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BA in Public Comm Degree & Course Requirements

ATTENTION: This degree is only open to students who began at AU prior to fall 2014. Students who began at AU prior to fall 2014 have the option of pursuing the BA in Public Communication (requirements below) or the BA in Public Relations & Strategic Communication (see requirements). Students who began at AU fall 2014 and afterwards will pursue a BA in Public Relations & Strategic Communication only.

University Requirements

  • A total of 120 credit hours
  • 6 credit hours of college writing
  • 3 credit hours of college mathematics or the equivalent by examination

General Education Requirements

  • A total of ten courses, consisting of one foundation course and one second-level course in an approved sequence from each of the five curricular areas
  • No more than 6 credit hours may be taken in the same discipline

Major Requirements

  • 39 credit hours with grades of C or better within the School of Communication including core, professional, internship, independent study, and independent reading courses.
  • Related course requirements taken outside the School of Communication with grades of C or better
  • A minimum of 81 credit hours outside the field of communication, including at least 65 credit hours in the liberal arts and sciences, are required for the major.
  • With approval of the student's advisor, up to 6 credit hours taken abroad may be applied toward the communication major requirements.
  • Students must maintain a minimum 2.50 cumulative GPA.

Subject to the approval of an advisor, a maximum of 12 credit hours in communication transferred from another university may be substituted for required communication courses. Transfer students majoring in public communication are required to graduate with a total of 84 credit hours outside the field of communication.

Related Course Requirement

Students must complete the following with grades of C or better:

  • 3 credit hours in American history (HIST-xxx)
  • 3 credit hours in economics (ECON-xxx)


MKTG-250 Fundamentals of Business and Marketing for Communications (3)

  • A minor or second major outside the School of Communication

Communication Course Requirements (39 credit hours)

Core Courses (9 credit hours)

  • COMM-100 Understanding Media 4:1 FA4 (3)
  • COMM-200 Writing for Communication (3)
  • COMM-209 Communication and Society (3)

Professional Courses (30 credit hours)

  • COMM-301 Public Relations (Must be completed with B or better) (3)
  • COMM-337 Public Relations Writing (3)
  • COMM-346 Public Relations Case Studies (3)
  • COMM-380 Public Communication Research (3)
  • COMM-437 Public Relations Portfolio (3)
  • 15 credit hours from the following, with no more than 9 credit hours from any one cluster:


COMM-105 Visual Literacy FA1 (3)

COMM-310 Public Speaking (3)

COMM-330 Principles of Photography (3)

COMM-352 Web Studio (3)

COMM-521 Opinion Writing (3)

COMM-535 Special Topics in News Media:

Magazine Writing (3)

COMM-552 Social Media Strategies & Tactics (3)

COMM-573 Visual Strategies in Public Relations

Human Communication

COMM-300 Interpersonal Communication (3)

COMM-470 Organizational Communication (3)

Media Studies

COMM-327 The PR Presidency (3)

COMM-365 Digital Media & Culture (3)

COMM-401 Communication Law (3)

COMM-509 Politics and the Media (3)

COMM-514 Censorship and Media (3)

COMM-515 Children, Youth & Digital Culture (3)

COMM-533 Ethics in Strategic Communication (3)

COMM-534 Race & Gender in Communication & Media (3)

The Practice of Public Relations

COMM-531 Political Communication (3)

COMM-536 Entertainment Communication (3)

COMM-537 Sports Communication (3)

COMM-539 International Public Relations (3)

COMM-580 Strategic Health Communication (3)

Experiential Education

A maximum of 3 credit hours from:

COMM-391 Internship (3)

COMM-392 Cooperative Education Field Experience (3)

COMM-491 Senior Professional Internship (3)

University Honors Program

All University Honors students must complete at least 12 credit hours of advanced-level (300-level and above) Honors courses including a 3 to 6 credit hour Honors Senior Capstone Project. Students may graduate with University Honors in the major if they complete at least 12 advanced-level Honors courses including the Senior Capstone Project in the department. Each department has three levels of University Honors requirements: Level I Options (100-200-level Honors classes); Level II Options (300-level and above Honors classes); and Level III Options (Honors Senior Capstone). The department Honors coordinator advises students in the University Honors Program regarding departmental options.

Combined Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees

American University offers students the opportunity to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees through its accelerated bachelor’s/master’s programs. Undergraduate students may complete up to 3 credits for every 9 credits required for the graduate degree that may be applied to the requirements for both degree programs. The department that oversees the graduate program the student enters will determine if the courses the undergraduate student completes will satisfy master’s degree requirements.

Bachelor’s/master’s students must complete at least 18 in-residence credit hours at the graduate level after the bachelor’s degree is earned and maintain continuous, sequential enrollment in the two programs. Students must finish the master’s degree requirements within three years from the date of first enrollment in the master’s program.