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Top Schools for Public Relations & Advertising

by Rudy Miller, studioD

It takes creativity and technological savvy to deliver a message that gets noticed in an increasingly crowded cyber world. To become a top public relations or advertising executive, it helps to enroll at one of the top schools. These schools train you to think critically, understand your target audience, write persuasively and cultivate relationships with clients.


The website Fashionista looks at public relations programs with an emphasis on the fashion industry. Penn State University has one of the top advertising and public relations programs at its College of Communications. Students there placed well in an advertising competition in 2011 when they put together a campaign for JCPenney. Valley Magazine is a student-run lifestyle magazine at the school. The campus is close enough to allow internships in New York City. Other top programs on this list are at the University of Michigan, Rutgers University and Boston University.

PR Week

The online trade publication PR Week holds an annual contest for the best public relations education program in the United States. Georgetown University’s Master of Professional Studies program in public relations and corporate communications won in 2013 and 2012. The program has ties to more than 160 clients such as IBM, Shell Oil and the American Red Cross. Courses integrate digital tools such as webinars, blogs and class Twitter hashtags. Finalists for 2013 were programs at New York University, Syracuse University and the University of Alabama. The NYU master's degree program in public relations emphasizes the importance of social and digital media. Graduates from the NYU program now work for Amnesty International, Bloomingdale’s, Inc., the New York Knicks, the National Basketball Association and Johnson & Johnson.

College Prowler

The website College Prowler relied on reviews and polls by students, parents and alumni and data from the National Center for Education Statistics and Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System to compile its 2013 rankings. DePaul University and the University of Houston have top public relations programs recognized by College Prowler. DePaul’s program includes courses on advertising campaigns, crisis communication management, digital advertising and ethics. The university lies in the heart of Chicago’s business community, which offers internship and networking opportunities. The University of Houston’s School of Communications offers a concentration in advertising that covers ethical requirements, copy writing, campaign design and execution requirements, research methodologies and data analysis techniques necessary in the field.

Find the Best

The website Find the Best uses a mix of government data and opinions from experts to compile a list of top advertising and public relations schools for 2013. Among the top programs on this list are Pepperdine and Syracuse universities. Pepperdine University has one of the oldest public relations programs in the western United States. Courses cover storytelling in the media, digital strategies, public relations principles and writing. Advertising undergraduates at Syracuse can work for the student-run ad agency THN. Students majoring in advertising can concentrate on account management, planning and research; integrated media planning; web advertising; creative production and advertising messages; and advertising for social or political causes. Public relations majors at Syracuse will learn the technical and interpersonal skills needed to reach consumers, government officials, community organizations, employees, investors and journalists.

About the Author

Rudy Miller has been writing professionally since 1996. Miller is a digital team leader for lehighvalleylive.com, a local news website and content provider to the Express-Times newspaper in Easton, Pa. Miller holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Miami.

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