United States Campus Advertising & Public Relations Graduate Programs & Graduate Schools

Advertising and Public Relations Graduate Programs on Campus enable professionals to pursue certificates, master’s degrees, or doctorate degrees through in-person interaction with classmates and professors. Students in on-campus programs also get to enjoy scheduled classes with regular and predictable meeting days and times. For many students, the structure and tangibility of on-campus programming make it their preferred mode of education.

Some other possible benefits of advertising and public relations graduate programs on campus education may include:

  • Access to campus resources such as libraries, study groups, and events in-person
  • Communicating face-to-face, in-person, and in real time during office hours and class discussions 
  • Attending school in a community and potentially connecting with community colleagues in the field

In Advertising and Public Relations Graduate Programs on campus, students may enjoy these and other benefits as they learn how to establish, manage, and protect clients’ reputations and personas in the public sphere; design, manage, and assess marketing and advertising campaigns; and navigate specific areas of PR, advertising, and marketing such as international, corporate, or digital applications. Read on to learn more about public relations, advertising, and marketing and on-campus graduate programs.

What Are Public Relations, Advertising, and Marketing?

Public relations (PR), advertising, and marketing are subcategories of communications. They basically involve establishing communication between two primary entities: an organization (such as a business, governmental agency, non-governmental agency, or non-profit), an individual, or a product (or service) and a target audience. PR is sometimes a part of advertising and marketing, but may also be its own discipline and field. PR utilizes cost-free opportunities, such as press releases and interviews, and media outlets to establish and protect a client’s reputation and public narrative. Meanwhile, professionals use marketing and advertising to promote and sell products, services, and ideas through campaigns. Marketing and advertising involve market research, strategy, design, and other tools and applications such as digital technology, multimedia, and communicative media.

PR, advertising, and marketing may be used by individuals or small, medium, or large companies and employ a variety of formats. Professionals in the fields of PR, advertising, and marketing might also perform crisis management, manage a company’s internal communications, control social media content, or otherwise protect and create a client or a client’s product’s reputation and identity. These are just some of the many roles PR, advertising, and marketing professionals might play.

What Graduate Programs in Advertising, Marketing, and Public Relations Can I Pursue On Campus?

You may be able to pursue a graduate certificate, master’s degree, or doctorate degree in public relations, marketing, or advertising on campus. Each varies in intensity, structure, and intention.

Advertising, Marketing, and Public Relations Master’s Degree Programs on Campus

When pursuing a master’s degree in public relations, advertising, or marketing, students might choose one of several primary options: a Master of Art (M.A.) in Public Relations, Marketing, or Advertising; a Master of Science (M.S.) in Public Relations, Marketing, or Advertising; or a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) with an emphasis on public relations, marketing, or advertising.

M.A. or M.S. public relations, marketing, or advertising programs will likely focus on PR, marketing, or advertising, and allow students to emphasize a particular area of the subjects, such as digital marketing, product placement advertising, or corporate public relations, through elective study. Meanwhile, M.B.A. in public relations, advertising, or marketing programs will likely focus on business and allow students to emphasize public relations, advertising, or marketing through elective study. Compared to certificate programs, students may engage in a more in-depth study of public relations, advertising, or marketing in master’s programs.

Students might pursue a master’s in public relations, advertising, or marketing through one to two years of fulltime study. To conclude their programs, they might participate in an internship, write and defend a thesis, or take a comprehensive exam.

Advertising, Marketing, and Public Relations Doctorate Degree Programs on Campus

When pursuing a doctorate degree in public relations, advertising, or marketing, students might participate in a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or a Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.) program. While students may find either of these degree programs with a primary focus on public relations, many Ph.D. and D.B.A. programs emphasize business, communications, marketing, or advertising and allow for a secondary focus on public relations.

PR, advertising, and marketing Ph.D. programs are commonly research-intensive. Students might use a Ph.D. program to pursue careers as teachers and researchers in higher education or across industries. D.B.A. programs, meanwhile, commonly emphasize the practical application of business, PR, marketing, and advertising. Professionals with D.B.A.s that emphasize public relations, advertising, or marketing might pursue employment in communications firms or working directly for clients.

In many cases, students pursue their doctorate degree in public relations, marketing, or advertising over the course of three to six years. At the end of their programs, students might complete an apprenticeship or student teaching, take a comprehensive exam, or complete a capstone project such as a dissertation.

Advertising, Marketing, and Public Relations Certificate Programs on Campus

Advertising, marketing, and public relations certificate programs typically engage students in an exploration of the fields’ primary tools and concepts. Programs like these are often meant to enhance PR, advertising, and marketing professionals’ existing knowledge, give them specialized knowledge in the fields, or introduce the subjects to professionals currently outside the field.

To engage in on-campus education at this level, students may attend class alongside students studying similar subjects in master’s or doctorate degree programs. In some cases, students might transfer their certificate credits into PR, marketing, or advertising master’s programs of their own. However, not all programs allow for credits to transfer, so check with your program to determine its policies.

Many students earn an on-campus certificate in advertising, marketing, or public relations in approximately one year of fulltime study.

What Might I Study in an on-Campus Advertising, Marketing, or Public Relations Graduate Program?

There are some key lenses through which advertising, marketing, or public relations graduate students might look at various subjects.

In graduate advertising programs, students might study quantitative and qualitative research, persuasive communication, media, creative strategy and implementation, advertising and management, marketing, and PR.

In graduate public relations programs, students might study international public relations; strategic communication; theories of communication; public relations management; public relations and social, political, and cultural factors; and publicity and promotions.

In graduate marketing programs, students might study marketing management, business and marketing analytics, digital marketing, marketing theory and models, marketing metrics and assessment, marketing research, consumer behavior and insights, ethics in marketing, and marketing strategy.

In certificate programs, students might gain an overview of key issues and theories in these and other areas. In master’s and doctorate degree programs, students will likely delve into these and other subjects and perhaps focus their studies in a particular area through a specialization. 

Some more specific subjects students in advertising, marketing, or PR graduate programs might study include:

  • PR, marketing, and advertising foundations (principles, theories, and practices)
  • PR, marketing, and advertising writing
  • PR, marketing, and advertising campaigns
  • PR, marketing, and advertising ethics and law
  • Reputation, crisis, and public persona management
  • Corporate communication
  • Strategic communication
  • Digital and social media
  • Global communication tools 
  • Persuasion methods and techniques
  • Marketing and communications strategy
  • Branding and market positioning

In master’s and doctorate-level public relations degree programs, students may also study research topics and methodologies, statistics, and data analysis.

Who Might Pursue an on-Campus Graduate Degree in Public Relations, Advertising, or Marketing?

Whether you’re a PR, advertising, or marketing professional who wants to enhance your career in your field, a business professional who wants to specialize your knowledge and skillset, or a professional from another field transitioning to a career in public relations, advertising, or marketing, an on-campus graduate program in public relations might be for you. Certificate and degree programs in public relations, advertising, and marketing may help you gain the education you need to pursue a career as an account supervisor, a manager, an executive, a media relations manager, or in a variety of other positions. Professionals in pursuit of advanced education often imagine themselves as managers, leaders, or professionals with specialized knowledge.

In terms of what skills professionals pursuing graduate education in public relations might have, consider this: PR specialists typically must have interpersonal, organizational, speaking, writing, and problem-solving skills.[i] Public relations managers, meanwhile, must have communication and leadership skills in addition to many of the skills specialists have.[ii] Advertising, Promotions, or Marketing Managers must have analytical, communication, decision-making, interpersonal, and organizational skills.[iii] They should also be creative.[iv]

How Can I Find Advertising and Public Relations Graduate Programs on Campus?

Rather than spending hours perusing the internet for advertising and public relations graduate programs on campus, you can begin your search right here. Browse the options below, or refine your search using our search tool. With our search tool, you can find on-campus programs by program level (certificate, master’s, or doctorate) or location (city, state, or country). When you find a advertising and public relations graduate programs on campus you like, don’t hesitate to request more information. Whether you want to pursue a master’s degree in marketing and advertising, a doctorate degree in business with an emphasis in PR, or a certificate in an area of communications, we’ve likely found Advertising and Public Relations Graduate Programs on Campus options for you. We wish you luck on your advertising and public relations graduate programs on campus search!


Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/public-relations-specialists.htm#tab-4 | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/management/public-relations-managers.htm#tab-4 | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm#tab-4 | [iv] bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm#tab-4

Find Schools