Overview of CPRE Reports

These signature reports provide essential models and standards for public relations undergraduate and graduate education. Starting in its earlier work, CPRE tackled what the ideal curriculum and course content should be for those seeking to enter the field of public relations. Its more recent reports updated and developed vital curriculum recommendations but began to advance considerations for excellent public relations careers by addressing issues of ethics, diversity, globalization, and professionalization of the field.

Navigating Change: Recommendations for Advancing Undergraduate PR Education, 2023

This Signature Report of the Commission on Public Relations Education has great import given the multiple organizational and societal recalibrations underway in the five years since the last study, and with change accelerated by the pandemic: hence our title choice, “Navigating Change.”

As with any large-scale crisis, the result is that we come out of it changed. Yet, despite the profound transformations in the work of organizations and public relations, this report reaffirms many of the key abilities expected by practitioners and taught by educators, including the continued essential value placed on writing, communication and storytelling. 

Fast Forward: Foundations and Future State. Educators and Practitioners, 2017

The 2017 CPRE Report on public relations education Is the product of three years of research in the U.S. and abroad, Reflects the work of 60 educators and practitioners who served in 16 teams as subject matter experts to provide comprehensive recommendations and best practices for public relations education introducing a 6-course standard for undergraduate education programs. The report includes:  In The Beginning: The CPRE Industry-Educator Summit; Development of The CPRE Report and 2016 Omnibus Survey; Learning Objectives; Undergraduate Curriculum; Ethics; Theory; Research; Technology; Academic Structure and Governance; Educator Credentials; Online Public Relations Education; Program Certification and Accreditation; Internships; Professional and Pre-Professional Organizations; Diversity; and Global Perspectives on Public Relations Education.

The Professional Bond, 2006

This report, like earlier reports of the Commission on Public Relations Education, presents recommendations for public relations undergraduate and graduate education. But beyond this traditional purpose, “The Professional Bond” report demonstrates, facilitates and encourages the kind of linking of public relations education and practice that is the hallmark of any profession. Based on five waves of original research, The Professional Bond  was a first CPRE report to address in detail the topics of ethics, diversity, communication technology, and distance learning among others.

A Port of Entry, 1999

With A Port of Entry, The Commission advocated for students and potential students, faculty and other academic leaders, certification and accreditation bodies and public relations practitioners to profit from the greatly improved “Port of Entry” education that the report described. Based on an original comprehensive survey and focus groups sponsored by CPRE and the National Communication Association, the report recommended courses and content of courses for undergraduate and graduate public relations studies.  A Port of Entry includes for the first time what has become known as the 5-course standard for undergraduate education. Public relations undergraduate studies should include at minimum five courses.

Design for Undergraduate Public Relations Education | 1987 Edition

This second Commission-issued report sought to improve the content of a public relations undergraduate education rather than courses. It was the first report to base its recommendations based on survey research of public relations practitioners and educators. The report proved greater depth to what the objectives of a public relations program of study should be and assumptions and commitments of a public relations curriculum. It advocated for more resources and administrative and professional support.

A Design for Public Relations Education | Published 1975

The initial milestone CPRE report, after establishing the Commission in 1973, the 1975 A Design for PR Education, introduced the Commission’s mission; made curriculum recommendations for undergraduate and graduate public relations education, specifying courses; addressed educators; the vital relationship between practitioners and educators; and the need for basic research to advance public relations practice.

CPRE Special Reports:

A First Look: An In-depth Analysis of Global Public Relations Education
This 2010 analysis of how public relations education is delivered across the globe included study of 218 educational websites in 39 countries and in-depth interviews with public relations educators in 20 countries. The emerging narratives and details provided valuable insights as to how and why public relations education is generally based on several universals and yet is often combined with local variations.* The key findings of this study are: Public relations is generally defined as a strategic function for building and maintaining relationships. Undergraduate programs are basically designed to prepare future practitioners. Curriculum frequently reflects the five-course standard suggested in the Commission of Public Relations Educations 2006 report, “The Professional Bond.” However, important cultural distinctions are often embedded within programs. Barriers to development of “the ideal public relations program” include resources, government, country culture, program structure, and inadequate or ineffective relationships with practicing professionals. Graduate programs emphasize advanced theory and strategic thinking. Researchers also found “moderate” influence by U.S. and European educational standards in other parts of the world. As a comprehensive recommendation based on the interviews, the researchers suggest the development of a virtual compendium of best practices in public relations education with continuous contributions from educators around the world.

Standards for a Master’s Degree in Public Relations: Educating for Complexity
From research conducted in 2011, this report provides recommendations for graduate-level public relations education that will benefit those going into academia and the practitioner world. Topics include recommended curriculum, admission standards, three program delivery models, and resources needed.

Philanthropy for Public Relations Education
This report presents the findings of research conducted in 2010, extending the original research of the Commission of Public Relations’ 2006 study that produced a first ever “Sampling of Major Gifts to Public Relations Education.” The purpose of both studies was to gauge the status of philanthropy in support of U.S. public relations education by identifying and documenting examples of noteworthy gifts from individuals, foundations, corporations, firms, and associations.