The 10 Best Public Relations Schools in the US

3. American University (Washington, DC)

American University
Herrperry123, Eric Freidheim Quadrangle, CC BY-SA 4.0

Like many schools located in Washington, D.C., American University excels at public and global affairs education. AU’s Christian roots have also fueled its public service and social justice values.

In addition to learning hard and soft skills related to PR, students also take history and economics courses for a broader view of the PR industry.

Like Emerson and UF, PR students at AU can pursue combined degrees, whereby they earn both B.A and M.A. in less time.

AU faculty have a combination of scholarly and practical experience in PR. Khaldoun AbouAssi’s research has appeared in journals such as Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Quarterly and the International Journal of Public Administration. He also worked over 12 years in public and nonprofit organizations in the Middle East.

Famous alumni include Washington, D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser, Sierra Leone president Julius Maada Bio, and TV personality Judge Judy.

2. Drake University (Des Moines, IA)

Drake University
Picture Des Moines, Drake University Entrance, CC BY 2.0

Drake University’s undergraduate public relations program is one of only 40 other programs around the world that have received the elite Certification in Education for Public Relations (CEPR).

The rigor of a Drake education reflects that distinction. In their senior year, PR students collaborate with peers to create a multimedia campaign for local nonprofits. This capstone project will serve as a portfolio asset and prepare graduates for PR positions across both private and public sectors.

Drake faculty have diverse PR experiences around the world. Eric Kwame Adae worked a variety of PR roles in Ghana and currently conducts research on the intersections between conservationism, social justice, and corporate activism. Kelly Bruhn conducted award-winning campaigns for Verizon as well as many nonprofit organizations.

Drake has produced many prominent politicians, including four Iowa governors and 10 U.S. Representatives of Iowa.

1. Syracuse University (Syracuse, NY)

Syracuse University Newhouse School
DASonnenfeld, Newhouse School Syracuse Univ, CC BY-SA 4.0

Syracuse joins Drake on the exclusive list of PR programs that have won recognition from the CEPR. It ranks #1 on U.S. News’s list of best graduate programs for public affairs.

As one of the earliest PR programs in the nation, Syracuse teaches students the fundamentals of writing, speaking, and presenting that define consummate PR professionals. With the help of Syracuse partner PAN Communications — a national integrated marketing and PR agency — students will have a full online portfolio to present to prospective employers by graduation.

At Syracuse, students will learn directly from today’s best PR professionals. Christopher Cathcart has over 30 years of experience at major media companies like CNN/Turner Broadcasting, Motown Records, and Warner Bros. Television. Gary Grates’s 25+ years of experience has led him to consult with over 100 CEOs and organizations, including PepsiCo, Shell, Kraft, eBay, and Pfizer.

Notable alumni of Syracuse include President Joe Biden, pioneer astronaut Eileen Collins, and Emmy Award-winning sportscaster Bob Costas.

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