July 8-9, 1999

NOTICE OF INTENT Authorization to Offer a Master of Science Degree in Public Relations; Montana State University-Billings

THAT: The Board of Regents of Higher Education authorizes Montana State University-Billings to award a Master of Science degree in Public Relations.

EXPLANATION: In requesting authorization to offer a Master of Science (MS) degree in Public Relations (PR), Montana State University-Billings is responding to constituent=s requests to fill a perceived gap in our curriculum. This interdisciplinary program includes courses from the Department of Communication and Theatre in the College of Arts & Sciences and courses in the Department of Business Administration in the College of Business. The Department of Communication and Theatre will administratively house the program.

The proposed degree is completely within the mission of the University and represents one of several new programs outlined in the Montana State University-Billings Strategic Plan as implemented in September of 1996. As an interdisciplinary program, the MSPR degree is related to the Mass Communication option in Communication Arts offered by the Department of Communication and Theatre, and the Marketing option in Business Administration offered by the Department of Business Administration. The MSPR is intended to be a professional degree with a broad focus to include the nonprofit and public information sectors. The MSPR will serve the needs of professionals in public relations who are interested in honing their expertise or meeting further degree requirements recommended by their employers. Students who are in public relations careers will be attracted to the program because of its technology rich curriculum, significant communication training, and applied research focus.

The proposed MSPR is a 30 credit degree program consisting of two areas of specialization, media and marketing. The curriculum is based upon courses currently offered by the Department of Communication and Theatre in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Business Administration in the College of Business with the addition of graduate level seminars and course requirements. Students will specialize in either media or marketing. The Montana State University-Billings Library currently lists 81 titles in public relations, 281 titles in mass communication, and 360 titles in marketing. With the recent university system interlibrary connective arrangements, the collection is sufficient to support the program. Students will have access to computers, video equipment, and editing equipment through the Department of Communication and Theatre and the College of Business. The MSPR program will use the existing facilities, faculty, staff, and equipment; thus, no new funding is required.

Proposed Starting Date: Fall 2000