Washington, DC Public Relations & Communications Graduate Programs
Learning more about top communications and public relations graduate programs could be a great first step toward improving your career outlook.
Some people pursue a communications and public relations degree program in order to enhance their current career performance. Through study and practical application this degree aims to hone presentation skills and improve writing effectiveness. Those just entering the field may acquire relevant knowledge to get them up-to-speed with their peers. It is important to begin a new career with practical knowledge, including exposure to 'newer' elements of mass communication like digital media and social media.
After earning your degree, you could pursue a wide array of careers. The Bureau of Labor Statistic has projected a possible 4% growth in the communication field’s employment rate from 2014 to 2024.[ii] Some popular routes might be:
- Public Relation Specialists
- News Analysts
Which Communications & Public Relations Degree Program Is Best for You?
Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access
When starting to browse the myriad of Communications and Public Relations Graduate Programs options, it’s helpful to list your goals and prerequisites to streamline the process. For example: how quickly do you want to finish your degree? Have you earned an undergraduate degree in communications? What is your ideal career outcome for this career? With these answers in mind, identifying your desired Communications and Public Relations Graduate Programs could be a breeze!
Master’s in Communications Programs
Master’s degree programs in communications and public relations might be the first degree program you consider. Requirements may vary depending on the school, but applicants could expect to submit a 3.0 or higher undergraduate GPA in addition to GRE exam scores, although one can find online masters in communication programs that don't require you to take the GRE. Other general admissions requirements could also include official transcripts, letters of recommendation, personal essays, CVs, and resumes. While the master’s programs may be intensive, their focused nature means that students could expect to complete their degree program in 1 to 2 years, although program lengths vary by school.
Master’s degree programs could come in a few of the following forms:
- A Master of Arts in Communications program offers many concentrations such as corporate communications and public relations or broadcast and digital journalism. In these programs, students have an opportunity to gain strategic communication knowledge and valuable skills to effectively produce materials relating to brand production, media relations, and social media management.
- Master of Science in Communication: Integrated Marketing Communication (M.S.I.M.C) programs use case studies and hands-on experience as their main forms of instruction. Many programs strive to instruct students in contemporary marketing methods to assist and create company’s marketing strategies. Students could develop practical, applicable skills, including management skills that may make the transition into the working world easier – helpful if you’re considering changing career fields!
Doctorate in Communication Programs
Due to the competitive nature of doctoral degree programs, students may be expected to supply GRE scores and have an undergraduate or master’s level GPA of 3.0 for admission. When including research, dissertations, and general course load, students may be expected to study anywhere from 4 to 5 years to complete the program. Program lengths vary by school.
The Doctorate in Communication & Public Relations is one of the main doctoral programs you could find. The degree program’s main goal is to help prepare students to jumpstart a career in the academic field post-graduation. While the master’s degree program’s aim is to provide education to enter a media career, PhD programs might provide students an avenue to teach the very subjects they are currently studying. These programs place an emphasis on scholarship and researching current contemporary media methods.
Communication & Public Relations Certificate Programs
Graduate Certificates in Applied Communication generally are a quicker program great for students looking to move into a new career ASAP. While similar to master’s degree programs, graduate certificate programs cover the communications essentials needed to participate in a media position, often not emphasizing research and hands-on opportunities. Students may expect to complete the degree in a little as one semester, but with some programs taking up to a year depending on student academic load and school. Admission requirements are equally more accessible, with schools generally requiring a 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Many programs do not require GRE scores for admission.
Coursework may vary, but typical topics could include:
- Media Technology Strategies
- Social Media
- Writing & Editorial Skills
- Crisis Management
EXPERT INSIGHT ON PUBLIC RELATIONS GRADUATE SCHOOLS
We asked Jon Salas how communications and public relations graduate programs gives you an edge:
“After a few years working in the field and an undergraduate education in communication, I learned a great deal about the industry, and although I had the foundation of a communicator, my master of science in public relations from Boston University is really what immersed me in the industry and had me fall in love once again with my career as a publicist. From being concise in communication, to the elements of a successful persuasion strategy; to the dynamics of client service and the importance of networking; my degree was way more than a M.S. to my name, it was the tool box that I was looking in order to grow as a person and as a professional. I can honestly say, the job I have today is fully the result from my master’s degree in public relations.”
-Jon Salas, Assistant Account Executive at Hollywood Agency and Boston University College of Communication Alum
Program Formats of Public Relations Graduate Programs
Just as important as picking a perfect degree program is considering which Communications and Public Relations Graduate Programs format suits your lifestyle and intended course load. Consider if you may be working congruently with your studies, if you may be attending a wide range of classes full-time, and your intended timeframe to choose the appropriate format offered by public relations graduate schools.
- On-campus communications & public relations graduate programs offer the advantage of incorporating a structured schedule into your weekly routine. The traditional college format may present unique benefits: being able to collaborate with your peers, seeking additional instruction from professors, and having access to research facilities. Don’t forget the fun aspect of being on campus – take part in football games, music performances, and other events. Some of these events might be offered at a student discount (or even free!).
- Online communications & public relations graduate programs may be perfect programs for students looking to meld schoolwork with their own timetables. Online courses may allow students to log into their classes as their schedule allows. This could be a great asset for students simultaneously working while earning their degree. Schools may also make their libraries and databases available to online students, giving you similar advantages as on-campus students!
- Hybrid communications & public relations graduate programs could be a great combination of both program formats. The hybrid tract takes the flexibility and convenience of online classes with the low-residency benefits of being on campus. This may allow you to network and socialize with your peers – and your professors – while also attending class online when your schedule is busier.
Public Relations Graduate Programs & Types
|Communications & Public Relations Degree Type||Common Elements||Average Length of Study|
|Master of Arts in Communications|
Broadcast, digital journalism, brand production, media relations, social media management
|Master of Science in Communication||Marketing methods, management skills, data and quantitative reasoning, decision making||2 Years|
|M.S.I.M.C||Preparation for careers within marketing firms, advertising agencies, pr firms,direct marketing||2 Years|
|Doctorate in Communications & Public Relations||Research-intensive, preparation for research careers and post-secondary teaching||4-5 Years|
|Graduate Certificates in Applied Communication||Media Strategies, Social Media, Crisis Management||1-2 Semesters|
Find Communications and Public Relations Graduate Programs Today!
With this information in mind, you may be ready to begin your search for a perfect communications and public relations graduate program. Gradschools.com is here to help with the next step of your journey. To view a list of Communications and Public Relations Graduate Programs options, select your preferred program level and format. Peruse the results in your own time, and feel free to request information from any programs that catch your interest. We hope you find a perfect communications and public relations graduate program today!
Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/home.htm | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/home.htm
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