New Advantage for APR Credentialed PR Pros Seeking the Health Communication Master’s

New Advantage for APR Credentialed PR Pros Seeking the Health Communication Master’s

In a promising development for public relations professionals seeking entry into high-growth health-related fields, Boston University’s Metropolitan College will now waive two required courses in the Master of Science in Health Communication (MSHC) program for admitted students bearing the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) credential.

With the waiver, which grants accredited MSHC candidates exemptions from Contemporary Public Relations (MET HC 756) and Media Relations for Health Communicators (MET HC 758), students can earn their master’s degree in as few as 14 months and save an estimated 20 percent in projected tuition costs. APR-holding applicants may also forgo the admissions essays normally required and instead submit a brief professional statement. The dispensation comes in recognition of the expertise in strategic communication and ethical standards achieved by those holding the APR.

Press Release

Boston University Grants Waiver to APR-Holding
PR Professionals Seeking a Health Communication
Master’s Degree

Once the first university to offer a public relations degree, BU is now the first to waive
credits for PR pros seeking advanced credentials in the health communication field

March 12, 2018, Boston—Boston University Metropolitan College has announced that professionals who have previously earned the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) are now eligible to waive two courses upon acceptance to the school’s Master of Science in Health Communication (MSHC) program. Additionally, in lieu of the admissions essays normally required, applicants to the MSHC program with the APR may instead submit a brief professional statement.

The two-course waiver recognizes the mastery of strategic communication practice, competencies, and ethical standards achieved by those holding the APR credential, which is administered by the nation’s largest professional communications network, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), and for more than 50 years has been internationally recognized as the industry standard in credentials for public relations professionals.

Upon acceptance to the MSHC program, students with the APR or APR+M may waive Contemporary Public Relations (MET HC 756) and Media Relations for Health Communicators (MET HC 758)—the equivalent to 8 academic credit hours. With this exemption, qualified students can earn their master’s degree in as few as 14 months, saving an estimated 20 percent in total projected tuition costs.

“We’re extremely pleased to be the first health communication master’s program to partner with the Public Relations Society of America and offer this opportunity to accredited professionals,” said BU Health Communication Program Director Leigh Curtin-Wilding. “At this pivotal time of transformation and uncertainty in health care, the standards of quality and trust that both an APR and a Master of Science bring to the field of professional health communication are highly valued by stakeholders at every level.”

“We welcome Boston University Metropolitan College to the growing list of educational institutions that recognize the importance and integrity of the APR credential as professionals continue to further their educational and career opportunities,” said Anthony D’Angelo, APR, Fellow PRSA, Chair, Public Relations Society of America.

The first fully online degree of its kind, the MSHC is offered by Boston University’s Metropolitan College in collaboration with BU’s College of Communication—which in 1947 introduced the world’s very first degree in public relations. Launched in 2008, the MSHC was co-founded and developed by Dr. Domenic Screnci, senior advisor for academic and emerging technologies at MET, and Associate Professor Steve Quigley, APR—a former delegate to the National PRSA Assembly, recipient of its 2011 Outstanding Educator Award, and former president of the PRSA Boston Chapter. To date, more than 300 students have graduated from the program, which has received global and national recognition for its innovative and outstanding work. In 2017, the team behind the course Visual Communication in the Digital Health Age (MET HC 762) received the Blackboard Catalyst Award for Teaching & Learning—an international honor recognizing educators and institutions who have adopted flexible, distance, and online delivery to positively impact the educational experience.

The Health Communication master’s program at Boston University immerses students in a curriculum comprising health care fundamentals, visual branding and storytelling, marketing, mass media strategies, health literacy, public relations, health care policy, biology, epidemiology, and research methods. The multidisciplinary program will prepare graduates to leverage their expertise in marketing and communication strategies, consumer health and wellness promotion, digital and social media management, health advocacy, patient education, journalism and writing, and multi-media content development to help patients, consumers, providers, and health organizations effectively communicate about health care and wellness.

In recognition of the rigorous program of study required to earn the APR or APR+M, applicants accepted into the Master of Science in Health Communication program need only complete eight of the ten required courses. Applicants will be expected to provide proof of their accreditation. Students are admitted to the MSHC program on a rolling basis throughout the year.

About Boston University

Founded in 1839, Boston University is internationally recognized as a top institution of higher learning and research. With more than 33,000 students from all 50 states and 130 countries, it is the fourth-largest independent university in the United States. BU consists of 17 schools and colleges, offering more than 250 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and special degree programs. Collectively, the BU network has more than 340,000 alumni worldwide. The University is ranked #6 globally and #5 in the U.S. for graduate employability by Times Higher Education.

About Metropolitan College & the College of Communication

As one of Boston University’s 17 degree-granting bodies, Metropolitan College (MET) has helped broaden the reach of BU for more than half a century, with part-time study during the evening and through innovative online and blended programs. Today, the College hosts more than 70 undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs, along with hundreds of individual courses, that support the academic, professional and intellectual needs of working adults. For more information visit

BU’s College of Communication (COM) is dedicated to the proposition that the free flow of ideas and accurate information is vital to the development and improvement of democratic societies. Recently recognized as a destination for “new influencers” in media by PR Week, the College has long been committed to educating professional communicators, offering the world’s first degree in public relations in 1947 and the first master’s and PhD degrees in emerging media studies in 2015. Learn more at

About Boston University’s Distance Education Programs

The Distance Education office works with Boston University schools and colleges to develop rigorous, industry-relevant graduate programs that are fully online. Flexible and affordable, BU’s acclaimed online degree and certificate programs are team-developed by full-time faculty, instructional designers, and expert multimedia professionals, providing a state-of-the-art, accessible learning environment distinguished by individualized support for each student.

In 2017, ranked Boston University #4 among the Top Ten Best Online Colleges. U.S. News & World Report ranks many of Metropolitan College’s online graduate degree programs among the top ten. For information about online programs at Boston University, visit

About the Accreditation in Public Relations, UAB & PRSA

Developed in 1964, the APR is governed, coordinated, and continually updated by the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB), which represents nine public relations organizations that count more than 25,000 public relations professionals as members. The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) administers the Accreditation in Public Relations program.

To earn the APR, candidates present a comprehensive public relations plan to a panel of their peers, followed by a computer-based Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations, which assesses understanding of a comprehensive set of industry knowledge, skills, and abilities. For more information about the APR designation and UAB, visit

PRSA is the nation’s largest professional organization serving the communications community. The organization’s mission is to make communications professionals smarter, better prepared and more connected through all stages of their career. PRSA achieves this by offering its members thought leadership, innovative lifelong learning opportunities to help them develop new skills, enhance their credibility and connect with a strong network of professionals. The organization sets the standards of professional excellence and ethical conduct for the public relations industry. PRSA collectively represents more than 30,000 members consisting of communications professionals spanning every industry sector nationwide and college and university students who encompass the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). Learn more about PRSA at