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Public Relations


The Public Relations major prepares students to research, plan, execute, and evaluate communication between an organization and its publics, monitor the organization's environment, and counsel management on policies and programs. The major is designed to prepare students to help private industry and public organizations improve the quality of communication among themselves, their employees, the general public and government.

Why Study Public Relations?

Public relations is the measured and ethical use of language and symbols to inspire cooperation between an organization and its publics. Public relations specialists help businesses, governments and their agencies, universities, hospitals, schools and other organizations build and maintain positive relationships with the public. 

Related Majors


Related Skills

  • Superior oral and written communication skills
  • Strong computer background
  • Understand basic business matters, especially strategic planning
  • Good research abilities, including measuring communication effectiveness
  • Team member and ability to work independently
  • Work well under pressure, especially under numerous demanding deadlines
  • Flexible and adaptive to new environments
  • Critical-analytical thinker who can soundly assess matters and discuss them
  • Good marketing and sales background
  • Demonstrate enthusiasm and energy for the field

Being Successful in the Field

  • Obtain part-time, summer job, internship, or volunteer experience within an area of interest. Public relations is a competitive field and related experience is essential to break into the industry.
  • Develop the ability to work under the pressure of deadlines in a fast-paced environment.
  • Be prepared to start at the bottom and work up to positions of greater responsibility. Expect to complete administrative tasks in entry-level jobs.
  • Obtain additional or advanced degrees to enhance knowledge of specific area of interests. For instance, a master's degree in public policy (MPP) will increase employability in government and nonprofit agencies. Likewise, a master’s degree in communication, public relations, or business can be vital to advancing into management positions.
  • Keep a set of solid examples of your work in a “professional portfolio,” which will be important for you to demonstrate your fitness for an internship and/or your first full-time job.
  • Participate in co-curricular activities and related organizations to develop skills. Join on-campus and national professional associations related to public relations, like the PRSSA.

Related Fields

Account Management

  • Issues Management
  • Counseling
  • Employee or Member Relations
  • Media Relations
  • Research


  • Public relations firms: (Representing various private and public organizationsand institutions, individuals, and events.)
  • PR departments in large corporations


  • Strengthen verbal communication skills by taking speech communication courses.
  • Enhance writing skills through additional coursework in business and marketing.
  • Acquire an internship with a PR firm.
  • Be prepared to start at the bottom andwork up to higher positions.
  • Consider a master's degree in PR for higher level positions, especially at the executive level.
  • Learn to work well with teams.


  • Reporting
  • Advertising Sales
  • Writing and Editing


  • Newspapers
  • Online news providers
  • Television
  • Radio


  • Develop the ability to work under the pressure of deadlines in a fast-paced environment.
  • Get a summer job or internship with a newspaper, TV or radio station.
  • Work with college newspaper staff or radio station.
  • Develop strong computer skills and learn applications related to web page design.
  • Obtain experience in the area of sales.
  • Get involved with national and campus professional associations.

Public Affairs

  • Government Relations
  • Risk and Crisis Communication
  • Campaign Marketing and Fundraising
  • World Affairs and Diplomacy
  • Media Relations


  • Government agencies (local, state,& federal)
  • Chambers of commerce and tourism councils foreign embassies
  • Campaign committees, coalitions, initiatives, and networks


  • Secure federal internships in a field of interest.
  • Develop strong research and writing skills. Get experience with student government or political campaigns.
  • Consider graduate programs in Public Policy/Affairs.
  • Develop foreign language skills.
  • Enhance language skills and cultural understanding through study abroad programs.
  • Gain experience by volunteering with organizations that provide assistance to various cultural groups.

Business and Industry

  • Advertising Sales
  • Sales
  • Training and Development
  • Human Resources
  • Customer Service
  • Management
  • Direct Marketing -Direct marketers work with the customer through mail, magazines, radio, or TV to get an immediate response by telephone, mail, or fax.


  • Public and private corporations
  • Consulting firms
  • Marketing companies
  • Internet marketers
  • Sport and athletic organizations
  • Retail stores


  • Take general business and computer courses. Consider earning a graduate degree in business. Gain experience in organizational development or marketing. Become current with business and industry literature and news. Obtain sales and marketing experience. Work within college sports administration and marketing.

Nonprofit and Education

  • Public Relations
  • Fundraising
  • Promotion
  • Event Planning
  • Service Marketing
  • Advertising Sales
  • Administration
  • Community Affairs


  • Museums
  • Charities and foundations (i.e. within the areas of environment, arts, multiculturalinitiatives, religion, and health)
  • Hospitals and healthcare providers
  • Colleges and universities
  • Social service agencies
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Professional associations


  • Get experience through volunteering for non-profit agencies, museums, and charities.
  • Obtain internships with non-profit organizations.
  • Gain experience planning events for campus organizations.
  • Consider additional degrees such as MPH (Master of Public Health) to enhance employability.
  • Get sales experience.

Other Professions

  • Advertising Copywriter
  • Advertising Manager
  • Communications Specialist
  • Community Relations
  • Government Relations Specialist
  • Market Researcher
  • Marketing
  • Media Relations
  • Press Secretary
  • Project Director
  • Promotion Manager
  • Public Advocate
  • Public Affairs

Career Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Mark Fauble  110 Student Services Building  mbfaubl@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-5825 

Internship Coordinator

Name Office Email Phone
Tom Lamonica  456 Fell Hall  talamon@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-8578 

New Freshmen

Applying to Illinois State

Illinois State's preferred filing period for freshman students for the fall semester is September 1-November 15. Applying early is encouraged, as the University must limit enrollment due to space at the University and in specific majors/programs. Visit the Office of Admissions to apply today!

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

New Transfer

Applying to Illinois State

Illinois State's preferred filing period for fall transfer students is September 1-January 15. For the spring semester, the preferred filing period is from April 1-August 1. You are encouraged to apply early in the preferred filing period for best consideration for admission into competitive majors. Visit the Office of Admissions to apply today!

Minimum GPA


Middle 50% GPA

2.89 - 3.44

Required Courses


Recommended Courses

  • Introductory-level composition (ENG 101)
  • Introductory-level speech (COM 110)

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Julie Navickas  Fell Hall 450  janavic@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-7080 

Illinois State Students

Middle 50% GPA

2.89 - 3.44

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

Application Period

September 1 - October 1, February 1 - March 1

Major Requirements

Submission of online application form and essay.

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Julie Navickas  Fell Hall 450  janavic@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-7080