Best Online Public Relations Degree Programs

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Contributor, Benzinga
May 4, 2020

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An online public relations degree program is an ideal way to get the education you need to work in the field or get a degree under your belt to qualify for better opportunities. You can view lectures and complete coursework from the comfort of your home or while on the go. 

Let Benzinga help you find an option that meets your budget, goals and lifestyle. 

Why Choose an Online Public Relations Degree?

An online public relations degree is a worthwhile investment of your time and resources if you want to build upon and leverage your communication skills. You can work in a rewarding career that pays well and brings new challenges each day.  

Public relations degree holders have many job prospects. Companies in all industries are always in need of PR specialists and managers that can help preserve their image. Or you can take on many other roles that require individuals who possess the same skills and knowledge as PR professionals. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the rewarding opportunities you can pursue:

  • Brand Manager 
  • Communications Planner 
  • Communications Training and Development Coordinator 
  • Copywriter 
  • Direct Marketing Spokesperson 
  • Fundraiser 
  • Journalist 
  • Marketing Coordinator
  • Media Buyer 
  • Public Relations Managers 
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Social Media Manager 
  • Social Media Specialist

The amount you earn as a public relations professional depends on the job you take. Entry-level positions pay a decent salary. But with hard work, strategic networking and persistence, you can land a management role that pays a comfortable 6-figure salary. 

Perhaps the most valuable benefit you’ll derive from an online public relations degree is sharper communication skills. They are required in most industries if you want to soar in your career. You can also implement your new-found abilities to communicate more effectively with others in every area of your life.

How to Choose an Online Public Relations Degree

With so many online public relations degree programs to choose from, how do you know which are suitable? Consider these vital factors when evaluating your options.


Do graduates of the online public relations degree program you’re considering have a track record of success? What’s the job placement rate? How’s the program perceived by alumni, and is it recognized by top employers in the field? Is the program accredited? 

These are solid questions to ask to gauge the reputation of the program. You’d hate to spend years of your life working toward a degree that’s worthless in the eyes of employers. You want to land a rewarding entry-level role or advance your career, so it’s a must to do your homework before you enroll and invest your time and hard-earned money. 

Course Offerings 

Does the program offer courses geared toward public relations? Since the discipline is a form of strategic communication, you will find that many top colleges and universities offer it as a component of a bachelor’s degree in communication. 

While a bachelor’s in communication may be suitable, it should concentrate in public relations if you want to get the most out of the courses. If not, the program should feature an ample amount of relevant public relations electives. 

Cost of Attendance 

What’s the estimated cost of attendance? Does it seem more pricey or comparable to other institutions that offer the same online degree program? 

You want to confirm the estimated tuition and fees are affordable and reasonable. It’s not in your best interest to spend far more than you have to for an online degree that will yield the same result. 

Jobs Waiting for You with an Online Public Relations Degree

Here are some of the top job opportunities that await public relations degree holders: 

Public Relations Specialist 

Public relations specialists play an integral role in developing and managing the public perception of the company they serve. This is done through strategically crafted media releases, social media posts and other relevant forms of digital and print press.

In this role, you will also respond to the media inquiries, draft speeches for top executives and schedule interviews with key stakeholders. You will also analyze current and future PR campaigns to ensure they align with the company’s goals, mission and objectives for public relations goals. 

On average, public relations specialists earn $61,150 per year. This equates to $29.40 per hour. 

Public Relations Managers 

Public relations managers oversee many of the tasks that are executed by specialists. This includes the creation of press releases and other print and digital media designed to boost the reputation of the organization. 

They are also charged with developing a corporate identity and image for the company from scratch, deciding how to best reach the target audience and appointing a spokesperson to handle media inquiries. Many public relations managers also collaborate with management to create PR strategies and design programs. 

In 2018, the median pay for public relations managers was $116,180. 

Social Media Specialist 

Intrigued by social media platforms? Turn your fascination and love for social media into a full-time job that entails helping brands build their reputation on the various platforms. 

You will be tasked with posting various types of content across social media channels that resonate with the company’s target market. The role may also require you to build and interact with the organization's online community and influencers while developing engaging campaigns to garner even more exposure. 

The average annual salary for Social Media Specialists is $56,770. 

Best Online Colleges for an Online Public Relations Degree

We conducted several hours of research to bring you our top options. 

Here are the best online colleges and universities for an online public relations degree. We’ve also included a review of each program to help you make an educated decision. 

1. Pennsylvania State University World Campus


Perfect your content development and delivery skills by earning a Bachelor of Arts in strategic communications from Penn State World Campus. It’s ideal for both aspiring and current communication professionals. 

World-class instructors teach you how to create messages that are both relatable and impactful, evaluate communication channels for distribution and analyze communication efforts. Ultimately, you will walk away with the skills to build communication strategies that align with your organization’s objectives and foster growth. 

Students complete 120 credits to earn their degree. Core classes include: 

  • Principles of Strategic Communications
  • Research and Analytics 
  • Social Media Strategies 
  • Strategic Communications in a Global Environment  
  • Strategic Communications Law
  • Writing for the Media 

Alumni work as advertising, fundraising, marketing, media relations and public relations associates and managers. 

2. Arizona State University 


Learn how to manage communication challenges in contemporary workplaces. Consider an online Bachelor of Science in communication from Arizona State University to show you the ropes. 

You will also gain a basic knowledge of communication theories and research methods. Communication majors take courses on many related topics, including:

  • Business and professional communication 
  • Conflict and negotiation 
  • Intercultural communication in the global marketplace
  • Leadership, persuasion and social influence
  • The impact of gender, race and class on communication
  • Training and development

The program requires 120 credits and prepares you for a career in event planning, human resource management, nonprofit management, public relations and sales. Graduates also possess the skills to work in roles that require advanced communication: critical thinking, research and statistics skills. 

3. University of Florida 


The University of Florida offers an online Bachelor of Science in public relations. It’s accredited by the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. 

Required core coursework for the program includes: 

  • Consumer and Audience Analytics 
  • International Public Relations 
  • Introduction to Media and Communications 
  • Law of Mass Communication 
  • Principles of Public Relations 
  • Professional Writing in the Discipline
  • Public Relations Campaigns 
  • Public Relations Research 
  • Public Relations Strategy 
  • Public Relations Writing 
  • Sight, Sound and Motion 
  • Reporting 
  • Writing Fundamentals for Communicators

This 124-credit degree program aims to equip you with the skills needed to excel in a public relations role. Many graduates pursue careers in business, government agencies, nonprofits and public relations firms both here and abroad. 

You will also gain the foundational knowledge needed to succeed in a graduate degree program. 

4. University of North Dakota 


Pursuing a career in public relations, writing or advertising? An online bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of North Dakota may be a good fit. 

Students can enhance their degree by selecting an area of focus from these options: 

  • Advertising 
  • Digital Analytics 
  • Digital Journalism 
  • Public Relations 
  • Social Media Strategy 
  • Strategic Communication 

Located in or near Grand Forks? You have the option to attend live classes to supplement your learning. If you prefer the hybrid-learning format, communicate with the admission team to ensure you’re correctly enrolled.

The program can be completed in 4 years and requires 120 credit hours. The program can offer a high job placement rate and alumni work in advertising, brand management, broadcasting, journalism and public relations. Many graduates have also chosen to continue their education in a graduate program. 

5. Southern New Hampshire University 


Earn an online Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in public relations from Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). 

Through the in-depth curriculum, you will learn practical ways to hone your communication skills. You will also discover what it takes to help organizations improve their message, mission and public image. 

Communication majors who select the public relations concentration take the following core courses: 

  • Introduction to Communication
  • Communication with Diverse Audiences
  • Communication Law and Media Ethics 
  • Electronic Public Relations 
  • Global Communication
  • Management of Communication Projects 
  • Organizational Branding 
  • Personal Brand Communications  
  • Public Relations 
  • Public Speaking and Presentation Skills
  • Social Media Strategy 
  • Strategic Storytelling 
  • Writing for Public Relations 
  • Visual Communication and Design
  • Public Relations Campaign Planning Seminar (capstone)  

To earn your degree, you need 120 credit hours. SNHU allows you to transfer up to 90 credit hours from an accredited college or university to help you finish faster and save money. 

6. University of Louisville 


Consider the University of Louisville for an online Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in communication. This program caters to communication professionals seeking career advancement opportunities in communication training and development, electronic media, print media or public relations. 

The program can help you enhance your interpersonal, organizational and rhetorical competencies and develop a higher-level understanding of communication methods of inquiry, philosophies and practices. You’ll also learn how to analyze communication methods and challenges. 

Classes are led by distinguished instructors who are experienced in the field. Core courses include: 

  • Introduction to Communication
  • Advanced Speech Communication or 319 Debate
  • Argument in Everyday Life
  • Introduction to Communication Technologies 
  • Introduction to Interpersonal Communication 
  • Introduction to Mass Communication 
  • Research Methods 

There’s also an internship requirement that allows you to gain even more real-world experience. 

You need 121 credit hours to complete the program. 

7. The University of Memphis Global 


Offered by the College of Communication and Fine Arts, the online bachelor’s in Public Relations is ideal for aspiring professionals. It’s accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. 

Public relations majors take the following core courses: 

  • Advanced Social Media 
  • Advertising/Sales Promotion 
  • Feature Writing/Reporting 
  • Media, Diversity and Society 
  • Media Law 
  • Organization and Management 
  • Principles of Marketing 
  • Public Relations Campaigns 
  • Public Relations Writing 
  • Survey of Advertising 
  • Visual Media 

Elective classes and a media internship are also mandatory. 

Courses are led by experienced faculty members who also teach on campus. You’ll earn the same degree as your peers in the on-campus program. 

You need 120 credits to finish the program.

8. Point Park University 


Get an online Bachelor of Arts in public relations and advertising from Point Park University. You will stand out amongst employers since you’ll have advanced advertising and public relations knowledge in your arsenal. 

These core courses must be completed to earn your degree: 

  • Ad Copy and Layout
  • Career Prep Seminar
  • Communication Law and Regulation 
  • Integrated Marketing Communications Planning
  • Media Ethics and Responsibilities 
  • Public Relations Writing 
  • Social Media Practices 
  • Practicum

Students also complete a capstone project. It entails collaborating with an agency to create a marketing campaign for a client in the corporate or nonprofit sector. 

Point Park University requires 122 credit hours to complete the online undergraduate public relations and advertising program. However, you can transfer up to 90 credits from a qualifying college or university. 

9. Drexel University 


Drexel University features an online Bachelor of Science in communication with a concentration in public relations. This degree program covers campaign planning, marketing management, measurement and evaluation and PR writing. 

Core course requirements for communications majors include: 

  • Human Communication 
  • Introduction to Linguistics 
  • Language and Society 
  • Mass Media and Society 
  • Seminar in Communication 
  • Theory and Models of Communication 

If you wish to concentrate in public relations, you will also take these courses: 

  • Desktop Publishing or Electronic Publishing 
  • Introduction to Marketing Management 
  • Introduction to Journalism
  • Public Relations Campaign Planning 
  • Public Relations Principles and Theory 
  • Public Relations Research, Measurement and Evaluation 
  • Public Relations Strategies and Tactics
  • Public Relations Writing 
  • Qualitative Research Methods 

Alumni work as brand managers, marketing communication specialists, copywriters, journalists, public relations specialists and social media managers. 

Find the Best Online Public Relations Degree Program for You

Ready to continue your education in an online public relations degree program? Consider our list of recommendations as you embark on your search for an option that works for you. 

As you evaluate programs, be mindful of the reputation, course offerings and cost of attendance of that program. You want to confirm that the program is what you need to meet your education and career goals. 

Most importantly, doing your homework allows you to enroll with confidence — you know you’ll get the most out of your online learning experience.

Southern New Hampshire University Online

SNHU Online Offers:

  1. Flexible schedules
  2. Affordable tuition
  3. Online tutoring
  4. Access to electronic research materials
  5. Specialized academic advising
  6. Supportive online community