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2021 Best Colleges for Public Relations & Advertising

Approximately 19,456 public relations and advertising degrees were awarded to students last year in the United States. With so many choices it can be a challenge finding the right fit. This year's Best Colleges for Public Relations & Advertising ranking analyzed 111 colleges and universities that offer a bachelor's degree in public relations and advertising. We look at over 20 factors to determine the top 16 schools for Public Relations & Advertising students.

Choosing a Great Public Relations & Advertising School

Best Colleges for Public Relations & Advertising The public relations program you select can have a big impact on your future. Important measures of a quality public relations program can vary widely even among the top schools. Below we explain some of the most important factors to consider before making your choice:

Quality Overall is Important

The overall quality of a school is important to ensure a good education, not just how well they do in a particular major. To account for this we consider a college's overall Best Colleges ranking which itself looks at a combination of various factors like degree completion, educational resources, student body caliber and post-graduation earnings for the school as a whole.

The lowest ranked school in our list is in the top 25% of our overall quality ranking while the vast majority are in at least the top 15%.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 224 to 32 )
Lowest Ranked Overall
Top Ranked Overall

Graduates Earn More After College

A public relations and advertising degree from schools on this list usually translates into above average income after graduation. While the average public relations and advertising bachelors degree from U.S. colleges results in an average starting salary of $34,735, graduates of colleges on this list average $41,250.

Starting Salary  ( 38466 to 44233 )
$0
$46,900

Other Factors We Consider

In addition to the above, you should consider some of the following factors:

  • Major Focus - How much a school focuses on Public Relations & Advertising students vs. other majors.
  • Major Popularity - How many other public relations and advertising students choose this school.
  • Accreditation - Whether a school is regionally accredited and/or a recognized public relations and advertising related accrediting body.

Our complete ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best colleges for Public Relations & Advertising students.

Best Schools to Study Public Relations & Advertising in United States

The following list ranks the best colleges and universities in the U.S. for a Public Relations & Advertising degree. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list. Of the 111 schools analyzed, only 16 earned the distinction of being on this list.

Top 16 Best Public Relations Colleges

The University of Texas at Austin is a great option for students interested in a Public Relations & Advertising major. UT Austin is a very large public school located in the city of Austin. A Best Colleges rank of 91 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means UT Austin is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, UT Austin also offers 2 different higher degree levels in public relations and advertising, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Students who graduate from this degree state that they receive average early career earnings of $41,000.

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Fashion Institute of Technology is a great decision for students interested in a Public Relations & Advertising degree. FIT SUNY is a moderately-sized public school located in the large city of New York. This college ranks 433rd out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

There are approximately 596 public relations and advertising undergrads enrolled in this degree at FIT SUNY. Graduates of the public relations program make around $39,100 in the first couple years of their career.

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#3

Pepperdine University

Malibu, CA

Pepperdine University is one of the best schools in the United States for public relations and advertising. Pepperdine is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Malibu. This school ranks 149th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

There are roughly 127 public relations and advertising undergrads enrolled in this program at Pepperdine. Graduates of the public relations program earn an average of $41,700 in their early career salary.

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#4

Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY

Syracuse University is one of the finest schools in the United States for public relations and advertising. Syracuse is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the medium-sized city of Syracuse. A Best Colleges rank of 119 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Syracuse is a great college overall.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, Syracuse also offers a Master's Degree in public relations and advertising. Public Relations & Advertising students from Syracuse University earn a boost of approximately $4,244 over the average income of public relations and advertising graduates.

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#5

American University

Washington, DC

The American University is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Washington. This school ranks 164th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of District of Columbia.

In addition to its bachelor's programs, The American University offers a Master's Degree in public relations and advertising. Students from the public relations and advertising program at American University earn $2,444 more than the typical graduate in this field when they enter the workforce.

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USC is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Los Angeles. A Best Colleges rank of 40 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means USC is a great school overall.

There are about 179 public relations and advertising undergrads studying this degree at USC. University of Southern California public relations and advertising majors earn $3,444 more than the standard public relations grad.

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GWU is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Washington. A Best Colleges rank of 115 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means GWU is a great college overall.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, GWU also offers a Master's Degree in public relations and advertising. Public Relations & Advertising students from George Washington University get a earnings boost of approximately $6,544 above the average earnings of public relations and advertising majors.

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SMU is a large private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Dallas. A Best Colleges rank of 114 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means SMU is a great school overall.

Southern Methodist University is one of the most popular school to study public relations in United States with over 105 graduates last year. Students who graduate from the public relations program earn around $41,900 in the first couple years of their career.

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#9

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI

Michigan State is a fairly large public school located in the small city of East Lansing. A Best Colleges rank of 107 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Michigan State is a great college overall.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, Michigan State also offers a Master's Degree in public relations and advertising. Students who complete this program state that they receive average early career income of $39,000.

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#10

University of Oregon

Eugene, OR

Located in the medium-sized city Eugene, UO is a public college with a very large student population. This college ranks 272nd out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Oregon.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, UO also offers a Master's Degree in public relations and advertising. Graduates of the public relations program earn an average of $36,200 for their early career.

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Located in the city Champaign, UIUC is a public college with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 92 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means UIUC is a great school overall.

There are about 244 public relations and advertising undergrads studying this program at UIUC. After graduating, public relations students typically make an average of $40,400 in the first five years of their career.

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#12

Drake University

Des Moines, IA

Drake is a small private not-for-profit school located in the medium-sized city of Des Moines. This school ranks 138th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Iowa.

There are approximately 49 public relations and advertising undergrads studying this program at Drake. Graduates of the public relations program make about $41,900 for their early career.

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#13

Chapman University

Orange, CA

Located in the medium-sized city Orange, Chapman is a private not-for-profit school with a moderately-sized student population. This school ranks 197th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

With 75 undergraduates, Chapman University is one of most popular schools to study public relations in United States. Soon after getting their bachelor's degree, public relations students typically earn an average of $40,700 in their early careers.

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#14

DePaul University

Chicago, IL

Located in the large city Chicago, DePaul is a private not-for-profit college with a very large student population. This school ranks 270th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Illinois.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, DePaul also offers a Master's Degree in public relations and advertising. After graduating, public relations students generally make an average of $36,900 at the beginning of their careers.

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#15

Gonzaga University

Spokane, WA

Gonzaga is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit school located in the medium-sized city of Spokane. This college ranks 139th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Washington.

There are approximately 39 public relations and advertising undergraduates enrolled in this degree at Gonzaga. Public Relations & Advertising graduates from Gonzaga University receive an earnings boost of approximately $4,044 over the typical income of public relations and advertising majors.

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#16

University of Miami

Coral Gables, FL

Located in the city Coral Gables, U Miami is a private not-for-profit school with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 103 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means U Miami is a great college overall.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, U Miami also offers a Master's Degree in public relations and advertising. Soon after getting their bachelor's degree, public relations students generally make about $38,700 in the first five years of their career.

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Honorable Mentions

These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top Best Colleges for Public Relations & Advertising award.

Rank College Location
17 Ithaca College Ithaca, NY
18 Pennsylvania State University - University Park University Park, PA
19 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
20 University of Georgia Athens, GA
21 The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL
22 Brigham Young University - Provo Provo, UT
23 Emerson College Boston, MA
24 Miami University - Oxford Oxford, OH
25 Assumption University Worcester, MA

Public Relations & Advertising by Region

View the Best Colleges for Public Relations & Advertising for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
The Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

One of 5 majors within the Communication & Journalism area of study, Public Relations & Advertising has other similar majors worth exploring.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Communication & Media Studies 68,301
Radio, Television & Digital Communication 16,150
Journalism 15,466
Communication & Journalism (Other) 1,784
Publishing 297

View All Public Relations Related Majors >

Notes and References

  • The bars on the spread charts above show the distribution of the schools on this list +/- one standard deviation from the mean.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to Bill Koplitz. More about our data sources and methodologies.

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