The Professional Bond: Public Relations Education for the 21st Century is required reading for anyone who thinks that public relations professionalism matters: practitioners, educators, students and university administrators.

This new report marks the fifth time that such curriculum guidelines have been issued. It is the work of the Commission on Public Relations Education, which includes representatives of 12 professional and educational societies in the field of public relations. The Commission first published a recommended curriculum in 1975. The Institute for Public Relations – then known by another name – was a major player from the beginning.

Many scholars argue that an occupation becomes a profession only if certain conditions exist, among them:

  • a substantial body of research-based knowledge;
  • standardized education systems to help create and disseminate that knowledge;
  • a commitment to lifelong professional learning;
  • core ethical principles;
  • and a fundamental sense of responsibility, increasingly global in scope, for bettering our civil societies.

While it might seem that The Professional Bond has been developed primarily to assist educators, the Commission believes that this report will also have broad value for public relations practitioners who want a clearer picture of how universities are preparing students for entry and growth in the profession.

At the undergraduate level, the Commission recommends more emphasis on ethics and transparency, new technology, integration of messages and tools, interdisciplinary problem solving, diversity, global perspectives, research and results measurement. The report identifies specific types of knowledge and skills that should be taught, with a minimum of five courses required for a public relations major.

At the graduate level, the Commission’s research suggests more emphasis on understanding business, management and public relations as a strategic function. Specific content areas are defined for the master’s level. The report also addresses the shortage of doctoral graduates to meet needs in academe as well as practice. Keeping educators current with the practice of public relations is another core challenge.

An executive summary and the full report are available at

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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3 thoughts on “The Professional Bond

  1. I received the executive summary through IPRA and Prof. Stacks. I will read the whole report. I may write an article on it and distribute to members here in Turkey. Especially, it is of importance here when we discuss what should be an ideal pr curriculum for udergraduates and graduates.  Thank you for the complete information.

  2. The Commission and the Institute should be very proud of the report.  It is very broad based and encouraging. It covers areas that are current and those we need to address in the future. I’m glad they did not wait until the original “time scheduled.”

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