Top Public Relations Schools

Read about three top-ranked schools with public relations programs, and review the PR degrees you could pursue at each school. Get info on important considerations for selecting a school with a strong public relations program. Schools offering Public Relations degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Should I Look for in a Top Public Relations School?

You might consider programs that offer specializations in political or intercultural communication. Maybe you're interested in earning your degree online. You should look into schools that offer hands-on experiential opportunities, either through internships or graduate research positions. Awards or national rankings given to a university may influence your decision as well.

What Are Three Top Public Relations Schools?

University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville

UF was 90th in the Academic Ranking of World Universities for 2016 (www.arwu.org). The school was tied for 50th among national universities in 2017 by U.S. News & World Report (www.usnews.com).

Public relations majors at UF are encouraged to complete at least one internship. You may be able to work with a faculty member who has a funded project. Through involvement with any of UF's four radio and two television stations, you could gain practical experience in media relations.

The master's program in mass communication with a specialization in global strategic communication is offered in a distance learning format. Students in the master's program who complete certain coursework may receive a graduate certificate in transnational and global studies, African studies or Latin American studies. Funding for travel may also be available through some area studies departments. Possible degrees include:

  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Public Relations
  • Master of Arts (M.A.) in Mass Communication
  • Juris Doctor (J.D.)/M.A. in Mass Communication
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Mass Communication

University of Maryland (UMD) in College Park

UMD was 52nd in the Academic Ranking of World Universities in 2016. The school tied for 60th among U.S. News & World Report's 2017 national universities. You'll choose a public relations track within the communication major. As an undergraduate honors candidate, you'd have a thesis or non-thesis option; you could take some graduate-level courses. Undergraduate students can explore political advocacy or community activism topics through UMD's Communication and Advocacy Learning Community. You might join the student chapter of Lambda Pi Eta - the honor society of the National Communication Association - or the Public Relations Student Society of America.

Public relations is one of seven primary research areas for graduate students and faculty members in UMD's Department of Communication. If you're interested in studying political culture, the university's proximity to Washington, D.C., permits easy access to federal sources like the Library of Congress and the National Archives. The Department of Communication sponsors The Center for Political Communication and Civic Leadership and The Center for Risk Communication Research. You could earn the following degrees:

  • B.A. in Communication - Public Relations Track
  • Ph.D. in Communication - Public Relations and Strategic Communication

University of Southern California (USC) in Pasadena

USC was 49th in the 2016 Academic Ranking of World Universities. In 2017, the university tied for 23rd among U.S. News & World Report's national universities. Through its own academic press, the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism publishes books and several journals, including the Journal of Communication. The Strategic Communications and Public Relations Center maintains the online PR Management DataSource as a free service to the profession.

Annenberg offers public relations as one of three undergraduate degrees. As a freshman, you could be selected for the Annenberg Scholars Program; you could participate in special events or retreats. Students run TriSight, a public relations firm with L.A. not-for-profit clients. International programs in Amsterdam, Australia, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, London and New Zealand are available to undergraduates. Graduate students have study abroad options in South Africa, China, Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom.

The master's program in communication management is offered online. In the campus-based version of this program, eight areas of focus are available, including entertainment management and marketing communication. Several post-master's certificates are offered. Research areas within the Ph.D. program include political and organizational communication. These degrees are available:

  • B.A. in Public Relations
  • M.A. in Strategic Public Relations
  • Master of Public Diplomacy
  • Master of Communication Management (M.C.M.)
  • Ph.D. in Communication

Other Schools with Public Relations Programs

College/UniversityInstitution TypeLocation
Auburn University4-year, PublicAuburn, AL
Bradley University4-year, PrivatePeoria, IL
Delaware State University4-year, PublicDover, DE
DePaul University4-year, PrivateChicago, IL
Florida State University4-year, PublicTallahassee, FL
Kent State University4-year, PublicKent, OH
Oklahoma State University4-year, PublicStillwater, OK
Pepperdine University4-year, PrivateMalibu, CA
San Jose State University4-year, PublicSan Jose, CA
University of Kentucky4-year, PublicLexington, KY

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:

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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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