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University of Colorado Denver College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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Degree Requirements

Organizational Communication and Public Relations

The Organizational Communication and Public Relations Pathway focuses on historical and contemporary challenges, and theoretical and practical orientations, in organization studies. Central among the pathway courses are questions about the role of communication and discourse in human organizing: How do organizational members manage competing philosophies, ideologies, and practices within and across organizations? How do organizational members use communication to increase the possibility of organizational learning and survival? What is the "new" triple bottom line taught in leading business management programs, and what does it have to do with conflicting organizational discourses? Why do many organizations promote a "family-friendly" workplace, but engage in practices that are anything but family-friendly? What does it mean for an organization to embrace a knowledge management perspective of leadership? Why are training and development programs critical for organizational success for some types of organizations but not others? How can organizations "go green," and should they? Why do organizational teams/groups have such difficulty in achieving high quality decision outcomes? Additionally, courses in public relations are guided by the principle that creating mutually beneficial relationships among organizations and their stakeholders is the task of public relations professionals, and coursework is oriented to exploring and practicing this principle within local, national and international organizations possessing a service mandate. This combination of intensive education, training, and service positions graduates to successfully contribute to strategic management and communication activities within public, commercial and non-governmental organizations. Students who undertake this pathway are able to, for example:

  • Gain real-world business marketing experience and insights into careers in communication
  • Prepare media lists, press releases, and press kits
  • Pitch stories to media outlets
  • Create and present an advertising pitch
  • Acquire basic understanding of design and creative elements and approaches in advertising media
  • Plan and conduct fundraising events
  • Conduct primary and secondary research using qualitative and quantitative methods
  • Identify and apply audience segmentation approaches
  • Develop comprehensive Integrated Marketing Communications plans for actual clients
  • Express complex organizational issues verbally and in writing
  • Develop digital graphic design theory and skill
  • Access state-of-the-art lab equipment, including Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, QuarkXpress X, InDesign, and Flash
  • Design multimodal (print, web, video, etc.) messages for internal and external audiences
  • Identify and apply social media best practices to public relations and advertising efforts Acquire basic understanding of copywriting formats and approaches
  • Develop a contact network of PR and advertising professionals
  • Apply theories of human communication and behavior to solve organizational and social problems
  • Identify and apply crisis communication approaches and responses

In summary, the Pathway focuses on organizational communication and discourse, public relations, identity, culture, power, diversity, media, and technology.

Pathway graduates are prepared for strategic management and communication positions within public, commercial, and non-governmental organizations. Students and graduates have interned and/or gone on to work for organizations including:

  • Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver
  • Yelp
  • Linhart Public Relations
  • Turner Public Relations
  • MGA Communications
  • Metzger Associates
  • Crispin Porter + Bogusky
  • Ogilvy Public Relations
  • Children's Hospital Office of Public Relations
  • Level 5 Marketing
  • Bloom Marketing
  • Bayard Public Relations
  • The Integer Group
  • Wild Oats, Marketing Department

    Contact the department's Internship Coordinator to discuss opportunities with these and other organizations.

  • 2045 Workplace Communication
  • 3271 Communication and Diversity
  • 3650 Media and Society
  • 3680 Media Writing Skills
  • 4240 Organizational Communication
  • 4255 Negotiation and Bargaining
  • 4260 Communication and Conflict
  • 4262 Mediation
  • 4300 Multimedia Authoring
  • 4635 Principles of Public Relations
  • 4640 Advanced Public Relations
  • 4665 Principles of Advertising


The two Public Relations courses I took provided me with incredibly valuable insight and effective strategic planning skills for the industry in the real world. Inspirational, challenging, and innovative, these classes allowed me to develop a lucrative, competitive edge in the field of Public Relations. Through my Public Relations studies, I discovered my passion for Social Media Relations, jumpstarting my career before graduation. The amazing opportunities these courses provided me are endlessly rewarding.
-Candies Liu, BA, Communication

The two Public Relations courses that I took were by far the most work I have ever put in for a college course. While it was a struggle, I left the classes feeling proud of myself and prepared for the career ahead of me. These classes were rewarding and will definitely help me in the future.
-Sadie Hering, BA, Communication

The Public Relations classes gave me practical knowledge and life skills that are applicable in the real world. These classes allowed me to achieve and exceed the goals I set for myself. By far they were the most rewarding classes
-Sara Whitacre, MA, Humanities

The Advanced Public Relations class provided me with strategic planning and creative thinking skills for public relations that have strengthened my graduate studies and broadened my career opportunities. After taking this class, I feel well equipped to integrate the principles of public relations and communications into future strategic plans.
-Cindy Sewell, MS, Marketing


What is Organizational Communication?

Ad Busters: Advertising Age:
Denver PR Blog:
Johnston Wells Public Relations: 
Public Relations Society of America (PRSA): 
PRSA: Colorado Chapter: 
PR Watch: 
Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA):