Certified Public Communicator® Program

The Certified Public Communicator® Program at TCU is a post-baccalaureate, graduate-level residential program for two summers (one week each in summer 1 and summer 2), plus a two-day winter session with strategic communication professors from TCU’s Department of Strategic Communication, the Bob Schieffer College of Communication and other experts and professionals.

The Certified Public Communicator® Program at TCU offers leadership training and rigorous post-baccalaureate education for public information managers and communication professionals working for cities, counties, school districts, and other public-sector, non-partisan agencies and organizations. With the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers as the founding partner, the program encompasses the complexities, challenges, and importance of public communication to residents and other stakeholders. Other partners include the National Association of County Information Officers, the Texas School Public Relations Association, and the City-County Communication and Marketing Association.

The cost for the 95-hour program in 2023—including tuition, some meals and course materials—was $3,450. Housing for out-of-town participants is an additional cost and is arranged through a group rate at TCU’s Hyatt Place. Learn more about the program’s new application process.

What You’ll Learn

The Certified Public Communicator® Program builds successful and ethical leaders through experiential learning, strategic communication plan-building, theoretical instruction, case studies and other interactive instruction led by CPC faculty members, as well as proven and engaging leaders from the public sector.

Students graduate from the program with three-year communication plans and policies for their organizations, which are put into action during the year with time for testing and revisions before graduation. In addition, students work with their professional cohort of colleagues, attend keynote presentations with other communication professionals and engage in a year-long process of professional growth and goal-setting. Organizations that send their managers and communicators to the program receive tested communication plans including social media policies, research-based strategies and tactics, crisis communication plans and more.

Associate Professor Amiso George teaches a CPC class.

Strategic Communication Professor Amiso George during CPC.

Course Content

Subject areas for the first summer will be theory-focused, with the second summer’s focus on application. Both summers will present an integrated communication approach that is infused with ethics and public affairs perspectives. Tuition for the program includes all of the instructional time below.

Summer 1

One week; 40 hours of in-class instruction at TCU

Three approaches to public communication will be presented: Public relations, advertising, and marketing theory. Instruction will include reputation management, media relations, crisis communication, internal communication, channels, metrics, digital media, branding, audiences, and customer relations. Tying these areas together will be discussion of the strategic communication plan, which will be assigned to participants. Students would submit a plan outline and a schedule for enacting discussion, approval, and use of the plan before the midwinter session.

Midwinter

Two days; 15 hours of in-class instruction at TCU or an online option, if needed

Students will submit and discuss outlines and a schedule for strategic communication plans before the midwinter session. (This is a two-day program in January. All instruction, two meals, and course materials will be provided, as part of the overall tuition.)

Summer 2

One week; 40 hours of in-class instruction at TCU

Students will submit their final drafts of communication plans before returning to campus for Summer 2. Enactment strategies, revisions to plans, and measurement will serve as the focus, along with further instruction covering practice/application on these topics: crisis communication, change management, listening, law, and storytelling. Students participate in a crisis tabletop exercise, and there’s a formal graduation ceremony at the end of the program.