Although they are rare, fully online bachelor's degree programs in public relations are offered in a few colleges and universities, and hybrid programs are available as well. Public relations programs are often interdisciplinary and combined with study in marketing, advertising or communication. Concentrations may also be available in areas like project management or international management.
Some of these programs are designed for working professionals who are seeking advancement; however, individuals without any college education or work experience can also find online public relations programs that can prepare them for entry-level work. A minimum high school GPA may be required by some schools for enrollment. Some programs may also entail completing internships, which can boost students' portfolios. Graduates may find jobs in advertising, marketing, journalism, consulting, non-profit work and corporate communications.
Bachelor's Degree in Public Relations
An online bachelor's degree program in public relations develops theoretical and practical skills in communicating messages to a public audience on behalf of a commercial, personal or political entity. Students learn to design and implement a media campaign, study the behavior of people in complex social organizations and become attuned to issues of cultural diversity. A high school diploma or GED is the minimum requirement to enroll in an online bachelor's degree program. Often a school requires students to have a grade point average of 2.0 or better. Online programs at this degree level are available but relatively rare.
Program Information and Requirements
An online bachelor's degree program in public relations may be taught fully online or as a hybrid of online and classroom instruction. Coursework may be a mix of readings, video lectures, graphical presentations and online chat. Some programs may have set deadlines for assignments, but access to course materials and the pace of study are at the student's discretion. A bachelor's degree is typically completed in four years.
A multimedia-capable personal computer and Internet access are the primary technical requirements to take part in an online program. Schools may use Blackboard or other educational content management systems.
An online bachelor's degree program includes general education or liberal arts core courses in the arts, humanities, sciences and social sciences. In addition, students may be required to take professional courses (management, interpersonal and professional communications, ethics and motivation) along with core major courses, which may include an internship.
Students examine methods of communication and the context in which communications occur along with how expectations shape the form and content of communications. This course is foundational to later topics in a program.
Public Relations Introductory
This course explains fundamental concepts in public relations. Students gain hands-on experience in designing brochures, writing press releases and implementing a communication program.
Public Relations Ethics
Students investigate assorted ethical issues related to public relations. Students take part in a critical review of the public relations industry and the ethical standards it has adopted.
Students examine mass media and the ways they communicate to an audience. Topics covered in the course include the history, social impact and commercial purposes of mass media.
An online bachelor's degree program in public relations opens career possibilities for graduates in the corporate, government and non-profit sectors as public relations specialists. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that the employment of public relations specialists will grow by 6% from 2018 to 2028 (www.bls.gov). Growth will be driven by the need for effective communications in a highly competitive international business environment. As of May 2018, the median salary of public relations specialists was $60,000.
Continuing Education Information
Students who earn a bachelor's degree in public relations may want to consider pursuing a master's degree in public relations or marketing or an MBA with an emphasis in either subject. More programs are available online at the master's degree level than at the bachelor's level.
Only a few colleges and universities offer fully online bachelor's degree programs in public relations, but there are some that also offer hybrid programs that combine online and classroom instruction. Working professionals looking for career advancement or individuals seeking entry-level jobs in the field may find the prospect of taking an online undergraduate degree in public relations appealing, as job opportunities for public relations specialists are expected to increase in the next decade.