Best 15 Online Masters Degree Programs in Public Relations in 2021

May 17, 2021 | Staff Writers

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1. Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX

The bulk of Texas Tech’sTech’s Master’sMaster’s in Strategic Communication and Innovation program revolves around coursework in research methods, strategic communication, and communication theory. However, this program’s candidates design their specialization by selecting three electives and the topic of their Master’sMaster’s Report Final Project. Elective coursework options include advanced level classes in Multimedia Storytelling, Audience/Data Analysis and Reporting, and Special Topics in Strategic Communications. 

  • Tuition: $505 per credit 
  • Credits: 30 
  • Estimated Completion Time: 24 months

2. Ball State University, Muncie, IN

Ball State University’s Master of Arts in Public Relations program is a superb choice for candidates currently working full-time in their field. The program was designed for working professionals to offer an opportunity to take two or three classes per semester while still being able to complete the program in five semesters. The school allows students to begin their program in any fall, spring, or summer session without restriction. Coursework includes Studies in Journalism and Communication Theory, Case Studies of Global Digital and Ethical PR Practice, and a three to six credit Capstone research project exhibiting the candidate’s progress and hands-on experience. 

  • Tuition: $442 per credit
  • Credits: 33
  • Estimated Completion Time: 2.5 years

3. University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

The College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida offers a fully online Master of Arts in Mass Communication with a public relations specialization. Candidates currently working in various aspects of communications will further their strategic communication writing skills, expand their knowledge of communications during crisis, manage reputations, and measure and evaluate the success of organizational efforts and brand messaging.

  • Tuition: $585 per credit 
  • Credits: 33
  • Estimated Completion Time: 24 Months

3. Mississippi College, Clinton, MS

Mississippi College offers a Master of Science in Communication with various specializations, including Public Relations and Corporate Communication. This variety in coursework gives students specializing in one area to experience a variety of other disciplines within the vast communications field. In addition to the Master’s program, the school also offers a six-course, 18-credit hour graduate certificate in public relations.

  • Tuition: $625 per credit
  • Credits: 31
  • Estimated Completion Time: 24 Months

5. George Washington University, Washington, DC

George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management offers a Master’s in Strategic Public Relations. Like never before, communications are coming at organizations from many directions, and the industry needs well-trained and educated professionals to handle the influx. The Master’s program at George Washington University focuses on adaptive strategies, policy implementation, and media management while preparing candidates to further their careers into executive management levels. 

  • Tuition: $1315 per credit 
  • Credits: 30
  • Estimated Completion Time: 18 Months

5. University of Maryland Global Campus

The Masters in Strategic Communications from the University of Maryland Global Campus prepares candidates for careers in upper-level management PR positions. Ideal for those already working in the field looking to advance their careers without taking time away from work. Upon completion of all degree requirements, candidates will be prepared for certification from the Public Relations Society of America certification. 

For mid-level managers working in the PR field, this graduate degree will allow them to advance their public relations career or transition to other strategic communications sectors. 

  • Tuition: $480 per credit
  • Credits: 36
  • Estimated Time of Completion: 24 Months

7. Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY

Master of Science in Communications Innovation from Ithaca College is designed for serious candidates with proven success in the communications industry. The offering of Destination Intensives separates this graduate program from the pack. Students are encouraged to participate in weekend-long learning events where they are exposed to presentations on the cutting edge of communications and network with industry experts from various sectors. This program’s alumni include directors of content for large corporations, media specialists from the MLB, and strategic communications specialists for well-known non-profits. 

  • Tuition: $893 per credit 
  • Credits: 32 
  • Estimated Time of Completion: 24 Months

8. Georgetown University, Washington, DC

Candidates accepted into the highly competitive Masters in Public Relations and Corporates Communications program at Georgetown University will find the flexibility that hard-working professionals need. There are opportunities for students to customize full-time or part-time course loads. While the average completion rate is 3.5 years, some professionals take advantage of this flexibility, pursue the degree part-time, and can take as many as five years to complete. 

As one of the premier universities in the United States, Georgetown attracts world-class professors. This program has been designed and upgraded by top-notch members in various communications fields. The facilities and curriculum upgrade continuously to stay on the cutting edge of technology and communications planning. 

  • Tuition: $1483 per credit
  • Credits: 30
  • Estimated Completion Time: 3.5 Years

9. Montana State University, Billings, MT

Master of Science in Public Relations from the University of Montana at Billings allows candidates to continue pursuing their career goals in the field while continuing their education. This program is highly competitive, with a limited number of admissions per year. While focusing on integral aspects of communication theory and practice, this program includes a strong focus on research and academics for those who would like to pursue a career in educating future PR professionals.  

  • Tuition: $959 per credit
  • Credits: 32
  • Estimated Completion Time: 24 Months

10. West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV

Students graduating with a Master Arts in Communications Studies from West Virginia University are as likely to further their careers as Public Relations specialists as they are to continue on an academic track to become professors and education administrators. 

WVU’s Eberly College of Arts in Sciences has a reputation for providing the communications fields with candidates with a strong academic foundation and real-world experience. Graduates of this program are prepared to handle the demands of an ever-evolving field while managing an ever-increasing influx of digital information and communication. 

  • Tuition: $633 per credit
  • Credits: 36
  • Estimated Time of Completion: 24 Months

11. Webster University, St. Louis, MO

The Master of Arts in Public Relations at Webster University exposes candidates to the complex relationships between ethics and globalization in today’s practice of public relations. Throughout the program, candidates learn to appreciate the importance of research and analytics involved in the successful development of the communication campaigns and address various organizations’ communications problems. Core courses include International Communications, a variety of writing courses, and Strategic Communication Applications. Elective courses are chosen with a School of Communications advisor’s guidance to satisfy the individual’s academic and career goals. 

  • Tuition: $780 per credit
  • Credits: 36
  • Estimated Completion Time: 24 Months

12. Quinnipiac University, Hamden, CT

Quinnipiac University is a well-respected New England institution of higher learning. The Master of Science in Public Relations program at Quinnipiac prepares candidates to further their careers in various communications management levels. The four pillars of the University’s public relations master’s curriculum are Information Fluency and Analysis, Critical and Creative Thinking, Effective Communication, and Quantitative and Qualitative Literacy. This curriculum is aligned with the ten knowledge, skills, and abilities, as defined by the Public Relations Society of America, and prepares graduating students for PRSA certification. 

  • Tuition: $955 per credit 
  • Credits: 36
  • Estimated Time of Completion: 24 Months

13. Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY

The Master of Science in Communication with a Public Relations program specialization at Syracuse University requires 12 credits in the discipline. These courses include public relations and communications theory, campaign planning for various organizations, management and consumer research, and the study and analysis of more diverse markets. Coursework focused on strategic planning prepares students to continue or pursue positions at higher management levels in both the private and public sectors. 

  • Tuition: $1964 per credit 
  • Credits: 33
  • Estimated Completion Time: 15 Months

14. Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA

Drexel University’s online MS in Strategic and Digital Communication prepares students to thrive in the quickly changing worlds of both traditional and digital media. This online quarter-based program focuses on strategic, digital, and social media communication. Designed for both new and experienced communication professionals, students can tailor the curriculum to their interests and goals to help them succeed in this ever-evolving field.

  • Tuition: $750 per quarter credit
  • Credits: 45 quarter credits
  • Estimated Completion Time: 24 Months 

15. University of Denver, Denver, CO

 Graduates of the Master of Arts in Communication Management with a Concentration in Public Relations program at the University of Denver highly recommend the program for its convenience and flexibility. The quarter credit set-up allows candidates to complete classes in ten-week terms. Four core courses, six concentration courses, and two elective courses are required for program completion and enable candidates to focus on their area of expertise while at the same time experiencing academic units in other areas of the Communication Management program. With two classes per term, the year-round quarter set up makes degree completion possible in a mere 18 months. 

  • Tuition: $2920 per credit 
  • Credits: 48 
  • Estimated Completion Time: 18 Months

Our Ranking Methodology

Graduate programs in public relations have expanded in recent years due to rapid growth in global communications. Once seen as merely “fixers” for various public and private sector interests, PR pros are now responsible for vast networks of organizational information. We attributed a point system for this list, ranking each program, one through 15, based on tuition and credits required. 

We encourage school representatives to reach out to us to clarify any of the above information or to request a review of a particular program. 

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