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What Are the Different Types of Public Relations Degree Programs?

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  • Written By: Geri Terzo
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2016
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Individuals who are interested in entering the public relations (PR) industry can generally expect to be faced with several different options for education. There are public relations degree programs for undergraduate as well as graduate courses for a more advanced education. Students can select a very tailored study or accomplish a more general education in a field such as communications and then incorporate that foundation in the world of public relations.

Public relations degree programs can be found both at public and private colleges and universities. This department might be grouped under a broader education category, such as liberal arts, for instance, depending on the offerings of the school. There are some schools that offer a very specific public relations degree, which will offer a focused course of study that is designed to prepare individuals for the world of PR. Although the majority of the classes will be considered core and related to public relations, students should expect to also complete other requirements in order to earn a degree including some physical education and mathematical classes.

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Not every school offers niche public relations degree programs; in some cases, students may have to opt for a more general education that is loosely associated with the field. For instance, it is not unusual for a university to group PR under a broader umbrella division, such as journalism or communications. While not specific public relations degree programs, this type of a foundation will similarly prepare students for the PR industry. Additionally, given that most public relations professionals often work with journalists and also the public as well as investors, completing a degree in communications or journalism is likely to help prepare aspiring professionals for the industry.

Prior to selecting public relations degree programs, individuals may need to determine the type of PR they intend to practice. The way that colleges and universities prepare students to perform PR for television or radio broadcast, for instance, is likely to differ in comparison with a program for public relations for online media and print publications. It may also be possible to pursue public relations degree programs that are more comprehensive and prepare students to liaise with multiple types of media outlets.

For those people interested in taking a leadership role in PR, perhaps as a chief communications officer or press secretary, it may be useful to select public relations degree programs at the graduate level. An undergraduate program must be accomplished first, but once that certification is earned students can advance to secondary education. Various public relations degree programs at the postgraduate level can be uncovered at journalism schools as well as colleges and universities with a solid communications offering.

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