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Information on Master of Science (MS) Degree Program in Public Relations

Majors Overview June 28, 2015

This article talks about Master of Science (M.S.) degree programs in Public Relations and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Master of Science (M.S.) Programs in Public Relations

Coursework in a Master of Science (M.S.) in Public Relations program is devised to teach students about the processes involved in managing communications between individuals, groups and organizations. Students explore the connections between public opinion, the media, and public relations. Specialization areas, such as mass communication, theory or health communication, are offered in some programs. Class projects and internships are devised to prepare graduates for management careers in various fields, including public communication, government, private businesses, and non-profit organizations.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a major related to communications. Some programs require the submission of transcripts demonstrating that a GPA standard is met by applicants, in addition to Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.

Coursework

Enrollees typically take two years to complete coursework that commonly requires the completion of at least 30 credit hours. Culminating projects or internships may be included to give students real-world experience. Program requirements may include writing and defending a thesis by students before they graduate. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Communication theories
•Ethics and law
•Media, culture, and society
•Public relations leadership
•Communication theories
•Research methodology
•Digital platforms
•Writing for news and media
•Campaign planning
•Public opinion research

Career Choices

Program graduates may pursue careers in advertising, marketing, sales, fundraising, corporate communication, or community relations, with government, corporate, or non-profit organizations. They may choose from possible job positions such as:

•Media analyst
•Informational writer
•Corporate communications specialist
•Public relations manager
•Lobbyist
•Public opinion researcher

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a job growth rate of 12% has been predicted for public relations specialists. Over the same period, public relations managers are expected to see a 13% job growth (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, public relations specialists brought in an average annual wage of $54,170; during that period, public relations and fundraising managers earned $95,450 per annum, on average (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

Program graduates may seek continued education by enrolling in Ph.D. programs in Public Relations that could lead to a career in research or academia. These doctorate programs offer specialty area choices such as issue management, media or urban affairs. Graduates may also choose from doctorates in related fields such as public affairs or communications.

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