Department of Mass Communication, Advertising & Public Relations


The Department of Mass Communication, Advertising & Public Relations offers three distinct Bachelor of Science degrees:

  • Advertising
  • Media Science
  • Public Relations

The Advertising degree blends traditional media theory with ever-evolving professional strategies to provide both practical and academic skills in that field. The Media Science degree uses media as a social science tool and allows students to pursue advanced academic study in the field of communication while learning strategic content creation and media practices. The Public Relations degree prepares students for professional careers in myriad areas related to corporate, nonprofit, public affairs, and mediated communication fields.

Graduates have gone on to careers in a variety of occupational fields, including advertising, public relations, marketing, social media, health communication, political campaigning, content creation, employee relations, media research, publicity, and sales promotion. Typically, graduates work in such settings as corporations, nonprofit agencies, government, educational institutions, or other organizations within the labor force. Many have started their own businesses or agencies.

Each degree’s foundation and major-specific courses incorporate the study of theory, research, and practical skills that are relevant not only for entry-level jobs but, more importantly, for continuing professional development. They prepare students to write clearly, speak effectively, and think critically—all of which are essential for continuing career success.

Each curriculum is designed to produce specialists who can design effective communication content and apply a variety of problem-solving techniques to achieve a broad range of real-world goals, while also providing a generalist’s point of view through coursework in the BU Hub, the college’s core, and the department’s foundation. By understanding basic communication concepts, principles, and theories, students learn to design, implement, and evaluate message content needed in various professional settings. They also learn to select and use all contemporary media channels and multi-platform messaging effectively to convey information to designated target audiences for a variety of practical purposes.

Classroom work is supplemented by both internships, local and national student-driven communication societies, the Communication Research Center, and participation in AdLab or PRLab, which are student-run communication agencies. These activities provide on-the-job experience for academic credit, as well as to fulfill the college’s Professional Experience requirement. Internships place students in for-profit or nonprofit agencies and other settings where they gain practical experience in handling professional communication problems and develop important personal contacts.


The department offers three Master of Science degree programs:

MS in Media Science (possible concentration in Marketing Communication Research)

The Master of Science degree in Media Science is designed for students to explore media and its changing landscape through a social-scientific lens. Through coursework that includes media theory, content design, and evaluation, students learn skills needed to strategically create, manage, and evaluate media messages. Students will be prepared for doctoral study and/or careers including media design and content creation, message development and dissemination, analysis and evaluation, and social media management, with particular foci on media effects and processes, health communication, political communication, marketing communication research, and media and message design and evaluation.

The concentration in Marketing Communication Research prepares students in advanced quantitative and qualitative research methods to gain consumer insights, evaluate the impact of media consumption, and analyze consumer decisionmaking processes. Students will be qualified for positions as research analysts and research managers in marketing research companies or in the research departments of firms specializing in media, advertising, public relations, marketing communication research, political campaigning, health communication, and international communication. Students attending full time can expect to complete the Master of Science in Media Science programs in three semesters.

MS in Public Relations

This degree recognizes that in today’s society, public relations professionals are employed in a wide variety of settings in business, government, and nonprofit organizations. The goal of the curriculum is to educate students for careers in ­communication-based activities in such organizations. Students are prepared not just for entry-level positions, but for advancement in their selected fields. Some will be prepared for doctoral-level studies.

Initial courses provide an overview of contemporary public relations, the nature of human communication, and the role of the media. Students must develop the ability to write clearly and concisely in the formats of contemporary media, addressing specific audience segments. In addition, because public relations is a management function, the curriculum includes courses that provide a professional focus as well as those in theory and research.

Students may elect to do a 4-credit internship, simultaneously spending 15 hours a week in part-time employment and attending regularly scheduled classes. Students who attend the program full time can expect to complete the program in three semesters.

MS in Advertising

The MS in Advertising at Boston University is designed to prepare students to work in advertising at agencies, media companies, and other organizations. All students must take courses that provide a broad understanding of the advertising industry and of the role of communication in contemporary society. Additionally, they will focus on developing advertising management, creative, or research skills.

This program is appropriate for students who have earned their undergraduate degrees in fields other than communication. Students who do have undergraduate degrees in communication will also benefit from the opportunity to further master advertising skills. Students who attend the program full time can expect to complete the program in three semesters.

Minors in the Mass Comm. Department

BU undergraduate students can minor in either Advertising, Media Science, or Public Relations, which provide a six-course sequence in each field.

Students wishing to enroll in these departmental minors must first complete COM CO 201, Introduction to Communication Writing, with a grade of C or better. Please go to the COM Undergraduate Affairs website for more information and required courses. Note that there are no exceptions to minor requirements.