Public Relations Concentration

Catalog Year: 2024-2025

Banner Code: LA-BA-COM-PR

Communication is the study of basic human social processes: the creation and dissemination of meaning and information. The major prepares students for graduate study or professional positions in such fields as interpersonal and organizational communication, journalism, media production and criticism, political communication, and public relations. Students develop skills and knowledge that put them at the edge of a rapidly changing communication industry. Majors learn to construct and evaluate messages across platforms—web, print, audio and visual.

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on program requirements and courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes. Requirements may be different for earlier catalog years. See the University Catalog archives.

Honors in the Major

Highly-qualified students may pursue advanced coursework leading to graduation with honors in the major.

Eligibility

Students are eligible to apply for honors coursework if they meet the following requirements:

  • Completion of a minimum of 75 credit hours, including COMM 200 Communication Theory and two of COMM 300 Rhetorical Theory and Criticism (Mason Core)COMM 301 Relational Communication TheoryCOMM 302 Media TheoryCOMM 305 Foundations of Intercultural Communication (Mason Core).
  • Minimum GPA of 3.25 in all coursework completed at George Mason.
  • GPA of 3.50 in all communication coursework completed at George Mason and applied to the major.

Honors coursework in communication is a fall-spring sequence. Applications may be submitted by eligible students for fall semester enrollment. The deadline is March 15 each spring, for the sequence beginning the following fall. Student eligibility will be dependent on the GPA at the time of application. If accepted to pursue honors coursework, the student must then enroll in COMM 490 Honors Research Methods in Communication. Under the guidance of the COMM 490 Honors Research Methods in Communication instructor, the student will complete a research prospectus for an honors project to be implemented in the following semester in COMM 491 RS: Honors Research Project in Communication.

Honors Requirements

To remain eligible for honors coursework, the student must

  • receive a grade of 3.00 (no lower than B) in COMM 490 Honors Research Methods in Communication;
  • have the research prospectus approved by the COMM 490 Honors Research Methods in Communication instructor and the honors director; and
  • maintain an overall GPA of 3.25 and a minimum GPA of 3.50 in all COMM coursework completed at George Mason University and applied to the major.

In the following semester, the student enrolls in COMM 491 RS: Honors Research Project in Communication. The student conducts his/her research and prepares a written project conforming to the standards set by the instructor. Upon completion of the project, the COMM 491 RS: Honors Research Project in Communication instructor and the honors director will determine if the project is of honors quality, which is then indicated by the grade earned in COMM 491 RS: Honors Research Project in Communication. For honors designation, the student must achieve an average grade of 3.50 across COMM 490 Honors Research Methods in Communication and COMM 491 RS: Honors Research Project in Communication and must also maintain minimum GPA eligibility requirements outlined above.

Degree Requirements

Total credits: minimum 120

Students should be aware of the specific policies associated with this program, located on the Admissions & Policies tab.

Core Courses

COMM 200 Communication Theory 3
COMM 300 Rhetorical Theory and Criticism (Mason Core) 1 3
COMM 305 Foundations of Intercultural Communication (Mason Core) 3
COMM 400 Research Methods in Communication 2 3
Total Credits 12
1

Must first complete COMM 200 Communication Theory with a grade of C or better.

2

Must first complete six credits from COMM 300 Rhetorical Theory and Criticism (Mason Core), COMM 301 Relational Communication Theory, or COMM 305 Foundations of Intercultural Communication (Mason Core) with a grade of C or better.

Concentration

Students must complete coursework in one concentration. Students may also declare a second concentration. No more than six credits can count between the two declared concentrations and no credits used within the declared concentration(s) can be used to satisfy communication elective credits. Students must declare a concentration before they earn more than 75 credits. Transfer students with 60 or more credits are encouraged to declare a concentration by the end of their first semester. COMM 399 Special Topics in Communication or other special topics courses from other concentrations may be applied toward a concentration when the topic is relevant to the concentration with prior written approval of the undergraduate director.

Concentration in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication (IOC)

Required Courses
COMM 301 Relational Communication Theory (core course) 3
COMM 335 Organizational Communication (core course) 3
Select one course from the following: 3
Small Group Communication
Nonverbal Communication
Interpersonal Communication in the Workplace
Electives
Select 12 credits from the following: 12
Small Group Communication
Case Studies in Persuasion
Foundations of Health Communication
Issues in Intercultural Communication
Business and Professional Communication
Nonverbal Communication
Family and Health Communication
Children and Media
Special Topics in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication
Special Topics in Health Communication
Interpersonal Communication in the Workplace
Persuasion
Environmental Communication
Interviewing
Digital Communication
Ceremonial Speech Writing and Performance
Topics in Communication and Gender
Total Credits 21

Concentration in Journalism (JNL)

Required Courses
COMM 203 Introduction to Journalism 3
COMM 351 News Writing and Reporting 3
COMM 352 News Editing 3
COMM 475 Journalism Law 3
Electives
Select 9 credits from the following: 9
Newspaper Workshop I
Podcasting and Radio Workshop I
Introduction to Media Production
Media Theory
Writing across the Media
Newspaper Workshop II
Broadcast Journalism
Video: Performance and Writing
Multimedia Storytelling
Feature Writing
Sports Writing and Reporting
Political Journalism
Special Topics in Journalism
Free Speech and Ethics (Mason Core)
Total Credits 21

Concentration in Media Production and Criticism (MPC)

Required Courses
COMM 208 Introduction to Media Production 3
COMM 302 Media Theory 3
COMM 360 Digital Postproduction 3
COMM 380 Media Criticism 3
Electives
Select 9 credits from the following: 9
Podcasting and Radio Workshop I
Media and Society
Voice and Articulation
Writing across the Media
Performance for Communication Arts
Cable TV Programming and Marketing
Podcasting and Radio Workshop II
Mass Communication and Public Policy
Broadcast Journalism
Radio Production and Podcasting
Video: Performance and Writing
Multi-Camera Studio Production
Media Management
Media Career Seminar
Videography
Gender, Race, and Class in the Media
Children and Media
Sports and the Media
Digital Advertising and Promotions
Special Topics in Mass Communication
Special Topics in Production
Digital Communication
Media Production Practicum
Total Credits 21

Concentration in Political Communication (PCOM)

Required Courses
COMM 302 Media Theory 3
COMM 327 Political Communication 3
COMM 430 Persuasion 3
COMM 454 Free Speech and Ethics (Mason Core) 3
Electives
Select 9 credits from the following: 9
Forensics Seminar I
Forensics Seminar II
Debate Seminar I
Debate Seminar II
Case Studies in Persuasion
Basic Debate Theory and Practice
Theories of Argumentation
Business and Professional Communication
Rhetoric of Social Movements and Political Controversy (Mason Core)
Forensics Seminar III
Forensics Seminar IV
Debate Seminar III
Debate Seminar IV
Argument and Public Policy (Mason Core)
Political Journalism
Media Criticism
Special Topics in Political Communication
Politics and the Mass Media
New Media and Democracy
Environmental Communication
Topics in Communication and Gender
Total Credits 21

Concentration in Public Relations (PR)

Required Courses
COMM 204 Introduction to Public Relations 3
COMM 308 Writing for Public Relations 3
COMM 331 Public Relations Campaigns 3
COMM 430 Persuasion 3
Electives
Select 9 credits from the following: 9
Introduction to Journalism
Introduction to Media Production
Media Theory
Business and Professional Communication
Organizational Communication
Media Management
Argument and Public Policy (Mason Core)
Digital Advertising and Promotions
Public Relations and Social Media
Special Topics in Public Relations
Public Relations for Associations and Nonprofits
Case Studies in Public Relations
Public Relations Study Abroad
Public Relations in Practice
Environmental Communication
Free Speech and Ethics (Mason Core)
Total Credits 21

Electives

Select six credits of COMM courses in consultation with an advisor 1 6
Total Credits 6
1

COMM 100 Public Speaking (Mason Core) and COMM 101 Fundamentals of Communication (Mason Core) cannot be used to fulfill this requirement.

Courses Limited to 10 Credits

Of the 39 credits applied to the major, no more than 10 credits may be in these courses. In addition, no more than 6 credits of COMM 450 Internship in Communication or 3 credits of COMM 452 Media Production Practicum may be applied to the major.

Forensics Seminar I
Forensics Seminar II
Debate Seminar I
Debate Seminar II
Newspaper Workshop I
Podcasting and Radio Workshop I
Forensics Seminar III
Forensics Seminar IV
Debate Seminar III
Debate Seminar IV
Newspaper Workshop II
Podcasting and Radio Workshop II
Research Practicum in Communication
Internship in Communication
Facilitating Communication Education
Media Production Practicum
RS: Honors Research Project in Communication
RS: Research Projects in Communication
Independent Study in Communication

Writing-Intensive Requirement

The university requires all students to complete at least one course designated as writing intensive in their majors at the 300 level or above. Students majoring in communication fulfill this requirement by successfully completing COMM 300 Rhetorical Theory and Criticism (Mason Core).

Additional Electives

Any remaining credits may be completed with elective courses to bring the degree total to 120.

Upper Level Requirement

Students seeking a bachelor’s degree must apply at least 45 credits of upper-level courses (numbered 300 or above) toward graduation requirements.

College Level Requirements for the BA Degree

In addition to the Mason Core program, students pursuing a BA degree must complete the coursework below. Except where expressly prohibited, a course used to fulfill a college level requirement may also be used simultaneously to satisfy other requirements (Mason Core requirements or requirements for the major).

Philosophy or Religious Studies
Select 3 credits from the following: 3
PHIL 1
1

Note that the following courses may not be used to fulfill this requirement:

  • PHIL 323 Classical Western Political Theory 
  • PHIL 324 Modern Western Political Theory 
  • PHIL 327 Contemporary Western Political Theory 
  • PHIL 393 Humanities College to Career 
  • PHIL 460 Senior Seminar in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics


Additionally, PHIL 253RELI 235RELI 333, and RELI 339 cannot be used to fulfill both the philosophy/religious studies requirement and the Mason Core literature requirement.

Social and Behavioral Sciences
Select 3 credits of social and behavioral sciences from the following (additional to the Mason Core social and behavioral sciences requirement) 1 3
ANTH
CRIM
ECON
GOVT
HIST 2
LING
PSYC
SOCI
Or choose from the following GGS courses:
Major World Regions (Mason Core)
Human Geography (Mason Core)
Introduction to Geoinformation Technologies
Political Geography (Mason Core)
Geography of Resource Conservation (Mason Core)
GGS 304
Population Geography (Mason Core)
GGS 305
Economic Geography
Urban Geography
Geography of the United States
Geography of Latin America
Geography of Europe
Geography of North Africa and the Middle East
Geography of Eastern Europe and Russia
Urban Planning
Geography of Virginia
1

The two courses used to fulfill the combined college and Mason Core requirements must be from different disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences. 

2

HIST 100 and HIST 125 may not be used to fulfill this requirement.

Foreign Language
Intermediate-level proficiency in one foreign language, fulfilled by: 1
Or achieving a satisfactory score on an approved proficiency test
Or completing the following ASL three course sequence:
EDSE 115
American Sign Language (ASL) I
EDSE 116
American Sign Language (ASL) II
EDSE 219
American Sign Language (ASL) III
1

Students who are already proficient in a second language may be eligible for a waiver of this requirement. Additional information on waivers can be found at the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

Non-Western Culture

Select 3 credits of an approved course in the study of a non-Western culture (additional to the Mason Core requirement in global understanding)

Select 3 credits (additional to Mason Core Global Understanding requirement) 1
ANTH 114 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 300 Civilizations 3
ANTH 302 Peoples and Cultures of Latin America (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 307 Ancient Mesoamerica (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 308 Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 309 Peoples and Cultures of India (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 313 Myth, Magic, and Mind (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 314 Zombies 3
ANTH 317 East Asian Cultures 3
ANTH 330 Peoples and Cultures of Selected Regions: Non-Western 3
ANTH 332 Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Globalization (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 381 Medical Anthropology 3
ANTH 396 Issues in Anthropology: Social Sciences (Mason Core) 3
ARAB 360 Topics in Arabic Cultural Production 3
ARAB 365 Black and Minority Cultures in Arabic Literature (Mason Core) 3
ARAB 420 Survey of Arabic Literature 3
ARAB 440 Topics in Arabic Religious Thought and Texts (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 203 Survey of Asian Art (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 204 Survey of Latin American Art (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 206 Survey of African Art (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 317 The Black Pharaohs: Art and Archaeology of Ancient Nubia (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 318 Art and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt 3
ARTH 319 Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 320 Art of the Islamic World (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 382 Arts of India (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 383 Arts of Southeast Asia (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 384 Arts of China (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 385 Arts of Japan (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 482 RS: Advanced Studies in Asian Art (Mason Core) 3
CHIN 318 Introduction to Classical Chinese (Mason Core) 3
CHIN 320 Contemporary Chinese Film 3
CHIN 325 Major Chinese Writers (Mason Core) 3
CHIN 470 Special Topics in Chinese Studies 3
DANC 118 Global Dance Perspectives I (Mason Core) 3
ECON 361 Economic Development of Latin America (Mason Core) 3
ECON 362 African Economic Development (Mason Core) 3
FREN 454 Topics in Caribbean Francophone Literature and Culture 3
GGS 101 Major World Regions (Mason Core) 3
GGS 316 Geography of Latin America 3
GGS 317 Geography of China (Mason Core) 3
GGS 325 Geography of North Africa and the Middle East 3
GGS 399 Select Topics in GGS 3
GOVT 332 Politics of the Middle East and North Africa 3
GOVT 333 Politics of East Asia 3
GOVT 338 Politics of Eurasia 3
GOVT 340 Central Asian Politics 3
GOVT 341 Chinese Foreign Policy 3
GOVT 345 Islam and Politics 3
GOVT 433 Political Economy of East Asia 3
HIST 251 Survey of East Asian History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 252 Survey of East Asian History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 261 Survey of African History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 262 Survey of African History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 271 Survey of Latin American History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 272 Survey of Latin American History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 281 Survey of Middle Eastern Civilization (Mason Core) 3
HIST 282 Survey of Middle Eastern Civilization (Mason Core) 3
HIST 326 Stalinism 3
HIST 327 The Soviet Union and Russia Since World War II 3
HIST 328 Rise of Russia (Mason Core) 3
HIST 329 Modern Russia and the Soviet Union (Mason Core) 3
HIST 353 History of Traditional China 3
HIST 354 Modern China (Mason Core) 3
HIST 356 Modern Japan (Mason Core) 3
HIST 357 Postwar Japan (Mason Core) 3
HIST 358 Post-1949 China (Mason Core) 3
HIST 360 History of South Africa (Mason Core) 3
HIST 364 Revolution in Latin America (Mason Core) 3
HIST 365 Conquest and Colonization in Latin America (Mason Core) 3
HIST 366 Comparative Slavery 3
HIST 377 The Vietnam War (Mason Core) 3
HIST 384 Global History of Christianity (Mason Core) 3
HIST 387 Topics in Global History (Mason Core) 3-6
HIST 461 Arab-Israeli Conflict 3
HIST 462 Women in Islamic Society (Mason Core) 3
HIST 465 The Middle East in the 20th Century 3
JAPA 310 Japanese Culture in a Global World (Mason Core) 3
JAPA 340 Topics in Japanese Literature (Mason Core) 3
JAPA 380 Japan in Motion 3
KORE 300 Korean Culture and Society 3
KORE 320 Korean Popular Culture in a Global World 3
KORE 385 Introduction to Korean Linguistics 3
MUSI 103 Musics of the World (Mason Core) 3
RELI 211 Introduction to Religions of the "West" (Mason Core) 3
RELI 212 Introduction to Religions of Asia (Mason Core) 3
RELI 312 Islam (Mason Core) 3
RELI 313 Hinduism (Mason Core) 3
RELI 314 Chinese Philosophies and Religious Traditions 3
RELI 315 Buddhism (Mason Core) 3
RELI 317 Daoism 3
RELI 318 Korean Philosophy and Religions 3
RELI 338 Qur'an and Hadith 3
RELI 342 Comparative Study of Mysticism 3
RELI 344 Muhammad: Life and Legacy 3
RELI 358 Islamic Thought (Mason Core) 3
RELI 367 Islamic Law, Society, and Ethics 3
RELI 368 Islam, Democracy, and Human Rights (Mason Core) 3
RELI 384 Global History of Christianity (Mason Core) 3
RELI 490 Comparative Study of Religions (Mason Core) 3
RUSS 353 Russian Civilization (Mason Core) 3
RUSS 354 Contemporary Post-Soviet Life (Mason Core) 3
WMST 407 Transnational Sexualities 3
1

A course used to fulfill the Mason Core global understanding requirement may not be simultaneously used to satisfy this college-level requirement. A course used to fulfill this requirement may be used simultaneously to fulfill any other requirements (Mason Core requirements, college-level requirements, or requirements for the major). Additional information on waivers can be found at the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

Mason Core

Some Mason Core requirements may already be fulfilled by the major requirements listed above. Students are strongly encouraged to consult their advisors to ensure they fulfill all remaining Mason Core requirements.

Students who have completed the following credentials are eligible for a waiver of the Foundation and Exploration (lower level) requirement categories. The Integration category (upper level) is not waived under this policy. See Admissions for more information. 

  • VCCS Uniform Certificate of General Studies
  • VCCS or Richard Bland Associate of Science (A.S.), Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Arts and Sciences (A.A.&S.), or Associate of Fine Arts (A.F.A.)
Foundation Requirements
Written Communication (lower-level) 3
Oral Communication 3
Quantitative Reasoning 3
Information Technology and Computing 3
Exploration Requirements
Arts 3
Global Contexts 3
Global History 3
Literature 3
Natural Science 7
Social and Behavioral Sciences 3
Just Societies (optional) 1
Integration Requirements
Written Communication (upper-level) 3
Writing Intensive 2 3
Mason Apex 3 3
Total Credits 40
1

In addition to covering content related to the designated category, Exploration level courses marked with a Just Societies "flag" are specifically designed to help students learn how to interact effectively with others from all walks of life, including those with backgrounds and beliefs that differ from their own. Courses marked with the Just Societies flag are available for students starting in Fall 2024. Students admitted prior to the Fall of 2025 are not required to take courses with a Just Societies flag but may wish to do so to increase their knowledge and skills in this important area. Students interested in this approach to completing their Mason Core Exploration Requirements should work closely wiht their advisor to identify the appropriate Just Societies-flagged courses.

2

Most programs include the writing-intensive course designated for the major as part of the major requirements; this course is therefore not counted towards the total required for Mason Core.

3

Minimum 3 credits required.