In this ranking, we explore the top value master’s in public relations online degree programs for 2017. Graduates from such programs are qualified for advanced positions in the field of public relations, including careers as public relations specialists, public relations managers, marketing directors, and communications specialists. Although a bachelor’s degree is sufficient for most public relations jobs, an online master’s in public relations degree can open doors to supervisory roles and higher-paying positions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median wage for public relations managers is $104,140.

Ranking Methodology
Awards and Recognition (Related to Public Relations)
• National Level – 2 points
• Regional Level – 1 point
20-Year Net ROI
• Above 500,000 – 5 points
• Above 400,000 – 4 points
• Above 300,000 – 3 points
• Above 200,000 – 2 points
• Above 100,000 – 1 point
Customization Options
• Content Customizations (e.g. Concentrations and Specializations) – 1 Point
• Format Customizations (e.g. Hybrid, Synchronous, etc.) – 1 Point
Innovative Programs and/or Teaching Methods in Public Relations – 1 point
Internship Opportunities in Public Relations – 1 point
Scholarship Opportunities in Public Relations – 1 point
Related Student Organizations and Societies – 1 point
Wow Factor
• 1 point awarded for each unique feature or program that “wowed” us

Best Value Colleges for a Master’s in Public Relations Online 
To create the following ranking of the top master’s in public relations online programs, our editors searched the web for colleges and universities that offer this distance learning option. Beginning with an initial pool of 17 schools, we used data from PayScale.com to identify the ten schools with the highest 20-year return on investment. Finally, we visited each school’s website to gather the additional information necessary to apply the ranking methodology above. What follows is our ranking of the ten top value schools for an online master’s in public relations.

#10 – University of Denver

Online Master’s in Public Relations

Denver, Colorado

University of Denver online master's in public relations

The University of Denver offers a comprehensive master’s in public relations online.

Website
Points: 3
The University of Denver’s master’s in public relations online offering is an MA in Communication Management with a concentration in Public Relations. The comprehensive 48-credit hour program consists of core courses such as Applied Critical Thinking in Communication and Communication and Society: Theories and Applications, as well as concentration courses like Public Relations Research and Measurement, Public Relations Writing and Tactics, and Dimensions of Reputation Management. Online master’s public relations students will also choose three communication management electives.
Tuition & Fees: $30,144 (information provided by University of Denver)

#9 – Southern New Hampshire University

Online Master’s in Public Relations

Manchester, New Hampshire

Southern New Hampshire University online master's public relations

Southern New Hampshire University’s master’s in public relations online program follows a prescribed curriculum.

Website
Points: 3
Southern New Hampshire University’s online master’s degree in public relations offering is technically an MA in Communications with a concentration in public relations. The 36-credit hour program features a prescribed curriculum, including course titles such as The Vantage Point: Knowledge & New Media, Communication for Leadership, More than Words: Communication by Design, and Crisis Communication in a 24/7 world. Students taking two 10-week courses at a time can complete their online master’s public relations degree in as few as 15 months.
Tuition & Fees: $18,810

#8 – Webster University

Online Master of Arts in Public Relations

Saint Louis, Missouri

Webster University online master's in public relations

Webster University’s master’s in public relations online students are appointed a faculty advisor.

Website
Points: 3
Webster University offers a comprehensive 36-credit hour master’s in public relations online program from its School of Communications. The core curriculum consists of 27 credit hours of coursework, including classes such as Writing for Public Relations, International Communications, and Strategic Communication Applications, as well as 9 credit hours of electives. Elective course titles include Strategic Communications, Topics in Media Communication, and Multinational Public Relations. Online master’s public relations students are appointed an advisor for the duration of the program.
Tuition & Fees: $12,300

#7 – Kent State University

Online Master’s in Public Relations

Kent, Ohio

Kent State University public relations master's degree online

Kent State offers an asynchronous master’s in public relations online program.

Website
Points: 3
Kent State University’s master’s in public relations online offering is made available through KSU’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The program is asynchronous, allowing working professionals to complete coursework at their own pace and schedule. Students will take required core courses such as Research Methods in Mass Communication, Law for Advertising and Public Relations, Values and Ethics Management, and PR Measurement & ROI. Through intensive 7-week courses, students can complete this public relations master’s degree online in just two years.
Tuition & Fees: $10,864

#6 – Marist College

Online Master’s in Public Relations Management and Marketing

Poughkeepsie, New York

Marist College online master's public relations

Marist College offers an accelerated master’s in public relations online program that can be completed in less than one year.

Website
Points: 4
Marist College offers a master’s in public relations online program through its Department of Integrated Marketing Communications. The prescribed curriculum features eight core courses, including Public Relations Management, Analytical Tools for Decision Making, Social Media Strategies & Tactics, and Global Consumer Insights. The program can be completed on a part-time or full-time basis, and full-time online master’s degree in public relations students can complete their degrees in less than one year. An integrated marketing communication capstone course is also required prior to graduation.
Tuition & Fees: $33,840

#5 – University of Missouri

Online Master’s in Journalism: Interactive Media

Columbia, Missouri

University of Missour public relations master's degree online

The master’s in public relations online offering from the University of Missouri focuses on interactive media.

Website
Points: 4
The University of Missouri’s contemporary master’s in public relations online program is actually an MA in Journalism with a concentration in interactive media. The program is designed to help PR professionals understand how audiences process digital and social messages and how to craft such messages effectively. The curriculum is comprised of a program core, an interactive media core, and a capstone project. Online master’s degree in public relations students will take courses such as Interactive Advertising, Media Ethics, and Visual Communication.
Tuition & Fees: $9,506

#4 – New York University

Online Master’s in Public Relations and Corporate Communication

New York, New York

New York University online master's in public relations

New York University offers a unique master’s in public relations online resulting in an MS degree.

Website
Points: 5
New York University offers a master’s in public relations online through its School of Professional Studies. The offering is a unique one, resulting in an MS in Public Relations and Corporate Communication. Students may opt to tailor their coursework around one of two available concentrations—Public Relations Management or Corporate and Organizational Communication. In addition to concentration courses, online master’s degree in public relations students will take core courses such as Communications, Ethics, Law & Regulation; Public Relations Writing Seminar; and Research Process & Methodology.
Tuition & Fees: $40,984

#3 – George Washington University

Online Master’s in Strategic Public Relations

Washington, D.C.

George Washington University online master's in public relations

George Washington University offers a contemporary master’s in public relations online program.

Website
Points: 5
George Washington University offers a progressive master’s in public relations online program through its College of Professional Studies. The curriculum is a prescribed one, featuring ten 3-credit hour courses, including titles such as Media Relations in the New Media World, Fundamentals of Finance and Management for PR Professionals, Strategic Marketing Communications, and Political Socialization and Public Opinion. This online master’s in public relations degree program welcomes students already working in the field of PR as well as those new to the industry.
Tuition & Fees: $27,810

#2 – Washington State University

Online Master’s in Public Relations

Pullman, Washington

 

Washington State University online master's in public relations

Washington State University’s master’s in public relations online program features flexible course scheduling.

Website
Points: 6
The master’s in public relations online offering from Washington State University’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication is technically an MA in Strategic Communication. To earn their degrees, students will complete a 15-credit hour Strategic Communication Core, a 12-credit hour professional core, and a 3-credit hour capstone course. Course titles include Persuasion for Professional Communicators, Crisis Communication in Global Contexts, Professional Marketing Communication Management and Campaigns, and Professional Digital Content Promotion. Public relations master’s degree online students can also choose one, two, or three-year tracks.
Tuition & Fees: $12,754

#1 – Georgetown University

Online Master’s in Public Relations and Corporate Communication

Washington, D.C.

Georgetown University online master's degree in public relations

Georgetown University offers a highly customizable master’s in public relations online.

Website
Points: 8
Georgetown University offers a master’s in public relations online from its School of Continuing Studies’ Department of Public Relations & Corporate Communication. The curriculum requires just one foundation course and two core courses. The remaining 21 credit hours are fulfilled through elective classes, making it easy for students to tailor the program to meet their individual career goals. These electives are grouped according to four focus areas—Cause Communications, Corporate Communications, Digital Communications, and Integrated Marketing Communications—but online master’s in public relations students can choose coursework from more than one area.
Tuition & Fees: $45,136

This concludes our ranking of the top value master’s in public relations online degree programs for 2017.

CVO Staff
February 2017