Strategic Communications and Public Relations Certificate Program

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About Strategic Communications and Public Relations

Strategic communication is the total effort of an organization to inform, motivate, and connect with its various audiences. As social media and the immediacy of digital media takes over the news cycle, understanding how an organization is perceived by its internal and external audiences is essential for success. To communicate effectively with an audience, it is imperative to understand how messages are created and framed, how people respond to messages, and how to best employ communication strategies to advance organizational goals.

CEPE’s fully online Strategic Communications and Public Relations Certificate program offers a combination of hands-on strategy, real-life case studies, PR writing best practices, and lectures from local PR professionals. Participants will learn a comprehensive strategic PR process for research, planning, implementation, and evaluation, and gain a foundational understanding of new ethics and the legal aspects of public relations. Modern PR skills are more vital than ever, and advanced PR knowledge is expected and sought after regardless of role or industry, making these skills critical for a variety of careers.

Certificate Snapshot


Twice a year (Winter & Summer)


Four, 4-week courses. The program can be completed in as little as five months but must be completed within three years.


Full certificate cost: $2,196

Course Schedule     Register Now

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I learned SO many new things -- how to prepare for, approach, and respond to PR crisis scenarios; researching target demographics to craft the right message and message medium; writing press releases and strategic communications plans. I'm using a lot of what I learned in my day to day work and my performance is better because of it.

- Adrienne Schutte

Who Should Attend

Any professional who is responsible for brand management, corporate communications, brand visibility, or community outreach and wishes to possess the skills necessary to strategically uphold an organization’s reputation across all digital and traditional channels.

What You’ll Learn

Upon completion of this program, students will have gained the knowledge to:

  • Define and apply key ideas in the field of strategic communications;
  • Build a well-developed strategic PR plan;
  • Effectively and ethically communicate with target audiences and stakeholders;
  • Apply SEO to PR/media relations campaigns;
  • Identify key aspects of crisis communications planning.

4 Required Certificate Courses

Courses may be taken individually and in any order unless otherwise noted.
If pursuing the certificate, all courses in the certificate program must be completed within three years. A recommended sequence is below.

  • PR403: Writing for PR
    • Develop basic PR writing techniques and producing tools such as news releases and media kits. This course also explores techniques for effective media pitching.
  • PR404: Crisis Communications & Image Management
    • This course focuses on developing communication strategies for dealing with crisis situations and presents a variety of different types of crises that may occur.