student working on an ad

 

The bachelor’s degree in strategic communication is divided into three tracks: advertisingmedia design and public relations.

Each track requires 34 credit hours, comprised of the 19-hour departmental core curriculum including a 4-hour capstone course completed in the final year and 15 hours of specialized course work.

APRD Core Curriculum

To complete the department core requirement, students take:

First semester:

  • APRD 1000 Idea Industries—3 credit hours

Second semester:

  • APRD 1001 Introduction to Creative Concepts—3 

  • APRD 1002 Introduction to Brand Strategy—3

Any time after second semester:

  • JRNL 3651 Journalism Law and Ethics—3

Any time after third semester:

  • APRD 4931 internship—at least 3 credit hours

Seventh and eighth semesters:

  • APRD 4403 Capstone Strategic Communication Campaign—3 credit hours plus 1 hour lab/workshop. Total of 4 credit hours

 

Track Curriculum (21 hours)

As a student of strategic communication you choose to specialize in one of these three areas and must follow the track curriculum to complete your degree:

Advertising consists of two required courses and three electives totaling 15 credit hours.

Third semester:

  • APRD 2001 Principles of Advertising—3 credit hours

Fourth through eighth semesters:

One of the following as a required course.

  • APRD 3002 Communication Platforms—3
  • APRD 3003 Strategic Communication Research Methods —3
  • APRD 3004 Account Management—3

Three electives offered under the advertising track or one of three suggested pathways:

Account Management

  • Account Management—3
  • Communication Platforms—3
  • Strategic Communication Research Methods—3
  • Strategic Communication Analytics—3

Account Planning

  • Strategic Communication Research Methods—3
  • Curiosity for Strategists OR Brands and Culture—3
  • Sustainable Brand Practices—3
  • Qualitative Research Methods—3

Media Planning

  • Communication Platforms—3
  • Content Strategy and User Engagement—3
  • Media Planning—3
  • Strategic Communication Analytics—3

Advertising Electives: 

  • Account Management—3
  • APRD Field Study in Strategic Communication (1—3 credits variable)
  • Brands and Culture—3
  • Communication Platforms—3
  • Content Strategy and User Engagement—3
  • Curiosity for Strategists—3
  • History of Advertising—3
  • Media Planning—3
  • Principles of Design—3
  • Principles of Public Relations—3
  • Qualitative Research Methods—3
  • Strategic Communication Analytics—3
  • Strategic Communication Research Methods—3
  • Sustainable Brand Practices—3

Media Design consists of two required courses and three electives totaling 15 credit hours. All media design students are also required to maintain an online portfolio of their work. A portfolio review is required for graduation.

Third semester:

  • APRD 2003 Principles of Design—3 credit hours

Fourth through eighth semesters:

One of the following as a required course.

  • APRD 3000 Intermediate Creative Concepts—3
  • APRD 3001 Intermediate Design Concepts—3

Three electives offered under the media design track or one of three suggested pathways:

Copywriting

  • Intermediate Creative Concepts—3
  • Story Design I—3
  • Story Design II—3
  • Advertising Portfolio I and II – by review—3 to 6

Art Direction

  • Intermediate Creative Concepts—3
  • Intermediate Design Concepts—3
  • Design for Digital—3
  • Advertising Portfolio I and II – by review—3 to 6

Design

  • Intermediate Design Concepts—3
  • Design for Digital—3
  • Branding Systems/Identity Systems—3
  • Design Portfolio I and II – by review—3 to 6

Media Design Electives: 

  • Advertising Portfolio I—3 (by review)
  • Advertising Portfolio II—3 (by review)
  • Branding Systems/Identity Systems—3
  • Design for Digital—3
  • Design Portfolio I—3 (by review)
  • Design Portfolio II –3 (by review)
  • Design for Social Innovation—3
  • Intermediate Creative Concepts—3
  • Intermediate Design Concepts—3
  • Principles of Advertising—3
  • Principles of Public Relations—3
  • Story Design I—3
  • Story Design II—3

Public Relations consists of three required courses and two electives totaling 15 credit hours.

Third semester:
  • APRD 2002 Introduction to Public Relations—3 credit hours

Fourth through eighth semesters:

One of the following as a required course.

  • APRD 3003 Strategic Communication Research Methods—3

  • APRD 3103 Strategic Writing for Public Relations— 3 

Two electives offered under the public relations track 

  • Crisis Communication— 3
  • Social Media Strategies for PR—3
  • Strategic Communication Analytics—3
  • Strategic Planning and Cases in PR—3
  • Strategic Relationship Building—3

 

Undergraduate Course Offerings

The following are Advertising, Public Relations and Media Design undergraduate courses. Please see an advisor if you have any questions. See the course catalog for the most updated listing of courses.

APRD 1000 Idea Industries
Explores creative and strategic thinking and the many industries involved in creating brand communication as well as these industries growing interdependence in a changing media landscape. Considers technology's impact and the effect of commercial culture on an increasingly diverse society.

3 credit hours

APRD 1001 Creative Concepts
Introduces students to a disciplined process that is used to create innovative solutions across commercial communication fields. The course emphasizes approaches to problem identification and solutions that combine research and human insight with a variety of creative thinking techniques. Topics include need finding, structured brainstorming, rapid sketching, storytelling and visual communication. Similar to JOUR 3453.

Requires a prerequisite course of APRD 1000 or JOUR 2403 (minimum grade D-). Restricted to Strategic Communication (STCM) majors only.

3 credit hours

APRD 1002 Introduction to Branding Strategy
Designed to help students acquire a basic understanding of brand and brand culture. Emphasis on theories and practical problems to learn effective ways of building a strong brand strategy. This encompasses every facet of making strategic decisions for a brand, including understanding the content a consumer requires, how the consumer will come in contact with the brand, and what is the goal of the relationship between consumer and content. Similar to JOUR 3403.

Requires a prerequisite course of APRD 1000 or JOUR 2403 (minimum grade D-). Restricted to Strategic Communication (STCM) majors only.

3 credit hours

APRD 2000 Principles of Advertising
Explores the practice of advertising from a variety of viewpoints including advertisers, agencies and the public. Students will examine advertising via successful campaigns for some of the world's most iconic brands. Topics include history and evolution of the industry, the process of creating ideas in a multi-disciplinary world and the challenge of advertising to act ethically and responsibly within society. Similar to JOUR 2403.

Requires prerequisite courses of APRD 1001 and APRD 1002 (all minimum grade D-). Restricted to Strategic Communication (STCM) majors only.

3 credit hours

APRD 2002 Principles of Public Relations
Overview of public relations practice and theory including history, media channels and relations, legal and ethical concerns, international and diverse perspectives, and career options. Similar to JOUR 4272.

Requires prerequisite courses of APRD 1001 and APRD 1002 (all minimum grade D-). Restricted to Strategic Communication (STCM) majors only.

3 credit hours

APRD 2003 Principles of Design
Provides a comprehensive survey of the ideas, events, and individuals that determined the design of information, objects, culture, and commerce across societies. Students will examine the social, political and cultural contexts that have shaped media design and the ideologies and relationships of similar movements in art and architecture.

Requires prerequisite courses of APRD 1001 and APRD 1002 (all minimum grade D-). Restricted to Strategic Communication (STCM) majors only.

3 credit hours

APRD 3000 Intermediate Creative Concepts
Explores both strategic and creative thinking and examines approaches to narrative storytelling as a tool for telling overarching brand stories. Students use the foundation to develop creative briefs and advertising campaigns. Instructor consent required. Similar to JOUR 3503.

Requires a prerequisite course of APRD 2003 or APRD 2003 (minimum grade D-). Requires a corequisite course of APRD 3001. Restricted to Strategic Communication (STCM) majors only.

3 credit hours

APRD 3001 Intermediate Design Concepts
Students are introduced to design elements and principles as well as research and visual storytelling. They are challenged to communicate intellectual, sensory and emotional concepts by learning a visual vocabulary of type, color, and form expressed in a variety of mediums and dimensions. Similar to JOUR 4513.

Requires a prerequisite course of APRD 2003 or APRD 2003 (minimum grade D-). Requires a corequisite course of APRD 3000. Restricted to Strategic Communication (STCM) majors only.

3 credit hours

APRD 3002 Communication Platforms
Explores cross-channel media consumption (television, print, radio, Internet, product placement, word-of-mouth, etc.) and developing evaluative techniques to choose media that will most effectively implement a brand strategy; allows students to learn how to utilize different forms of media in the context of integrated brand communication. Similar to JOUR 3463.

Requires a prerequisite course of APRD 2000 or JOUR 3403 (minimum grade D-). Restricted to Strategic Communication (STCM) majors only.

3 credit hours

APRD 3003 Research Methods for Creative Strategists
Provides an opportunity to use and master quantitative and qualitative research methods. Students conduct research and analyze data to determine the target’s relationship with specific product categories and identify the emotional and practical needs that create brand relationships. Similar to JOUR 4533.Requires a prerequisite course of APRD 2000 or JOUR 3403 (minimum grade D-). Restricted to Strategic Communication (STCM) majors only.

3 credit hours

APRD 3004 Account Management
Examines managerial and decision making processes of advertising and related brand communication functions. Emphasis on determining opportunities, integrating with other elements of the promotion mix, setting objectives, establishing budgets, and measuring advertising and communication effectiveness.

Requires a prerequisite course of APRD 2000 or JOUR 3403 (minimum grade D-). Restricted to Strategic Communication (STCM) majors only.

3 credit hours

APRD 3100 Design for Digital Media
Explores how to create and produce effective and engaging designs for dynamic information across a variety of screens while maintaining brand identity. Extending the design principles learned in previous classes, the student will concept for user interfaces (UI) and navigational frameworks that optimize usability, accessibility.

Requires prerequisite courses of APRD 3000 and APRD 3001 or JOUR 3503 (all minimum grade D-). Restricted to Strategic Communication (STCM) majors only.

3 credit hours

APRD 3102 Writing for Digital Media
Explores the development of interactive concepts that meet the strategic brief's brand objectives. Emphasis is placed first on developing strong digital ideals. Students also master the styles appropriate for different digital media and then use those skills.

Requires prerequisite courses of APRD 3000 and APRD 3001 or JOUR 3503 (all minimum grade D-). Restricted to Strategic Communication (STCM) majors only.

3 credit hours

APRD 3103 Strategic Writing for Public Relations
Writing for multiple media platforms using journalistic styles and storytelling skills with an emphasis on ethical relationship building.

Requires a prerequisite course of APRD 2003 (minimum grade D-). Restricted to Strategic Communication (STCM) majors only.

4 credit hours

APRD 4403 Advertising Campaigns
Gives students the opportunity to work in small groups to develop material for an actual client. Examines basic principles of group dynamics and effective teamwork while conducting research, developing strategies and creating a multimedia campaign. All work is presented to the client.

Requires prerequisite course of APRD 3000, ARPD 3001, JOUR 3503 or JOUR 3463(minimum grade D-). Restricted to Strategic Communication (STCM) majors only with a minimum of 85 hours.

4 credit hours

APRD 4453 Advertising and Society
Examines criticisms and contributions of advertising in society and the economy. Same as APRD 5453.

Restricted to College of Media, Communication, and Information (CMCI) students with a minimum of 73 hours taken.

3 credit hours

APRD 4503 Portfolio 1
Enhances student conceptual abilities and generates both print and integrated multimedia campaigns. Students work in teams to develop an extensive body of work that's exhibited in an awards show judged by advertising professionals. Instructor consent required.

Requires a prerequisite course of APRD 3000 or JOUR 3503 (minimum grade D-). Restricted to Strategic Communication (STCM) majors only.

3 credit hours

APRD 4523 Portfolio 2
Gives students an opportunity to develop an extensive body of work. Students create integrated campaigns, which include print, digital and guerilla ideas. Final portfolios are critiqued by both faculty and outside reviewers. Instructor consent required.

Requires a prerequisite course of APRD 4503/JOUR 4503 (minimum grade D-). Restricted to Strategic Communication (STCM) majors only.

3 credit hours

APRD 4543 Strategic Brand Management
Examines the theory of branding: what brands are, how brands are created and measured, as well as strategies for managing brands and brand communication.

Requires prerequisite course of APRD 3002 or JOUR 3463 (minimum grade D-). Restricted to Strategic Communication (STCM) or Advertising (ADVT-BSJR or JADV-BSJR) or Marketing (MKTG) majors only with 57-180 credits (juniors or seniors).

3 credit hours

APRD 4841 Undergraduate Independent Study
1-4 credit hours

APRD 4873 Special Topics
Restricted to Strategic Communication (STCM) majors only with 57-180 credits (juniors or seniors)

1-3 credit hours

APRD 4931 Internship
1-6 credit hours

Need help or still have questions?

View the advising page for more information on applying, or contact CMCI Advisors via email.

CMCI Advisors
Armory 1B12 (Student Resource Center)
College of Media, Communication and Information
Boulder, CO 80309-0478