Demand prompts Montana State University to offer degrees in PR

BILLINGS, MT: Montana State University is planning to offer a degree and masters degree in public relations - a response to skyrocketing demand not only from students but also from PR agencies.

BILLINGS, MT: Montana State University is planning to offer a degree and masters degree in public relations - a response to skyrocketing demand not only from students but also from PR agencies.

Authorization for Montana to offer a Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Relations was awarded on November 19, and the University is now seeking authorization to offer a masters degree as well.

The degree will be an interdisciplinary program including courses from the Department of Communication and Theater in the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as courses from the College of Business and Economics. In addition to the general education requirements of the degree, students will take 39 semester credits constituting the PR core and 15 semester credits in either media or marketing.

'Since 1996 we have heard people demanding a PR course,' said Ken Woosley, director of university relations.

'Public relations is one of America's top fifteen fastest growing business sectors,' he continued. 'We spoke to a lot of PR agencies and the impression we got was that agencies were desperate for well educated young people, and it seems most corporations will be looking too. He said Montana State had noticed 'advanced' corporations looking increasingly to graduates of marketing-based courses.

As an experiment last year the University used a faculty member with a Ph.D. in PR to offer a public relations course. 'It filled incredibly quickly,' said Woosley.

Montana has started a nationwide search for a professor to head the course and will be looking for some additional training staff. The course will be available from Spring Semester, 1999. Details on the masters have not been finalized.

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