Strategic Public Relations Course Listings

The Graduate School of Political Management offers a variety of courses covering politics, communications, and advocacy. Students should consult the GW Registrar to determine what courses are available in a given semester.

IMPORTANT NOTE: These course listings and syllabi should be used for guidance. Only order books or complete assignments based on syllabi that your professor posts on Blackboard.

PSPR 6201 – Strategic Public Relations Principles & Practices (offered Fall and Spring 1)
This course examines public relations history, theory, trends, tools and tactics, and provides an in-depth analysis of major theory and practices. Students analyze real-world case studies as context for an applied understanding of how and why to plan, execute and evaluate these programs, and they prepare a detailed professional communications plan that addresses an important management issue affecting a public relations or public affairs challenge. Syllabus

PSPR 6202 - Advanced Writing for Communications Professionals (offered Fall and Spring 1)
This course examines the essentials of effective public relations and public affairs writing, emphasizing strategic thinking and compositional precision as the source of their efficacy and power. Students learn to write time-tested professional communications for the media and other target audiences such as legislators or voters, creating and editing their classmates’ as well as their own backgrounders, press releases, media alerts, issue primers, stump speeches, pitch letters, plans, and proposals. Syllabus

PSPR 6203 – Research Methods (offered Spring 1 and Spring 2)
This course examines proven pre- and post-program methods for measuring and evaluating effective public relations and public affairs campaigns and initiatives. Students learn basic and advanced tools and techniques, including statistical analysis, and analyze the panoply of research concepts and technology, including the use of online and social media surveys, that affect consumer and/or political action.  Syllabus

PSPR 6204 – Media Relations in a Digital World (offered Spring 1 and Spring 2)
This course deconstructs the art and theory of media relations from the public relations and public affairs perspective. Students analyze the state of contemporary media – online and off – and its impact on commerce, politics, and the human contract, examining key factors influencing reportorial and editorial coverage of business, government, and not-for-profit interests. Syllabus

PSPR 6205 – Fundamentals of Business and Finance for PR/PA Professionals (offered Spring 2 and Summer)
This course will explore the fundamentals of business that can be applied to small, mid-size, and large organizations, public relations agencies, and start-up consultancies. Students will learn how to effectively integrate communications/PR skills with a financial “lens” to real-world business situations. 

PSPR 6206 – Ethical Standards in Public Relations & Public Affairs (offered Spring 2 and Summer)
This course explores the growing role and importance of ethics in public relations and public affairs. Students analyze personal and professional ethical assumptions and norms in American society and consider standards, guidelines, and codes of conduct that should guide relations with clients, the media, public officials, legislators, voters, employees, and others. Syllabus

PSPR 6207 – Sustainability Communications (offered Spring 1)

This course will examine the global corporate social responsibility (CSR) movement, explore the unique communications challenges it presents and offer practical suggestions and tactics to respond to this trend. The class will feature in-class activities, current research and guest speakers from NGOs, communications firms, and major corporations with practical advice on meeting this challenge in the global marketplace. Syllabus

PSPR 6208 – Integrated Marketing Communications (offered Spring 2)
This course examines the evolution of integrated marketing communications (IMC) as a new paradigm for extending the reach and influence of public relations and public affairs through the use of both traditional and non-traditional communications approaches and technologies. Students learn about the theoretical and tactical advantages and disadvantages of integrated strategies in for-profit and not-for-profit enterprises, and they design an integrated marketing communications program, making use of both traditional and new media tools and techniques. Syllabus

PSPR 6222 - Multicultural Marketing and Engagement (offered Spring 2)

As multicultural communities increase in size and reach and as diverse institutions gain national prominence, the need for engagement is clear. Today, the general market is necessarily multicultural. The course prepares students for effective and ethical public engagement on behalf of contemporary organizations communicating issues and commitments to diverse audiences and multicultural messages to the general market. From a base of cultural understanding, students will study effective engagement strategies and techniques. Syllabus

PSPR 6223 - Public Opinion, Political Socialization, and Public Relations (offered Fall and Spring 2)

Through analytical research, first-hand accounts, and theoretical constructs, this course explores key questions related to the formation of public opinion and political socialization. More specifically, this course looks at the process by which people view their engagement in public debates and politics and how they acquire and maintain their attitudes, biases, beliefs - in short, their opinions and the decisions they make as a result. Syllabus

PSPR 6224 - Global Public Relations and Public Affairs - Strategy and Practice (offered Fall, Spring 1, and Summer)

This course builds on students’ prior academic and/or on-the-job experience to develop a global understanding and practical tools for using public relations and public affairs to promote and defend companies, government entities, non-profit organizations, and individual candidates on the world stage. The course surveys how global public relations and public affairs strategies are developed and implemented, emphasizing successful case studies and failures. Syllabus

PSPR 6225 - Managing Trade Association and Nonprofit Communications in a Changing Environment (offered Summer)

This course is designed to help communicators currently working - or hoping to work - in trade associations and nonprofit (ANP) organizations become more effective in the planning and execution of their programs. By its very nature, this course will be practical and reality-based, with guest speakers drawn from many organizations and communications backgrounds. Syllabus

PSPR 6226 - Digital Communications Platforms and Strategies (offered Fall and Spring 1)

The course will examine the theories and approach to digital communications and review the major digital platforms utilized by companies, government agencies, non-profits and associations to accomplish their strategic communications goals and objectives. The class will provide active hands-on opportunities for students to become familiar with the major platforms and the tactics and techniques top organizations deploy to further their objectives. Syllabus

PSPR 6230 - Crisis and Issues Management (offered Spring 2)

The practice of Issues Management involves the intersection of a number of communications and policy disciplines, including environmental scanning, public policy analysis, public policy advocacy, strategic communications, media relations, grassroots mobilization, coalition management, and corporate reputation management. This course will explore all of the approaches in detail and examine ways in which they work together to further the broad strategic goals of organizations. Syllabus

CPS 6300 – Public Relations & Public Affairs Capstone Research Project (offered Fall, Spring 1, Spring 2, and Summer)
Students apply the knowledge and lessons gained in their courses in a major independent research project on a topic of immediate interest to their current employer or another organization that has a bearing on their professional aspirations. They design the project with the approval of faculty and in cooperation with the staff and management of the organization in question, conducting primary and secondary research, and preparing a publishable quality research paper, incisively elucidating their views and opinions with the goal of building greater understanding about and insight into the project topic. Syllabus

PMGT 6420 Corporate Public Affairs

Exploration of major functional areas in corporate public affairs, with a focus on the political and policy dynamics operating in the United States and other democracies abroad. Development and deployment of appropriate strategy, research, and tactics for corporations managing the complexities related to a global economy and shifting political alliances.

PMGT 6452 Digital Strategy

Development of an integrated digital strategy for use in advocacy and electoral campaigns. Introduction to the theoretical concepts, distinctive technologies, applied skills, and managerial challenges associated with digital campaigning. Search engine optimization, GPS, online payment systems, customizing back- and front-end systems to meet strategic goals and budget parameters, working with IT vendors and distance volunteers, legal and cultural considerations in the U.S. and other regimes, site rollout and scaling, security and privacy. NOTE: This is a pre-requisite for all PMGT Digital courses.

PMGT 6456 Speechcraft

Analysis and techniques used in speechwriting and presentations for public officials and candidates. Managing the political optics and understanding a speech's visual context and non-verbal communication capabilities (Rose Garden, Oval Office, campaign stump speech, ceremonial occasion, congressional testimony). Modulating speaker style, tone, and pacing, and staging the speech for effect.

6200-Global Perspective Residencies

Global Perspective courses vary by time and location. Courses include Advocating in Europe (Brussels, Belgium), Advocating in Latin America (Sao Paulo and Brazilia, Brazil) and Advocating in Washington, DC, Advocating in China (Beijing and Hong Kong), Advocating in the United Kingdom (London), Advocating in South Africa (Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Praetoria), and Advocating in Germany (Berlin). Students will participate in online preparatory classes through Blackboard prior to arriving for an intensive weeklong program from dusk until dawn, meeting with business executives, public affairs experts, political leaders, NGO executives, media representatives, and professors at GW’s partner schools. For more information, visit the Global Perspective Residencies page.