Kutztown University will offer a new bachelor of science degree in public relations, with enrollment beginning fall 2018.

By combining coursework and hands-on training in writing, design and technique, this innovative skills-based program will prepare students to meet the workforce demand within a diverse array of fields, including social advocacy; media; marketing; corporate communications; and public administration.

“This degree is groundbreaking,” said Dr. Andrew Vogel, professor of English and department chairperson at KU. “It integrates competencies with understanding audiences; crafting messages; and connecting with people. The curriculum fortifies foundation skills and develops them with cutting-edge media technologies.”

Housed in the English Department, the program’s curriculum will include courses offered by the professional writing, communication studies, and social media strategy and analytics majors, creating an interdisciplinary approach to prepare students for success in a varied, fast-paced and growing industry. A unique experiential learning component is embedded within the coursework, culminating in a one-semester senior-year internship and two-semester capstone sequence. The program aims to incorporate high-power tools for social media research with real-world demands. A lab space built for students enrolled in the major will house the latest technology, including software and hardware for hands-on learning, as well as a meeting space for consulting with clients.

“The focus during senior year is intensive professional training in the program’s own public relations agency, where teams of students work with actual clients, managing their projects from start to finish,” said Dr. David Beougher, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at KU. “Public relations students will graduate from Kutztown University with the theoretical foundation of the field, along with a portfolio of professional work and a network of former clients.”

Potential occupations within the discipline include public relations officer; social media coordinator; digital marketing and public relations consultant; and public information director. The degree will also equip students to pursue graduate education in related domains.

“The ability to operate in a variety of different environments and interfaces is significant,” Beougher said. “Graduates won’t be exclusively writers, or marketing specialists, or campaign theorists. They’ll be prepared for success within a very broad field, and to address emerging technologies and strategies. They’ll be able to do it all.”

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