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Fairbanks Center

Strategic Communication

Strategic Communication: PR & Advertising offers a fresh approach to traditionally separate programs in public relations and advertising. Students complete the program with the essential balance of theoretical and practical knowledge and skills to create and deliver messages targeted to a wide array of audiences: media, employees, customers, legislators, investors and the community. 

This program serves well as preparation for careers in public relations, advertising or corporate communications, while also providing a solid foundation for post-graduate study.

Outside the classroom, students benefit from joining our active student chapters of the Public Relations Student Society of America and American Advertising Federation's Ad Club. Members have the chance to participate in PR and advertising projects and campaigns for actual clients. Additionally, students may contriubute to Bright Blue, the student-led marketing and communication agency.  

Rounding out the activities in Strategic Communication are faculty-led collaborative research and service learning opportunities, as well as a vibrant Internship program. Each semester, including summer, interns work with numerous for-profit and not-for-profit organizations and communications firms locally and nationally. Indianapolis provides an excellent learning laboratory for strategic communication students, who often land jobs with the companies for which they intern.

PR and Advertising

Students who choose to specialize in either public relations or advertising at Butler learn the skills of their chosen field. But they also learn to be a member of a dynamic team through upper-level, project-based courses.

 

Practical Experience

As a Strategic Communication student, you'll get hands-on experience starting from day one, whether in the classroom, through your involvement in student organizations, or through internships. In fact, students graduate with at least one internship for academic credit and more than half complete two or more.

Department Highlights

Career Paths

Career Paths

All careers benefit from good communication skills. That may account for the wide variety of career paths our graduates take. Some head directly for an advertising or public relations agency to take advantage of the rich experience that comes with agency work. Others seek careers in corporate communications, where the success of huge marketing plans may hinge on the written word. Some have entered government to serve as a White House liaison or a member of a senator’s or governor’s communications staff. Others find work in the arts, in event planning, in music and entertainment, in fashion, or in digital media. Some choose to pursue a career outside the field of communication, in law, business, or social work. The important thing is that our alumni all have the communication skills required to succeed in life as well as work. 

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Networking

Is it what you know or who you know? The truth is that it’s probably both—so in addition to instructing students, faculty also put them in touch with people who count. Butler is well recognized on the national stage; alumni can be found across the country and overseas. Faculty also help introduce students to local professionals by inviting these professionals to provide guest lectures and by partnering with their organizations for class assignments and projects. Further, students can broaden their professional networks through participation in the department’s chapters of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and the American Advertising Federation’s student Ad Club, both of which put students in touch with professionals on an ongoing basis. Finally, we are big on internships. More than three-fourths of the department’s juniors and seniors have internships, which often include placements at major PR and advertising agencies, Fortune 500 companies, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, fashion houses, sports teams, and event planning agencies.

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Global Education

We live in a global society. That’s one reason we encourage students to take full advantage of opportunities to study abroad while pursuing their strategic communication degree. More than half of majors do just that and still graduate in four years. In addition to University-based programs, faculty have led short-term study abroad trips to explore strategic communication through a global lens, including to locales such as Shanghai, China and Japan, where students both learn and work while visiting six cities. Additional experiences are in the works, so be sure to take advantage of them when they are announced. For all such trips, students earn academic credit in recognition of the value attached to these learning experiences. Scholarships are also available to help defray expenses. Several Strategic Communication alumni have found their global experiences so transformational that they have chosen to pursue international careers in places such as Italy, England, and Ireland.

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Results

96 percent of our alumni are employed in the field or seeking graduate school within 6 months of graduation. While this placement rate is impressive, we don’t train students for a job; we train them for a career. And the success of our alumni at the local and national level speaks for itself. Strategic Communication alumni work for PR and advertising agencies such as Borshoff, Edelman, FleishmanHillard, Golin, Ogilvy & Mather, the Basement, and Young & Laramore. They work for companies such as Anthem, Emmis Communications, General MillsSalesforce, and Walmart on the corporate side. They work for the Patachou Foundation; the Spy Museum in Washington, D.C.; for U.S. senators; and for Indiana governors. They work in sports, music and entertainment, and tourism and destination promotion. Students also earn prestigious fellowships, including the Orr Fellowship, and pursue graduate education or law school at highly competitive institutions such as Columbia, Georgetown University, and the University of Chicago.