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Information on Master’s Degree Programs in Advertising and Public Relations

Majors Overview June 16, 2015

This article talks about master’s degree programs in advertising and public relations and their coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Master’s Programs in Advertising and Public Relations

Current and aspiring professionals with an interest in executive or upper management positions in the fields of public relations or advertising are commonly required to earn a graduate degree. Schools offer Master of Arts (M.A.) or Master of Science (M.S.) degrees in these subjects as concentration areas within another program, like communications, or as standalone programs.

Program coursework is usually a combination of classroom study and case study examinations devised to impart a better grasp of methods and concepts addressed in the curriculum. Students can enjoy the opportunity of developing research and writing skills and exploring practices in media development, promotions, and sales. Students typically take two years to complete these programs, but may finish some within 18 months. Some schools offer classes online.

Master’s Programs in Advertising

The creation of future executives and managers in the field is the aim of Master of Science (M.S.) in Advertising programs. Master’s degrees in marketing, instead of advertising, are offered at some schools. Few schools, if any, offer programs that include coursework similar to that offered in advertising master’s programs. While some programs look at the professional experience of applicants, admission criteria in graduate programs in advertising and PR do not require any educational prerequisites beyond a bachelor’s degree.


Coursework in advertising graduate programs covers classes on the future of marketing, in addition to marketing principles. Varying by school, a capstone project or thesis paper may mark the culmination of a master’s program. Core coursework may commonly cover topic areas such as:

•Advertising research
•New media marketing
•Professional writing
•Consumer behavior
•Advertising communication

Career Choices

Master’s degree program in advertising graduates may seek management positions in marketing, advertising, or public relations. As promotions are necessities of all businesses, advertising professionals can seek occupations in virtually any field. They may choose from popular career options such as:

•Sales manager
•Public relations manager
•Marketing manager
•Promotions manager

Continuing Education Choices

Those who seek careers in research or academia should look into doctorate programs in marketing. A master’s degree in advertising is the highest education level that is available to prospective professionals in the field.

Master’s Programs in Public Relations

Enrollees in Master of Science (M.S.) and Master of Arts (M.A.) in Public Relations programs are ready for careers as PR managers and specialists. Coursework in a PR graduate program is devised to teach students how to employ their communication skills to fulfill companies’ promotional needs. The highest level of degree offered in public relations is a master’s degree.


Coursework in PR graduate programs covers principles of public relations; courses often include the use of real-life examples and case studies to help students gain experience. As in the case of enrollees in advertising programs, students enrolled in many master’s programs in public relations are required to complete projects or thesis papers before earning a degree. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Public relations writing
•Public relations case studies
•Public relations ethics
•Public relations theory
•Social media in public relations

Job and wage Outlook

In May 2012, public relations specialists brought in an average annual wage of $54,170 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a job growth rate of 12% has been predicted for PR specialists (BLS).

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