The field of public relations holds promising career options in numerous capacities. There is always a need for communication professionals to craft messaging, assemble advertising campaigns, build brands, and so much more. To become a versatile public relations professional, a well-rounded education is key. A growing number of undergraduate students are choosing distance-learning as a means to begin a public relations career. Depending on individual goals, there are online degrees in public relations that provide the needed hands-on education in the field. For more general information on distance learning programs visit our ranking of the top online colleges.
Featured Online Schools
The following ranking represents the top 20 online bachelor’s degrees in public relations. These schools were selected following a research process that focused on the key elements of an online undergraduate degree in public relations.
- Range of industry-current academic curriculum in the field of public relations (1-5 points)
- Quality of online classroom portal and resources (1-5 points)
- Range and quality of hands-on experiential learning opportunities, including internships (1-5 points)
- Networking opportunities for career advancement (1-5 points)
- An additional point was awarded for noteworthy features that made it a top college for undergraduate public relations degrees online.
In the event of a tie in points, the school with the lower net price appears higher in the ranking.
Tuition and enrollment data was sourced from College Navigator.
The following list of ranked colleges represents the top 25 online bachelor’s degrees in public relations.
#25 – Columbia College
Total Enrollment: 16,413
Net Price: $27,020
Established in 1851, Columbia College has been recognized as a “Best Buy” and top online program by numerous publications. Among CC’s 29 distance-learning programs is an online bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising; this degree is designed with a curriculum in strategy building, marketing research, consumer behavior, mass communication, and many other topic areas that build competitive skill-sets. Graduates of Columbia College’s online degree in public relations build an impressive portfolio for the job market.
#24 – California Baptist University
Total Enrollment: 9,157
Net Price: $25,875
Among the top Christian colleges in the state, California Baptist University offers degrees from associate to doctoral level. CBU Online has top-notch offerings in the form of attentive faculty, an interactive online community, and the latest in distance-education technology. CBU’s online BA in public relations has led students to long-term careers in advertising, corporate communications, public and media relations, journalism, and employee relations. CBU’s faculty is 100% Christian, providing an education for the faith-based student.
#23 – Arkansas Tech University
Total Enrollment: 10,887
Net Price: $11,894
Based in the rural South, Arkansas Tech University is a comprehensive, versatile institution with a rich academic profile. In its over 100-year history, ATU has evolved its degree offerings to connect with the changing needs of incoming students. ATU’s distance-learning program includes a bachelor of professional studies, a promising choice for online public relations degree students; this program has a concentration option in public relations, providing a challenging curriculum in communication, public presentations, PR strategies in problem-solving, and much more.
#22 – Wilmington University
Total Enrollment: 15,316
Net Price: $14,471
Particularly popular with working adults, Wilmington University has over 150 affordable degree and certificate programs. This top college’s online division has a bachelor of science in communication. Based on your career goals, you can specialize in integrated marketing or media communication; this is a worthwhile degree path for those looking for an online public relations bachelor’s degree. The integrated marketing concentration is a hands-on learning model, teaching its students the art of building and selling a “brand.” Wilmington’s communications graduates typically find careers in digital media, advertising, public relations, public service, and more.
#21 – Walden University
Total Enrollment: 52,565
Net Price: $13,200
Walden University is a 100% online degree school with over 52,000 students worldwide. Walden’s online BS in communications includes a specialization in public relations; students who wish to focus their degree in public relations benefit from a curriculum that covers industry-relevant topics in today’s PR world. Among Walden’s online public relations courses include the dynamics of group communication, principles of public relations, media planning, and intercultural communication. Online communication students complete their degree with a capstone project integrating their education.
#20 – New England College
Total Enrollment: 2,781
Net Price: $27,640
Founded in 1946, New England College is a quaint academic institution with an average 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio. NEC is revered for its student-centered education practices, both for campus and online degree-seekers. This college’s online BA in public relations is part of its communication department; this 100% online degree stays current with the diversifying trends in public relation skills. Among NEC’s featured PR courses include advertising and promotion, history and criticism, principles of public relations, and cross-cultural communication; graduates this online BA emerge into a wide range of professionals settings.
#19 – Northern Arizona University
Total Enrollment: 30,361
Net Price: $14,678
Serving over 30,000 students worldwide, Northern Arizona University has 150 degree programs. NAU’s online academics have received recognition from this and other educational publications; this college is respected for its student-to-faculty interaction, academic quality, and affordability. NAU’s BS in communication studies online is a challenging undergraduate program with a wide spectrum of course topics; online public relations students have found this degree to serve well in preparing them the field. NAU prepares communications degree graduates to become thoughtful, ethical, and successful contributors to the field.
#18 – University of Minnesota – Crookston
Total Enrollment: 2,676
Net Price: $13,396
A midwestern-based school, the University of Minnesota at Crookston is a smaller school with an education model based on student-centered learning. UMC’s online bachelor of science in communication is a popular program among distance-learners; for those seeking an online bachelor’s in public relations, this degree track includes emphasis options in writing, communications/public relations, or communication. UMC’s BS in communications online is structured to help students build impressive portfolios and skill-sets for the job market.
#17 – Montana State University – Billings
Total Enrollment: 4,632
Net Price: $11,680
Founded in 1927, Montana State University is a progressive academic community with strong local and distance-based education programs. MSU places value on each student’s personal learning-style, helping them form a fulfilling, lasting careers. MSU Billing’s distance-learning offerings include a bachelor of science in public relations online; this unique program merges multiple industry areas, some of them including corporate, non-profit, media, marketing, public relations theory, and much more. Additionally, Montana State University offers internship opportunities for optimum integration of curriculum to practice.
#16 – Colorado State University-Global Campus
Total Enrollment: 11,605
Net Price: $8,400\
Colorado State University-Global Campus is a unique, progressive school that encourages students to stand out. This institution’s online “Global” campus is the first independent and fully-accredited online state university in the country. CSU-Global has a popular online degree in communications; this bachelor’s program is the right choice for those who want a well-rounded background in the industry. Online students pursuing a degree in public relations will benefit from CSU’s learning outcomes and career options; BA students learn to apply communication theory, analysis, targeted messaging, ethical communication practices, and more.
#15 – Geneva College
Total Enrollment: 1,666
Net Price: $20,223
A Bible-based education, Geneva College is a great choice for students who want curriculum through a Christian lens. Geneva wins consistent accolades for its academics, distance-learning program, and tuition value. GC’s online bachelor’s in public relations is a challenging degree track for career-driven students; online public relations students receive a comprehensive curriculum in crisis management, the industry marketplace, as well as graphic and digital communication. Geneva College is part of the Public Relations Student Society of America, a promising means for networking in the job market.
#14 – Franklin University
Total Enrollment: 5,006
Net Price: $27,538
A reputable institution particularly popular with working adults, Franklin University has an academic program for nearly any field. Franklin’s distance learning degrees include a bachelor of science in public relations online; this unique undergraduate program has seasoned faculty with great insight into the industry. The online public relations in BS encompasses curriculum in principles of motivation, interpersonal communication, communication ethics, management, professional writing, and much more. Students enrolled in the online PR degree are invited to further specialize their degree with course topics in more targeted career areas.
#13 – Regent University
Total Enrollment: 8,389
Net Price: $17,837
Regent University is a Christian-based college with programs specifically for the faith-based student. This school’s mission is to foster each student’s balance of integrity and purpose, laying the foundation of a healthy long-term career. Regent’s online bachelor of arts in communications is delivered in a Christian context, building skill-sets in media analysis, public relations, marketing strategies, entertainment production, and many other areas. Graduates of Regent University’s online communications degree reported feeling well-prepared and confident in their chosen career area.
#12 – University of Louisville
Total Enrollment: 21,578
Net Price: $16,249
A large institution based in the heart of Kentucky, the University of Louisville welcomes over 22,000 students between campus and online learning. Despite its high enrollment, this top college still maintains a 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio, making it an attentive learning environment. UL’s online bachelor of arts in communication is led by scholar-level faculty with extensive experience communication-related industries; undergraduate students looking for an online public relations degree will find a worthwhile opportunity at this affordable college. UofL has numerous internship opportunities and extensive career advisement for all on-campus and online students.
#11 – National University
Total Enrollment: 17,192
Net Price: $22,377
Founded in 1971, National University is a diverse, progressive liberal arts college that attracts students from around the globe. This top school has an online bachelor’s degree in integrated marketing communications; this degree program has an emphasis in public relations, and students with this career interest learn the ins and outs of this growing industry. National’s online public relations students learn effective communication skills, marketing strategy, multi-public message dissemination plans, and intercultural communication. Online students have access to extensive resources, including a student services department to help formulate career goals.
#10 – University of Memphis
Total Enrollment: 21,301
Net Price: $13,291
Based in Tennessee, the University of Memphis is a widely revered public research institution. This enormous academic community has specialized schools in nearly any career focus, many of which can be attained online. This college’s BA in public relations online has an excellent blend of classroom and real-world experience; public relations students take part in hands-on projects that include creating PR campaigns for the University of Memphis football team and Habitat for Humanity. Additionally, public relations students have internship options in a wide range of available settings.
#9 – University of North Dakota
Total Enrollment: 14,648
Net Price: $14,693
A widely-respected institution, the University of North Dakota has earned accolades from some of the leading education journals in academia. Between campus and distance-learning, UND welcomes students from all 50 states and over 80 countries worldwide. This top college’s online degree programs include a bachelor of arts in communication; this program is an excellent choice for those seeking an online BA in public relations that can be shaped to meet individual needs. The 125-credit communications degree is set in a virtual classroom environment, providing an education of equivalent quality to campus students.
#8 – University of Maryland – University College
Total Enrollment: 57,529
Net Price: $12,483
The University of Maryland University College has over 90 degrees, specializations, and certificates to select from; this college provides maximum degree flexibility between its online division and remote campus locations around the world. UMUC’s online bachelor’s degree in communication studies is an excellent start for undergraduate online public relations students; this degree track explores unique curriculum in mass communication, communication theory, public relations theory, effective listening, mass media law, among other current industry topics. Graduates of UMUC’s have reported high satisfaction rates of this degree, stating they feel prepared confident in the job market.
#7 – Webster University
Total Enrollment: 13,906
Net Price: $24,717
Webster University has earned accolades for its affordability, student-focused faculty, and high satisfaction rates of its graduates. Webster online, named among the best of the country by U.S. News and World Report, has made it possible for nearly any type of student to earn a degree. This college’s online BA in media communications includes an available concentration in public relations; online public relations students receive a well-rounded background in a foundational and more targeted curriculum in the field. In addition to an internship requirement, Webster’s online communications students incrementally build a portfolio of work that integrates their education throughout the program.
#6 – Arizona State University
Total Enrollment: 51,869
Net Price: $13,007
Arizona State University is a massive public research institution, welcoming students locally, nationally, and around the world. ASU’s online learning portal has seasoned faculty, flexible degree options, and the leading classroom technology. Among the online bachelor’s degrees include a BS in communication; this degree program equips students with skills in conflict and negotiation, intercultural communication in the global marketplace, leadership, persuasion, and other key academic areas. For students who are seeking a career in public relations, this online BS is designed to create opportunities in this job market.
#5 – Southern New Hampshire University
Total Enrollment: 73,177
Net Price: $34,984
Southern New Hampshire University has earned a consistently positive reputation in academics, faculty, and student success rate. Students seeking to major in public relations online may select SNHU’s BA in communications; this degree program equips its students with the necessary diverse set of field skills. Among the clear communications and public relations curriculum includes business communication, communication in the digital age, electronic public relations, social psychology, and many more courses. Southern New Hampshire additionally has an expansive network of internship opportunities through its well-organized partnerships. SNHU has the advanced online education technology resources for a seamless distance education experience.
#4 – University of Florida
Net Price: $11,976
The University of Florida is a dynamic, affordable college with a growing list of degree options. This college attracts high-achieving, career-oriented students who prefer individualized learning. UF Online is this college’s distance-learning division. It recently ranked eleventh best online bachelor’s program by U.S. News and World Report; among the available degrees is an online bachelor of science in public relations, a degree track that leads to in-depth knowledge of public issue analysis, economics, political science, and many more areas. Graduates of UF’s BS in public relations find roles in a wide spectrum of lucrative careers.
#3 – Penn State World Campus
Total Enrollment: 13,411
Net Price: $23,129
Penn State’s World Campus is an expansive distance-learning division of the college, welcoming students with virtually any academic need. Penn State Online’s bachelor of arts in advertising/public relations is a 120-credit program for the strategic communicator; this degree includes curriculum that enhances the student’s problem-solving skills, creative thinking, multiple modes of communication, and research analysis. Penn State has connections to numerous internship sites, providing a means to apply knowledge into practice.
#2 – Point Park University
Total Enrollment: 4,093
Net Price: $22,262
Point Park University of Pittsburgh has earned a solid reputation for its academic excellence, experiential learning opportunities, and stellar instructor faculty. This institution’s online component has a bachelor of arts in public relations and advertising, a degree designed by industry professionals who know what students need to get ahead. Online BA students can tailor their degree to gain more curriculum in public relations; some of these targeted courses include public relations issues and practices, branding and corporate identity, PR writing, among others. Additionally, Point Park has a “career prep seminar” that addresses key topics in building a career in communications.
#1 – Drexel University
Total Enrollment: 24,232
Net Price: $39,021
Drexel University is a globally-respected institution with over 200 available degree programs. This college’s campus and online academics have ranked among the best in the nation; recently, U.S. News and World Report placed Drexel Online in the top five for student engagement. Drexel’s nine bachelor of science in communications has an available concentration in public relations; this degree spans topics in journalism, publication design, mass media and society, and new technologies in communication. Drexel University degrees have a strong reputation in the job market, and graduates find they have the right background to succeed.