School and Ranking Information
The San Jose area has only four options for students seeking a public relations degree. The schools below were chosen based off of U.S. News & World Report school rankings, number of PR degrees awarded and campus faculties. The best schools within 50 miles of downtown San Jose that provide public relations programs are:
Winner: San Jose State University's (SJSU) undergraduate program in public relations offers students the most options for experience in the field through internships and on-campus programs.
Runner Up #1: Santa Clara University (SCU). Although SCU has a higher regional ranking than SJSU, it came in a very close second because its PR program is offered as a concentration within its communications program.
Runner Up #2: University of San Francisco (USF) offers a public relations-related master's program that includes an internship; however, the only offering at the undergraduate level is a minor in public relations.
School Comparison Chart
|Category||San Jose State University||Santa Clara University||University of San Francisco|
|Rankings (2013)||38th in the Western region*||2nd in the Western region*||106th nationally*|
|Location||San Jose, CA||Santa Clara, CA (2.9 miles from San Jose)||San Francisco, CA (42.8 miles from San Jose)|
|School Type||4-year, public||4-year, private not-for-profit||4-year, private not-for-profit|
|Tuition & Fees (2012-2013)||$6,852 (undergraduate, in-state); $18,510 (undergraduate, out-of-state)**||$40,572 (undergraduate)**||$20,390 (graduate)**|
|Public Relations Degree Levels Offered||Bachelor's degree||Bachelor's degree||Master's degree|
|Public Relations Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012||57**||117 (in speech communication and rhetoric; includes all concentrations)**||16**|
|Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal time) for 2006 Entering Class||47%**||86%**||67%**|
|Noteworthy||The university has a communications agency run by public relations and advertising students||Communication department facilities include video-editing suites, a journalism lab, and a TV studio||Students can intern in Washington, D.C., for a semester|
Sources: *U.S. News & World Report, **National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
Winner: San Jose State University
- Public relations majors complete a required 240-hour paid internship in the field
- A campaigns course provides opportunities to work with real-world companies
- PR majors organize the school's graduation events and alumni newspaper
- The student-run daily newspaper, weekly newscast, and magazine (to which PR students can contribute) have all won awards
Students in the Bachelor of Science in Public Relations program at SJSU study the writing, strategy, planning, and legal aspects of the field. In addition to public relations courses, the 40 required core units include courses in mass communications and journalism. The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is among SJSU's organizations students can join to network with professionals in the field. Students can also gain hands-on media experience through the School of Journalism and Mass Communication's student-produced literature and broadcasts. SJSU also offers a minor in public relations.
Runner-Up #1: Santa Clara University
- Seniors complete a capstone project including a real-world public relations campaign
- SCU's career center connects students to volunteer and service opportunities, including public service fellowships
A major in communication at SCU requires 14 core courses. Students who want to focus on public relations can take the strategic communication cluster. Course options emphasize theory, strategy, campaigns, and multiple-audience communication within the field. Students can learn about communication techniques in specialized areas, like environmental and multicultural public relations. Students in this program also get a foundation in journalism, film, and research methods.
Runner-Up #2: University of San Francisco
- Graduate public affairs students complete a 400-hour internship
- The university offers extensive study abroad opportunities
USF's public affairs and practical politics master's degree program gives students a perspective on the function of public relations in government, politics, and advocacy. Electives include campaign management, grassroots movements, social activism, and lobbying. Students may be interested in the university's summer internship opportunities with some of California's governing branches in Sacramento. Undergraduate students at USF who have an interest in public relations can complete the 20-credit minor. The minor offers a tight focus on public relations basics like principles, ethics, and campaigns.