Public Relations at BHSU

Find a Career in Public Relations

With courses in such areas as Photojournalism, Public Relations Case Study, Media Law, and Organizational Communication, students learn how businesses and organizations communicate effectively. Students then apply this knowledge and hone their skills through hands-on projects at BHSU and throughout the region.

Every business and organization is involved with Public Relations, and careers can be found in a number of fields. Some students choose to work in advertising, while others find employment with media outlets, and a few become public information officers.

The Public Relations program at BHSU offers:

  • Internships with local, regional, or national organizations.
  • Opportunities to participate in a number of campus organizations, such as the student-run newspaper, radio, and TV stations.
  • Highly motivated faculty with real-world experience
  • A Public Relations Club that provides practical experiences outside of the classroom

*Current students, please refer to the DegreeWorks Dashboard in MyBHSU to confirm your major requirements.


There are employment opportunities in a variety of sectors:
» Advertisement
» Audio/Video Specialist
» Broadcaster
» Commercial Photographer
» Creative/Art Designer
» Drone Photographer
» Filmmaker
» Fine Art Photographer
» Graphic Designer
» International PR Specialist
» Journalist
» Logo Designer 
» Multimedia Specialist
» News Editor/Writer
» Photojournalist
» Portrait/Wedding Photographer
» PR Agent
» Reporter
» Speech Writer
» Science Outreach Specialist
» Social Media Content Photographer
» Studio Product Photographer
» Radio Announcer
» Wed Designer

We are updating the 4-year plan for our Bachelor's degree in Public Relations. To set up your individual 4-year plan, please meet with youradvisor or contact Janette Hettick at or (605) 642-6934

Get Involved on Campus

Jacket Journal & BHSU

Open to all BHSU students, the Jacket Journal newspaper is an award-winning campus organization. Several 400-level labs and the Jacket Journal staff produce a hard-copy newspaper as well as the student campus media online website Editorial, production, photography, and advertising staff positions are available each semester.
Contact to learn more.

The Buzz FM

Bringing the best and only alternative to Spearfish, S.D. The Buzz is the university’s student run radio station. Students from any background or major are welcome.
Contact to learn more or tune in to 89.1 & 90.7 FM to listen.


Students experience television broadcasting by servicing the campus with informational and entertaining programs.
Contact to learn more.

Public Relations Club

BHSU Public Relations club is a professional development group for students focused on career enhancement, community involvement, conferencing, competition, and networking for internships and careers across the country. The group has regional and national affiliations that provide many opportunities for students to network with professional organizations, such as Public Relations Society of America.
Contact to learn more.


Whether students are photography majors or simply someone who enjoys photography as a hobby, this organization is open to all. Get involved in regional or national trips, fundraisers, and small adventures for photographers at every level. Shutterbuzz is a student-run organization that brings photographers together.
Contact to learn more.

Q: How does a non-traditional Mass Communication major from Black Hills State University end up working at the premier underground research facility in the U.S.?

A: “In my case it was through an internship. At the time the Sanford Lab communications department was looking for interns who could help produce a video about the facility. It was the professors who recommended that I apply for the internship.”


Employee Relations
Employee Relations prepares quarterly and annual reports. They compile employee publications and newsletters and organize internal special events.


Speech Writer
Speech writers writes for CEOs, top executives or politicians. Sometimes ghostwrites articles for trade and consumer presses.


Financial Public Relations/Investor Relations
Communicates with the press, shareholders or members of an organization regarding the organization's financial performance and objectives. Prepares periodic and annual reports, arranges stockholders meetings, writes press releases on earnings or the financial implications of new product development. Coordinates interviews between the corporation or organization executives and security analysts. Timing is key since releasing a news release could drastically affect the value of stocks


International Public Relations
International Public Relations involves working with community leaders, government officials and media to establish a link between the home and international office. Knowledge of the language and customs of another country is required.


Crisis Communication PR
Crisis Communication PR is the systematic attempt to avoid organizational crises or to manage those crises events that do occur.  Crisis management involves attempts to eliminate technological failure as well as the development of formal communication systems to avoid or to manage crisis situations.  Crisis management consists of methods used to respond to both the reality and perception of crises such as a Crisis Management Plan. Crisis management also involves establishing metrics to define what scenarios constitute a crisis and should consequently trigger the necessary response mechanisms. It consists of the communication that occurs within the response phase of emergency management scenarios.


Government Relations
Government relation consultants are often referred to as 'lobbyists', but their work is more wide-ranging. They use their understanding of the political system to offer political and public policy advice to their clients.  Clients may include private sector companies, not-for-profit organizations, or overseas governments.


Copywriters write advertising copy for use by publication, broadcast or internet media to promote the sale of goods and services.  They invent names for products and write the slogans that appear on packaging, brochures and other promotional material.


Illustrators draw or paint illustrations for use by various media to explain or adorn printed or spoken word. They study layouts, sketches of proposed illustrations, and related materials to become familiar with assignment. Illustrators also determine style, technique, and medium best suited to produce desired effects and conform with reproduction requirements, or receive specific instructions regarding these variables.


Production Manager
Production managers supervise staffs of public relations workers, some of whom may be specialists in a particular kind of media. They also direct publicity programs that are designed to improve the public image of the organization that employs them. In industry they direct information to groups such as stockholders, consumers, their firm's own employees, or the general public.


Public Relations Specialist
Public Relations Specialists handle organizational functions such as media, community, consumer, industry, and governmental relations; political campaigns; interest-group representation; conflict mediation; and employee and investor relations. They draft press releases and contact people in the media who might print or broadcast their material. They also arrange and conduct programs to keep up contact between organization representatives and the public.


Account Executive
PR account executives are responsible for communicating key messages to defined target audiences to establish goodwill and understanding between an organization and its public. This is proactively achieved by generating third party endorsement, often through media relations, including broadcast, print and new media.  PR account executives monitor the publicity that is generated on behalf of their clients, as well as liaising on an everyday basis with the client to update and report on the success of the publicity.

Public Relations Emphasis Requirements

Emphasis in Public Relations

  • MCOM 151 Intro to Mass Communication (gen ed)
  • MCOM 161 Graphic Communication
  • MCOM 210 Basic Newswriting
  • MCOM 220 Introduction to Digital Media
  • MCOM 373 Public Relations Case Study
  • MCOM 430 Media Law
  • MCOM 452 Mass Media Issues
  • MCOM 475 Public Relations
  • MCOM 494 Internship
  • SPCM 410 Organizational Communication
  • SPCM 434 Small Group Communication

Take one of the following:

  • BADM 370 Marketing
  • MCOM 235 Social Media Survey
  • MCOM 317 Multimedia Reporting
  • MCOM 351 Web Design

Take one of the following course combinations:

  • MCOM 221 Audio Productions
  • MCOM 331 Video Production
  • MCOM 328 Advertising Media Communications
  • MCOM 257 Intermediate Desktop Publishing
  • MCOM 265 Basic Photography
  • MCOM 266 Photojournalism


Develop valuable personal relationships in a small community with amazing faculty and staff while thriving in the outdoors of the Black Hills.