Campus Masters of Public Relations Programs in Pennsylvania
Whether you’re currently a working member of the PR community, or looking to take your first tentative steps into the bustling industry, an on campus masters in public relations could be a great choice. By taking your education onto the physical campus, you could have the chance to work alongside industry professionals as you develop your PR knowledge and skills. With their insight and tutelage, as well as your own diligent work, you might elevate your communications capabilities to potentially jumpstart a career in public relations – or enhance your current professional endeavors. Keep reading to find out why public relations masters programs on campus may be what you need to potentially take your PR expertise to the next level!
Public relations masters programs on campus are typically offered in two degree formats: the master of arts (MA) and the master of science (MS). While both masters degree options study key PR concepts, they each typically rely on different data, teaching methods, and strategies. MA programs might take a more scholastic approach in their education. They could focus on analyzing previous PR scenarios and literature to help drive home core curriculum. MS programs might take a more analytical stance, and emphasize PR data collection and analysis. Curriculums may vary not only between degree programs, but schools as well, so contact your preferred schools to learn more. With this variation in mind, students could expect to complete an on campus masters in PR in 1 to 2 years. Program lengths vary by school.
Just as the courses offered by an institution vary from school to school, application requirements for on campus PR masters programs might also vary. Generally, schools may require students to submit a 2.5 to 2.75 undergraduate GPA in addition to GRE exam scores. Additional supplemental material might be required like writing samples, portfolios, and teacher recommendations. Many of the courses that are part of an on campus masters program build upon previous undergraduate PR coursework, so some institutions may require students to have earned a bachelor’s degree in the same concentration. While this is not true for all programs, check with your intended masters program to ensure are application requirements are met. For a complete list of admissions criteria, see your intended program’s official site.
As you begin to research public relations masters programs on campus, you may notice that PR and advertising concentrations might be fused into one degree type, or at least share some key curriculum. This is because both subjects have a share similar end goal: to disperse information to the widest audience possible. Where they differ is how they go about disseminating their message. Advertising may pay for their material to be shown in media like television commercials, radio ads, and website banners. PR, on the other hand, might rely more on distributing things like press releases to many different, interested outlets, with the hope that they’ll be motivated to display their work. While their final tactics differ, many of their strategies are the same. This could explain why departments often lump this curriculum together in their communications departments. This may be a great opportunity to branch out your education! After graduating, you could have a firm grasp of both PR and advertising skills and knowledge that might help jumpstart a career in either field.
In addition to general PR and advertising academia, students may engage with specialized PR topics such as PR history, media strategies, brand development, international relations, and crisis management. These courses might not only be applicable to an entry-level communications position. The more advanced concepts covered within masters level classes could also give you the skills and knowledge potentially necessary to pursue a managerial role. Keep reading further down this page for a more comprehensive break-down of possible public relations career opportunities.
By studying this curriculum as part of an on campus masters in PR program, you could potentially benefit from the structural course scheduling and in-person teaching style. Public relations masters programs on campus may offer course schedules that occur at the same time on a weekly basis. This could make it easier to schedule any outside routines around the predictable class times. Additionally, while attending classes in a physical classroom, you may also have the chance to interact with fellow peers in the PR industry. This might not only be a good resource to help you overcome challenging obstacles in your coursework, but also a valuable opportunity to create some of your first, professional contacts within the field. Personal interaction isn’t limited to just your peers, though. You might also have access to a wide team of professors. These industry professionals could provide you important insight that may help you overcome challenges in class – as well as the professional sphere!
No matter if you’re interested in starting a new profession, or enhancing your current one, an on campus masters program could potentially open up a wide range of career paths for you! Typically, PR related careers require a bachelor’s degree for consideration for an entry-level position. However, an earning a PR masters degree could not only potentially help you pursue a starting role in the PR industry, but may also be the push you need to enhance your career and get an edge on the competition.[i]
Many students who pursue PR studies specifically intend to pursue a career in the public relations industry post-graduation. A career as a public relations professional could directly pull from the education you received as part of your on campus PR masters degree. What you may not have considered, is that the skills and knowledge you could potentially learn in an on campus PR masters program could be applied to many other positions as well. Subjects such as writing, public speaking, and data analysis might be applicable – and desirable – in other careers. You might want to consider taking your knowledge into pursuing roles such as sales agents, market research analysts, event planners, or writers to name a few.[ii] Perhaps even more important, these professions are projected to potentially see growth in employment from 2014 and 2024, which could make it a good time to enter the industry. Specifically, public relations specialists are estimated to see a 6% growth[iii], sales agent 3%[iii], market research analyst 19%[iv], event planner 10%[v], and writers 2%[vi].
You’ve learned the basics of on campus public relations masters programs and considered your goals. Now it’s time to head to campus and take the next steps to jumpstart or enhance your potential PR career! Continue further down this page to view a list of potential programs. You can also sort the list by location. To learn more about any possible masters programs, follow the appropriate link and click “request info.” Good luck!
Sources: [i]bls.gov/ooh/management/public-relations-managers.htm |[ii]bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/public-relations-specialists.htm#tab-8 | [iii]bls.gov/ooh/sales/advertising-sales-agents.htm#tab-6 | [iv]bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/market-research-analysts.htm#tab-6 | [v]bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/meeting-convention-and-event-planners.htm#tab-6 |[vi]bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/writers-and-authors.htm#tab-6