College of General Studies

Corporate/Community Relations

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The Certificate in Corporate and Community Relations helps students to develop the skills they need to effectively communicate a business or organization’s mission and achievements to the outside community. It also teaches them how to effectively communicate organizational news and policies internally to fellow employees. Students learn to develop messages and communications strategies that engage the community and promote an organization’s image in a positive way.

In this 18-credit program, each student may customize the curriculum by choosing elective courses to meet his or her own personal professional goals and will acquire a foundation in mass media theory through core classes.

Who should enroll:

  • Individuals charged with communicating company and organizational news, policies, benefits, and messages to fellow employees 
  • Individuals charged with communicating and disseminating company and organizational news to an external audience, thereby improving public perception of the organization
  • Individuals interested in advancing the causes of community, civic, or volunteer organizations
  • Recent graduates or current students who wish to pursue a career incorporate or community communications

Upon completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • apply a theoretical understanding of mass media process, history, and ethics to communications-related careers in broadcasting, journalism, legal professions, government, nonprofits, and other fields;
  • identify and analyze audience traits, perspectives, and motivators and develop messages appropriate to each audience;
  • manage and navigate professional relationships with a wide rangeof constituents;
  • develop and write clear messages that support specific organizational goals and enhance the image of a professional organization in the public’s mind; and
  • create professional and effective communication strategies as well as persuasive written materials, customized to the needs of a specific profession, such as business proposals, speeches, marketing plans, and news stories.

This certificate is applicable to such fields as corporate communications, nonprofit management, advocacy, public relations, broadcasting, sales, communication training, promotions, advertising, lobbying and politics, human resources and relations, and training and development.

Admission requirements

Students must meet requirements for admission to the College of General Studies. A certificate application must be completed and returned to the College of General Studies. To avoid a late fee, you should complete this process when registering for courses.

Obtaining the certificate

To receive the certificate, you must fill out an application with your academic advisor prior to completing your last term in the program. Check with your academic advisor for the application filing form and deadline, and be sure all requirements for the certificate have been met. To avoid a late fee, you should complete this process when registering for the term.

Curriculum: 18 credits

Many courses are offered in the evenings. Not all courses are offered every term. All courses are three credits unless otherwise noted. Please check course descriptions for prerequisites. Credits earned at other accredited educational institutions may be eligiblefor transfer. However, a minimum of nine credits must be earned at the University of Pittsburgh. Students must maintain at least a 2.0 grade point average in all University certificate courses. For the course schedule and descriptions of most undergraduate classes offered by the College of General Studies, Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, and College of Business Administration, visit

Required courses: 6 credits

COMMRC 0320 Mass Communication Process

ENGWRT 0610 Introduction to Journalism and Nonfiction

Electives: 6 credits 

Choose two courses from the following:

BUSERV 1940  Marketing Fundamentals

COMMRC 1111  Theories of Persuasion

COMMRC 1732  Special Topics: Public and Media Relations

PUBSRV 1455 Ethics, Law, and Public Policy in the Mass Media

Specializations: 6 credits 

Choose two courses from the following:

COMMRC 1102 Organizational Communication

COMMRC 1730 Special Topics: Health Communication

ENGCMP 0410 Writing in the Legal Professions

ENGCMP 0420 Writing for the Public

ENGCMP  0515  Persuasive Writing: Advertising and Fundraising

ENGCMP 0520 Integrating Writing and Design

ENGCMP 0550 Topics in Public/Professional Writing

ENGCMP 0560 Writing Arguments

ENGCMP 0600 Introduction to Technical Writing

ENGCMP 1103 Public Relations Writing

ENGCMP 1104 Creative Corporate Writing

ENGCMP 1112  Professional Uses of Social Media

ENGWRT 1330 Intermediate Nonfiction

ENGWRT 1403 Topics in Nonfiction: Electronic Media

PUBSRV 1200 Practices of Nonprofit Management

PUBSRV 1310 Diversity Issues in Public Service

Requirements subject to change. Check with an academic advisor before registering.

Employment of public relations managers and specialists is expected to grow by 21 percent by 2020, driven by the need for organizations to maintain a positive public image in a high-information age. The median salary for public relations managers and specialists was $57,550 in 2010.

Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics