Shortly after California Baptist University’s approval of a Bachelors of Public Relations in 2010, and then again for CBU’s Online Professional Studies division in 2011, the Master of Arts in Public Relations was approved for Fall 2012 through the OPS program.
The Masters of Arts in Public Relations is a 33-unit program that is designed to be completed in 18 months; it is possible to complete the program in one year.
Offering the new masters program through OPS provides convenience for working students as classes are offered completely online or in a hybrid format. There will be events scheduled featuring professionals in the public relations industry to keep students informed about the latest trends and developments within the field.
“The Master of Arts in Public Relations is an ideal degree for students who wish to join a growing field with incredible employment opportunities. Social media direction, corporate, non-profit and educational public relations specialist are needed,” Mary Ann Pearson, associate professor of communication studies and education said. “California Baptist University will join other fine institutions like USC and George Washington University in offering this degree.”
The program was researched for about a year and a half. Pearson and her graduate assistant, Phylicia Paulson, started with 25 universities and narrowed it down to 15. They called universities and spoke to students and faculty about the delivery, course content and student learning outcomes. They were then able to narrow the research down to four schools to review intensely : Liberty University, University of Miami, University of Southern California and George Washington University.
CBU highlights the importance of a faith-based Christian world-view within the new MAPR program, making it different from what other schools may provide in similar programs. Students can expect to immerse themselves in the growing field of public relations as there are courses in research, social media, ethical and legal issues, media writing and international public relations.
According to Pearson, the program “is very rigorous, so students should expect to work hard, but they will also have the support of faculty who will encourage them through the various courses.”
Most courses offered touch on social media and a few courses focus exclusively on social media, which is an important aspect of communication today. Research and ethical behavior will be covered extensively throughout the courses which will all include faith integration.
The program focuses on a broad-based approach of the various areas within the field; non-profit, educational institutions and working for public relations agencies are a few of the areas covered. The program focuses on theory and practice.
Pearson, will lead the program. Joined by a new full-time Communication Studies professor, who has expertise in social media, excellent lecturers and adjunct faculty who are experts in the field.