Online Public Relations Degrees

A bachelor's degree in public relations can lead to new and exciting career opportunities. Here, we list the best online public relations programs.

Updated September 23, 2022

Reviewed by ACO Rankings Team
Online Public Relations Degrees

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Public relations careers require strong writing, communication, and problem-solving skills. A bachelor's degree in public relations builds the knowledge and skills required for entry-level roles in the field.

Public relations professionals benefit from above-average salaries and strong demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), public relations specialists make a median salary of more than $61,000 per year. The BLS projects jobs for these professionals to grow 7% between 2019-2029.

This guide ranks the best online public relations bachelor's degrees for 2021. It also includes information on common courses and scholarship opportunities for public relations students.


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Learn More About a Public Relations Degree


How long does it take to get a public relations degree?

Earning a bachelor's in public relations typically takes four years for full-time students. Transfer students and those who choose an accelerated program may graduate faster.

What kinds of jobs can you get with a public relations degree?

Public relations degree jobs include roles like public relations specialist, public relations manager, advertising specialist, and market research analyst.

Is a public relations degree worth it?

Public relations students build widely applicable skills that prepare them for careers that offer above-average salaries and strong projected job growth, making the degree a worthwhile investment for many students.

What is the difference between public relations and marketing?

Public relations focuses on an organization's brand and public image, while marketing emphasizes consumer research, pricing strategies, and competitor analysis. Both fields require strong analytical and communication skills.

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Why Get a Degree in Public Relations?

Public relations professionals communicate with the media, write speeches, and build favorable images for their organizations. They may specialize in areas like digital communications, strategic communications, or crisis communications.

A public relations bachelor's degree meets the education requirements for roles like public relations specialist, copywriter, advertising specialist, and speechwriter. With experience, professionals can move into managerial roles, like public relations manager.

An online public relations degree gives students the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations. Additionally, many schools offer tuition discounts to online students.

How Much Does a Public Relations Degree Cost?

The cost of a public relations degree varies by factors like school, enrollment status, and delivery format. Many colleges charge over $300 per credit for public relations programs. For example, students at Southern New Hampshire University pay $320 per credit for the bachelor's in public relations program.

Private universities typically charge more than public universities, and in-state students at public universities typically pay the most affordable rates. For example, the University of Florida charges $129 per credit for in-state students pursuing the public relations major, while out-of-state students pay $553 per credit.

Online students often save on many of the expenses that on-campus students incur, such as housing and commuting costs. Additionally, many schools allow all online students to pay in-state tuition rates regardless of residency.

Break down your current financial situation, and receive a college tuition estimate you can afford to pay.

How Much Do Public Relations Majors Make?

Public relations graduates can work in fields like public relations, marketing, advertising, and fundraising. Many graduates pursue public relations specialist jobs. These professionals earn a median salary of over $61,000 per year.

Experienced public relations professionals can pursue managerial roles, such as public relations manager. These professionals make a median annual salary of over $116,000 and benefit from much faster-than-average projected job growth between 2019-2029.

Earning professional certifications or a graduate degree also helps public relations professionals increase their earning potential.

Courses in Public Relations

A bachelor's degree in public relations builds strong communication, writing, and analytical skills. Students take courses on topics like public relations writing, media relations, public speaking, and crisis communications. Many programs also incorporate courses in public relations management and project management.

In addition to coursework, public relations majors often complete an internship or capstone project. Courses vary by school, but this section introduces common public relations classes.

Certifications and Licensure for Public Relations

Public relations careers do not require a professional license. However, pursuing voluntary certifications helps candidates stand out in the job market, move into specialized roles, and increase their earning potential. Most certifications require educational and professional experience plus passing scores on an examination.

The APR credential recognizes experienced public relations professionals. Candidates must pass an examination and complete a panel presentation. APR professionals must maintain their credential through continuing education. This credential recognizes early-career professionals who complete public relations education through a qualifying college or university. Candidates must complete preparatory courses and pass an examination. Prospective candidates should contact their university's faculty coordinator to learn more about the process. The CMP credential recognizes business communicators at the management level. A bachelor's degree in public relations meets the training requirement for the credential. Candidates must pass a three-hour, 100-question exam.

Scholarships for Public Relations

Public relations majors can pursue scholarship opportunities to help pay for their bachelor's degree. Unlike loans, scholarships do not require repayment, making them ideal forms of financial aid. In addition to the following scholarship opportunities, students should research opportunities based on factors like their school, state, and career plans.

Scholarships for Public Relations
Scholarship Amount Who Can Apply

Betsy Plank/PRSSA Scholarship

Up to $5,000 PRSSA members in their junior or senior year of a bachelor's program qualify for this award. The scholarship committee looks for academic achievement, leadership skills, practical experience, and a commitment to public relations. Applicants must provide a recommendation letter.

Axia Public Relations Scholarship

$2,000 This scholarship supports public relations students who demonstrate financial need. Applicants must be juniors or seniors with some public relations experience. The scholarship application requires a cover letter or intro video, a statement of financial need, and information on career goals.

PRSA Diversity Multicultural Scholarship

$1,500 This scholarship supports undergraduates with Black, Latino/a, Asian, Native American, Alaskan Native, or Pacific Islander ancestry. Applicants must be full-time undergraduates at an accredited institution and hold a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Online Bachelor's in Public Relations Programs 2022

#1

Florida International University

School Information
Location Miami, Florida
Admission Rate 58%
Graduation Rate 63%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Florida International University offers 250 programs in various fields and concentrations. Of the institution's 78 bachelor's programs, 36 are available online. The school’s online programs offer benefits such as asynchronous learning and affordability.

In addition to on-campus programs, the institution delivers online options such as the bachelor's in public relations, advertising, and applied communications. Learners complete online public relations coursework in a flexible learning environment. Programs use video lectures, assignments, and class discussions to educate graduate students. Learners studying online can also transfer credits or an associate degree to accelerate degree completion. An online format provides cost savings opportunities not available to enrollees studying on campus.

Florida International University Fast Facts:

Learners Receiving Financial Aid: 90%

Average Price After Aid: $9,888

Transfer Credits Toward Degree: No

Percent of Students Accepted: 58%

The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

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#2

University of Florida

School Information
Location Gainesville, Florida
Admission Rate 32%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

The University of Florida provides online options for undergraduate learners interested in pursuing degrees remotely. Students can also attend classes at the public institution's campus in Gainesville. The online bachelor's degree in public relations offers a flexible, convenient route to a college degree.

The public relations program takes place in a virtual classroom environment. Students enrolled in the online program view lectures and participate in discussions virtually. In addition to core coursework, degree-seekers in the public relations program complete advanced classes in field-related topics. Graduates of the online public relations bachelor's program can qualify for entry-level careers in the field.

Prospective applicants can contact an admissions advisor for exact application deadlines and requirements.

University of Florida Facts:

Total Bachelor's Programs: 21

Online Bachelor's Programs: 21

Percentage of Learners Awarded Aid: 90%

Percentage of Students Awarded Loans: 22%

Grants Transfer Credits: No

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#3

Point Park University

School Information
Location Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 73%
Graduation Rate 60%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 43% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Point Park University delivers undergraduate and graduate programs from its Pittsburgh campus. In addition to educating students in person, the private institution delivers 22 programs for online students. The school's bachelor's degree in public relations, advertising, and social media helps degree-seekers gain the knowledge and skills necessary for careers in public relations.

The online public relations program's flexible scheduling options can make it easier for busy enrollees to complete degree requirements. The institution delivers public relations program coursework in a virtual classroom environment, using the latest technology. The program's online format allows students to view lectures and participate in discussions virtually. Full-time undergraduate degree-seekers typically require four years to complete the 120-credit bachelor's program.

Degree-seekers with financial need can submit the FAFSA to apply for federal grants, loans, and work-study programs. Students can consult with financial aid counselors to explore funding options, such as scholarships and grants. According to the school, 100% of undergraduates fund their education through financial aid.

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#4

Montana State University Billings

School Information
Location Billings, Montana
Graduation Rate 24%
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 60% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Montana State University Billings delivers undergraduate and graduate programs in various fields. The public institution's academic offerings include 19 online programs. Online degree-seekers can enroll in the bachelor's in public relations program from the school.

The online public relations program's flexible scheduling options can make it easier for busy enrollees to complete degree requirements. Distance learners in the public relations program complete coursework in a virtual classroom environment, gaining experience with the latest technology. Online students can participate in online class discussions and attend virtual office hours. Degree-seekers enrolled full time typically need four years to graduate from the 120-credit bachelor's program.

Learners at the accredited institution can qualify for federal grants and loans. The school's financial aid counselors support online students as they search for funding options. According to the school, 91% of the student body receives financial aid to fund their undergraduate education.

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#5

Franklin University

School Information
Location Columbus, Ohio
Graduation Rate 28%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 80% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The top-ranked BS in public relations program at Franklin University provides an online path to a college degree. From its campus in Columbus, Ohio, the private institution enrolls undergraduates in on-campus and online programs. The flexible learning format makes it easier for students to balance school with work or other responsibilities.

The online bachelor's program uses a rigorous curriculum that emphasizes foundational and advanced public relations skills. Students work closely with faculty mentors and academic advisors to individualize their degree based on their interests and career goals. The school's online support services include tutoring, a writing center, financial aid counseling, and career advising.

Online students attending the accredited institution can use federal financial aid programs like the Pell Grant to pay for school. Undergraduates can also pursue scholarships, state grants, and student loans.

Franklin University at a Glance:

Total Bachelor's Programs: 44

Online Bachelor's Programs: 32

Number of Online Students: 4,809

Percent of Students who Earn a Bachelor's Degree: 28%

Applies Transfer Credits: No

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