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Political Communication Certification Program (POCO)

political figures collage

The Scripps College of Communication and the College of Arts and Sciences jointly sponsor a certificate in political communication (POCO) for students who wish to supplement their undergraduate majors with an inquiry into the arena of political communication. Political communication encompases the interactions of political figures, political interests, the press, and the public in their efforts to persuade and influence political outcomes. The program is open to any undergraduate student in the University.

POCO Curriculum

All POCO students take POCO 2010: Introduction to Political Communication and POCO 4010: Seminar in Political Communication. To complete the certificate, students take 15 hours of electives from departments including the School of Communication Studies, the Department of Economics, the Department of History, the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism, the Department of Linguistics, the School of Media Arts and Studies, the Department of Philosophy, the Department of Political Science, the Department of Psychology, and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. For a full list of electives, please see the POCO Certificate Program page in the Undergraduate Catalog.

POCO Careers

POCO students pursue a range of careers in government and public affairs. Representative positions include:

  • Campaign Manager
  • Communications Director
  • Communications and Outreach Manager
  • Legislative Aide
  • Legislative Associate
  • Lobbyist
  • Press Secretary
  • Public Affairs Reporter
  • Public Relations Associate
  • Teacher

Here’s what recent graduates say about their experience with POCO:

  • Kevin Zeigler (2007): “The benefit from the POCO program is two-fold. As a voter I have gained insight into campaign strategies which help me make informed decisions. As a public relations professional, I gained confidence in my ability to communicate in political arenas.” Currently: Senior Public Relations Associate for the Cleveland Clinic.
  • Britney Grimmelsman (2010): “The POCO program encouraged me to think on such a deeper strategic level – tying together different facets of expertise from policy to psychology to marketing.” Currently: Communications Manager for a venture capital firm.
  • Aaron Westendorf (2012): “The POCO curriculum allowed me to utilize my creativity when it came to the research, writing and design of my project—the staff allowed me to do much more than just a typical term paper.” Currently: Manager of Media & Digital Communications for the U.S. Hockey League.
  • Margaret Clark (2014): “The POCO program provided me with a theoretical framework for understanding and evaluating the communicative practices of politicians and communicative practices within the political process as a whole. The multidisciplinary nature of the POCO program also allowed me to look at sociological and psychological aspects of political communication.” Currently: pursuing a Masters in Public Administration at Ohio University.
  • Jacqueline Runion (2014): “I was able to immerse myself in speech, political communication history and technique and political writing that I could take to my career.” Currently: Education Reporter for the Marietta Times.

How Do I Earn a Certificate in Political Communication?

Students interested in completing the Political Communication Certificate should contact Dr. Jerry Miller, the Director of the POCO Program to complete the Application For Update of Program(s) Form that is to be submitted to your college office. It is always a good idea to discuss this option with your academic advisor as the program requirements will appear on your DARs Report.

POCO certificate declaration form [PDF] 

Director of the POCO Program

Dr. Jerry Miller
Professor, Associate Director for Undergraduate Studies 
School of Communication Studies
420Schoonover Center
(740) 593-4831