Why I’m pursuing an M.S. in Public Relations at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications

Geoff Campbell at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications
Geoff Campbell at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications
Geoff Campbell at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications

After much deliberation, I’ve decided that I’m going to pursue my Master of Science in Public Relations from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University (SU) in Syracuse, NY.

This past weekend I visited the city and campus. With 6,206 postgraduate students (225 of whom study at Newhouse), living and studying at SU will be quite a different experience than Mount Allison, my undergraduate alma mater. However, there are about 27 public relations graduate students at Newhouse all taking all but one of the same courses, there hopefully will be a sense of solidarity.

I had offers of admissions from three other top programs in the country but chose Newhouse for a number of reasons.

1. Reputation

  1. While some consider it unfortunate that numbers and rankings play such an important part of the graduate school selection process but when you have PRWeek, the preeminent PR trade publication in the US, consistently recognizing Newhouse as having among the best PR education programs in the country it stands out.

2. Connections

  1. Going to a professional masters program is a lot about connections. Aside from the school graduating among the best PR students in the country, the school has an established network of contacts with alumni through the Career Development Center. Yes, networking is something that would be done at any school but the fact alone that the school convinced Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman, the largest PR firm in the world to give the convocation address (who offered to take resumes during the speech) speaks volumes about the opportunities Newhouse alum have following graduation.

3.  Practical Courses

  1. The 36-credit Master of Science in Public Relations degree program is designed to have everything you need and nothing you don’t to have the skills to lead a communications department. The 13 month program is 11 months of classes and an introductory internship in Syracuse followed by a mandatory 8-weeks of full-time work in order to graduate. Below is the Newhouse Public Relations Graduate Curriculum. Notice how it aligns with what Reg RoweSVP at Idea Grove says are the most important things to get a job in PR: an internship, business courses, and a lot of writing:
  2. Newhouse Public Relations Graduate Curriculum
    1. Summer 2012
      1. PRL 604 Writing for News & Public Relations
      2. GRA 617 Visual Communication Theory & Practice
    2. Fall 2012
      1. PRL 605 Public Relations Theory
      2. PRL 611 Public Relations Research
      3. PRL 614 Advanced Public Relations Writing for Digital Platforms
      4. COM 698 Media Law
    3. Winter 2013
      1. PRL 615 PR Campaign Planning and Execution
      2. PRL 725 Public Relations Management
      3. PRL 525  Public Relations Practicum (Internship)
      4. MBC 607 Understanding Financial Statements
      5. MBC 627 Financial  Markets and Institutions
    4. Summer 2013
      1. Maymester Elective
        1. One-­‐week,  intensive  course  (choices  established  from  University  offerings)
        2. OR PRL  530  Special  Topics OR Established  Maxwell  courses  in  Leadership,  Conflict  Resolution,   Negotiation,  etc.
      2. PRL  635  Public Relations Culminating Experience (Internship or full-time job)

4.  Real Alumni in Real Jobs

  1. When I was deciding between Newhouse and another top school who had offered me a generous scholarship I needed confirmation that Newhouse could really live up to its reputation. While the Newhouse site had information on graduates from ten or more years ago, happy current student Lisa Cialfi, and very recent grads beginning their internships, I needed to know after my initial work experience I could be successful working my way up to a leadership role.
  2. That confirmation actually came from a blog post from SU’s iSchool, (the top-ranked information systems school in the U.S.). ‘Cuse Grads Rock the Social Media World actually convinced me in the value of a degree from SU, even showing very successful recent alumni with undergraduate degree- holders from Newhouse, including Matt McLernon, Communications Manager at YouTube. While I realize I’ll be working my way up to a senior role it’s nice to see concrete examples of successful alumni at various stages of their careers.

I’m going to be moving in at the beginning of July and starting class on July 3rd.