About Public Relations and Advertising
This major at Buffalo State allows students the flexibility to tailor a program based on strategic communication through the disciplines of public relations, advertising, and related fields. It meets the needs of students preparing for a career in which research, strategic planning, implementation of creative tactics, and evaluation are central, whether to advance an organization, promote a product, or advocate a cause. Compare this major with communication studies, journalism, and media production.
Public relations is at the heart of our society’s interactions. Studios use public relations experts to promote their films; politicians use them to campaign; businesses use them to communicate with the public; and advocates use them to promote social causes. No message, product, or business can succeed without smart, targeted messaging created by a public relations professional.
A successful public relations graduate is a person with strong writing and speaking proficiency, keen ethical insight, competence in research and planning, and the ability to work effectively independently and in teams.
Public relations graduates are well-prepared for careers in a variety of communication fields, especially social media and advertising, where the job growth is expected to excel faster than average within the next 10 years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, public relations has broad applications and prepares students for a number of professional positions including:
- Advertising Account Executive
- Campaign Manager
- Client Relations Manager
- Communications Coordinator
- Corporate Communication Specialist
- Crisis Communication Manager
- Financial PR Specialist
- Fundraising Manager
- Major Gifts Officer
- Marketing Communications Specialist
- Media Relations Specialist
- Press Inquiry Manager
- Press Secretary
- Public Information Officer
- Public Relations Specialist
- Social Media Manager
- Web Content Manager/Writer
Our public relations graduates have been hired by many local companies:
- Univera Healthcare
- Gelia (an integrated marketing firm)
- University at Buffalo
- Buffalo State College
- AAA of Western and Central New York
- Alzheimer's Association of Western New York
- SPCA of Erie County
- Fifteen (an advertising-marketing agency)
- Charter School for Applied Technologies
- Catholic Charities of Buffalo
- American Red Cross (Western New York chapter)
Communication Honor Society: This is a student organization open to upper-division majors who meet eligibility requirements.
Stripes Media: This is the hub for the Communication Department’s student organizations.
PRSSA: The campus chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America is the first student chapter in Western New York and is affiliated with the Buffalo/Niagara PRSA chapter.
The Record: The student-run newspaper relies exclusively upon students to serve as reporters, editorial writers, and editors covering campus news.
WBNY 91.3FM: Owned by the United Students Government (USG) and broadcast alternative music and information 24 hours a day, where students cover news stories, sports, music, talk shows, and promotions.
BSC-TV: The student-run television station broadcast news, sporting events, and other content of interest to students into dorms, classrooms, and offices.
Public relations students have the opportunity to conduct research with faculty members or to do undergraduate independent study projects. They present their research at Buffalo State’s annual Student Research and Creativity Conference in late April.
Approximately 85 percent of public relations majors have done an internship. Majors are strongly encouraged to do at least one internship to gain an edge in the job market upon graduation. Many opportunities exist in Western New York and elsewhere for internships at PR or advertising agencies, corporations, nonprofits, and other organizations for internships, either during the fall or spring semesters or during the summer months.
This is the only program in public relations and advertising at a SUNY college that is affiliated with the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. Only five other undergraduate programs in New York are accredited.
Our communication faculty averages 13 years of professional experience and 15 years full-time teaching. Most students give their instructors a 4.4 rating out of 5 on evaluations.
Small Class Size
Most writing courses are capped at 16 students; other courses within the major typically have 30 or fewer students, allowing for active participation in class discussions and individualized attention from professors.
Buffalo State’s program is highly regarded as the go-to place to learn about public relations, advertising, and more recently, social media.
Students majoring in public relations can apply for scholarships through professional associations including the Buffalo-Niagara chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and AAF Buffalo (formerly the Advertising Club of Buffalo).
Through class projects and internships, the Communication Department partners with local businesses and nonprofit organizations, linking Buffalo State’s educational mission with community needs.
Strong Job Placement
Graduates have a high rate of success in obtaining positions related to their major, including jobs in public relations, advertising, marketing, research, and politics.
Study Abroad Opportunities
A number of Buffalo State public relations students choose to study abroad in countries including Britain, Italy, and Australia.
“If I wanted to apply for a PR job, I would have a portfolio to show a potential employer and the skills to do the job and do it well."
“Most of the jobs in the field these days are integrated communications...our public relations program takes all of that into account.”