College of Arts and Communication

Communication (Public Relations)

Bachelor's Degree Program

Public Relations is an exciting, versatile profession. All industries and companies need savvy professionals who can clearly communicate messages across multiple platforms to the public, the media, customers and other stakeholders.

At UW-Whitewater, you’ll learn how to research, develop, craft, deliver and assess various messaging and creative campaigns, from promoting product releases to communicating in a time of crisis.

Meet the faculty

4-YEAR PLAN

CAN WE BRAG A LITTLE?

Why study Public Relations at UW-Whitewater?

The world of PR, and communication in general, is changing more rapidly than ever before, and UW-Whitewater prepares you for today’s and tomorrow's public relations jobs. Our program focuses not just on theory and application, but also on the latest industry best practices, including an emphasis on strategic research and digital platforms.

If you’re interested in a Public Relations major, you’ll be interested to know our program offers you the opportunity to:

  • Pitch campaign ideas to real clients in our “Big Idea” presentation
  • Complete a crisis communication simulation
  • Learn from faculty members who are widely experienced or published in their field
  • Conduct your own research under faculty mentorship
  • Design special events, such as fundraisers or campaign rallies
  • Create a web and social media presence for yourself and clients
  • Choose a minor or second major to supplement your education and expand your communication career opportunities

What our Public Relations students do

White figure on blue background with chart.

Develop PR campaigns for real clients

 White pen and notebook on green background.

Hone professional writing skills

Three connected computers on an orange background.

Focus on digital, integrated strategies

Campus media

Student works behind the scenes during a TV broadcast.

Communication majors at UW-Whitewater can take part in many hands-on learning opportunities, including creator, production and leadership roles at campus media outlets:

  • The Royal Purple ­– award-winning weekly campus print and online newspaper
  • UWW-TV – campus cable television station, located in Conover Studio in Andersen Hall
  • WSUW-FM: 91.7 “The Edge” – campus radio station broadcasting throughout the region from a tower atop Hyer Hall

In addition to gaining career experience, you have the opportunity to earn practicum credit for participation in these media outlets.

Travel study and study abroad

Communication students from UW-Whitewater experience Games of Thrones while in Ireland.


In today’s global society, PR professionals will benefit from international experience. Our curriculum includes courses in cross-cultural communication, but we encourage you to take that exposure farther (literally) by traveling.

Go on a faculty-led travel study

You’ll have the chance to take a semester-long class on campus which culminates with a related, short-term international trip, lasting from 10 days to a month. In recent years, our faculty have taken students to Brazil, Greece, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Learn more about travel opportunities

Study abroad for a semester

UW-Whitewater’s Office of Global Experiences offers many semester-long study-abroad programs that fit with the communication curriculum. Popular locations with our majors include Spain, Finland and Ecuador.

Internships

Internships offer you the chance to put what you’ve learned in your PR classes into practice in a real-world setting. You’ll meet and learn from professionals in the field, build your portfolio and make valuable connections.

Our PR students find internships in a variety of industries and at organizations, including ad agencies, nonprofits, corporations and marketing firms.

Learn more about communication internships

Research opportunities

UW-Whitewater has a strong Undergraduate Research Program, and the PR program encourages our students to participate. This allows you to dive into a topic that interests you or delve into a creative project you’ve been imagining.

You’ll also have the chance to share your work at the UW-Whitewater Undergraduate Research Day or the larger UW System Research in the Rotunda event at the state capitol.

Learn more about research

Student involvement: Campus and industry organizations

Public Relations majors at UW-Whitewater can get involved in student organizations, like forensics


Communication students with a Public Relations major emphasis can hone important skills, gain industry experience and make connections through several student organizations: 

Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) – find valuable networking and development opportunities in the student chapter of the #1 national organization for PR professionals.

CHIP (Communicating Health in Practice) – explore professional development and career opportunities related to healthcare communications in this interactive group.

Forensics Team – enhance your public speaking skills, boost your confidence and travel across the country as a member of our competitive forensics team. (Forensics is also known as speech and debate.)

Additionally, members of the team also have the chance to mentor the local high school speech and debate community through UW-Whitewater’s summer Forensics Institute.

UW-Whitewater Advertising Association – participate in real-world projects, make industry connections, attend events, tour agencies and more.

Selina Statz, UW-Whitewater alumni that studied Public Relations

What our grads say

“I had the chance to learn from professors who have actually worked in the industry and field they’re teaching about. This real-world experience helped me prepare for my career in Germany as well as build my international network right from the start.”

Selina Statz (Marketing and Social Media Manager, Mediengruppe Oberfranken, Bamberg, Bavaria, Germany)

What our graduates do

 Four connected people on a pink background.

Work as public relations specialists

 Bullseye graphic with arrow on purple background.

Create advertising and marketing campaigns

 White graphic of a calendar on a white background.

Plan events and promotions

Magnifying glass image with three people on a blue background.

Recruit employees and students

Public Relations jobs: Career success

When you look at what some of our recent Public Relations students are doing post-graduation, it’s clear PR positions are among the versatile and exciting jobs in communications.

Here are just a few places our recent Communication graduates found careers:

  • Aurora University (Aurora, Illinois)
  • Blended Integrated Marketing (Madison)
  • STIR Advertising (Milwaukee)
  • Cramer-Krasselt (Chicago and Milwaukee)
  • CSU Managed Services (Schaumburg, Illinois)
  • Data Dimensions (Janesville)
  • Edelman (Frankfurt, Germany)
  • Hatch Staffing Services (Milwaukee)
  • Impact Networking (Brookfield)
  • Legacy Marketing Partners (Chicago)
  • Oxford Global Resources Group (Madison)
  • Rotary Botanical Gardens (Janesville)
  • The Walt Disney Company (Orlando, Florida)
  • Weber Shandwick (St. Louis, Missouri and Frankfurt, Germany)

Our Public Relations faculty

You’ll learn from expert scholars and practicing professionals. The Public Relations faculty, part of the Department of Communication, are diverse in their backgrounds, research interests and industry experience.

Meet our Public Relations faculty »

Want to learn more about adding a PR emphasis to your Communication degree at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater? Contact us »

The Communication major offers the following options for Public Relations:

In addition to UW-Whitewater’s general education requirements, your emphasis in PR will require a set of core courses, including:

  • Principles of PR
  • PR Tactics (I and II)
  • Advertising and PR Research Literacy
  • PR Planning
  • Persuasion
  • Cross-cultural Communication

With the help of your advisor and based on your academic and career goals, you’ll also select electives from a variety of other courses across the communication curriculum.

To apply, you’ll complete the UW-Whitewater application for admission and indicate your interest in the Communication major, Public Relations emphasis.

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