Best Bachelor's Degrees in Public Relations

Apr 12, 2021

Public Relations Degrees

A degree in public relations aims to teach students how to create a favorable public image for the organizations or individuals they are representing. Through writing and research, students learn about strategic planning, persuasion, and how to become an effective communicator. This prepares students to work in careers in business, media and communications, public affairs as well as nonprofits.

Best Bachelor's Degrees in Public Relations

Study.com has spent countless hours creating a comprehensive list of the best bachelor's degrees in public relations. Showcasing totally student-run PR firms, thriving PRSSA chapters, specialized living and learning communities, along with an endless amount of concurrent certificates and specializations, this list is sure to appeal to anyone looking to incorporate creativity, story-telling, branding, research and communications into their future career. In every business, lies a talented public relations professional, looking to further their organization, company or campaign--so check out these exceptional options below!

1. University of Oregon

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$12,720 82% 74% 77% Yes Yes AP Credits

Nestled in the picturesque town of Eugene, Oregon, the University of Oregon Bachelor's Degree in Public Relations tops our list as the number one PRSA-Certified program in the state, giving students the opportunity to join Allen Hall Public Relations, a student-run PR firm run on-campus. As the only public relations program in Oregon that's earned the PRSA's Certification in Education for Academic Programs in Public Relations, students here have the opportunity to participate in the Public Relations Student Society of America's Bateman Case Study Competition where current students create and implement a full public relations campaign. With 160+ years combined faculty experience and a 16:1 student-to-teacher ratio, it is no wonder why 90% of their Knight Campus Internship graduates are employed within 3 months of graduation.

2. University of Colorado Boulder

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$12,500 78% 69% 66% Yes Yes AP Credits

The Public Relations track at University of Colorado Boulder hits our second spot for providing Automatic Merit Scholarships to high schoolers with weighted GPAs of 3.8, as well as offering a tuition and fee guarantee, providing current students complete transparency to their financial responsibility . Current students earning their Bachelor of Science in Strategic Communications have the opportunity to join the Communications & Society Residence Academic Program (known to CU students as 'CommRAP), which offers students a chance to immerse themselves into the community of 'communication and society,' intentionally made as a place for those in the CMCI department to come together. The International Media certificate is offered to those in the PR track with no additional credits. However, it concentrates your coursework and shows prospective employers your interest in international communication media.

3. Rowan University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$14,000 74% 73% 86% Yes Yes AP / ACE / NCCRS Credits

Rowan University, located in Glassboro, New Jersey takes the third spot with the Certified Educator of Public Relations credential from PRSA, one of only 30 programs worldwide. Rowan's chapter of PRSSA has been named an outstanding chapter in the nation eight times, showcasing students' real-world campaigns through the student-run PR agency on campus, PRaction. Combined, the faculty holds 300+ years of full-time experience, and each instructor holds advanced degrees in the field; all attributing to the PRSA-CEPR certification that the undergraduate Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and graduate programs have repeatedly been awarded, including their 4+1 Program, where you can earn your B.A. and M.A. in public relations in just 5 years.

4. Murray State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$9,174 82% 55% 99% Yes Yes AP Credits

Making our list is Murray State University, where current students have the choice between a Bachelor of Science, and a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations, a standout opportunity unique to this campus. Awarding over $125 million in financial aid and scholarships each year, MSU has the highest percentage of graduates with no student debt among all Kentucky public institutions. Of the close to 8,000 undergraduate students attending this beautiful campus located in Murray, Kentucky, 95.55% of new full-time freshmen received a type of financial aid.

5. The University of Alabama

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$10,780 83% 71% 79% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

The University of Alabama continues to be on our list as a leader among public universities for its Capstone Agency, awarded best student-run firm by the PRSSA for the third time in 2020. Students obtaining their Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations have the opportunity to join the almost 38,000 undergraduate students, hailing from all across the nation, and even worldwide; UA international students make their way to Tuscaloosa, Alabama from 76 different countries. Providing current students the choice of three specializations within their PR degree; Nonprofit Communication, Technological and Digital Communication and Sport and Entertainment Communication Management Specializations.

6. Appalachian State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7,409 77% 73% 70% Yes Yes AP Credits

Boone, North Carolina is home to Appalachian State University, where students seeking a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations can participate in a dual degree program with App State and Universidad de las Americas Puebla (UDLAP) and earn two undergraduate degrees in communication! Appalachian State offers students the chance to join Watauga Residential College, a student-faculty community that promotes creativity, reflection and civic engagement through experiential learning and an atmosphere of discovery. Their 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio in combination with the statistic that 98% of their full-time faculty have their doctorate, first professional or terminal degree allows current students to feel confident in their choice to attend this school.

7. Lee University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$18,770 82% 60% 98% Yes Yes AP Credits

Public relations students at Lee University have access to a wealth of opportunities beyond the classroom; for instance, they can gain practical experience through service learning components of their classes and through internships with well-known organizations like the American Red Cross and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. In programs offered at its Cleveland, TN campus, students can earn a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in the field. Public relations students also participate in study abroad programs hosted by the university, and students can advance their communication skills by working with the school's media outlets which include a student newspaper, a broadcast announcement show, and a podcast focused on the university. Exceptional students may be eligible for annual departmental awards and for a chance to compete in the yearly competition hosted by the Public Relations Society of America.

8. University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$9,366 78% 66% 91% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

The undergraduate program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln incorporates both public relations and advertising coursework, giving students access to a wide range of classes in public relations campaigns, copywriting, media design, strategic communication, and more. Leading to a Bachelor of Journalism degree, the program gives students ample opportunity to gain real-world experience through projects with local clients with small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and larger firms. What really makes this program special, though, is the dynamic between faculty and students: professors make an effort to get to know their students individually, and each public relations student forms a plan of study in conjunction with an adviser.

9. University of Idaho

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8,304 78% 56% 96% Yes Yes AP Credits

Located in Moscow, ID, the University of Idaho offers public relations students a choice between Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degree plans in a program that emphasizes specialized public relations skills and topics like strategic communication and campaign writing and production. Students enjoy small class sizes led by instructors with industry experience, and faculty members mentor students closely throughout their academic careers. In addition to internships, students can gain hands-on experience at the university's newspaper, magazine, and radio station, and PR students also have access to a computer lab featuring cutting-edge software used in the industry.

10. Texas State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$10,581 81% 54% 76% Yes Yes AP Credits

In addition to a well-rounded education in public relations, Texas State University offers students the chance to complete a concentration in Sports Media--a great fit for future practitioners interested in covering and promoting athletics. As they earn their Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and Mass Communication degrees, students at Texas State are encouraged to complete internships and volunteer at the university's newspaper and radio station. In addition, the school boasts about its very own public relations firm, Bobcat Productions. Since 2006, students have worked with real-world clients to provide PR services including social media management, print advertisements, press releases, and promotional videos--excellent opportunities for hands-on learning.

11. Michigan State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$15,555 71% 81% 70% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

At its East Lansing campus, Michigan State University offers a program leading to a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations that blends classroom instruction with experiential learning to prepare students for careers throughout the PR industry. Students are required to complete cooperative education experiences, professional internships, or a public relations research experience, and the university offers relevant minors in fields like advertising analytics and entrepreneurship. In addition to study abroad trips and national competitions, public relations students can get involved with the College of Communication Arts and Sciences' Media Sandbox. This innovative program brings students from different academic disciplines together to work with local non-profits to tackle real-world communication challenges faced by the organizations; the collective also hosts special summer courses and field experiences.

12. Texas Tech University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$9,300 69% 61% 78% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

Leading to a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations, the undergraduate program at Texas Tech University blends contemporary facets of the industry like social media analytics with foundational skills like crisis communication and public relations writing. Students are sure to find chances to develop specific interests through special courses on subjects like sports PR and multicultural public relations. The campus in Lubbock, TX is also home to a technology-focused public relations student association and an innovative social media lab providing opportunities to build skills and network with students and PR professionals. The College of Media and Communication proudly describes the PR program's flexibility allowing students to customize their degree plan through specialized electives, internships, and a capstone experience working with organizations like the American Cancer Society and the U. S. Air Force Academy.

13. Harding University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$20,530 61% 69% 99% Yes Yes AP Credits

Searcy, Arkansas, is home to Harding University which offers a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations that provides students with a rich combination of course offerings and diverse real-world experiences. The hands-on experience comes from internships and a five-part research project that culminates in a professional portfolio. Students are also given the opportunity to flex their PR muscles by participating in on-campus media campaigns for the university's sports teams and career center. Harding's communications department boasts a number of professional organizations for PR students, including the student-run Public Relations Organization (PRO) in which students are given the opportunity to engage with experts in the field and participate in professional development workshops.

14. Temple University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$16,970 60% 74% 90% Yes Yes AP Credits

Temple University boasts a BA in Public Relations program that emphasizes a thoughtful and collaborative approach to understanding a stakeholder's need for information. This superb program is one of only 36 in the country that are certified by the PRSA, and its students are able to participate in the prestigious Bateman Competition! The school's location in Philadelphia, PA, provides a vibrant, real-world classroom as students participate in fieldwork and internships at some of top media and public relations companies.

15. Washington State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11,841 76% 60% 89% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

The Edward R. Murrow School of Communications at Washington State University in Pullman offers a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations that prepares students for careers in strategic communication. By combining an emphasis on exceptional writing and research skills with experiential learning and practical experiences, such as creating PR campaigns for on-campus organizations.

16. University of Florida

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$6,381 37% 88% 92% Yes Yes AP Credits

The University of Florida's Bachelor of Science in Public Relations is one of the largest programs in the country, and it can be pursued both at the school's Gainesville, FL, campus and online. PR students get multiple opportunities to try-out their skills though required capstone courses and internships Public relations majors have the option to add on a Certificate in International Communications to their degree.

17. Southeast Missouri State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7,800 86% 50% 96% Yes Yes AP Credits

Situated near the shores of the Mississippi in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Southeast Missouri State University's public relations program offers a diverse curriculum that is heavily focused on hands-on learning. While pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication with an option in public relations at SMSU, students have the chance for hands-on learning working in the Riverfront Public Relations firm which offers a wide array of experiential training and network-building opportunities in copywriting, event planning, videography, and client relations. Internships also serve as real-world classrooms for SMSU's PR majors. Recent graduates have interned at companies and organizations such as CNN, ESPN, and The Washington Post.

18. University of South Carolina- Columbia

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$12,688 69% 77% 95% Yes Yes AP Credits

The University of South Carolina - Columbia offers an amazing Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communications - Public Relations program through its nationally accredited School of Journalism and Mass Communications. With its strong emphasis on global citizenship, the PR degree requirements include foreign language proficiency and multicultural historical perspectives. Unique features of the program include an optional sports media concentration, participating with the student-run PR firm, The Carolina Agency, and joining the Bateman Team, which competes in the Public Relations Student Society of America's case study competition.

19. Central Michigan University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$12,833 70% 61% 96% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

Central Michigan University's campus in Mount Pleasant, Michigan gives public relations students the chance to create a unique integrative degree. Students get to choose from courses in various departments like broadcasting and cinematic arts, journalism or communication to round out their studies according to their interests and career goals. Current College of the Arts and Media (CAM) students have many opportunities for a multitude of grants, along with general and department-specific scholarships, where Scholarship Universe, a scholarship matching tool that makes finding money for college easy. The 4 dedicated PR advisors will guide students through their minor selection, while encouraging participation in the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter, along with PR Central, CMUs student-run public relations firm, where students complete entire PR campaigns with their colleagues for real clients.

20. Grand Valley State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$13,180 83% 67% 87% Yes Yes AP Credits

Allendale, Michigan's Grand Valley State University landed on our list because of the stellar career prep it offers. The curriculum is built around the American Advertising Federation (AAF) and the Commission of Education in Public Relations (CEPR) and the career center has 33,000+ employment and internship opportunities, giving students fantastic preparation for a career in public relations. GVSU's award-winning faculty are not only self-published, but 4 professors are alumni of the program--who want to give back to current students in the same way they benefited from their time on campus. GrandPR, the student-run public relations firm, has won several awards; most recently three Gold PRoof awards and the PRSA Student of the Year.

21. SUNY Buffalo State

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8,472 67% 46% 94% No Yes AP Credits

Buffalo, New York is home to SUNY Buffalo State, where the Communication Department is dedicated to building, continuing, and strengthening community relationships. Students showcase their talents as panelists and speakers, help with community and research projects, and public relations students link up with local organizations to run comprehensive PR campaigns. The department's rate of graduation is higher than the overall university, which is itself higher than the average for public institutions in the U.S.

22. Columbia College Chicago

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$27,756 90% 50% 93% Yes Yes AP Credits

Public relations students at Columbia College Chicago work under seasoned faculty who have led campaigns for Fortune 500 clients, authored books and contributed to countless articles and academic trade journals and worked as spokespeople for large agencies. The department is thrilled to host its annual career day in partnership with the Publicity Club of Chicago, where students participate in networking opportunities and even find their first job.

23. Pennsylvania State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$18450 76% 71% 73% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

Pennsylvania University deserves praise for its robust alumni association of over 700K+. From this group, current students have the chance to be mentored and network with alumni who have worked for Oprah Magazine, Facebook, Disney, ESPN and more. Located in the university-centric city of State College, Pennsylvania, Penn State offers state-of-the-art facilities (like the brand-new The Bellisario Media Center) at the Bellisario College of Communications, the largest accredited program of its kind in the U.S.

24. Salem State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11,284 86% 57% 92% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

Salem, MA's Salem State University offers students a surplus of extra-curricular public relations opportunities such as Lambda Pi Eta, an invitation-only national honor society for communication majors, PRSSA membership, the department-run annual media and communication awards. Students in the Bachelor of Science in Media and Communication-Public Relations Concentration have the opportunity to earn multiple full four-year scholarships, grants, tuition waivers, and Salem State-endowed scholarships. Students from all majors are eligible to participate in Salem's Honors Program, offering smaller class sizes, enriching visiting scholar sessions, and the ability to take additional credits each semester.

25. Brigham Young University- Provo

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$5,790 67% 78% 71% Yes Yes AP Credits

Provo, Utah, is home to Brigham Young University, which offers a Bachelor of Arts in Communications: Public Relations program. This School of Communication program offers courses spanning all areas of this communications field, from planning to execution. For those looking to continue their enrichment outside of the classroom, PR students can participate in the school's Y Digital agency or student run PRSSA agency where they can work with real clients, like the Children's Miracle Network or Marriott.

26. University of Southern Indiana

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8,546 93% 50% 92% Yes Yes AP Credits

The University of Southern Indiana provides students seeking an undergraduate PR program the choice between a BA or BS in Public Relations and Advertising with an emphasis in public relations. This Evansville, Indiana, school is home to the Scripps Howard Center for Media Studies, where PR students can get hands-on experience with the latest mass communication technologies, as well as four relevant student organizations - including a PRSSA branch that has won several campus awards and annually participates in the national case study competition.

27. SUNY College at Oswego

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8,717 54% 67% 97% Yes Yes AP Credits

SUNY Oswego in Oswego, New York, is the next university to land on our list for a PR program that includes a broad scope of communication topics and hands-on experience options. Those earning their Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations have the chance to find their niche in the unique and wide variety of extracurricular activities, including a PRSSA group that hosts speakers; holds professional development events; and helps run resume, portfolio and career building sessions. PR students looking for internships can join those who have interned at stations such as CBS News, the New York Yankees, and Late Night with Conan O'Brien. This BA in Public Relations is also available as an online degree completion program, for those seeking a flexible learning option.

28. Iowa State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$9,320 92% 74% 90% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

Founded in Ames, Iowa, Iowa State University houses the Greenlee School, where students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations are taught from award-winning faculty and industry professionals. ISU houses more than 800 clubs, including many of interest to PR students, like PRSSA, Communications Studies Club, Community Engagement Club, Digital Women, Leaders in Education and Diversity. This BS in Public Relations requires a 400-hour internship where students will not only have the opportunity to build a portfolio, but also to develop valuable skills and connections that can help them find success after graduation.

29. The University of Texas at Austin

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$10,824 32% 86% 67% Yes Yes AP Credits

A unique feature of The University of Texas at Austin's Moody College of Communication is that students pursuing their Bachelor of Science in Public Relations have the exciting opportunity to indulge in the interest to travel through their numerous travel programs, aligned to fit into their academic plan and to help advance their career goals. This amazing PR program has many other features and benefits, including elective tracks in Texas Media & Analytics (media planning) and Texas Immersive, an experimental learning media lab, and a student-run PR firm (called Texas Tower Public Relations) that works with local nonprofits.

30. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$5,785 36% 53% 95% Yes Yes AP Credits

As they pursue a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations, students at Florida A & M University gain a broad understanding of the field through courses in both public relations and related fields like journalism, advertising, design, and media ethics. Students also prepare for the job market through professional development colloquia and internships and gain experience in key skills like press release construction, speechwriting, and social media management. Beyond all this, we were impressed that students get experience by working at the school's student media outlets including a television channel, a radio station, and Journey magazine, all based on the university's campus in Tallahassee, FL. The School of Journalism and Graphic Communication holds the notable distinction of being the first Historically Black College and University (HBCU) to achieve accreditation.

31. Kennesaw State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$6,456 75% 46% 92% Yes Yes AP Credits

Public relations students at Kennesaw State University in Georgia benefit from a curriculum that blends theory with contemporary industry practices, all leading to a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations. In addition to in-person and online coursework, students can participate in site visits to prestigious public relations firms in New York and Atlanta. One feature that really stood out for us in this program is its capstone course, during which students can work at the school's student-run public relations agency creating and evaluating campaigns for real-world organizations. PR students also have access to the School of Communication and Media's Digital Media Lab and study abroad opportunities in locations including Italy, Spain, and Germany.

32. University of Rhode Island

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$14,566 75% 69% 95% Yes Yes AP Credits

In the public relations program at the University of Rhode Island, students can tailor their Bachelor of Arts degree plan to fit their interests by selecting a focus area in event planning, entrepreneurship, or social media. Public relations is the fastest-growing field of study at the university, and that interest is fueled by the practical opportunities it gives its students: undergraduates complete two or more internships and learn from accomplished public relations researchers and practitioners in the field. The Harrington School of Communication and Media also gives students the chance to network with their peers in living-learning communities and to get involved in the university's widely respected student news organization, The Good Five Cent Cigar. Opportunities for involvement also include a mentoring program with PR professionals, student-produced television shows, a film collaborative, and an entertainment-planning committee.

33. Ball State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$10,020 77% 67% 91% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

Located in Muncie, IN, Ball State University's public relations program allows students to choose from a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree, and students can specialize in innovative areas like emerging media, event management, or media analytics. In addition to coursework, students get prepared for their PR careers through internships, a seminar focused on professional development in communication careers, and an immersive project emphasizing public relations writing and strategy. Ball State University can also boast about its student-run agencies including a media analytics group and the McKinley Avenue Agency, which focuses on strategic communication, and through projects with real-world clients, which helps students build portfolios showcasing their PR work.

34. Western Kentucky University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$10,802 97% 48% 98% Yes Yes AP Credits

The Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations program at Western Kentucky University emphasizes foundational skills like critical thinking, relationship building, and problem-solving along with industry-specific topics like public relations writing and campaign management. Housed on the university's campus in Bowling Green, KY, the program's curriculum has earned prestigious certification from the Public Relations Society of America. PR students gain practical experience through 200-hour internships, and they have the option to complete an internship with the school's own advertising and PR firm, Imagewest. PR students at Western Kentucky University also enjoy the advantages afforded by student organizations like the International Association of Business Communicators and the Lamba Pi Eta Honor Society; these groups offer workshops and site visits to help students develop professionally.

35. Northern Arizona University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11,142 85% 57% 95% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

At Northern Arizona University, students benefit from a degree plan in strategic communication that allows them to specialize in public relations, and students can even complete an additional emphasis in a related area like advertising. The path leads to a Bachelor of Science and is housed at the campus in Flagstaff, AZ, in a cutting-edge building that includes a radio station, a graphic design lab, and a virtual reality lab. In addition to these portfolio-building opportunities, the university offers immersive summer workshops where students can sharpen their media production skills working with equipment and software currently used in the industry.

36. Arizona State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11,338 82% 58% 98% Yes Yes AP Credits

Arizona State University Downtown Phoenix makes our list for interdisciplinary approach, especially its connection to one of the nation's top journalism schools, named for the well-known broadcaster, Walter Cronkite. The Cronkite School hosts a signature public relations event, the PR Lab Mentorship Lecture, where a nationally recognized PR practitioner visits ASU to mentor a senior student. In the Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with a Public Relations track, students can take part in the accelerated bachelor's and master's program, allowing them to complete both degrees within five years.

37. The University of Tampa

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$29,992 45% 58% 97% Yes Yes AP Credits

We loved the hands-on opportunities at the University of Tampa; students in the Bachelor of Arts in Advertising and Public Relations at the University in Tampa have plenty of chances to intern and work with top public relations firms in the area. Tampa Bay is a national top-15 media market, offering endless options for work within organizations such as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, various non-profits and advocacy programs. UT connects PR students with their campus organization, Tampa Spotlight PR, a chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association which showcases students and their work and offers connections to the local and global communities. Faculty of The College of Arts and Letters (CAL), which houses all PR majors, are distinguished scholars who enjoy sharing their knowledge and skill sets with future professionals in their cutting-edge facilities across this thrilling campus in downtown Tampa.

38. Central Washington University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8,273 85% 58% 90% Yes Yes AP Credits

With the average out-of-pocket for base tuition at $3,000, the Bachelor of Art in Public Relations at Central Washington University (located in Ellensburg) represents a tremendous value. Students can also add two online certificate programs in non-profit organization management and professional writing to their program, where they can laser-focus on skills for a career. They can also join student staff for The Observer, PULSE Magazine and Central News Watch, where many students are nominated for local and regional awards annually. Study.com has found CWU to be a top 20 university in the nation for online college affordability, making CWU's beautiful campus and online courses an opportunity that just should not be skipped!

39. Illinois State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$12,836 82% 70% 89% Yes Yes AP Credits

Illinois State University ranked with us thanks to its retention rate; students here talk about their pride in attending ISU and the tightly knit feeling on campus. Perhaps that is why the on-time graduation rate is much higher here than the national average. Students can choose from a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and study in innovative classrooms on campus -- like the Social Media Analytics Command Center (SMACC), which is one of only a handful of classrooms of its kind nationwide. Bloomington, Illinois is the university's hometown, a popular destination for students seeking a small-city, military-friendly, civically engaged community.

40. University of Oklahoma

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$9,063 80% 70% 96% Yes Yes AP Credits

Providing students the university experience in a private college atmosphere, University of Oklahoma also emphasizes international opportunities with learning centers in Arezzo, Italy, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and Puebla, Mexico. The student-run newspaper, OUDaily, is one of many organizations that current students are encouraged to join; these organizations that have won prestigious awards. Creative storytellers, innovators and forward thinkers also visit classes regularly, giving students a chance to learn from a diverse array of professionals. Alumni from the Gaylord College of Communications are Pulitzer Prize winners, authors on the New York Times best-seller list, and they continuously connect with students to help lead them towards a successful future.

41. SUNY College at Plattsburgh

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8,872 58% 68% 94% Yes Yes AP Credits

Plattsburgh, New York's SUNY College offers a good variety of programs in PR, offering students the opportunity to pursue a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, or a minor in Public Relations. Students can also obtain valuable experience by working in the student-operated PR firm called Cardinal PR, which takes on real local public relations campaigns for clients like the Imaginarium Children's Museum. SUNY also provides students with the opportunity for internships around the world at different public relations firms, or even in other companies like media agencies, government organizations, or major corporations.

42. Missouri State University- Springfield

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7,588 88% 56% 97% Yes Yes AP Credits

Missouri State University at Springfield boasts a standout Bachelor of Science in Public Relations degree program that does a fantastic job promoting real-life public relations experiences. Students have the chance to help with different community organizations while receiving considerable faculty attention, due to Missouri State's small student to faculty ratio. Students here can also join the Public Relations Student Society of America, a professional organization exclusively for the field of Public Relations, or the Lambda Pi Eta honor society, which encourages leadership and guidance within Missouri State University's communication departments, including public relations, communications studies, and speech and theater education.

43. Northern Kentucky University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$10,296 90% 46% 99% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

Northern Kentucky University, in Highland Heights Kentucky, offers students an inventive approach to a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations; students have the option of taking on an internship in a public relations agency, a government department, or within a group of P.R. professionals. They also have the chance to perform independent study in public relations or take on a directed research about a public relations topic. These unique options include putting on a performance that shows what the student has learned over the course of the project.

44. Auburn University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11,492 81% 79% 72% Yes Yes AP Credits

Auburn University, located in Auburn, Alabama, presents a comprehensive Bachelor of Arts program in Public Relations. Students have opportunities to join robust chapters of the Public Relations Student Society of America, PRSSA, and the Public Relations and Communications Association, PRCA, where they network with other students and professionals in the field.

Students here get connections with life-changing internships, too, including at places like 60 Minutes, Comcast, truTV, and the Ronald McDonald House.

45. University of Northern Iowa

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8,938 79% 67% 83% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

The University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa offers a unique combination Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations/Communications degree. Students here have degree concentrations you don't see often including Special Events, Sports Public Relations, and Strategic Public Relations. The University of Northern Iowa also boasts an award-winning local chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America and a student-run Public Relations firm, called Strategic PR that works on campaigns for local companies and organizations.

To get a more in-depth look at our school ranking methodology, please visit Study.com's ranking methodology page.

Tuition information is based on published tuition and required fees, per data by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

What Kinds of Public Relations Degrees Are There?

Public relations programs are quite common as bachelor's or master's degrees. Students can earn their associate or doctoral degrees in communications and choose to make the focus of their degree on public relations. Certificates are also available for this field.

Associate Degrees in Public Relations

Associate degrees in public relations are available, but they are not very common. One alternative option for students interested in getting their degree in public relations is to earn an associate degree in communications. A communications degree is wide-ranging and introduces students to the research and writing courses that they will use as they continue their education. A communications associate degree also provides a brief introduction to public relations which students explore further when earning their bachelor's degree. Most of these degrees consist of 60 credits and can be completed in 2 years.

Bachelor's Degrees in Public Relations

Students can choose to continue their communication degree and earn a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Public Relations. You might also find a communications degree with a concentration in public relations. In these programs, students have a chance to learn how to be critical thinkers and communicators who lead campaigns that have the ability to influence public opinion. This includes using traditional media such as print and broadcasting as well as having an online presence through digital media. A bachelor's degree is required to hold most communications and public relations occupations.

Master's Degrees in Public Relations

Students can choose to get a Master of Science or Master of Arts in Public Relations to help advance their professional careers. This degree typically consists of 30-45 credits and can be completed in around 2 years. Many universities offer master's degrees in Public Relations & Corporate Communications, which incorporates aspects of how businesses function as part of their degree. Students can also choose to get their master's in communications, which can be applied to a wide array of fields including public relations, business, journalism and mass media. Students can also opt for a concentration to focus their degree program. Concentrations are available in Technical Communication, Public Relations Management, Corporate and Organizational Communication and Public Communication.

Doctoral Degrees in Public Relations

Students can choose to continue their education and get a doctorate in a public relations-related program. Students in this field who want to get their PhD typically get their degree in communications. Public relations is often included within the field of communications and students can choose to make PR their area of focus. Alternatively, students can choose to get their PhD in public affairs, a field that involves public policy, administration and research. Dissertations are an integral part of a doctoral degree in public relations and the length of time to completion can be influenced by how long it takes the student to complete their dissertation. Many schools figure between 3 and 5 years.

Certificates in Public Relations

Many universities offer public relations certificates; these typically consist of 10-30 highly focused credits and can be completed in 1-2 semesters. These certificates help students establish an understanding of writing, planning and strategies PR professionals use and are designed for students new to public relations or those who want to advance their careers in the field. In addition to the programs offered by universities, the Public Relations Student Society of America offers a certificate in Principles of Public Relations.

Public Relations Bachelor's Degree Concentrations

As we've detailed above, public relations is often offered as a concentration within a journalism or communication degree. However, there is at least one public relations degree program that has a few concentrations. These include digital media, sports media, and multimedia production.

Curriculum for a Bachelor's Degree in Public Relations

The curriculum for a public relations bachelor's degree includes many writing, research and communication courses, which are designed to give students the practical skills they'll need to succeed in the profession. Coursework might also include media relations, ethics and crisis communication.

Courses include:

  • Principles of Public Relations
  • Media Strategies and Management
  • Public Relations Ethics
  • Public Speaking
  • Technical Communication
  • Business Fundamentals for Public Relations
  • Public Relations Campaigns
  • Strategic Communications
  • Communications Law and Policy
  • Writing for Communication
  • Communication Research Methods
  • Mass Media

Curriculum also includes business courses in advertising, marketing and branding strategies.

How to Choose a Public Relations Bachelor's Program

Many students who want to work in public relations major in communications. When selecting a program, students should examine the requirements and courses offered, especially if you have a particular area of public relations you want to work in. For instance, if you know you want to work in corporate communications, you might see if the curriculum allows you to take additional courses such as marketing strategies, branding or advertising.

Alternatively, you could take courses such as governmental public affairs or political campaigns if you want to work in politics in a role like a speechwriter. The additional courses universities offer vary and allow students to customize their degree based on their area of interest. Students should also consider the format in which the degree they select is offered; an in-person degree might be perfect for a just-graduated high school student, but online and hybrid programs may work better for working professionals.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Bachelor's in Public Relations?

The length of time it takes to complete a public relations degree depends on if a student chooses to take classes full-time or part-time. Most programs include around 120 credits and full-time students typically take four years to complete these, while a part-time student might take as many as 6 years. Some universities offer accelerated programs that allow students to finish their degree in three years.

Accreditation for Bachelor's in Public Relations Degrees

In the U.S., colleges and universities can receive accreditation from agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The accreditation process includes a review of the school's educational programs and services for students. An institution's accreditation impacts a student's eligibility for federal financial aid as well as course credit transferability. Students should look for the college or university to have earned either national or regional accreditation, though regional accreditation is typically the better option for public relations.

Communications and public relations degree programs can receive accreditation from The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. The ACEJMC is in charge of the evaluation of professional journalism and mass communications programs in colleges and universities.

Public Relations Licensure & Certification

You do not need a license to work in public relations. It is not a requirement to work in this field, but professionals can choose to become certified through the Public Relations Society of America. Certification can help you demonstrate your proficiency in the field and may help you advance in your career. To become certified, applicants need to meet the education requirements, have work experience and pass an exam.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's Degree in Public Relations?

A degree in public relations may prepare students to work in a variety of careers in the field including public relations specialist, public relations manager and public relations director. Graduates can work in a variety of business careers such as advertising executive, marketing manager, company spokesperson or public relations agent and work alongside business professionals. Those with public relations degrees can work in communications careers including journalist, writer or editor, director of strategic communication, crisis communication manager or social media strategist. In addition, students might choose to work for non-profit organizations as a community relations specialist. Professionals in this field can also hold roles in higher education, healthcare, and government agencies.

How to Become a Public Relations Specialist

Public relations specialists work to create a positive public image for the organization they are representing. This includes writing media releases and utilizing social media to manage the public perception of their organization. The requirements to work in this career include having at least a bachelor's degree in communications or related majors such as public relations, journalism or business. Students may choose to complete internships at public relations firms or work in the public relations departments of businesses. Experience working in entry-level positions can help them gain experience for this occupation. In addition, a master's degree allows students to hold higher positions in public relations and represent high-profile organizations or clients.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment opportunities for public relations specialists is projected to increase 7 percent from 2019 to 2029. This is due in part because organizations need to maintain their public image. The median annual wage for public relations specialists was $61,150 as of May 2019 as reported by the BLS.

How to Become a Public Relations and Fundraising Manager

Students can choose to work as public relations and fundraising managers. Public relations managers work to enhance the public image of organizations or clients. Fundraising managers organize campaigns that help raise money and donations. To work in public relations and fundraising management, a bachelor's degree in public relations or related major such as communications, fundraising, or journalism is required. Some positions may require applicants to have a master's degree. Those who want to work as public relations and fundraising managers need to have several years of experience in this occupation or related field.

The employment outlook for this career is expected to be much faster than all occupations, according to the BLS; job openings for public relations and fundraising managers are expected to grow 9 percent from 2019 to 2029. As of May 2019, the median annual wage for public relations and fundraising managers was $116,180, as of May 2019.

Professional Organizations in Public Relations

Organizations in public relations help current students and graduates working in the field to connect with others in the community. One organization is the Public Relations Society of America which is the nation's leading professional organization for the communications field. Its membership is comprised of over 30,000 professionals and students. The PRSA works to provide professional development programs, learning opportunities and resources to members throughout their career.

The Public Relations Student Society of America works to advance the public relations profession and the education of students preparing to work in this occupation. The organization provides access to professional opportunities and experiences to help students launch their careers in public relations. It is comprised of more than 9,000 students and has a presence on nearly 375 colleges and universities.

Financial Aid & Scholarship Information for Bachelor's in Public Relations Degrees

Students pursuing a bachelor's degree in public relations should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to find out if they qualify for any federal aid. Several types of financial aid can help students pay for their education. This includes grants, which is money that does not need to be repaid, and loans, which is borrowed money that needs to be paid back with interest. Students may also be able to find work-study at the college/university they are attending which allows them to work part-time and earn money to help pay for their education.

There are also scholarships available in the field of public relations. For instance, the PRSA and PRSSA offer several scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students. This includes the Axia Public Relations Scholarship which is for students studying public relations, are in financial need and have public relations experience through volunteering, internships, or employment.

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