Communication and Media Studies 508

COMS 508: Public Relations Management

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and instructor's permission

Credit Hours: (3)

COMS 508 is an elective for graduate students in the corporate and professional communication master’s program.  This course will: introduce graduate students to public relations as a management function which seeks to manage the communication between an organization and its publics; familiarize students with some of the techniques available to them in controlling and managing the public relations function; through the use of case studies, get students thinking about the many issues facing the public relations practitioner; and give the students practice in acting as a public relations practitioner.  It is fully expected that students will use knowledge gained in earlier public relations courses as the basis for this course.


The learning objectives for the students in 508 are that they will learn:

1.  How to define public relations as a strategic communication and leadership management function

    How to systematically address management problems, issues, and opportunities from the managerial perspective

2.  To budget, hire, conduct personnel oversight and manage time

3.  To set and evaluate goals and objectives

4.  To identify the appropriate research needed for the development, implementation, and evaluation of effective public relations campaigns

    To increase mastery utilizing appropriate public relations tactics with specific organizational issues
    To expand knowledge of ethics on behalf of the public relations practitioners and the organizations in which they serve

5.  To develop knowledge of social media and new communication technologies and their implications on the field of public relations

6.  To create an understanding of the global aspects of the public relations

    To develop a comprehensive understanding of the major areas of public relations practice such as media relations, consumer relations, employee relations, crisis communication, issues management, community relations
    To successfully communicate during a crisis
    To enhance writing, interpersonal, teamwork and presentation skills
    To increase awareness and consideration of career opportunities in the field of public relations


METHOD OF INSTRUCTION:  This course is taught as a lecture/discussion class, with frequent in-class exercises and case study strategy discussions.  Student participation is essential and required, with class participation comprising a portion of the final grade.


There is one required textbook and the instructor will provide additional readings loaded onto Desire 2 Learn.  Exams will cover all the readings assigned.


READINGS: Other readings will be referred to by author and title.



EVALUATION:  Grades will be determined by the overall performance of each student, based on:

Quality of class participation and contribution to class discussion     10%

Two Exams (15% each): 30%

Resume and Cover Letter (5% each): 10%

Issues Tracking Memo: 10%

Social Media Presentations: 10%

Final Project:
Class Presentation: 10%

Written Report: 20%


Graduate Students in the class will be required to do additional work that involves conducting research in an area of public relations. The work will be decided upon during a consultation between the student and the instructor and will constitute 10% of the final grade. The total of the above evaluation will be reduced to 90%.


GRADING:     A = 91 and above                             D = 61-69

                    B = 81-90                                         F = 60 and below

                    C = 71-80