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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. There are about 129 students in this major, which means your classes will be about 20 students. 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: Kelly Bruhn, Jennifer Glover Konfrst, and Matthew Thornton lead the PR program. All have extensive professional experience and connections.

ACADEMIC PREPARATION: All SJMC students take classes in communications history, law and ethics from a multicultural perspective, reporting and writing, multimedia basics, career development and financial literacy workshops, and a course in emerging and evolving media. 

Public relations majors also take courses in PR principles, writing, planning, management, and research.

During your senior year, you'll collaborate with other PR majors to create a complete multimedia campaign for a local nonprofit client, putting your skills to work in a real-world setting and developing a powerful piece for your professional portfolio.

For specific class descriptions, visit the SJMC website.

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, The Principal Financial Group, Ketchum Worldwide, Mayo Clinic, Edelman Public Relations, and Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry.

HONORS: 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, Fulbright postgraduate fellowships, and International Association of Business Communicators Bronze Quill awards.

STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS AND ACTIVITIES: Join the Public Relations Student Society of America for career development and to establish professional contacts. Polish your writing and multimedia skills and build your portfolio by working for the student newspaper or one of the many student magazines in print or online, or participate in the Drake Broadcasting System radio and TV productions.


Admission Calendar and Events

Tour Drake...

Monday-Friday - Individual Visits

Oct. 9- Campus Preview Day

Oct. 19 - Campus Preview Half-Day

Oct.20- Campus Preview Half-Day

 ...Drake on Tour


Sept. 24 -Pharmacy Tour: Chicago

Oct. 15 - Drake on the Road: Chicago


Oct. 15 - Drake on the Road: Kansas City


Oct.15 - Drake on the Road: Twin Cities


Oct.29 -Drake on the Road: Saint Louis