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Public Relations - Master's

Availability: Online Options

Why study public relations at Southern Miss?

The Master’s Degree in Public Relations is designed to be completed from anywhere in the world in four academic semesters. The degree is best for early to mid-career professionals looking to add to their credentials, those with an undergrad degree seeking to change directions, or those seeking to enter a mass communication doctoral program. The program focuses on research for both industry and academia and requires an internship or professional project.

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What Can You Do With a Public Relations MS?

A Master’s in Public Relations gives you strategic communication skills, crisis management abilities, and a deep understanding of media dynamics, making you valuable assets in various industries and sectors!

Regular Admission requirements include undergraduate transcripts from an accredited university with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 on the last 60 hours of undergraduate study. Additionally, students must provide three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, resume, and a writing sample.

International students must submit scores of at least 79 on the TOEFL exam or 6.5 on the IELTS exam.

Applicants without an undergraduate degree in mass communication must present evidence of general knowledge of the field and basic skills in news writing (including AP Style) and design. Such evidence may include courses taken post graduation and professional portfolios.

If applicants do not have sufficient evidence of a background in mass communication, they may be required to complete specified undergraduate courses concurrently or before entering the program. In most cases, these courses include:

  • MCJ 102 -- Media Writing
  • MCJ 203 -- Reporting
  • MCJ 300 -- Multimedia storytelling

Students who do not have substantial professional experience may opt to complete a semester-length approved internship, consisting of at least 160 total hours completed during the semester in which the student is registered. Students are responsible for securing their own internship, but each position must be approved by the graduate coordinator. Internship opportunities help students: enhance practical skills, gain experience in the field and create networking opportunities with communication professionals.

In addition to the professional internship, students may choose to implement a professional project demonstrating multi-media skills. Projects may include the creation of a series of publications or articles including, feature stories, news stories, editorials, columns, photos, and a narrative explaining sources, problems and theoretical basis; the creation and implementation of a comprehensive advertising or public relations campaign; the planning and implementation of a professional conference or significant special event; or the production of a significant film project. The advising professor will determine and provide specific requirements.

A limited number of assistantships may be awarded to qualified master’s students by a competitive application process. Assistants currently receive an academic-year stipend and a tuition waiver for up to 12 credit hours for each term of the appointment.

  • Students are encouraged to apply early and to notify the graduate coordinator of interest in applying for an assistantship upon acceptance into the program.
  • Potential graduate students will not be considered for award until they have been formally accepted into the program. Currently enrolled students may also apply for the Gene Wiggins or Arthur J. Kaul endowment scholarships.

Master’s students are eligible to apply to the university’s British Studies Program. There is currently a British Journalism and Social Media course offered during the summer term. Graduate students are provided an enhanced research opportunity abroad, as well as an opportunity to explore the UK and surrounding countries. Those interested in the program or any study abroad opportunity, please visit the Office of Study Abroad website.

Please review the International Graduate Admissions web page for information regarding international graduate admissions.

For questions specific to international students, contact Kacey Cole at the International Student and Scholar Services Office:


Our Faculty

The mass communication program is served by 12 graduate faculty members who have significant professional experience in their fields as well as advanced academic careers. In addition to teaching assigned graduate courses, faculty may serve in the capacity of academic advisor, thesis advisor or professional project director. In each instance, faculty provides guidance, support and direction to guide students in the successful completion of their specific project and/or program.


Degree Plan Availability
Public Relations MSOnline 100%

Explore the online program

  • Fundraising Managers
  • Advertising and Promotions Managers
  • Public Relations Managers
  • Fundraisers
  • Postsecondary Teachers
  • Public Relations Specialists
  • Amanda Calhoun, 2017, 
    Communications Coordinator, Moroch Partners
  • D’Anthony Jackson, 2016,
    Assistant Account Executive, Cohn & Wolfe
  • Samone Faulkner Wilson, 2011,
    Communications and Engagement Coordinator, Hattiesburg (MS) Public School District