Public Relations, BA

Public Relations, BA

Strategy and tact are key when it comes to public relations. At Columbia, you’ll learn to engage the public and shape perceptions of organizations, products, and issues. Working in a collaborative environment, you’ll gain experience in media relations, writing, content strategy, social change and employee relations working with clients such as StreetWise and Native Foods Cafe. You’ll hone your skills creating news releases, events and cross-platform campaigns. Your portfolio will reflect a broad understanding of public relations, from social media strategies to crisis communication. A Columbia education equips you for success in an agency or in a corporate, government, or nonprofit public relations environment.

To succeed in this program and in the industry, you need a strong work ethic, a high level of professionalism, and the ability to write and think creatively and critically about every facet of public relations. Are you up for the challenge?

What to Expect Your First Year

You’ll dive into public relations practice in your introductory courses your very first semester. In our foundations PR courses, including Introduction to Public Relations, you’ll write starter press materials, conduct audience research and deliver team presentations. You’ll be immersed in a collaborative environment from the start, while being grounded with an ethical understanding of what it means to practice public relations today. We’ll discuss the dozens of internships available to you just steps from our campus, and you’ll begin to understand what it will take to land your first PR internship. We’ll provide the resources to get you there.

Take your learning beyond the classroom and participate in our award-winning chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). Collaborating now with your creative public relations peers will contribute to your professional success in the future.

What to Expect Your Last Year

During your senior year, you’re likely to be working in your second internship, engaging in strategic networking, and developing your resume and portfolio. You’ll take courses like Strategic Media Relations, study experiential campaigns and enroll in the PR Campaigns capstone.

The PR Campaigns capstone is one of several capstone courses available to you. This is where you’ll learn how to function in a public relations agency. You’ll work with real clients on real assignments, which means you’ll participate in client meetings, generate reports, conduct research, develop strategies, write media plans, pitch concepts and produce tactical elements. The campaign elements you develop in this course are excellent samples for your portfolio.

Detailed Program Information

Download a Four-Year Plan

For More Degree Requirements and Transfer Plans, Visit the Catalog

Real-world Opportunities

What experience will I get outside the classroom?

Columbia prides itself on giving you real-world opportunities while you’re in school. Our chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) can help you gain added exposure to the PR industry. Our PRSSA chapter benefits from being closely connected with industry via professors and guest speakers. You’ll have the chance to network and visit with corporate PR professionals, event management firms, PR agencies and more.

What are my internship options?

Beginning your junior year, you’ll have access to internships in Chicago and beyond for companies ranging from globally known media outlets to dynamic startups. Students have interned at Golin, Edelman, Fleishman Hillard, Hill and Knowlton, Ogilvy PR, and various startups and nonprofits. Columbia students have also helped out with New York Fashion Week, Midwest Fashion Week, Columbia’s TedX, Gold Coast Art Fair and Chicago Social Media Week.

Our full-time internship coordinators can help you find opportunities and professional environments that best complement your coursework—you won’t be getting coffee or making copies all day. We don’t require an internship to graduate, but we highly encourage you to land multiple internships beginning your junior year.


Ready to Apply?

We’re happy you’re thinking of joining our creative community. We work hard to make our application process as simple and fast as possible, but should you run into any concerns, we're here to help at any time.

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