The master of arts programs in advertising and public relations are intended for those who wish to acquire advanced understanding of and skills in the development of highly effective persuasive communication. The programs focus on prevailing communication theories, current research findings, and advanced practical techniques. The faculty seeks to educate highly competent, focused students who will be recognized for their leadership qualities: the ability to discern issues both in the practice of their profession and in their role in society; the ability to develop and execute successful communication programs; and the ability to lead others effectively.
Two programs are offered: (1) a two-year thesis program with specialization in advertising or public relations (Plan I), and (2) a one-year professional program combining advertising and public relations (Plan II).
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- Plan I, the Two-Year Research Program -
The two-year master's degree program is intended for students seeking a strong research emphasis in their study of advertising and public relations. The Plan I program focuses on important problems and questions, gathering evidence, and setting standards for inference. The program specifically prepares students in the areas of (a) mastering the body of scholarly knowledge of advertising and public relations, and (b) contributing to the advancement of knowledge in these fields through basic and applied research. Students may decide to continue their studies, pursuing doctorates in advertising or public relations. Students in the Plan I program specialize in either advertising or public relations, learn the concepts and methods involved in productive scholarship, and collaborate with faculty members in conducting research.
Plan I requirements. Plan I is normally a two-year program and requires (a) a minimum of 30 hours of approved graduate courses, (b) demonstration of proficiency in research skills, (c) passing of a comprehensive written examination, and (d) completion and successful defense of a master's thesis. Students admitted to the program with little or no previous coursework in advertising or public relations may be required to take one or more undergraduate courses in the department to supplement their graduate studies.
Plan II, the One-Year Professional Program
The professional program is an intensive, professionally oriented, one-year program that combines advertising and public relations. Recognizing the increasingly close links between the advertising and public relations professions, the Plan II program provides advanced preparation in both disciplines. The program provides intensive training to meet specific objectives. Graduates will be prepared to:
- develop a thorough understanding of the institutions and processes involved in advertising and public relations, through a combined program of study
- use research both to generate communication strategies and to evaluate the success of communication programs
- write idea-driven persuasive communication
- plan, implement, and evaluate media plans for advertising and public relations programs and campaigns
The Plan II program is for recent college graduates who see the advantages of having advanced skills in advertising and public relations. The students will recognize that preparation in the liberal arts, business administration, or communication has provided them with important knowledge but has not sufficiently prepared them in the communication concepts and skills needed to be a leader.
Speaking and writing skills are emphasized in all courses, with frequent papers and presentations. One course each semester emphasizes writing skills involved in the advertising and public relations professions.
Plan II requirements. The one-year Plan II program requires (a) completion of a specific 33-hour program of graduate courses, (b) demonstration of proficiency in research skills, (c) passing of a comprehensive written examination, and (d) completion of a master's project in the course APR 598 Communication Workshop. Students admitted to the program will receive a list of critical readings and will be expected to become familiar with these materials before beginning the program. The program starts with a series of orientation sessions aimed at evaluating each student's grasp of the critical readings and ability to proceed with the program without further background study.
APR Graduate Course Descriptions
Note: Plan I and Plan II programs have different course requirements.
ADVERTISING & PUBLIC RELATIONS COURSES
APR 522. Media Planning: Three hours. Development of media objectives, strategies, and budgets and implementation of media plans for advertising and public relations. Each student prepares and presents a media plan.
APR 550. Communication Research Methods: Three hours. A survey of qualitative and quantitative methods in communication research.
APR 551. Seminar in Communication Theory*: Three hours. A study of the development of selected theories of communication as they pertain to interpersonal, public, and mass communication.
APR 570. Contemporary Advertising and Public Relations: Three hours. An advanced survey of the academic and professional literature underlying the contemporary practice of advertising and public relations.
APR 572. Persuasive Communication: Three hours. The practice of creating, writing, editing, and producing persuasive communication for advertising and public relations. Writing skills are exercised extensively in this course.
APR 582. Advertising and Public Relations Management: Three hours. Problems and decision-making processes involved in the management of advertising and public relations programs and organizations.
APR 583. Research Applications in Advertising and Public Relations: Three hours. Prerequisite: MC 550. Application of research methods and procedures for problem solving and impact assessment in advertising and public relations programs.
APR 590. Visual Communication: Three hours. The practice of developing ideas and creative strategies for professional evaluations about design and its application. Each student prepares a portfolio.
APR 592. Integrated Communication Project. A message-oriented course. Students conceptualize and execute integrated communication programs. Topics vary.
APR 596. Independent Study or Research: One to three hours. Prerequisite: consent of the academic adviser and instructor.
597. Communication Campaign Workshop I: Three hours. Research to develop an advertising and public relations campaign for a specific organization. This is the preparation stage for the major case study prepared by the student in APR 598.
598. Communication Campaign Workshop II (Master’s Project): Three hours. Development and presentation of a complete advertising and public relations plan and proposal for the specific organization studied in APR 597. Integration of theory, concepts, and techniques in a complete communication program.
599. Thesis Research: Three hours. Prerequisite: consent of the academic adviser.
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Admission to graduate work in advertising and public relations requires a 3.0 or higher undergraduate grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) and a combined score of at least 1000 on the verbal and quantitative portions of the Graduate Record Examination general test. The department also accepts the Graduate Management Admissions Test with prior approval. International students are required to obtain scores of 600 or better on the centrally administered version of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).