In the Department of Advertising, Public Relations and Media Design, students learn how to generate ideas and solve problems for businesses, organizations, brands and issues through a strategic thinking process that is grounded in analytical and creative thought. With the explosion of digital and social media, there’s never been a more exciting time to work in the rapidly growing field of strategic communication.

The department offers a bachelor’s degree in strategic communication—an umbrella term that refers to the way in which organizations use advertising, public relations and media design to accomplish their goals. Undergraduate students can choose to specialize in one of four track areas below.

Program Tracks

Advertising Strategy

The Advertising Strategy track prepares students for careers in account management, account planning, brand and campaign management or media management. These advertising careers require knowledge of brand-building, audience engagement across media platforms, data analysis and strategy development.

Advertising Creative

The Advertising Creative track is an application-only sequence that prepares students for opportunities in art direction and copywriting. It is an intensive program designed to provide students with an impressive portfolio of work as well an in-depth appreciation for the ethics and challenges of the creative process. Application and admission to the Advertising Creative track typically occurs at the end of the sophomore year. Students should select the Advertising Strategy track prior to applying. Students who are not accepted into Advertising Creative track will complete the Advertising Strategy track unless they decide, with guidance from their academic adviser, to shift to another STCM track.

Public Relations

The Public Relations track will prepare you for a career in one of the nation’s fastest-growing fields. Career opportunities within public relations include—but are not limited to—the roles of public relations director, media and communications manager, fundraising manager, director of communications, corporate communication manager, account manager, lobbyist, publicist, copywriter, event planner, social media manager and spokesperson.

Media Design

The Media Design track involves the application of design thinking and design practices to create the targeted touchpoints of strategic communication for modern media in a commercial context, such as social media strategies, packaging design, app development and user experience. The Media Design track provides the methods and processes to solve a strategic communication problem, the experience and understanding to design an original concept, and the skills and best practices to bring those concepts to life. In the past year alone, 25 media design students made the One Show finals, with 12 students earning pencil trophies. Our graduates are employed as digital producers, social media managers, app designers, graphic designers, user experience strategists and interaction designers.

Requirements

General Requirements

Each degree track requires 41 credit hours, comprised of the 23-credit-hour departmental Core Curriculum and 18 credit hours of specialized coursework (the Advertising Creative track requires 19-20 credit hours).

The courses of Core Curriculum include Strategic Communication Capstone (APRD 4405), a 4-credit-hour capstone course completed in the student's final year.

Core Curriculum

Students must take the following courses to complete the department core requirement.

Required Courses
APRD 1003Principles of Strategic Communication3
APRD 1004Fundamentals of Grammar1
APRD 2001Strategic Thinking in Advertising and Public Relations3
APRD 2004Introduction to Research Methods and Insights3
APRD 2005Strategic Communication Writing3
APRD 2006Software and Design Applications3
JRNL 3651Media Law and Ethics3
APRD 4405Strategic Communication Capstone4
Total Credit Hours23

Secondary Area of Study

In addition to the coursework required for the major, all students in STCM must complete a secondary area of study outside of STCM. This secondary area of study can be met by any of the following: a minor, a second major within CMCI, a double degree or any credit-based certificate program of at least 12 credit hours.

Program Tracks

Advertising Strategy Track

The advertising strategy track consists of three required courses and three electives totaling 18 credit hours. Up to six credit hours of elective requirements can be satisfied by an internship.

Required Courses
APRD 3002Communication Platforms3
APRD 3009Brand Solutions3
APRD 3010Consumer Insights3
Electives9
Strategic Communication Research Methods
Account Management
Content Strategy and User Engagement
History of Advertising
Social Media Strategies
Brands and Culture
Advertising Media Planning
Sustainable Brand Practices: Ethics Cases in Advertising and PR
Strategic Communication Analytics and Metrics
Social Media Listening
Marketing Data Visualization
Search Advertising Strategies
Strategic Brand Management
Special Topics (repeatable up to 6 credits)
Internship
Total Credit Hours18

Advertising Creative Track

The advertising creative track is an application-only sequence and consists of six required courses and two electives totaling 19–20 credit hours. Up to three credit hours of elective requirements can be satisfied by an internship.

Required Courses
APRD 3501Software Applications 21
APRD 3503Concepting3
APRD 3504Software Applications 31
APRD 4505Art Direction Seminar 13
or APRD 4504 Copywriting Seminar
APRD 4506Creative Track Portfolio Development I3
APRD 4507Creative Track Portfolio Development II3
Electives6
Communication Platforms
Account Management
Content Strategy and User Engagement
History of Advertising
Social Media Strategies
Brands and Culture
Sustainable Brand Practices: Ethics Cases in Advertising and PR
Social Media Listening
Special Topics (repeatable up to 6 credits)
Internship
Total Credit Hours20

Public Relations Track

The public relations track consists of three required courses and three electives totaling 18 credit hours. Up to six credit hours of elective requirements can be satisfied by an internship.

Required Courses
APRD 3103Strategic Writing for Public Relations3
APRD 3003Strategic Communication Research Methods3
or APRD 3104 Digital Storytelling for Public Relations
or APRD 3112 International Public Relations
or APRD 3300 Crisis Communication in Public Relations
APRD 3105Public Relations Strategy and Implementation3
Electives9
Strategic Communication Research Methods
Content Strategy and User Engagement
History of Advertising
Digital Storytelling for Public Relations
International Public Relations
Crisis Communication in Public Relations
Social Media Strategies
Case Studies in Public Relations
Public Relations Event Planning
Strategic Health Communication
Brands and Culture
Sustainable Brand Practices: Ethics Cases in Advertising and PR
Strategic Communication Analytics and Metrics
Social Media Listening
Marketing Data Visualization
Advanced PR Campaigns BATEMAN COMPETITION
Strategic Brand Management
Special Topics (repeatable up to 6 credits)
Internship
Total Credit Hours18

Media Design Track

The media design track consists of three required courses and three electives totaling 18 credit hours. Up to six credit hours of elective requirements can be satisfied by an internship.

Required Courses
APRD 3001Visual Design3
APRD 3102Story Design I3
APRD 3400Concept Design3
Electives9
History of Advertising
User Experience & User Interface Design
Concept Design II
Video Design
Story Design II
Design for Social Innovation
Media Design Portfolio I
Media Design Portfolio II
Special Topics (repeatable up to 6 credits)
Internship
Total Credit Hours18

Sample Plan of Study

The following provides an example of how the core requirements for a BS in Strategic Communication could be fulfilled within four years. Please refer to the specific track requirements to determine the number of electives required for the advertising strategy, advertising creative, public relations and media design tracks. Specific details on the Core Curriculum requirements for the College of Media, Communication and Information can be found in Policies & Requirements.

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
Fall SemesterCredit Hours
APRD 1003 Principles of Strategic Communication 3
CMCI 1040 Foundational CMCI (4), or CMCI Core or Elective (3) 4
Quantitative Thinking 3
Lower Division Writing 3
 Credit Hours13
Spring Semester
APRD 1004 Fundamentals of Grammar 1
APRD 2001 Strategic Thinking in Advertising and Public Relations 3
APRD 2004 Introduction to Research Methods and Insights 3
CMCI 1040 Foundational CMCI (4), or CMCI Core or Elective (3) 3
CMCI Core (Natural World with Lab) 4
 Credit Hours14
Year Two
Fall Semester
APRD 2005 Strategic Communication Writing 3
CMCI Core Computing 3
CMCI Core or Elective (P/S; H & A; Hist V; Div & Global) 6
Secondary Area 3
 Credit Hours15
Spring Semester
APRD 2006 Software and Design Applications 3
CMCI Core (Natural World) 3
CMCI Core or Elective (P/S; H & A; Hist V; Div & Global) 6
Secondary Area 3
 Credit Hours15
Year Three
Fall Semester
APRD Program Track Core or Elective 9
CMCI Core or Elective (P/S; H & A; Hist V; Div & Global) 3
Secondary Area 3
 Credit Hours15
Spring Semester
JRNL 3651 Media Law and Ethics 3
APRD Program Track Core or Elective 3
CMCI Core or Elective (P/S; H & A; Hist V; Div & Global) 7
Upper Division Composition or Elective 3
 Credit Hours16
Year Four
Fall Semester
APRD Program Track Core or Elective 3
CMCI Core or Elective (P/S; H & A; Hist V; Div & Global) 10
Secondary Area 3
 Credit Hours16
Spring Semester
APRD 4405 Strategic Communication Capstone 4
APRD Program Track Core or Elective 3
Secondary Area 3
Electives 6
 Credit Hours16
 Total Credit Hours120