2024 Best Online Public Relations Degrees

By Dr. Carol Benton
Updated on July 14, 2024
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Discover online public relations degree programs. Explore programs that offer flexibility, industry-relevant courses, and career advancement opportunities.

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

Online Public Relations Degrees

Choosing this path could open the door to a fulfilling career that offers opportunities for advancement in this expanding and ever-changing field.

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With a major in this area of study, you may step into an exciting job in advertising, promotions, marketing, fundraising, and more.

Universities Offering Online Bachelor’s in Public Relations Degrees

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’s Bachelor’s in Communications degree requires 40 total classes, with each course lasting about 7 and a half weeks.

It might be a good option for students hoping to become specialists or managers. Classes include public speaking and quantitative research methods.

Arizona State University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Arkansas Tech University

Students enrolled in Arkansas Tech University’s bachelor’s should graduate with advanced knowledge in research, problem solving, professional leadership, and public presentation.

It’s a fairly comprehensive course of study 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’s Bachelor’s in Communications Studies is a 127 credits that consists of core classes, mass media-related classes, organizational and strategic communication-related classes, and three classes in the school’s Kirkpatrick Signature Series.

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

Bellevue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

California Baptist University

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

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

California Baptist University is regionally accredited by the WSCUC.

Colorado Christian University

Students enrolled in the bachelor’s in Communication Studies at Colorado Christian University should receive sufficient knowledge of theory and ample hands-on experience with practical application.

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

Colorado Christian University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Colorado State University

Students interested in public relations at Colorado State University can learn about the area by enrolling in the school’s marketing bachelors program. There are a variety of specializations available in this program.

Colorado State is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Drexel University

Drexel University offers a 100% online Bachelor’s in Communication 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. Classes include 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’s Bachelor’s in Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communication is 120 credits designed for students interested in pursuing careers in applied telecommunications, advertising, or public relations.

The curriculum includes various classes in journalism, advertising, and digital media.

Florida International University is regionally accredited by the SACSCOC.

Franklin University

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

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

Franklin University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Mississippi College

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 major will take several classes related to marketing, corporate and issue advocacy, public speaking, and professional relationship building.

Mississippi College is regionally accredited by the SACSCOC.

Montana State University – Billings

Montana State University – Billings’s Bachelor’s in Public Relations helps students improve their critical thinking, decision-making, speaking, and essential writing skills.

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

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

National University

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

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

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

Pennsylvania State University – World Campus

The Bachelor’s in Strategic Communications from Pennsylvania State University – World Campus is 120 credits and 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

The Bachelor’s in Public Relations and Advertising 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 122 college credits, and classes run for 8 weeks.

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

Regent University

The Bachelor’s in Communication Studies 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, marketing, and Christianity-related courses. Students can also benefit from optional mentorships.

Regent University is regionally accredited by the SACSCOC.

Southern New Hampshire University

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

It requires 120 credits for completion, and up to 90 of those credits can be transferred. Students learn to collaborate with stakeholders, as well as develop and deliver messages through various means.

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

University of Florida

University of Florida’s Bachelor’s in Public Relations 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 communicating skills and a deeper knowledge of public policy and political science.

The University of Florida is regionally accredited by the SACSCOC.

University of Louisville

University of Louisville offers both B.A. and B.S. in Communication programs. The core courses are quite similar in both, but the B.A. focuses more on literary and liberal arts while the B.S. focuses on applied studies and STEM. Both require 121 total credits for completion.

The University of Louisville is regionally accredited by the SACSCOC.

University of Maryland Global Campus

The Bachelor’s in Communication Studies 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

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

The University of Memphis is accredited by the SACSCOC.

University of Minnesota – Crookston

University of Minnesota Crookston’s online communications bachelor’s has available focus areas students can choose from such as public relations and social media.

Students in the public relations concentration will take courses such as 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

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

Optional areas of focus include public relations, 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.

Washington State University

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

The comprehensive curriculum is designed to teach students to effectively use a wide variety of 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.

Wilmington University

The Bachelor’s in Communication 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.

Earn a PR Degree Online

Marketing Managers in a meeting

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

Flexibility and Convenience:

  • Study from anywhere, fitting coursework around your schedule.
  • Ideal for those balancing work and family commitments.

Diverse Specializations and Focus Areas:

  • Options include telecommunications, advertising, journalism, and more.
  • Emphasis on global perspectives and emerging technologies.

Career Opportunities:

  • Wide range of job prospects such as media coordinator, social media specialist, and marketing coordinator.
  • Opportunities in fundraising, advertising management, and event coordination.

Comprehensive Coursework:

  • Includes advertising, photojournalism, video production, and writing.
  • Focus on content management and editing.

Cost-Effective Learning:

  • Avoid the expenses related to relocating for college.
  • Potentially lower overall costs compared to traditional on-campus programs.

With these advantages, an online bachelor’s program in public relations offers a flexible, enriching, and practical pathway to advance your educational and career goals in this dynamic and evolving industry.

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 this field.

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 in this area.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Marketing Manager $142,170
Advertising and Promotions Manager $133,460
Public Relations and Fundraising Manager $118,430
Lobbyist $68,610
Writer or Author $67,120
Market Research Analyst $65,810
Public Relations Specialist $62,810
Fundraiser $59,610
Advertising Sales Agent $54,940
Meeting, Convention, or Event Planner $51,560

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

In addition to your bachelor’s, earning a masters in public relations may help qualify you for higher-earning positions.

Curriculum & Courses

To complete an online 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 expertise.

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

  • Introduction to Public Relations: This course explores methods and strategies pertaining to businesses, corporations, and nonprofits in the digital age.
  • Advertising: In this course, you’ll study a survey of issues in advertising, including research, 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 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 design and 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: Develop expertise in writing for news stories, public service announcements, commercials, and documentaries.
  • Public Relations Campaigns: This course is an overview of successful campaigns, including professional best practices and ethical standards.

The courses listed here represent only a few of the ones you may find at an accredited university.

College 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 bachelor’s 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 universities, 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 schools offer remedial scholars’ opportunities 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 area. 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, you may want to double check to see if they are accredited by one of these organizations.

Tuition, Financial Aid, and Scholarships

Online Public Relations Degrees Financial Aid

While you’re researching universities, it may be a good time to start investigating financial aid and scholarship options to help defray the cost of tuition.

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, 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 universities. They may also be offered by alumni associations, nonprofit community organizations, churches, and employers.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online PR Degree?

Public Relations Degree student studying on her laptop

How long it takes you to complete your degree 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 bachelor’s 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 program, you may study a variety of topics, including marketing, content management, 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 communicating and persuasive writing across multiple types of publications, including electronic, digital media, and print. This major can help lead you to a wide variety of career options.

What Degree Is Best for Public Relations?

Public Relations Specialists in Advertising working together

As you explore various universities, you’ll encounter a diverse range of programs within this discipline, including degrees in marketing, advertising, and journalism.

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

On the other hand, you might be interested in working 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, PR specialists earn a median salary of $62,810 per year. There are many other careers, though, that you might enter with a degree in this field.

These areas include fundraising, advertising, writing, and promotional management. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports median annual salaries ranging from $51,560 to $142,170 for these jobs.

Of course, entry level jobs might pay lower than the median salary.

What Can You Do with a Public Relations Degree?

Advertising team in a meeting

A public relations bachelor’s degree is versatile and 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 marketing. 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 this arena, 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 in public relations is worth it for many students. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting 4% job growth in media and related occupations over the next 10 years.

Common careers in this area 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.

Taking the Next Step

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 programs.

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

Ready to start your journey?