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Best 15 Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations in 2021

June 16, 2021 | Staff Writers

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Public relations is a highly competitive career field, with a variety of career options. An individual that wants to excel in the field needs the education and skills that are required by employers. Earning a bachelor’s degree in public relations is the primary degree desired for public relations specialists. 

What Does a Public Relations Specialist Do? 

The field of public relations differs from advertising, although there are some similarities in the two careers. One difference is the fact that public relations specialists do not purchase ad space on television or in print publications, which is common for advertising professionals. Public relations specialists work in a variety of career settings, and work with the media to have their stories or other communications delivered to the public or to the targeted audience. 

Some typical responsibilities of public relations specialists include: 

  • Help clients to communicate with the media effectively 
  • Draft speeches and write press releases 
  • Prepare information to the media and respond to information requests from the media 
  • Help maintain the image and identity of their organization or agency 

Public relations specialists are also often responsible for monitoring questions or concerns expressed on social media, and responding to those issues. 

What is the Job Outlook for Public Relations Specialists? 

Students that graduate with a bachelor’s degree in public relations have a great career outlook, according to several sources. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that nearly 20,000 new jobs are expected to be available over the next few years.  

The job growth in public relations careers is faster than average, compared to other occupations. Individuals that have a bachelor’s degree in public relations may work in business, government, education, media and communications, or other career areas. Ferris University explains that the U.S. News & World Report included public relations in its list of the “hot track professions.”

These schools offer a degree in public relations. Some schools may offer more than one concentration, allowing students to focus on their specific career interests. The tuition is for one credit hour of instruction, and does not include required fees or other expenses. 

Best 15 Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations

1. Central Washington University 

The Central Washington University Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations program prepares students for working in public relations departments at government agencies, organizations, companies, or anywhere that needs professional public relations specialists.  

The curriculum places strong focus on written and interpersonal communications, problem-solving, negotiation, leadership, creativity, research, and other important areas. 

  • Tuition: est. $210.59 per credit hour 
  • Program length: est. 120 credit hours 

2. University of Central Florida 

The Bachelor of Arts in Advertising/Public Relations program at the University of Central Florida provides students with a high-quality education in areas such as techniques, concepts, and strategies of communications, the core values of public relations, and the ethics involved in public relations. Students complete courses on topics that includes advertising copywriting, mass media communications, radio and television advertising, power branding, and public relations case studies. 

  • Tuition: $212.28 per credit hour 
  • Program length: 120 credit hours 

3. University of Arkansas 

Students that choose the Bachelor of Arts in Advertising and Public Relations program at the University of Arkansas gain the knowledge in theory, practice and ethics related to the field. Graduates have the skills to work in a public relations, advertising, or journalism career, after completing courses in areas that include media writing, media planning and strategy, international relations, public speaking, and consumer behavior. 

  • Tuition: $252.28 per credit hour 
  • Program length: 120 credit hours 

4. Texas State University

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 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 PRomotions. 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.

  • Tuition: est. $297.34 per credit hour 
  • Program length: 120 credit hours 

5. University of Alabama 

The Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations program at the University of Alabama features three specializations, which allows students to focus on their preferred interests. Students choose either the Nonprofit Communication Management Specialization, the Technological and Digital Communication Management Specialization, or the Sport and Entertainment Communication Management Specialization. Students complete 38 credit hours in their specialization in addition to other required and elective courses. 

Students learn the importance of shaping the future of global advertising and the public relations field in a socially conscious manner. Some required courses include Mechanics of Media Writing, News Writing and Reporting, Investigation and Insight, and Public Relations Writing. 

  • Tuition: est. $299.44 per credit hour 
  • Program length: 120 credit hours 

6. Middle Tennessee State University 

Middle Tennessee State University students that want to earn a bachelor’s degree in public relations choose either the Journalism, Advertising-Public Relations General Concentration, or the Journalism, Advertising-Public Relations degree with a Recording Industry concentration. Both options consist of the same total number of credit hours.  

Students gain knowledge and skills in areas such as media relations, strategic communication, crisis communications, international public relations, and entertainment public relations. 

  • Tuition: $300 per credit hour 
  • Program length: 120 credit hours 

7. University of Wisconsin Whitewater 

The University of Wisconsin Whitewater Bachelor in Public Relations program focuses on more than theory and application. The school recognizes the rapid growth in the field, and provides students with the latest industry-related best practices. Students learn more than just classroom instruction. They pitch campaign ideas to real-world clients, create a crisis simulation, design special events, and engage in other activities with a focus on digital, integrated strategies. 

Students participate in internships and research, and have the opportunity to study abroad in Greece, Ireland, Brazil, or the United Kingdom. 

  • Tuition: $322 per credit hour 
  • Program length: est. 120 credit hours 

8. University of North Florida 

The University of North Florida offers a Bachelor of Science in Communication with a Public Relations concentration. Students complete prerequisite requirements, upper division courses, 19 credit hours of major requirements and 18 elective credit hours in the major. The curriculum includes topics in theory, strategies, media literacy, advanced writing for the media, public relations campaigns, emerging media, and health messages for mass media. 

  • Tuition: est. $324.55 per credit hour 
  • Program length: 120 credit hours 

9. Iowa State University 

Graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Public Relations program at Iowa State University have the skills and expertise needed to help organizations build mutually beneficial relationships through public relations. Students follow a curriculum that includes more than the basic principles of public relations. They complete courses in journalism and communication, reporting and writing for mass media, ethics, law, responsibility, and freedom as it relates to public relations. Students also complete an internship capstone project. 

  • Tuition: $336 per credit hour 
  • Program length: 120 credit hours 

10. Ferris University 

Ferris University offers a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations that focuses on a strong business core, along with public relations courses. The program requires that students begin their job search early in the program, by making job shadow contacts, engaging in informational interviews, and business networking experiences. Students also complete an internship. 

The school indicates that graduates go on to work in areas such as media relations, public advocacy, speech writing, event planning, human resources, and broadcasting. 

  • Tuition: $443 per credit hour 
  • Program length: est. 121 credit hours 

11. Michigan State University 

The Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations degree offered at Michigan State University provides students with the comprehensive skills that is needed to compete successfully in the job market, and to successfully work in the field. Students learn theory, strategic planning, problem-solving skills, creative and critical thinking, ethics and legal environment, along with experiential learning and business acumen. There are required cooperative educational opportunities and internships in the program.  

Students also have the opportunity to study abroad.  

  • Tuition: $482 per credit hour 
  • Program length: 120 credit hours 

12. St. John’s University 

The Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations at St. John’s University provides students with outstanding learning opportunities in New York City, the “media capital of the world.” Students have the benefit of learning in high-tech classrooms, and labs, along with engaging with the career center. 

Some courses include Public Relations Writing, Public Relations Strategies, Corporate Video Design and Production, and Introduction to Advertising Communication. Students also complete an internship or practicum. There are several opportunities to study abroad, including the opportunity to reside in and learn at the St. John’s Campus in Rome, or the St. John’s Campus in Paris location. 

  • Tuition: est. $1,027 per credit hour 
  • Program length: 120 credit hours 

13. Temple University 

Temple University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations degree that prepares students to understand the needs, wants and desires of audiences, to understand in-depth public relations through responsible, thoughtful reflection and action, and to understand theoretical and practical applications, and a variety of other knowledge and skills for becoming a public relations professional. 

Students complete courses such as Communicating Leadership, News Writing and Media Relations, Crisis Communication, and Leading Groups and Team Building. There is also a portfolio requirement, and a field experience. 

  • Tuition: $670 per credit hour 
  • Program length: 124 credit hours 

14. Suffolk University 

Students have the option of choosing the Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations or the Bachelor of Science in Public Relations at Suffolk University. Both programs require completion of the same number of credit hours. 

The program guides students through a curriculum that provides knowledge of public relations skills such as writing, research and planning, organizing, public speaking, and public relations strategy. Students also learn team building skills, and constructing and delivering public relations campaigns and presentations.  

  • Tuition: $1,213 per credit hour 
  • Program length: 126 credit hours 

15. Drake University 

Drake University touts the fact that its bachelor’s degree in public relations program is one of just 40 public relations programs to be honored with the prestigious Certification in Education for Public Relations. Students gain a global perspective of public relations, strategic thinking skills, research and planning skills. There is a requirement to create a complete multimedia campaign for a local nonprofit client, through collaboration with other public relations majors. 

Graduates may work in areas such as media relations, government relations, corporate communications, speech writing, or crisis communication.  

  • Tuition: $1,246 per credit hour 
  • Program length: 124 credit hours 

Methodology 

We searched for the top bachelor’s degree in public relations programs, and did the hard work of ranking them for potential students, based on tuition and the program length. Each program is an accredited program that is offered on-campus.  

Do you need help finding the right college or university? We can help you with that, based on your selected program. 

For more programs check out our online degrees in public relations.

Would you like to have your school included in our rankings? Do you need to update the information that we currently have for your school? Contact us and we will be happy to assist you. 

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