Best Graduate Degrees for Public Relations

May 11, 2018

A graduate degree in public relations or a related field may be of interest to students who would like to work as public relations professionals. In this article, we will cover several graduate degree programs that may give students an edge when looking for a job.

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Students who are interested in pursuing a career in public relations (PR) may want to consider enrolling in a relevant graduate degree program that will provide them with the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in this field. Below, we will look at some of the best graduate degree programs for students interested in a career in public relations.

Information About the Best Graduate Degrees for Public Relations

Master of Science or Master of Arts in Public Relations

Pursuing a Master of Science or Master of Arts in Public Relations is perhaps one of the most natural choices for individuals who are interested in a public relations career. These programs can generally be completed in one to two years and will prepare students for a number of different careers in the world of public relations. Students will typically be required to take a set of core curriculum courses, which may include Writing for Public Relations, Media Relations, and Communication Theory.

Students who are enrolled in a public relations master's program may also be able to select a specialization track or emphasis area that is more specific to their interests. Some specialization areas include corporate and business communication, computational public relations, or digital public relations. If schools do not offer specific specialization tracks, students still will likely be able to tailor their degree to their interests by enrolling in relevant elective courses. These programs also often give students the option of enrolling in a thesis track, which may prepare them for further study at the doctoral level, or a professional track that is designed for students who want to immediately enter the workforce following the completion of their degree.

Master of Science in Communication

Another graduate program option that may be a good choice for students who are interested in a career in public relations is a master's degree in communication. These programs are typically a bit broader in scope, but also allow students to tailor their degree to their career goals by choosing elective courses. Some courses that are common core curriculum components in these programs may focus on topics like communication management, digital media and technology, persuasion, and communication research. Elective courses may include Crisis Communication, Global Brands, and Visual Communications.

Depending on the school that offers the program, students may be able to select from a number of different enrollment options, like part-time, full-time, or online enrollment, and some programs are specifically designed for professionals who want to continue working while pursuing their graduate degree. Students may also be required to complete a capstone project in order to obtain their degree.

Master of Science in Marketing

Students may also be interested in entering the career field of public relations by obtaining a master's degree in marketing. While marketing is a different field from public relations, there are a number of skills that students can develop in a marketing graduate program that could be applied to a career in PR, like managing branding, assessing markets, and consumer psychology. These programs can typically be completed in one or two years, depending on how many credits are required in the program as well as whether a student is enrolled full-time.

Like other graduate programs, a master's program in marketing will typically be comprised of several core curriculum courses that a student is required to take. After these courses are completed, students then generally have more flexibility in selecting electives that are of interest to them. Some core curriculum courses in these degree programs may include Marketing Management, Business Communication, Marketing Research, and Consumer Behavior. Elective courses may include Advertising and Promotions, New Product Development, Fashion Marketing, and Social Media Analytics.

Graduate Program Admission Requirements

Admission requirements will likely vary from program to program. The schools may also set additional admission requirements depending on how selective they are. However, there are some parts of the admissions process that are typically standard. Applicants will be expected to submit their academic transcripts that cover all undergraduate work, a resume or CV, and letters of recommendation. Some programs will also either require or allow applicants to submit a personal statement or essay that covers their motivation for enrolling in the master's program. In addition, GRE scores are a common requirement of these programs, though some schools may not require them. In general, these programs do not require that applicants have any specific undergraduate degree.

In summary, there are a number of graduate degree programs that students may wish to explore if they hope to pursue a career in public relations. While these programs may vary in scope and emphasis area, all of them could potentially lead to a successful career in PR.

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