Online Diploma in Public Relations with Course Descriptions

Public relation specialists help businesses, organizations and clients maintain a positive image. Most of these professionals have an undergraduate degree in the field, which is commonly available online. Diploma programs aren't easy to find, but read on explore distance learning courses.

Overview of Programs

Although online diplomas in public relations aren't typically available, many schools do offer distance learning certificates, bachelor's degrees and master's degrees in the field. Prospective students can find these types of programs at traditional four-year institutions as well as private online schools. The curriculum is typically designed to prepare students to work as public relations specialists who are responsible for supporting the reputation of a business and effectively communicating organizational messages to the public. Example of online options in this field include the following:

  • Certificate in Public Relations
  • Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations
  • Bachelor of Arts in Advertising & Public Relations
  • Master of Arts in Public Relations
  • Master of Business Administration in Public Relations

Undergraduate certificate and degree programs in this field may not have many admission requirements beyond a high school diploma or GED, although some online bachelor's programs may require applicants to already have some general education or prerequisite college credits. Those seeking admission to a master's degree or graduate certificate program must have a bachelor's degree. GRE scores, recommendation letters, work histories and writing samples may also be factors.

Common Coursework

Online public relations classes focus on marketing, communication strategies and journalism. Students will also study topics in public communication, social media, marketing principals and consumer behavior. Programs may require coursework in areas like psychology and group dynamics as well. The following list offers details on some of the most common online offerings available to distance learning students studying public relations.

Public Relations Management

A public relations management course familiarizes students with the different aspects of public relations, and emphasizes the following areas:

  • Conducting research
  • Establishing communication goals
  • Executing communication plans
  • Evaluating communication efforts

Students will also study terminology and theoretical concepts regarding public relations and develop an appreciation for the history, ethics, techniques and strategic planning principles of this field.

Public Relations Case Study

Students enrolled in the public relations case study course are educated on the history and communication campaigns involved in the private and public sectors. Students develop problem-solving and issue management skills and the ability to apply effective public relation principals, theories, and practices into real world situations.

Theory and Influence of Media

The online theory and influence of media class educates students on how social life has become entwined with the mass media, and examines its positive and negative effects on individuals and society. This course uses contemporary industry data and classical sociological theory to help students understand why certain media campaigns succeed and fail.

Online Learning Methods

Students enrolled in online public relations courses learn to communicate effectively in a variety of ways and develop an understanding of human behavior. Distance learners spend much of their time independently studying the effects of multimedia communication involved in radio, television, Internet and print materials. Schools manage virtual classroom environments that contain lectures and assignments that can generally be accessed any time. Discussion boards, Web conferencing and chat rooms may be used for class interaction.

Most public relations programs can be completed totally online, but some may offer an option to take part in an internship -- a choice that could be beneficial when on the job hunt after graduation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (

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