Department of Communications

COMM seniors earn certificate in principles of public relations

PRSSA seniors

Three seniors at California State University Fullerton have passed the Certificate in Principles of Public Relations Examination through the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB), which includes nine participating public relations professional organizations. The Certificate in Principles of Public Relations is an entry-level certificate designed to demonstrate a fundamental level of knowledge for graduates entering the public relations profession. 

The California State University Fullerton students are: Grace Granados (pictured above, right), Yvonne Luu (pictured above, left) and Hannah Ogren (not pictured).

"The Certificate in Principles of Public Relations gives these emerging professionals a competitive edge in the job market," said Ken Hagihara, CSUF lecturer and PRSSA faculty advisor. "It distinguishes each of them as a rising professional among their peers by validating their understanding of the core elements of strategic communication and the real-world application of important concepts.”

“It (the certificate) will just make you that much more marketable," says Granados. "I don’t have a lot of hands-on PR, so pursuing the certificate was worth it.”

Granados, Luu and Ogren are the first in CSUF program history to pass the test and earn this certificate.

" To know that I’m the first CSUF alum to receive the certificate makes this accomplishment much more rewarding! It’s exciting to be a pioneer for the program," says Luu. "But I’m more grateful CSUF offered this opportunity just as I was wrapping up my senior year, allowing me feel more confident about entering the workforce upon graduation. I hope us paving the way for this program at CSUF motivates future PR seniors to pursue the certification and reassures them it’s well worth the investment for their career."

 The UAB administers several programs to promote lifelong learning in the public relations profession, including Accreditation in Public Relations (APR), a designation earned by professionals that demonstrates competency in the knowledge, skills and abilities required to practice public relations effectively and strategically. The Certificate helps set the stage for students to think about the APR and other opportunities to grow as a professional through the course of their career.

To qualify for the Certificate examination, students must (a) be within six months of graduation (before or after) from an accredited college or university whose degree is in public relations or a related area of study; AND (b) be members or affiliate members of the Public Relations Student Society of America or student member of another UAB Participating Organization, such as the Florida Public Relations Association or the Southern Public Relations Federation; AND (c) complete a campus-based Certificate preparatory course or the Certificate in Principles of Public Relations Online Study Course.

Examination topics include strategic planning (research, planning, implementation and evaluation process), media relations, communication models and theories, information technology, and ethics and laws. Each student takes the examination on their own schedule at a testing center. 

“The classes here at CSUF really prepared me for this test," says Luu. “It was nice coming out of the capstone class right after graduation and then going into this program because everything’s completely fresh. In the classroom you’re applying everything that you’ve learned about PR and then you get to apply that knowledge to this exam.” 

“It says a lot about the program here," Granados added. "It says a lot about the teachers here – what they know and how they teach you.  Teachers here invest in you as a person and invest in you as a professional.” 

More information about the Certificate and the UAB is available at

The Public Relations Student Society of America ( is the foremost organization for students interested in public relations and communications. Founded in 1968 by its parent organization, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), PRSSA includes more than 11,000 student members and advisers, and is active at more than 340 colleges and universities