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Public Relations Online Degree Program

Program OverviewProgram DetailsWhy Choose Franklin

Cultivate relationships and promote the public image of organizations and individuals

When it comes to organizations and individuals operating in the public eye, developing relationships with various constituencies is key to maintaining a positive image in the marketplace. It should come as no surprise that dynamic professionals who can effectively use communication tools to develop and manage public relationships are extremely valuable and sought after.

In fact, employment for public relations professionals is expected to increase 13% by 2025.1 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 internal communications.

Leverage new communications skills through media and social outlets

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 coursework

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 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 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 public relations degree on your terms by taking classes 100% online or pursue available coursework at one of our Midwest locations. Regionally 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.

1Source information provided by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI)

Gain The Skills Employers Desire

  • Publicity
    • Deliver PR initiatives using a variety of formats, including press releases, features, scripts, editorials, promotional pieces, thought-leadership articles, abstracts, testimonials, and case studies
    • Craft messages that cut through the clutter and get noticed by media and social outlets
    • Pitch editors, write press releases, create media kits, conduct media tours, prepare spokespersons for speeches, and develop other communications collateral in support of strategic publicity campaigns
    • Cultivate relationships with targeted members of the media and key industry influencers to pursue media exposure and coverage
    • Manage the flow of information, video, audio, imagery, and other assets to media outlets
    • Ensure timely development and delivery of communication materials, such as news releases, talking points, bios, presentations, and other content in support of public relations objectives
    • Develop and manage targeted media lists and editorial calendars
  • Promotions & Special Events
    • Design, produce, and manage events that gain attention from targeted audiences without direct advertising
    • Create trade show and other event agendas, and execute events and promotions
    • Develop and foster relationships with key constituents, including communities, customers, clients, and employees
    • Organize special events, including anniversary celebrations, open houses, tours, visits, and milestones
    • Plan, execute, and evaluate promotional marketing plans and activities
    • Manage public relations expenditures and budgets
  • Crisis Management
    • Develop and maintain crisis communication and emergency action plans
    • Serve as spokesperson and point of contact for the media, community, and business during crisis situations that involve the organization
    • Respond to media inquiries, ensuring company and brand reputation management and protection
    • Provide proactive crisis communications counsel, including advising on business implications and media impact
  • Media & Community Relations
    • Develop and execute effective, results-oriented community outreach programs to advance organizational mission
    • Identify and maintain media lists, and establish strong, sustaining media and community relationships
    • Establish and maintain contact with reporters and social media influencers, maximizing favorable coverage to deliver important information to constituencies
    • Develop press materials, and oversee community and corporate relations messaging projects to advance the business mission
    • Collaborate with media, vendors, contractors, community groups, and a variety of internal and external partners to connect partner organizations with strategic initiatives
  • Social Media & Web
    • Create and manage social media and web strategies, policies, and guidelines in the areas of research, writing, ethics, compliance, approvals, and dissemination
    • Research and develop campaigns, programs and content in support of public relations strategies, social media plans, and web initiatives
    • Develop public relations assets for delivery through new media channels, such as blogs, websites, podcasts, and streaming video
    • Establish and monitor benchmarks for measuring impact of social media initiatives
    • Monitor web and social media trends, using insights to effectively evolve social media strategies
    • Manage social networking monitoring tools, and engage in dialogue as appropriate, giving “voice” to the organization
    • Provide timely response to community members, customers, and prospects in social media outlets
  • Internal Communications
    • Develop and implement internal communications policies, strategies, and tactics based on organizational goals, values, and priorities, including building good will, increasing morale, and improving recruitment, and retention
    • Write and edit audience-focused communication materials and distribute to internal stakeholders through a variety of channels, including intranets, digital or print newsletters, electronic or print signage, articles, videos, magazines, advertising, and direct mail
    • Develop strong relationships and sources across a variety of disciplines and domains, establishing and maintaining a discriminate flow of newsworthy information
    • Measure and monitor effectiveness of internal communication campaigns using such tools as employee satisfaction surveys
  • Communications Coaching
    • Develop talking points, write speeches, and arrange media interviews and tours with company executives
    • Coach spokespersons in all aspects of executive communication, including public speaking, interpersonal communication, and group presentations
    • Provide media training and facilitate skill-building exercises for executives and/or spokespersons
    • Present workshops and skills enhancement training for leaders, corporate executives, and board members
    • Prepare executive leadership to provide issues management communication while protecting and enhancing brand equity and/or organizational reputation

Career Opportunities

  • Communications Specialist

    Communications Specialists assist in the creation of news and information, delivering it to key constituencies via public relations tools such as press releases, marketing materials, and special events.

    View Salary Trends
  • Event Planner

    Event Planners plan, coordinate, and execute the end-to-end details of special events, including trade shows, sales meetings, recognition ceremonies, anniversary celebrations, and virtual conferences.

    View Salary Trends
  • 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.

    View Salary Trends
  • Copywriter

    Copywriters generate marketing, web, advertising, and social media content in order to introduce, inform, or promote a person, business, product, opinion, idea, or concept.

    View Salary Trends
  • PR Account Manager

    PR Account Managers oversee the development and implementation of public relations plans, managing the flow of information to the public on behalf of a person, product, or organization.

    View Salary Trends
  • 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.

    View Salary Trends
  • Public Relations Generalist

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

    View Salary Trends
  • 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.

    View Salary Trends
  • Communication Coach

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

    View Salary Trends

Employment Outlook

Occupations Job Openings (2015) Expected Growth
Advertising and Promotions Managers 1,356 11.53%
Public Relations and Fundraising Managers 2,900 13.13%
Public Relations Specialists 5,495 12.88%

Source information provided by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) - June 2016

Our Recipe For Your Success

Academic & Industry Experts

Classes are taught and designed by credentialed professionals with real-world experience.

  • Programs are designed by combining the insight of industry leaders with the academic expertise of our faculty, ensuring what you learn translates into on-the-job success.

  • Academic concepts and theories are brought to life through our teaching faculty’s professional expertise, and can be immediately applied in your career.

  • Faculty with industry experience teach our courses, not graduate students or life-time academics, so you learn not only the theories behind the practice but also how to apply them in real-world situations.

Relevant & Consistent Curriculum

What you learn is a reflection of the program you choose, not the format in which it’s applied.

  • All programs are designed for learning outcomes to flow from the program level into actual coursework.

  • This top-down approach allows credentialed professionals to customize assignments based on trending industry topics without deviating from a program’s core outcomes.

  • Regardless of your professor or the format of your class, you receive the same quality education.

Hands-On Learning Experience

Franklin's coursework teaches not only theories and concepts, but also how they apply to practical situations.


  • Professional course designers ensure that class activities such as learning simulations, case studies, interactive videos, and group exercises are relevant and appropriate.

  • A curriculum development team is dedicated to making sure all courses are intuitively designed so content is taught in a logical manner that facilitates your success in the classroom and beyond.

Continuously Evolving Programs

Consistent program reviews ensure our programs stay at the forefront of industry trends.

  • Survey results and feedback from student and faculty assessments are reviewed regularly so that our programs are always improving and up-to-date.

  • A structured review process helps identify industry gaps that guide curriculum enhancements allowing our academic and industry experts to regularly implement new industry trends.

  • Regular assessment provides hard data that is used to improve student learning and teaching methods.

Get the details

View curriculum, read course descriptions,
and meet program faculty.

View Program Details