BS in Public Relations

The undergraduate curriculum in Public Relations will prepare students for professional careers in myriad fields related to corporate, nonprofit, public affairs, and media-based communication, by incorporating theory, research, and practice to provide a deeper understanding of media relations, intercultural affairs, digital expression, ethics and crisis communication, and campaign strategy.

The program offers instruction on an array of methodological and professional tactics for building complex messages and efforts on both an interpersonal and public scale. Students graduating from the program will have the knowledge and tools to compete with the most elite communicators, armed with talents on how to influence public opinion, develop relationships in the public and private sectors, design effective campaigns, and use innovation to solve complex and critical problems.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations, students will be able to:  

  • Develop skills and competencies based upon both the science and the art of public relations.
  • Develop an understanding of the business of public relations and the commercial knowledge necessary to function effectively as a public relations practitioner.
  • Comprehend that the public relations process involves a number of stages including research, strategic planning, action, and evaluation.
  • Develop an effective sense of communication effectiveness in terms of both written and oral communication.
  • Develop an appreciation for and an understanding of communication theory and research.
  • Develop an understanding of media relations for both traditional print/broadcast media, as well as for emerging social/digital media.
  • Develop an appreciation for and an understanding of how public relations study at Boston University can be implemented into practical application via internship and PRLab experiences.


All BU undergraduate students, including both entering first-year and transfer students, will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, the University’s general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements can be satisfied in a number of ways, including coursework in and beyond the major as well as through cocurricular activities. Students majoring in Public Relations will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy all BU Hub requirements in Communication as well as most of the requirements in the Intellectual Toolkit. Remaining BU Hub requirements will be satisfied by selecting from a wide range of available courses outside the major or, in some cases, cocurricular experiences.

Requirements specific to the College of Communication Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations are separated into three levels. The first level is college-wide requirements—credits comprising COM CO 101 and a 0-credit Professional Experience—that provide the foundation for a future in any communication field. Beyond that are departmental requirements, 16 credits which encompass important aspects of all three departmental majors: Advertising, Media Science, and Public Relations. Then, there are the Public Relations major requirements, 28 credits incorporating study in agency work, public affairs and nonprofit settings, crisis management, and media strategy available in classroom-based, field-based, and abroad-based environments.

COM Requirements

(1 course and a Professional Experience; 4 credits)

  • COM CO 101 The Human Storyteller (minimum grade of C required to continue in COM)
  • COM CO 575 COM Professional Experience (0 credits)

Departmental Requirements

(4 total courses; 16 credits)

  • COM CM 180 Understanding Media (can be taken by first-year students)
  • COM CM 321 Communication Research Methods (prereq: COM CM 180, sophomore standing)
  • COM CM 331 Writing for Communication (prereq: COM CO 201)
  • COM CO 201 Introduction to Communication Writing (can be taken by first-year students) (prereq: CAS WR 120 or transfer equivalent CAS WR 13X)

Major Requirements

(3 total course; 12 credits)

  • COM CM 215 Principles and Practices of Public Relations (can be taken by first-year students)
  • COM CM 441 Media Strategies and Management (prereq: COM CM 215 and CM 331)
  • COM CM 442 Business Fundamentals for Public Relations (prereq: COM CM 215)

Public Relations Program Courses

(must complete 16 credits of the following)

  • COM CM 211 Professional Presentation
  • COM CM 313 Corporate Communication (prereq: COM CM 215)
  • COM CM 412 Advertising Strategy & Consumer Insights (prereq: COM CM 217)
  • COM CM 413 Problem Solving in British Public Relations (offered through the London Internship Program only)
  • COM CM 443 Digital Media and Public Relations (prereq: COM CM 215)
  • COM CM 471 Internship (variable credit) (prereq: COM CM 215 and CM 331, junior standing, good academic standing)*
  • COM CM 481 Media Law and Policy (sophomore standing)
  • COM CM 501 Design Strategy and Software (sophomore standing)
  • COM CM 506 Governmental Public Affairs (prereq: COM CM 215)
  • COM CM 513 Investor Relations (prereq: COM CM 215)
  • COM CM 519 Interactive Marketing Strategy (prereq: COM CM 215 or CM 217)
  • COM CM 522 Crisis Management and Communication (prereq: COM CM 215)
  • COM CM 524 Public Relations Career Management (prereq: COM CM 215)
  • COM CM 525 Public Relations Ethics (prereq: COM CM 215)
  • COM CM 530 Public Relations in Nonprofit Settings (prereq: COM CM 215)
  • COM CM 535 Political Campaigns (sophomore standing)
  • COM CM 539 Health Campaigns (sophomore standing) 
  • COM CM 548 International Public Relations (prereq: COM CM 215)
  • COM CM 555 Advanced Media Writing (prereq: COM CO 201 and CM 331) 
  • COM CM 580 PRLab (variable credit) (prereq: COM CM 215 and CM 331, junior standing)**
  • COM CM 581 PRLab E-Board (variable credit) (prereq: COM CM 215 and CM 331, consent of instructor)**

*Only 4 total credits of COM CM 471 can count for this requirement.

**Only 4 total credits of COM CM 580 and CM 581 or CM 473 or CM 475 can count for this requirement. An additional 4 credits of COM CM 580 and CM 581 can count as elective credit.

-Students looking to proceed with private agency work would be best served by taking courses such as COM CM 313, CM 513, CM 519, CM 522, and CM 580 and CM 581.

-Students seeking opportunities more in the public sector would be best suited to take courses such as CM 506, CM 530, CM 535, and CM 539.

-Students who want more of a broad background while entering the field would most likely want to take courses such as COM CM 211, CM 443, CM 481, CM 524, CM 525, and CM 548.

-Please note that students cannot double major between Advertising, Media Science, and Public Relations, due to a shared core experience. 

While 48 credits are required within the College of Communication, students are encouraged to take the majority of the remainder of their courses, both in and out of the Hub, in areas outside of their major in order to augment their academic experience with the professional aspects of their major.

Students in the College of Communication can count no more than 52 credits (13 courses) in their home department, on the Charles River Campus, toward the degree program. This would include COM CO 201.