me to be prepared for my internship, the internship really allowed me to strengthen my writing and other PR skills. It also gave me a chance to get to know the Indianapolis area a bit more fully!

Christina Nesslage BA ’18

Public Relations and Christian Ministries Complementary Major

 

I credit the education I received at Anderson University for helping me develop the roots to establish a successful career in public relations and marketing. I walked away with the foundational knowledge and tools I needed to take off quickly – strong core skills in writing, practical experiences with real businesses to extend what I learned in the classroom and the confidence to let my natural curiosity and creativity lead the way.

Rachel Faulkner BA ’00

Director of Public Relations, Genesys

Program Options

Program Options

  • Public relations major
  • Public relations major with event planning concentration
  • Public relations major with social media concentration
  • There is also an optional 3-year degree track
  • 18-hour minor in public relations

The liberal arts program at AU graduates students with not only interpersonal soft skills the workplace is seeking but prepares students with the hard skills needed in the PR field.

  • Strong written communication skills
  • Project management with clients
  • Media relations exposure
  • Event planning experiences
  • Campaign strategy, planning, and implementation of knowledge
  • Social media and website analytics training
  • Public speaking and presentation practice
Classes

What courses will I take?

Among the classes in the 52-hour major are:

  • Public Relations Foundations
  • Public Relations Campaigns
  • Event Planning and Management
  • Global Communication
  • Public Relations Writing
  • Public Relations Research

View the complete curriculum.

Internship Opportunities

In 2018, 100% of Anderson University public relations graduates found employment in the field or started graduate school. Paving the way to a first job in the field of public relations were strong internship opportunities in the county and to our neighbors in Fishers and Indianapolis:

  • Children of Promise
  • Dallara
  • Indianapolis Colts
  • Indiana Pacers
  • Indianapolis Motor Speedway
  • Kalitta Motorsports
  • Media Fuel
  • St. Vincent Hospital Foundation
  • The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
  • The U.S. Attorney’s Office
  • Town of Pendleton
  • United Way
Careers

What kind of jobs can I anticipate after graduation?

PR professionals can be generalists or specialists in a variety of areas and contexts. Some work on a PR staff within a single organization, while others work in agency settings. Common job titles in public relations include:

  • communication specialist
  • content manager
  • internal communications coordinator
  • fundraising specialist
  • social media manager
  • copywriter
  • media relations manager
  • program coordinator
  • events coordinator
Experience
  • As a public relations major, you’ll work with Fifth Street Communications®, the Department’s student-staffed PR agency—which gives you a platform for creating and publishing portfolio-quality work. In their work at the agency, paid student account executives lead teams that do strategic planning, copywriting, social media analysis, media relations, and event planning.
  • You will also complete an internship for credit, and you will be active in the Department’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America. PRSSA offers students a chance to attend Half Day with a Pro, speed networking, and luncheons through the Hoosier Indiana Chapter. On campus, students have the additional opportunity to participate in a Lunch+Learn series that brings in professionals from around the state to network and teach students.
  • Every two years, the Global Communication course travels through Tri-S to London in order for students to fully immerse in the course material.
  • Anderson University offers an optional Certificate in Principles of Public Relations through the Public Relations Society of America. This certification leverages a graduate’s resume amongst the pack of applicants in the job market.