In public relations courses, students are trained in written, oral, and visual communication. Special emphasis is placed on ethical considerations, and on the ability to communicate using electronic and digital media.

Scroll down to read descriptions of the courses offered at Carthage, or click on the following links for additional resources.

CDM 1150

Human Communication

This course provides a broad grounding in the history and current interdisciplinary understandings of human communication. Students will explore the role of identity/self and perception, verbal and nonverbal communication, listening, and culture in human interaction. These concepts will be further applied to the study of relationships, small groups, organizations, rhetoric, and media.

CDM 1200

Public Speaking

A study of the role, rights, responsibilities, and ethics of the speaker, medium, and audience in a variety of speech situations in a democratic society. Speaking techniques examined include the processes of invention, organization, and presentation in informative, demonstrative, persuasive, and ceremonial settings. Students must demonstrate effectiveness in integrating media (e.g., presentation software or other video or audio elements) into their speech communications. Targeted instruction is arranged as necessary to ensure basic competency in the technical use of presentation software.

CDM 1300

Visual Communication

An introduction to the practice of critical observation and analysis of static, dynamic, and interactive visual information. Students develop theoretical and applied skills in interpreting a wide range of visual information, and demonstrate their own abilities to design and produce visual information.

CDM 1900

Adobe Creative Cloud: Level Up

This course focuses on each student’s individual need to increase knowledge of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. Students will “test in” to a specific level of each program in Adobe and build from there. Students will create and edit multiple small projects within the programs — a crucial skill for many majors seeking to gain entry into their professional field.

CDM 2200

Principles of Public Relations

An introduction to public relations as the theory and practice of effective communication between organizations and their diverse publics. Explores the role of public relations in organizational culture and in society, with particular emphasis on ethics, corporate integrity, and local and global contexts. Case studies provide opportunities for students to engage in research on the public relations of actual organizations, and to develop writing and presentation skills required of public relations practitioners.

CDM 2300

Interpersonal Communication

Theories and research of one-to-one human interaction. Topics include communication models, identity, social roles and expectations, self-disclosure, listening, conflict, trust, and the development, maintenance, and termination of relationships. Survey and application of intra- and interpersonal communication in friendships, families, romantic partnerships, and other social and professional contexts.
Prerequisite: CDM 1150

CDM 3000

Rhetoric and Persuasion

A study of rhetorical theory as it provides models for the construction and criticism of public discourse. Classical and contemporary writings on rhetoric are explored in the context of theories of language, representation, communication, and ethics.
Prerequisite: CDM 1150 or consent of instructor

CDM 3350

Public Relations Writing

Writing plays an integral role in modern public relations. This course develops an understanding of the conventions and practices of effective public relations writing for contemporary media, with special emphasis on writing for social media, as they relate to public relations. Coursework includes extensive exercises designed to develop skills in a variety of formats, styles, and rhetorical strategies appropriate to public relations.
Prerequisite: CDM 2200 or consent of the instructor

CDM 3400

Social Media

This course examines digital technology as a medium of communication. Issues covered include the social, economic, civic, and global implications of the information age.
Prerequisite: CDM 1150 or consent of instructor

CDM 3420

Communications Management

This is an advanced course for public relations majors or other students who wish to understand the nature and management of effective communication within and among organizations. Students will develop insights and capacities in organizational communication leadership; careers and cultures in corporations, agencies, small business, and nongovernmental organizations; client relations; communication planning strategies and systems; stakeholder communication; stockholder and financial communication; reputation management; global communication; crisis management; change management; tracking issues and trends and managing communication about them; and funding and evaluating communications campaigns.
Prerequisites: CDM 2200 and CDM 3350

CDM 3565

Public Relations Skills Assessment

This e-portfolio assessment for every Public Relations major must be taken during the spring of the third/junior year (the academic year prior to taking CDM 4030 Public Relations Senior Seminar). Assessment is pass/fail. Students are expected to revise and resubmit if necessary. Students may repeat the assessment until a passing grade is earned in order to take CDM 4030. The website will have been developed in a previous course. Students are expected to update their websites during their program to include new or improved content, including scholarly research and writing, speech content in presentation software form, current resume, samples of public relations writing and/or projects that focus on a variety of public relations skills, and optional elements (creative pieces, etc.).
Prerequisites: CDM 2200 and CDM 3350
Spring, taken during junior/third year

CDM 3570

Public Relations Internship

An internship enabling students to gain practical experience in public relations. The internship is typically arranged by the student, and must be approved by a department faculty member and by The Aspire Center. Students meet regularly with the supervising professor, maintain a log or journal of the experience, and complete a body of professional portfolio pieces. Prerequisite: None CDM 3600 Intercultural Communication 4cr Exploration of the various theories, opportunities, and problems related to communication by individuals within and across different cultural groups.
Prerequisite: CDM 1150

CDM 3700

Organizational Communication

This course will help students understand organizational communication theories, models, and processes. Students will apply these principles in organizational communication through case studies and research presentations. Additionally, students will examine the impact of diversity, globalization, and leadership on organizational communication.
Prerequisite: CDM 1150

CDM 3800

Public Relations Research Methods

This course provides an overview of the research methods and tools used to assess communication behavior in public relations. This course introduces students to quantitative and qualitative research methods, including content analysis, surveys, case studies, focus groups, ethnography, and interviews. Students learn how to use basic statistical programs, survey tools, and qualitative analysis tools.
Prerequisite: CDM 2200

CDM 3810

Public Relations Campaigns

The course draws heavily on students’ previous training in principles, writing, and research to develop and partially implement a public relations campaign for an actual organizational client. Students will use the principles and techniques of public relations to analyze case studies, track current public relations issues, create various communication campaigns, and solve real-world problems. The course introduces students to the process of campaign development, management, and evaluation using the principles and strategies of public relations and agency management.
Prerequisite: CDM 3350

CDM 3820

Crisis Communication

The importance of an organization’s image or reputation becomes readily apparent when organizations face crises of many types. How well they anticipate, communicate during, and respond meaningfully to these crises can enhance or destroy the organization’s reputation. Reputation management and crisis communication have long been a significant aspect of strategic communication and public relations. This course blends theory and practice in examining recent trends and issues in the related areas of organizational image, reputation management, and crisis communication.
Prerequisite: CDM 2200

CDM 4030

Public Relations Senior Seminar


This capstone experience provides public relations seniors the opportunity to integrate and utilize the knowledge and skills they have acquired during their course of study. The course culminates in the completion and public presentation of a senior project or thesis.
Prerequisites: CDM 3350 and CDM 3565