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Public Relations

The Department of Journalism and Strategic Media

Public Relations (BA)

The Department of Journalism and Strategic Media at the University of Memphis offers preparation for careers in advertising, broadcast news, web journalism, newspaper/magazine, public relations and visual media. Students are required to take career-oriented skills courses to enhance skills in writing, multimedia, media literacy, professionalism, and critical thinking as they relate to careers in the media. .

Program objectives for a B.A. from the Department of Journalism and Strategic Media are:

  • To think critically, creatively and independently
  • To conduct research and evaluate information by methods appropriate to the communications professions in which they work
  • To write correctly and clearly in forms and styles appropriate for the communications professions, audiences and purposes they serve
  • To critically evaluate one's own work and that of others for accuracy and fairness, clarity, appropriate style and grammatical correctness.

The Department offers three majors: advertising, journalism, and public relations. Graduates of the Department of Journalism and Strategic Media typically work as newspaper or television reporters and photographers, editors and anchors, advertising executives, public relations professionals, freelance writers and producers, web content producers, web designers and editors, brand managers, social media coordinators, and visual media designers. No matter which program is selected, each student must have a strong background in liberal arts and an understanding of the social sciences to augment his or her professional skills. Consequently, no more than 48 hours of courses from the Department of Journalism and Strategic Media may be included in the 120 hours required for graduation. The remainder of the student's course work must follow the guidelines provided by the university to qualify for a Bachelor of Arts degree.

On- campus practical experience is available on The Daily Helmsman newspaper, radio station WUMR, Tiger News campus TV newscast productions and through the Meeman 901 Strategies public relations and advertising firm, as well as through publicity and communications offices throughout campus.

JOUR 2121 is a prerequisite for journalism and strategic media majors taking more advanced writing courses in the program. Prerequisite journalism and strategic media courses, including JOUR 2121, must be completed with a minimum grade of C- before moving on to any course in the program to which the prerequisites are applied. A grade point average of 2.0 is required to declare and maintain a major from the Department of Journalism and Strategic Media. JOUR 1700, 1750 and JOUR 2121 must be completed within the first calendar year as a major. Students who fail to comply with the above criteria may be permanently dropped from the program. Additionally, students must have a 2.0 grade point average in journalism classes to graduate.

Students in the Department of Journalism and Strategic Media may select only one major. Of the 120 hours required for graduation, 72 hours must be from outside the Department of Journalism and Strategic Media. Students are recommended to have a minor; each major has recommended minors.

In order to be in compliance with the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications accreditation standards, UofM will accept no more than 12 semester hours or the equivalent in Journalism and Strategic Media courses for transfer from community colleges to be applied toward the degree.

Portfolio requirement

All undergraduate students are required to develop and maintain an active portfolio of their work. Students are to begin the portfolio in JOUR 2121 and contribute to it during every skills course thereafter. The portfolio should contain samples of the student's work from their courses and/or professional experience and should develop as the student builds skills. Portfolios will undergo a final review while students are enrolled in the capstone course for their major.

A. University General Education Program (41 hours). See Graduation from the University for the University General Education Program requirements. NOTE: JOUR 1700 is required for the Public Relations Major and may be used as a Social and Behavioral Science requirement.

B. Bachelor of Arts (BA) (6-9 hours) The Bachelor of Arts requirements are in addition to the University General Education Program requirements.

C. The Public Relations Major (51 hours).

1. Journalism and Strategic Media Core (21 hours)

Completion of JOUR 1700, 1750, 2121, 3900, 4700; JOUR 4702, 4704, 4708, 4716 or 4720; JOUR 4930 or 4940

2. Public Relations (24 Journalism and Strategic Media and 6 Business hours): JOUR 3400, 3421, 4410, 4440; one of the following: 3409, 4301, 4421, 4431; one of the following: 3120, 3130; one of the following: 3300, 4500, 4910; one Journalism and Strategic Media elective; MGMT 3110, MKTG 3010.

D. Electives (19-25 hours).


Any student wishing to minor in any area in the Department of Journalism and Strategic Media should see the department chair who will assign an appropriate advisor. The minor must consist of at least 18 hours of approved coursework, 9 of which must be upper division. Coursework for all minors will be determined by the student in conference with the advisor with the approval of the department chair.

Typical 4-Year Public Relations Plan

Freshman Year

JOUR 1700** JOUR 2121
JOUR 1750 JOUR 3900
Foreign Language/B.A. Foreign Language/B.A.
Social/Behavioral Sciences* Humanities/Fine Arts* 
ENGL 1010 ENGL 1020
Semester Total  15 hrs    15 hrs 

Sophomore Year

JOUR 3400  JOUR 3120/3130
Non-JOUR Elective (Minor)   Humanities/Fine Arts* 
Foreign Language/B.A. Natural Science* 
History* Foreign Language/B.A. 
ENGL 2201 or 2202 MATH* 
Semester Totals 15 hrs    16 hrs 

Junior Year   

JOUR 3421  JOUR 3409/4301/4330/4421/4431  
MKTG 3010  MGMT 3110
Natural Science*  COMM 2381
History* Non-JOUR Elective (Minor)
Non-JOUR Elective (Minor) Non-JOUR Elective (Minor)
Semester Total  16 hrs    15 hrs 

Senior Year 

JOUR 4410 JOUR 4440 
JOUR Elective UD JOUR elective 
JOUR 4700 JOUR 3300/4500/4910
Non-JOUR Elective (Minor)  Non-JOUR Elective (Minor)
Non-JOUR Elective (Minor) 1 JOUR 4930/4940 3
Semester Total  13 hrs    15 hrs 

Total Hours: 120.

Internship elective highly recommended last semester to enhance employability and complete minimum of 120 hours for degree.

Hours Required for Graduation: 120

*Must satisfy University General Education Program Requirement
**JOUR 1700 fulfills Social Science General Education Requirement
***Unless Fine Arts was taken in General Education Humanities/Fine Arts, take Non-JOUR Elective (Minor)