Schools that Offer a Public Relations Major: How to Choose

Universities across the U.S. offer public relations (PR) majors. The curriculum often includes classes in journalism, communication, advertising and marketing to fully prepare students for careers in all areas of PR work. Degrees conferred are either Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science, but there is generally very little difference in the curriculum.

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Bachelor's degree programs in public relations (PR) prepare students for entry-level work in mass media, advertising agencies, PR firms, government agencies, non-profit organizations or political campaigns. Students can often take these programs through the business or communications department of many 4-year universities.

Schools with Public Relations Programs

The following public and private institutions offer bachelor's degree programs in the field:

College/University Location Institution Type Undergraduate Tuition (2015-2016)*
Auburn University Auburn, AL 4-year, Public $10,424 (In-state)
$28,040 (Out-of-state)
Boston University Boston, MA 4-year, Private $48,436
Illinois State University Normal, IL 4-year, Public $13,666 (In-state)
$21,482 (Out-of-state)
Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 4-year, Public $13,560 (In-state)
$36,360 (Out-of-state)
Southern Methodist University Dallas, TX 4-year, Private $48,190
Syracuse University Syracuse, NY 4-year, Private $43,318
Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX 4-year, Public $8,028 (In-state)
$17,388 (Out-of-state)
University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 4-year, Private $50,277
University of Tennessee - Knoxville Knoxville, TN 4-year, Public $12,436 (In-state)
$30,856 (Out-of-state)

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

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School Selection Criteria

Students may take into account the following when choosing a school:

  • Public relations majors should consider schools that allow them to customize their program based on career goals, emphasize the production and development of a professional portfolio, and offer internships and career placement.
  • Consider the availability of courses incorporating basic PR principles including photography and photo editing, journalism, advertising, business, and marketing.
  • Check on the availability of scholarships specifically for public relations majors, which are often based on the student's academic standing and financial need.
  • Consider schools with opportunities for public relations majors to study abroad in advertising, journalism, or mass communications positions since international internships allow students the hands-on experience of working in professional PR environments.

Bachelor's Degree in Public Relations

Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science programs offering majors in public relations may allow students to choose electives in specialty areas of PR such as corporate or non-profit, sports, entertainment, international or health care. Students may be required to complete some business courses, such as marketing, finance or management. An internship is generally part of the curriculum requirements.

Bachelor's Degree in Communications with a Public Relations Emphasis

Bachelor's degree programs in communications or journalism often have a public relations emphasis available; degrees awarded can be Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science. Some programs offer internships at campus radio stations, broadcast news channels and newspapers, which provide students with a broad range of experiences in different types of public relations avenues.

Students interested in studying public relations can find bachelor's degree programs at several 4-year private and public schools in the United States. As they look for the right school for them, students should consider internship opportunities, program specializations and more.

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