This article provides an overview of the masters in strategic public relations degree program, some of the subjects and courses that the degree covers, and why this degree could help you achieve greater career advancement. It also highlights an online masters in strategic public relations program that you may want to consider.
What Is a Masters in Strategic Public Relations?
A masters in strategic public relations (PR) provides students with the tactical and analytical skills they need to develop and implement publicity strategies for government agencies, businesses, and corporations. During the degree, you will learn how to conduct market research, how to promote services and goods, how to brand a product or service, and how to use established PR strategies in order to have a positive impact on the operational and management functions of a business.
These programs have been developed for those who already work in public relations and want to further advance their career, taking on positions of leadership and management. It is common for the program to be delivered online, to allow those who are already working to take part in the program. They usually take between one and a half and two years to complete. Different schools are able to set their own admissions requirements, but it is common for them to accept those who have a bachelor’s degree in PR or a related field, and who already have some work experience. An essay and letters of recommendations are also often required. Commonly, a capstone project will have to be completed for graduation.
Not many schools currently offer this degree. Those that do tend to be located in the Washington DC area. Usually, between 33 and 40 credit hours are required for completion, the bulk of which covers analytical skills and critical thinking, and how this impacts PR strategies. The curriculum usually includes:
- Critical Thinking
- Specialized Writing in Public Relations
- Business Fundamentals for Professionals
- Crisis Management
- Digital Media Communications
- Corporate and International Public Relations
Why Earn a Masters in Strategic Public Relations?
Business models are evolving, and there is now a greater emphasis on corporate ethics and social responsibility. Additionally, there has been a significant rise in the use of social media. This has completely overhauled the communications industry and has led to a rise in demand for specialists who understand the impact of these developments on public relations. Competition continues to be high in the field, however, and those who have graduate degrees that work on specialized skills and creating a strategic mindset, tend to be the most in demand. New positions have opened and roles have shifted. As a result, there is now an increase in demand for PR managers.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported that public relations specialists had a median salary of $58,020 per year as of May 2016. However, this is at the bachelor’s degree level. Those with a graduate degree or above are more likely to find themselves in the top 10% of earners, who earn $110,560 per year or more. The BLS has also reported that there will be a 6% increase in demand for these professionals from 2014 to 2024, which is faster than the national average and will translate into some 14,900 new jobs.
Online Option for Masters in Strategic Public Relations
George Washington University
If you are interested in obtaining a masters in strategic public relations, you may want to consider the strategic public relations graduate degree program offered by The Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University. This program understands that the new media world requires more than traditional methods. Today, PR is all about wireless technology, viral marketing, and online communication. Information sharing is now completely difference, and a modern response is required.
This degree program offered by George Washington University is award-winning, reflecting how the world of communications is in a constant state of change. Students develop a portfolio of real-world skills, taking on positions of leadership in PR. Students learn about the impact of government and politics on technology, business, and communications. They are prepared for a wealth of careers in communications. Indeed, graduates from this program have taken on positions with corporations, nonprofit organizations, associations, and major PR firms, taking on positions of leadership in communications. Some have even found employment in the executive branch at Capitol Hill.
Students are instructed by highly experienced educators. They come from global public relations, crisis management, government relations, journalism, nonprofit, and Fortune 500 company experts. While the degree is offered online, it is also practical and hands-on. As a result, graduates are respected for their ability to get real results.
Today’s society is focused on sharing and gathering information. Hence, the profession of public relations has to respond to how society accesses information, and also to the magnitude and speed at which they consume it. Hence, PR professionals can only be successful if they are able to gain trust, command attention, and convey important messages to both external and internal audiences. George Washington University has a clear understanding of the critical role of adaptability, foresight, and strategy in terms of how the communications landscape evolves. Graduates gain a 360-degree strategic view and learn about proven tactics for the management of modern PR issues as government, political campaigns, nonprofit organizations, associations, and corporations face them.
The degree, which is available 100% online, challenges its students, regardless of their experience in the world of PR. They are encouraged to build a professional network and to develop unique and effective strategies. The curriculum is highly rigorous, providing a practical, comprehensive outlook that can immediately be applied to the communications challenges facing the modern world. It is also very relevant, regardless of which branch of PR they work in. It is also current, focusing on new techniques and strategies, as well as recognized industry best practices. Last but not least, it is a connected degree, in which global peers can connect to each other around their personal and professional responsibilities.
George Washington University is an accredited and top ranked university. It was recognized by the Washington Post as one of the top programs for crisis management. It was also named the nation’s best PR education program for 2015 by PR Week.
Popular careers for graduates from a master’s in strategic public relations include:
- Career PR and communications professional
- Marketing and advertising professional
- Public affairs officer
As you can see, completing a masters in strategic public relations is a great way to significantly advance your career. In the changing landscape of communications and information access and consumption, there is a real need for PR specialists who have relevant, real-world understanding. You can set yourself apart as a leader in this field, leading to a lengthy and successful career.
- Public Relations Specialists. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/public-relations-specialists.htm
- Strategic Public Relations. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://gspm.gwu.edu/strategic-public-relations