8 Best Online Communication and Public Relations Master’s Degree Programs of 2014
Now may be a good time to pursue a master’s degree in communication and public relations. With the emergence of multiple new media platforms (e.g. web sites, social networks, mobile applications) and a more global and interconnected marketplace, the demand for tech savvy communication and public relations specialists continues to expand. According to a 2010-2011 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employment of public relations specialists is expected to grow 24 percent from 2008 to 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations.” According to the same report, in 2008, the median annual wages for salaried public relations specialists were $51,280, with the middle 50 percent earning between $38,400 and $71,670. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,140, and the top 10 percent earned more than $97,910.
A master’s degree in communication or public relations can greatly expand your career options in this exciting and growing field. More and more people are choosing to pursue their communication and public relations degrees online because of the greater flexibility and affordability of online degrees. Because the quality and credibility of online schools and online degree programs vary widely, it’s important to do a thorough investigation before making a decision about which online master’s degree program is right for you. To help with that investigation, we’ve put together a ranking of what we judge to be the best online and distance learning master’s degree programs in communication, journalism, and public relations for 2014. Our online degree rankings are based on several factors, including school and program reputation, peer and instructional quality, and overall affordability. Only fully accredited programs were considered for our rankings. If you are not yet ready for a Master’s degree, we’ve also published rankings for schools bachelor’s degrees in communication and public relations.
#1. University of Southern California – Online Master of Communication Management
The Scoop: The University of Southern California is one of the world’s leading private research universities, and USC’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism is very highly regarded in the field. USC’s Master of Communication Management will go online with its very first cohort in the Fall of 2011. Graduates of the online program will be prepared for management-level positions in business and organization communications.
Length: 32 credit hours.
#1. The George Washington University – Online Master in Strategic Public Relations
The Scoop: The George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management in Washington, D.C. is the premier school in the area of applied politics. GWU’s Online Master of Professional Studies in Strategic Public Relations is a joint program of the School of Political Management and College of Professional Studies. Taking advantage the school’s strategic location in the U.S. capitol city, the program focuses on the public policy system and role played by PR firms and PR operations in Washington, D.C.
Length: 33 credit hours.
#2. Kent State University – Online MA in Journalism and Mass Communication/PR
The Scoop: Kent State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication enjoys an excellent reputation and is among the very first journalism and communication schools in the world to offer a fully online master’s degree in public relations. Kent State’s Online Master’s Degree Concentration in Public Relations is geared towards practical knowledge in social media, management, crisis communications, branding, internal communications and strategic communications. Graduates will be prepared for management-level positions in business and organizational communications.
Length: 36 credit hours.
Click here to learn more about online masters degrees at Kent State University
#3. Full Sail University – Online MA in Public Relations
The Scoop: Full Sail University has developed a 12-month Master of Arts in Public Relations program designed to equip students with the knowledge and understanding of traditional PR methods, as well as digital media expertise. This is a project-based program where students work with real clients and are faced with real public relations challenges. In addition to this, students are able to showcase their accomplishments on a personal web site, allowing them to establish a presence in the world of PR that may help boost their careers.
Length: 12 months.
#4. Gonzaga University – Online MA in Communication Management
The Scoop: Gonzaga University is a Jesuit school frequently ranked among the top universities in the United States. Gonzaga’s Online Masters in Communications & Leadership Studies is an innovative and award-winning program that grounds students in knowledge of both communications and leadership. Graduates of the program will be ready to take on management-level leadership positions in businesses and organizational environments.
Length: 36 credit hours.
#5. University of Missouri – Online MA in Journalism
The Scoop: The Missouri School of Journalism is widely regarded as the premier journalism school in the world. The first journalism school in existence now has the distinction of being among the first to go online. Mizzou’s Online Master of Arts in Journalism offers concentrations in Media Management and Strategic Communications. Graduates will be well prepared for leadership positions in a variety of media and communications fields.
Length: 37 credit hours.
#6. Quinnipiac University – Online MS in Interactive Communications
The Scoop: Quinnipiac University is frequently ranked among the best private universities in the United States and has developed a solid reputation for its online programs. Quinnipiac’s Online Master of Science in Interactive Communication is an innovative program with focusing on cutting-edge information and communication technologies. Graduates will be prepared to successfully transition from working in traditional media and communications formats to the online and mobile communications world.
Length: 36 credit hours.
#7. Drexel University – Online MS in Communication
The Scoop: Drexel University is one of the top universities in the United States and its online degree offerings are well respected globally. Drexel’s Online Master of Science in Communication is a new online degree program offering concentrations in both Public Relations, for those seeking careers in journalism or public relations, and Technical Communications, for those interested in becoming technical writing, computer documentation, or training specialists.
Length: 45 credit hours.
The Scoop: Bellevue University is a private, not-for-profit university for professionals, with a growing and respected array of online degree programs. Bellevue’s Online Master of Arts in Managerial Communication is an interdisciplinary degree combining core courses in communications and leadership with the opportunity to earn a concentration in Executive Coaching, Business, Computer Information Systems, or Human Resource Management. Graduates will be prepared to take on management-level positions in either the business or non-profit sectors.
Length: 36 credit hours.
#9. Spring Arbor University – Online MA in Communication
The Scoop: Spring Arbor University is a top-tier, Christian liberal arts university with a growing reputation for its online degree programs. Spring Arbor’s Online Master of Arts in Communication grounds students in communications theory and practice from explicitly Christian perspective. Concentrations are available in Leadership, Ministry, Education, Professional Writing, and New Media, allowing students the flexibility to craft an online degree program uniquely suited to their needs and future careers in communications.
Length: 38 credit hours.