Ohio Graduate Schools for Advertising & Public Relations PhD Programs

At PhD in Advertising and Public Relations Schools, students interested in scholarly research and thought leadership could pursue the highest academic award in their discipline.

GradSchools.com Top Schools with Campus Advertising & Public Relations Doctorate Degrees*

Ohio University
Format / Location - Online
Total Enrollments - 5,644+
Student / Teacher Ratio - 18:1
Louisiana State University
Format / Location - Online
Total Enrollments - N/A
Student / Teacher Ratio - 20:1
Alliant International University
Format / Location - Online
Total Enrollments - 2,565+
Student / Teacher Ratio - 12:1
University of Texas at Austin
Format / Location - Online
Total Enrollments - 11,331+
Student / Teacher Ratio - 18:1

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Usually, these are research-focused doctorates that are highly customizable. This means students may be able to frame their own research topic as it pertains to advertising and PR in areas such as public policy, tourism, or the psychology of buyer behavior.

PhD in Advertising and Public Relations Schools: The Basics

Course plans offered by PhD in Advertising and Public Relations Schools are typically formatted to help students develop an expert’s depth in the study of human communication as well as a generalist’s perspective. They also typically have students take qualitative and quantitative research methods appropriate to a chosen discipline.

There are three components of doctoral study: (1) coursework, (2) comprehensive exams, and (3) independent scholarly research leading to a dissertation.

PhD Core Courses: Breadth

Although a great deal of flexibility might exist for courses to be included in a program of study, they usually include theory and research in one’s major. So, for instance, if one chooses a PhD in Advertising, one might reasonably expect to take courses in advertising theory and advertising research seminars followed by an advertising research practicum.

This research practicum might require a student to commit to working on a research project under the direction of a faculty member before they begin their own research for their dissertation. It is also an opportunity for students to potentially gain first-hand knowledge of the journal submission and review process.

Some programs also entail classes in pedagogy to help candidates develop as teacher-scholars. This material may build skills such as how to plan lessons, evaluate students and manage a classroom.

PhD Major Courses: Depth

From the basic program, PhD students proceed to take courses relevant to their professional goals. This often provides a really dynamic base from which candidates are asked to embark on independent inquiry. Through this process and a final dissertation, students might contribute or add value to their field through impactful research.

Program Length

The time needed to complete a PhD is varied. Some or most of the coursework taken during a Masters program may be counted toward the PhD depending upon how applicable a course is to the student's area of study. On average, most students take from 4 to 7 years to complete their PhD. program.

This could translate to about 75 credit hours beyond the Bachelors degree. Students without a Bachelors degree in advertising or PR may require extra coursework beyond the minimum, and this might make for a longer program overall.


According to Data USA, the locations with the highest concentration of Public Relations, Advertising, & Applied Communication graduates are New York, NY, Chicago IL and Austin, TX.

Types of PhD in Advertising and Public Relations Degrees

It is important to note that no two PhD in Advertising and Public Relations Schools offer the same courses. Usually, the topics presented play off of individual faculty strengths. However, each university might offer their PhD degree with a few primary areas of study.

In general, one may find degrees such as a PhD in Advertising, PhD in Public Relations, PhD in Communications, PhD in Strategic Communications or PhD in Media Studies. The subtleties of each PhD program are usually noticeable in a program course list, so we suggest searchers read through descriptions and scan for active faculty research projects.

The school of Communication Studies is committed to a diverse and pluralistic approach to the study of human communication.

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PhD in Advertising Schools

At PhD in advertising schools, students may receive a well-rounded education in advertising that is grounded in communication, human behavior, marketing and culture. The aim is to produce PhD graduates who are able to apply scientific research techniques in order to craft communicative strategies that may be used for diverse purposes, such as to:

  • Promote products, ideas and services
  • Plan and monitor dissemination processes
  • Analyze, segment, select and persuade specific groups
  • Solve communication problems in in areas like promotions brand building and media planning

What Is the Difference Between Public Relations and Advertising?

Advertising is all about the practices used to craft paid messages to be promoted through different types of media including online, print, TV, out announcements -of-home and radio. PR is more concerned with the process that builds mutually beneficial links between the public and organizations.

PhD in Public Relations Schools

Universities with PhD in public relations programs might expose students to the finer points of strategic communication, influence, persuasion, public relationships, and image repair. Participants might also learn how to manage relationships with key players across a spectrum of platforms (e.g. TV, social media) in order to shape and frame how the public perceives an organization.

What Is the Difference Between Public Relations and Strategic Communications?

Simply put, strategic communication is an umbrella which covers areas such as public relations (PR), branding, crisis management, corporate responsibility, investor relations, marketing and advertising. A PhD in strategic communication is therefore more about how to develop and manage purposeful and effective messages rather than just distribute information.

PhD in Communications Schools

At PhD in Communication schools, students might conduct research into modern trends in global, mass or strategic communication. Usually, candidates take primary courses in areas such as communication theory and marketing. These could furnish a deeper grasp of the bigger picture - how communication affects identities, communities, and cultures.

From there, candidates might choose related areas of study based on the concentrations available at their school. For instance, students who work towards a PhD in Health Communication track might need to understand health and health message effects. If this is of interest, one could look to see if the university has any meaningful connections with medical colleges or health-related community advocacy organizations.

PhD in Media & Public Affairs Schools

At PhD in Media and Public Affairs schools, candidates might have the opportunity to focus on political communication through course study in partnership with their university’s Department of Political Science.

Program coursework might engage students with an in-depth look at the many ways mass communication interacts with politics, policy, social structures and formal institutions. Students might gain a broad view of media and public affairs and might conduct fascinating research into a variety of areas.

  • Political Polarization
  • Digital Technology
  • Crisis Communication
  • Wartime Propaganda
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Media Effects
  • Representation of Minority Groups

Why Earn a Doctorate in Public Relations on Campus?

While the nitty-gritty features vary, campus-based Doctorate in Public Relations and Advertising programs feature hands-on learning. Plus, the possibility to research under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Many PhD in Advertising and Public Relations Schools also enroll about 30 students annually, so class sizes may be small and conducive to collaboration among faculty and participants.

Apart from these features there are a few questions that may help structure a search and ultimately help each student find the perfect program for his/her goals.

  • Does the creative sequence of courses appeal to me?
  • What are the areas of expertise of the program faculty?
  • Is there an opportunity to conduct research in my chosen topic?
  • How does the university rank in terms of scholarly output (publications etc.)?
  • Are graduate students at this university publishing in academic journals?
  • Where are alumni working today – agencies, research, tenured positions?
  • Is there any funding for PhD students?

Applying to Schools with Advertising & Public Relations PhD Programs

One of the first things to take note of with respect to applying to PhD in Advertising and Public Relations Schools is what is called the ‘application deadline’. Make sure to mark the calendar and prepare documents well in advance of this date.

Prior Education

In terms of the specifics, standards differ from one to the next especially with respect to prior required academic education. The minimum education required for most Doctorate in Public Relations and Advertising programs is a Bachelors degree, earned at an accredited college or university.

Many schools also stipulate that prospective students need a Masters degree in their selected major (Public Relations, Advertising, Communications) or one that is related to it. Official transcripts from prior colleges and universities are usually sent in with a completed form and fee.

Reference Letters

To support these documents, applicants may need to include letters of recommendations. These references are usually provided by college or university faculty who might provide insight into a student’s abilities and talents, as well as comment on his/her aptitude for graduate study.

Personal Statement

Applicants may also need to think about why they are interested in a specific university. One might also mention how (if this is true) the research conducted by current faculty members could meaningfully align with their own.

These reasons are usually presented in what is called a ‘personal essay’. Essentially, this is a statement used to clarify the student’s research and future career goals. It may also highlight any academic and research achievements.

Professional Resume

Finally, applicants may need to include a copy of their resume or CV along with GRE test scores. International students need to furnish other scores that show proficiency with the English language.

GradSchools.com offers 1 Campus Advertising & Public Relations Doctorate Degree Programs

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