Top 25 Online Master’s in Public Relations 2018

By TBD Staff
October 2017

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities for public relations graduates are expected to grow by about six percent each year through 2024. The demand for qualified public relations professionals can be found in a variety of sectors including media, goverment agencies, non-profits, business, and education. Individuals with a master’s in public relations can expect to find even more job opportunities as public relations managers, marketing managers, communications directors, and advertising executives. Earning an online master’s in public relations is a great way to advance your career while meeting family and work obligations.

We created a ranking of the top 25 online master’s in public relations to assist you in finding the perfect program to meet your personal and proessional needs. We conducted an initial search of accredited institutions offering master’s in public relations programs through the federal database, College Navigator. From there, we narrowed our results to only those programs offering online public relations master’s degrees with attributes such as faculty with terminal degrees in their field, a hands-on curriculum, flexible course offerings, and online student resources such as advising and tech support. We then ranked the programs using the methodology below to come up with our list of the top 25 pubic relations online master’s degrees for 2017-2018.

Rating and Ranking Methodology

Student/Faculty ratio:

  • 11:1 or less- 3 points
  • 12:1 to 17:1- 2 points
  • 18:1 and above- 1 point

Average Graduate Tuition Rate:

  • Less than $13,000- 3 points
  • $13,000 to $20,000- 2 points
  • Greater than $20,000- 1 point

Residency Requirements:

  • No- 3 points
  • Yes- 0 point

Concentration Areas:

  • Yes- 3 points
  • No- 1 point

#25. Ithaca College-Ithaca, New York

Online Master of Science in Communications Innovation

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Average Graduate Student Tuition: $19,776/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 10:1
What’s Unique 
Ithaca College features a 24 month online master’s in public relations offered as an executive-style program for leaders in the field who want to help shape the future of public relations. The program accepts about 10 professionals each year. Students work together to inspire each other and work together, thinking differently and coming up with innovative ideas. Students meet face-to-face five times over the course of the two year program for intensive learning opportunities with representatives from major corporations. This top master’s in public relations online program features coursework in transmedia storytelling, audience research tools and sources, interaction and interface design and consumer behavior.

#24. The University of Texas at Tyler-Tyler, Texas

Executive Master’s in Public Relations

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Average Graduate Student Tuition: $4,896/year in-state and $12,294/year out-of-state
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Points: 5
What’s Unique
The executive style master’s in public relations online program at The University of Texas at Tyler provides students with the flexibility to work full-time while attending school. The program is highly competitive, accepting only 25 students each fall, and includes a seven day, on-site intensive at the start of each semester. It is ideal for public relations practitioners and communication professionals. Students will advance their skills to learn to manage staff, organizations, and digital media in a rapidly changing environment. Courses cover areas such as health communication, crisis communication, integrated marketing, and media management.

#23. George Washington University-Washington DC

Online Master’s in Strategic Public Relations

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Average Graduate Student Tuition: $28,800/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 13:1
What’s Unique 
The 10 course online master’s in strategic public relations program at George Washington University is designed to keep pace with this ever changing industry. Students complete seven required courses and three electives covering unique topics such as sustainability communications, integrated marketing communications, multicultural marketing and crisis and issues management. Students can elect to participate in the Global Perspective Residency Program, a short term study-abroad program for students interested in gaining a global public relations perspective. This top online master’s program prepares students to effectively work with marketing, social media, and public relations to maximize impact for their organization.

#22. Western New England University-Springfield, Massachusetts

MA in Communication with a Public Relations Concentration Online

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Average Graduate Student Tuition: $24,120/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Points: 6
What’s Unique
Offered exclusively online, the top master’s in public relations program at Western New England University is a 30 credit hour program that can be completed in just 15 months of study. Students can expect to study crisis management, principles and practices of public relations, public relations strategies for social and digital media, and public relations and nonprofit organizations. Through an online learning platform, students view lectures, complete assignments, and engage in discussion with faculty and peers. Faculty are experts in the field, coming from areas such as television, education, international radio, business, and public relations.

#21. Southern New Hampshire University-Manchester, New Hampshire

Master’s in Public Relations Online

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Average Graduate Student Tuition: $18,810/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 30:1
Points: 6
What’s Unique
The online master’s in public relations program at Southern New Hampshire University can be earned in just 15 months. Students complete two courses every 10 weeks to move through the program quickly. Faculty are experienced in the industry and use a hands-on approach to learning even in a virtual environment. There are no GMAT or GRE requirements for admission. Online students have access to career and academic advisors in the field of public relations who can help keep students on track to graduate and find employment.

#20. Full Sail University-Winter Park, Florida

Online Master of Arts in Public Relations

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Average Graduate Student Tuition: $16,401/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 23:1
Points: 6
What’s Unique
Full Sail University is different than other universities. Students are exposed to the creative aspects of their area of study through hands-on activities, problem solving exercising, and team projects. The top online public relations master’s degree program at Full Sail gives students the foundational elements needed for a career in public relations, as well as an understanding of the latest social tools and communication channels. This 12-month online master’s features courses covering topics such as media relations, legal aspects of media, events marketing, and reputation management.

#19. University of Denver-Denver, Colorado

Master’s in Public Relations Online

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Average Graduate Student Tuition: $45,288/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Points: 7
What’s Unique
Designed with career advancement in mind, the master’s in public relations online program at the University of Denver is all about success. Students will learn how to enhance their communication skills by effectively navigating both digital and traditional communication methods. The 48 credit hour program includes 12 courses, offered in a convenient online format. There are no GRE or GMAT requirements for admission to this program. Public relations courses include writing and tactics, dimensions of reputation management, research and measurement, and principles and processes. This flexible program allows students to select a capstone project, capstone seminar, interdisciplinary capstone seminar or portfolio capstone to complete their degree.

#18. Quinnipiac University-Hamden, Connecticut

Master’s in Public Relations Online

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Average Graduate Student Tuition: $17,730/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Points: 7
What’s Unique
The master’s in public relations online program at Quinnipiac University is one of only two master’s programs in the country to be certified by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the PRSA’s Accreditation in Public Relations exam. This 36 credit hour program can be completed entirely online and prepares students for leadership positions in the field of public relations. Courses include crisis management, global strategy, branding strategies, measurement and evaluation, and media ethics and policy. While there is no thesis requirement, students do complete a public relations graduate capstone project in their final semester of study.

#17. Marist College-Poughkeepsie, New York

Public Relations Management Master’s Degree Online

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Average Graduate Student Tuition: $14,040/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Points: 7
What’s Unique
The 100% online master’s in public relations program at Marist College is a flexible program ideal for working marketing professionals. Students complete coursework relating to brand management, social media strategies, global consumer insights, and advertising management. The program features a curriculum emphasizing real-world experiences designed to help students meet their professional business and communication goals. Part-time students can earn their degree in about two years. Start dates are flexible and most students take two courses each fall and spring semester and one course over the summer.

#16. California Baptist University-Riverside, California

Online Master’s in Public Relations

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Average Graduate Student Tuition: $11,430/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Points: 7
What’s Unique
The 33 credit hour master’s in public relations online program at California Baptist University helps students develop critical thinking and professional skills from a biblical framework. Students take courses in international public relations, crisis management, specialized writing, marketing for public relations, and public relations management and leadership. A comprehensive capstone experience allows students to showcase their knowledge and skills using a real-world problem or issue. Faculty are PhD level professors with experience in education, public relations, humanities, and communication.

#15. University of Florida-Gainesville, Florida

Online Master of Arts in Mass Communication with a Specialization in Public Relations

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Average Graduate Student Tuition: $10,770/year in-state and $27,335/year out-of-state
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Points: 7
What’s Unique
The University of Florida has partnered with APCO Worldwide, the largest women and employee owned communication consultancy in the world, to mentor and guide students through real world projects. Students can earn their online public relations master’s degree in under two years. Each semester is 12 weeks and there are three semesters each year. Classes are offered entirely online and feature recorded lectures to allow students to participate when it is most convenient. Graduates have been successful finding employment as event coordinators, public relations directors, marketing research analysts, and global communications managers.

#14. West Virginia University-Morgantown, West Virginia

Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications

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Average Graduate Student Tuition: $9,000/year in-state and $23,238/year out-of-state
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 19:1
Points: 7
What’s Unique
The online master’s in integrated marketing communications program at  West Virginia University is a customizable degree designed to prepare students for leadership positions in the field of communications. Faculty come from a variety of diverse backgrounds including marketing, academics, and business. Courses are offered in an accelerated eight-week format and the academic year is made up of five terms, allowing students to move through the program quickly. Successful graduates of this 33 credit hour program in public relations have gone on to work as market research analysts, public relations and fundraising managers, logisticians, and public relations specialists.

#13. University of Maryland University College-Adelphi, Maryland

Management Master’s Degree with Public Relations Specialization

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Average Graduate Student Tuition: $8,244/year in-state and $11,862/year out-of-state
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Points: 7
What’s Unique
The innovative online master’s in management with a public relations specialization at the University of Maryland University is designed using input from employers, industry experts, and scholars. Students complete a series of three core courses in management and seven courses in public relations. A capstone course in strategic management is taken during the final semester of the program. Students are expected to have a background in statistics, finance, and accounting to be successful in the program, although introductory courses are available for a refresher. Students can expect to develop a solid foundation in campaign strategies, legal and ethical PR issues, and PR theory that will prepare graduates for PR certification.

#12. Texas Tech University-Lubbock, Texas

Online Master’s Program in Strategic Communication & Innovation

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Average Graduate Student Tuition: $5,400/year in-state and $12,744/year out-of-state
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 21:1
Points: 7
What’s Unique
The 30 credit hour online master’s in strategic communication program at Texas Tech University is designed to prepare students for executive level careers in communications. The asynchronous program allows busy professionals to log in when it is most convenient, without interrupting career or family obligations. Students have the option to complete between one and three courses at a time, and can begin the program at the start of any semester. The program consists of seven required courses and three electives, including topics such as multimedia story telling, interpersonal communication, production of digital media content, and audience/data analysis and reporting. This top master’s in public relations online includes an applied research project in the final semester of the program.

#11. Stephen F. Austin State University-Nacogdoches, Texas

Master of Arts in Mass Communication Online-Public Relations Concentration

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Average Graduate Student Tuition: $4,896/year in-state and $12,240/year out-of-state
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Points: 7
What’s Unique
Stephen F. Austin State University offers an online master’s in mass communication with a concentration in public relations that features both a non-thesis and thesis option as well as the opportunity to complete a media project. The program features 24 credit hours of elective coursework in public relations including media and politics, seminar in public relations, topics in mass communication, and international media. Courses are taught by PhD level faculty with experience in communication, public relations, and management. There are no GMAT or GRE requirements for admission to this program and applications are accepted throughout the year.

#10. Missouri State University-Springfield, Missouri

Master’s in Communication-Public Relations

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Average Graduate Student Tuition: $4,644/year in-state and $9,324/year out-of-state
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 22:1
Points: 7
What’s Unique
The communication graduate program with a concentration in public relations is a 32 credit hour program that can be completed in two years of study. Students can complete this top master’s in public relations program entirely online and must successfully pass a comprehensive examination in order to earn their degree. There are three different options for students to choose from to gain research experience including a thesis, seminar paper, or professional project. Faculty members are published experts in the field of communications and provide students with individualized attention throughout the program.

#9. Webster University-Saint Louis, Missouri

Master of Arts in Public Relations Online

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Average Graduate Student Tuition: $12,690/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 12:1
Points: 8
What’s Unique
The master’s in public relations online program at Webster University is a great choice for students who want to help shape the future of public relations. Students will develop an understanding of how entrepreneurship, ethics, and globalization have influenced and developed the field. The 36 credit hour program includes elective course offerings in areas such as organizational communications, speech writing, media production management, multinational public relations, and crisis management communications. There is no thesis requirement for this program, but students are expected to complete a graduate seminar in media communication at the end of the program.

#8. Washington State University-Pullman, Washington

Master’s in Strategic Communication Online

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Average Graduate Student Tuition: $11,224/year in-state and $24,656/year out-of-state
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 15:1
Points: 8
What’s Unique
The 30 credit hour master’s in strategic communication online program at Washington State University features a cutting edge curriculum, a cohort structure, and hands-on learning. Students have the opportunity to learn and work with the latest audio and video software, graphic design, and media and publication layouts. Graduates will have an online portfolio of multimedia materials that can be presented to future employers to showcase talents and abilities. Courses cover areas such as professional digital content promotion, consumer behavior and brand development, creative media strategies, and persuasion for professional communicators. Washington State University offers one of the best graduate programs in communications according to the National Research Council.

#7. Mississippi College-Clinton, Mississippi

Master of Science in Applied Communications-Generalist

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Average Graduate Student Tuition: $10,206/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 15:1
Points: 8
What’s Unique
Mississippi College features a top online master’s in public relations through their applied communications master’s program. This 31 credit hour program features elective coursework in public relations writing, public relations, communication law, and negotiation. As the most flexible communication degree offered at Mississippi College, students have the opportunity from elective course offerings to really tailor the program to meet their personal and professional goals.

#6. American University-Washington DC

Master’s Degree in Strategic Communication Online

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Average Graduate Student Tuition: $28,422/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 12:1
Areas of Emphasis: Advocacy and Social Impact
Points: 9
What’s Unique
As the longest standing program of it’s kind in the Washington DC area, the online master’s in strategic communication program has the recognition and prestige needed to help students stand out in the job market. Students have the opportunity to select a concentration in Advocacy and Social Impact to focus on political communication, grassroots and digital advocacy, and behavioral change to engage and mobilize audiences. The dynamic online learning platform allows students to engage with peers and faculty for vibrant online discussions where and when it is most convenient. With 95% of graduates reporting employment within six months of graduation, the top online master’s in public relations program at American University can provide students with the skill set required by top employers in the field.

#5. Northeastern University-Boston, Massachusetts

Master of Science in Corporate and Organizational Communication Online

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Average Graduate Student Tuition: $22,633/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Areas of Emphasis: Social Media, Public Relations, Human Resource Management, Usability/User Experience, Project Management, Leadership
Points: 9
What’s Unique
The master’s in corporate and organizational communication online program at Northeastern University is one of the most versatile programs in our ranking. Students can complete the program 100% online but complete an experiential learning capstone course in their own workplace or virtually. Students who want more hands-on experience in the field can work virtually on 6-week projects on a not-for-credit basis. Concentration areas are available in social media, public relations, human resource management, usability/user experience, project management, and leadership which are all in-demand skills in the area of communications. Public relations professionals with an accreditation in public relations can save both time and money on their degree by applying their credential in exchange for transfer credit.

#4. Georgetown University-Washington DC

Master’s in Public Relations and Corporate Communications Online

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Average Graduate Student Tuition: $46,272/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Areas of Emphasis: Cause Communications, Corporate Communications, Digital Communications, Integrated Marketing Communications, Public Relations
Points: 10
What’s Unique
The 10 course online public relations master’s program at Georgetown University is designed to allow students to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule. Students can attend part-time or full-time and have up to five years to earn their degree. Concentration areas are available to tailor the program for individual preferences and career goals. The curriculum is the same as the on-campus program and students have access to the same resources as their on-campus counterparts. Online students have the opportunity to work with clients from around the world through coursework, capstone projects, and client engagement experiences.

#3. Drury University-Springfield, Missouri

Online Master’s in Communication

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Average Graduate Student Tuition: $8,496/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Areas of Emphasis: Integrated Marketing Communications and Organizational Leadership and Change
Points: 11
What’s Unique
The online master’s in communication program at Drury University is a 30 credit hour program with customizable electives to meet your professional needs. Students can select an 18 month, two year, or three year program track with courses offered in eight or 16 week intervals. Small class size gives students the opportunity to interact with faculty and peers for a more personalized learning experience. Courses are collaborative in nature and feature hands-on learning relevant to both corporate and nonprofit organizations. This top online master’s in public relations program features coursework in media writing, social media strategy, direct marketing, media and technology literacy, and organizational change.

#2. Ball State University-Muncie, Indiana

Master of Arts in Public Relations Online

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Average Graduate Student Tuition: $8,386/year in-state and $20,698/year out-of-state
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Areas of Emphasis: Business, Communication Studies, Public Affairs, Sport Communication
Points: 11
What’s Unique
The online master’s in public relations program at Ball State University is a 33-36 credit hour program featuring a challenging curriculum and world class faulty and advisement. Students have the option to pursue a 33 credit hour program which includes a three credit hour capstone project or a 36 credit hour program which includes a six credit hour thesis. Specializations are available in a variety of areas, with all courses offered online. Courses are taken through an asynchronous format, allowing working students to complete coursework on their own schedule. Not ready to commit to a master’s program? Ball State has you covered! Public relations students can enroll in a 15 credit hour certificate program in either corporate communications or education communications and four of the courses required for the certificate can transfer directly toward the online master’s in public relations.

#1. Montana State University-Billings, Montana

Master of Science in Public Relations Online

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Average Graduate Student Tuition: $5,276/year in-state and $17,542/year out-of-state
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Areas of Emphasis: Public Relations Theory, Health Communication, Public Communication, Media & Society Communication
Points: 11
What’s Unique
Montana State University features a flexible online master’s in public relations program ideal for students with a variety of public relations experiences and diverse perspectives. Course content is delivered entirely online and internship opportunities are available for students who need additional professional experience. Four different emphasis areas are available to allow students to focus their studies. The hands-on program teaches students how to facilitate and negotiate communications among a variety of groups and organizations.