In an Internet-enabled world with 24/7 access to any and all kinds of information, brand scrutiny – whether from the news media or the general public – never stops. The master’s in public relations online degree at Southern New Hampshire University immerses you in the technology and tactics that show brands in their best light and keep them there.
Designed for both current public relations professionals and those hoping to break into the field, this career-focused concentration demonstrates best practices for building, managing and maintaining brand value through the use of public relations and external communications.
In the MA in Communication with a public relations concentration degree program, you'll learn how to use all of the media channels available to you to strategically manage the flow of information between brands and the public. Whether it’s through traditional media avenues or emerging media, classes such as Spread the Word: Social Media Practices and Crisis Communication in a 24/7 World will prepare you to handle any and all brand image challenges and threats.
As a private, nonprofit university, SNHU has one mission – to help you see yourself succeed. The benefits of earning your master's in communication online at SNHU include:
Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our five graduate terms. You can apply at any time and get a decision within days of submitting all required materials. To apply, simply contact an admission counselor, who can help you explore financial options. Your counselor can also walk you through the application process, which involves completing a graduate application ($40 fee) and providing undergraduate transcripts.
Candidates must also submit a personal statement. Students with an undergraduate GPA below 2.75 are eligible for provisional acceptance. Based on your educational background, some Master of Arts provisional students may be required to take SNHU 501 – Introduction to Graduate Studies – which will provide students with the scholarly tools to be successful in their Master of Arts program of study.
Current PR professionals and those seeking to enter this burgeoning field can advance their careers with the knowledge and skills gained from our master’s in public relations online. As new media have grown ever more pervasive, the demand for adept PR professionals has only increased. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 9 percent job growth in public relations through 2026.*
Our MA in Communication programs help students position themselves as leaders in the communication field. The public relations concentration consists of seven core courses, four specialized courses and a capstone course, in which you'll use what you've learned to strategize and execute a real-life public relations campaign.
Communication, Media, and Society serves as an introduction to key concepts and theories in the study of communication and media. In this course, students will examine the foundations of the discipline of communication focusing particularly on the ways in which media and technology have impacted the study of culture, relationships, and messages. The course will explore the impact of communication on various arenas, including families, relationships, culture and the changes in communication and media over time. Students will analyze their own skills, communication patterns, networks, and resources and articulate a plan for future studies and career plans in communication.
This course contends with the evolving concept of "knowledge production" in the new media environment. It focuses on strategies for independent online research, including processes for identifying, vetting, and citing appropriate sources of information, as well as best practices for writing in the online environment. Issues of copyright, plagiarism, and ethics related to the creation of online content will be evaluated. Finally, students will explore their role as producers of mediated communication, including primary authorship and the curating of content.
Legal issues related to communication and media in the U.S. are rapidly changing in an age where technology and the distribution of mediated messages are ubiquitous. Thus, this course contends with the major legal, ethical, and policy issues related to mass media communication particularly focusing on those issues that impact digital and public communication. Concepts related to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, libel, obscenity, censorship, right to privacy, intellectual property, and the governance of media and digital technology will be explored. Additionally, this course asks students to contend with many ethical issues and philosophies pertinent to media and communication in the interest of articulating a personal ethical framework as a graduate communication student and practitioner.
Interactive and social media have opened up myriad opportunities for individuals to create, manage, re-create, and even fabricate their identity online. This course contends with the idea of a virtual or "second" self and the ways in which one navigates identities in a highly networked environment. Students will explore the relationship between professional and personal identities, privacy and security in online environments, and the creation of personal brands in various media. Students will have the opportunity to explore and experiment with various types of social media tools to develop an effective and active online brand.
This course aims to prepare students for a variety of leadership roles in dynamic organizations and environments. Students will analyze key aspects of leadership, relationships, and organizations such as: organizational culture, conflict in interpersonal and organizational settings, organizational roles and socialization, power in personal and professional relationships, and group communication theories. Students will contend with these concepts from a personal standpoint by using examples from their own relationships and workplaces to apply best practices and improve their own communication and leadership skills. Additionally, this course takes a systems theory approach to organizations and teams, looking at the interrelationship of events, people, and ideas and the systemic impact of small and large changes.
Illustrations, photos, infographics, videos, animations, and dynamic interfaces often tell a consumer more about a brand or product than the product itself. It is increasingly important that media consumers and creators be fluent visual communicators. This course presents fundamentals of good visual design and presentation in media focusing on the best practices for a variety of design tools. Students will engage with key concepts related to visual production and consumption, media and web design, storytelling and narrative in visual formats, and accessibility of content for diverse audiences.
In today's public climate, political rhetoric is no longer just a tool of the immensely powerful or those who have access to a podium and speakers. The dissemination of mass messages can occur in any number of avenues and can reach audiences that were previously inaccessible or disinterested. Communication professionals today are in a powerful position to shape messaging and distribution strategies for many contexts: politics, popular culture, business, nonprofit advocacy, social movements, advertising, and marketing. In this course, students should develop the perspective and skill sets necessary to respond effectively and creatively to complex social problems and opportunities in written, verbal, and visual communication mediums.
This capstone course integrates previous coursework and practical experience with a focus on authentic demonstration of competency in the student's chosen specialization in communication. Instead of introducing new concepts, students will synthesize prior learning to design, develop, and execute a communication campaign on their chosen subject as a culmination of their studies. The course will be structured around this critical task, so that students have the appropriate support and resources required to be successful.
The public relations field distinguishes itself through its emphasis on capturing hearts and minds. Above and beyond the marketing goal of persuading target consumers to the desired economic end, it is the task of the public relations professional to persuade individuals and groups to accept a certain belief or opinion. In this way, the topics of messaging and branding take on new meaning within the context of public relations. In this course, students will make that transition in to the world of public relations by re-examining and building upon core principles to build a foundation for the public relations concentration.
The ease of self-publishing using blogs, the dedication of entire mainstream news segments to the "conversation" on Twitter, the use of RSS feeds to immediately deliver customized messages and other personalization of communication all hail the dawn of a new era that is at once global and highly individualistic. For a public relations professional, social media technologies present unique challenges and opportunities to develop and protect one's brand. In this course, students will engage in thorough investigations and practical applications of the specific technologies, outlets, platforms, networks, and mediums that will populate their professional tool kit. Students will gain proficiency in particular, relevant tools, as well as add to their general fluency in the language of technology.
The pervasiveness of social media, 24-hour news coverage, and mobile communications has transformed the role of public relations specialists. What constituted 'private' has become increasingly public given individuals' immediate access to multiple platforms and technologies to publish sensitive information. Protecting a brand and maintaining a consistent message in the maelstrom of broadcasted opinions is certainly more difficult than ever before. This course addresses the topics of public relations ethics and crisis management through the investigation of landmark cases and hypothetical crisis scenarios, preparing students to develop crisis management, prevention, and response skills crucial for today's media environment.
Developing and executing a public relations campaign requires the integration of skills, strategies, and tactics to create a cohesive, dynamic whole. Similarly, this course integrates components from previous coursework by addressing topics such as the life cycle of the campaign, campaign management strategies, effective tracking and measurement, and making modifications based on data analysis. Students will evaluate past successful and unsuccessful campaigns in order to glean and substantiate best practices in campaign design and execution. Finally, students will create structured components of public relations campaigns in order to prepare for the critical task in the capstone course.
Tuition rates for SNHU's online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. We offer a 25 percent tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.
*Tuition Rates are subject to change and are reviewed Annually.
$40 Application Fee, $150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges as well as several other accrediting bodies. More...