What is public relations?
Public relations is the management of relationships between organizations and their stakeholders, meaning any group of people who have a stake in the success or failure of that organization. Professional and ethical public relations practitioners counsel organizations to behave in socially responsible ways that will enable them to earn a positive reputation with their stakeholders. The strategic management of public relations is a four-step process that includes research, planning, implementation and evaluation. Students in the nationally ranked public relations emphasis at San Diego State University will learn about and actually execute these steps of the strategic planning process as they progress through the program’s rigorous classes.
Why study public relations at SDSU?
Public relations students learn the theories and skills necessary to help them execute each stage of the strategic planning process. Specifically, students learn mass communication and public relations theories and principles; research methods; journalistic writing; public relations techniques and tactics; and strategic planning. A selective internship program also gives students the opportunity to try out their skills in the workplace, under the supervision of faculty and on-the-job mentors.
The most recent national ranking of public relations programs placed SDSU’s program sixth in the United States. It is the only top-ten public relations program west of the Mississippi River and also the only one without a Ph.D. program, which means that faculty members, rather than doctoral students, teach undergraduate and master’s students. In studies that examine whose scholarly research gets cited by other scholars, the collective work of SDSU’s public relations faculty is the second-most cited in the country, additional evidence of the prestige and national stature of the program.
Careers in public relations
Public relations graduates work as media relations specialists and strategic planners in public relations departments and firms, as internal and external communication specialists in corporations, as public information specialists in government agencies and the military, and in fund-raising and membership development for not-for-profit organizations.
On this page: As a media relations student assistant at San Diego State University, Ashley Vaughn (pictured above) pitched story ideas and wrote articles for SDSU NewsCenter. Photo by Sam Hodgson.