Is Graduate School Essential For PR Students?

I’m often asked by students if they should attend graduate school after receiving their undergraduate degree.  As with many things in life, the answer is often “it depends.”  It depends on what kind of career a student envisions for his or herself.  Is a graduate degree absolutely required to practice public relations?  No.  Is it advisable?  If you someday want to be offering strategic counsel to CEOs, senior executives and clients, and be valued as an experienced and knowledgeable communications counselor, then yes.
 
As the field of public relations becomes more complex, and the rate of change – technological and otherwise – increases, more education is always better.  In many organizations, for-profit and non-profit alike, public relations is already seen as a strategic function, not just the department writing news releases and staging events.  In order to fulfill the strategic role public relations professionals are increasingly being called upon to meet, a graduate degree is becoming more necessary.
A growing trend is online graduate degrees.  More universities are offering this option for the busy working professional or for those who can’t attend on-campus classrooms.  Online programs offer the flexibility of doing the work on your schedule, but they also demand a lot of self-discipline and time management skills.  Some programs are strictly online and a student may never visit the actual campus, while others demand some time on campus, such as one weekend per semester.  It’s advisable to check out each program’s individual criteria for applying and requirements.
 
At Temple, we offer a number of graduate degrees in the field of communications.  They include a Master of Arts in Media Studies and Production, Master of Journalism, Master of Science in Communication Management, Master of Science in Globalization and Development Communication, and a Ph.D. program in Media and Communication.  These graduate programs have been growing, bringing together students and working professionals from all kinds of organizations and industries, from corporate to non-profit, from healthcare to cable television.  In addition, an increasing number of international students are enrolled, bringing their own unique perspectives and set of cultural norms to in-class discussions. 
Currently more than 200 graduate students pursue professional and scholarly opportunities preparing for further research and doctoral work, or for furthering their careers in media, communications policy, communications management, and production.  For more information, visit http://smc.temple.edu/graduate.
 
This guest blog post was written by PRowl and Temple PRSSA Advisor Gregg Feistman. 
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