Three Semesters: (Fall, Spring, Fall)
The sequence comprises 12 courses (48 credits) and includes a Master’s Comprehensive Exam. In some cases, students can prepare a thesis or professional project.
There are 7 required courses, 3 public relations electives, and 2 general electives.
Core Requirements 28 credits (cr)
COM CM 700: Financial & Strategic Management for Communication Professionals
The focus of the course is on two critical domains of modern business: financial and strategic management. Through lectures, readings, case studies, and team projects, the course will introduce students to the complexities and challenges facing today's communications industry manager along with practical understanding of how businesses operate and even succeed despite the obstacles. The goal of the course is to help students understand the fundamentals of business enterprise with an emphasis on how these apply to the media industries. The course covers the fundamentals of a business plan, including revenue models, marketing, venture capital, finance, and accounting in the context of the media landscape. 1st sem.
COM CM 701: Contemporary Public Relations
Foundations of professional principles and practice in public relations for corporate, governmental, and nonprofit organizations. Includes history, organization, and scope of the field; its roots in social science; types of campaigns and programs; and professional ethics. Theories, strategies, and tactics in current practice emphasized. Explores opportunities and requirements for work in the field. 1st sem.
COM CM 710: Communication Theory
Examines origins, nature, and consequences of human communication. Reviews nature of verbal, nonverbal, and other types of group communication issues. Traces the development of speech, writing, printing, broadcasting, and digital media. Reviews theories of the process and effects of mass communication and how these theories apply to the work of media professionals. 2nd sem.
COM CM 722: Communication Research
Introduction to the methodology of communication research. Includes both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Attention to the nature of scientific logic, computer literature searches, research design, questionnaire construction, sampling, measurement techniques, and data analysis. Explores the use of focus groups, experiments, surveys, and content analysis.
COM CM 742: Media Relations
Students learn publicity techniques used in media of mass communication, including daily and weekly newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and film. Practitioners invited to class to present publicity problems. Case study method and workshop sessions with informal discussion. 2nd sem.
Choose one from the following:
COM CM 705: Writing for International Students
Introduction to basic formats, including news releases, editorials, features, profiles, articles, and other forms of writing. Emphasis on basic copy quality in American English. Students learn to analyze and rewrite their own copy. 1st sem.
COM CM 707: Writing for Media Professionals
Serves as introductory graduate level writing course. Exposure to a variety of off and online writing formats in communication including: news releases, e-pitches, blogs, features (off and online), microsites, websites, brochures, broadcast PSA's, slide shows, videos, off and online writing (including social media) strategies, editing, and interview techniques. Extensive writing and rewriting. Develops comprehensive writing skills for public relations, mass communication and advertising majors. 1st sem.
Choose one from the following:
COM CM 709: Corporate Public Affairs
Monitoring sociopolitical environment, managing corporate crises and confrontations, analyzing issues, formulating political strategies, developing programs of advocacy advertising, constituency communication, and public involvement. Case studies used. 2nd sem.
COM CM 715: Public Relations in Nonprofit Settings
Principles and practices of public relations in social, health, educational, and public service institutions. Analysis of the structure, publics, public relations, communication, and marketing programs unique to nonprofit agencies. Attention to recruitment and management of volunteers, fund-raising, budgeting, and intra- and inter-agency relationships.
Public Relations Elective Credits (3 courses – 12 credits)
COM CM 513: Investor Relations
Students examine the challenges of marketing a company to the financial community. The course is broken down into three areas: the development of IR as a profession; the tools of the trade, such as bonds and stocks; and the field's communication techniques. Students prepare case analyses as a way of understanding various SEC disclosure requirements, communication with analysts and the media, and financial marketing techniques.
COM CM 515: Community Relations
A complete examination of the evolution of community relations, the theory behind it, and the techniques employed by its professionals. Using a case-study approach, students learn how to select a site for expansion; conduct a community relations audit; work with state, local, and federal governments; and develop sound relationships with the media and with advocacy groups in the corporate and nonprofit arenas.
COM CM 522: Managing Corporate Crises and Issues
Review and diagnosis of major crises and issues affecting corporations. Case discussions of seven types of crises: technological, confrontational, malevolence, management failure, and management control. Examines appropriate management actions and communications before, during, and after a crisis. Reviews issues management: monitoring, analysis, strategy determination, and implementation.
COM CM 525: Public Relations Ethics
This course will acquaint students with ethical standards and expectations society has for public relations practitioners. Through the study of case studies and other readings, it will prepare students so they can adequately wrestle with ethical complexities, dilemmas and ambiguities so as to form personal ethical underpinnings for their future careers.
COM CM 528: Organizational Communication
Develops both theoretical understanding and practical knowledge of internal organizational communication. Topics include motivation, leadership, organizational climate, formal and informal channels, management, and relational communication in an organizational context. Organizational communication assessment and change is emphasized.
COM CM 535: Political Campaigning
Critical evaluation of political campaign strategies and tactics within the sociopolitical environment. The roles of campaign managers, media consultants, pollsters, press secretaries, and field operatives are studied. Analysis of the impact of press coverage, political advertising, and candidate debates on the electorate.
COM CM 723: Advanced Communication Research
Provides an in-depth look at data analysis using the SPSS (the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences). Students get hands-on experience by carrying out actual analyses using real data sets. Techniques covered include descriptive statistics, correlation and regression, t-tests, ANOVA, and factor analysis. 2nd sem.
COM CM 728: International Public Relations
Structure and function of public relations and communication organizations in international settings. Consideration of levels of development, culture, and geopolitical variables affecting public relations and communication programs. Cases and examples drawn from the Middle East, Africa, the Pacific Rim, South America, the European Economic Community, and the former Soviet Union.
COM CM 730: Marketing Communication
Addresses basic marketing and promotion principles used to increase awareness of and change in attitudes and buyer behavior about products, services, and organizations. Students learn to evaluate appropriate promotional mixes, examine the role of communication, and develop marketing communication strategies through the use of case studies and classroom discussion. 1st sem.
COM CM 738: Glob Mktg Comm
COM CM 743: New Media & Public Relations
Explores the effects of new media on the fundamental theories, models, and practices of public relations. Studies how websites, blogs, citizen journalism, social media, direct-to-consumer communication, podcasting, viral marketing, and other technology-enabled changes are affecting interpersonal, small group, and mass media relationships. Also covers and uses the interactive tools that are re-defining the practice of public relations. The course combines lecture, discussion, guest speakers, case study, and research to help students uncover and appreciate the power and potential of interactive media.
COM CM 750: Advanced Writing for Media Professionals
Building on the writing skills and formats presented in CM707, students work individually and in-depth on essay writing, analyses/critiques (drawing on The Best American Essays series), online feature editing strategies, blogs, direct mail package, microsite, and a presidential speech. Various writing workshops complete the course requirements.
COM CM 772: PRLab
PRLab at Boston University is the nation's oldest student run public relations agency. PRLab allows students to gain valuable industry experience in an agency style setting, working in the corporate, nonprofit and government sectors. Students engage in media relations, event planning, branding, copy editing, content creation and social media management. Over the course of the semester, students create professional portfolios. 2 or 4 cr.
COM CM 809: Graduate Internship
Students are placed in public relations, advertising, or communication departments of business, educational, philanthropic, or governmental institutions. Fifteen hours per week of supervised work. Students with a comprehensive report evaluating internship experience at end of semester. 2 or 4 cr.
General Electives (2 courses – 8 credits)
Note: Special courses (CM 561 or CM 562) may be used as a public relations elective with advisor and chair approval.
Some courses have prerequisites which are not listed above. All Mass Communication, Advertising & Public Relations requirements, prerequisites and course descriptions are listed on the Boston University Academics website.