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  • Tuition Fee:
  • Local: n/a
  • Foreign: $ 57.3k / 1 year
  • Languages of instruction:
  • English
  • Deadline:
  • 15 November 2016
  • StudyQA ranking:
  • 1041pts.
  • Duration:
  • 4 years

    Photos of university / #cuboulder

    Advertising, Public Relations and Media Design (APRD) strives to produce leaders in the area of strategic communication who have mastered a design-thinking process grounded in analytical and creative thought. We believe in amplifying our students’ curiosity, increasing their tolerance for risk and adventurous thinking and encouraging them to look at life and a career with an entrepreneur’s eye for opportunity. APRD is committed to providing students the necessary tools and techniques to think critically, adapt, create and above all lead in a rapidly changing media world.

    Our goal is to help students acquire the kind of in-depth expertise in at least one area of strategic communication and design that will enable them to generate ideas and solve problems for a variety of organizations, including but not limited to ad agencies, PR firms, publishing and design firms, nonprofits, start-ups and personal ventures. We produce graduates who are forward-looking and have a deep interest in and knowledge of diverse cultures both within the United States and throughout the world.

    The Department of Advertising, Public Relations and Media Design actively encourages students to enroll in courses offered both within and outside CMCI. Similarly, many of our courses are open to students in other units on the grounds that the design-thinking process can be used to solve problems in a wide variety of disciplines.

    Bachelor’s Degree in Strategic Communication

    “Strategic Communication” is an umbrella term covering all three undergraduate tracks offered by the department. The tracks from which students are free to choose are (1) Media Design, (2) Advertising and (3) Public Relations.

    Each track requires 40 credit hours, comprised of the 15-hour departmental Core Curriculum and 25 hours of specialized course work. The courses of specialized studies include “Strategic Communication Campaigns,” a 4-hour capstone course completed in the student’s final year.

    Required Courses and Semester Credit Hours 

    APRD Core Curriculum

    To complete the department core requirement, students take:

    1st semester:

    • APRD 1000: Idea Industries (3 hours)

    2nd semester:

    • APRD 1001: Creative Concepts (3 hours)
    • APRD 1002: Introduction to Branding and Strategy (3 hours)

     Anytime after 2nd semester:

    • Strategic Communication Law and Professional Ethics (3 hours)
    • APRD 4931: Internship (anytime after 3rd semester: at least 3 hours)

    Media Design

    Media Design consists of three required courses (9 hours), four electives taken from the general APRD course list (12 hours) and the capstone campaign course taken in the final year (3 hours + 1 hour of lab/workshop = 4 hours). All media design students are also required to maintain an online portfolio of their work. A portfolio review is required for graduation.

    3rd semester:

    • APRD 2003: Fundamentals of Design (3 hours) 

    4th semester:

    • APRD 3000: Intermediate Creative Concepts (3 hours)
    • APRD 3001: Intermediate Design Concepts (3 hours)

    4rd through 8th semesters:

    EITHER four electives offered by APRD under the Media Design track, OR one of two suggested pathways:

    1. Creative Advertising: APRD 3100 Design for Digital Media OR APRD 3102 Writing for Digital Media (3 hours); Portfolio 1 (3 hours); Portfolio 2 (3 hours); and 1 elective under Media Design track.

    2. General Design: APRD 3100 Design for Digital Media (3 hours); User Centered Design  OR Interaction Design and Design Psychology (3 hours); Design Portfolio (3 hours); and 1 electives under Media Design track.

    General Electives: Design History; Design Research; Information Visualization; The Entrepreneurial Mindset; Leadership: Styles and Situations; Imagining Futures.

    Media Design Electives: Design for Digital Media; Writing for Digital Media; Web Design and Information Architecture; Designing Mobile Apps; Game Design; Motion Design; Package Design; Designing Brand Experiences; Interaction Design; Human Factors and Design Psychology; Designing User Experience (prerequisite: Interaction Design OR Human Factors and Design Psychology); Advanced Graphic Design (Grad/Undergrad) (prerequisite: Design for Digital Media).

    Strategic Advertising

    Strategic advertising consists of four required courses (12 hours), three electives taken from the general APRD course list (9 hours) and the capstone campaign course taken in the final year (4 hours). All advertising students are also required to maintain a portfolio of their work, preferably online. A portfolio review is required for graduation.

    3rd semester:

    • APRD 2000: Principles of Advertising (3 hours)

    4th through 8th semesters:

    • APRD 3003: Research Methods for Creative Strategists (3 hours; this course is a prerequisite for Strategy Design)
    • APRD 3002: Communication Platforms (3 hours)
    • Strategy Design (3 hours) 

    EITHER 3 electives offered under the Advertising track OR one of two suggested pathways:

    1. Media Planning: Advanced Media Planning (3 hours); Brand Analytics and Metrics (3 hours), and one elective under Advertising track. 

    2. Account Planning and Management: Account Management (3 hours); Creative Process for Strategists; (3 hours); and one elective under Advertising track.

    General Electives: Branding and Popular Culture; History of Advertising and PR; Branding for a Multicultural World; Global Brands; Sustainable Branding Practices; Sports and Entertainment Branding; Branding for Nonprofits.

    Advertising Electives: Brand Management Principles; Brand Relationships and Psychology; The Art of Negotiation; Brand Experiences; Curiosity for Strategists; Consumer Psychology and Emerging Media; Cultural Engineering; Brand Development and Gaming; Quantitative Methods for Creative Strategists.

    7th and 8th semesters:

    • Capstone Strategic Communication Campaign (3 hours + 1 hour lab/workshop = 4 hours)

    Public Relations

    Students pursuing the Public Relations track take three required courses (9 hours), four electives (12 hours) and a capstone strategic communication campaign (4 hours). All PR students are required to maintain a portfolio of their work, preferably online. A portfolio review is required for graduation.

    3rd semester:

    • APRD 2002: Introduction to Public Relations  (3 hours, required)

    4th through 7th semesters:

    • APRD 3003: Research Methods for Creative Strategists (3 hours, required)

    • APRD 3103: Strategic Writing for Public Relations (3 hours, required)

    4th through 8th semesters:

    Four electives offered under the Public Relations track:

    General Electives: Persuasion (COMM 3320); Organizational Communication (COMM 2600); Public Speaking (COMM 1300); Argumentation and Advocacy (COMM 3310); PR and Society; History of Advertising and Public Relations; Social Media Strategies; PR Law and Ethics.

    Public Relations Electives: Strategic Relationship Building; Strategic Planning and Case Studies; Public Diplomacy; Nonprofit PR; Crisis Communication; Healthcare and Behavior Change; Governmental PR; Corporate Finance and Investor Relations; PR Metrics and Analytics; Sports PR; Special Topics in PR.

    7th and 8th semesters:

    • Capstone Strategic Communication Campaign (3 hours + 1 hour lab/workshop = 4 hours)

    USA requirements for international students

    Each university in the Unites States of America sets its own admission standards so there isn't the same criteria for all the students and the university can decide which applicants meet those standards. The fee for each application is between $35 to $100. 

    After the selections of the universities you want to attend, the best of all would be to contact each university for an application form and more admission information for the international students. Moreover, for a graduate or postgraduate program it's necessary to verify the admission requirements. Some programs require that you send your application directly to their department. 

    Admissions decisions are based on students's academic record and different test scores, such as TOEFL, the SAT or ACT (for undergraduate programs) and GRE or GMAT (for graduate programs). Admission decision is based on your academic results and motivation.

    University requirements

    Program requirements


    • Online application for admission 
    • $50 nonrefundable ($70 U.S. for international students) application fee, payable online (if sending a check or money order, make payable to the University of Colorado; print student’s name and date of birth on check)
    • Official high school transcript
    • Official college transcripts (if applicable)
    • SAT or ACT test scores (if applicable)
    • Personal essays
    • Letter of recommendation
    • TOEFL iBT 80, IELTS 6.5


    • International students are eligible for a few merit-based CU Boulder scholarships, but must submit official ACT or SAT scores as part of the application to be considered.
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