Schools for Public Relations

Get info on the types of schools that offer public relations programs and how to find them. Learn more about certificate, associate's degree and bachelor's degree programs in public relations or related fields, as well as master's degree programs. Explore some of the course topics you'd study as a PR student. Review voluntary certification options for public relations professionals. Schools offering Public Relations degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Degrees in public relations are offered at all different levels, from certificate, associate and bachelor programs to master degree programs. See which program is right for you with this article, which will explore online and on-campus program offerings, licensing requirements and program content.

How Can I Find a Public Relations School?

Depending on their operating policy, a school will offer courses leading to a degree in public relations through a department or school of communications, business or journalism. You can also find stand-alone public relations courses in community colleges or through a school of continuing studies.

In addition to on-campus programs, many schools afford you the opportunity to earn your degree entirely online or through a hybrid program. In a hybrid program, the school requires you to complete part of your program in person, while other coursework can be done online.

National organizations, such as the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), often recommend public relations programs that meet specific professional criteria. The PRSSA also offers student chapters at universities in all 50 states.

What Type of Undergraduate Programs are Offered?

Certificates in public relations are available at community colleges and some 4-year schools as well. Certificate programs typically consist of 12-18 credit hours with courses in the principles and functions of public relations, public relations writing, tactics, tools, strategy and ethics. At most schools, credits earned in a certificate program can be applied toward an associate's degree.

Although you may qualify for an entry-level position in the field if you hold an associate's degree in public relations, some schools design their associate's degree programs in public relations to be transferable to a 4-year school. You are prepared in these programs to earn a bachelor's degree in public relations, mass media or communications. In addition to courses common to a certificate program, subjects covered in an associate's degree program can include microeconomics, media writing, marketing and advertising.

You can often choose to major or concentrate in public relations when you pursue a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree in fields such as leadership and management, journalism or communications. Typically, you will participate in a number of seminars in addition to traditional courses. Most schools will offer internships at an approved public relations firm or PR department of a large institution. The internship usually entails regular consultation and review with a faculty adviser regarding your progress.

Which Schools Offer Certificate Programs in Public Relations?

Certificate programs are commonly offered in the field of public relations and can be found at various institutions, including:

  • Penn Foster Career School provides an online Public Relations Certificate program
  • University of Washington houses a Certificate in Public Relations & Strategic Communications program
  • University of California Los Angeles Extension has a Strategic Branding & Public Relations Certificate program

Which Schools Offer Associate Degree Programs in Public Relations?

Associate degree programs in public relations can be found at a wide range of schools. Below are a few of them:

  • Franklin University delivers an Associate of Science in Public Relations degree program online
  • Mesa Community College has an Associate in Applied Science in Public Relations degree program
  • Del Mar College offers an Associate in Arts in Advertising/Public Relations degree program

Which Schools Offer Bachelor Degree Programs in Public Relations?

If you are interested in a bachelor degree programs in public relations, there are multiple school choices available to you. Check out the schools below:

  • The University of Florida houses an online Bachelor of Science in Public Relations degree program
  • The University of Memphis has a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations degree program
  • Southern New Hampshire University provides a Bachelor of Arts in Communication degree program available online

Are Graduate Degrees Available?

Schools approach graduate programs dealing with public relations in different ways. Some schools offer a Master of Arts in Communications with a concentration in public relations, while at other schools you can earn a Master of Arts or Master of Professional Studies in Public Relations and Corporate Communications. Some graduate schools require you to complete a thesis, while others call for a capstone project that will typically consist of primary research under the guidance of a faculty adviser. Practicums and internships at school-approved facilities are also common requirements in graduate-level programs.

Which Schools Offer Master Degree Programs in Public Relations?

There are a slew of schools which can provides students a master's degree in public relations or a related field. Some of these are:

  • John Hopkins University delivers an online Master of Arts in Communication degree program
  • University of Denver has a Master of Arts in Communication Management with a Concentration in Public Relations degree program
  • Kent State University hosts an online Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication with a Concentration in Public Relations degree program

Will a School Prepare Me for Certification?

Professional certification, while not mandatory, can be helpful in establishing your credentials in the field of public relations and may prove useful in advancing your career. Earning a degree is not certification, but having a degree is typically one of the requirements.

In order to qualify to sit for the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) certification examination, you must be a member of the PRSA, hold a bachelor's degree in public relations or a related field and have five years of appropriate work experience (www.prsa.org). You can also earn an Accredited Business Communicator (ABC) designation from the International Association of Business Communicators, if you hold an appropriate bachelor's degree, have five years of work experience and pass a certification examination (www.iabc.com).

Students looking to enter the field of public relations can choose from undergraduate or graduate level degree programs, which offer different educational goals. Undergraduate degrees can help students prepare for certification exams, which are necessary for a career in public relations, while master degree programs are designed for professionals looking to expand their career. Both levels of degree programs are available at some schools through an online format.

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.

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