Students can earn a Master of Science or a Master of Arts degree in advertising and public relations, or they may pursue it as a concentration within another program. Some schools offer master's degrees in marketing instead of advertising, which cover similar content, but these programs are far less common. In these programs, students can expect to explore the fundamentals of advertising, such as promotions, media development and sales. Programs also emphasize the development of advanced research and writing skills. Many programs culminate in a final thesis paper or capstone project.
Graduate programs in advertising and public relations generally have no educational requirements beyond a bachelor's degree, although some take into account an applicant's professional experience. These programs typically take two years to complete, but some can be finished in as few as 18 months. In some cases, courses are offered online.
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Master's Degree in Advertising and Public Relations
In these programs, students develop communication skills to serve the promotional needs of their companies. Coursework typically includes a mix of lecture-based instruction and practical case studies. Common course titles include:
- Consumer behavior and new media marketing
- Professional writing
- Advertising research and communication
- Public relations theory, ethics and case studies
- Public relations writing
- Social media in public relations
- Principles and future of marketing
Popular Career Options
Completion of a master's degree in advertising and public relations often enables graduates to attain management positions in advertising, marketing or public relations. Because all businesses need promotion, advertising professionals can work in virtually any industry. Popular career options for graduates include the following:
- Marketing manager
- Advertising manager
- Sales manager
- Promotions manager
- Public relations manager
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) reported that the median annual salary for public relations specialists in May 2015 was $56,770. The median annual salary for advertising and promotions managers was $95,890. The BLS predicts a 6% increase in employment for public relations specialists from 2014 to 2024, and 5% job growth for advertising and promotions managers during the same time period.
Continuing Education Information
A master's degree in advertising and public relations is the highest possible degree for students who seek professional employment in the field. Some schools offer doctorate programs in marketing, but they are intended for students who would like to conduct research or teach marketing at the university level.
By earning a master's degree in advertising and public relations, students can gain the marketing knowledge and advanced communication skills they need for high-level advertising careers in any industry.