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Public Relations Master's Programs in California

Nov 05, 2019

California has several options for students wishing to pursue a master's degree in public relations. The University of Southern California Annenberg, San Diego State University, California Baptist University, and National University all have programs.

Students seeking graduate level training in public relations in California can choose from several master's degree programs offered in online and on-campus formats. These degrees may be specifically in public relations, or they may be called strategic communication or mass communications degrees.

Universities Offering Master's Degrees in Public Relations in California

University of Southern California

The University of Southern California (USC)'s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism offers a Master of Arts in Strategic Public Relations. Students have the option of completing a thesis or taking a comprehensive exam at the end of the 40-credit hour program to complete the requirements. Courses in public relations strategies, multimedia, and business and finance make up the core of the curriculum. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA while in the program.

San Diego State University

The School of Journalism and Media Studies at San Diego State University offers an MA in Mass Communication with a specialization in mass communication and media studies that prepares students for leadership roles in public relations. While the core curriculum includes course in general communication theory and research, students can choose PR-focused electives courses such as Professional Practices in Public Relations, Crisis Communication in Public Relations Management, and Advanced Theory in Public Relations. San Diego State requires a minimum of 36 credit hours for an MA, 30 of which must be at the graduate level and 18 in levels 600-799. Students can choose from a thesis or final project option.

California Baptist University

California Baptist University offers a Master of Arts in Strategic Communication which can be completed in online and prepares students for a variety of careers in the public relations, media, or strategic communication fields. The program requires the completion of 30 credit hours, which usually takes students about 12 months to complete. Coursework includes courses on communication leadership and decision making, advanced communication theories, social influences, and ethics in strategic communication. A capstone project culminates the program.

National University

National University's MA in Strategic Communications can also be completed entirely online, although it is also offered online at numerous locations across California. The program is designed to prepare students for careers where they plan and implement strategic communications and public relations programs. Students must complete 10 core courses, which amount to 45 quarter units. This program of study includes courses in crisis communication, program and campaign management and evaluation, integrated marketing communication, and emerging interactive media. It also has a capstone project.

Admission Requirements for Master's Degree Program in Public Relations in California

All applicants to these PR graduate programs need to have already earned a bachelor's degree; sometimes they like to see this degree in a related field, while other times they look to see that students to completed specific undergraduate coursework. For instance, San Diego State requires that undergraduates have performed some coursework in public relations. In addition, schools may look for applicants with strong writing skills and professional experience in the communications and public relations field.

Applications may request a writing sample or a personal statement on the student's career or personal goals in obtaining a graduate degree in public relations. Minimum GPA requirements are set by each school and applicants may be asked for GRE scores, resumes, and letters of recommendation commending their aptitude for the field of public relations.

There are several universities based in the State of California that provide students the opportunity to earn a master's degree related to public relations. Though the degrees differ in names, they all provide courses designed to prepare students for advanced roles in the communications and public relations fields.

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