Public Relations Information for Business Majors

An Overview of the Public Relations Major

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Public relations, founded by Edward Bernays, is a worthwhile specialization for business majors who have an interest in marketing, advertising, and communication. Public relations (PR) professionals have the important responsibility of nurturing relationships between a company and its clients, customers, shareholders, the media, and other important parties central to a business. Nearly every industry employs public relations managers, which means that opportunities abound for individuals with a PR degree.

Public Relations Degree Options

There are public relations degree options at every level of study:

  • Associate Program - This undergraduate program lasts for two years and can be found at many small community colleges. Programs at this level commonly have a lot of general education classes and a small number of specialized classes in communications or public relations. 
  • Bachelor Program - This undergraduate program lasts for four years and can be found at most colleges and universities. Programs typically include a mix of general education courses and public relations courses. Some schools allow students to customize their education with specialized electives. 
  • Master's Program - This graduate program is for students who have already earned an undergraduate degree; it typically lasts two years and can be found at graduate schools and business schools. Master's programs, particularly MBA programs, commonly feature core business courses along with specialized courses in public relations. Many programs include opportunities for hands-on experiences. 

Business majors interested in working in the public relations field will be well-served with a four-year undergraduate degree. Most employment opportunities require at least a bachelor's degree. However, there are some students who get their start by earning an associate's degree with a specialization in communications or public relations. A master's degree or an MBA degree is advisable for students interested in a high-up position, such as a supervisory or specialist position. A dual MBA degree in public relations and advertising or public relations and marketing may also be beneficial. 

Finding a Public Relations Program

Business majors interested in pursuing a public relations specialization should have no problem locating degree programs at any level. Use the following tips to find the right program for you.

  • Look for a program that is accredited. Accreditation ensures a quality education and improves your chances of career success.
  • Look at ranking lists from organizations like U.S. News & World Report to see which public relations programs are considered among the best,
  • If you're interested in working for a specific company, do some research to see which schools that company typically recruits from. 

Public Relations Coursework

Business majors who want to work in public relations will need to learn how to create, implement, and follow through with a public relations campaign. Courses will generally center on topics like:

  • Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Communications
  • Promotional writing
  • Speech writing
  • Media planning
  • Creative strategy 
  • Statistics
  • Ethics

Working in Public Relations

Public relations professionals can work for a specific company or for a PR firm that handles a wide variety of companies. Applicants with a respected degree and a good understanding of various marketing concepts will have the best job opportunities. 

To learn more about working in public relations, visit the Public Relations Society of America website. The PRSA is the world’s largest organization of public relations professionals. Membership is open to recent college graduates and seasoned professionals. Members have access to educational and career resources as well as networking opportunities. 

Common Job Titles

Some of the most common job titles in the public relations field include:

  • Promotions Assistant - A promotions or advertising assistants handle communications and work on promotional campaigns.
  • Public Relations Specialist - PR or media specialists work with the media and help clients communicate with the public. 
  • Public Relations Manager - Public relations managers or directors supervise PR departments. They perform many of the same duties as PR specialists.
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Your Citation
Schweitzer, Karen. "Public Relations Information for Business Majors." ThoughtCo, Sep. 7, 2021, Schweitzer, Karen. (2021, September 7). Public Relations Information for Business Majors. Retrieved from Schweitzer, Karen. "Public Relations Information for Business Majors." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 22, 2023).