Top graduate programs in public relations offer flexible enrollment options, practical experience, and several areas of specialization. Degrees are typically awarded at the master's level. Public relations, also known as PR or strategic communication, is offered in graduate programs at colleges and universities across the country. Some programs focus on advanced professional skills, while others, particularly those at the doctoral level, are based more on research. New York University, the University of Alabama, and Ball State University are nationally respected institutions and have some of the nation's top-rated graduate programs in PR. The programs at these schools lead to a master's degree in the field.
New York University
New York University (NYU) was tied for the 29th-best university in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in 2020. At the NYU Midtown Center, the School of Continuing and Professional Studies offers a Master of Science in Public Relations and Corporate Communication. After taking the core courses, students choose a concentration in public relations management or corporate organizational communication. The 42-hour program can be completed within two years full-time, or five years part-time.
University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa
In 2020, the University of Alabama ranked tied at 72nd among top public colleges, according to U.S. News & World Report. The College of Communication and Information Sciences program leading to a Master of Arts in Advertising and Public Relations can be completed in two years with a research thesis and a concentration in advertising or public relations. The program may also be taken as a one-year professional option without a thesis or concentration. Students take courses in media planning, persuasive communication, and visual communication.
Ball State University in Muncie, IN
U.S. News & World Report ranked Ball State University in the top 100 public schools in the country as of 2020. Ball State University's Master of Arts in Public Relations is the only one in the U.S. certified by the Public Relations Society of America. Students can study in face-to-face, online, or blended formats while earning their degree. Students can also pursue 15-credit graduate certificates in corporate communications or education communications.
Top Schools with Graduate Degree Programs in PR
Let's look at a few other colleges that offer top PR graduate programs:
|Boston University||Boston, MA||Operates a student-run public relations agency, the PRLab, where students work with real corporate and non-profit clients|
|Georgetown University||Washington, DC||PR program was named PRWeek's Program of the Year for three years in a row; the university's Center for Social Impact Communication (CSIC) conducts public relations research and training|
|George Washington University||Washington, DC||Offers a graduate PR program delivered either in face-to-face evening classes or online with degrees able to be earned in a year|
|Iona College||New Rochelle, NY||The PR grad program is one of only six programs in the state of New York accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication|
|Rowan University||Glassboro, NJ||PR grad students can concentrate in corporate or educational public relations or public affairs; graduate certificates are also available in school public relations and integrated marketing communication|
|University of Denver||Denver, CO||The master's program is designed for early to mid-level career professionals and is offered online or face-to-face|
|University of Southern California||Los Angeles, CA||Provides students with numerous opportunities for internships and other hands-on experiences|
|Virginia Commonwealth University||Richmond, VA||PR grad students take courses on Friday evenings and on Saturdays and spend a few weeks studying in China|
|Webster University||Saint Louis, MO||Offers PR master classes five times per year with options to take them online or at any of the numerous campuses across the country|
Some of the best graduate schools for PR degrees include New York University, the University of Alabama, and Ball State University. These schools are highly rated by U.S. News & World Report and prepare graduates for advanced positions as public relations professionals.