Students who want to work in the field of public relations can consider earning a degree in public relations or a related field, such as communications, business, journalism, or English. Rhode Island has only a few schools that offer programs specifically in PR, but it does have several schools with degree programs in related fields that offer specific coursework or concentrations in PR. Programs lead to bachelor's degrees; one master's degree in communication studies is also available. Internships, study abroad opportunities, and several concentrations areas are offered by some schools. Profiled below are the four-year public and private non-profit colleges and universities in Rhode Island that offer these programs.
Located in Smithfield, Bryant University offers a bachelor's degree program in communication through the Department of Communication in the College of Arts and Sciences. This degree program prepares graduates for a variety of careers, including public relations positions. Some PR jobs that graduates may consider are corporate public affairs specialist, audience analyst, and publicity manager.
The communication major includes courses in basic communication, electronic media production and writing, interpersonal communication and mass communication. Mass communication courses include introductory and advanced courses in public relations. Bryant students may pursue a variety of study-abroad programs, service-learning opportunities, and PR internships.
Johnson and Wales University - Providence
Located in Providence, Johnson and Wales University (JWU) offers a bachelor's degree program in advertising and marketing communications, which emphasizes research methods, consumer behavior, and public relations. Graduates may pursue careers in advertising, sales, and marketing, as well as PR. The curriculum includes PR theory and case studies. Students learn skills like developing and writing creative strategy, publicity writing and media planning.
Program options include moving into the creative advertising degree program sophomore year or pursuing concentrations in fashion product development or business communication. The business communication concentration includes courses in news writing, technical writing, and media relations.
Rhode Island College
Rhode Island College, also located in Providence, offers an undergraduate program that leads to a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a concentration in public relations and advertising. Offered through the college's Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the communication program requires students to complete 120 credit hours with a GPA of at least 2.0. Course topics in the PR concentration include advanced public relations, mass media, news, and public relations writing, public opinion and persuasion. Students in this concentration complete an internship. Graduates may pursue careers in strategic communications, publicity and public relations.
Roger Williams University
Offered through the Feinstein College of Arts and Sciences, the bachelor's degree program in communication and media studies includes seven courses in PR. These courses include public relations techniques, mass communication research and case studies in public relations. All communication majors are required to complete an internship. Internship options include the Providence Tourism Bureau, the Newport Tennis Hall of Fame and the Rhode Island International Film Festival. Graduates are prepared for public relations careers in the public or private sectors.
University of Rhode Island
The University of Rhode Island is located in Kingston, from which students may easily reach Providence, Boston or New York City. Students in the university's Harrington School of Communication and Media may pursue a bachelor's degree or minor in public relations. PR courses include social media strategies for PR, public relations campaigns and strategic media communication; a PR internship is also required. Students may participate in the university's annual public relations summit, which offers the opportunity to learn from members of the public relations industry and make connections that may lead to internships. Public relations internships are currently offered at more than 20 advertising and public relations firms throughout the state. This school also offers a Master of Arts in Communication Studies that allows students to further their studies in public relations.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Public Relations Degree Programs Offered||Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)*|
|Bryant University||Four-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb||Bachelor of Arts in Communication||$43,973|
|Johnson and Wales University - Providence||Four-year, private not-for-profit; midsized city||Bachelor of Science in Advertising and Marketing Communications||$32,441|
|Rhode Island College||Four-year, public; large suburb||Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a concentration in public relations and advertising|| $8,929 in-state
|Roger Williams University||Four-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb||Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media Studies||$34,522|
|University of Rhode Island||Four-year, public; large suburb|| Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations,
Master of Arts in Communication Studies
Source: *NCES College Navigator.