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.
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.
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:
•Ethics and law
•Media, culture, and society
•Public relations leadership
•Writing for news and media
•Public opinion research
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:
•Corporate communications specialist
•Public relations manager
•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.