2019 Best Online Public Relations Degrees

There are 113 online public relations degrees to choose from on our comprehensive list. We have ranked 12 of them as the best colleges offering online bachelor's degrees in public relations, based on their tuition rates and alumni salaries provided by PayScale. Depending on career aspirations, students may be interested in the degrees that focus specifically on media communication, health communication, or advertising. All prospective students should also look into a program's accreditation when choosing a degree.

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2019 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's in Public Relations Degrees

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The best online bachelor's degrees in public relations can be found at these 12 colleges, which have been ranked according to their tuition and alumni salaries. Ranked #1, New England College combines a low tuition of $12,150 per year with a high median alumni salary of $160,700. Liberty University offers a BS: Sport Management: Sport Communication & Public Relations degree for $11,700, while Montana State University-Billings ranks lowest on the list in 12th place, with a very reasonable tuition of only $8,969.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about SR Education Group.

Rank School Annual Tuition Median Salary
#1 #1 $12,150 $160,700
#2 #2 $22,720 $111,400
#3 #3 $30,570 $98,300
#4 #4 $22,545 $93,029
#5 #5 $11,329 $90,043
#6 #6 $12,600 $84,800
#7 #7 $13,650 $84,700
#8 #8 $11,700 $78,100
#9 #9 $12,375 $70,300
#10 #10 $9,600 $66,343
#11 #11 $16,306 $60,000
#12 #12 $8,969 $48,600
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo.

Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools - Public Relations Degrees (70)

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Partner School
Partner School
Full List Accreditation Annual Tuition Recommend Rate
Full List (73)
Arkansas State University HLC $14,778 50% (4 reviews)
59 Programs, 2 in Public Relations (view all)
  • BA in Communication Studies
  • MS in Media Management
Ashford University WASC WSCUC $10,632 - $13,400 67% (646 reviews)
212 Programs, 4 in Public Relations (view all)
  • BA/Public Relations and Marketing
  • BA/Public Relations and Marketing - Information Systems Specialization
  • BA/Public Relations and Marketing - International Management Specialization
  • BA/Public Relations and Marketing - Project Management Specialization
Ball State University HLC $25,942 100% (4 reviews)
160 Programs, 5 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Corporate Communications
  • Master of Arts in Executive Development and Public Service - Communications
  • Master of Arts in Public Relations
  • Master of Arts in Public Relations - Media Analytics Concentration
Boise State University NWCCU $22,642 100% (1 review)
49 Programs, 1 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations
Brenau University SACS COC $28,510 Add Review
92 Programs, 5 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Bachelor of Arts - Communication and Media Studies
  • Master of Arts - Communication and Media Studies
  • Master of Business Administration in Communication Management
  • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership-Communication Management
California Baptist University WASC WSCUC $32,256 80% (5 reviews)
52 Programs, 1 in Public Relations (view all)
  • BA: Communication Studies
Clarion University MSCHE $15,636 100% (3 reviews)
68 Programs, 1 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Public Relations
Colorado State University Global Campus HLC $9,000 55% (60 reviews)
219 Programs, 5 in Public Relations (view all)
  • BS - Business Management - Public Relations
  • BS - Healthcare Administration and Management - Public Relations
  • BS - Human Services - Public Relations
  • BS - Marketing - Public Relations
Colorado State University-Fort Collins HLC $28,903 100% (5 reviews)
81 Programs, 1 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Natural Resource Tourism
Columbia College HLC $21,936 60% (15 reviews)
82 Programs, 2 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration - Public Relations and Advertising
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Public Relations and Advertising
Concordia University - Texas SACS COC $30,600 100% (1 review)
21 Programs, 1 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication - Public Relations & Advertising
Concordia University - Wisconsin HLC $28,600 67% (3 reviews)
100 Programs, 2 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Communications and Public Relations
  • Master of Business Administration - Communications and Public Relations
Drexel University MSCHE $52,002 60% (5 reviews)
320 Programs, 3 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Bachelor of Science in Communication - Public Relations
  • Bachelor of Science in General Studies - Client Development and Customer Service
  • Master of Science in Communication - Public Communication
Florida International University SACS COC $18,954 90% (10 reviews)
127 Programs, 1 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Bachelor of Science in Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communication
Franklin University HLC $12,241 71% (7 reviews)
75 Programs, 2 in Public Relations (view all)
  • AS in Public Relations
  • BS in Public Relations
Full Sail University ACCSC $23,694 43% (90 reviews)
37 Programs, 1 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Master of Science in Public Relations
The George Washington University MSCHE $53,518 75% (4 reviews)
134 Programs, 1 in Public Relations (view all)
  • MPS in Strategic Public Relations
Georgetown University MSCHE $52,300 100% (1 review)
31 Programs, 1 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Master of Professional Studies in Public Relations & Corporate Communications
Indiana Institute of Technology HLC $26,370 Add Review
51 Programs, 1 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication - Public Relations
John Brown University HLC $26,144 67% (3 reviews)
23 Programs, 2 in Public Relations (view all)
  • MBA in Design Thinking & Innovation
  • MS in Design Thinking & Innovation
Johns Hopkins University MSCHE $52,170 Add Review
323 Programs, 2 in Public Relations (view all)
  • MA in Communication
  • MA in Communication - Public and Media Relations
Liberty University SACS COC $11,700 59% (247 reviews)
562 Programs, 4 in Public Relations (view all)
  • BS: Sport Management: Sport Communication and Public Relations
  • MBA: Public Relations
  • MS: Healthcare Admin: Public Relations
  • MS: Marketing - Public Relations
Lindenwood University HLC $16,960 Add Review
76 Programs, 1 in Public Relations (view all)
  • BA in International Relations - Asian Studies
Loyola University Chicago HLC $43,078 Add Review
92 Programs, 1 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Certificate in Public Relations in a Digital World
Maryville University HLC $28,470 7% (14 reviews)
116 Programs, 1 in Public Relations (view all)
  • BA in Communication
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2019 Online Colleges in Public Relations Ranking Details

  • Annual Tuition: $12,150
  • Median Salary: $160,700
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Students seeking an online bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising can consider New England College. To apply, students must complete an online application and sign an authorization form to request previous school transcripts be shared. The program requires 120 credit hours overall, with 40 credits going toward general education, 24 toward the student's major, 16 toward their special concentration, and 40 credits going to electives. After completing the program, students are uniquely suited to obtaining jobs in fields such as public relations, advertising, and social media management.

  • Annual Tuition: $22,720
  • Median Salary: $111,400
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Webster University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Media Communications with a concentration in public relations. To apply, students must complete an online application that requires high school transcripts or a GED certificate, as well as ACT or SAT scores. The program lasts for 128 credit hours, with 39 of those hours going toward program requirements. Most of the program focuses on communications studies, with 12 credit hours dedicated to a concentration in public relations.

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  • Annual Tuition: $30,570
  • Median Salary: $98,300
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West Virginia University offers an online Regents Bachelor of Arts with an emphasis in public relations. The bachelor’s program lasts for 120 credits, with students taking 39 upper-division credits in undergraduate courses that suit their specific areas of interest. This BA also offers other areas of concentration that include advertising, American history, communication studies, and professional writing. A notable feature of this program is that students may be able to count various real-world experiences as credits toward the completion of this degree.

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  • Annual Tuition: $22,545
  • Median Salary: $93,029
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Drexel University offers an online bachelor’s degree in communication with a concentration in public relations. To apply, students must complete an online application that contains high school transcripts or a GED certificate, any previous college transcripts, and ACT or SAT scores from within the last five years. Drexel University is on the quarter system instead of a semester system, and its program lasts for 180 credit hours, broken into four 10-week quarters throughout the year. Of these credits, 22 focus primarily on public relations.

  • Annual Tuition: $11,329
  • Median Salary: $90,043
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Students can attend Washington State University to receive an online undergraduate degree in Integrated Strategic Communication that prominently focuses on public relations. To apply, students must complete an online application that includes their high school transcripts or GED certificate, as well as SAT or ACT scores. The program requires 120 credit hours, with 10 credits going toward certification requirements, 6 toward core courses, and 33 toward upper-division communications courses. Other online features include online career fairs and various live-streamed performances.

  • Annual Tuition: $12,600
  • Median Salary: $84,800
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Students can receive an online bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Memphis. To apply, students must complete an online application that includes their high school transcripts. As an option, students may include their ACT or SAT scores with their application. The program lasts for 120 credit hours, with 21 hours focusing on journalism and strategic media and 24 hours explicitly on public relations. Students may complete this program entirely online or as a hybrid of online and on-campus courses.

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  • Annual Tuition: $13,650
  • Median Salary: $84,700
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Point Park University gives students the chance to earn an online bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising. To apply, students must submit an online application that includes official high school transcripts showing a minimum GPA of 2.0. The program itself lasts for 122 credit hours, with courses being taught in eight-week terms. The relatively short length allows students to complete this online program in 2-4 years, and it’s never much of a wait before the next term is about to start.

  • Annual Tuition: $11,700
  • Median Salary: $78,100
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Liberty University offers an online bachelor’s degree in strategic communication that focuses largely on public relations. To apply, prospective students must submit a high school self-certification form and proof of English proficiency with their application. The program lasts for 120 credit hours, and it generally takes 3.5 years to complete. Students must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA while enrolled. The Strategic Communications major, like all Liberty University majors, is taught through the lens of Judeo-Christian Scripture and spirituality.

  • Annual Tuition: $12,375
  • Median Salary: $70,300
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Columbia College offers interested graduate students a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in public relations and advertising. The completely online undergraduate program lasts for 120 credit hours, and students can transfer up to 48 credits earned at other colleges into this program. Tuition for this program is currently $375 per credit hour. Some of the core requirements for this curriculum include Business Ethics, Personal Financial Planning, and Business Information Systems.

  • Annual Tuition: $9,600
  • Median Salary: $66,343
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Southern New Hampshire University Online offers an online bachelor’s degree in public relations. To apply, students must complete an online application that includes any previous college experience they may have. Overall, the program lasts for 120 credit hours, with public relations courses focusing on both electronic and print communication, as well as ethical and organizational concerns. The online program helps prepare applicants for the growing field of careers in public relations and related disciplines.

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  • Annual Tuition: $16,306
  • Median Salary: $60,000
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Students seeking an online bachelor’s degree in public relations can enroll at Franklin University. To apply, students must complete an online application that includes high school transcripts or a GED certificate, as well as any previous college transcripts. The overall program lasts for 124 credit hours, with 36 hours going toward general education requirements, and 28 credits toward major requirements. The remaining 36 credits can go toward electives or a minor of the student's choice.

Online Bachelor's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $8,969
  • Median Salary: $48,600
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Many students attend Montana State University-Billings to take advantage of its online bachelor’s degree in public relations. To apply, students must complete an online application including high school transcripts or a GED certificate as well as ACT or SAT scores. Applicants’ high school GPA must be 2.5 or higher to be considered for the program. This degree requires 120 credit hours and has been modeled on recommendations by the Public Relations Society of America to help prepare students for a career in either public information or non-profit work. Online students will also have access to numerous internship opportunities.

Online Public Relations Degree Overview & Career Information

There are three different online degree level options for public relations. Over the course of four years a bachelor's degree will prepare students for positions such as campaign manager, public relations coordinator, and public relations specialist. A master's program in public relations will enhance a student's knowledge in communication through technology and media. A master's program will typically take two years to complete and prepare graduates for above entry-level positions such as public relations manager, brand manager, and director of communications. Online undergraduate and graduate certificate programs are also available for people interested in receiving an education in the field of public relations.

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Online Bachelor's Degrees in Public Relations

Students can obtain an online bachelor's degree in public relations in four years, generally upon completing 120-credit hours. Participants will sharpen their skills in critical thinking, writing, strategic planning, and execution. These skills will lend assistance to building relationships between organizations and their public audiences, which is a necessity for graduates to perform in their follow up careers. Public relations programs require general education coursework along with major specific courses such as public speaking, public relations, journalism, social media, writing for public relations, organizational communications, and ethics. A high school diploma or equivalent must be obtained prior to enrolling in a bachelor's program along with a qualifying SAT or ACT test score. Depending on the school, a letter of recommendation may also be required. Graduates can seek entry-level job opportunities in both business and government as PR specialists, representatives, campaign managers, and PR coordinates. Public relations bachelor's programs are offered at both colleges and universities.

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Online Master's in Public Relations

Graduates can continue their public relations education through an online master's program at the university level. Through a master's program, students will learn to enhance their technology tactics that will be crucial in their public relations careers. Participants will take 36 to 48 credit hours of study to complete their degree within two years. Degree courses include Communication, Media & Society, Identity & Personal Brand, Communication by Design, Graduate Social Research Methods, and Dimensions of Reputation Management. Applicants who hold a bachelor's degree in public relations or a related field will be eligible for a master's program. Some universities will also require a letter of recommendation as well as an admissions letter written by the applicant describing their education and career aspirations. There are a variety of above entry-level career options for master's degree holders within the PR industry. Titles include publicist, brand manager, director of communications, writer, and consultant.

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Online Certificates in Public Relations

Public relations professionals who are interested in enhancing their skills in the areas of communication, marketing, computing affairs, and media relations may be interested in pursuing a certificate degree in public relations. Students can complete a certificate program in as little as 12 months through 16 to 24 credit hours of course work. The type of coursework offered in a public relations certificate program includes Public Relations Principles and Process, Public Relations Writing and Tactics, Dimensions of Reputation Management, Integrating Social Media, Digital Marketing Communication, and Persuasion Methods. A minimum of a high school diploma or GED will be required for applicants to qualify for a certificate program although for a graduate certificate the applicant must hold a bachelor's degree in a related field. Holding a certificate degree can help professionals within the industry gain promotions and pay raises. Opportunities in communications, consulting, campaign managing, and coordinating will also be available to graduates. Certificate programs can be found at colleges and universities.

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The Importance of an Accredited Online Public Relations Degree

Accreditation should always be considered when applying to institutions of higher education. Accreditation is the process in which colleges, universities, and educational programs are evaluated for quality and to ensure that acceptable levels of trainings are being conducted. Another important factor to consider is low-cost loans for students as only accredited institutions are able to participate in federal financial aid programs. Attending a regionally accredited school will also make the transfer process a lot easier for those who may be interested in changing their path in the future as regionally accredited colleges will most often accept credits from other regionally accredited institutions. Lastly, many employers are looking to hire graduates who have attended regionally accredited schools.It gives the employer more confidence that the applicant has been well trained in their field and will be a great asset to the organization.

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Careers in Public Relations

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate in public relations is expected to rise 12 to 13 percent through the year 2022. With the rise in popularity of technology and social media, public relation specialists have become vital in the relationship between organizations and the general public. Key job titles within the industry include public relations specialist and public relations manager. Public relations specialists are hired to to maintain a positive company image through media and address any concerns that the general public may have about the organization. Job functions of a specialist include creating press releases, gathering requested data, determining ways to access target audience, and assisting the client in successfully communicating with the general public.

Public relations managers will oversee PR specialists to ensure that all tasks and projects are being completed within the company's or client's standards. They also focus on evolving their clients' images with social, political, and economical changes to keep in good standing with the public. In order to qualify for a manager position it will require a minimum of three years work experience along with an educational background. A typical work week for a public relations manager incudes creating logos and signs to keep up the clients' image, organizing events, crafting speeches, coordinating interviews, and creating press releases.

References

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