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Public Relations


Public relations programs prepare people to publicize and market people, products, and agencies.

Public relations programs include topics such as:


In public relations programs, students may be able to specialize in:


Internships allow students to develop skills at companies or organizations. Some public relations programs require students to develop a portfolio or complete an internship.


Community colleges and other two-year schools offer associate degree programs in public relations. An associate degree usually takes two years to complete. After earning an associate degree students can transfer to a college or university for further study.

Many colleges and universities offer a bachelor's degree in public relations. A bachelor's degree usually takes four years of full-time study to complete.

Many universities offer graduate degrees in public relations. A master's degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor's degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master's degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Careers Directly Related to this Program of Study

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Public relations programs look for applicants with strong oral and written communication skills. They also want to see evidence of your leadership abilities. Journalism experience can be helpful as well.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree and good grades. You also need to submit letters of recommendation and a personal statement.

Additional requirements at some schools include:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

In this undergraduate program, you typically take courses such as the following:

Graduate Program Courses

Graduate course work tends to vary depending on the school. However, the outline of a typical graduate curriculum looks like the following:

In master's degree programs, your thesis may take the form of a capstone project. Such a project would require you to apply the principles you have learned to a comprehensive public relations campaign for a local business or agency.

A doctoral dissertation would most likely require traditional research and analysis.

Some programs require you to complete an internship as part of their curriculums. Depending on the program, faculty and staff may actually help you secure an internship or they may provide you with leads to pursue on your own.

You could work as a public relations assistant in any of a number of settings, including non-profit organizations, government agencies, or even a sports team. Some duties you might carry out include helping to write, edit, and distribute promotional material or helping to design advertising.

Whatever the setting and your responsibilities, you benefit from the direct supervision and guidance of an experienced public relations or advertising professional. In addition, an internship allows you to apply principles you've learned in the classroom.

Things to Know

Not all schools require internships as part of their public relations programs. In such a case, you should still try to secure and complete an internship.

You don't have to wait until you get a job in public relations to start compiling your professional portfolio. You can start as early as college, including press releases, posters, and any other promotional material you created.

Getting a bachelor's degree in this field typically prepares you for an entry-level position. A master's degree usually qualifies you for a management position. Pursuing a doctoral degree is best if you're interested in research or teaching at the college level.


East Side Area

Central Washington University

Walla Walla University

Washington State University - Pullman

King-Snohomish Area

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Everett

Northwest University

Seattle University

Washington State University - Pullman (Everett)

Kitsap Area

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Whidbey Island

Spokane Area

Eastern Washington University

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Fairchild AFB

Gonzaga University

Whitworth University

Statewide and Distance Learning

Washington State University - Global Campus

Tacoma Area

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Pacific Lutheran University

Vancouver Area

Washington State University - Vancouver

West Side Area

Grays Harbor College

Western Washington University