Strategic Communication: Public Relations Advising Guide

Strategic Communication: Public Relations Advising Guide

Students begin planning their course schedule for their junior and senior years after being admitted to an interest area. This commonly occurs near the conclusion of the sophomore year. This advising guide provides strategic communication students with information such as course sequencing, special enrollment requirements, course load recommendations, journalism elective recommendations, travel requirements for off-campus locations, safety and health considerations and contact information.

Interest Area Curriculum Structure

Students beginning their interest area curriculum are required to take 31 credits of journalism courses and 29 credits of upper level non-journalism courses. Each semester students are encouraged to enroll in a combination of journalism and non-journalism courses.

Enrollment Planning

The following semester plan may apply to many students’ situations. Students are encouraged to work with a faculty adviser and an academic adviser to create a plan that fits their needs.

First Semester in the Interest Area

Courses Credits
JOURN 4200 Principles of Strategic Communication 3
JOURN 4204 Introduction to Strategic Writing and Design 3
JOURN 4952 Strategic Communication Research I 3
MRKTNG 3000 Principles of Marketing 3
Non-Journalism Electives 3

Total Credits 15

 

All students are required to take JOURN 4200 Principles of Strategic Communication, JOURN 4204 Introduction to Strategic Writing and Design, and JOURN 4952 Strategic Communication Research during their first semester in strategic communication. These courses provide knowledge that lays the foundation for all future strategic communication electives and capstone courses. All three courses are prerequisites for other strategic communication courses.

These courses are offered in the fall and spring semesters. Students are permitted to enroll in the courses after they have been fully admitted to the interest area. The advising office will email detailed enrollment instructions to each student during the semester prior to beginning the interest area.

Students commonly enroll in MRKTNG 3000 Principles of Marketing during the first semester in the interest area. MRKTNG 3000 should be taken no later than the third semester in the interest area. One additional MRKTNG course is also required. The additional MRKTNG course requires MRKTNG 3000 as a prerequisite.

Second Semester in the Interest Area

Courses Credits
JOURN Electives (JOURN 4256 Public Relations is highly suggested, but not required.) 6
Non-Journalism Electives 9

Total Credits 15

 

During the second semester in the interest area, strategic communication students should focus on enrolling in journalism electives. Students can choose to specialize in one of the specific strategic communication interest areas or choose from a variety of journalism courses.

Third Semester in the Interest Area

Courses Credits
MRKTG Elective 3
JOURN Electives (JOURN 4270* Public Relations Writing) 7
Non-Journalism Electives 6

Total Credits 16

 

*JOURN 4270 Public Relations Writing, if JOURN 4256 Public Relations was completed in the second semester in the interest area. Because of course workload, it is best not to take it in the same semester as JOURN 4970 Strategic Campaigns.

During the third semester in the interest area, strategic communication students should continue to focus on enrolling in journalism electives. Students can choose to specialize in one of the specific strategic communication interest areas or choose from a variety of journalism courses.

Fourth Semester in the Interest Area

Courses Credits
JOURN 3000 History of American Journalism or JOURN 4568 History of Photojournalism 3
JOURN 4000 Communications Law 3
JOURN 4970 Strategic Campaigns (Capstone course.) 3
Non-Journalism Electives 5

Total Credits 14

 

All strategic communication students must complete the capstone course, JOURN 4970 Strategic Campaigns, to graduate. This course is generally taken in the final semester. It is recommended that students have taken most, if not all, of their strategic communication electives before their capstone semester.

The capstone course requires students to apply what they have learned in the strategic communication curriculum to professional scenarios. Students will work on real assignments provided by brands, nonprofits and other clients.

JOURN 3000 History of Journalism or JOURN 4568 History of Photojournalism and JOURN 4000 Communications Law should be taken during the fourth semester. JOURN 4568 is only offered in the fall semester.

Journalism Electives

In addition to the required journalism, strategic communication and marketing courses, 13 credits of strategic communication elective courses are required for graduation. Choice of electives depends on the student’s career plans.

Students who have a specific focus in their interest area can seek enrollment in the recommended electives listed below. For students who are undecided about their career path, choosing electives from different areas will provide a well-rounded understanding of the different applications in the advertising, public relations and communication industries.

Students who wish to study abroad during a fall or spring semester through the School of Journalism Global Programs can earn up to nine journalism elective credits and 3-6 credits of non-journalism requirements. Summer programs are also available. Students typically earn 3-9 credits during the summer program.

Strategic communication students cannot take JOURN 4950 Understanding Audiences. Much of the research-oriented material is covered in JOURN 4952 Strategic Communication Research I. Students will gain essential skills by enrolling in recommended electives.

Highly Recommended Electives

Highly recommended electives are courses that will prepare students for industry work in this interest area. Course descriptions are available in the Undergraduate Catalog.

Students who plan a career in public relations should select elective courses that provide a solid foundational knowledge of the tools used in public relations as well as courses that help improve writing ability and grammar skills. The two highly recommended electives will help public relations students in these two areas.

  • JOURN 4256 Public Relations (3 Credits) Suggested for second semester of program.
  • JOURN 4270 Public Relations Writing (3 Credits) (Consent required. Prerequisite: JOURN 4256.) Suggested for third semester of program. Because of course workload, it is best not to take it in the same semester as JOURN 4970 Strategic Campaigns.

Additional Electives

Other elective suggestions are provided to help students fulfill elective requirements. Students’ choices are based on personal preference. For instance, a student who wants to be a public relations account executive should consider taking JOURN 4250 Management of Strategic Communication, while someone interested in planning and executing social media strategy as a public relations tactic might take JOURN 4140 Interactive Techniques: Social Media Strategy and JOURN 4140 Interactive Techniques: Social Media Content.

Course descriptions are available in the Undergraduate Catalog. Students can also choose from journalism special topics courses. Check MyZou for course availability.

  • JOURN 4138 Public Relations Techniques: Events and Promotion (1 Credit. Consent required. Prerequisite: JOURN 4256.)
  • JOURN 4138 Public Relations Techniques: How To Start and Run a PR Agency (1 Credit)
    Note: This course is not offered every semester.
  • JOURN 4138 Public Relations Techniques: Strategic PR Presentation Techniques (1 Credit)
    Note: This course is not offered every semester.
  • JOURN 4140 Interactive Techniques: Social Media Content (1 Credit)
  • JOURN 4140 Interactive Techniques: Social Media Strategy (1 Credit)
  • JOURN 4146 Strategic Communication Techniques: Introduction to Promotional Video (1 Credit)
  • JOURN 4146 Strategic Communication Techniques: Advanced Promotional Video (1 Credit)
  • JOURN 4250 Management of Strategic Communication (3 Credits. Consent required) Because of course workload, it is best not to take this course the same semester as JOURN 4270 Public Relations Writing.
  • JOURN 4400 News Editing (1 Credit) Recommended to hone grammar skills and Associated Press style knowledge.
  • JOURN 4406 Advanced News Editing (3 Credits) Recommended to hone grammar skills and Associated Press style knowledge and to improve overall writing ability. JOURN 4400 is NOT required to take this course.

Upper Level Non-Journalism Requirements

Upper level non-journalism courses are meant to expand upon general education courses taken during the freshman and sophomore years. These courses can be used to meet dual degree or minor requirements from other academic units. For additional information, visit the Upper Level Non-Journalism Requirements page.

Special Course Enrollment Requests

Some courses will require an enrollment request due to the hands-on nature of Missouri Method courses. Details regarding how to enroll in courses are listed in each course’s notes section in MyZou.

Global Programs

Students can take advantage of extensive study abroad opportunities that include internships in international settings. About one-third of strategic communication students choose to study abroad during their time at the University of Missouri. Short-term experiences of a few weeks to semester-long programs are available in a variety of countries. Off-campus experiences within the United States also are available. More information can be found by visiting Global Programs.

Resource Contacts

  • Coordinator for Strategic Communication Course Enrollment
    • The coordinator is a key contact for course planning, scheduling and processing special enrollment requests for courses requiring faculty consent to enroll.
  • Faculty Advisers
  • Undergraduate Advising Liaison
    • The advising liaison works closely with strategic communication faculty and staff to provide students with timely updates on courses and enrollment troubleshooting.