Those interested in pursuing a master's degree in public relations can find valuable information in this guide. In addition to the top 10 public relations programs of 2020, we offer an overview of common courses, concentrations, admission requirements, and career paths for learners in this field. We also feature an FAQ section that may help answer some of your questions right away.

What Are the Best Public Relations Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top 10:

Rank School Location
1 Georgetown University Washington, DC
2 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
3 George Washington University Washington, DC
4 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
5 University of Denver Denver, CO
6 Syracuse University Syracuse, NY
7 Florida International University Miami, FL
8 Mississippi College Clinton, MS
9 Webster University Saint Louis, MO
10 Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX

Many public relations master's degree-holders enjoy careers as public relations specialists. While a bachelor's degree prepares learners for entry-level positions in this field, a master's positions professionals for leadership and management roles.

Employers often seek out candidates with training in public relations, English, and/or communication. They may also prefer individuals who hold significant work experience.

Public relations professionals also earn above-average salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for public relations specialists was $60,000 in 2018.

How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students. Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read more about our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

2020 Best Accredited Online Master's in Public Relations Programs

Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Georgetown University

Washington, DC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 94%

Georgetown is a private institution that holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Distance students at Georgetown can pursue an online master's in public relations.

Degree-seekers need 30 credits to graduate and may enter during the fall, spring, or summer semester. This flexible program offers courses online, on campus, or in a hybrid format. Required classes include conversations in ethics, communications research, and public relations writing. Students must also finish a capstone project.

Distance students choose a focus area in cause communications, corporate communications, digital communications, or public relations. Learners can work with a variety of major companies while they complete their capstone projects, including Ogilvy, Nike, Facebook, Aramark, and Microsoft.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master's in Public Relations
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Cause communications; corporate communications; digital communications; public relations
Tuition: $1,441/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2-5 years

Delivery

Format: Online or hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (202) 687-6127
Email: ag2012@georgetown.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

2

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 90%

Located in Gainesville, UF offers an online master of arts in mass communication with a specialization in public relations. This public school is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Public relations students complete 33 credits and focus on core competencies such as brand management, public opinion and influence, and strategic communication.

Pupils complete an entirely online curriculum and engage with recorded lectures and live office hours. Core classes for public relations students include strategic writing for public relations, public relations theory, measurement and evaluation, and strategy and messaging. Degree-seekers must also complete a capstone course.

Prospective students need a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution with a 3.0 or higher GPA. Applications must include three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, GRE scores, and a current resume.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Mass Communication With a Specialization in Public Relations
School Status: Public
Tuition: $585/credit
Credit Requirements: 33 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Phone: (352) 273-3412
Email: distancesupport@jou.ufl.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

3

George Washington University

Washington, DC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 82%

GW is located in Washington, D.C. This private school holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and offers an online master's in public relations.

Offered by the School of Political Management, this degree helps prepare distance students for careers working in corporations, nonprofits, and government agencies. Required courses — such as sustainable communications, strategic marketing communications, political socialization, management issues, and ethical standards in public relations — help students understand the best public relations principles and practices for competitive careers.

Prospective students need a 3.0 or higher GPA for consideration. Applications must include professional writing samples, two letters of recommendation, a resume, a statement of purpose, and official transcripts. Applicants also need to participate in a phone interview.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master's in Strategic Public Relations
School Status: Private
Tuition: $1,315/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 18 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (202) 994-1000
Email: admissions@mha.gwu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

4

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 84%

Located about 150 miles southwest of Chicago, U of I is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The school offers several distance programs, including a 32-credit online master's in strategic brand communication that features a fully remote curriculum.

This program combines components of business, advertising, and marketing. Students earning this master of science complete courses such as promotional strategy, strategic analytics and data visualization, strategic media management, and consumer insights. Learners must also complete a capstone project before graduating.

Applications must include three letters of recommendation, a personal essay, and an application fee. Full-time students can complete this online program in 15 months.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Strategic Brand Communication
School Status: Public
Tuition: $898/credit
Credit Requirements: 32 credits
Program Length: 15 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (217) 333-2350
Email: ms-sbc@Illinois.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

5

University of Denver

Denver, CO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 77%

Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, DU is a private school located in Colorado. It offers an online master of arts in communication management with a concentration in public relations. Full-time students can complete the program in 18 months.

Learners must complete 48 quarter credits to graduate. Core classes include storytelling through research and measurement, applied critical thinking and communication, and business fundamentals for communicators. Distance students must also complete a capstone project or final portfolio.

Prospective students must submit a personal statement, resume, official transcripts, application fee, and two letters of recommendation. DU expects incoming students to possess a bachelor's degree with a 2.5 or higher GPA.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Communication Management With a Concentration in Public Relations
School Status: Private
Tuition: $34,224 total
Credit Requirements: 48 quarter credits
Program Length: 18 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact

Phone: (303) 871-4054
Email: melanie.watson@du.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

6

Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 83%

Syracuse is a private university that holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Located in Upstate New York, the school offers an online master's in communication with a specialization in public relations.

This 33-credit program best serves professionals working in public relations roles who wish to advance their careers. Full-time students complete the program in as little as 15 months. Required classes for degree-seekers include public relations theory, public relations management, public relations campaign planning and execution, and multimedia storytelling.

Interested online students must submit their official transcripts and a personal statement. Prospective learners must also participate in an online video interview. Upon completion of the program, Syracuse alums often find careers in public affairs firms, social media boutiques, nonprofit agencies, tech companies, educational institutions, and large corporations.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Communication With a Specialization in Public Relations
School Status: Private
Tuition: $1,964/credit
Credit Requirements: 33 credits
Program Length: 15 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Contact

Phone: (844) 797-2666
Email: rmluttre@syr.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

7

Florida International University

Miami, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 58%

Regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, FIU is a public institution that offers an online master's in global strategic communications with a fully online curriculum for remote learners.

This master of science requires 30 credits. In most cases, full-time students complete the program in 12 months. Required classes include global strategic communication management, theories of mass communication, and ethics and social responsibility.

Applications must include official transcripts, proof of a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 or higher GPA, and GRE scores. Prospective students should also submit two letters of recommendation, an essay describing their professional goals, and a resume.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Global Strategic Communications
School Status: Public
Tuition: $833/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 12 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Phone: (855) 782-4807
Email: onlineprograms@fiu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

8

Mississippi College

Clinton, MS Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 53%

Located in Clinton, MC is a private college that offers an online master's in communication. The school is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and serves approximately 5,000 students.

Offered through the Department of Communication, this MS program best serves students who wish to improve their marketability for a career or prepare for doctoral study. Distance students may pursue concentrations in integrated communication or professional communication in health services administration.

Online learners complete 31 credits. Required courses for the integrated communication concentration include communication research, persuasion, public relations, and process and effects of communication. Degree-seekers must also complete a convocation paper and take a written exam.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Communication
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Integrated communication - generalist; professional communication in health services
Tuition: $625/credit
Credit Requirements: 31 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online

Admission Requirements

Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Phone: (601) 925-3457
Email: fortenbe@mc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

9

Webster University

Saint Louis, MO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 59%

Webster is a private university located in Webster Groves, Missouri. The school serves approximately 14,000 students. With regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, Webster offers distance students an online master's in public relations.

The master of arts in public relations helps distance learners develop critical thinking and professional-level analysis skills commonly used in the field. Required courses include international communications, media research, public relations, and media and culture. Learners complete 36 credits and must maintain a "B-" or higher average over their first 12 credits to advance to candidacy status.

Prospective students need an undergraduate degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA, although individuals with lower GPAs may receive consideration for provisional admission. Students pay the same online tuition rate, regardless of their location.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Public Relations
School Status: Private
Tuition: $780/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact

Phone: (314) 246-7800
Email: admit@webster.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

10

Texas Tech University

Lubbock, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 60%

Founded in 1923, TTU is a public institution that serves nearly 40,000 students. With regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, TTU offers an online master's in strategic communication and innovation.

To earn this master's degree, students need to complete 30 credits. Faculty deliver classes in an asynchronous format, including classes such as communication in organizations, strategic communication in a global environment, and research methods. Popular electives include multimedia storytelling, interpersonal communication, and production of digital media content.

Prospective students must provide a personal statement, resume, writing samples, and professional references. Master's degree-seekers must also possess a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 or higher GPA. Texas residents and out-of-state online students pay the same tuition rate.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master's in Strategic Communication and Innovation
School Status: Public
Tuition: $505/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (806) 742-6500
Email: elearning@ttu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

11

Marist College

Poughkeepsie, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 83%

Marist is a private school located in Poughkeepsie, New York. The college holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and offers an online master of arts in integrated marketing communication.

This program features an entirely online curriculum focused on essential topics such as public relations, marketing research, branding strategies, and global marketing research tools. Full-time students typically complete four classes a semester and finish the program in three or four semesters.

Faculty deliver courses asynchronously. Required courses include advertising management, social media strategies, brand management, and global consumer insights. Learners must also complete an integrated marketing communication capstone project for graduation.

Prospective students must submit their undergraduate transcripts, resume, personal statement, three letters of recommendation, and an application fee.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communication
School Status: Private
Tuition: $880/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 3-4 semesters

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (845) 575-3000
Email: Contact form
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

12

Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 74%

Drexel is a private institution in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. This nonprofit university offers more than 150 remote degrees and certificates, including an online MS in communication.

The 45-credit program prepares students for a variety of specialized careers in areas including digital media, grant writing, social media, technical writing, and public relations. Distance pupils choose from online concentrations in public communication, science and health communication, or technical communication.

Competitive applicants possess a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 or higher GPA. Interested students with lower GPAs can submit their GRE scores to supplement their application. Required application documents include official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, a personal essay, and a resume.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Communication
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Public communication; science and health communication; technical communication
Tuition: $1,303/credit
Credit Requirements: 45 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 recommended
Standardized Tests: GRE optional

Contact

Phone: (877) 215-0009
Email: duonline@drexel.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

13

Concordia University - Wisconsin

Mequon, WI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 59%

Located in Mequon, CUW is a private school with regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. The university holds a religious affiliation with the Lutheran church and offers an online MBA in communication and public relations.

This MBA program focuses on critical areas for public relations professionals — especially those interested in advertising, consultancy, public image management, and corporate public relations. Upon completion of the program, graduates typically pursue careers as public relations managers, public relations specialists, and fundraising managers.

The 39-credit curriculum includes courses such as managerial economics, corporate finance, strategic management, social marketing strategies, and public speaking. Applications must include a personal statement, resume, two letters of recommendation, and official transcripts. CUW expects applicants to possess a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 or higher GPA.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Business Administration in Communication and Public Relations
School Status: Private
Tuition: $740/credit
Credit Requirements: 39 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Phone: (262) 373-8433
Email: admissions@cuw.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

14

Ball State University

Muncie, IN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 63%

Ball State is a public institution in Muncie, Indiana. The school offers more than 70 fully remote programs, including an online master's in public relations. The program offers concentrations in public relations leadership and media analytics. Learners can complete their degree entirely online or in a hybrid format.

The 33-39-credit program features a flexible schedule that full-time students can complete in five semesters. Required courses include business fundamentals and entrepreneurship in public relations, social media analytics, and mass communication research methods. Learners must also complete a capstone project.

Prospective students should possess a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution with a 3.0 or higher GPA. Applications should include a current resume, statement of purpose, transcripts, and academic or professional writing samples.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master's in Public Relations
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Public relations leadership; media analytics
Tuition: $442/credit in-state; $651/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 33-39 credits
Program Length: 5 semesters

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (765) 872-0369
Email: online@bsu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

15

California Baptist University

Riverside, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 55%

Founded in 1950, CBU is a private school in Riverside, California. This Christian university holds regional accreditation from the WASC Senior College and University Commission and serves approximately 11,500 students. CBU offers many programs to distance learners, including an online master of arts in strategic communication.

This master's program requires 30 credits. Core requirements include classes like communication ethics, social influence and persuasion, media effects on communication behavior, strategic communication programming and campaigns, and advanced communication theory. Degree-seekers also complete a capstone course and a final project that integrates theory and practical experience.

Prospective graduate students need a bachelor's degree with a 2.5 or higher GPA. Applications must include official sealed transcripts and a personal statement.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
School Status: Private
Tuition: $580/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 12 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum
Work Experience: 5 years minimum for applicants without a bachelor's degree in a related field

Contact

Phone: (951) 343-3900
Email: cbuonline@calbaptist.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

16

Quinnipiac University

Hamden, CT Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 77%

Located in Hamden, Connecticut, Quinnipiac is a private institution that holds regional accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education. The school offers several remote master's degrees, including a 36-credit online master's in public relations.

The completely online curriculum of this program helps students prepare for leadership roles in the field and covers topics such as strategic writing, branding, crisis communications, and reputation management. Required courses include law and ethics in public relations, global strategy, and public relations management. Learners must also complete a three-credit capstone project.

Quinnipiac expects applicants to possess a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 or higher GPA. Additionally, applicants should have at least three years of professional work experience. Applications must include two letters of recommendation, a current resume, a personal statement, and official transcripts.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Public Relations
School Status: Private
Tuition: $955/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: 3 years

Contact

Phone: (203) 582-8200
Email: quonlineadmissions@quinnipiac.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

17

West Virginia University

Morgantown, WV Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 60%

Located in Morgantown, WVU serves approximately 29,000 students and holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. WVU offers an online master of arts in communication studies that best serves working professionals seeking to enhance their skill set and advance in their careers.

Students must complete 36 credits to graduate. Learners take classes entirely online without any on-campus obligations. Degree-seekers complete required courses such as communication in the classroom, theory and research and persuasion, interpersonal communication, and communication training.

Competitive applicants possess a 2.75 or higher undergraduate GPA with a degree from an accredited college or university. Applicants with GPAs lower than 2.75 may receive provisional admission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Communication Studies
School Status: Public
Tuition: $631/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.75 recommended
Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Phone: (304) 293-4611
Email: wvuonline@mail.wvu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

18

Ithaca College

Ithaca, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 79%

Located in Upstate New York, IC is a private college that was founded in 1892. The school holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and offers an online master's in communications innovation. Full-time students can complete the program in 24 months.

This MS program best serves working professionals who want to develop innovative leadership skills and practical expertise. Required courses include introduction to global leadership, change management, new venture finance, consumer behavior, and media ethics and governance.

Prospective students should hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution and five or more years of professional work experience. Applications must include official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a current resume. Degree-seekers must also participate in an interview during the admissions process.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Communications Innovation
School Status: Private
Tuition: $893/credit
Credit Requirements: 32 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE
Work Experience: 5 or more years

Contact

Phone: (607) 274-3011
Email: rregan@ithaca.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

19

Montana State University Billings

Billings, MT Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 29%

With regional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, MSU Billings is a public university that serves approximately 4,400 students. The school offers an online master's in public relations through fully remote and hybrid formats.

Public relations degree-seekers need 30 credits to graduate. Required courses include communication theory, research methods, media for social change, and media criticism. Additionally, master's students must pass comprehensive exams before graduating. The program also provides for-credit, optional internships for hands-on learning.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree in communication or a related area. Prospective students must submit their GRE scores, current resume, three letters of reference, and a personal statement.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Public Relations
School Status: Public
Tuition: $698/credit in-state; $1,288/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 32 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online or hybrid (online/on-campus)
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE
Work Experience: 5 or more years

Contact

Phone: (406) 657-2888
Email: admissions@msubillings.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

20

University of Maryland Global Campus

Adelphi, MD Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 15%

UMGC is a public school located in Largo, Maryland. The university holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and provides distance students with access to many programs, including an online master of management with a specialization in public relations.

This master's program requires 36 credits. Pupils learn to evaluate the effectiveness of public relations campaigns, develop new ways of reaching target audiences, understand ethical and legal issues in the field, and further develop their writing skills. Required courses include financial decision-making, statistics for managerial decision-making, and organizational theory.

Incoming students without work experience must complete remedial introductory courses in research methods, accounting and financial management, and graduate writing. Learners need to maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA throughout the program to remain in good standing.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Management With a Specialization in Public Relations
School Status: Public
Tuition: $480/credit in-state; $659/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Online or hybrid (online/on campus)

Contact

Phone: (855) 655-8682
Email: grad.advisor@umuc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Online Master's in Public Relations Program Overview

Students who pursue an online master's in public relations take courses in communication, strategic planning, writing and research, and ethics. In doing so, they learn skills that allow them to respond effectively and ethically to job challenges.

Many online master's programs cater to the needs of professionals who already possess a job in public relations or a related field. As such, common classes tend to hone students' leadership, management, and communication skills, preparing them for career advancement.

Learners in this field typically do not pursue an additional degree beyond a master's unless they wish to seek university teaching or research positions.

Common Master's in Public Relations Degree Courses

Practice and Principles in Public Relations

This course introduces students to career paths in this area of communication. Learners also explore the management and leadership roles for professionals who serve as communication liaisons between clients and the public. Additionally, coursework covers social responsibilities and ethics.

Research in Public Relations

Students examine public attitudes and opinions, learning to shape their public relations campaign efforts. In the process, they are introduced to measurement tools and methodologies for gathering and analyzing data. Hands-on research projects are typically required.

Modes of Public Relations Writing

Students develop field-specific writing techniques and research methods that can be used to craft newsletters, social media posts, annual reports, press releases, and brochures.

Theory and Public Relations

Faculty use case studies and proven public relations models to provide students with examples of effective and ethical campaigns in the field. The class may include overviews of foundational communication theory, diversity and ethics issues in the field, and managerial aspects of professional practice.

Campaign Planning and Public Relations

Students learn the most effective practices for planning and executing a professional PR campaign. These classes often involve group projects and presentations of campaign proposals. Students generate material that could be useful in their graduation portfolio.

Related Master's in Public Relations Degree Concentrations

Corporate and Organizational Communication

This concentration serves individuals who want to work as managers, human resource professionals, project managers, or corporate business employees. Courses may cover recent public relations case studies and effective campaign strategies; communication ethics; and negotiation, facilitation, and mediation best practices.

Public Relations Management

This concentration offers students a blend of advanced studies in marketing, business, and human resources. Learners explore organizational behavior, statistical analysis, and psychology. They also complete coursework in strategic marketing, basic accounting, campaign planning, and communication theory. This specialization prepares degree-holders for management and administrative roles in industries that rely on public relations strategies.

Digital Media

Degree-seekers pursuing a concentration in digital media learn new and effective ways for businesses and organizations to create and maintain relationships with their target audiences. Course topics include digital photography and imaging, advertising in business statistics, marketing management, and introduction to graphic communication. This concentration prepares graduates for tech-heavy positions in public relations firms.

Sports Media

Learners in this concentration study sports-related case studies and the role of public relations professionals in these contexts. Master's students in this area can take on careers in sports broadcast journalism, sports public relations, sports marketing, and sports reporting.

Public Relations Leadership

This concentration focuses on developing leadership skills for professionals who wish to pursue administrative or management roles. Required courses in this concentration typically cover public relations program evaluation techniques, effective campaign strategies, and case studies that focus on digital and ethical public relations practices.

Online Master's in Public Relations Admission Requirements

  • Work Experience

    Many programs require applicants to possess 3-5 years of professional work experience. While not always a requirement for admission, work experience can set you apart from other applicants.

  • Graduate Record Exam Scores

    The GRE is not a requirement for all online master's in public relations programs. However, prospective students should research their desired programs and determine whether or not this is required.

  • Grade Point Average

    An applicant's undergraduate GPA can help admissions committees predict how well a student could perform in grad school. Many online master's in public relations programs require applicants to possess a 2.5-3.0 minimum GPA. Students should find out the minimum GPAs required by their target schools before applying.

  • Related Bachelor's Degree

    Some public relations programs expect prospective students to possess a bachelor's degree in public relations, communication, or a related field. This, however, is not always the case.

  • Letters of Recommendation

    Applications for most online master's in public relations programs require prospective students to submit two or three letters of recommendation. Recommenders should describe an applicant's quality of character and their likelihood for success in a public relations program.


Online Master's in Public Relations Career Paths

After earning an online master's in public relations, most professionals acquire mid- or senior-level positions, depending on their work history and level of experience. Entry-level jobs in the field usually require a bachelor's degree, but a master's allows professionals to pursue more senior roles.

Most professionals who work in traditional areas of the field do not need to meet licensure requirements to carry out the daily operations of their job.


Related Careers

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do with a master's in public relations?

Graduates who earn an online master's in public relations can secure positions like public relations specialists, human resources managers, sales account executives, internal communication managers, and learning and development analysts.

Do you need a master's to work in public relations?

Professionals do not usually need a master's degree to work in public relations. However, some employers may require a graduate degree for certain positions. An online master's in public relations can also set you apart from other candidates in the competitive job market, position you for leadership roles, and increase your earning potential.

How much can I make with a master's in public relations?

A graduate's pay depends on their position, location, and experience. According to the BLS, public relations specialists can expect to earn a median annual salary of $60,000. The lowest 10% of public relations specialists earn approximately $34,000 per year, while the highest 10% earn more than $112,000.

Can I get an MBA in public relations?

Distance learning students may complete an MBA in public relations, which combines practical business skills and communication theory. Learners use aspects from both disciplines to create effective public relations strategies. Students with formal training in business may also be able to diversify their job prospects upon graduation.

What do you study in a master's in public relations program?

Students pursuing an online master's in public relations can expect to take classes in communication studies, psychology, and sociology. Depending on the program, faculty may include instruction in business theory as part of a multidisciplinary approach.

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