Best Public Relations Degrees

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Best Bachelor's in Public Relations Badge

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!

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Top 10 Best Public Relations Degrees

Rank School Location
1 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
2 University of Florida Gainsville, FL
3 University of Louisiana at Lafayette Lafayette, LA
4 University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX
5 California Baptist University Riverside, CA
6 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
7 University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL
8 North Carolina A & T State University Greensboro, NC
9 University of Memphis Memphis, TN
10 Boston University Boston, MA

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.

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:

  • Marketing Manager
  • Speech Writer
  • Event Coordinator
  • Press Secretary
  • Social Media Specialist
  • And more

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
  • Organizational Communication
  • Broadcasting
  • 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.

Our figures and information come from the university and colleges’ websites, PayScale, and nationally recognized U.S. News & World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. University of Southern California
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Features

    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

    Notables

    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.

  2. University of Florida
    Location

    Gainsville, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Features

    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
    • Multimedia Writing
    • Principles of Public Relations
    • Public Relations Campaigns

    Notables

    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.

  3. University of Louisiana at Lafayette
    Location

    Lafayette, LA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Features

    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
    • Introductory Newswriting
    • Public Speaking
    • Writing for Public Relations

    Notables

    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.

  4. University of Texas at Austin
    Location

    Austin, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Features

    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
    • Business Foundations
    • Elements of Computing
    • And more

    Notables

    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.

  5. California Baptist University
    Location

    Riverside, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Features

    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
    • New Media
    • Media Relations and Writing
    • International Public Relations
    • Integrated Marketing Communication

    Notables

    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.

  6. Florida State University
    Location

    Tallahassee, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Features

    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

    Notables

    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.”

  7. University of Alabama
    Location

    Tuscaloosa, AL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Features

    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

    Notables

    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.

  8. North Carolina A & T State University
    Location

    Greensboro, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Features

    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:

    • Consulting firms
    • Non-profit organizations
    • Educational institutions
    • State or federal government agencies
    • And more

    Notables

    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.

  9. University of Memphis
    Location

    Memphis, TN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Features

    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

    Notables

    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.

  10. Boston University
    Location

    Boston, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Features

    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:

    • Understanding Media
    • Writing for Communication
    • Communication Research Methods

    Notables

    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.

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