Public Relations


PROGRAM OVERVIEW: You will learn research, planning, and communication skills that allow you to establish relationships between an organization and its audiences. You also will develop strategic thinking skills, a global perspective, and an ethical framework that will enable you to quickly advance into a leadership role. Upon graduation, you can be a public relations spokesperson or strategist for corporations, small businesses, government bodies, nonprofit organizations, or at PR and marketing agencies. You can work in media relations, government relations, employee relations, or investor relations. And you can organize special events, be a speechwriter or fundraiser, work in corporate communications and counseling, strategic planning, and crisis communication.

As a Drake PR student, you’ll receive some of the best preparation in the world for your field—Drake’s Public Relations program has received the prestigious Certification in Education for Public Relations, a designation earned by only 34 PR programs worldwide.

FACULTY: Assistant Professor Kelly Bruhn, APR, Ph.D., brings years of public relations agency experience into the classroom, having created award-winning campaigns for Verizon Wireless and various nonprofit organizations. Assistant Professor Jennifer Glover Konfrst, APR, worked in public relations for 20 years, most recently at Iowa Public Television, where she led the network’s brand strategy, cross-platform promotion, media relations, and crisis communications. She also has worked at an agency and on a political campaign.

ACADEMIC PREPARATION: No specific preparatory courses are required; however, students are encouraged to take writing, editing, and speaking classes in high school and to work in student media, if possible.

REQUIREMENTS FOR MAJOR: You’ll need to earn 124 credit hours for your degree, with a maximum of 44 credit hours in School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC) classes. The additional credit hours must be in non-SJMC courses, including 48 hours in liberal arts studies.

INTERNSHIPS & OPPORTUNITIES: We’ll help you identify internships in the Drake market—and in the industry’s top markets—that can jump-start your career while you’re still a student. Drake Public Relations students have interned with Meredith Corporation, Drake University Communications, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and other state agencies, the Iowa Legislature, Drake Athletics, the U.S. Olympic Committee, Bank of America, the Iowa State Fair, Strategic America, and numerous political parties and campaigns at the local, state, and national level. With our own full-time internship coordinator, we’ll help you find the right job.

CAREER OPTIONS: Public Relations graduates work for organizations, including Disney Cruise Lines, Wells Fargo, Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Weber Shandwick, the Science Center of Iowa, FleishmanHillard, Principal Financial Group, Ketchum Worldwide, Mayo Clinic, Edelman Public Relations, Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, and the U.S. Air Force.

HONORS: Kappa Tau Alpha membership is available for the top 10 percent of SJMC seniors (and some juniors) who meet all requirements for membership. PR majors often win awards, including PRIME Awards from the Central Iowa Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), honorable mention in the national Bateman case study competition, outstanding chapter for Public Relations Student Society of America, Fulbright postgraduate fellowship, International Association of Business Communicators Bronze Quill awards.

STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS AND ACTIVITIES: The campus chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is affiliated with the central Iowa professional chapter of PRSA. There is a nationally recognized chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Students also can work on award-winning campus publications: The Times-Delphic, Drake Magazine, The Annual, and Drake Broadcasting System radio and TV stations. SJMC students frequently perform communications work for University Communications and Drake Athletics, and are active in student government and residence life.


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