Earn a Flexible Online Bachelor’s in Public Relations, Advertising and Social Media with Point Park in Pittsburgh

Build a bridge to success with an online B.A. in Public Relations, Advertising and Social Media from Point Park University

Professionals who can blend creativity with strategic planning and teamwork are essential to every business. The online Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations, Advertising and Social Media degree from Point Park University in Pittsburgh offers a diverse curriculum that prepares you for a successful career. You will gain the experience and tools you need through hands-on courses, including a capstone project where you will work alongside an agency to develop a fully integrated marketing campaign for a corporate or nonprofit client. With Point Park’s career-ready public relations degree you will be prepared to contribute to this dynamic field as soon as you graduate.

Point Park Online Bachelor’s in Public Relations, Advertising and Social Media Curriculum Overview

All courses in Point Park’s Public Relations, Advertising and Social Media degree, offered fully online or in downtown Pittsburgh, feature professionals as professors, focused on preparing students for a future career. The combination of coursework in both the PR and advertising fields gives you an immediate advantage in the job market. Our online public Relations, advertising and social media degree is designed in a fully digital, flexible environment dedicated to your success, offering support from application to graduation.

Transform your experience into college credit toward your Bachelor’s in Public Relations, Advertising and Social Media

Point Park University offers robust Prior Learning Assessment and Advanced Standing/Experiential Learning Credit opportunities. Students can transfer credits from qualifying experiences including College Level Examination Program (CLEP), DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST exams) or UEXCEL exams, Advanced Placement (AP) credit and experiential learning assessment portfolio submissions from prior work experience. Experiential learning credits are not considered current coursework for financial aid and do not fulfill any of the minimum 30 credits that must be completed at Point Park University to graduate. In addition, experiential learning credits through portfolio submissions are capped at 18 credits.  Kindly note that experiential learning credits can be used to meet the minimum transfer credits for degree completion programs.

Contact an enrollment counselor to learn more.

Tell me more about Point Park University’s Online B.A. in Public Relations, Advertising and Social Media

  • Next Start Date: July 2, 2023

Est. Program Length: 2 – 4 Years
Credit Hours: 122
Course Length: 8 Weeks
Cost Per Credit: $495
Transfer Credits Accepted: Up to 90
  • Est. Program Length: 2 – 4 Years

  • Credit Hours: 122

  • Course Length: 8 Weeks

  • Cost Per Credit: $495

  • Transfer Credits Accepted: Up to 90

Ranked As One of the Most Affordable Online Communications Degrees

Ranked As One of the Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Advertising and Public Relations

Ranked As One of the Most Affordable Colleges for Online Degrees in Public Relations

Learn more about the Public Relations, Advertising and Social Media Degree

Today’s workplace demands professionals who can think critically, write clearly and work effectively as part of a team. With a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations, Advertising and Social Media from Point Park, you’ll be ready to contribute as soon as you graduate.

B.A. in Public Relations, Advertising and Social Media Course Offerings

Course Description
This course introduces students to the different kinds of communities that people construct for themselves (e.g. social, political, artistic, etc.) and the values and dynamics that define such communities (e.g. cooperation, civility, tolerance, responsibility, etc.). The notion of what it means to be a responsible member of the community will actively be explored and discussed by engagement and analysis of multiple communities: the classroom community, the Point Park University community, and the Pittsburgh community. Students will also examine the responsibilities they have to their personal academic development.

Course Description
This course included communication theory as well as speech preparation, delivery, and communication technology. Student learning focuses on researching, composing, and delivering formal and impromptu speeches and presentations. Topics include research, analyzing and adapting audiences, message construction, outlining, delivery of messages and effective use of visual aids and technology. This course will develop each student’s ability to communicate effectively with respect to audience and purpose. The major emphasis is on the preparation and delivery of presentations ranging from one-on-one pitches and small group discussion to large audience speeches.

Course Description
Students will write argument-based assignments leading to an independently researched project based on academic and professional goals. Students will be required to 1.) find and integrate a variety of sources, 2.) read and analyze these sources, 3.) develop strong thesis statements that reflect perspectives on topics or issues, and 4.) construct persuasive arguments that engage with the viewpoints of experts and commentators. As the term progresses, students will have the opportunity to re-think or revise the ideas and perspectives they explored in earlier writing assignments by engaging with peer feedback and revising earlier drafts. Placement recommendations will require students to take ENGL 101 as a three credit course OR in conjunction with an additional credit of lab or studio instruction. Students who earn F or NP grades in ENGL 101 will be required to re-take the course in conjunction with a one-credit Writing Studio course.

Choose two of the following courses:

  • ECON 201 – Principles of Macroeconomics
  • GCS 175 – Intro to Global Cultural Studies
  • HIST 201 – Western Civilization I
  • HIST 202 – Western Civilization II
  • PADM 210 – Public Administration
  • POLS 205 – World Geography
  • POLS 250 – Intro to Study of Gov’t Systems
  • PHIL 215 – World Religions

Choose one of the following courses:

  • NSET 110 – Intro to Natural Sciences I
  • NSET 111 – Intro to Natural Sciences II

Choose one of the following courses:

  • MATH 150 -The Mathematical Experience
  • MATH 175 – Elementary Statistics
  • MATH 180 – College Algebra
  • *Math course level dependent on results of placement exam.

Choose one of the following courses:

  • ENGL 250 – World Lit: Drama, Poetry, Epic
  • ENGL 251 – World Lit: Novels

Choose two of the following courses:

  • PSYC 150 – Psychological Foundations
  • PSYC 214 – Psychology of Emotion
  • SOC 150 – Sociological Foundations

Choose one of the following courses:

  • BMGT 271 – The Money Thing: Life and Finances During and After College
  • BMGT 234 – Ethical Leadership
  • CMPS 330 – Electronic Commerce
  • ECON 202 – Principles of Microeconomics

Choose one of the following courses:

  • ART 100 – Intro to Visual Arts
  • COMM 290 – Seminar in Media Studies
  • COPA 250 – Exploring the Arts

Course Description
This course serves as an introduction to the theory and practice of visual communication design for print and screen-based media. Emphasis is placed on visual communication of ideas, information and messages. Students learn the fundamentals of digital imaging, page layout and web design. Upon completion of this course, students will produce a series of visual communication artifacts to add to their portfolios.

Choose one of the following courses:
PRAD433 – Advertising Competition
Students prepare an IMC campaign and present it at the National Student Advertising Competition of the American Advertising Federation. Campaigns have been for a car, credit card company, airline and a magazine publisher, all of which sponsored the annual competition. Students assume job titles and descriptions and produce a comprehensive IMC plan, involving research and all forms of the Integrated Marketing Communications process, including media. Prerequisites: Completion of all School of Communication and PRAD required core courses.
PRAD 497 – IMC Capstone
Students will work in a student-run agency model to plan, research and construct integrated communications campaigns for local nonprofit, business or civic organizations utilizing advertising, public relations, direct communications and promotions. Students will assume agency job titles and descriptions and will demonstrate mastery of communications theory/practice, processes and techniques, and agency management. The course will also serve as a valuable portfolio for employment. The major goal of the course is to put to work learned advertising, public relations and marketing principles and theories with an emphasis on researching, writing and producing solid integrated marketing communications plans and tactics. Prerequisites: Completion of all School of Communication and PRAD required core courses.

Course Description
This course provides an introduction to the terminology, technical and creative principles of single-camera video for electronic field production (EFP) and electronic news gathering (ENG). Students learn and apply the basic video production techniques of writing for video, camera operation, aesthetic composition, sound, lighting and editing to create and produce short-form video productions. Prerequisites: COMM 105

Course Description
This course is a study of basic communication principles and the emergence of the concept of mass communication. It explores the responsibilities and influence of newspapers, magazines, radio, television, public relations, advertising and Internet sources in the modern social system.

This course will help students develop an informed and critical understanding of the structures, functions, and impacts of mass media, traditional and new, with particular attention to news messages. This is a vital skill set, as media messages dramatically influence personal identity, cultural norms, and representations of peoples on a global scale. It is an essential tool for both creators and consumers of mass media-in other words, everyone.

Course Description
Introduction to the basic skills needed to tell stories effectively through various forms of mass media, including story development; fundamental writing techniques for print journalism, web journalism, broadcast journalism, and public relations; journalistic writing style; proper grammar; story construction methods; and media literacy.

Course Description
Introduction to visual storytelling for print and non-video digital platforms. Students will learn to use
and apply the basic principles and elements of visual design to create non-video media products used by
advertising, public relations and journalism professionals. Projects will include magazine page design,
newsletters, brochures, infographics, specialty photos for social media distribution, and photo essays for
print and digital publication.

Course Description
A combination lecture, discussion and critique of student work. The goal is to enable students to make educational and professional choices early in their college years. Surveys entry requirements, duties and job-satisfaction in professions of the J&MC concentrations. Topics include recommended electives, internships, networking, resumes, interviewing, portfolios and research sources. Required of majors and planned for the sophomore level.

Course Description
School of Communication majors complete a practicum in a concentration of their choice. The goal is that students gain practical, hands-on experience through working as apprentices for various University media and applicable offices. Faculty supervise all students who complete an agreed-upon list of assignments at sites such as the campus newspaper, broadcast studios, tasks in appropriate school offices and endeavors involving advertising, marketing, sports information, public relations, alumni affairs, or admissions and recruitment. A site supervisor will evaluate the student’s minimum 70 hours effort for the semester. The site list is approved by the faculty, and will be expanded or reduced as needed. The practicum should be completed by the junior year to prepare students for internships at outside media, advertising and public relations agencies or appropriate corporate, governmental or community organizations. The practicum is pass/fail only and may be repeated one time.

Course Description
Examines the ethical issues presented in the modern media, including their historical context and practical ramifications. The course compares and contrasts ethical standards and systems with professional processes and practices and legal principles. Students will write a position paper in which they defend an ethical choice they make and a longer term paper. Prerequisite: 75+ Credits

Course Description

Study of contemporary and classic cases related to state and federal law of freedom of the press and freedom of speech. Problems caused by efforts by government to control mass media and freedom of government/public information are also addressed. Students will write a term paper. Prerequisites: COMM 110, JOUR 150 and 75+ credits. Dual listed with COMM 518

Course Description

Questions of difference play a fundamental role in the functioning of society. In this class, students will
view social groupings through the lens of the mass media, examining the ways in which media creates,
resists, and/or reflects these differences.

Course Description

A basic digital photography course designed to give photography and photojournalism students proficiency in digital image making and processing. It stresses the importance and uses of digital photography in the current media environment, including terminology, practical exercise, and presentation. Students utilize Adobe Lightroom for editing, and are encouraged to purchase the program and their own digital SLR cameras.

Course Description
Students explore the background and fundamentals of how organizations use persuasive communication to reach target audiences. A study of successful case studies and exercises in program writing will build the foundation and basic understanding of how advertising and public relations can advance the mission and growth of organizations in our contemporary society.

Course Description
Course will explore various secondary research techniques using available government and organizational databases, media coverage/analysis, library resources and other tools. Course will also cover primary research methods, including surveys (planning, methods and analysis), observation, experimentation and focus groups. Students will develop capabilities in planning and designing research objectives, tools and evaluation systems, including survey construction, tabulation and interpretation, as well as focus group management. Prerequisite: JOUR 206.

Course Description
Provides students with basic planning, writing, design and production techniques for creating and enhancing persuasive communications. Students will use copywriting skills, desktop publishing and design programs, combined with solid theory in targeting and reaching audiences to complete advertising campaigns that include print ads, broadcast ads, direct mail pieces, Web advertising and a variety of other vehicles. The use of typography, color, graphics and other design tools will be used to target these creative messages. Upon completion of this class, each student will have an advertising campaign to add to his or her portfolio. Prerequisite: JOUR 206.

Course Description
This course will provide students the conceptual and technical understanding of the power and philosophy of social media. The course will specifically focus on how social media is changing media, business, journalism and government in fundamental ways. Upon completion of this course, students will have practical knowledge in the use of social media tools and building and maintaining an online community as well as a solid foundation in writing and reporting for social media. Prerequisite: 30+ credits.

Course Description
This is a practical course that will cover the techniques of message-based writing strategies used by public relations practitioners in various communication functions. The course will involve a variety of intensive public relations writing assignments based on strategies spanning major functional areas of professional public relations work. This course will concentrate on intensive work in the preparation of information for newspapers, radio, television, magazines, speech writing, brochures, newsletters, electronic media, and planning publicity campaigns. Dual Listed with JOUR 521. Prerequisite: JOUR 206 or permission

Course Description
This course will explore methods of planning integrated communications programs to meet business/organizational strategic objectives. Students will gain the skills of the advertising (communications) planner and media planner by learning about target public and market behavior patterns; loyalty rationales of customers, employees and other key stakeholders; message effectiveness, media management and other planning areas. Students will develop an understanding of interpreting and applying research data and strategic objectives to construct creative platforms. The course includes advanced communication research, interview techniques, ethnography, and virtual focus groups by using blogs and other social media. Prerequisite: JOUR 239.

Course Description
The purpose of this course is to examine strategic communication practices throughout the stages of a crisis event. Special emphasis is placed on crisis planning, media relationships, image restoration, legal and ethical responses, and the use of social media in news reporting, especially during a crisis. Students will examine recent crises and the proper management of information flow. The course will also cover communications impact of crises on employees, communities, shareholders, donors and government publics. Emphasis will be placed on how to effectively handle a social media crisis and use social media to report on a crisis. Students will also learn how to write and implement social media policies, both for employees and users.Prerequisite: PRAD306.

Choose 5:

Course Description
An on-the-job internship of about 200 hours of paid or unpaid work at a newspaper or other publication, a radio or TV station, photography studio or production company, public relations or advertising agency position. Departmental handout (available from the secretary or chair), advisers and bulletin board postings should be consulted for positions and procedures on locating and registering for an internship. Prerequisites: Completion of sophomore-level core courses, basic courses relating to the specific field of the internship and permission of appropriate faculty supervisor and department chair. (Note: course numbers for internships determined by number of internships completed, not class standing.)

Course Description
This course will provide an introduction to multimedia production, writing and theory. Students will learn the industry from a historical perspective, as well as learn the basics of blogging and promoting content, video and audio for the Web, slide shows, podcasting, RSS feeds, creating interactive quizzes and timelines, mobile publishing, and other relevant topics. Upon completion of this course students will have a comprehensive technical knowledge of the many opportunities for multimedia production. Prerequisite: JOUR 103

Course Description
Students will explore the principles involved in public relations with major emphasis on achieving and understanding the issues that public relations professionals face on a regular basis. Focus will be on the in-depth study of theories learned in previous public relations courses at Point Park with emphasis on delving into current issues related to those theories. Students are expected to have a basic understanding of key public relations theories and will use class time to expand on areas of interest while applying their knowledge to resolving situations requiring public relations expertise. Prerequisite: PRAD 206.

Course Description
This course will teach students how to prove return on investment (ROI) to clients by understanding and evaluating analytics. In addition, students will learn search engine optimization best practices to further increase a brand’s social media ROI. Students will have a deeper understanding of the principles and how to measure and prove the ROI of social media and a working knowledge of various industry-standard analytics tools. Students will write social media reports for clients based on ROI and analytics results. Prerequisite: PRAD 306. Dual listed with JOUR 564.

Course Description
Students will research, write and implement advanced social media concepts including analytics, advertising, activism, influencers and budgets. Social media for journalists will be emphasized. Students will either work directly with business or nonprofit clients to plan and execute a social media campaign or publish an advanced social media journalism project. Dual listed with PRAD 573. Prerequisite; PRAD 306.

Course Description
Students will work in a student-run agency model to plan, research and construct integrated communications campaigns for local nonprofit, business or civic organizations utilizing advertising, public relations, direct communications and promotions. Students will assume agency job titles and descriptions and will demonstrate mastery of communications theory/practice, processes and techniques, and agency management. The course will also serve as a valuable portfolio for employment. The major goal of the course is to put to work learned advertising, public relations and marketing principles and theories with an emphasis on researching, writing and producing solid integrated marketing communications plans and tactics. Prerequisites: Completion of all School of Communication and PRAD required core courses.

Course Description
*Varied special topics.

Students may use general electives to complete or partially complete a double major or one or more minors.

Public Relations, Advertising and Social Media Careers in Pennsylvania and Beyond

The need for public relations and advertising specialists is projected to grow 11 percent from 2020-2030, faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Possible careers for graduates of this degree program include:

Media buyers are responsible for purchasing media space in print, radio, television, film and internet outlets. They are responsible for researching effective channels, targeting appropriate customer demographics, working within budgets, maintaining relationships with media sales agencies and more. Media buyers must possess excellent analytical skills and be effective in interpersonal communication as well as negotiating.

Content Managers are responsible for generating written content for marketing materials such as articles, advertisements, television commercials, websites, fliers, publications and more. They must be excellent at working within strict deadlines, collaborating with other marketing professionals and discerning the appeal of the products they sell, and they must respond flexibly to feedback. Copywriters must possess excellent written communication skills.

Public relations coordinators work to ensure that their clients gain and retain a positive reputation with the public. They may develop and implement PR strategies; analyze media coverage; serve as a client liaison to various partners, media outlets and the public; and manage PR during crises, among other responsibilities. Public relations managers must possess flexibility and solid communication skills and must be able to work well under pressure.

A Social Media Account Manager, or Community Manager, oversees a company’s interactions with the public through implementing content strategies on social media platforms. Their duties include analyzing engagement data, identifying trends in customer interactions and planning digital campaigns to build community online.

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