Learn all aspects of planning, developing and executing effective communications campaigns.
Learn all aspects of planning, developing and executing effective communications campaigns.

»B.A. in Public Relations & Advertising

Every business, every organization, survives by telling its story. If you learn to tell a good story, you can persuade more people, sell more products, raise more money — in short, do a better job at whatever it is you need to do. The advertising and public relations field has experienced unprecedented growth in the last decade as more and more organizations recognize that their continued existence depends on their success as communicators.

That’s where you come in.

If you dream of putting your creativity to work in business, non-profits, the arts, education or any field you can imagine, a B.A. in Public Relations and Advertising from Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts is a great place to start. At Dodge College, you’ll learn all aspects of planning, developing and executing effective communications campaigns while mastering the most powerful medium of our time — film.

We offer a unique degree in a unique setting. Our program brings together public relations and advertising, two disciplines that always work together. Starting with an integrated core, you can then specialize in either PR or advertising, or study both. Either way, you will understand the many avenues and message types organizations use to communicate. Uniquely positioned in Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, you will learn to use all kinds of media tools and communicate effectively using the visual media that dominate communication today.

We know you can't learn everything from books. As a student at Dodge College, you’ll learn from faculty who are working professionals and you’ll be exposed to a wide range of professional and extracurricular networking opportunities:

  • Hear from guest speakers from every conceivable business and organization.
  • Join student professional organizations like the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and the Chapman Ad Club.
  • Compete in the Bateman Case Study Competition and the American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition.
  • Intern with major corporations, PR and advertising agencies, non-profit organizations, Hollywood studios and event planning firms.

And you’ll graduate with a comprehensive public relations or advertising campaign, an entertainment marketing plan and a social media portfolio to open doors to your first job.

+-You'll Study

Whether you intend to specialize in entertainment marketing or business communications, fund-raising or event planning, you’ll enjoy a unique curriculum that combines a broad liberal arts education with the fundamentals of PR and advertising, including:

  • The history and development of public relations and advertising
  • The changes created by social media in the world of business
  • The tools of marketing and how visual images communicate
  • The language of aesthetics for both video and print
  • The strategic use of the Internet and social media as communications tools
  • The functions of public relations and advertising in a globally networked society
  • Ethics and social responsibility in public relations and advertising
  • The impact of advertising on an organization’s revenues and profitability

+-Learning Outcomes

In mastering the curriculum of the B.A. in Public Relations and Advertising, students will:

  1. Develop effective written, oral and visual communication skills.
  2. Understand the strategic differences between and the varying tactics employed by public relations and advertising and be able to apply them within a comprehensive public relations or advertising plan.
  3. Be able to think critically about the economic, social, technological, political, persuasive and ethical factors that affect PR and advertising decision-making.

Student learning is assessed regularly against the Learning Outcomes using these Evaluation Rubrics:

+-Curriculum Structure

The curriculum is designed to move you toward a thorough understanding of these fields and to prepare you for your capstone project, as follows:

  • In FTV 130 Introduction to Visual Storytelling and FTV 140/140L Introduction to Film Aesthetics/Lab you will learn the basics of how we use image and sound to communicate ideas and stories.
  • In Com 210B Theories of Persuasion for Non-Majors, you will learn what motivates people and how you can apply persuasion in your life and your communications.
  • At the same time, you can take PRA 230 Principles of Advertising and PRA 231 Principles of Public Relations, each of which will introduce you to the many facets of these fields, from the role of advertising in marketing to the many audiences addressed by the public relations function. In these introductory classes you will also be asked to step outside of the classroom and write Professional Development papers based on your attendance at presentations by industry professionals in advertising or PR, typically at a meeting of the Chapman Ad Club or the Chapman chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of American (PRSSA). These opportunities will give you an expanded view of the work in these fields and the career paths open to you.
  • Armed with this knowledge of the foundations of visual communication, persuasion and the basic activities of people involved in PR and advertising, you will be prepared for the more intense study of MKTG 305 Fundamentals of Marketing for Non-Majors, where you will see how PR and advertising work together in support of the marketing function.
  • In PRA 305 Desktop Publishing you will learn about the strategy behind the design of print and online communications—you learn to create the tools that will serve you in your senior level classes.
  • PRA 370 Internet Communications will build on these classes and bring in the use of social media as part of the communications mix for marketing, advocacy and community-building purposes.

As you move through the program, you will probably have decided that you lean more toward PR or more toward advertising.

  • That will guide your choices between PRA 343 Media Relations, where you will learn about pitching and working with the media to get coverage for your clients, or PRA 344 Media Planning and Buying, where you will learn how to create a media plan for an advertising campaign that spans a variety of media.
  • In PRA 371 Writing for Public Relations you will learn to write the various forms of public relations copy—news releases, features, speeches etc.—or in PRA 373 Copy Writing you will focus on writing advertising copy.

As you near the end of the program, you will be prepared for the intense, in-depth study of either PRA 461 Case Studies in Advertising or PRA 470 Public Relations Case Studies where you will study the best and the worst examples of corporate behavior and communications and write an original research paper on a case of your choosing.

  • In PRA 497 Advertising Campaigns or PRA 498 Public Relations Campaigns you will be part of a team that creates an entire campaign—from research through developing a complete campaign plan to creating the supporting creative tools—for a client.  
  • In PRA 419 Entertainment Marketing and Promotion, you will employ many of those same tools in the very specific task of creating a campaign for a film created by another Dodge College student, bringing together all that you have learned and applying it in the area of entertainment marketing. Whether you intend to enter the entertainment field or some other, you will find this culminating experience a worthwhile challenge that will result in a portfolio piece of which you can be proud.

You may also choose electives that support your area of interest, or, through the major requirements or your electives, you may mix and match, supporting deeper learning in both public relations and advertising.

+-Degree Requirements

Core Requirements (36 credits)

FTV 130

Introduction to Visual Storytelling

FTV 140/140L

Introduction to Film Aesthetics/Introduction to Film Aesthetics Lab

COM 210B

Theories of Persuasion for Non–Majors

PRA 230

Principles of Advertising

PRA 231

Principles of Public Relations

PRA 305

Desktop Publishing

MKTG 305

Fundamentals of Marketing for Non–Majors

PRA 343

Media Relations or

PRA 344

Media Strategies

PRA 370

Internet Communications

PRA 371

Writing for Public Relations or

PRA 373

Copy Writing

PRA 419

Entertainment Marketing and Promotion

PRA 461

Case Studies in Advertising or

PRA 470

Public Relations Case Studies

Senior Project (3 credits)
one of the following:

PRA 497

Advertising Campaigns

PRA 498

Public Relations Campaigns

Three Elective Courses (9 credits)

Minimum of one upper–division course, electives include all PRA courses as well as SOC 201 and ENG 215

recommended for public relations

SOC 201

Introduction to Research Methods

ENG 215

Theory and Practice of Journalism

PRA 351

Business Presentations

PRA 354

Sports Public Relations

PRA 471

Advanced Public Relations Writing

recommended for advertising

PRA 273

Student Advertising Agency

PRA 351

Business Presentations

PRA 420

Producing Commercials

PRA 473

Student Advertising Agency

+-Careers in PR

Where PR people work

In corporations, for non-profit organizations of every kind serving youth or any imaginable cause, in government or politics, in arts/educational/cultural institutions, in health care, in PR firms, for professional or trade associations, for event planning firms, in marketing, for sports organizations, for media organizations

Areas of specialization:

  • Corporate relations
  • Strategic communications
  • Marketing/consumer relations
  • Reputation/issues management
  • Public affairs
  • Crisis communications
  • Sports and entertainment
  • Community relations
  • Investor relations
  • International public relations
  • Employee/member communications

Job titles:

  • Director or Vice President of Public Relations/Corporate Communications
  • Account executive
  • PR Firm President or Partner
  • Public Information Officer
  • Executive Director
  • Marketing Manager
  • Public Relations Counselor
  • Copywriter
  • Director of Development
  • Special Events Coordinator
  • Media Relations Specialist
  • Lobbyist
  • Spokesperson
  • Press secretary

What PR people do—they:

  • Serve as an organization’s spokesperson
  • Pitch stories to the media, respond to media inquiries
  • Plan/conduct publicity campaigns
  • Conduct media and opinion research
  • Advise executives/assist in developing policies and procedures
  • Write articles, speeches, press releases, backgrounders, feature stories, bios and more
  • Create public interest or advocacy campaigns
  • Evaluate communication efforts
  • Manage social media and online communications
  • Plan events
  • Work with advertising colleagues to launch or rebrand products, create integrated marketing campaigns
  • Raise funds

+-Careers in Advertising

Where advertising people work

In advertising agencies or marketing firms, in public relations agencies, in-house for corporations or non-profit organizations

Areas of specialization:

  • Account management
  • Art direction
  • Copywriting
  • Commercial production
  • Media buying
  • Interactive marketing

Job titles:

  • Marketing Director
  • Creative Director
  • Brand Manager
  • Director of Account Services
  • Director of New Business Development
  • Account Director, Account Supervisor, Account Executive
  • Media Director, Planner, Supervisor or Buyer
  • Production Manager
  • Account Coordinator
  • Traffic Manager/Coordinator
  • Art Director
  • Graphic Designer
  • Copywriter

What advertising people do:

  • Provide strategic leadership
  • Develop clients competitive position, research client’s industry and competition
  • Work with clients to design advertising campaigns, themes and messages
  • Develop creative strategy to accomplish specific goals, including launching and rebranding products
  • Conduct audience/consumer research, conduct surveys and focus groups
  • Research media and develop media plans
  • Purchase media time and placements
  • Supervise the production of commercials
  • Manage staff and budgets
  • Develop and execute online/social media advertising campaigns and promotions
  • Design and layout ads for print
  • Develop copy
  • Create illustrations, supervise photo shoots

+-Program FAQs

If you know what you’re doing, your time at Chapman will be incredibly rewarding. Here are some tips on internships, graduation, studying abroad, and more, to help things go more smoothly.

» Public Relations and Advertising Program FAQs
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