Masters in Public Relations Information Guide

MastersInPublicRelations is an information hub for students pursuing a master’s degree in public relations. Pursuing a master’s degree and advancing your career is now easier for the working professional than ever been. More schools are adding online options each day, especially in the Public Relations, Journalism, and Communication fields.

By earning your master’s degree in public relations, you’ll be prepared to assume positions of leadership across a range of different sectors, locations, and experience. A master’s in public relations combines theoretical learning with practical application. That means you’ll apply real work experiences with classroom study. The result is a well-rounded education that emphasizes critical thinking, lifelong, ethics, leadership, and much more.

George Washington University MA: Strategic PR George Washington University › George Washington University is one of the oldest schools in America, founded in 1789. The Master of Professional Studies in Public Relations and Corporate Communications explores the strategic and responsible delivery of messages from business-to-business and business-to-customer relations. Digital communication, strategy, and integration are also explored with an emphasis on global issues.
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Earning Your Master’s Degree in Public Relations

Public relations is a rapidly growing field that can be divided into several different subfields such as communications, marketing, special events, just to name a few. But altogether, public relations is the practice of managing information for companies around the globe. From social media, press releases, and other marketing materials, PR professionals are responsible for helping their clients build a brand and maintain a positive image. It’s a tough job, but the rewards are every bit as satisfying.

What You’ll Learn in a Master’s in Public Relations Program

If you’re considering pursuing your master’s degree in public relations, it’s likely you have your bachelor’s in this field or have worked in PR for a few years. These programs build on your experience and education to further develop your leadership skills. Course topics may include:

  • Communication Ethics, Law, and Regulation
  • Social Media: Objectives, Strategies, Tactics
  • Public Relations Writing
  • Corporate Communications
  • Theory, History and Practice of Public Relations
  • Strategic Communications

The above list is by no means exhaustive. Different schools offer different courses that vary depending on your area of specialty or subspecialty. For example, some programs focus on corporate communications while others focus on insider lobbying or brand marketing. It all depends on where your interests lie and what careers are right for you.

Degree Requirements for Earning a Master’s in Public Relations

Each program has different graduate requirements. Many programs include a core curriculum that focuses on ethics, law, communication, and social medial strategies. However, some degrees feature a concentration in addition to a practicum.

A practicum is designed to provide students with the opportunity to apply their acquired skills and knowledge in professional settings such as public relations agencies, large corporations, small businesses, and so forth. PR professionals are needed in just about every industry and sector.

Credit requirements vary greatly between all programs. On average, however, you can expect programs to require between 35-50 credit hours to graduate. You should also anticipate an internship and/or practicum requirement may take a semester to complete. Online programs are an option for those who need additional flexibility in their schedules. The degree requirements for an online program do not differ from that of a traditional program. What’s unique about online programs is the added benefit of customizing your overall learning experience. You can choose when and where you want to learn – from home, the library, the neighborhood coffee shop – anywhere you can access the Internet.

What Exactly Does a Public Professional Do

The day-to-day of a PR professional depends on a number of factors including a company’s size, industry, and culture. Private or public agencies also influence the role a public relations professional plays in the workforce. On average, however, a public relations professional is responsible for the following job duties:

  • Brand Marketing: PR professionals aid in marketing and advertising campaigns through press releases, events, media representation, articles, statements, and other outlets. Basically, PR pros help build a brand’s reputation.
  • Write!: A public relations pro typically writes A LOT of content, from press releases, media pitches, web copy, blog posts, speeches, position statements, and much more. Sending a message, and the right message, is a crucial element in gaining and maintaining a company’s reputation and image.
  • Event Planning: Organizing events is a big part of a public relations specialist’s job. You’ll need to know how to effectively market and promote parties, seminars, conferences, and may other events that promote your company’s brand.
  • Research and Reporting: A good public relations professional conducts substantial research and reports on issues that are affect the company, agency, or individual client. PR pros typically form relationships with the media to ensure coverage and the most favorable message is sent.
  • Mange Crisis Situations: A key responsibility of a PR professional is to manage crisis situations and repair reputations. If the media distorts or sensationalizes a story about your client or company, it is the job of a public relations specialist to conduct damage control and prevent further damage to their image.

How to Apply to Master’s Program in Public Relations

Applying to a master’s program in public relations is similar to applying to other graduate-level programs. You’ll need all the standard application materials such as:

  1. Signed application and nonrefundable fee: Application fee typically run between $50 and $100.
  2. Statement of purpose: The statement of purpose serves to explain your study and research interests, future career plans, why you have chosen to pursue graduate study, and your academic and professional experience.
  3. GRE scores: Some schools require all applicants to submit their official GRE scores.
  4. Official transcripts: You’ll need to request official transcripts from all previously attended post-secondary institutions.
  5. Letters of recommendation: Many schools require applicants to submit at least two, sometimes three letters of recommendation from a previous employer, professor, or other professional contact.

Each school is different so make sure to check online or call an admissions representative to ensure you have all the necessary materials. Once you’ve been accepted, it’s time to really take your career to the next level. With a master’s degree in public relations, you’re ready to put those skills to good use by working as a public relations executive, specialist, or even a legislative correspondent! Your options are limitless. Check out our list of schools below to find the right program and get started today.

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