Top 30 Public Relations Degrees in 2021 - Best Value Schools

Top 30 Public Relations Degrees in 2021

February 13, 2021 | Staff Writers

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The following is a list of the top Public Relations programs across the country.  They are ranked according to a matrix using the cost of tuition, faculty to student ratio, and graduation rate.  Using this information we get a general picture of student satisfaction and success.  Institutions that are more affordable can also offer high-quality programs, especially if the student to faculty ratio is low.  Another item used to determine the success of the program is the graduation rate.  Students that complete their intended program show they are invested and feel the return for their investment is worth the cost.  The programs listed below are ranked using these three items.  

Here are the 30 Best Public Relations Degrees in 2021!

1. University of Southern California       Points:  11

A private institution, University of Southern California was founded in 1880 and is the oldest private institution for higher learning in California.  Students of the Public Relations program will find a myriad of opportunities to participate in internships and hands-on learning opportunities to gain real-world experience.  Courses that students will participate in include Effective Writing for Strategic Public Relations, Social, Legal, and Ethical Foundations of Public Relations, Business and Economic Foundations of Public Relations, and Strategic Public Relations Research, Analysis, and Insights.  Students can pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree in Public Relations.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Los Angeles, California
  • Resident Tuition: $58,195
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $58,195
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 8 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 91.5%

2. University of Florida              Points:  11

A public land-grant institution, the University of Florida was established in 1853 and is a senior member of the State University System of Florida.  It is also a sea-grant, and space-grant institution offering a wide array of unique research opportunities and internships allowing students to gain real-world experience while in their undergraduate studies.  Courses that students of Public Relations will participate in include Mass Communications, Public Relations Campaigns, Multimedia Writing, Principles of Public Relations, and more. Students can rest assured they are receiving an education from a globally ranked institution.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Gainesville, Florida
  • Resident Tuition: $6,381
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $28,659
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 17 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 87.2%

3. Mississippi Valley State University         Points:  11

A public institution, Mississippi Valley State University is a member school of the Thurgood Marshall COllege fund.  Students seeking to major in Public Relations will take courses in Mass Communications such as Mass Media Law and Ethics, Principles of Advertising, Public Relations Campaigns, and more.  Students will gain the skills to work in a variety of organizations from non-profit, government, to corporate businesses.  Graduates will be able to serve in many capacities through being effective communicators of both the written word and verbally.   

At A Glance

  • Location: Itta Bena, Mississippi
  • Resident Tuition: $6,746
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $6,746
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 15 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 61.2%

4. University of Texas Austin               Points:  11

A public research institution,  the University of Texas Austin is one of the largest universities in the nation with an enrollment exceeding 50,000 combined undergraduate and graduate students.  Students have over 300 degree programs to choose from.  Those seeking out a degree in Public RElations will find a high quality and engaging program that include courses in Rhetoric, Communications, and Business.  Students can also choose to minor in unique areas including Latino Media Studies, Elements of Computing, Business, and many more.  Graduates will have a well rounded education that prepares them for a career in the fast paced world with a cultural awareness  

At A Glance

  • Location: Austin, Texas
  • Resident Tuition:$10,824
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $38,326
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 18 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 80.8%

5. University of Alabama           Points:  11

A public institution, the University of Alabama is a research institution as well as  the oldest and largest in the state of Alabama.  UofA has been globally ranked and nationally ranked by many outlets as a top institution.  Students seeking a career path in Public Relations will find a program that brings together research skills, effective writing, strategy, and critical thinking.  Students also have the option to specialize in one of the following areas; Non-Profit Communication Management, Sport and Entertainment Communication Management, Technological and Digital Communication Management.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
  • Resident Tuition: $10,780
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $30,250
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 20 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 68.3%

6. Boston University       Points:  11

A private institution, Boston University was established in 1839 though it is non-sectarian, it was originally affiliated with the United Methodist Church. As a prestigious institution, students will receive a quality education and be mentored by experts in the field with small class sizes.  Students of the PR program will participate in the PRLab where they learn, design, and execute campaigns for clients under the direction of professor Amy Shanler.  One client of interest is Ben & Jerry’s.  Core courses include Understanding Media, Writing for Communication, Communication Research Methods, and more.     

At A Glance

  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts
  • Resident Tuition: $55,892
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $55,892
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 10 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 86.5%

7. Penn State University          Points: 11

A public research university, Penn State University was founded in 1855 and has multiple campuses and facilities across the state of Pennsylvania.  It is a Public Ivy and has been ranked among the top institutions in the nation and globally.  Those seeking a degree in public relations will find a unique program that blends theory, research, and practice.  Within the degree program students have two paths, advertising or public relations.  Students will take core courses in News Writing and Reporting, Public Relations Campaigns, Public Relations Media and Methods, Research Methods in Advertising and Public Relations, and more.  

At A Glance

  • Location: University Park, Pennsylvania
  • Resident Tuition: $18,450
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $35,514
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 15 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 85.4%

8. Florida State University          Points:  9

A public research institution, Florida State University was established in 1851 and is among the top 100 institutions for higher learning in the nation as well as one of the most affordable institutions.  Those seeking to earn a degree in Public Relations from Florida State University will attend the School of Communications and will need to apply to the program as it is a limited access degree.  Students will be trained to analyze their audience, communicate effectively both verbally and written, as well as be well rounded with a liberal arts education foundation.  Students can choose to specialize in Tactics and Strategies, Public Relations Writing, Research and Campaign Management Skills.   

At A Glance

  • Location: Tallahassee, Florida
  • Resident Tuition: $5,656
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $18,786
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 21 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 79.8%

9. California Baptist University            Points:  9

A private Christian institution, California Baptists University was founded in 1950 and is affiliated with the Southern California Baptist Convention.  Students seeking to earn a degree in Public Relations will take courses in social media, public event planning, writing, campaigning, and more.  Students can also choose to specialize in one of the following areas; International Public Relations, New Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, Strategic Communications and Planning, and Media Relations and Writing.  Graduates are prepared to fulfill the various roles that are required from Public Relations professionals such as planning events, writing news releases, and more.   

At A Glance

  • Location: Riverside, California
  • Resident Tuition: $34,882
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $34,882
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 14 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 58.2%

10. North Carolina A&T State University             Points:  9

A public institution for higher learning, North Carolina A&T State University is a historically black institution.  Those seeking to earn a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Public Relations will take courses in public relations writing, case studies, campaigns and more.  Students learn how to serve non-profit, corporate, and government organizations.  Graduates will have the skills to serve in positions such as communications managers, public affairs specialists, and more.  Students have opportunities to participate in research with the many partnerships held by North Carolina A&T State University.      

At A Glance

  • Location: Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Resident Tuition: $6,657
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $20,167
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 19 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 42.7%

11. University of Memphis          Points: 9

A public research institution, the University of Memphis was founded in 1912 and now has an enrollment that exceeds 22,000 per year.  At the University of Memphis students will learn how to build relations between organizations and the public.  Students of the PR program will have multiple opportunities to gain hands-on experience through internships with local organizations including St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital, FedEx, Archer Malmo, and more.  Students will learn how to manage image crisis for companies, build relationships among organizations, create and build awareness of a company or product, and more.   

At A Glance

  • Location: Memphis, Tennessee
  • Resident Tuition: $9,912
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $13,752
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 15 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 41.5%

12. San Jose State University          Points:  9

San Jose State University is a public institution and is the oldest institution for higher learning on the West coast.  The Journalism and Mass Communication’s Department offers a unique one of a kind Public Relation’s program that is the only one like it in California.  It offers the most comprehensive PR program in North California with courses in contemporary public relations, media writing in the information age, sace studies in strategic communications, campaign planning and management, and more.  Students will create campaigns for actual clients like Cisco Systems, Intel, American Cancer Society, and more.    

At A Glance

  • Location: San Jose, California
  • Resident Tuition: $7,852
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $19,732
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 27 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 62.1%

13. St. John’s University           Points: 9

A private institution, St. John’s University is a Roman Catholic that was founded in 1870 with the mission to provide higher education to underprivileged youth.  At St. John’s University students will learn the vital role that public relations plays in today’s non-profit organizations and corporate companies.   Students learn to become skilled practitioners in navigating the relations between organizations, the public, individuals, and the multiple media outlets that are now utilized.  COre courses include Public Relations Strategies, Law of Public Communication, Multimedia Communication and more.   

At A Glance

  • Location: Queens, New York
  • Resident Tuition: $43,000
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $43,00
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 16 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 57.9% 

14. Syracuse University           Points:  9

A private research institution, Syracuse University was founded in 1831 and traces its roots back to the Genesee Wesleyan Seminary.  The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications is one of the top ranked communication schools in the nation.  Students of the Public Relations major will take courses in Advertising and Public Relations Law, Public RElations Research, Public Relations Principles and Concepts, and more. Students will also have the opportunity to work at Hill Communications, a student-run PR firm that is affiliated with PR Student Society of America.     

At A Glance

  • Location: Syracuse, New York
  • Resident Tuition: $53,849
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $53,849
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 15 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 82.1%

15. Point Park University      Points:  9

A private institution for higher learning, Point Park University is a small liberal arts school that enrolls approximately 4,000 students across 100 programs.  The Public Relations program at Point Park teaches students to think critically, write clearly and work as part of an effective team.  The comprehensive public relations program is available both on campus and fully online. Students will take courses in social media, media planning and buying, PR writing, introduction to multimedia, advertising campaigns and more. Students gain real world experience through internships and their capstone project.    

At A Glance

  • Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Resident Tuition: $32,750
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $32,750
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 13 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 57.6%

16. Northern Kentucky University     Points: 9

A public institution, Northern Kentucky University is primarily an undergraduate institution that enrolls approximately 15,000 students each year in over 60 academic programs.  Students seeking to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations will learn how to lead organizations through societal change, crisis, social media engagement, and more.  A sample of the core courses students will take include Mass Communication Law, Strategies of Persuasion, Interpersonal Communication, Public Relations Planning and Management, and more.  Students also have opportunities to participate in internships where they can gain real world experiences.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Highland Heights, Kentucky
  • Resident Tuition: $10,296
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $20,256
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 18 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 36.7%

17. Metropolitan State University at Denver          Points:  9

A public institution, Metropolitan State University at Denver provides an innovative degree path for those seeking to earn a Bachelor of Arts while majoring in Public Relations.  Those that study Public Relations will become multi-skilled candidates that earn a BA in Communication Studies.  There are tracks that students can take in earning this degree, allowing them to find their specific niche within the degree; Technical Writing and Editing, Broadcast Journalism, Video Production, Journalism, and Media Production and Leadership.   Students have many opportunities to gain real world experience with Denver being the 18th largest media market in the nation.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Denver, Colorado
  • Resident Tuition: $8,151
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $21,728
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 18 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 44.7%

18. Weber State University           Points:  9

A public institution for higher learning, Weber State University was founded in 1889 and is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.  Through the Department of Communication students can earn a degree in Public Relations and Advertising.  In this program students have the option to enroll in one of five tracks; Copywriting, Marketing, Health Care Public Relations, Visual Communication, or International Public Relations.  Students will also have opportunities to be involved in Public Relations Student Society of America and Ogden Peak Communications.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Ogden, Utah
  • Resident Tuition: $5,986
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $15,969
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 21 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 39.1%

19. American University            Points: 9

A private institution, American University is a renowned research university located right in the nation’s capital. As one of the most “politically active”  schools in the nation it provides unique opportunities for those studying communications and especially public relations.  Courses that students will take include digital strategies, political communication, lifestyle and culture communication, and more.  Students can even enroll in a simultaneous master’s degree program on Public Relations along with their bachelor’s degree.  Many graduates have gone on to work in politics, media, and film.   

At A Glance

  • Location: Washington D.C.
  • Resident Tuition: $49,889
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $49,889
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 11 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 81%

20. University of Central Arkansas          Points:  9

A public institution, the University of Central Arkansas is one of the oldest institutions for higher learning in Arkansas, founded in 1907.  Founded as a teachers college, it has since grown to be a comprehensive research university.  Those seeking a degree in Public Relations will be prepared to enter the fast paced world of branding, advertising, and communications.  Courses that students will take include strategic theory, public relations, advertising, marketing, and more.  Professions that graduates can pursue include Public Opinion Research, Campaign Direction, Corporate Communication, and more.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Conway, Arkansas
  • Resident Tuition: $9,188
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $15,988
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 16 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 41.2%

21. University of Miami       Points:  9

A private research institution, the University of Miami enrolls approximately 17,000 students each year across its 300 academic programs.  Students seeking a degree in public relations can design their degree to either focus on theory and methodology between effective public relations or application.  Courses that students will participate in include writing for the digital age, principles of public relations, graphic design for strategic communications and more.  Graduates are able to be employed in a variety of areas and utilize their communication skills.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Coral-Gables, Florida
  • Resident Tuition: $51,930
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $51,930
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 12 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 81.4%

22. University of Louisiana Lafayette                Points: 7

A public research institution, the University of Louisiana Lafayette is a top ranked institution and is the largest university in Louisiana with nine campuses.  Students pursuing a degree in Public Relations will find a rigorous, relevant and even fun learning environment.  Courses that students will participate in include Introductory Newswriting, Writing for Public Relations, Public Speaking, and Media and Society.  Upon completing the program students can pursue a career as a public relations manager or public relations technician.  Students will gain leadership skills and have strong verbal and written communication skills.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Resident Tuition: $10,382
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $24,110
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 20 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 44.1%

23. Murray State University            Points:  7

A public institution, Murray State University is considered one of the top schools in its region according to Forbes and U.S. News and World Report.  The Public Relations major at Murray State provides a broad foundation across the areas of writing, publicity, and marketing.  Students will have core courses including Research Methods, Public Relations Strategies, Newswriting, Mass Media Effects, and more.  Students will also be able to customize their degree through the elective courses they choose.  Some of these electives are Script Writing, Sports Media, Photojournalism, Publication Design, and many more.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Murray, Kentucky
  • Resident Tuition: $9,168
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $24,792
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 15 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 48.4%

24. University of Texas at San Antonio         Points: 7

A public research institution, the University of Texas at San Antonio is one of the largest universities in Texas with an enrollment of 34,000 students each year.  Students seeking a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations will earn a Communications degree in Public Relations.  This program is available both in person and entirely online.  This program is ideal for those seeking a broad foundational base in communications with courses specific to public relations.  Coursework will include Mass Communication, Editing, Digital Business Communication, Business and Professional Speech, and more.  

At A Glance

  • Location: San Antonio, Texas
  • Resident Tuition: $8,262
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $20,263
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 25 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 34.6%

25. Northwest Missouri State University          Points:  7

A public institution, Northwest Missouri State University was founded in 1904 as a teachers college.  Northwest Missouri State University has ranked among the top colleges in the nation across many programs according to the U.S. News and World Report.  Those seeking a degree in Communications: Public RElations will find a comprehensive program that adequately prepares students for success in a future career as public relations specialists.  Students will learn how to communicate with a target audience, explain products, and be effective communicators.  There are two paths that provide students with real world experience one takes students through symposiums and a study abroad option while the other focuses primarily internships.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Maryville, Missouri
  • Resident Tuition: $8,238
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $14,020
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 21 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 49.5%

26. Ashford University           Points:  7

Ashford University is an online for-profit university that offers over 50 online degrees.  With years of experience with innovative teaching through technology, Ashford provides quality programs that are designed for working adults and returning learners.  Students enrolled in the public relations program will take courses in marketing strategy, marketing research, and more.  There are three paths students can take to earning their degree; Information Systems, International Management, and Project Management.  Students have access to a wide array of online student services to ensure their success through the online public relations degree programs.  

At A Glance

  • Location: San Diego, California
  • Resident Tuition: $12,400
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $12,400
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 14 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 25.1%

27. Western Kentucky University           Points:  7

A public institution, Western Kentucky University was founded in 1906 and is regionally accredited.  With an enrollment of approximately 20,000 students each year attending and earning degrees across 80 programs, WKU is well known for its journalism and communications programs.  Students enrolled in the Public Relations major will learn how to measure and perform research, plan strategically, and learn how to communicate through writing and reach their target audience.  Other courses included in the program are advertising media, branding, advertising in the digital world, and many more.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Bowling Green, Kentucky
  • Resident Tuition: $10,802
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $26,496
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 18 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 44.1%

28. Franklin University         Points:  7

A private institution, Franklin University was founded in 1902 to serve the growing needs of the adult population and provide opportunities for career development.  Students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations online from Franklin University.  Students will learn how to build strong relationships and operate in the public eye as public relations specialists.  Unique courses prepare students to excel in their profession.  Some of those courses include Video for Digital Journalism, Advanced on-air Storytelling, Using Databases in Newsgathering, and more.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Columbus, Ohio
  • Resident Tuition: $9,577
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $9,577
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 11 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 33.2%

29. Missouri Western State University     Points:  7

A public institution, Missouri Western State University is one of the smaller institutions on this list but still a great choice for earning a degree in public relations.  Students of the public relations degree are prepared for the ever evolving journalism market.  Students explore social media, research, web design and more as they learn the latest on public relations for organizations.  Courses students will participate in include communication theory, introduction to public relations, presentational communication, and more.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Saint Joseph, Missouri
  • Resident Tuition: $8,225
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $14,135
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 16 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 29.2%

30. Montana State University Billings          Points:  7

A public institution, Montana State University Billings is the third largest school in the state and was originally a teachers college, it has since expanded to be a university offering dozens of academic degrees.  Students desiring to pursue a degree in Public Relations will find the degree program available online and on campus.  Students build a strong theoretical foundation as well as application skills as they gain real-world experience through internships.  Courses will build technical writing skills as well as verbal communication skills and critical thinking skills.  Graduates are often employed in positions such as Public Relations Manager, Media Director, Community Development, and more.   

At A Glance

  • Location: Billings, Montana
  • Resident Tuition: $5,933
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $19,257
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 14 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 28.4%

Points Methodology

Cost Under $5,000  5 Points

        Between $5,001 and $10,000 3 Points

        Over $10,000   1 Point

Faculty to Student Ratio 10 to 1  5 Points

                                        11-20 to 1 3 Points

                                        Above 20   1 Point

Graduation Rate  Above 50% 5 Points

                            25% 5o 49% 3 Points

                            Under 25% 1 Point

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