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Top Schools Offering Graduate Degree Programs in Public Relations (PR)

Higher Education Articles August 22, 2015

Universities’ professional studies or communication schools usually offer graduate programs in public relations (PR), also known as strategic communication. These programs are available as either concentrations or stand-alone degrees.

Overview of Schools Offering Graduate Program in Public Relations

Schools across the country offer graduate programs in strategic communication or public relations. The focus of some programs is on advanced professional techniques. The focus of others, especially at doctoral levels, is primarily on research. Two of the best schools offering these programs are New York University (NYU) and the University of Alabama (UA). Both schools are nationally renowned and offer some of the best-ranked PR graduate programs. A master’s degree in PR is obtainable from both schools. In this article, we take a look at the best schools offering public relations graduate programs:

New York University (New York, NY)

The U.S. News & World Report ranked New York University (NYU) 33rd on its 2011 list of Best National Universities. In 2010, PRWeek’s PR Education Program of the Year award was given to NYU. An MS in Public Relations and Corporate Communication is available through the School of Continuing and Professional Studies at the NYU Midtown Center. Students augment core coursework with a choice of corporate organizational communication or PR management concentrations. Students take ten semesters of part-time study or four to five semesters of full-time study to complete the 42-credit hour program.

The University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL)

The U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Alabama (UA) 34th on its 2011 list of Best National Universities. In 2010, UA finished second in the competition for PRWeek’s PR Education Program of the Year award. Students take two years to complete the College of Communication and Information Sciences’ program that leads to an MA in Advertising and Public Relations. They complete a public relations or advertising concentration and a research thesis. Students may also take the program without a concentration or thesis as a 1-year professional option. Coursework covers persuasive communication, visual communication, and media planning.

List of Schools Offering Graduate Program in Public Relations

Name of School Distinction Campus Location
Ball State University Ball State University’s Public Relations Master’s Program is the only one in the United States certified by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA); students are able to study through blended formats, online, or face-to-face. Muncie, IN
Boston University Students at Boston University operates PRLab (public relations agency) in which they work with non-profit and corporate clients. Boston, MA
Georgetown University PRWeek named Georgetown University’s Public Relations program “Program of the Year” for three straight years. The Center for Social Impact Communication (CSIC) conducts public relations training and research, and students will be able to take part in fellowships. Washington, DC
George Washington University The Public Relations program could be completed within a year and is offered through online format or face-to-face evening classes. Washington, DC
Iona College Students will be able to study the Public Relations program at the Rockfeller Center, and students have the options to either take it online or face-to-face. The Public Relations graduate program is one of six programs in New York to be accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. New Rochelle, NY
Rowan University Students in Master’s program in Public Relations could concentrate on public affairs or educational or corporate public relations; graduate certificates are available in integrated marketing communications and school public relations. Glassboro, NJ
University of Denver The PR Program is offered either through face-to-face or online; students in the public relations master’s program will be able to customize their program for their career goals. Denver, CO
University of Southern California Due to the University of Southern California’s location, students will have numerous opportunities for hands-on experiences and internships. Los Angeles, CA
Virginia Commonwealth University Students in public relations graduate program will take courses on Fridays and Saturdays, and will be required to study public relations in China for several weeks. The public relations program is designed for individuals with public relations experience. Richmond, VA
Webster University Students are able to take the Public Relations program either through online format or face-to-face at various campus locations. The Master’s program in public relations is only offered five times per year. Saint Louis, MO

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