Under construction: A graduate PRogram

Very few colleges and universities offer master’s degrees in public relations. But if all goes according to plan, Hofstra will launch its PR graduate program in 18 months. I’ve been honored with the responsibility of leading the process.

You might ask, “Why a master’s degree in PR?” Conventional wisdom (and statistics) tell us that a master’s of any kind tends to bring higher salaries and more employment opportunities. And we’ve repeatedly seen expert predictions that public relations is one of the largest growth areas among career paths. The body of knowledge about public relations, its place and function in the world continues to grow, too, as does respect for the profession.

So the next question might be, “Who would want or need this degree?” I believe that in addition to those with a bachelor’s in PR or other communications degrees, it will appeal to recent grads with degrees in journalism and business, and professionals who’d like to further their careers with an advanced degree in public relations. We’ll be doing more research on this.

“Who’s responsible for making this happen?” you ask. I’ve assembled a superb advisory committee of fellow administrators, students and public relations professionals to help guide me through this process. We’re working on ideas for curriculum and how best to market the program. This group will be invaluable to me in the coming weeks and months.

And finally, you’re wondering, “How will this degree be taught?” My initial approach is to shape this as an online hybrid, meaning that much of the coursework would be taught online, but would include strategically placed face-to-face interactions with faculty and fellow students. This way, you won’t have to be local to enroll; you’ll be able to earn a Hofstra PR master’s from anywhere.

Now you’re thinking, “How can I help?” I need your input on everything from the online concept to the syllabi. Feel free to comment here and/or email more detailed ideas to jeffrey.morosoff@hofstra.edu. Now, more that ever, I’ll end my blog with this request: Your thoughts?

9 thoughts on “Under construction: A graduate PRogram

  1. Matt Garcia

    The PR Masters program at Hofstra is going to be a great success, thanks to the input that Prof. Morosoff has been getting from his students and colleagues. Personally, I learned a lot from the undergraduate PR classes at Hofstra. I think the curriculum is very well-designed, but as always, there’s room for improvement. Hopefully, through additional research and input, the curriculum for the Masters in PR program will be just as great as the undergrad curriculum.

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  2. Jenn Picard

    Maybe I’m the only one who believes that PR isn’t so much a forum for online communication, but it’s an outlet for connections. I’m currently in PR 107 and honestly, it’s the first class that’s actually taught me something, without the teaching. PR is all about learning and developing through the business. A Masters in PR would be ideal; but it can’t be a classroom experience. I’ve learned that Hofstra has many other venues that allow people to expand their education outside the classroom, but why can’t core curriculum classes do that? Maybe there should be more classes like PR 107 where groups are given real clients with real-life problems they need help with. This allows everyone to actually think like a PR professional rather than a PR student trying to earn an A. So my idea for a new Masters program would be to think outside the box by actually bringing the students outside the classroom and throwing them into real situations.

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  3. Susanne Engelen

    As an exchange student from Holland – where graduate PRograms are quite common – I can assure you that PR Masters are extremely popular, useful and informative. Some people might think PR is not academically rooted enough to be taught in a graduate program, but they are completely mistaken. In order to perform well in Public Relations, one must be able to critically use academic theories, models and strategies which have evolved from the conducting of research in this field. I’m sure that PR grads, who are ought to do their own reliable and valid PR research, will start their careers with much greater insights and in-depth views of the industry, and therefore truly have better chances for a successful future.

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  4. Theresa Jacobellis

    Jeff,
    I just earned a Master’s in Health Communication (combining marketing, PR and healthcare topics) through an online program at Boston University. I think this is a wonderful idea and wish you the best of luck with it!

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  5. Rachel Tallon

    As a graduating senior in PR at Hofstra, I am thrilled to hear this is happening. Through my experience, I definitely agree there needs to be more emphasis on internet. InDesign and Photoshop are great skills to have, luckily I have taken a class that involves both of these tools but one class certainly wasn’t enough. Even the search engines like Vocus, MeltWater we should feel more comfortable with before entering in our careers. I definitely think that writing pitches and press releases is an extremely important aspect of PR and that only having one class as an undergrad that explores that aspect isn’t enough. Writing in PR is such a creative process so in order to master in PR, writing classes definitely need to be a crucial part of the Master’s program.

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  6. Samantha

    As a senior PR major at Hofstra, rumors of a graduate program were only brought to my attention this past fall semester. I never thought about graduate school before that, and it caught my interest. I have learned different aspects of PR throughout each course, but know of electives in the communications department that I was not able to take that would have been beneficial to me. For example, to further my PR skills I would like to become more knowledgeable with inDesign and other graphic media software that could be touched upon in this virtual program. Although technology is always growing, hands on interactive experience is key in PR, so I would prefer a balanced program of both online classes with in person seminars.

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  7. Abby Littleton

    I am very interested in this developing Masters program for Hofstra University. As a PR major at Hofstra, I think it is a great idea for other various communication majors to look into because PR truly is everywhere and it would only help to better understand the booming world of mass media and how to use it to the fullest potential. I am interested as to what the Masters program will entail educationally and I look forward to hearing more about the program.

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  8. Annik Spencer

    I think that creating a Masters PR PRogram at Hofstra is a wonderful idea! As a student as Hofstra who is currently working towards a B.A. in PR, I think that a more in depth look at some things we are taught in the B.A. PRogram would be beneficial. Within the classes we have to take to get our B.A. in PR, I feel that we are lacking classes that teach students how to use certain computer programs. Even learning in depth the ins and outs of programs like inDesign, Photoshop, the Microsoft Suite and certain web design programs, would be extremely helpful for a career in PR. Also, a class that analyzes a majority of social media sites and how to use them successfully in PR would be a great class.

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  9. Bert Cunningham

    Excellent idea for a Masters PR program at Hofstra. The Youtube video is a perfect example of the new dynamic in PR and marketing that practitioners must master to build brands by expanding the conversation. It’s all going to a new dimension and will do so far, far into the future.

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