Date of Award

Spring 5-20-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

MA Public Relations


Communication and the Arts


Renee Robinson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kristen Koehler, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Ruth Tsuria, Ph.D.


public relations, agency public relations, health communication, entry-level skills and abilities, content analysis, undergraduate education, syllabus design


Public relations (PR) agencies are often called upon to service the needs of niche industry areas of practice. These areas include healthcare communication which generates over 15% of firm revenue alone. Agencies are also top-employers of PR graduates, yet literature shows students are not meeting the skills and abilities expected of an entry-level practitioner. This study examined whether entry-level foundational skills and abilities (FSAs) are taught to PR students interested in the health field. Through a content analysis of undergraduate health communication syllabi in PR programs, the study found most FSAs were addressed; however, some areas were lacking. As such, a health communication syllabus that meets all FSAs needed was developed.