Top College Communications Programs

“What are the best colleges for PR education?”  That’s the most frequently question I get from students and their parents.  

Although I have some favorites, I normally try to avoid a direct answer since there’s no definitive list of the best PR schools.   While there are many other quality PR programs, I lately have recommended that people check out the list of some 116 colleges that are accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEMJC).  

Confidence in my recommendation increased last weekend as I participated in my first meeting as a member of ACEMJC’s Accrediting Committee.  The committee reviewed site visit reports prepared by teams of academics and professionals from the media, advertising and PR who spent two to three days on 24 campuses, assessing every aspect of college communications programs.  Upon reviewing the site visit reports,  the 14-member Accrediting Committee made recommendations to the ACEMJC Council for 6-year accreditation, 2-year provisional accreditation or denial of accreditation.  Besides representatives from the universities under review, the open committee meeting was attended by representatives from several top colleges planning to seek accreditation next year.

While there are a lot of excellent communications programs that for some reason or another have not yet been accredited, if you have any doubts about the institution you or someone you know is considering, you might want to check out it’s ACEMJC accreditation status.  Since accreditation considers all aspects of mass communications–advertising, journalism and public relations–some colleges may have more depth in one discipline than another.  So do your homework.

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3 comments on this post.
  1. Richard Bailey:

    Sounds odd to me. Public relations is now a well-established practice area, and public relations education is almost a century old in the US (it’s just over 20 years old in the UK).

    Yet your accrediting body is the one responsible for Journalism and Mass Communication.

    I don’t mind the connection with journalism, but find the concept of mass communication a dated one (the dates being roughly 1880-1980).

  2. Culpwrit:

    Agree with Richard Bailey’s view from the UK. The scope of the accrediting council is a broad one, and doesn’t simply focus on public relations. Since PR is becoming the largest and fastest growing curriculum in many mass communications programs we review, I’m sure clearer recognition eventually will be incorporated. As you know, such adjustments aren’t made hastily in academic-based organizations.

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