This three-year course gives you a clear and concise introduction into the public relations career. Now for those of you who don’t know what public relations is, the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) defines it as, “The deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organisation (or individual) and its (or their) publics”.
Excellent industry professionals who know and have been in the industry for a while teach the course. Whilst the course can be diverse, you can tailor your study and electives by choosing to work in areas you are interested in such as social media, crisis communication, public affairs, event management, campaign planning etc.
Your first year is full of the foundation subjects and gives you an introduction into PR and the areas around it. The best thing about my first year was the selection of electives and different areas you could major or minor in, anything from journalism, to advertising to politics. The PR courses give you hands on approach to your assignments and the teachers who support you throughout the course including the course coordinator Umi Khattab who was fantastic are invaluable.
Your second year includes the more researching and more in depth of public relations with courses in PR writing, social media, campaign planning, media law and editing. These courses give you more of an insight into how the public relations world works. The PR writing course gives you advice and real scenarios on how to tailor your writing to specific tasks, which is invaluable for a public relations professional.
Your third year is where you get thrown in the deep end with your events course. The course is designed to ensure you can run events, which can be a part of the public relations career and shows you how to handle and run a successful event. Your events course staff is with you the entire time and are incredibly helpful for when you are stuck. I personally had Karen Sutherland with my group of five other students for my event and she helped us through some really tough situations we got put into. In your final year you also have to complete an internship and do 104 hours in the PR field. I did my internship at Profile Magazine, which was the best experience I’ve ever had in the communications field. I shadowed a journalist to a major sports team and sat in a media meeting, wrote and published pieces of my work in the magazine and learnt a lot about editorial work and the way a magazine runs.
My advice is to really ask questions to your teachers and the staff in the PR program, because my experience at USC was incredible, including the staff that was incredibly supportive and informative. Take full advantage of their out of class hours and use it to ask the questions and get to know the staff that are going to be able to help you throughout your degree.