Degree Specializations

As the PR practice is growing in scope, there’s an increased need for specialists who are experts in specific skills or practices.

Students enrolled in the program for Fall 2016 would be the first to be offered an opportunity to take two paths in their Annenberg study:  the current SPR, which gives them a broad PR education peppered with special electives here and there; or, adopt concentrations or “specializations” in their second year of study.  

Regardless of the path they select, SPR students would still take the same six required courses in lockstep during the first year.

The SPR program offers six specializations in two different flavors: skills and practice areas

Skills Specializations

Computational Public Relations

Students will focus on quantitative and qualitative methods of data analysis in coursed offered by Annenberg and other USC schools, including engineering and business. Students will learn how to utilize Big Data as well as Small Data to mine for actionable insight and to conduct measurement and evaluation studies. They will also learn how to work effectively with data scientists.

Digital, Interactive and Converged Communication

Students will acquire advanced digital skills that include social media management, search engine optimization and multimedia content production—all essential skills for today’s and tomorrow’s practitioners. The coursework combines required SPR courses with Annenberg electives (such as JOUR 563 Transmedia Branding and JOUR 553 Coding and Programming for Storytelling), as well as upper division courses from the advertising minor, and a variety of applicable courses offered across campus.

Corporate and Business Communication

Students will become familiar with key topics in business and the global economy. Graduates will be able to analyze how macroeconomic developments impact their organizations.  As an alternative to a MBA degree, this emphasis prepares students for public relations, investor relations and related careers within the corporate communication team of major corporations. In addition to the SPR core, students choose from a broad variety of courses offered by the Annenberg Media, Entrepreneurship and Economics, M{2}E, program. In addition they will be able to choose courses offered by the USC Marshall School of Business.

Practice Specializations

Sports & Entertainment

Students focus on the industries that define Los Angeles and that no university other than USC is better equipped to offer: a sports mecca and the Entertainment Capitol of the World. Practitioners in sports PR engage with world-class athletes, professional and NCAA teams and sports marketing organization. Entertainment PR practitioners promote films, recording artists and other celebrities as well as the exciting event that are the hallmarks of this industry. Students will to select courses from a broad variety of Annenberg classes complemented by classes offered by the cinematic arts and business schools.

Lifestyle Public Relations: Students will be prepared for careers with organizations that concentrate on fashion, food and travel, tourism and hospitality industries.

Fashion: 

How PR practitioners support designers, clothing and accessory companies as well as the multi billion dollar footwear and apparel industry. 

Food: From Stoli to Starbucks, professionals in the food PR industry cover everything from the farm-to-table movement to celebrity chefs and the hottest trends.

Travel and Tourism: Everything from hospitality to cruises and resorts, glamping to museum tours fall into this realm. This specialty also prepares students for coveted event planning positions.

Civic Engagement:

Students in this emphasis will develop awareness of public issues and strategies for advocacy communication with non-profits, NGOs, community organizations and social movements. They will be prepared for work in corporate social responsibility and service organizations to promote volunteerism. In particular, students will explore the opportunities and challenges for civic engagement communication presented by digital and social media tools.