2021 Best Online Public Relations Degrees

If you want to be on the frontlines of cutting-edge advances in mass media, mass communications, social media, and online journalism, then an online public relations degree might be the right fit for you.

Online Public Relations Degrees

This path may lead you to a rewarding career with room for advancement in this growing field.

With an online public relations degree, you may step into an exciting job in advertising, promotions, marketing, fundraising, and more.

Best Online Public Relations Degrees

Marketing Managers in a meeting

Whether you’re going back to school to finish your bachelor’s degree or just starting out, an online degree program may allow you to work from home and avoid the expense of moving to a new location for college.

Additionally, with an online program, you may better balance work and any family responsibilities while completing the coursework for your degree.

Many colleges and universities offer Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degrees in public relations through online degree programs. In some cases, a PR degree is offered as a major track within a school of business, journalism, or communications.

Focus areas include telecommunications, virtual information, advertising, journalism, and more. Depending on your personal interests, you might be more attracted to a program that focuses on global and multicultural perspectives. You might also choose an emphasis on emerging technology and digital media.

Public relations is a dynamic and growing field with a variety of job opportunities. Depending on your personal interests, you might pursue a career in one of the many sub-areas of the public relations industry.

After completing your bachelor in public relations online, you may move into an exciting job as a media coordinator, social media specialist, or marketing coordinator. Other possible positions include fundraising coordinator, advertising manager, or special events coordinator.

Courses for PR degree programs may cover topics such as mass communications, advertising, photojournalism, video production, content management, media writing, and editing.

Public Relations Careers & Salaries

Public Relations Careers & Salaries

Do you love connecting with others? Are you interested in communicating with people through multimedia platforms? If so, you may be well-suited for a career in public relations.

As a public relations expert, you may engage in effective storytelling to build positive relationships between organizations and their audiences or customers. You may be trained to utilize varied means for informing, persuading, and communicating with the public.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the following median annual salaries for careers you may pursue with a degree in public relations.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Marketing Managers $136,850
Advertising and Promotions Managers $125,510
Public Relations and Fundraising Managers $116,180
Public Relations Specialists in Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services $64,230
Market Research Analysts $63,790
Writers and Authors $63,200
Public Relations Specialists $61,150
Fundraisers $57,970
Advertising Sales Agents $53,310
Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners $50,600

You may work for businesses, corporations, industries, governmental agencies, nonprofit organizations, news outlets, and political organizations.

With a BA or BS in Public Relations, you may begin to brand yourself as an expert in communications and public relations to launch a rewarding and potentially lucrative career. Having a masters in public relations online would typically see a larger average annual salary.

Public Relations Curriculum & Courses

To complete a public relations online degree program, you may start with core courses in general educational subjects. These core courses can help you develop a broad knowledge base along with skills in research, critical and creative thinking, and collaboration with other learners.

In addition to core courses, you will enroll in many courses designed to help you acquire specific knowledge and skills for the field of public relations.

Here is a sampling of some courses you might take to fulfill your degree requirements:

  • Introduction to Public Relations: This course explores methods and strategies for public relations pertaining to businesses, corporations, and nonprofit organizations in the digital age.
  • Introduction to Mass Communication: This course is a survey of the field of mass media and mass communication.
  • Advertising: In this course, you’ll study a survey of issues in advertising, including research, media planning, sales promotion, and the role of advertising agencies.
  • Media Writing: You’ll receive an introduction to writing for electronic and digital media.
  • Video Production: You’ll learn basic techniques for analog and digital video production of newscasts, commercials, and public relations promotions.
  • News Writing and Reporting: This course covers writing and producing news stories across multiple platforms, including print and online.
  • Editing and Managing Content: You’ll learn to manipulate text, images, audio, and data for effective storytelling on multiple platforms.
  • Photojournalism: You’ll develop camera-operating skills along with computer software knowledge to tell stories in words and images.
  • Writing for Electronic Media: You’ll develop skills in writing for news stories, public service announcements, commercials, and documentaries.
  • Public Relations Campaigns: This course is an overview of successful public relations campaigns, including professional best practices and ethical standards.

The courses listed here represent only a few of the ones you may find in online public relations degrees programs.

Admissions Requirements

Public Relations degree student studying online

One of the first steps toward getting your degree is to be admitted to the college or university of your choice. Here are some typical admission requirements for bachelors degree programs:

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Minimum high school GPA
  • SAT or ACT scores, if required
  • Letters of recommendation, if required

The minimum required high school GPA varies for different colleges, so you may want to check out the exact requirement stated by the school you’re applying to.

For students whose high school grade point averages don’t meet the minimum requirement, many colleges offer remedial scholars’ programs to build academic skills for college-level work.

Accreditation

Online Public Relations Degrees Accreditation

Your bachelor’s degree may serve as a credential that provides evidence of your knowledge, skill, and accomplishments in the field of public relations. In order for a degree to be widely accepted, though, it must be granted by an accredited college or university.

Potential employers are also more likely to respect a degree from an institution that has been accredited by a regional accrediting organization. When you’re researching schools and programs, you may want to double check to see if they are accredited by one of these organizations.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Online Public Relations Degrees Financial Aid

While you’re researching colleges and degree programs, it may be a good time to start investigating financial aid and scholarship options.

You may start by visiting the Federal Student Aid website, where you can fill out and submit your FAFSA form. Financial aid comes in many forms to those who qualify, including student loans, grants, scholarships, work-study programs, and military financial aid.

Sources for aid include state and federal departments of education as well as the US military. If you are a veteran, active military, or a member of a military family, you may be eligible for military financial aid. Scholarships are classified as need-based or merit-based, and they may come from many sources.

Scholarships may be offered by your state department of education as well as individual colleges or universities. They may also be offered by alumni associations, nonprofit community organizations, churches, and employers.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Public Relations Degree Online?

Public Relations Degree student studying on her laptop

How long it takes you to complete your PR degree program may depend on your individual circumstances and whether you can enroll in classes full-time or part-time.

If you can enroll full-time in 16 week semester classes, you may complete your degree in about 4 years. If you attend a college that offers 8 week semester classes on a year-round basis, you might be able to speed up the process.

If you are seeking part-time enrollment, it might take you longer to complete, but you may better balance job and family responsibilities.

What Is a Public Relations Major?

Advertising team planning during a meeting

A public relations major allows you to build professional skills and knowledge to work in jobs where you communicate with the public on behalf of organizations.

In this degree program, you may study a variety of topics, including mass communications, marketing, advertising, content management, media writing, and ethics. You may prepare to step into a position in a business, corporation, industry, government agency, news outlet, or nonprofit organization.

You may develop expertise in persuasive writing and communication across multiple types of publications, including electronic, digital media, and print. A major in public relations might lead you to a wide variety of career options.

What Degree Is Best for Public Relations?

Public Relations Specialists in Advertising working together

When you’re looking into colleges, you may come across different degree programs in the field of public relations. Some degree titles include marketing, advertising, journalism, or communications along with public relations.

As you peruse information about degree programs, you may want to think about the type of public relations job you envision for yourself. Perhaps you see yourself working in a form of public relations that leans toward marketing and advertising for a corporation or industry.

On the other hand, you might be interested in public relations for a philanthropic, nonprofit organization or for political campaigns. At the end of the day, the major that is best for you is often whichever one fits best with your personal interests and career goals.

How Much Do Public Relations Majors Make?

Market Research Analysts working in the office

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, public relations specialists earn a median salary of $61,150 per year. There are many other careers, though, that you might enter with a degree in public relations.

These fields include fundraising, advertising, marketing, writing, and promotional management. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports median annual salaries ranging from $50,600 to $135,900 for these jobs.

Of course, entry level jobs might pay lower than the median salary. Getting your public relations degree online, though, may position you to step into a career with opportunities for advancement and higher income-earning potential.

What Can You Do with a Public Relations Degree?

Advertising team in a meeting

A public relations bachelor degree is a versatile degree, and it may lead you to a plethora of job opportunities. You may have the opportunity to work in a variety of industries, such as corporations, nonprofit organizations, and government departments.

You might develop a career as a coordinator for social media or mass communications. You may also go into telecommunications, video production, or photojournalism. Other job fields include advertising and promotions, market research, and event planning.

Writing is a valued skill in public relations, with positions available in copywriting, technical writing, and writing for news outlets and electronic media.

Is a Public Relations Degree Worth It?

Marketing team working together

Yes, a bachelor’s degree in public relations is worth it for many students. With an average salary range of $60,000 to $120,000 (Bureau of Labor Statistics), a degree in public relations can help you launch a career in this dynamic and growing field.

Common public relations careers include public relations specialist, fundraising manager, social media specialist, special events coordinator, and advertising, promotions, or marketing manager.

Numerous employment avenues exist within the field, so you may be able to tailor your career to suit your personal interests and passions.

Universities Offering Online Bachelors in Public Relations Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University campus

Arizona State University’s Bachelor of Science in Communication program requires 40 total courses, with each course lasting about 7 and a half weeks.

It’s a good program for students hoping to become public relations specialists or managers. Courses include public speaking, communications for professionals, and quantitative research methods in communication.

Arizona State University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Arkansas Tech University

Arkansas Tech University campus

Students enrolled in Arkansas Tech University’s Bachelor of Professional Studies program should graduate with advanced skills in research, problem solving, professional leadership, and public presentation and written communication.

It’s a fairly comprehensive program that features concentrations in many fields, including public relations, industrial organizational psychology, criminal justice, and interdisciplinary studies.

Arkansas Tech University is accredited through the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

Bellevue University

Bellevue University campus

Bellevue University’s Bachelor of Arts in Communications Studies program is a 127 credit program that consists of core courses, mass media-related courses, organizational and strategic communication-related courses, and three courses in the school’s Kirkpatrick Signature Series.

The school allows eligible students to receive credit for relevant military experience and training.

Bellevue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

California Baptist University

California Baptist University campus

The Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Communication program at California Baptist University is a good choice for students hoping to pursue careers as public relations specialists, reporters, correspondents, social media directors, or event planners.

Students will learn about oral communication, public relations, interpersonal communication, and public relations campaigns and research.

California Baptist University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission.

Colorado Christian University

Colorado Christian University campus

Students enrolled in the communications studies bachelors program at Colorado Christian University should receive sufficient knowledge of communication theory and ample hands-on experience with practical application.

They’ll learn about organizational, group, and interpersonal communication, and they’ll study the effects that emerging technologies and social media are having on the way humans communicate.

Colorado Christian University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Colorado State University

Colorado State University campus

Students interested in public relations at Colorado State University can learn about the field by enrolling in the school’s marketing bachelors program. There are a variety of specializations available in this program, including one in public relations. Courses include digital marketing, strategic marketing, and consumer behavior.

Colorado State is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Drexel University

Drexel University campus

Drexel University offers a 100% online Bachelor of Science in Communication program with either a general concentration or a public relations concentration.

The public relations concentration teaches students about the importance of upholding a company’s image and reputation. Courses include PR writing, marketing management, measurement and evaluation, and campaign planning.

Drexel University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Florida International University

Florida International University campus

Florida International University’s Bachelor of Science in Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communication program is a 120 credit program designed for students interested in pursuing careers in applied communication, advertising, or public relations.

The curriculum includes various courses in journalism, advertising, public relations, digital media, professional and business communications, and marketing.

Florida International University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Franklin University

Franklin University campus

Students in Franklin University’s Bachelor of Science in Public Relations program will take 124 total credits, including any credits earned in a previous associates program.

They must also complete a required capstone course. Major-specific courses include public relations, media research and writing, client engagement, and public relations and promotional strategy.

Franklin University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Mississippi College

Mississippi College campus

There are six concentrations available in Mississippi College’s communications bachelors program. They include public relations, journalism, sports media, mass media, political communication, and interpersonal and professional communication.

Students in the public relations program will take several courses related to marketing, advertising, corporate and issue advocacy, public speaking, and professional relationship building.

Mississippi College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Montana State University – Billings

Montana State University Billings campus

Montana State University – Billings’s public relations bachelors program helps students improve their critical thinking, decision-making, speaking, and essential writing skills.

It also provides them with extensive communication training and teaches them to use video equipment, editing equipment, computers, and computer software. Students often become public relations specialists and managers or media directors.

MSU-Billings is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

National University

National University campus

National University offers a unique Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communications program that allows students to take one 4 weeks long class at a time.

Graduates should be able to develop strategic communications programs, apply persuasion theory to the development of media messages, and evaluate global marketing strategies for products and services.

National University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Pennsylvania State University – World Campus

Pennsylvania State University campus

The Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Communications program from Pennsylvania State University – World Campus is a 120 credit program that teaches students to solve complex problems, communicate effectively via written, oral, and visual mediums, set goals, and think creatively. There are various financial aid options available for eligible students.

Pennsylvania State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Point Park University

Point Park University campus

The Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Advertising program at Point Park University features both prior learning assessment and advanced standing and experiential learning credit opportunities that allow eligible students to earn credit for their prior experience. In total, it’s a 122 credit program, and courses run for 8 weeks.

Point Park University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Regent University

Regent University campus

The Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies program at Regent University has several concentration options that students can choose.

Students interested in public relations can select the advertising and public relations concentration. Courses include general education, advertising, public relations, marketing, and Christianity-related courses. Students can also benefit from optional mentorships.

Regent University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University campus

Southern New Hampshire University’s Bachelor of Arts in Communications program features a public relations concentration.

It requires 120 credits for completion, and up to 90 of those credits can be transferred. Students learn to use communication tools, collaborate with stakeholders, develop and deliver communications through various means, and embrace ethical communication.

Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

University of Florida

University of Florida campus

University of Florida’s Bachelor of Science in Public Relations program is a good choice for students who hope to become public relations specialists, social media coordinators, account executives, technical writers, or fundraising managers.

Students should leave with improved communication skills and a deeper knowledge of public policy and political science.

The University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Louisville

University of Louisville campus 1

University of Louisville offers both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Communication degrees. The core courses are quite similar in both, but the BA degree focuses more on literary and liberal arts while the BS focuses on applied communication and STEM. Both require 121 total credits for completion.

The University of Louisville is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Maryland Global Campus

University of Maryland Global campus

The communication studies bachelors program from University of Maryland Global Campus requires 33 major-specific credits, 46 minor and general elective credits, and 41 general education credits.

Students will take a variety of courses, such as public relations theory, writing for managers, mass media law, introduction to news writing, and effective listening.

University of Maryland Global Campus is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

University of Memphis

University of Memphis campus

Students in the Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations program at University of Memphis will receive instruction not only in public relations but also in management and communication. Students can choose whether to focus on promotional public relations or protective public relations, depending on their specific career goals.

The University of Memphis is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

University of Minnesota – Crookston

University of Minnesota - Crookston campus

University of Minnesota Crookston’s online communications bachelors program has three areas of specific focus that students can choose from: organizational communication and public relations, social media, or communication studies.

Students in the public relations concentration will take courses such as public relations, business writing, report writing, writing in your profession, and corporate training.

U of M Crookston is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of North Dakota

University of North Dakota campus

Students in University of North Dakota’s Bachelor of Arts in Communication program can customize their degrees by choosing electives to help them meet their professional objectives.

Optional areas of focus include public relations, strategic communication, digital analytics, social media strategy, advertising, and digital journalism. Students usually finish in 4 years.

The University of North Dakota is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Washington State University

Washington State University campus

Washington State University’s Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Strategic Communications program has three start dates each year.

The comprehensive curriculum is designed to teach students to effectively use a wide variety of communications-related technologies, strategies, and techniques in order to help organizations manage their images and achieve their goals.

WSU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Webster University

Webster University campus

Webster University offers both Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Public Relations programs online as well as a public relations minor. The class sizes are small, and they’re taught by professional faculty with lots of industry and local connections. Students have ample opportunities to work with actual clients.

Webster University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Wilmington University

Wilmington University campus

The Bachelor of Science in Communication program at Wilmington University features three different areas of concentration: public relations, digital journalism, and visual communications. Students can select the public relations option, or they can choose two of the options and earn dual-credit certificates with only a few additional required classes.

Wilmington University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Getting Your Bachelors in Public Relations Degree Online

Getting Your Bachelors in Public Relations Degree Online

If you’re interested in learning more about this beneficial degree, you may consider exploring accredited online degree programs in public relations.

Online learning has progressed to become a viable means of earning your college degree. Interactive educational platforms may give you access to the same professors and instructional advantages that you would receive from an on-campus learning model.

An advantageous feature of a PR degree is its versatility. Your bachelors in public relations may open doors to a lucrative career in this growing industry.

Carol Benton
WRITTEN BY
Carol Benton
Carol is a retired college professor in the field of music education. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from Shenandoah University, a Master of Music in piano performance and a Bachelor of Music Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. Carol has many years of experience as a teacher and academic advisor for undergraduates.