PhD in Public Relations: Online and Campus-Based Programs

Students with effective communication skills and a master's degree in communication or a field related to public relations may be interested in Ph.D. programs in public relations. Keep reading to learn about online and campus programs, including prerequisites and common classes. Schools offering Public Relations degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Can I Earn a Ph.D. in Public Relations?

Though such programs are not common, doctoral study and research in public relations is available at the Ph.D. level through campus-based programs in communication. Online programs are not an option. You may get to choose public relations as a special concentration within the program, or you can select a related area of study, such as strategic communication, public affairs or issue management. You may also be able to find a program that allows you to focus your study as it relates to a particular industry, such as health care. Some of these programs are interdisciplinary, allowing you to tailor your coursework to fit your particular educational needs.

Degree Overview Public relations doctoral study possible through communication degree programs
Admission Requirements Master's degree, GRE scores, personal goal statement, letters of recommendation
Common Courses Research techniques, intercultural communication, organizational communication, interpersonal communication
Concentration Areas Public relations, strategic communication, issue management
Median Salary (2018)$60,000* (for public relations specialist)
Job Outlook (2016-26)9%* (for all public relations specialists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Prerequisites?

You'll need a master's degree for admission into the program. GRE scores and transcripts are also usually required. It may not be necessary for your degree to be in communication, but, if that's the case, you'll probably need to take other coursework in addition to what's required to earn a Ph.D. Other requirements may include a listing of professional experiences, a personal goal statement and letters of recommendation. You may also be asked to state your research interests.

What Will I Learn?

As part of your core coursework requirements, you will learn research techniques and take courses in various types of communication. For example, interpersonal communication often studies the dynamics involved in communication between family members, friends and employees. A course in organizational communication may look at the dynamics between employment and management in the workplace. Other areas of instruction include small group and intercultural communication, as well the study of rhetorical traditions.

What you will go on to study upon completion of these courses depends on your chosen focus area. A public relations or issue management track will often include study in the different methods used to promote strong communication and relationships between organizations. A related area of study, such as strategic communication, may focus more on identifying and solving the problems inherent in communication while learning the structures and methods used in creating a persuasive message. Research and the presentation of a dissertation are also required.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • Walden University

    Walden University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Walden University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • Liberty University

    Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Liberty University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • Harvard University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Cambridge
  • University of Pennsylvania

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia
  • Duke University

    Campus Locations:

    • North Carolina: Durham
  • University of Notre Dame

    Campus Locations:

    • Indiana: Notre Dame
  • Stanford University

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Stanford
  • Vanderbilt University

    Campus Locations:

    • Tennessee: Nashville