Master’s Programs in Public Relations and Advertising (MA, MS, MBA) in Seattle
Advertising and Public Relations Masters Degree Programs
Advertising & Public Relations Masters degrees are designed for students who intend to pursue a career in the broad field of public relations and communications. Master’s degree programs in public relations teach students how to meet client needs through effective communications, media relations, and marketing campaigns.
Many graduate programs combine public relations and advertising; however, there are also master’s programs that specialize in digital marketing and advertising.
Types of Advertising and Public Relations Masters Programs
The two main types of Advertising and Public Relations Masters degrees include a Master of Arts and a Master of Science. Each focuses on a concentrated area of communications. Students in Public Relations Masters degree programs study the connections between public relations, media, and public opinion. It is likely that these programs will also explore the processes involved in managing the various forms of communication. These types of engagements may include advertising, as well as media exchange between organizations, groups, and individuals.
Specific degree types might include:
- MS in Public Relations
- MA in Public Relations
- MS in Advertising
- MS in Digital Marketing and Advertising
- MS in Corporate Communications
- MA in Emerging Media
- MA in Broadcast Communications
- MA in Writing and Digital Communication
To a large extent, advertising, media, marketing, technology, entertainment, journalism, and public relations intertwine. Advertising works as marketing communication for promoting or selling a product or service. Public Relations Specialists establish and maintain key client relationships. These connections involve an organization’s target audience, and the media. Publicists manage this by designing communications used on a variety of channels, from written to digital platforms.
Popular Schools with Advertising & Public Relations Masters Degrees in Seattle
|University of Washington
Public Relations Masters program potential curriculum
Most programs conferring a Master of Public Relations degree offer curricula that concentrate on professional communications. These engagement practices are key to success in government, public communication, nonprofit organizations, and private businesses.
Typically, PR students learn about research methodology, communications theories, and public leadership. Public Relations Masters programs may also involve internships or culminating capstone projects for real-world experience. Coursework within the PR program may include:
- Media, culture, and society
- Ethics and law
- Public opinion research
- Campaign planning
- Writing for news and media
- Digital media
Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Public Relations Program
Potential candidates exploring Public Relations Masters programs have robust options. Whether online or on-site, there are factors about graduate school degrees in advertising, PR, and marketing that could help make your decision a bit easier.
Public Relations Masters program accreditation and reputation
Accreditation works as official proof that the school meets standards set by a regulatory education agency. This may be a good place to start when culling a potential list of graduate schools. School accreditation could help students with federal tuition assistance, credit transfers, and eligibility for state license exams. You’ll typically find the accreditation of a school listed on their website.
Reputation, on the other hand, may be more difficult to assess. You might solicit the opinions and experiences of those who are currently or were formerly enrolled. You may find reputation rankings online as well. Though anecdotal, these could help you sort advantages of the programs you’re considering.
Faculty expertise and industry connections
Professors with diverse expertise may bring classrooms various learning and networking opportunities. Prospective students can often find faculty profiles on school websites. Here they can examine their background experience and specialties. You might look into any journal articles they’ve published to ascertain their areas of interest.
Course curriculum and concentrations
Advertising and Public Relations Masters degree programs typically offer a selection of courses and concentrations that could vary from program to program. Check into the curriculum of potential schools to help you determine if it might suit your interests and goals.
Internship and job placement opportunities
Real world experience may be beneficial for your future career pursuits. As such, determine whether a program has any internships or other hands-on experiences that match your interests. You could typically find this information on the school website. Also talking to actual students about their internships during an on-site visit may yield relatable results.
Career services and job placement services in graduate school could play a major role in assisting you with your transition from academia to the professional world. These services typically offer a wide range of support and resources to help you navigate your career paths and secure employment opportunities. They might provide networking opportunities, job search strategies, internships and job listings, career workshops, job fairs, or mentorship.
The Role of Technology for Modern Public Relations Masters
The landscape of public relations (PR) has been significantly transformed by technology integration. Gone are the days when PR professionals relied solely on traditional messaging methods to manage reputations. The convergence of technology and PR has opened new avenues. These fresh paths have increased outreach and revolutionized audience interactions.
Digital media and social media strategies
Digital media includes any type of content sent through digital platforms. This media may be photos, videos, text, or audio. While new digital platforms pop up regularly. These include electronic media, mobile phones, or computers – to name a few. Social media is a form of digital media that could be a powerful strategy to harness the influence of popular social media networks to enhance both marketing and branding objectives.
Data-driven public relations campaigns
One benefit built into digital media is that it allows for data to be tracked. This factor makes ad campaigns for digital media measurable through analytics and research. Marketing and public relations masters may then use these analytics to create strategies for optimizing ad campaigns
Online reputation management
Public relations typically focuses on monitoring and managing a client’s image. Signposts for a client’s reputation may appear online on social media and on websites. Whether positive or negative, a publicist is responsible for staying abreast of the latest feedback on clients.
If there’s negative feedback circulating about a client, it’s the role of public relations to address it. One way may be to release positive news about the client. This could shine a light on the client’s unique gifts and accomplishments. While it may also highlight the publicist’s creative skill.
Future Trends in Public Relations and Advertising
Trend setters speculate a bright, evolving future for public relations and advertising. These public relations masters of trend outlooks check overall societal shifts and then draw parallels to the industry. Current trends include our culture’s growing interest in corporate social responsibility, the rise in influencer marketing, and business segment convergence.
The importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR )
There’s no single definition for corporate social responsibility. In a general sense, CSR serves as a company aim to benefit society as part of an overall corporate mission. This could be as simple as donating proceeds to a nonprofit cause. Sometimes it means partnering with a charity for mutual benefit. That may mean a tangible or monetary gain for either or both. This might also grant an intangible enhancement to the corporation’s image.
Influencers as public relations masters
Influencers on social media are a new realm of public relations masters. Many retain thousands, sometimes millions, of followers and fans who view and value their online content. Marketing with influencers usually involves a collaboration in which a company pays the influencer to promote their product. This may work with a formal and exclusive contract or sometimes an informal engagement where the partnership benefits both parties.
The convergence of advertising and public relations
Advertising and public relations use strategic outreach to promote an entity and boost its public engagement. Both focus on increasing awareness and positive reputation, but advertising typically also fulfills their bottom line with increased sales for a company. With public relations, the goals may be less tangible and tend toward enhancing a client’s image.
When the two come together, such as a celebrity endorsement, both could benefit—for example, if a corporation’s product boosts a celebrity’s image. The celebrity may also bring clout to the corporation. These partnerships often marry a corporation seeking to enhance its image in a specific way. So, a celebrity that exemplifies this quality could help. In a case like this, the public relations team behind such a celebrity might play a significant role in the collaboration. The advertising campaign also may impact the celebrity’s public image.
Tips for Success in a Public Relations Masters Program
The keys to success in a Public Relations Masters program revolve around developing communications, branding, and media expertise . That means creating a network and brand for yourself while learning how to keep current on PR news and trends.
Building a strong professional network
There are three steps master’s students might take to create a network of industry contacts while in school. Taking advantage of internship opportunities could connect students with vital members of the PR community while they’re also learning trade tools. Finding an industry mentor may give public relations graduate students a thoughtful resource to bridge the gap between school and career. Also, developing connections with professors might help with references as well as learning communication skills.
Developing your personal brand
Personal brands work as an intentional presentation of what you’re all about. It’s in your hands to match your words and actions to how you want others to see you. That means outwardly representing your values through the way you behave and talk. An example might be highlighting your commitment to fitness by working out in public and eating at healthy restaurants.
The key to personal branding is visibility. So, matching your actions and intentions could help kick off the first step. Then you might also need to project that image to others. Many find social media a useful conduit for the visibility part of the personal branding process.
Your personal brand could help show tangible examples of your image management talents in public relations. After all, you’ve put it into practice on your own.
Staying up-to-date with industry news and trends
The public relations industry works in a constant state of evolution thanks to social media and 24/7 news cycle. This, combined with the need to stay keyed into their clients’ images, could pressure public relations specialists into a lot of media viewing in order to stay relevant.
To balance media consumption with work hours, it might help to create a system that checks the PR industry pulse through a curated set of communications outlets. One way to tackle this could be a quarterly assessment of how useful your information sources have been and trying one or two different ones if you find gaps. This process could help keep your news gathering efficient and relevant to your clients’ images.
Career Opportunities for Public Relations Masters Graduates
Public relations masters graduates have career options to pursue in publicity as well as marketing, advertising, communications, media, government, and more. A master’s degree in public relations and advertising may enhance career options for candidates in these fields and expand their opportunities.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in advertising and public relations are predicated to grow faster than average through the upcoming period from 2022-2032:
- Employment of advertising, promotions, & marketing managers is projected to grow 6%1
- Employment of Public Relations Specialists is projected to grow 6%2
- Employment of public relations and fundraising managers is projected to grow 6%3
Public relations and advertising agencies
PR and ad agencies may offer positions like Account Executives and Public Relations Specialists as well as higher-level jobs for managers and directors. Careers at public relations firms and advertising agencies may be stressful, with some managers working more than 40 hours per week.
Working at agency jobs like these may also have many benefits. For instance, because employees in these positions often impact the firm’s bottom line, they often work alongside top executives. There’s also typically a variety of clients, companies, and a shifting landscape of products to promote. This lively workplace culture may help keep agency work interesting and cut down on the boredom factor.
Corporate communications and media relations
Some Public Relations Specialists may want to focus more on their communications and media skills. Jobs in corporate and communications and media relations could be well suited to these interests and talents.
Sometimes called Communication Specialists, these professionals typically evaluate, represent, and help maintain their client’s image. Achieving this often involves drafting speeches and press releases as well as communicating with the media. Communications Specialists may also work closely with clients to help them answer media questions and represent themselves in a positive light.
Nonprofit organizations and government agencies
Graduates with a master’s in PR and advertising may also pursue work as a press secretary for government and nonprofit agencies. These positions often parallel the work involved in communications and media relations but may also involve fundraising. For instance, government officials seeking election and maintaining their role often rely on private and public contributions—fundraising.
Raising money for nonprofits has evolved . For instance, in the twentieth century, fundraising efforts have converged online between public and private entities seeking donations. This could mean exciting opportunities for careers developing creative outreach and robust donor relationships. Jobs in this sector often also involve grant writing and event planning, which could help fuel growth among nonprofits while legitimizing them and increasing their visibility.
GradSchools.com offers 1 Graduate Schools with Advertising & Public Relations Masters Degrees in Seattle
Sources: 1 https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm | 2 https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/public-relations-specialists.htm | 3 https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/public-relations-managers.htm
University of Washington