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The 20 Best Online Schools for Bachelors in Public Relations and Communication

There is no doubt that the public relations career is growing. As the Bureau of Labor and Statistics stated, demand for Public Relations specialists is projected to rise by 11% over the next ten years. PR specialists can expect a median annual wage of $62,810, while PR managers are at $118,430.

public relations and communication

But how does one become a Public Relations/Communications specialist? Typically, a bachelor’s degree in public relations or communications is preferred by most employers. Through these programs, students are encouraged to create a portfolio ready for future employers to see.

Positive publicity is essential in every organization. Keeping or improving an organization’s public image is done through public relations or communication strategy. Public relations specialists or representatives are tasked to maintain the image or brand of a company in a particular way. There are two types of public relations— Traditional and Digital Public Relations.

Traditional PR makes use of conventional mass media such as newspapers, magazines, television, and radio, while digital PR involves digital and social media, which may include content creators, bloggers, and corporate videos all established for the audience online. Whichever PR is used, this job either makes or breaks an organization.

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In this modern age, colleges and universities give you the freedom to choose between taking programs either on-campus or online. Online degrees have become so popular because of the convenience and flexibility the students experience. The online college advantage saves you more time and money, gives you more choice for courses, and lets you learn in your environment.

In this article, you will see a list of some of the best Public Relations and Communications programs in the nation. PR programs offer electives or concentrations that let students modify their coursework according to their goals, which is a plus an online degree.

An interesting read: Best Business Majors for the Future

Other similar programs: Best Online Schools for Master’s in Communication

An undergraduate in Public Relations and Communications equips you with the skills to thrive in what the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says is “a competitive job market for entry-level applicants.” The right education and experiential learning all contribute to the enhancement of PR and Communications job candidates’ competence.

Through their Public Relations and Communications undergraduate degree programs, students will undergo challenging projects and real-world scenarios that help them work in teams and as leaders in the industry. Upon graduation, they receive impressive degrees and a lifelong connection to educational institutions that are perpetually assistive in job acquisition and as a reference.

If you’re interested in a job that hones and challenges your communication and PR skills on a day-to-day basis, a Bachelor’s in Public Relations and Communications is your stepladder!  However, if you are unable to commit to on-campus class attendance, choose from a wide variety of online programs!

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Our research team at Bachelor-Degree-Management.net rounded up the 20 Best Online Schools for Public Relations & Communications Degree Programs that give students outstanding opportunities to advance their knowledge, sharpen skills, and increase networking connections. The following academic features, which point to high academic standards, were considered in compiling this list:

  • Often awarded as a Bachelor of Communication degree with a concentration in Public Relations,
  • Offered in a 100% Online Distance Learning format; especially efficient for working adults busy with other life commitments,
  • Hones verbal and written communication skills needed in the field of Public Relations,
  • Prepares students for careers in Marketing, Television or Radio, Advertising, Journalism, Politics, Social Media, and of course Public Relations, among many other lucrative opportunities in the corporate, private or governmental sectors; proven to be a very versatile and popular degree option,
  • Instructs on the proper ways to effectively communicate with the public, one-on-one with clients, with fellow co-workers, in addition to sharpening interpersonal skills,
  • Promotes teamwork and collaborations with others, creativity and imagination, media communication laws and ethics,
  • Offers Financial Aid options, easy-to-use Learning Management Systems, 24/7 access to Student Help Centers, ease of Credit Transfers, provides Networking Opportunities,
  • Instructed by exceptional Faculty who are experts in the field of Public Relations and Communications, using state-of-the-art and the most innovative technology used today in the field.
  • Meets proper Accreditation requirements.

For more information on our ranking process, please visit our Methodology page.

Best Online Schools for Bachelors in PR Communication - fact

20 BEST ONLINE SCHOOLS FOR BACHELORS IN PUBLIC RELATIONS AND COMMUNICATION

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UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

Online BS in Public Relations

Program Standouts:

public relations and communication

University of Florida’s distance education is provided through UF Online, where you can find a growing list of degree selections. One of them is the Public Relations program. It requires 124 credit hours to finish with coursework that focuses on professional writing, consumer and audience analytics, public relations research, campaigns, and strategy. The optimum balance between principles and practice in the curriculum contributes to the program being considered among the best in the country. 

Graduates are qualified for entry-level positions with their above-par multimedia communication skills, adeptness in social psychology and economics that affect public relations, and their teaching skills in research, analysis and production. Their ability to engage the general public as well as their peers, clients and supervisors in a meaningful manner also contributes to their success on the job. 

Also, UF’s College of Journalism and Communications takes pride in supporting students who have joined and won the Public Relations Student Society of America’s (PRSSA) Bateman Case Study Competition. The competition lets students showcase their public relations campaigns. UF has had more victories in this competition than any other university in the US. Besides giving quality education, UF offers one of the affordable online bachelor’s programs in the nation.

UF accepts freshman students into the program alongside lower-division and upper-division students. The number of transferable credits determines the students’ classification. Students who already have an associate or a bachelor’s degree are also welcome.  

Campus Location: Gainesville, Florida

Accreditation:

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

1866 Southern Ln, Decatur, GA 30033

Phone: (404) 679-4500 extension 4504

Fax: (404) 679-4558

www.sacscoc.org

Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC)

201 Bishop Hall, P.O. Box 1848

University, MS 38677-1848

+1-662-915-5550

pthomps1@olemiss.edu

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Professional Writing in the Discipline
  • Consumer and Audience Analytics
  • Public Relations Research
  • Sight, Sound, and Motion

Acceptance Rate: 31%

Retention Rate: 97%

Graduation Rate: 88%

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA’S ONLINE PUBLIC RELATIONS PROGRAM

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UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS

Online BA in Public Relations

Program Standouts:

public relations and communication

Another major research institution on our list is the University of Memphis (U of M). Its academic options extend to distance learning through UofM Global, where students can access programs entirely online. The Public Relations bachelor’s program is endorsed with a Certification in Education for Public Relations by the Public Relations Society of America.

Online Public Relations students have to complete 120 credits to graduate. Its curriculum provides comprehensive instruction in writing and creating promotional materials, crisis management, and media strategies. Students also learn to build and maintain goodwill through community events, philanthropic activities and other targeted projects.   

Internship opportunities with organizations like St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, FedEx, Archer Malmo, inferno, and Obsidian PR are given to PR students. These are excellent opportunities not just for hands-on experiences but also for networking, a must when finding your dream job in public relations. They may also participate in a strategic communication firm called Public Relations Student Society of America or Meeman 901 Strategies to build networks with public relations professionals.

Online students learn under the guidance of faculty members who also conduct the on-campus classes for the program. Even their diplomas are the same as their on-campus counterparts’ diplomas, meaning employers will not cast a doubt about your quality education at UofM. The university is known for its academic rigor so a UofM degree is well-recognized by employers, too. 

Campus Location: Memphis, Tennessee

Accreditation:

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

1866 Southern Ln, Decatur, GA 30033

Phone: (404) 679-4500 extension 4504

Fax: (404) 679-4558

www.sacscoc.org

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Survey Media
  • Public Relations Writing
  • Public Relations Campaign
  • Advertising/ Sales Promotion

Acceptance Rate: 85%

Retention Rate: 76%

Graduation Rate: 43%

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS’ ONLINE PUBLIC RELATIONS PROGRAM

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SOUTHERN NEW HAMPSHIRE UNIVERSITY

Online BA in Communication with a concentration in Public Relations

Program Standouts:

public relations and communication

Southern New Hampshire is home to more than 100,000 students. Its online learning platform is continually expanding to cater to every student. Those who are looking for online public relations degrees may enroll for an Online Communications major. 

The program prepares students in designing and developing professional public relations strategies by focusing on written, oral, and visual communications to various audiences. Students also learn transferable skills that can be applied in every organization in and out of the public relations industry! At the heart of their education is the ability to promote the unique mission, public image and message of their future organizations and/or clients.   

Graduates are qualified for entry-level jobs, too, with many choosing to become self-employed public relations practitioners after relevant work experiences. SNHU’s emphasis on ethics is considered the foundation upon which its graduates build their practice as responsible communicators, too. 

The program offers significant electives and concentrations such as Business Communication, New Media, Professional Writing, and Public Relations. Students must complete 120 credits to graduate. Coursework includes 12 total credits for the concentration and 33 credits for free electives.

SNHU has a rolling admissions policy, meaning its admission decisions are made throughout its six undergraduate terms. Each term lasts for eight weeks so students can earn the degree at a faster time. 

Test scores aren’t required and SNHU retrieves applicants’ official transcripts for free. SNHU provides students with a cloud-based environment, too, and allows students to earn up to 12 math credits via its Pathways to Math Success assessment. 

Campus Location: Manchester, New Hampshire

Accreditation:

New England Commission of Higher Education

3 Burlington Woods Drive, Suite 100

Burlington, MA 01803-4514

https://www.neche.org/, 781-425-7785

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Electronic Public Relations
  • Writing for Public Relations
  • Public Relations Campaign Writing Seminar
  • Global Communication

Acceptance Rate: 94%

Retention Rate: 86%

Graduation Rate: 40%

LEARN MORE ABOUT SOUTHERN NEW HAMPSHIRE UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE PUBLIC RELATIONS AND COMMUNICATIONS PROGRAM

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BELLEVUE UNIVERSITY

Online BA in Communication Studies

Program Standouts:

public relations and communication

Bellevue University grants a 100% online program in Communication Studies for students seeking a degree that prepares them for careers in building corporate or organizational relationships with the public. The program teaches students not only necessary communication skills but also critical communication skills and reasoning abilities needed in solving problems in this digital age. Available emphasis areas are Mass Media and Organizational and Strategic Communication.

Students develop their professional abilities in presenting public relations materials, customizing messages for both traditional and digital media, and applying the principles of inclusion and diversity in their work. By their graduation, their communication skills are finely-tuned to the specific demands of audiences. 

The curriculum includes a 9-credit Kirkpatrick Signature Series with required courses such as American Vision and Values, Tradition and Change, and Freedom and Responsibility. Online students experience small classes with only less than 24 students and get technical support that is available 24/7. Students earn the BA in Communications studies degree after completing 127 credits.

Bellevue allows transfer of credits from college-level credits earned from prior education as well as from military and work experiences. Students with a relevant associate degree will spend only two years earning the bachelor’s degree – their earned credits can be applied to it.

Campus Location: Bellevue, Nebraska

Accreditation:

Higher Learning Commission

230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500

Chicago, Illinois 60604-1413

1.800.621.7440; 1.312.263.0456;

FAX: 1.312.263.7462

Email: info@hlcommission.org

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Oral Communications Skills
  • Communication in the Digital Age
  • Writing Media

Acceptance Rate: 100% (Open Admission Policy)

Retention Rate: 77%

Graduation Rate: 64%

LEARN MORE ABOUT BELLEVUE UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE COMMUNICATION STUDIES PROGRAM

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POINT PARK UNIVERSITY

Online BA in Public Relations and Advertising

Program Standouts:

public relations and communication

Point Park University has made a more innovative and convenient way for degree-seeking students. Its online degree in Public Relations and Advertising provides a curriculum created by industry experts for busy professionals or adults returning to college. The program lets students complete a capstone project where they work with an agency to help them acquire the necessary skills employers are looking for today. Students gain creativity in strategic planning, and teamwork needed to stay ahead in the industry.

Transfer students can take advantage of the university’s Prior Learning Assessment and Advanced Standing/Experiential Learning Credit where students can earn valid credits from their experiential learning. Credits earned from CLEP, DSST Exams, AP credit and UEXCEL exams are considered under the program. Students receive the degree for a total of 122 credits.

Point Park takes pride in its faculty members whose years of work experience in public relations enable them to share valuable insights with students. Since students learn not just the principles and practices of public relations but also of advertising, they already have a definite advantage over their peers. 

Campus Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Accreditation:

Middle States Commission on Higher Education

3624 Market St., 2nd Floor West,

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania., 19104,

267-284-5000

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Media Planning and Buying
  • Branding and Corporate Identity
  • Survey of Mass Communication
  • Media Ethics and Responsibilities

Acceptance Rate: 70%

Retention Rate: 76%

Graduation Rate: 54%

LEARN MORE ABOUT POINT PARK UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE PUBLIC RELATIONS PROGRAM.

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NATIONAL UNIVERSITY

Online BA in Integrated Marketing Communications

Program Standouts:

public relations and communication

National University takes public relations in an online platform through its Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communications program. The program uses an interdisciplinary approach where a business degree is combined with advanced communication skills. This leads students to learn methods in developing effective marketing programs, sales promotion, and public relations.

This undergraduate degree plan consists of 180 quarter units of general education, prerequisites, and specific degree courses. Online classes run in four-week sessions, and courses are interactive with tools tailored to your learning style.

Students are expected to develop a strategic communication program, and multi-platform, multi-public dissemination plans. These didactic requirements are designed to showcase their professional-level understanding of public relations, sales promotions and direct marketing. Their effective use of integrated marketing fundamentals and the latest in communication technologies also highlight their readiness for the real-world challenges of the workplace. These are also intended to measure the students’ ability to deliver measurable and meaningful results in public relations and communications. 

NU has a rolling admissions policy, too, meaning students can enroll year-round. Classes start on a monthly basis, too, but these are fast-paced courses that require students to keep up. Assignments, learning materials and course-related activities are done through NU’s dedicated online platform. 

With NU being a Yellow Ribbon school, active-duty service members and their dependents are eligible for discounts. Scholarships and other forms of financial aid are also offered.

Campus Location: La Jolla, California

Accreditation:

WASC Senior College and University Commission

985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100

Alameda, CA 94501

Phone: 510-748-9001

Fax: 510-748-9797

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Communication Strategies
  • Interactive & Mobile Campaigns
  • Integrated Marketing Comm.

Acceptance Rate: 89%

Retention Rate: 46%

Graduation Rate: 12%

LEARN MORE ABOUT NATIONAL UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE INTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS PROGRAM

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UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND UNIVERSITY COLLEGE

Online BA in Communication Studies

Program Standouts:

public relations and communication

University of Maryland University College offers maximum flexibility through the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC). UMGC was initially founded to serve working adults and service members who want to earn a degree. One of its online programs is the Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies. The program is perfect for students who wish to pursue a career in mass media, new media, journalism, public relations, business, or online communication.

Students will need to devise a comprehensive public relations plan for diverse audiences and write speech and news articles for conceptual organizations. The 120-credit program consists of 41 credits of general education, 33 credits of primary, and 46 credits of elective courses. Students with prior college credits, AP credits and other acceptable credits may be granted up to 90 transfer credits, which will not only result in significant tuition reductions but also cut the time-to-completion. 

Online students are provided with no-cost digital textbooks, which they can access anywhere at their own convenient time. Through a combination of textbook-based learning and hands-on experiences. students apply their analytical skills in the interpretation, application and delivery of information to specific audiences. Their communication skills underlie their professional ability to write diverse public relations materials, too, which are suitable for traditional and digital media. Their ability to work with team members while also maintaining their individuality can be credited to the university’s ethos and membership in the Communication Student Association.

Campus Location: Adelphi, Maryland

Accreditation:

Middle States Commission on Higher Education

3624 Market St., 2nd Floor West,

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania., 19104,

267-284-5000

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Foundations of Oral Communication
  • Public Relations Theory
  • Mass Communication and Media Studies
  • Writing for Managers

Acceptance Rate: 51%

Retention Rate: 95%

Graduation Rate: 25%

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND UNIVERSITY COLLEGE’S ONLINE COMMUNICATION STUDIES PROGRAM

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DREXEL UNIVERSITY

Online BS in Communication

Program Standouts:

public relations and communication

Drexel University Online gives exceptional online experiences through its multidisciplinary approach to applied education. Among its 150 online programs is the Bachelor of Science in Communication with concentration selections in Public Relations or General Communication. 

The concentration in Public Relations prepares students for careers in the traditional PR industry or digital PR positions like social media analyst. Students learn the fundamentals of creating, maintaining and changing the public brand of companies including their products and services. The coursework consists of campaign planning, public relations writing, and marketing management, and students are required to exercise their excellent communication skills in every course. 

The General Communication track has a more generalist approach where students learn message packaging for diverse audiences. The emphasis is on broad theoretical knowledge strengthened by practical experiences in real-world settings. 

Both programs are designed to empower students to become consummate professionals  in journalism, public relations, and technical communication. It is entirely online, and classes do not run in the traditional two-semester setting. Instead, students are given four 10-week quarters per year to finish more courses. Students at Drexel Online gain access to online events, libraries,  and get firsthand experience with their Online Test Drives.

Students can transfer up to 90 semester credits or 135 quarter credits in Drexel’s system from regionally accredited universities. But only courses with at least a “C” grade will be considered for transfer.  Official transcripts and a personal essay are must-have application requirements.

Campus Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Accreditation:

Middle States Commission on Higher Education

3624 Market St., 2nd Floor West,

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania., 19104,

267-284-5000

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Human Communication
  • Techniques of Speaking
  • Public Relations Strategies and Tactics
  • Electronic Publishing

Acceptance Rate: 77%

Retention Rate: 89%

Graduation Rate: 71%

LEARN MORE ABOUT DREXEL UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE COMMUNICATION PROGRAM

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PENN STATE – WORLD CAMPUS

Online BA in Strategic Communications

Program Standouts:

public relations and communication

Penn State World Campus engages Public Relations through an interdisciplinary approach in its online Strategic Communications program. Students can expect a blend of managing advertising, public relations, and marketing in this fully online program. 

It requires 120 credit hours of courses that provide training for skills in complex problem solving, culture and social awareness, critical thinking, and evaluation methods. Students must complete the 3-credit Strategic Communication course aside from the 45-credit general education and 24-credit major courses. Courses at Penn State World Campus are asynchronous, and its students rely on Canvas Email, Groups, and Discussion Forums for interaction with faculty and peers.

One emphasis in the curriculum is the social media strategies where students create collaborative content and apply the best practices in the current and future use of social media. At the heart of the program is the students’ ability to create and deliver targeted content with a relevant and relatable message. Students then draw from several disciplines, from psychology and law to research and statistics, to build their exceptional communication skills. The ability to write and speak well is a given for applicants but these skills are developed further in the program. 

Both freshman students and working professionals who want to complete their degree are welcome to apply. Applications must include official transcripts, non-refundable application fee and complete application form.

Campus Location: University Park, Pennsylvania

Accreditation:

Middle States Commission on Higher Education

3624 Market St., 2nd Floor West,

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania., 19104,

267-284-5000

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Basic News Writing Skills
  • Strategic Communications Law
  • Social Media Strategies

Acceptance Rate: 54%

Retention Rate: 62%

Graduation Rate: 71%

LEARN MORE ABOUT PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY WORLD CAMPUS’ ONLINE STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS PROGRAM

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CALIFORNIA BAPTIST UNIVERSITY

Online BA in Communication

Program Standouts:

public relations and communication

California Baptist University is one of the excellent private Christian colleges in Southern California. Its online division offers a program in Communication that helps in the professional and spiritual transformation of its students. The online program prepares students for career opportunities like social media director, public relations specialist, event planning, and more. The curriculum covers the historical, cultural, social, global, and political aspects of communication.

Communication students need to complete six units worth of courses in Overview of the Bible and Foundations of Christian Thought, in addition to the 48 core courses and general education requirements. 

Online students get support through One-Stop Student Service Advisors in building their academic careers. These advisors provide assistance from admission to graduation, too, in areas like enrollment, registration and financial aid. 

For degree completers, or students with an associate degree, the bachelor’s degree can be earned in about 16 months. Transferred credits cut the time in half with the average time-to-completion being four years with full-time enrolment. 

Regardless of entry. graduates are well-equipped for the challenges of public relations, thanks to their ingrained values of ethics, integrity and collegiality. Their skill sets include the ability to analyze, explain and evaluate the theories, contexts and traditions underlying public relations; create and implement mass communication programs; and apply their abilities from a Christian worldview.

Campus Location: Riverside, California

Accreditation

WASC Senior College and University Commission

985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100

Alameda, CA 94501

Phone: 510-748-9001

Fax: 510-748-9797

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Public Relations Campaigns and Research
  • Legal, Ethical and Social Foundations of Communication and Public Relation

Acceptance Rate: 80%

Retention Rate: 76%

Graduation Rate: 57%

LEARN MORE ABOUT CALIFORNIA BAPTIST UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE COMMUNICATION STUDIES PROGRAM

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COLORADO CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY

Online BA in Communication Studies

Program Standouts:

public relations and communication

Colorado Christian University delivers its online undergraduate Communication Studies through its CCU Online division. CCU Online lets students work with their courses at their own pace with classes that start every 5 to 7 weeks. Note that weekly assignments may be completed at your own pace but must be submitted on or before the deadline. 

The 120 credit program ensures students are provided with an excellent learning experience in relevant topics such as cross-cultural communication, persuasive communication, and communication law. Additionally, students explore the role of the development of technology in communication. CCU incorporates a Christian worldview and ethical considerations throughout the Communication Studies curriculum. 

Students must complete the 36 credits of major core subjects at CCU but are allowed to transfer credits. CCU offers college credits for prior college, military, technical college, and experiential learning with a maximum of 90 credit hours.

CCU designed the program specifically for adult learners and working professionals who want to earn a bachelor’s degree while balancing their work and life responsibilities. Many students already have an associate degree and, thus, earn the degree in half the time. All students, nonetheless, have easy access to their professors for academic advising and mentoring, if necessary. The small class sizes not only encourage close relationships but also enable individualized learning opportunities. 

Applicants must submit a state-issued ID and proof of high school completion along with a completed online application form.

Campus Location: Lakewood, Colorado

Accreditation:

Higher Learning Commission

230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500

Chicago, Illinois 60604-1413

1.800.621.7440; 1.312.263.0456;

FAX: 1.312.263.7462

Email: info@hlcommission.org

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Interactive Communication
  • Small-Group Communication
  • Professional Public Speaking

Acceptance Rate: 63%

Retention Rate: 83%

Graduation Rate: 34%

LEARN MORE ABOUT COLORADO CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE COMMUNICATION STUDIES PROGRAM

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ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY

Online BS in Communication

Program Standouts:

public relations and communication

As one of the most prestigious universities in the country, Arizona State University is committed to giving experiential opportunities to non-traditional students. ASU Online custom designs courses for more than 200 programs, including the Communication major. BS Communication students learn excellent knowledge in communication theory and gain practical skills through workplace teams and community, civic, and cultural groups.

Besides the 4-year plan, students can opt for the accelerated track, which can be accomplished in as little as 2.5 years. The program consists of 40 classes with each class lasting for 7.5 weeks, a fairly fast pace that encourages students to adopt effective management skills. Students must earn 120 credits (inclusive of transferred credits) to earn the degree. 

Throughout their ASU online education, students must develop their written and oral communication skills in crafting clear and compelling materials. Critical thinking, problem solving and strategic thinking skills are vital in thriving in ASU’s competitive program, too. But these technical skills are of little value without leadership skills and a strong work ethic, both of which are also emphasized in the program. 

ASU makes it easier for applicants who initially didn’t meet the admission requirements through its Earned Admission program. Applicants must have a 2.75 GPA, minimum, in their online courses at ASU to be considered for the program.

Campus Location: Tempe, Arizona

Accreditation:

Higher Learning Commission

230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500

Chicago, Illinois 60604-1413

1.800.621.7440; 1.312.263.0456;

FAX: 1.312.263.7462

Email: info@hlcommission.org 

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Introduction to Communication Inquiry
  • Gender and Communication
  • Quantitative Research Methods in Communication

Acceptance Rate: 88%

Retention Rate: 86%

Graduation Rate: 56%

LEARN MORE ABOUT ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE COMMUNICATION PROGRAM

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UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA

Online BA in Communication

Program Standouts:

public relations and communication

Future public relations specialists who want to enroll at the University of North Dakota can start their academic careers through UND’s bachelor’s program in Communication. The Communication degree plan offers various concentrations like Strategic Communication, Public Relations, Digital Journalism, Advertising, Social Media Strategy, and Digital Analytics.

The fully online degree lets students complete up to 125 credit hours that include electives and essential studies. UND’s Communication program has seasoned faculty consisting of award-winning teachers, instructors who have published in premier journals and books, and gained positions in the state and national communication associations. Internships at news agencies, broadcast companies, and advertising firms help build professional experience for students.

The typical time-to-completion is four years but students can accelerate their studies through transferred credits. Minimum 2.2 GPA on all Communications courses must also be achieved for graduation. Students use the Degree Map software in mapping out their program of study and staying on track toward graduation. 

Online students aren’t required to make on-campus visits but are encouraged to enjoy the facilities including the DigiComm Laboratory where digital tools like a podcasting studio are available. Communication with professors and peers is possible through UND’s digital tools. 

The program also offers the versatility of self-paced courses at the student’s discretion. Students can enroll at any time, pick up where they left off, and complete their online courses at their convenience.

Campus Location: Grand Forks, North Dakota

Accreditation:

Higher Learning Commission

230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500

Chicago, Illinois 60604-1413

1.800.621.7440; 1.312.263.0456;

FAX: 1.312.263.7462

Email: info@hlcommission.org

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Writing for New and Traditional Media
  • Fundamentals of Public Speaking
  • Composition II: Writing for Public Audiences

Acceptance Rate: 87%

Retention Rate: 80%

Graduation Rate: 3%

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA’S ONLINE COMMUNICATION PROGRAM

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UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE

Online BS/BA in Communication

Program Standouts:

public relations and communication

Led by a faculty that hold advanced degrees in the field, the University of Louisville’s online communication program is available as an arts or science degree. On one hand, students who want to gain a broad knowledge in the ways we communicate with each other and prefer a liberal arts-centric education take the Bachelor of Arts path. The curriculum consists of 18 credit hours of core courses and 18 hours of communication electives, among others. Students have more flexibility in customizing their program of study according to their personal interests due to the liberal arts focus. 

On the other hand, the Bachelor of Science degree focuses more on applied communication in areas such as copywriting, news writing, debate, and more. The curriculum has a more defined direction with 27 credit hours of core coursework and 21 credit hours of communication electives. Students are more prepared for specialist roles in public relations due to their more hands-on experiences in writing as part of didactic coursework and their internship experiences. 

UofL online learning features courses that aim to help strengthen students’ critical, analytical, and interpretation skills. Both B.A. and B.S are completed after 121 credit hours. Transfer students can finish the bachelor’s program in 2 years. The program is 100% online, and program advisors are available 24/7 to assist its online students.

Campus Location: Louisville, Kentucky

Accreditation:

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

1866 Southern Ln, Decatur, GA 30033

Phone: (404) 679-4500 extension 4504

Fax: (404) 679-4558

www.sacscoc.org

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Advanced Speech Communication
  • Argument in Everyday Life
  • Introduction to Mass Communication

Acceptance Rate: 65%

Retention Rate: 80%

Graduation Rate: 53%

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE’S ONLINE COMMUNICATION PROGRAM

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MISSISSIPPI COLLEGE

Online BA/BS in Communication

Program Standouts:

public relations and communication

The state’s largest private university offers more than 80 degree programs, including the online bachelor’s degree in Communication. Students can choose between taking the arts or the science degree path with concentrations such as Interpersonal & Public Communication, Journalism, Mass Media, Political Communication, Public Relations, Sports Media, and a minor in Theater.

Bachelor of Arts degree students need to finish additional courses in Modern Languages worth 6-12 hours. The program’s curriculum is designed to teach students skills in marketing and corporate advocacy. It also combines media and content to serve specific audiences.  The Public Relations concentration requires 130 semester hours for both B.A. and B.S. degrees.

Regardless of the degree path chosen, students must complete the requirements for foundational courses in mass media, public speaking, journalism, communication research and law, and public relations. These courses are intended to establish the foundation for advanced courses and hands-on training in the studio and in internships. 

Students use the university’s studio facilities in the production of professional-level informational and entertainment materials. The latest software includes the Adobe Creative Cloud suite like InDesign and Premiere Pro, which are embedded in Apple computers. 

Every Communication student is encouraged to participate in a wide range of co-curricular activities, too. Producing shows for MCTV, the campus news program, and MC Choctaws broadcasts, reporting for The Collegian, the campus newspaper, and being a member of the Aven Little Theater are a few examples.

Campus Location: Clinton, Mississippi

Accreditation:

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

1866 Southern Ln, Decatur, GA 30033

Phone: (404) 679-4500 extension 4504

Fax: (404) 679-4558

www.sacscoc.org

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Fundamentals of Digital Communication
  • Multimedia Journalism
  • Practices in Public Relations
  • Television Workshop I

Acceptance Rate: 29%

Retention Rate: 76%

Graduation Rate: 59%

LEARN MORE ABOUT MISSISSIPPI COLLEGE’S ONLINE COMMUNICATION PROGRAM

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OLD DOMINION UNIVERSITY

Online BS in Communication

Program Standouts:

Old Dominion University offers a comprehensive online program in Communication with five concentrations to choose from, namely Intercultural/International Communication, Media Studies, Public Relations, Advocacy, Persuasion, Communication Foundations, and Professional Communication. The program ensures that students acquire the strong verbal and writing skills necessary to succeed in their careers.

This is a 120-credit program with students required to complete 24 credits of foundational and applied theory courses in the Public Relations concentration. The program is available as a full program where freshman students earn all 120 credits at ODU and as a degree completion program for students with prior college credits. In case of the latter, students must complete a minimum of 30 credits from ODU to earn the bachelor’s degree. 

ODU Online features small-size classes and expert advising from start to finish. Students have easy access to the online course materials, anytime and anywhere with Internet access. Delivery formats and times vary with some classes conducted via live, synchronous and regular times while others are on asynchronous mode. Assignments and exams usually have scheduled deadlines and times, and all courses are in accordance with ODU’s academic calendar. Web conferencing, emails and phone conversations are the modes of communication between professors and students.

Campus Location: Norfolk, Virginia

Accreditation:

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

1866 Southern Ln, Decatur, GA 30033

Phone: (404) 679-4500 extension 4504

Fax: (404) 679-4558

www.sacscoc.org

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Understanding Media
  • Introduction to Human Communication
  • Communication Research Methods

Acceptance Rate: 95%

Retention Rate: 79%

Graduation Rate: 54%

LEARN MORE ABOUT OLD DOMINION UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE COMMUNICATIONS PROGRAM

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UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA

Online BS in Communication

Program Standouts:

The University of Minnesota offers distance learners a bachelor’s degree program in Communication with three concentrations: Communication Studies, Organization Communication/Public Relations, and Writing. The curriculum for public relations concentration is well-suited for students who aim for developing skills in conflict management, audience analysis, group and team dynamics, leadership, strategic design, implementation, message evaluation, and research.

Students also create their portfolios that can be used in their professional career, and their works are considered professional-level, too, due to the emphasis on excellence. Landing the best entry-level jobs is then possible with the combination of excellent education and portfolios to show for it! 

Emphasis core courses within this concentration helps prepare students in identifying the communication needs of businesses and industries. A total of 120 credits is required for graduation.  Distance learners at UMC use Moodle online learning platform for asynchronous online classes that run in a 15-week semester format.

Campus Location: Crookston, Minnesota

Accreditation:

Higher Learning Commission

230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500

Chicago, Illinois 60604-1413

1.800.621.7440; 1.312.263.0456;

FAX: 1.312.263.7462

Email: info@hlcommission.org 

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Understanding Media
  • Introduction to Human Communication
  • Communication Research Methods

Acceptance Rate: 70%

Retention Rate: 93%

Graduation Rate: 80%

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA’S ONLINE COMMUNICATION PROGRAM

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REGENT UNIVERSITY

Online BA in Communication Studies – Advertising – Public Relations

Program Standouts:

public relations and communication

Regent University places value on building a strong foundation and passion, helping students prepare for a thriving career in this highly-competitive industry. This is done through its bachelor’s program in Communication Studies- Advertising-Public Relations which is delivered entirely online. The program allows students to gain experience to become effective communicators for organizations.

Its curriculum emphasizes communication theory and practice in marketing communication campaigns, media choice, and analysis. The school blends Christian principles in its core courses essential in building a strong foundation. The full program requires 120 credit hours to finish.

Graduates are proficient at the development and delivery of effective marketing communications campaigns, public relations materials, and brand development programs. Career opportunities include public relations specialists, media relations specialists, and marketing coordinators. 

Campus Location: Virginia Beach, Virginia

Accreditation:

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

1866 Southern Ln, Decatur, GA 30033

Phone: (404) 679-4500 extension 4504

Fax: (404) 679-4558

www.sacscoc.org

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Production News, Information, Entertainment
  • Narrative Concept and Development
  • Foundations of Communication

Acceptance Rate: 50%

Retention Rate: 76%

Graduation Rate: 59%

LEARN MORE ABOUT REGENT UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE COMMUNICATION STUDIES PROGRAM

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FRANKLIN UNIVERSITY

Online BS in Public Relations

Program Standouts:

FRANKLIN UNIVERSITY

Franklin University’s online program in Public Relations teaches the student to take advantage of both traditional and new media to build media and corporate relationships. The completely online program offers a unique insight and real-world experience for its online learners. It drives students to master elements in public relations like writing, verbal, and social communication.

Graduates of the program are expected to have gained appropriate communication skills suitable within a societal, cultural, and environmental context. The courses are classified into six-week and 12-week courses. 

Students must complete 124 credit hours to earn the degree, but can transfer up to 76% or 94 credit hours into the program. College-level credits from AP and associate degrees are among the accepted credits or transfer. 

The curriculum consists of coursework in general education, business and professional core, and major area and electives. Students must achieve at least 2.0 cumulative GPA and meet the residency requirement, if applicable, to earn the degree. The residency requirement is met with a minimum of 30 credit hours completed at Franklin. 

Campus Location: Columbus, Ohio

Accreditation:

Higher Learning Commission

230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500

Chicago, Illinois 60604-1413

1.800.621.7440; 1.312.263.0456;

FAX: 1.312.263.7462

Email: info@hlcommission.org

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Business & Professional Writing
  • Media & Crisis Communication
  • Customer Relationship Management

Acceptance Rate: 100% (Open Admission Policy)

Retention Rate: 29%

Graduation Rate: 34%

LEARN MORE ABOUT FRANKLIN UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE PUBLIC RELATIONS PROGRAM.

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NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY

Online BS in Communication Studies

Program Standouts:

public relations and communication

Students enrolled in Northern Arizona University’s online communication studies build healthy critical thinking and research skills for careers in public relations, community education, advocacy leadership, technical communication, human resources, and more. Its curriculum involves the examination and inclusion of theory, research, critical thinking, ethics, and communication skills.

The program helps shape students’ future in communication by teaching it in various contexts such as relational, cultural, professional, and public. By assisting them in employing principles and perspectives, students are prepared in diverse professions. Students need to complete 120 credit units to earn the degree.

Online students enjoy the best possible student support services designed for their academic and career success. These services include full library access, 24/7 tech support, and guidance from advisors and professors as well as online tutoring. Online students are also eligible for financial aid. 

Campus Location: Flagstaff, Arizona

Accreditation:

Higher Learning Commission

230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500

Chicago, Illinois 60604-1413

1.800.621.7440; 1.312.263.0456;

FAX: 1.312.263.7462

Email: info@hlcommission.org

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Methods of Interviewing
  • Research in Communication Studies
  • Introduction to Public Relations

Acceptance Rate: 82%

Retention Rate: 76%

Graduation Rate: 55%

LEARN MORE ABOUT NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE COMMUNICATION STUDIES PROGRAM.


Should I enroll in a Bachelor’s in Public Relations and Communications online program?

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Considering the flexibility and convenience that distance learning brings, it makes sense to obtain your undergraduate degree in PR and Communications online. In fact, an increasing number of adult learners and employees who wish to obtain the degree for their academic and career goals successfully do so by completing the rigorous coursework and degree requirements.

Online programs in Bachelor’s in Public Relations and Communications contain the essential components for the completion of your courses. While classes may be held 100% online or in a hybrid format, you will enjoy relatively flexible virtual class schedules and ease of access to class discussions and lecture notes. While the program is mostly online, it may require you to complete internships in certain locations.

What career options do Online Bachelor’s in Public Relations & Communications degree holders have?

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Upon graduation, Public Relations & Communications professionals have numerous options, considering the need of practically every business and organization for communications and PR services. Work environments include government agencies, not-for-profits such as charities, and for-profit private organizations. PR and Communication professionals typically work in the Marketing or Advertising departments.

In general, a PR specialist’s work and responsibilities include research, publicity strategies and campaigns, media communications, brand management, product launches, event planning, surveys, and crisis intervention. Given the right experience and higher education, PR specialists may decide to run their own PR agency business and cater to the PR needs of their clients.

What do online Bachelor’s in Public Relations and Communications students study?

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Online Public Relations and Communications majors study the many theories, concepts, and strategies for the practice, as applicable in modern times. The core academic courses are designed to deliver to each student foundation knowledge of PR and Communications in the corporate setting. Advanced courses are to be completed as you progress academically and opt for post-graduate studies.

In particular, online Bachelor’s in Public Relations and Communications explores professional areas such as:

  • Education
  • Multimedia
  • E-commerce
  • Marketing and Non-profits
  • Consumer behavior
  • Communication Theory
  • Intercultural Communication
  • Marketing and Advertising
  • Business and Media Writing
  • Public Speaking
  • PR Research and Strategies
  • Crisis Management

What are the specific roles and responsibilities of public relations and communications professionals? 

At the heart of every public relations specialist’s job is the creation and perpetuation of a positive public image for their employer and/or clients. Their employers and/or clients can be groups, organizations and individuals whose public image can span the traditional and digital media. Their specific tasks on the job may vary based on their position in the corporate hierarchy, among other factors, but their general roles and responsibilities include: 

  • Discuss with their employers and/or clients their desired public image and reputation
  • Analyze the existing market conditions and trends in relation to the desired branding and determine the best possible actions 
  • Create a public relations campaign that will achieve the desired image as well as maintain it until changes are necessary 
  • Write public relations materials including press releases, brochures and other informational materials for dissemination to the targeted media companies, individuals and organizations 
  • Make appropriate responses to requests for information regarding the employers and/or clients from media, government agencies and other concerned entities 
  • Assist clients in effectively communication with third parties with interest in their public image and other concerns 
  • Draft messages and speeches, arrange interviews and prepare possible answers, and provide assistance to employers and/or clients in these matters 
  • Assist in gathering information about public opinion and evaluating the results
  • Collaborate with other professionals in the development and delivery of promotion and advertising programs, specifically in their effects on public relations campaigns 

Public relations specialists must work with diverse organizations and individuals in the performance of their work. Being subjected to criticism is par for the job, and it’s true even when you’re already the head of a team. The ability to grow from constructive criticism and roll with the punches is vital to your professional success. 

What are the best steps in starting your career as a public relations and communications professional? 

Every successful public relations and communications professional started at the bottom where learning the ropes is a must. But don’t wait for your graduation to start developing the vital soft skills that differentiate the best from the mediocre! Find a program where you have plenty of opportunities to develop these skills in the classroom and during internships. 

  • Public speaking skills are a no-brainer among public relations practitioners since you must deliver statements, answer questions and speak on behalf of your employer and/or clients. 
  • Writing skills should be above-par and it isn’t just about the grammar and spelling either – it’s also about the compelling message! 
  • Interpersonal skills including being friendly, approachable and open toward others since first impressions last – and you making a great first impression will reflect on your employer and/or clients
  • Organizational skills are a must, too, because you will be in charge of multiple campaigns and events. Your ability to organize your schedules, coordinate people and their tasks, and multitask will be put to the test. 
  • Problem-solving skills are equally important since you’re likely to encounter issues in the field and find solutions on the spot, not to mention handling sensitive concerns. 

While still in college, you must invest in your personal and professional growth, too. Not only will your co-curricular and extracurricular activities look good on your resume, these will also contribute to your skill sets. Join student-led organizations, become active in your community by putting your public relations skills to use, and be the best intern possible. Your professional network will be larger for it, too, meaning you’re more likely to find a great job after graduation. 

Seek a mentor who will provide insights and guidance into the public relations industry. While textbooks are great resources, there’s nothing like the voice of experience providing wise insights. Mentors can be college professors, supervisors and industry professionals. 

Be the kind of public relations practitioner that people gravitate to, and while it takes practice, it’s possible! Being curious about other people, maintaining an open mind, and creating trends are great ways to be relevant in your profession. 

Rowan Jones
Chief Editor