B.S. Public Relations
Credit Hours
Max Transfer Credit
Class Type
100% online, 6 & 12-week courses
Next Start Date
Jun 26, 2023
Cost Per Credit
Curriculum Alignment

Starting Fall 2023 term, the B.S. Public Relations Program will be closed to new students and no applications will be accepted.

Gain Unique Insight

Connect an understanding of human behavior with tactical-based PR.

Real-World Practitioners

Learn best practice public relations from on-the-job professionals.

Top-Notch Curriculum

Our coursework mirrors PRSA competencies and standards.

100% Online Classes

Earn your degree around your schedule.

Practical Experience

Learn to leverage social media for the benefit of business.

Accredited Online University

Nearly 80% of our students take online courses.

Program Overview

Cultivate relationships and promote the public image of organizations and individuals

Employment for public relations professionals is expected to increase 7% by 2031.* Employers already are clamoring for PR practitioners who can creatively leverage traditional and new media to build and manage reputation and relationships in such key areas as: publicity, promotions, special events, crisis management, media and community relations, social media and web, and communications.

Because acquiring these skills is critical to your success, our Public Relations degree program will help you master the written, verbal, visual, and social elements that go with creating and maintaining an organization’s or individual’s effective public image.

That’s why our foundational public relations courses and curriculum emphasize the essentials like writing, speaking, and social media, as well as the unconventional, such as what makes people think and behave the way they do.

You’ll learn to apply this behavioral knowledge to craft clutter-busting messages that get the attention of media and social outlets; generate no-cost marketing opportunities; and develop strategic relationships with community and media organizations. And because social media is so prevalent, you’ll get practical experience with every major channel, including Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, PitchEngine, HARO, and Tumblr, while also learning how to develop and deliver PR assets through blogs, websites, podcasts, and streaming video.

Develop professional competencies with leading-edge Public Relations courses

Franklin’s unique, hands-on approach extends even further, because all our classes use real-life scenarios and clients to simulate events, crises, or PR issues as they happen, preparing you to effectively handle similar situations when they arise in the workplace.

Our public relations curriculum is top-notch, mirroring the professional competencies and standards of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Taught by active PR professionals and staffed with a high-powered advisory board, including an Emmy® Award-winning television news producer, our PR curriculum is regularly reviewed and updated to reflect employers most pressing PR needs.

Prepare to take a seat at the management table

Because PR is, at its core, about people and relationships, Franklin’s online Public Relations degree program also focuses on human and societal behavior. So in addition to your business, management, and PR-specific coursework, your Franklin education will expose you to the social sciences through psychology and sociology classes, as well as ethics, research, and crisis communications.

The result is a comprehensive PR degree program that prepares you for a varied public relations career, making informed decisions, ready to take a seat at the management table, and prepared to deliver targeted messages based on a solid understanding of human behavior within the context of strategic relationships.

Earn your degree from a university built for busy adults

Earn your degree on your terms by taking classes 100% online. Accredited and nonprofit, Franklin was built from the ground-up to satisfy the needs of adult learners. Our seamless transfer process and team of academic advisors will help ease your transition to becoming a student, while our flexible course schedules help to balance your education with work, family and life. Get started on your future today.

*Source information provided by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI)

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B.S. Public Relations Graduate

"The quality of education that I received at Franklin makes me really proud of what I've learned. It's really been nice because completing classes that were challenging gave me a real sense of reward."

Your Best Value B.S. Public Relations

Choose Franklin's B.S. Public Relations and get a high-quality degree that fits your life and budget. 

Average Transfer Hours


On average, students transfer in 1/2 of the credits required.

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*$398 per credit, 124 Total Credits, 94 maximum transfer credits, 62 average transfer credits.

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Curriculum & Course Descriptions

124 Semester Hours
Fundamental General Education
English Composition
ENG 120 - College Writing (4)

In this course, students acquire the writing competence necessary for conducting and presenting research. A variety of assignments, beginning with personal reflections, build upon one another, as students develop ideas that respond to, critique, and synthesize the positions of others. Students systematize and organize knowledge in ways that will help them in all of their courses. The course also emphasizes the elements of good writing style, appropriate grammar and mechanics, clarity of language, and logical and cohesive development. It culminates in submission of a documented research paper.

MATH 215 - Statistical Concepts (4)

This course introduces the student to statistics with business applications. The course covers both descriptive and inferential statistics. Topics included are: measures of central tendency; measures of dispersion; graphical displays of data; linear regression; basic probability concepts; binomial and normal probability distributions; confidence intervals; and hypothesis testing. These topics will be covered using a basic knowledge of algebra and Microsoft Excel. Note, this course has proctored exam(s).

OR MATH 160 - College Algebra (4)

This course is designed to prepare students for Applied Calculus and Discrete Mathematics and to provide the mathematical background needed for the analytic reasoning used in other courses. Topics include functions and their graphs, including exponential and logarithmic functions; complex numbers; systems of equations and inequalities; matrices; basic principles of counting and probability; and other selected topics. Note, this course has proctored exam(s).

Choose either MATH 140 Introduction to Quantitative Reasoning or MATH 150 Fundamental Algebra as the prerequisite to MATH 215. Choose MATH 150 Fundamental Algebra as the prerequisite for MATH 160. Course can count as a University Elective.

Social and Behavioral Sciences
PSYC 110 - General Psychology (4)

A survey of the various fields of study comprising modern scientific psychology. The course examines the theories, research findings, and applications in each of the major areas of psychology, with the goal of providing students with practice information they can apply to their personal and professional lives. The topic areas covered in the course include learning and memory, motivation and emotion, human development, theories of personality, psychopathology, and social behavior.

2 credits from the following types of courses:
Choose from the Anthropology, Economics, Geography, History, Political Science, or Sociology disciplines.


6 credits from the following types of courses:
Two courses from the Science discipline. One course must have a lab component.

Arts & Humanities
HUMN 210 - Intro to Logic & Critical Thinking Skill (2)

The goal of this course is to help you improve as a critical, logical thinker. You will be introduced to the art of formulating and assessing arguments according to the standards of logical thinking and critical analysis. You will discover how to apply these valuable skills to your studies and everyday life, learning how to overcome obstacles to critical thinking, and how to avoid being deceived by means of misleading reasoning.

4 credits from the following types of courses:
Choose from the Art, English Literature, Fine Arts, Humanities, Music, Philosophy, Religion or Theater disciplines.

Additional General Education
PF 321 - Learning Strategies (2)

This course prepares students to be successful lifelong learners both academically and in their chosen careers. Franklin courses require a high level of self-directed learning and focus on skills required in the workplace and the classroom that are easily transferable between the two environments. The course includes strategies for advancing communication skills, including the use of electronic tools to participate in virtual environments. The assignments and activities in the course are created to closely simulate teamwork found in the workplace.

OR PF 121 - Basic Learning Strategies (2)

This course introduces students to the Franklin University community and provides strategies for successful transition to and participation in that community. Topics include University resources and procedures, strategies for advancing communication skills, the use of electronic tools to participate in virtual environments, and the development of an academic and career plan.

HUMN 211 - Introduction to Critical Ethics (2)

Critical Ethics uses critical thinking to get around the limitations of personal belief and indoctrination to get to what ought to be done and why to improve the human condition. Accordingly, the goal of this course is to help the student improve his/her ethical analysis and evaluation skills to help the student do the thing that must be done, when it ought to be done, using critical thinking.

SOCL 110 - Introduction to Sociology (4)

Sociology is the scientific study of group behavior - whether the groups are dyads, small groups, associations, bureaucracies, societies, publics, aggregates, social movements, or mobs, etc. This introductory course introduces the student to sociological principles and theoretical perspectives that facilitate understanding the norms, values, structure and process of the various types of groups into which people organize. The course focuses on applying the scientific method to studying social problems (e.g. poverty, crime, sexism and racism) and basic institutions (i.e. family, government, economy, religion, education). Students will develop their "sociological imagination" as a way of understanding what their lives are and can be in relation to the larger social forces at work in local, national, and international environments.

SPCH 100 - Speech Communication (4)

This public-speaking course emphasizes the fundamentals of extemporaneous speaking. Skill-building activities and assignments focus on research, organization, reasoning, style and delivery of presentations as well as listening and audience engagement.

Professional Core
COMM 150 - Interpersonal Communication (4)

By using applied critical and creative thinking, students in this course will develop a set of communication skills that will enhance their personal and professional relationships and endeavors. This course will focus on skill development in key areas such as self, perception, listening, verbal messages, conversations, relationships, conflict management, persuasion, and public speaking.

COMM 315 - Communication Ethics (4)

This course examines the strategies involved in effective, ethical communication in professional contexts. Students examine principles of ethical organizational communication and the temporal/cultural/social forces behind those principles, as well as apply reasoning and critical thinking in individual and group assignments. Comparing values and perspectives from diverse cultures, students will respond to cases in an intercultural professional environment.

ENG 205 - Business & Professional Writing (4)

This is an intermediate composition course focusing on writing for business and professional purposes. Students will review the writing conventions commonly expected within business and professional environments, as well as strategies for analyzing rhetorical situations within those environments. Coursework includes analysis, revision, and research exercises, as well as substantial practice in composing business correspondence. The final project is an extensive, researched business proposal developed in stages and presented to the class. Students will be encouraged to relate course materials to their major programs and workplace experiences.

MGMT 312 - Principles of Management (4)

This course explores the basic concepts and processes of management. Students will explore the functional roles and processes of planning, leading, organizing, and controlling comprising the manager role. Students develop skills related to the manager function that are required in today's competitive environment.

MKTG 300 - Marketing (4)

Theory, strategies and methods are foundational to the informed practice of marketing. Students investigate the importance of marketing to an organization or cause, the interrelationship of the difference phases of marketing, the marketing of goods versus services, analysis and identification of markets, pricing strategies and digital marketing tactics.

PSYC 204 - Principles of Motivation (4)

This course is a systematic study of various theories and approaches to motivation. The course includes assessments of the quantity and quality of the research and evidence supporting the scientific validity and applicability to the work environment of several theories of motivation. The student will explore factors that contribute to motivation and a variety of strategies that can be used to become a successful motivator.

Major Area Required
PBRL 325 - Public Relations (4)

A general course in the technique of establishing and maintaining public relations. Activities span a variety of media to influence public opinion and manage an organization's reputation.

PBRL 350 - Media Research & Writing (4)

This course explores approaches and techniques for conducting research and writing within key public relations contexts. Students in this course will examine and utilize research techniques and methodologies that are essential for public relations professionals. Components of this course will include: journalistic research, copywriting, research and writing for broadcast, web research, writing for the Web, transforming technical information for general audiences, and media release writing. Additionally, this course will examine the ethics involved in researching and writing for public relations contexts.

PBRL 425 - Media & Crisis Communication (4)

Today's public relations professionals have entered a new era where preparedness to respond rapidly to various levels of crisis is essential. Building a positive reputation through the strategic management of communications with internal and external audiences during good times is a necessary foundation for withstanding negative press. Utilizing analysis techniques, public relations tactics, and hands-on projects, students will evaluate crisis situations, create and implement a strategic crisis communication plan, and learn to coach the corporate spokesperson and manage the media, while maintaining the organization's reputation.

PBRL 445 - Public Relations & Promotional Strategy (4)

Students research, develop and implement persuasive and promotional campaign strategies appropriate to corporate, governmental and non-profit organizations. This advanced course is designed for those who desire specialized skills in public relations and promotional communication. Emphasis is placed on various tactics including investor relations and employee communications.

PBRL 460 - Client Engagement (4)

This course focuses on developing highly valued client engagement and client problem-solving skills. Exercises in the practical application of these skills in today's various environments will enable students to gain a strong awareness of the ever-changing mixture of the client base and their place as a public relations professional within that mixture. Additionally, this course will examine how public relations professionals can use high-quality client engagement to complement overall market strategies within various industries. Industries that will be examined from a client engagement perspective include: Retail, Product Development and Manufacturing, Health Care, Energy, Environment, Technology, Logistics and Transportation, and non-profit organizations.

PBRL 495 - Public Realtions Capstone (4)

This course examines the strategies involved in planning and managing communication in professional contexts and the ways these strategies are informed by the integration of information provided by other key areas. Students examine principles of integrated applied communication, creating written and web-based communication products in class. Working in collaborative teams, students complete a project that demonstrates planning and managing communication for organizational goals. The course includes media production of communications for a client organization.

Major Electives

At least 4 credits from the following courses:

COMM 321 - Organizational Communication (4)

The course examines the role of communication in organizations. Students will learn the major theories of organizational communication, identifying and defining primary concepts, and applying them to discussions of real-world situations. The role of technology, corporate culture, leadership, teamwork, ethics, and diversity in communication is examined. Effective communication in global organizations and critiques of organization communication systems and structures are also presented.

COMM 335 - Communication in Groups and Teams (4)

The course examines current theories and best practices of working collaboratively in professional contexts. Students apply these concepts to analyze their own work experience, generating strategies for how to improve their performance in work groups. Students will learn basic project management skills and work in online virtual teams to complete a final communication project.

COMM 355 - Introduction to Grant Writing for Non-Profits (4)

This course will enable students to recognize when a grant might be appropriate as a source of funds for a non-profit organization or project, identify and understand non-profit status, adhere to conventions and standards associated with successful grant applications, locate grant opportunities, analyze grant requirements, prepare metrics for success, and develop a written grant proposal. This course will provide an opportunity for students to extend and apply their communication skills. Students pursuing this course will also leverage interdisciplinary insights to solve a real-world problem.

MKTG 430 - Customer Relationship Management (4)

Students develop skills in planning, constructing and organizing one-to-one marketing activities. Included in these activities are collaborative relationships between consumers and sellers that can be applied by both small and large organizations. New technologies in interactive marketing and in database creation and implementation will be studied.

PBRL 410 - Public Relations Internship (1-4)

This course provides qualified students with an opportunity to receive academic credit for supervised professional training and experience in an actual work environment. This Internship is an ongoing seminar between the student, the faculty member and the employment supervisor. It involves an Internship Application and Learning Agreement, periodic meetings with the faculty representative, professional experience at a level equivalent to other senior-level courses and submission of material as established in the Internship Application and Learning Agreement. Participation cannot be guaranteed for all applicants.

PBRL 450 - Rhetoric & Social Influence (4)

This course examines how text, images, sound-bites, speeches, and other media operate to influence, define, and change public identity and thought. Students in this course will look at these verbal and non-verbal influences and how they mold and shape public discourse, cultural understanding, and our day-to-day life. Additionally, this course will examine the role of persuasion and attitudinal change in managing conflict and making decisions within various communicative contexts and amongst various publics.

PBRL 480 - Special Topics in Public Relations (4)

A variable content classroom course in Public Relations in which students pursue topics or subjects of current interest that are not part of the regular curriculum. A specific course description will be published online in the Course Schedule for the trimester the course is offered.

PBRL 499 - Independent Studies in Public Relations (1-4)

Independent studies courses allow students in good academic standing to pursue learning in areas not covered by the regular curriculum or to extend study in areas presently taught. Study takes place under faculty supervision and graded on either a Pass/No Credit or a letter grade basis. (See the "Independent Studies" section of the Academic Bulletin for more details.)

SEMT 322 - Ethics & Leadership in Public Safety Agencies (4)

This course will study ethics and leadership theories in the context of public safety agencies. Consideration of leadership skills and traits in both the strategic and tactical settings will be considered. Ethics will be considered in terms of creating a culture of ethics within a public safety agency.

SEMT 328 - Emergency Management Theory & Practice (4)

This course will focus on Emergency Management and Homeland Security in the Post 9-11 era. Emphasis will be on mitigation and preparedness related to international and domestic terrorism as well as natural disasters.

SEMT 335 - Introduction to Emergency Management & Homeland Security (4)

This course analyzes emergency management from a historical perspective. Disaster planning and disaster management in the post 9-11 environment are analyzed. The impact of Homeland Security on local public safety agencies is examined as are selected Homeland Security Presidential Directives (HSPD #5 and HSPD #11 in particular). The National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the National Response Plan (NRP) are examined with regard to their impact on local public safety agencies. Finally, special challenges for emergency management and disaster response will be analyzed.

SEMT 450 - Critical Incident Management (4)

The course will explore the NIMS, ICS, and other federally mandated systems in place for the management of critical incidents such as major fire scenes, major disasters, terrorist attacks, and other events that require a multi-agency response and recovery effort. The course discusses and evaluates the roles of high-level leadership in setting policy direction and planning as well as real-time management of the scene.

MKTG 340 - Digital Marketing (4)

Students investigate and evaluate various digital marketing and communication strategies and tactics. An emphasis is placed on critical evaluation skills, as well as social media, search marketing, content marketing, and evaluation of digital marketing initiatives. Students create a full digital marketing plan for a real-world company.

MKTG 345 - Social Media Marketing (4)

In this course students will explore and utilize techniques for integrating social media marketing as an integral component of marketing campaigns, serving as listening and outreach tools for building brand awareness and promoting business. Through an investigation of tools which include internet forums, message boards, blogs, wikis, podcasts, picture sharing, video sharing, and social networking, students will have the opportunity to create and present a written plan for achieving business goals through the use of a social media marketing campaign.

MKTG 415 - Search Engine Marketing (4)

In this course students will use search engine optimization to evaluate the processes that bring websites to the top. It will also show students how to choose the best keywords and phrases to target and how to monitor and maintain successful search engine rankings for those keywords.

MKTG 435 - Digital Marketing Analytics (4)

In this course, students will learn how to quantifiably measure and define client interaction through web analytics. Successful companies today are leveraging the power of web analytics to realize the full potential of their websites, and are able to develop and maintain client relationships that create measurable value to business. In this course students will be introduced to key concepts, tools, techniques, and practices of web analytics. Students will understand how web analytics can drive higher profits and improve the customer experience.

MKTG 330 - Marketing Behavior (4)

An understanding of consumer decision processes is developed through application of behavioral sciences. Organizational decision-making processes are also considered. The implications of these processes are considered in relation to marketing, organizational strategies and decision making.

MKTG 332 - Marketing Research (4)

Students develop an understanding of the theories and techniques of planning, conducting, analyzing and presenting market studies. Students will study different methodologies with emphasis on primary research including questionnaire design.

COMM 400 - Intercultural Communication (4)

This course provides an overview of issues, processes, and theories involved with communicating with individuals from different cultures. Topics include thinking and communicating in global contexts and professional relationships in diverse environments.

University Electives

34 credits from the following types of courses:
Any undergraduate courses offered by the University except developmental education courses.

Additional Requirements

All students are required to pass College Writing (ENG 120), and either Basic Learning Strategies (PF 121) or Learning Strategies (PF 321) prior to enrolling in any course at the 200 level or above. Students who enroll at Franklin with 30 or fewer hours of transfer credit are required to pass PF 121 Basic Learning Strategies in place of PF 321 Learning Strategies. Interpersonal Communication (COMM 150) or Speech Communication (SPCH 100) must be taken prior to enrolling in any course at the 300 level or above. Students must also meet the University algebra competency requirement.

Microcredentials Align with Job Essentials

In today's dynamic work environments, adaptive professionals thrive. A microcredential - either as a stand-alone course or integrated into your degree program - is a short, skill-specific recognition that enables you to demonstrate your competency in a distinct area. Like Franklin's degree programs, microcredentials are aligned with market and industry demand to ensure what you learn can be put to use right away. Microcredentials are easily shared via digital badges and can be stacked to create a unique portfolio of in-demand skills.

Program Details

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Career Opportunities

Communication Coach

Communication Coaches help others develop and refine their communication skills through training, feedback, and critique.

Communications Specialist

Communications specialists assist with creating and distributing content through a variety of different mediums, including press release and social media.


Copywriters create a variety of content, including direct mail, emails, advertisements, press releases and articles in support of marketing, advertising and public relations campaigns.

Event Planner

Event planners assist with coordinating and executing memorable experiences and events. 

Feature Writer

Feature Writers collect facts, conduct interviews, analyze research, and write articles for publication on a variety of newsworthy events, ranging from personal profiles to investigative pieces to product reviews.

PR Account Manager

PR account managers manage the development and implementation of public relations plans and are the liaison between public relations clients and members of the public relations team.

PR Manager

PR Managers create and execute public relations campaigns using a variety of practitioner tools such as press releases and media interviews, in order to build awareness and interest on behalf of a person, product, or company.

Press Agent

Press Agents serve as a go-between for their clients and the media, scheduling public appearances, responding to inquiries and acting as a representative or spokesperson.

Public Relations Generalist

Public Relations Generalists employ press releases and other forms of media and communication to build and manage client reputations.

Employment Outlook


From 2021-2031 jobs in Public Relations are expected to increase by 7% (higher than average)

All Occupations

649,673 jobs
697,345 jobs
Show Details >

Advertising and Promotions Managers

26,084 jobs
27,343 jobs

Public Relations and Fundraising Managers

92,630 jobs
102,025 jobs

Public Relations Specialists

312,341 jobs
345,938 jobs

Source information provided by Lightcast.

Knowledge & Skillsets

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