PR Grad Degrees: Your Options

Brian Jenkins

Graduate degrees in public relations can help those in the field advance in their career.  Most programs require a bachelor’s degree but do not require a specific undergraduate field of study. Numerous colleges and universities offer on-campus and online master’s and doctoral degrees in public relations.

Here’s a list of some of the popular master’s degree programs in public relations:

  • Public Relations
  • Organizational Communication
  • Corporate Communication
  • International Corporate Media
  • Technical and Professional Communication
  • Corporate and Organizational Communication
  • Strategic Communication
  • Negotiation and Conflict Management
  • Media and Professional Communication
  • Business Communication
  •  

It should be noted that graduate certificates are also available.

Some Public Relations Master’s degree programs let students customize their program to meet their specific needs and interests.  Your boss is more likely to pay for a portion of the tuition if the program is tailored to what is actually going on at the workplace.

Many programs allow students to focus on a particular area such as staff supervision or crisis management.  Many of the programs allow graduate students to focus on a particular sector such as nonprofit organizations or healthcare.

Some of the Public Relations Master’s degree programs include an internship which can be quite valuable to students who are not currently working within the field.

Online programs are administered in one of two ways: asynchronous or synchronous.  In asynchronous online programs students interact with other students and instructors by posting at their convenience.  These programs provide a lot of flexibility and are highly beneficial for students who have busy schedules. In synchronous online programs students and instructors interact with each other at a particular time.  Students in synchronous programs usually feel they’re part of a learning community which enhances their learning experiences.  Synchronous programs also provide students with quick feedback on their ideas.

There’s an array of public relations graduate programs to choose from.  Programs provided by colleges and universities which have strong name recognition are among those worthy of your consideration because it has such an influencing factor with many employers.  If you are interested in going to graduate school for a degree in public relations, make sure you consider all of this information when deciding on a program.

Brian Jenkins writes about career and education topics for BrainTrack.com, an online directory for college and university searches.  Brian’s BrainTrack articles often cover PR-related careers. 

3 comments on this post.
  1. Richard Bailey:

    That’s a very helpful overview of what to study.

    There are then further considerations: where to study and when to study.

    I’ve been teaching two different groups this week: one is on a full-time MA course giving an overview of PR in theory and in practice (which recruits a very international group); the other is a part-time MSc suitable for mid-career practitioners (which tends to recruit from this country, the UK).

  2. Melissa C.:

    Agree with the above comment. The benefits of a theoretically focused vs. practically focused degree should be addressed.

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