MS in Public Relations

The Master of Science in Public Relations is a three-semester, 48-credit program developed to recognize that in today’s society, public relations professionals are employed in a wide variety of settings—from business, government, and nonprofits, to crisis communication, ethics, new media, and investor relations. The goal of the curriculum is to educate students for careers in communication-based activities in such areas. Students are prepared not just for entry-level positions, but for advancement in their selected fields.

Initial courses provide an overview of contemporary public relations, the nature of human communication, and the role of the media. Students then choose at least one area of specialization for more advanced work. They must develop the ability to write clearly and concisely in the formats of contemporary media, addressing specific audience segments. In addition, because public relations is a management function, the curriculum includes courses that provide a professional focus as well as those in theory and research. Students studying public relations will augment their degree by taking electives in the following fields: nonprofit, corporate, and international.

Completion Requirement: All students are required to pass a comprehensive exam, complete a professional project, or complete a thesis during their final semester of course study to qualify for graduation. Students who study in London will complete a professional project.

The 12 courses needed to complete the minimum 48 credit hours for the MS in Public Relations are distributed as follows:

  • 7 required courses
  • 3 courses in the public relations area
  • 2 general electives taken within the department or elsewhere at Boston University at the 500 level or higher


Required Courses

All MS candidates in public relations are required to take the following seven courses (prerequisites are listed in parentheses):

  • COM CM 701 Contemporary Public Relations
  • COM CM 710 Communication Theory
  • COM CM 722 Communication Research
  • COM CM 742 Media Relations (COM CM 701 and CM 705/707)
  • COM CM 700 Financial & Strategic Management for Communication Professionals

Choose one from:

  • COM CM 705 Writing for International Students or COM CM 707 Writing for Media Professionals

Choose one from:

  • COM CM 709 Corporate Public Affairs (COM CM 701) or COM CM 715 Public Relations in Nonprofit Settings (COM CM 701) or COM CM 734 Governmental PR (COM CM 701)

Public Relations Electives

Select three from the following:

  • COM CM 513 Investor Relations
  • COM CM 515 Community Relations (COM CM 701)
  • COM CM 522 Managing Corporate Crises and Issues (COM CM 701)
  • COM CM 525 PR Ethics (COM CM 701)
  • COM CM 528 Organizational Communication
  • COM CM 535 Political Campaigning
  • COM CM 723 Advanced Communication Research (COM CM 722)
  • COM CM 728 International Public Relations
  • COM CM 730 Marketing Communication
  • COM CM 738 International Marketing Communication (London only)
  • COM CM 743 New Media & PR (COM CM 701)
  • COM CM 750 Advanced Writing for Media Professionals (COM CM 705/707)
  • COM CM 772 PR Lab (COM CM 701)
  • COM CM 809 Internship (4-credit limit) (COM CM 701)

Electives for the MS in Public Relations

The additional courses needed to complete the minimum 48 credits for the MS in Public Relations can be taken within the department or elsewhere at Boston University. Courses must be at the 500 level or higher.

Graduate Internship

Taking a graduate internship, which provides professional and networking opportunities, is highly recommended for students planning their careers. See COM CM 809. Except in the case of the Graduate London Summer Internship Program, internships are not available during summer term. Any exceptions must be coordinated through the department chair.