Public Relations

Major Emphasis

Associate Professor of Communication Arts Melissa A. Cook, Ph.D., works with students in class as seen October 21, 2019 during the Creosote Affects photo shoot at Washington & Jefferson College.

Our Public Relations emphasis within the Communication Arts major places the highest importance on ethical persuasion while teaching students best practices for internal and external communication. Students learn the history of the PR industry, how to effectively research and write for various audiences, and to produce effective strategic communication. Conflict resolution is often discussed in terms of how PR professionals counsel internal and external constituencies.

This program provides a strong knowledge base for graduate study or future careers in marketing and PR in industry, educational settings or nonprofit organizations.

During their senior year, PR students compile stakeholder research for an actual industry/brand  and produce a creative integrated communication campaign that becomes a piece included in a portfolio of their work. A student’s personal portfolio is added  on  their own LinkedIn pages, helping a graduate showcase their strengths to prospective employers.

Additional information about academic programs can be found in the W&J College Catalog.

Public Relations Snapshot

Beyond the Classroom

Our students gain additional experience through department-sponsored programming and off-campus internships to supplement their coursework. We work one-on-one with our students to develop career and internship applications, critical research methods, interview best practices, presentation skills, portfolio building, and networking strategy.

The W&J Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is a vibrant campus group of students interested in networking with professionals in the PR industry and learning about future careers. Students become engaged leaders and learn how to delegate, manage and create PR content for local non profit originations.

In the theatre, students  perform, design sets, stage manage, or hone their writing skills by participating in Student Theatre Company productions. Student work assistants coordinate events for the department, and gain experience writing copy and managing communication arts social media accounts.

Experiential learning occurs live, each day at 91.7 FM WNJR, the College’s FCC licensed noncommercial educational radio station. WNJR broadcasts 24 hours a day, featuring an eclectic format of music. Student broadcasters have the freedom to produce a diverse range of independent programming, including talk shows on a variety of topics including sports call-in shows, country music live performances, and college student issues. Students learn and apply skills like interviewing and recording, which are applicable to careers in traditional radio as well as the fast-growing, innovative field of podcasting.

Because our electives and emphases are so varied, Communication Arts majors find internships off campus in a wide range of organizations and fields. Students develop skills in fundraising, donor relations, sports analysis, nonprofit event planning, judicial advocacy, digital production, and web writing. Students have interned at Ford Theatre in Washington, D.C.; MTV; CNN; the Pittsburgh Penguins; CASA; UPMC Health Plan; Mylan Pharmaceuticals; and the Washington Wild Things, as well as in local school districts.

Public Relations Faculty

Public Relations Events

More content coming soon! See our full event calendar for more events.