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Degree Programs
Public Relations

The Master of Arts in Public Relations is designed to prepare students for public relations management positions in a wide variety of industries. The degree is ideal for those with professional experience who are ready to advance their careers and for professionals from allied disciplines who wish to transition to public relations or further enhance their knowledge and skills.

This is a professional graduate program with all coursework offered at night and on IUPUI’s downtown Indianapolis campus in modern, state-of-the-art facilities. The program is specifically designed for working professionals with three to seven years of experience. The degree requires 34 credit hours and selected coursework is online. No thesis is required, although it is optional. The degree may be completed in two or three years.

This interdisciplinary graduate degree requires courses from the IU Department of Journalism.

Graduates are prepared for management positions in public relations firms, corporations, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, associations, and health and life sciences organizations.

Students may specialize in three different areas of management:

  • General Public Relations Management-This focused area of study prepares graduates for public relations positions that require an increased amount of managerial knowledge and ability. The courses in this area of study are designed to focus on general management skills and experience, paired with an advanced public relations curriculum.
    • Student Learning Outcomes - Management Concentration Upon completion of this program, graduates will be able to:
      • Apply formative and evaluative research in public attitudes and behaviors.
      • Design and develop strategic goals and objectives for public relations.
      • Apply the underlying theories of communication to public relations programs and campaigns.
      • Apply basic business accounting and finance principles to the management of public relations programs and campaigns.
      • Apply basic marketing techniques practiced by businesses.
      • Explain and describe business marketing activities, economics, business law, and global business practices.
      • Effectively evaluate public relations campaigns and programs.
      • Summarize management theory and practice in public relations.
  • Public Relations in Health Care and Life Sciences-This unique area of study prepares graduates for positions in today’s rapidly growing fields of health care and life sciences. This is a vital and growing business sector in Indiana with multiple organizations in the health care, life sciences and biotechnology, major hospitals and pharmaceutical industries. This track of study includes an advanced curriculum in public relations and business courses, with distinctive coursework concentrated in health care and life sciences public relations.
    • Student Learning Outcomes- Health Care and Life Sciences Concentration  In addition to the learning outcomes for the Public Relations Management Concentration, graduates will be able to:
      • Describe and explain the operation of health care systems and communication as it relates to those systems.
      • Demonstrate and plan public relations in the regulated communications environment of life sciences companies and organizations.
  • Sports Public Relations Management-This focused area of study prepares graduates for public relations positions in sports organizations both professional and amateur ranging from sports teams to sports leagues and sports federations nationwide. Specific courses focus on various unique aspects of sports public relations at all levels.
    • Student Learning Outcomes - Sports Concentration  In addition to the learning outcomes for the Public Relations Management Concentration, graduates will be able to:
      • Describe and explain the operation of amateur and professional athletic organizations and communication as it relates to those systems.
      • Describe and explain the regulated communications environment of both amateur and professional sports.

Special Departmental Admission Requirements

  1. Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, with an overall undergraduate point average of at least 3.0; an undergraduate major in journalism is not required, but applicants without such a background are required to take additional course work in journalism and public relations as part of their master’s program;
  2. Appropriate level of achievement on the Graduate Record Examination General Test (applicants with a post-graduate degree are not required to submit GRE scores);
  3. Three letters of recommendation; and
  4. A personal statement explaining how a master’s degree will fit into the applicant’s career goals.

Foreign language

There is no foreign language requirement for the degrees.


No grade below B- (2.7) will be counted toward these degrees

Within the first year of the program, if not previously taken or accounted for by professional experience, the student must have completed:

  • JOUR-J 219: Introduction to Public Relations (3 cr.)
  • JOUR-J 390: Public Relations Writing (3 cr.)
  • JOUR-J 300: Communications Law (3 cr.)

Degree Requirements for the M.A. in Public Relations A total of 30 credit hours, including five Journalism and Public Relations core courses (JOUR-J 528, JOUR-J 529, and three topics courses in public relations theory, research and evaluation, and planning). 

Electives: (5 courses)

  • PR Management Track In addition to the core, students take five general electives in Journalism and Public Relations or Communication Studies. 
  • PR Sports Track In addition to the general core, students take three core sports courses (JOUR-J 543, JOUR-J 540, and JOUR-J 542) and two electives in Journalism and Public Relations or Communication Studies. 
  • PR Healthcare and Life Sciences Track In addition to the general core, students take two core topics courses (public relations in the life sciences and integrated marketing communication in healthcare) and three electives in Journalism and Public Relations or Communication Studies.


  • JOUR-J 501 Public Affairs Reporting (3 cr.) This course includes lectures and roundtable discussion of problems in covering public affairs issues at the national, state, and local levels. Emphasis is on reporting on government, social welfare agencies, elections, political parties, special interest groups and other areas of general public interest.
  • JOUR-J 510 Media and Society Seminar (3 cr.) Probing examination of structure and functions of mass media, stressing interaction among communication agencies and other social institutions. Critical analysis of media performance and policies in light of current economic, political, social, and intellectual thought. Comparative case studies of U.S. media with other national press systems.
  • JOUR-J 528 Public Relations Management (3 cr.)Designed to enable students to manage a public relations department. Theories and principles relevant to public relations practiced in agency, corporate, and not-for-profit organizations will be covered. This will include developing goals and objectives, working with clients, developing budgets, and research methods.
  • JOUR-J 531 Public Relations for Non-Profits (3 cr.) The course provides a theoretical and practical foundation in public relations for those considering careers in nonprofit organizations or in fundraising. Specific coursework will involve the public relations campaign process and its relationship to organizational goals and to the specifics of organizational development and fundraising. An additional focus will involve the communications efforts required to maintain relationships with donors, volunteers and key community and industry officials.
  • JOUR-J 540 Business of Sports Media (3 cr.) This course will provide a history of how sports media have evolved from radio, network television and magazines into the multi-dimensional world of regional and national cable, the Internet, the networks and other entities. Students will also explore how decisions get made and the financial implications of those decisions.
  • JOUR-J 541 Digital Sports Journalism (3 cr.) Students will learn how to adapt their skills in traditional journalistic platforms to the new multimedia environment, including websites and mobile devices. The course will teach students the fundamentals of writing, editing, shooting video and recording audio content for a sports website.
  • JOUR-J 542 Sports Journalism and Society (3 cr.) This course provides a broad understanding of how social issues impact sports and how sports impacts society. Included will be a historical overview of sports, athletes’ rights, race and gender in sports, the Olympics and international sports, youth sports, the commercialization of sports and the influence of the media on sports.
  • JOUR-J 543 Sports Law (3 cr.) Students will develop a basic understanding of the relationship between sports and the law and of the basic concepts of major legal issues—antitrust, labor, contract and intellectual property—in sports today, while translating that knowledge into analytical reporting on those subjects.
  • JOUR-J 545 Sports Writing (3 cr.) This course is an intensive, in-depth and practical instruction on reporting and writing for print, magazines and the Web. This course will include a broad range of sports writing, from long-form narrative for magazines to twittering on the Web. It also will explore the essentials of beat reporting, with experiential learning at live press conferences and events.
  • JOUR-J 546 Sports Journalism Research (3 cr.) This course is all about learning the reporting techniques necessary to conduct effective research, and then distilling, evaluating and interpreting information to provide an accurate public service to readers.  The topic is sports, but these reporting, research and advanced analytical skills are necessary for any journalist aspiring to excellence.  The research results and database will be published by the end of the semester.
  • JOUR-J 547 Sports Broadcast Journalism (3 cr.) Sports Broadcasting has been an essential part of traditional media, but its skills are now transitioning into new forms of an on-line reporting through video and audio reports and features.  This class will examine the best practices of television and radio reporting, and analyze how those skills can be effectively translated to digital mediums.  It will focus on the differences between writing for audio and video broadcasts, examining how to use word pictures to develop imagery in radio, and developing narratives to complement video, not duplicate it.
  • JOUR-J 560 Topics Colloquium (1-4 cr.)Topical seminar dealing with changing subjects and material from semester to semester. May be repeated twice for credit with a different topic. JOUR-J 563 Computerized Publication Design I (3 cr.) This publishing design course incorporates typesetting, electronic photo editing, graphics, and page design. Students are instructed in design theory, computer publishing skills, and creative problem solving.
  • JOUR-J 620 Media Coverage of Sports (3 cr.) This course will study sport policies, trends and issues.  From March Madness to the BCS, to Coach Crean, Coach Calipari, Mark Ingram and Brittney Griner, this course will examine athletes, coaches, events and sports media coverage.  It will focus on current events and controversies such as amateurism, competitive balance, debate over school mascots, gambling and problems in recruiting and the ensuing media coverage.
  • JOUR-J 660 Topics Colloquium (3 cr.)Topical seminar dealing with changing subjects and material from semester to semester.
  • JOUR-J 804 Read and Research in Journalism (1-9 cr.)