Brand yourself a communications expert with one of the nation’s best Bachelor’s in Public Relations degrees.
Are you interested in how persuasive communication can improve and influence communities? Are you passionate about media, whether it’s print, digital, or broadcast?
Do you love connecting with various populations? Do you want to become a marketing leader in your industry?
Then a career in public relations may be just for you!
What kind of Public Relations degree should you get?
Each of the 30 programs are housed within renowned communications and business schools. They will all provide a stellar education on the principles of public relations. But each program will also vary from the next.
For example, while some schools emphasize the importance of a global, multicultural perspective, others are concerned with emerging technologies and digital communication. Still others require internship experience and others encourage you to participate in their study abroad programs.
Seek out the best fit as well as those schools that will provide the kind of learning experience that suits your needs.
You should also consider online or distance learning. Online education is both a flexible and affordable way to advance your education and career. So, be sure to check out College Choice’s Best Online Bachelor’s in Public Relations.
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Explore our featured online programs and find the right match for you today.
How much money do people make with a Public Relations degree?
With a Bachelor’s in Public Relations degree you are set up to work in a variety of fields and industries. Whether healthcare, education, corporate business, or local government—they all need someone who can speak passionately and eloquently about their product or service.
This means the average salaries for those with this degree are both stable and lucrative. While Public Relations Specialists make around $58,000 a year, PR and Marketing Managers can make up to $107,000 annually.
Even more, the demand for PR professionals is on the rise. It’s projected that the need for Public Relations Specialists and Managers will rise 10 percent in the next few years alone.
What can you do with a Public Relations degree?
As we said, the opportunities for one with a Public Relations degree are innumerable. Businesses need PR professionals to write compelling advertising copy and manage how the customer views the company. Likewise, universities, hospitals, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations have the same needs.
Not only are there many industries available to PR professionals, but job titles and responsibilities can vary widely as well. After graduation you may find yourself in any one of these roles:
Social Media Specialist
What are the requirements for a Public Relations degree?
When earning a BS in Public Relations degree you will allocate the first one to two years completing your general education core courses. Then during the second half of your undergraduate career you will explore PR and communication principles. This includes everything from PR writing to campaign planning.
From there you can hone in on your personal interests through specialized electives. And many of the universities and colleges on this ranking allow you to specialize even further through a minor or a formal concentration. These opportunities vary by school, but some concentrations you’ll find include:
Media Relations and Writing
Strategic Communication and Planning
New and Social Media
Finally, most of these programs either encourage or require to you to complete an internship. We’ve been sure to note those.
What are the best Public Relations degrees?
Though some of these programs are offered through elite research schools and others in small liberal arts colleges, all 30 share one thing in common: they are the nation’s best at training future public relations leaders.
To find the best public relations degrees we first examined every program in the U.S. We narrowed our list by incorporating crucial key factors, such as reputation and retention. The latter reflects student satisfaction. From there we also looked at tuition rates and average graduate salaries to determine the return on investment.
What we found after such extensive research are the nation’s 30 best Bachelor’s in Public Relations degrees.
What better place to earn a PR degree than in Hollywood? The University of Southern California (USC) is located in Los Angeles and is one of the best schools on the West Coast. Strong in an array of academic areas, USC is a known leader for graduating elite business professionals. More than 42,000 students attend USC.
The Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at USC ensures you will fully understand the principles of free speech and press, the role of PR professionals in shaping communications, and how the diversity of peoples and cultures impacts communications. This BA in Public Relations includes courses such as:
Effective Writing for Strategic Public Relations
Social, Legal, and Ethical Foundations of Public Relations
Business and Economic Foundations of Public Relations
Strategic Public Relations Research, Analysis, and Insights
With an emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship, USC has produced some of the biggest names in business and public relations. The Marshall School of Business is ranked among the top 10 best in the nation and the university as a whole is ranked 21st among all national schools.
The University of Florida (UF) is located in Gainesville. It is one of the best research-driven universities in the South, and, hands down, the best in the state. It is a land, sea, and space-grant institution with more than 55,000 students and over 150 research centers.
UF offers a BS in Public Relations degree through its College of Journalism and Communications. This broad program balances tangible applications with concept and theory. Graduates have gone on to work in PR firms, the business sector, non-profit, government agencies, and more. You may also want to consider the Certificate in International Communication. Some of the classes you’ll take at UF include:
Law of Mass Communication
Principles of Public Relations
Public Relations Campaigns
Not only is UF a nationally and globally ranked university, but many of its individual departments and schools are among the best of their kind. For example, the business, agricultural science, computer science, and basically all of the various engineering programs are among the top 100 best in the nation.
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL Lafayette) was founded as an industrial school. Though, it has grown exponentially over the years into the research-driven university it is today. Today, UL Lafayette is the largest campus within the greater UL System with its 20,000 students and its more than 100 academic programs.
When you earn a degree in Public Relations at UL Lafayette you will gain crucial hands-on experience. This program requires students to complete an internship during their final year, resulting in at least 10-15 hours of direct experience each week. You’ll also collaborate closely with faculty members who are PR leaders across many industries and fields. Classes cover:
Media and Society
Writing for Public Relations
U.S. News & World Report includes UL Lafayette among the nation’s top 25 list of “Universities and Colleges Where Students are Eager to Enroll.” Additionally, its business school is top ranked by The Princeton Review. And the Brookings Institute recognized UL Lafayette for its social mobility.
The Austin campus within the wider University of Texas System is the flagship university. It is among the nation’s ten largest universities with over 50,000 combined undergraduate and graduate students. And UT Austin offers nearly 300 academic degree programs.
UT Austin’s BS in Public Relations degree integrates PR principles with foreign language proficiency, cultural studies, and communications. There are innumerable opportunities at UT Austin to travel and study abroad and to specialize. For example, on top of the PR core, you can earn a minor or certification in:
Latino Media Studies
Elements of Computing
UT Austin is nationally ranked among the country’s best 100 universities by Forbes, ARWU, U.S. News & World Report, and Washington Monthly. It is a Public Ivy and a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities.
California Baptist University (Cal Baptist) is located in Riverside, California. It is a private, Christian liberal arts school owned and operated by the Southern Baptist Convention. Nearly 10,000 students are enrolled in one of Cal Baptist’s eleven schools and colleges.
Cal Baptist offers a BA in Public Relations degree that focuses on social media, event planning, writing, and campaigning. In addition to taking classes on mass media, publication design, magazine and feature writing, and PR strategy, among others, you can also specialize. Cal Baptist provides five areas of concentration, in:
Strategic Communication and Planning
Media Relations and Writing
International Public Relations
Integrated Marketing Communication
Cal Baptist is a leading member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. It is ranked 31st among all universities in its region. And it is ranked 30th for its affordability by U.S. News & World Report.
Florida State University (FSU) is located in Tallahassee and is the senior member of the larger State University System of Florida. It is classified as an active research university. Organized into 16 colleges, plus another 110 research centers and labs, FSU is home to approximately 42,000 students.
At FSU you can earn either a BA or BS in Public Relations. This is a broad program steeped in a liberal arts education. So, for example, not only will you take classes on advertising, mass media law, and public speaking, you will also be expected to complete a comprehensive internship. You can also specialize in:
Public Relations Writing
Tactics and Strategies
Research and Campaign Management Skills
FSU as a whole is ranked among the top 100 best universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Likewise, the College of Business is ranked 27th in the nation. And when it comes to affordability, both USA Today and The Princeton Review rank FSU 4th in the nation for “Best Value.”
The flagship university in the University of Alabama System (UA) is located in Tuscaloosa. It is also the oldest, most established, and largest public university in the state. Around 38,000 students are enrolled in one of UA’s 13 academic divisions.
UA’s BA in Public Relations degree brings together research skills, effective writing, strategy, and visual thinking. Therefore your coursework will cover the mechanics of media writing, the basic principles of design, news reporting, and investigation. There are also three ways to specialize through the UA program, in:
Nonprofit Communication Management
Technological and Digital Communication Management
Sport and Entertainment Communication Management
The University of Alabama has graduated dozens of Rhodes, Truman, and Goldwater Scholars. For that reason, among many others, UA has been nationally and globally ranked by an array of sources, from Forbes to Business Insider.
Located in Greensboro, North Carolina A&T State University is a historically black research university. It is closely affiliated with one of the nation’s oldest public universities, the University of North Carolina. Though North Carolina A&T was founded as a college specializing in agriculture, horticulture, and the humanities, today it offers 200 academic programs across a range of fields.
North Carolina A&T offers a Journalism and Mass Communication degree in Public Relations. Through this program you will hone your writing and speaking skills while also learning the historical, cultural, legal, and ethical contexts of communication and marketing. Graduates have secured PR jobs in a variety of settings, including:
State or federal government agencies
North Carolina A&T maintains close research-related partnerships with numerous national agencies such as NASA, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the National Space Foundation. The University is thus ranked 8th among historically black colleges by U.S. News & World Report.
The University of Memphis (U of M) is comprised of over a dozen discrete colleges and schools, among them the highly regarded Fogelman College of Business and Economics. The University is a public research school. It is home to more than 21,000 combined undergraduate and graduate students.
When earning a Public Relations degree at U of M you will have the opportunity to work with local clients to solve real-world communication problems. Students are also encouraged to participate in the Public Relations Student Society of America and the student-run communications firm on campus. Whatever programs you take advantage of, this degree will teach you how to:
Manage image crises that threaten companies
Build relationships among organizations and communities
Build awareness around a company or product
And much more
Among its many rankings and recognitions, U of M is known for its commitments to sustainability. These priorities are reflected by the University’s research activities, the campus-wide Green Campus Initiative, certified LEED buildings, and more.
Boston University (BU) is a world-class university with more than 33,000 students. It is a private school and designated an active research institution. BU is home to numerous prestigious business, medical, law, and graduate schools.
Boston University boasts the nation’s oldest student-run public relations agency, the PRLab. Through this lab you can gain hands-on experience by working with a variety of clients throughout the metro Boston area. BU offers a BS in Communication degree through which you can specialize in Public Relations. Core courses cover:
Writing for Communication
Communication Research Methods
BU is ranked 37th among all national universities by U.S. News & World Report. On top of its academic reputation, BU has also been lauded by Newsweek, Business Week, The Economist, and The Financial Times, among others.
Hands down one of the largest universities in the nation with more than 100,000 students, Penn State University is located in University Park, but also has campuses throughout the state. It is a flagship school comprised of 18 colleges and schools, including its renowned Smeal College of Business.
At Penn State you can earn a BA in both Advertising and Public Relations while specializing in the latter. As a Penn State student you will examine the economic and social aspects of PR while also building a business foundation in communications. Some of the classes you’ll take include:
News Writing and Reporting
Research Methods in Advertising and Public Relations
Public Relations Campaigns
Public Relations Media and Methods
Penn State is a Public Ivy and among the top 50 best universities in the nation. Penn State is nationally and globally ranked. In addition to its academic reputation, Penn State is known for its research in business and across the STEM fields. It is also a member of the Big Ten Academic Alliance.
San Jose State University (SJSU) is located in the Silicon Valley in San Jose, California. It is California’s oldest public school and the founding member of the California State System. SJSU offers nearly 150 academic programs to its 33,000 students.
The BS in Public Relations program at SJSU emphasizes a global approach to communications and PR. Students are introduced to the emerging technological, digital, and multi-cultural dimensions of PR. And they are required to participate in the international study abroad experience. Classes cover:
Contemporary Public Relations
Media Writing in the Information Age
Case Studies in Strategic Communications
Campaign Planning and Management
SJSU is highly ranked with a range of recognitions and awards to its name. For example, it is the nation’s top feeder school for Apple. And recently Business Insider placed SJSU first for being most likely to secure a job for a graduate in Silicon Valley.
St. John’s University is a private, Roman Catholic university. It is located in New York City with campuses spread throughout many of the boroughs. Around 21,000 students attend St. John’s.
St. John’s BS in Public Relations program lays out a core business foundation for its students. They then build on that foundation by honing their writing, communication, and corporate management skills. Core courses at St. John’s reflect this kind of business breadth:
Law of Public Communication
Introduction to Advertising Communication
Public Relations Strategies
St. John’s PR program is offered through the Division of Mass Communication in the College of Professional Studies. St. John’s as a whole is ranked among national universities by U.S. News & World Report. The Princeton Review, Forbes, and Business Insider all praise the university and its business programs as well.
Syracuse University is a prestigious private university located in the New York town of the same name. It is comprised of 13 schools and colleges and has more than 22,000 enrolled students. Some of Syracuse’s most renowned and popular programs include those in business administration, engineering, library science, and communications, among others.
At Syracuse while earning your Bachelor’s in Public Relations you will also have the opportunity to work at Hill Communications, a student-run PR firm nationally affiliated with the PR Student Society of America. Additionally, you will take classes on multimedia storytelling, public communications, diversity and media, and more. Graduates have gone on to work in:
Corporate PR departments or offices
Non-profit PR offices
Startups and small companies
Syracuse’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications is one of the top ranked communication schools in the U.S. As is the School of Management. Syracuse has been recognized and ranked by U.S. News & World Report, Entrepreneurship Magazine, The Princeton Review, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Point Park University is a small liberal arts school. It offers around 100 academic programs through its three schools. Around 4,000 students are enrolled in Point Park’s School of Business, School of Communication, or the School of Arts & Sciences.
At Point Park University you can earn your BA in Public Relations and Advertising degree either on campus or online. Whichever model you choose this program has you working closely with leaders and professionals in the fields of PR, communications, and marketing. And you’ll gain hands-on experience through internship and networking opportunities. Classes include:
Media Planning and Buying
Integrated Marketing Communications Planning
Point Park University is regionally ranked by U.S. News & World Report. Even more, its online programs are highly regarded. And the School of Communication works closely with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review newspaper to run the Point Park News Service.
Northern Kentucky University (NKU) is located just south of Cincinnati in Highland Heights. It is a liberal arts school with around 15,000 students and 60 academic programs. NKU is organized into six colleges that offer degrees in the arts, sciences, business, education, law, and health fields.
NKU’s BA in Public Relations degree is the most affordable program on this ranking. This program takes students through the challenges of PR, including how to manage crises, how to confront societal developments, and how to engage professionally over social media. Some of the classes you’ll take as a NKU student include:
Mass Communication Law
Public Relations Planning and Account Management
Strategies of Persuasion
Northern Kentucky University is ranked among the top 100 schools in its region. U.S. News & World Report also includes it among the best 30 public schools too. Its academic reputation is staked to its small classes sizes, the liberal arts focus, and the student-to-faculty ratio.
Murray State University is located in Murray, Kentucky and has around 11,000 students. Offering approximately 100 degree programs at all academic levels, Murray is especially known for its strengths in business and communication education.
The Public Relations major at Murray State gives students the opportunity to explore many areas of publicity, writing, and marketing. For example, students can take classes on sports media or script writing. Or they can enroll in directed individual studies or a special topics class to pursue their personal interest and career goals. The core curriculum covers:
Contemporary Mass Media
Public Relation Strategies
Foundations of Business
For decades Murray State has been included in U.S. News & World Report’s list of “Best Colleges.” Likewise, Forbes also includes the University in its ranking of “America’s Top Colleges.” It is considered one of the best schools in its region.
The San Antonio campus within the wider, prestigious University of Texas System (UTSA) is the largest university in the city with over 30,000 students. It is a research-based university that offers nearly 200 academic programs. Since UTSA is such a young school, it is currently considered an “emerging research university” working toward full National Research University Fund status.
UTSA’s Department of Communication offers a BA in Communication degree with a Public Relations Concentration. This degree trains students on the ins and outs of public relations, marketing and advertising, and professional communication. This is an ideal program for those who want a broad-based degree experience. Classes cover:
Business and Professional Speech
Digital Business Communication
Introduction to Mass Communication
Times Higher Education has named UT San Antonio as one of the best universities in the world that is under 50 years old. These aren’t the University’s only accolades. UTSA has been praised for its research efforts and academic programs by Forbes, Washington Monthly, the Carnegie Foundation, and more.
Northwest Missouri State University is located in Maryville, Missouri. Though originally founded as a teacher’s college, today the University provides academic opportunities in a diverse array of fields, from professional degrees to the arts, business, and sciences. Approximately 6,500 students attend Northwest.
At Northwest you can earn either a BA or BS in Communication degree with specialization in Public Relations. Both are comprehensive programs that will teach you how to target audiences, explain products, and communicate effectively. The BA allows for study abroad and symposium opportunities while the BS is more network and internship focused. Both have classes covering:
Principles of Marketing
Small Group Communication
Social Media Strategies
Northwest Missouri State University boasts a number of prestigious rankings across categories. Not only is it considered one of the top 100 best universities in the Midwest, but is ranked 21st among Top Public Schools by U.S. News & World Report.
University of Arizona Global Campus (UAGC) specializes in adult and returning learners. So though it is based in San Diego, many of its programs and degrees are offered online. UAGC specifically provides programs in education, business, and health and human services.
UAGC offers a BA in Marketing with a Public Relations emphasis that is IACBE accredited. This online program combines consumer behavior insights with promotion strategy, communication skill building with research methodology.
UAGC is a leader in distance and innovative education. Because so many of its students study online the University offers a range of resources and services to ensure their success. For example, UAGC provides 24/7 tech support and access to 200 digital textbooks, among other amenities.
Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) is one of the nation’s best historically black colleges. It is based in Leflore County in the Delta and is a member of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. MVSU is a small school with around 2,500 students.
MVSU offers a Public Relations degree that is rooted in the belief that communities thrive in a society where there’s room for conversation, debate, and opinions. That to say, at MVSU you will learn to apply your PR skills and knowledge to servicing society. Graduates have gone on to work in a diverse range of industries, from healthcare to local government. Courses cover:
Public Relations Campaigns
Mass Media Law and Ethics
Layout and Web Design
Principles of Advertising
U.S. News & World Report ranks MVSU among the top 50 best historically black universities in the nation. It is also regionally ranked among the best schools in the South. Campus is home to significant history and activism.
The Metropolitan State University of Denver is a liberal arts school that specializes in teacher education, business, aviation, and criminal justice. Around 23,000 students attend MSU Denver, most of whom are undergraduates.
When you earn a BA in Communication Studies at MSU Denver you can specialize specifically in public relations. As a student you will work diligently on both the theoretical and applicable sides of communication and public relations. You will also be able to choose from among four concentration tracks:
Rhetoric, Ethics, and Social Justice
Strategic Relationship Maintenance
MSU Denver is a hub for student-run communications and journalism. Campus hosts four separate media productions: The Metropolitan newspaper, MET Radio, MET TV, and Metrosphere.
Weber State University is a liberal arts school located in Ogden, Utah. In addition to its traditional degree offerings, Weber also specializes in professional development and education. More than 26,000 students attend Weber.
At Weber State you can earn a BS in Communications with an emphasis on Public Relations and Advertising. For those who desire a broad communications degree, this is an ideal choice. You will mostly focus on public speaking, media writing, and communication theory, law, and research. But you will also be able to take courses such as:
Public Relations Writing
News Reporting and Writing
Weber offers an impressive 250 certification and degree programs that span from arts to applied sciences. However, Weber’s reputation is steeped in its integrated studies programs, which allow students to craft their own degree by combining three majors. This is an excellent way to specialize.
Western Kentucky University (WKU) is based in Bowling Green atop the banks of the Barren River valley. Though it also has campuses throughout the state. Around 20,000 students attend WKU, earning one of the 80 degrees offered.
Do you want to gain an expansive knowledge of how public relations works in and influences modern society? Then the WKU program is just for you! At WKY you will gain the skills and knowledge needed for a global, ethical approach to public relations. Some of the classes you can therefore anticipate taking while a WKU student include:
Advertising in a Digital World
Introduction to Pop Culture
WKU is best known for its journalism and communications programs. In fact, the University has graduated dozens of Pulitzer Prize winning journalists. Similarly, the speech and debate teams at WKU are ranked among the country’s best, winning the American Forensic Association and the National Forensic Association championships.
Franklin University is located in Ohio and Indiana and is comprised of half a dozen campuses. But Franklin is perhaps best known for its online and distance education. From associate to doctoral programs, Franklin offers online degrees in a variety of academic and professional subjects.
As a public relations major at Franklin you will gain a classical liberal arts education while also exploring high-tech tactics and strategies for PR. Through the Pulliam School of Journalism you will work closely with an academic advisor to design a degree program that suits your passions and career goals. Therefore, some of the unique classes you’ll take include:
Advanced On-Air Storytelling
Editing for Print and Online
Video for Digital Journalism
Using Databases in News Gathering
Like some of the other schools on our ranking that specialize in distance education, Franklin provides innumerable resources and services to its students. In that way, the Franklin experience is notably student-centric. Students receive coaching, advising, and guidance from a range of teachers and counselors.
Located in Saint Joseph, Missouri Western State University (MWSU) is a smallish school with around 5,000 students. Though small, MWSU is mighty, especially in the areas of business and communications. MWSU offers dozens of degree and professional certification opportunities across a range of fields and industries.
MWSU offers a BS in Public Relations degree that prepares students for the ever-changing journalism market. Indeed, graduates have gone on to work in non-profit communications, PR management, product branding, and much more. At MWSU you will explore everything from social media to web design through a curriculum that includes:
Introduction to Public Relations
Client Management and Practices
Consistently praised for its affordability, MWSU is also ranked by U.S. News & World Report for its business programs. And it is included in the best Midwest regional rankings each year.
American University is located in the nation’s capital and is a renowned site of active research. It has also been called one of the “Most Politically Active” schools in the nation, thereby, an excellent place to earn a communications degree! More than 13,000 students attend American.
Through American University’s School of Communication you can earn a BA in PR and Strategic Communication. This is the perfect program for those who are interested in how ideas, images, and texts persuasively provide information. And at American you can earn a bachelor’s and master’s simultaneously through the expedited degree program. Finally, you can concentrate in one of half a dozen areas:
Health, Science, and Environmental Communication
Lifestyle and Culture Communication
Graduates from American have gone on to work in politics and/or become world-class leaders in business, media, and film. The University is nationally and globally ranked, praised by U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, and The Princeton Review for dozens of its academic programs.
Located in Conway, Arkansas, the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) is the state’s oldest institution. It was founded as a teacher’s college but has bloomed into the comprehensive research university it is today. Around 12,000 students attend UCA.
When you earn a public relations degree at UCA you will be fully ready for the fast-paced world of advertising, branding, and communications. UCA trains its students on the most effective and persuasive methods of building relationships between organizations and their audiences. UCA graduates have gone on to work in a variety of settings, among them:
Public opinion research
The University of Central Arkansas has been included in many of U.S. News & World Report rankings. It is regionally ranked among Southern universities. And it is especially known for its communication programs and its campus-run news outlet The Fountain Magazine.
The University of Miami is a private school based in Coral Gables. It is research-based and comprised of a dozen schools and colleges. More than 17,000 students attend the University of Miami and are enrolled in one of the nearly 300 academic programs and research opportunities.
The University of Miami offers two tracks to its Public Relations students: the general or the practice track. Depending on your career goals, you can either focus on the theory and methodology between effective public relations, or you can take classes that emphasize application. Regardless, the University of Miami ensures you a foundation in PR principles through classes such as:
Graphic Design for Strategic Communications
Writing for the Digital Age
Principles of Public Relations
Freedom of Expression and Communication Ethics
The University of Miami is known for its research in the areas of computer science, ecosystem policy, human genomics, and much more. It is nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report, Washington Monthly, Forbes, and much more.
The Billings member within the wider Montana State University System was first founded as a teacher’s college. Today the University has nearly 5,000 students enrolled in one of their five colleges and schools. MSU Billings also has a recognized Extended Campus and a notable online learning portal.
MSU Billings’ Department of Communication and Theatre offers students a Bachelor’s in Public Relations degree. You will not only build a sturdy theoretical foundation in communication concepts, but you will also gain hands-on experience. This is because MSU Billings stresses the importance of internships and networking. Graduates from this program have found work in:
Non-profit PR and advertising
Though MSU Billings is holistically ranked by U.S. News & World Report, the business and communication programs are what give the school its prestige. It is also the third largest campus in the Montana State University System.
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