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Every successful company or institution has a distinct and attractive profile or public “face.” The face that is presented is shaped to a very large degree by experts in Public Relations. This article profiles ten of the very best online Master’s of Public Relations schools currently available.
Before looking at the schools, let’s take a few moments to discuss what public relations are all about. Public Relations deal with optimizing the public perception of an organization. These efforts are designed to improve both marketing and advertising as well as fundraising.
An online Master’s degree in Public Relations will give its graduates the needed knowledge and experience in communications, marketing, predictive modeling and analysis, and management.
According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for Public Relations and Fundraising managers is an impressive $119,860 per year, and Public Relations Specialists earn on average a respectable $62,800 per year. In the major areas of public relations employment, job growth is predicted to be higher than average over the next decade. This is attributed to the rising need of individuals and organizations to project a good public image.
The work environment for Public Relations managers, Media and Communications Specialists, and Public Relations Specialists has traditionally been office-based. A great deal of travel and public speaking and presentations were also part of the job.
However, the new situation that Covid brought about has changed a great many aspects of these fields. Online opportunities are much more common now, and social media is now a prime area for establishing the right kind of public image for a given institution.
Advanced information technology and the universal reach of social media have changed how people review and process information. A business’s or institution’s best and likely only change to make the right impression and win the trust of potential customers and patrons will come in that first online encounter through social media.
Public Relations professionals need to flourish in these environments. If they are good at their craft, they can help their clients or employers earn the trust of their targeted audiences.
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In this ranking, we have compiled a list of the Best Online Master’s of Public Relations Graduate Schools based on attributes that will provide each student with quality education, professional enrichment, or career advancement. The following opportunities were considered:
- Offered through a 100% online or hybrid format, offering various concentrations in the field of Public Relations,
- Provides rigorous coursework in Public Relations,
- Prepares graduates for a professional career,
- Reports attainable acceptance, retention, graduation, and job placement rates,
- Taught by exceptional faculty members who are experts in the field of Public Relations,
- Provides financial aid services to assist with earning a Master’s of Public Relations degree,
- States positive student reviews, as well as notability from academic and journalistic resources,
- Displays appropriate accreditation accolades.
Best Online Master’s of Public Relations Graduate Schools
Georgetown University’s online Master in Public Relations & Corporate Communications degree program helps you develop the skills you need to perform efficient public relations and communications work. Their online program helps you to master cutting-edge technology, including predictive modeling, automation tools, and artificial intelligence. You will need these to stand out as a public relations professional in the modern world.
To qualify for admission to Georgetown University’s online Master of Public Relations program, you need to comply with these requirements:
- Completed online application
- Resume or Curriculum Vitae – maximum of 2 pages
- Your statement of purpose
- A three-page typed, double-spaced essay explains why you want to pursue a master’s in public relations and why you are qualified for the program. Your essay should include information about:
- The specific professional and academic qualities you have can help you succeed in this program.
- The goals you intend to achieve if you are accepted into the school’s master’s degree program.
- Two letters of recommendation from supervisors or former professors in case your work experience is limited
- Transcripts from undergraduate and graduate schools you have previously attended
- For international students, an official WES or ECE evaluation
- Two writing and work samples, published or unpublished. This may include links to photos, videos, or other creative work that is relevant to the program
- Proof of English proficiency, especially for students whose first language is not English
Standout Features of Georgetown University’s Master of Public Relations Degree Program
Georgetown University does not require applicants to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) results to be admitted into their master’s degree programs.
Industry leaders and practitioners are the experts behind George University’s Master in Public Relations & Corporate Communications degree program. It gives you that competitive edge in media analysis, gathering customer insights, professional writing, and other essential PR skills necessary for pursuing your educational and career goals.
While studying, Georgetown University will also allow you to work with real-world clients, including:
- American Red Cross
- Amnesty International
- Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington
- Center for Nonprofit Leadership
- Global Action for Children
- Kennedy Center Arts Edge
Georgetown University’s Master’s in Public Relations & Corporate Communications program is a three-time winner of PRWeek’s “PR Education Program of the Year” Award. Some of the school’s notable alumni include Bill Clinton and Bradley Cooper.
St. Louis, MO
Webster University offers its Master of Arts in Public Relations program through its School of Communications. It is also offered online by the university’s Belvoir campus. The degree is intended for students who want to advance their careers in public relations.
Students who wish to be admitted into Webster University’s graduate degree programs must comply with these requirements:
- Bachelor degree
- A bachelor’s degree minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5
- Official transcripts are sent by the issuing school directly to Webster University’s main campus
Standout Features of Webster University’s Master of Arts in Public Relations Degree Program
Webster University’s Master of Arts in Public Relations degree program makes students learn and understand the role of public relations in entrepreneurship and globalization.
Students who succeed in the university’s master of public relations degree program are expected to display these skills:
- Plan and perform PR research and decipher findings to find solutions to communication problems bothering an entity or organization
- Develop critical thinking skills and strategic-level analysis
- Understand the influence of leadership, team building, and entrepreneurship on public relations as a profession.
Webster University has a campus network. It has campuses in at least nine countries, including the United States, Great Britain, Austria, the Netherlands, Greece, China, Switzerland, Ghana, and Thailand.
Quinnipiac University’s Master of Science in Public Relations is a degree program you can complete online. Their curriculum is made under the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSA) prescribed by the Public Relations Society of America for their accreditation in the public relations (APR) exam. It also prepares you for leadership roles and responsibilities in public relations.
To qualify for admission to Quinnipiac University’s MS in Public Relations program, you must comply with these requirements:
- Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited school
- Professional experience of at least three years
- A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0
- A duly accomplished application form
- Application fee of $45
- Two letters of recommendation
- A 500-word personal essay expressing your interest and potential to succeed in your graduate study for public relations
- Official transcripts of undergraduate and graduate courses you have completed
Note: You don’t need to hold an undergraduate public relations degree to qualify for admission to Quinnipiac University’s MS in Public Relations program. However, if you hold a degree in a related field, you are encouraged to apply.
Standout Features of Quinnipiac University’s Master of Science in Public Relations Degree Program
Quinnipiac University’s MS in Public Relations program focuses on key public relations management topics, including strategic writing, relations and reputation management, branding, crisis communications, etc. Qualified applicants can choose from many electives that can help you focus on your areas of interest.
Quinnipiac University prides itself in its curriculum focused on effective communication strategies recognized by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Quinnipiac’s MS in Public Relations program will develop your communications and leadership skills and your marketing skills as well. Its core curriculum includes branding, crisis management, ethics, reputation management, and social media. Their program will help you to develop and sharpen your leadership and public relations skills. These are the new skills you are expected to demonstrate upon completion of the program:
- Information fluency and analysis
- Critical and creative thinking
- Effective communication
- Social Intelligence
- Quantitative and qualitative literacy
The MS in Public Relations program of Quinnipiac University is one of only four graduate programs worldwide endorsed by the Certification in Education for Public Relations (CEPR) through the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).
California Baptist University
California Baptist University’s Master of Arts in Public Relations is one of the best schools to develop your critical thinking and hone your professional practice skills, with ample consideration of biblical truths as your moral guide.
As a Master’s in PR student, CBU will train you to be creative, competent, and confident. The school will also sharpen your ability to communicate effectively. These can help you attain success in your career in relations.
If you wish to enroll at California Baptist University’s MA in Public Relations, you should meet the following requirements:
- A minimum GPA of 2.75 for unconditional admission and a minimum GPA of 2.5 for conditional admission
- Recommendations from two professionals (not family members) who can vouch for the applicant’s potential for academic and professional success
- A comprehensive, 500 words or more essay that relates the applicant’s
- The purpose for taking part in the program
- Long-term goals as a professional
- Reasons for choosing California Baptist University
Standout Features of California Baptist University’s Master of Arts in Public Relations Degree Program
The online Master of Arts in Public Relations at California Baptist University will make you ready for the professional challenges of the real world. It will develop your skills in essential public relations subjects, including:
- Corporate Communication
- Reputation Management
- Internal and Executive Communication
- Community Relations Management
- Social Media
California Baptist University was founded in 1950. It is handled by faculty and staff that are 100% Christian.
University of Florida-Online
When you enroll at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, you will be taught different ways to manage information professionally. Information is a very important yet fragile matter. Through this curriculum, you will learn effective ways to access, write, and present information in a way that will help any campaign you make take a smooth take-off towards the attainment of your PR goals.
These are the minimum requirements for admission into the University of Florida’s online master’s degree programs:
- A bachelor’s degree from a duly accredited institution
- An undergraduate GPA of 3.0
- Official transcripts for students who earned their undergraduate degree from other schools
- Apply and pay the application fee
- An essay that explains how the University of Florida’s master’s degree in public relations can help you achieve your personal and professional goals
- Three letters of recommendation from co-workers, supervisors, and instructors who can vouch for your ability to succeed in the program
Standout Features of the University of Florida’s Master of Arts in Mass Communication with Specialization in Public Relations Degree Program
The University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communication online master’s degree programs are intended for students who see their courses as a challenge to grow as communicators. They learn via hands-on assignments and constructive feedback from instructors and peers.
The online courses offered at UF CJC are flexible. They provide live online meetings and prerecorded lectures to allow you, the student, to take part in their courses wherever you may be in the world.
On top of these, the University of Florida’s Master of Arts in Mass Communications with Specialization in Public Relations is an admired graduate degree from a prestigious, high-ranking public university.
The University of Florida is the first school in Florida to be included in the US News & World Report Best Colleges’ list of top 10 best public universities in 2018. In 2021, it is still a top public university in the US.
Ball State University
Ball State University’s master’s degree in public relations is certified by the Public Relations Society of America. A degree program makes you ripe for a career or profession or academic advancement in communication, social media, market research, and several other fields.
If you wish to apply for admission into Ball State University’s Master’s Degree in Public Relations, these are the requirements that you need to comply with:
- A bachelor’s degree from any regionally accredited college or university
- A cumulative baccalaureate GPA of not less than 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
- Current resume or CV
- A statement of purpose stating important personal information like
- Your academic achievements, professional experience, and volunteer efforts.
- Your academic interests and objectives in taking a graduate degree in public relations
- Your reasons for choosing Ball State University for your graduate degree program
- Specify the type of program you want, whether it is online, on-campus, or a hybrid of online and on-campus classes
- Writing samples that show your critical thinking ability and written communication skills. These should be 1500 to 2000 words.
- Official transcripts from schools previously attended
- A duly completed online application
Note: Ball State University doesn’t require a GRE from students who qualify for admission into their master’s in public relations degree program.
Standout Features of Ball State University’s Master’s Degree in Public Relations Degree Program
Ball State University’s master’s in public relations curriculum is designed for experienced and new professionals regardless of their field of endeavor. Should you opt to take this master’s degree at Ball State University, you will be exposed to a great opportunity to learn and develop skills that many modern employers are looking for.
Ball State University prides itself on an award-winning faculty that fosters innovation, leadership, and sound information management.
Ball State University’s Public Relations team won third place in the national Arthur W. Page Society 2020 Case Study Competition.
Johns Hopkins University
The easy availability of information makes the creation of powerful messages to many people. This means you need to do more to make people hear, see, and act upon what you say.
The Johns Hopkins University’s Master of Arts in Communication degree is intended for the modern workplace. It is an advanced and innovative curriculum anchored on key communication elements, including research, writing, strategy, and technology.
If you wish to pursue a Master of Arts in Communication degree at JHU, you must adhere to these requirements:
- A bachelor’s from a regionally accredited US institution of learning
- A GPA not lower than 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
- Strong writing skills
- History of studies relevant to the degree program/history of relevant professional experience
- If English is not your first language, your TOEFL or IELTS scores
- A duly completed online application plus a $75 application fee
- Upload these supporting materials together with your online application:
- Statement of Purpose – A 500-word or less double-spaced essay that explains your interest in JHU’s MA in Communication and how the degree can make a difference in your career.
- Resume or CV that relates to your work experience and volunteer history. Emphasize any work you had that’s related to communication.
- Recommendations from two persons who can vouch for your ability and potential to succeed in the program
- Writing sample (not more than 250 words)
- Official transcripts sent directly by your previous schools to JHU.
Standout Features of Johns Hopkins University’s Master of Arts in Communications Degree Program
When you enroll at Johns Hopkins University’s on-campus or online Master of Arts in Communication degree, you can avail of these benefits:
- Assurance of learning from top communicators – JHU’s faculty members practice what they preach. Authors, publishers, editors, analysts, strategists, and social scientists with several years of practical experience.
- Opportunity to specialize your studies – JHU’s Master of Arts in Communication has six areas of concentration. Personalize your curriculum by focusing on any of these areas:
- Public and media relations
- Applied research
- Political communication
- Health communication
- Digital communication
- Corporate and Nonprofit communication
- Opportunity to choose from several electives – The courses involved in the curriculum include:
- Media literacy
- Risk and crisis communication
- Opinion writing
- Managerial communication
- Branding by motion picture
- Opportunity to expand your network as a professional – By choosing JHU for your master’s in communication degree, you’ll have a chance to be a part of a community of outstanding communications professionals.
Johns Hopkins University is the first research university established in the United States.
Liberty University Online
Liberty University established its online Master of Business Administration in Public Administration degree program to equip you with the expertise you’ll need to pursue a rewarding career in public relations. Their curriculum is designed to equip you with management and leadership capabilities essential for the success of any business or organization.
To qualify for admission to Liberty University’s Online Master of Business Administration in Public Relations, you need to comply with these requirements:
- Apply for admission
- Submit your admission documents:
- Official college transcripts from any nationally accredited bachelor’s degree
- A GPA of at least 3.0
- Scores of English proficiency tests if your first language is not English
Standout Features of Liberty University’s Online Master of Business Administration in Public Relations Program
Liberty University’s School of Business is one of only 3% of business schools worldwide to be accredited by ACBSP or the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. It is a recognized institution of learning because of its affordability, academic quality, and accessibility. Earning an online master’s degree from a nonprofit institution like Liberty University is a plus factor for you and your career.
Liberty University hasn’t increased its tuition for all of its degree programs in six years.
Liberty University is one of the 2021 top 10 online schools in America.
Western New England University
The online Master of Arts in Communication with Public Relations Concentration program at Western New England University was established to accomplish definite objectives.
- Allow working public relations to hone their skills through cutting-edge PR strategies
- Provide working media strategists with more opportunities to advance their careers
- Help business professionals improve their knowledge with the latest research methods
If you wish to qualify for enrollment at Western New England University’s online Master of Business Administration in Public Relations, these are the requirements that you need to comply with:
A bachelor’s degree from a duly accredited college or university. Graduates of Journalism, Business Communication, English, Public Relations, or Marketing are encouraged to apply, although graduates of other baccalaureate degrees are also welcome;
- Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (minimum)
- A completed application for admission was submitted online
- Payment of application fee
- GMAT or GRE results
- Two recommendations
- A 500-word essay that provides answers to these questions:
- What are your strengths, and how can they help you attain success in the graduate degree program?
- How can WNE’s graduate degree program help your career and reach your goals?
- Current resume or CV
Standout Features of Western New England University’s Online Master of Arts in Communications with Public Relations Concentration Program
Western New England’s master of arts in communication with a focus on public relations will hone your skills in enhancing the following areas:
- Strategic use of publicity to enhance the image of an entity or organization
- Developing taglines and slogans that work to strengthen a brand
- Fostering closer ties with the media
- Management of communication crisis
The classes at WNE University’s MA in communication are limited in size. This encourages individualized interaction with professors and enables students to learn and develop communication quickly.
The university’s online MA in communications program is the stage that allows you to enhance your PR skills and makes you ready to mingle and compete in a growing PR job market.
Members of WNE University’s MA in communications faculty are experts in public relations. The courses they handle can offer new insights that you can apply in the field.
Western New England University has 3,690 students from 39 states and 22 countries.
University of Maryland Global Campus
The University of Maryland Global Campus’ management master’s degree in strategic communications will deepen your understanding and sharpen your skills in applying strategic communication theories, principles, and practices. It will develop and prepare you for leadership positions in public relations and related fields.
To apply for admission to UMGC’s Management Master’s Degree with Public Relations Specialization, you must adhere to the following requirements:
- Apply and pay the application fee
- A bachelor’s degree from an accredited school
- Ask the school where you earned your bachelor’s degree to send official transcripts directly to UMGC
Standout Features of the University of Maryland Global Campus’ Online Strategic Communications Master’s Degree Program
UMGC’s online strategic communications master’s degree program fine-tunes your fundamental knowledge or experience and makes you learn many new things about communication, public relations, and related fields. It teaches you to use data analytics and modern research methods to create effective stories about the organization or entity you promote.
By learning the best principles of leadership and management, along with your expertise in communications and public relations, you will be able to communicate to different levels of the organization the best ways to achieve the organization’s objectives.
UMGC is a leader in online education. It offers over 90 bachelor’s degrees, graduate degree programs, and certificates and specializations. Most programs can be completed entirely online.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Master of Public Relations degree?
In contrast to a bachelor’s degree, which makes you qualified for entry-level positions, a master’s degree in public relations is your key to developing more advanced skills in addition to your previous education and work experience. Some courses in this master’s degree program focus on developing your leadership skills to qualify you for supervisory or managerial positions in public or private establishments.
As a Master of Public Relations degree program student, you will acquire advanced knowledge of essential topics like strategic communications, media relations, public relations writing, etc.
If you graduate with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and aspire to improve your career, you should earn a master’s degree in public relations online. It is one effective way for you to hone your strategic, leadership, and interpersonal skills. You will need these abilities in pursuing your PR career – whether you intend to work in the public or private sector.
A master’s in Public Relations can lead to careers including:
- Communications Director
- Public Relations Manager
- Social Media Manager
- Publicist / Press Agent
- Corporate Spokesperson
- Promotions & Special Events Manager
- Communications Consultant
What is an online Master of Public Relations degree?
An online Master of Public Relations degree program is one whose classes are offered through the Internet. You need a computer or laptop and an internet connection to be able to attend classes online.
While most classes in an online Master of Public Relations program do not require traditional classrooms, they are based on the same curricula as their on-campus counterpart. Online classes offer flexibility for working professionals and students who can’t leave home due to additional responsibilities such as taking care of children, etc.
If you choose to pursue a Master of Public Relations degree online, you’ll finish the degree by completing 30 – 36 credits. If you’re a full-time student, you’ll be able to complete this degree in one or two years.
What are the admission requirements of a typical online Master of Public Relations degree program?
If you intend to pursue a Master of Public Relations degree, you’ll need:
- A bachelor’s degree – a degree in communication or a related field would be ideal but not required
- An undergraduate coursework GPA of not less than 3.0
- Transcripts from colleges attended
- Recommendation letters
- Personal essay
- Graduate school test scores, including in the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
- Two- or three-year work experience in journalism, communications, or public relations – not all schools require this
- Professional writing samples
When applying for admission, be sure to enroll in an accredited Master of Public Relations program, as it can impact your course credit transferability and eligibility for financial aid.
What are the types of online Master of Public Relations degree programs?
Many professionals in communication and public relations seek to advance their careers without giving up their jobs. Many colleges and universities offer an online master’s degree in public relations to meet this growing need, which is a viable option for students whose jobs or personal commitments prevent them from attending on-campus lectures. An online master’s in public relations program brings the school closer to students, especially those who cannot relocate.
Students can take two types of online Master of Public Relations degree programs to suit their learning preferences and eventually earn a degree. These are:
Asynchronous – This program allows students to obtain course materials, attend discussions, and perform assignments any time they want. But they must be able to meet specific deadlines. While it offers the greatest flexibility, it requires commitment and self-motivation from students to prevent them from falling behind in their studies.
Synchronous – It is a program that utilizes live online lectures and discussions. Students who choose this program must be available online at predetermined times to take part in the classes. A synchronous program typically involves video conferencing as the method of conducting classes. Students and instructors converge in a virtual classroom using a virtual meeting application and a webcam. This allows an instructor to conduct a live lecture and enables students to interact with and give real-time feedback.
While synchronous programs require students to attend preset schedules, their lectures are typically recorded. This allows students to access the material if they miss a session or want to clarify certain things.