The UAB Department of Communication Studies offers a top-ranked and award-winning curriculum in public relations. Our program is designed to offer you a wide range of career choices in fields that include business, politics, sports, government, not-for-profits, crisis management, and education.

Members of the PRCA student group.

The public relations curriculum places a heavy emphasis on teaching you all the skills you'll need to succeed and excel in any of these organizations. You'll learn the basics in the field and also practice those skills by representing real clients over the course of your study, all under the supervision and advice of faculty. In addition you will develop skills in management and leadership, as well as theory and research — all essential in providing professional representation to your clients throughout your career.

Here's What to Expect

Public relations is relationship-based. Initial courses will provide you with a broad overview of the field, exploring the relationships between public relations and other fields. Early on, you will begin representing clients while you take courses on the basic principles of public relations as a management function in the areas of communication analysis, counseling, and public information activities and publicity. You will learn to analyze the relationships between an organization and the publics upon which the organization’s success or failure depend. Then you will use those analytical skills to develop and implement a campaign in conjunction with your client.

Why Study With Us?

Our program has won the Public Relations Council of Alabama (PRCA) Student Chapter of the Year for 32 of the last 34 years. In 2017 UAB brought home an unprecedented 20 Medallion Awards (the highest award offered by PRCA) as well as 12 silver and six bronze Awards. In addition, UAB PRCA/PRSSA competes successfully against similar student organizations across the nation and students sit on national committees and are active with the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

As a result of the opportunities afforded public relations majors, student placement is among the highest in the country in both careers and graduate programs. Our graduates hold jobs in some of the most prestigious organizations world-wide.

Program Requirements

A complete list of major requirements, courses, and a proposed four-year program of study for Communication majors are available in the UAB Undergraduate Catalog. In addition to the required classes listed below, students must take 2 credit hours of an internship, 3 credit hours of a writing course, and 6 credit hours in Communication Studies electives. You will take a total of 41 credit hours of Communication courses.

The history of newspapers, books, magazines, radio, television, cinema, recording industry, and the internet, focusing on current events, civic responsibilities and the role, value of diversity when appropriate. 3 hours.
Communication and persuasion as ideas in Western thought, ranging from Greek to contemporary period. 3 hours.
Recognizing news, gathering information, and writing news. Though the emphasis is on newspaper journalism, this is a foundational news writing course for all mass communication majors and minors. 3 hours.
Prerequisites: EH 102 [Min Grade: B].
Survey of public relations in the United States. Relationships among marketing, advertising, and public relations. 3 hours.
Relationship of business, industrial, educational, health, and service institutions to audiences. Public relations as management function in areas of communication analysis, counseling, and public information activities. 3 hours.
Prerequisites: CMST 210 [Min Grade: C] or MC 210 [Min Grade: C]) and (CMST 339 [Min Grade: C] or CM 339 [Min Grade: C] or MC 339 [Min Grade: C].
Legal limitations and privileges affecting publishing and broadcasting. Major court decisions. Fair comment, libel, right of privacy, fairness doctrine, and license renewal. 3 hours.
Planning and executing ongoing programs and campaigns to improve organizational and institutional relations with publics. Preparing and distributing news releases, reports, letters, pamphlets, position papers, public statements, speeches, and backgrounders. 3 hours.
Prerequisites: CMST 340 [Min Grade: C] or MC 340 [Min Grade: C].
National and local programs that illustrate good and bad practices. Student teams research, plan, and design public relations campaign for client. 3 hours.
Research questions, design, methodology, data gathering, and analysis. Practice in conducting, interpreting, and communicating research findings to public. Ethical considerations of conductions research with human subjects. Junior standing required. 3 hours.
Mass communication research from 1940s to present. Transactional model of communication and symbolic-interactionist perspective used among other approaches to evaluate role of mass media in twenty-first century America. 3 hours.

Want to Learn More?

Do you have questions that we haven't answered? Ask us! Email Dr. Jacquelyn S. Shaia, director of the public relations program and director of internships, at jsshaia@uab.edu.

Ready to apply? All the information you need can be found on UAB's Undergraduate Admissions Hub.Save