Master's Degree in Public Relations: Program Overviews

A master's degree program in public relations helps students develop skills in strategic thinking and communication. Students are trained in public relations writing, media relations, promotions and advertising as well as public relations ethics.

Essential Information

Many master's programs in public relations include internship experiences during which students work with local businesses or agencies to hone their skills. Some programs allow students to focus their studies in areas such as ethics and law, crisis management or new media. Most master's programs in public relations can be completed in about two years of full-time study, and some programs are offered online. Voluntary certifications are also available.

  • Program Levels in Public Relations: Master's degree
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree, possible professional experience and Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  • Program Specializations: May include areas such as ethics and law, crisis management or new media
  • Program Length: Two years full-time
  • Other Requirements: Some programs require internships

Master's Degree in Public Relations

Courses in a public relations master's degree program cover a variety of areas essential to a professional public relations specialist's training. Common courses include the following:

  • Principles of public relations
  • Media relations
  • Public relations writing
  • Advertising and promotions
  • Ethical standards in public relations
  • Corporate public relations management

Career Outlook and Salary Information

Specialists in public relations held over 200,000 jobs in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( This included those working in advertising, political and business institutions. Employment opportunities were expected to grow 12% between 2012 and 2022, with the most significant growth in advertising and affiliated services. As of May 2014, public relations specialists earned mean annual wages of $64,050.

Continuing Education Information

The Universal Accreditation Board offers accreditation to specialists in public relations. To earn accreditation in public relations, it is necessary to have at least five years of work experience and to pass a computer-based examination.

Some public relations specialists pursue designation as an Accredited Business Communicator through the International Association of Business Communicators, which is focused on global standards in organizational communication. This accreditation requires at least five years of experience, along with passing oral and written examinations. Students seeking additional education may pursue a Ph.D. in public relations or communications.

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