Public Relations

The public relations concentration of the mass communications program prepares graduates to successfully enter the public relations field. Public relations is a broad field that spans all industries and businesses.

Explore degree details on the VCU Bulletin.

What PR Professionals Do

The primary role of a PR practitioner is to create, maintain and build relationships with an organization’s public audiences. To accomplish these tasks, practitioners may write news releases, organize grassroots organizations, plan events, create newsletters, lobby government officials, form coalitions among organizations or maintain a presence in social media outlets.

Research is also an important part of PR. Creating surveys and organizing focus groups are common techniques used to gain insights into what groups of people believe and think. Based on the information gathered from these tools, practitioners create strategic communications plans aimed at changing attitudes and perceptions held by mass audiences. A number of concepts from psychology play an important role in this process.

PR practitioners are ethical. Being misleading or lying can not only damage the reputation of a practitioner, but it can also damage the reputation of whatever organization the practitioner represents. Because of this, practitioners are often forced to make difficult decisions and guide organizations through ethical dilemmas. Due to occasional conflicting interests between an organization and its public audiences, a PR practitioner bridges these gaps, sometimes being an advocate for the organization, while other times advocating on behalf of the organization's constituents to executive management.


The Robertson School's public relations concentration will give you the skills you’ll need to launch your career. Course topics include public relations strategy, technical writing and media relations, social media for PR as well as multimedia production for PR. You’ll also take courses to give you important big-picture perspectives on law, ethics and diversity. You’ll finish with a capstone course, Agency, an experiential learning opportunity that provides public relations and communications support to area organizations.


The government's job outlook for PR professionals through 2030 is promising. Jobs as a PR specialist are projected to grow 11%, which is faster than average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

PR graduates can be found representing professional sports teams, global clothing manufacturers, Hollywood production studios, energy companies, hospitals, international non-profits and small businesses. This wide variety of opportunities is due to the fact that PR people are professional communicators, and all organizations — big and small — must communicate with a variety of audiences in order to succeed. Explore career paths you'll be set up to take with a degree in mass communications.