Online Colleges with Public Relations Majors: How to Choose

Learn about important considerations when selecting an online public relations school. Keep reading to get an overview of the program options, career prospects, and common topics offered for the field of study.

There are several online major options for students wishing to study public relations at the bachelor's degree level. Learn about the degree options and things to consider when selecting a program.

How to Select an Online Public Relations School

Students considering online public relations schools must make their decision based on several key factors. Public relations (PR) professionals can major in PR, marketing or communications. Those unable to attend a full-time program on campus may find that completing an online program in one of these fields is more convenient. Public relations can be studied at all postsecondary levels. Select college campuses offer online programs in public relations and related areas. Students must then weigh the program format.

Major Options

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recommends that individuals pursue at least a 4-year bachelor's degree to get started in this field. Alternate areas of study to enter a public relations career include marketing and communications (www.bls.gov).

Program Format

Public relations students pursuing an online education interact through Web-based virtual classrooms to study marketing techniques and technologies as well as media studies and communication strategies. They may follow the curriculum of an on-campus PR program or enroll asynchronously. Coursework deadlines are usually flexible, while exams tend to have fixed dates. Internships and similar in-person, experiential activities at ad agencies, public affairs offices or other relevant placements may be mandatory; schools may help place distance-learning students or simply approve of student-elected opportunities.

List of Online Public Relations Bachelor's Degree Programs

Online Bachelor of Science in Public Relations

With part- and full-time study options, this program combines core public relations classes with general education units. Coursework typically covers:

  • Public relations principles
  • Consumer behavior
  • Nonprofit promotions
  • Communication and society
  • Writing for PR

Online Marketing Bachelor's Degrees

A marketing major, often offered as a specialized focus within a business administration program, can prepare graduates for jobs in a wide array of business and media fields, including public relations. Niche concentrations in sports marketing or marketing sales are also available online. Students can choose electives specific to:

  • E-commerce
  • Marketing research
  • Finance
  • Introduction to statistics
  • Market research

Online Communications Bachelor's Degrees

Students interested in public relations but who also have interest in related fields like journalism and advertising could benefit from a bachelor's degree in communications. This program may result in a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Communications or Communicating Arts, among similar titles. Students in these programs take courses in:

  • Fundamentals of public speaking
  • Persuasive communications
  • Campaign management
  • Influence of media
  • Journalistic editing and reporting

Schools With Online Programs in Public Relations

The University of Florida has a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations through their College of Journalism and Communications. Students take conceptual courses as well as skilled courses to study topics in law, research, writing and more.

California Baptist University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations that has minimal prerequisite requirements. The program teaches students investigative skills, media ethics and editing techniques. Students participate in discussion forums to get interaction with their peers.

Arizona State University provides students with a Bachelor of Science in Communication program that includes communication electives to help individualize your degree path. Electives cover areas in business, negotiation, the effects of gender and race on communication and more.

Students interested in pursuing a bachelor's degree in public relations online can find several degree options from different institutions around the country. Students need to consider how majors in public relations, marketing, or communications would be best for their career goals, as well as how the programs' formats will work with their schedule.


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