Communication Studies

Apply Now MSA Visit

B.A. in Public Relations and Strategic Communication

The shift from public relations to strategic communication has led to several new realities for both the academy and the profession of public relations.

The field of public relations is no longer solely a “technician” field. Successful managers of strategic communications are required to do more than engage in the technical skills of writing, production and promotion. Though central to their professional growth, writing and technical competency must now be paired with the ability to develop, coordinate and evaluate strategic communication messages and campaigns across multiple communication channels and contexts. The public relations professional is a communication strategist able to work with colleagues in the disciplines of marketing, advertising, journalism, human resources, finance and legal affairs.

Old curricular models emphasized skills and praxis.  Today’s public relations and strategic communications professional understands foundations of theory, research and emerging media, and possesses greater recognition of the strategic differences between establishing an ongoing dialogue with stakeholders rather than just sending messages to them.

There is a cry in the industry for graduates who are excellent writers, thinkers and advocates, broadly educated and technologically astute. Organizations are looking for individuals who are able to conduct research, strategically position the organization to internal and external constituencies and emerge as valued counselors, decision makers and leaders.

The interdisciplinary major in Public Relations and Strategic Communications at Southern Methodist University is designed to prepare students for this new reality. The program prepares students to create and manage multi-media communication campaigns in support of the mission, values, brand and strategic objectives of a corporate, political, or non-profit organization, institution or client. Through coursework across advertising, communication studies and journalism, students gain both the strategic and practical skills necessary to engage in the art and practice of public relations. Coursework includes account and message management, multi-media writing, technology, media skills, research and metrics, communication law, ethics and public relations campaign development.

For more information about the B.A. in Public Relations and Strategic Communications, including degree requirements and how to enroll, please contact the Communications Studies office at 214.768.1574 or email

See List of Communication Studies Courses & their Description

Requirements for the Degree Credit Hours

Pre major core requirements
Core courses 2308 and 2327 should be taken concurrently and must be completed prior to enrolling in 2327 and 2375.

  • COMM 2308 Strategic Writing II
  • COMM 2327 Communication Theory

Major Core Requirements
With the completion of the pre-core requirements (ENGL I & II and STAT) and the first two of the four core COMM requirements (2308 & 2327) students may apply to the major. Students must have a cumulative 3.0 in the above five courses with a grade of C or better in each course. A grade of C- will not count towards progression of major on any of the pre-core or pre-major core requirements.

  • COMM 2375 Communication Research and Metrics
  • COMM 3355 Introduction to Public Relations

Major Requirements


Media and Technology Courses (Choose 2):

  • ADV 3391: Creative Production for Non-Creative Track
  • CCJN 2304: Basic Audio and Video
  • CCJN 3357: Photojournalism
  • COMM 3335: Social Media and Online Communication
  • FILM 1304: Production 1
  • MSA 1315: Mass Media and Technology

Public Relations Diversity Courses (Choose 1):

  • CCJN 4360: Women and Minorities in the Media
  • COMM 3321: Communication in Global Contexts
  • COMM 3341: Ethnicity, Culture, & Gender: Intro to Critical Studies in Comm (also CFB)
  • COMM 4390: Globalization, Economy, & Communication

Public Relations Internship (Choose 1):

  • COMM 4125: Public Relations Internship (1 hour)
  • COMM 4225: Public Relations Internship (2 hours)
  • COMM 4325: Public Relations Internship (3 hours)


1-3 hours

Public Relations Campaigns Courses (Choose 1):

  • COMM 4395: Public Relations Campaigns
  • COMM 4396: Public Relations Campaigns in Non-Profit Settings

Communication Ethics and Law (Choose 1):

  • ADV 2375: Advertising Ethics
  • 2302: Ethics of Convergent Media
  • COMM 2328: Communication Ethics

Upper Division Required Courses:

  • COMM 4030 Professional Seminar
  • COMM 4340 Public Relations and Account Management
  • COMM 3300 Free Speech and First Amendment
  • COMM 3310 Crisis Management
  • COMM 3382 Advanced Strategic Communication and Public Relations

Additional credits necessary for Meadows School of the Arts as well as University requirements are listed below

Meadows Elective Co-Requirement
At least three of these hours must be in a non-Communications discipline.


Minor & Other Electives
Minor is to be determined with adviser and may be in another communication discipline.


Other Requirements/University Curriculum (UC)


Foreign Language


Total Hours


Areas of Study



Art History

Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship

Communication Studies

Undergraduate Studies


B.A. in Communication Studies

B.A. in Public Relations and Strategic Communication

Minor in Communication Studies

Schedule a Visit


Faculty and Staff

Student Resources


Mock Trial and Debate

Dallas Resources

Advisory Board


Creative Computation


Film and Media Arts