4 benefits of a strategic public relations master’s degree

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With today’s highly connected world, social media, smart technology and other innovations have all had major impacts on business and personal life. Now video chatting with a relative a continent away is as easy as opening an app, while professionals can do the same with colleagues to collaborate on projects. Communication has always been important to daily life, but it is enhanced in the modern age.

Two people strategizing with documents

This makes a job in public relations attractive. Being at the forefront of trends in communication, social media and business affords these professionals an opportunity to grow their expertise, expand their perspective, find personal fulfillment and take advantage of new experiences. For instance, corporate social responsibility is an increasing concern for consumers, and being in a position to help a brand craft its message of sustainability and engage with its customers offers public relations specialists a rare opportunity to make a difference.

Being able to capitalize on such chances means having the skills and knowledge to navigate the world of communications, which students can gain through earning a Master’s in Strategic Public Relations (SPR). Yet learning new skills is hardly the lone benefit of earning such a graduate degree.

Here are four benefits  of a strategic public relations master’s degree that students should consider when researching the degree and jobs it prepares individuals for:

    1. Career flexibility

Perhaps one of the greatest advantages of earning a Master’s in Strategic Public Relations is that students can apply what they learned and experienced in the program to a wide variety of jobs. Having communication skills is highly valued in just about any employment setting, and when complemented by various other competencies students sharpen through an SPR graduate program, the career possibilities seem endless.

While an SPR degree clearly prepares students to take on the role of public relations specialists, they can just as easily apply for positions as a communications director, digital strategist, social media director or executive in public relations/communications. Professionals with an SPR master’s can also be found in various settings, including both the private and public sectors. This graduate degree can open doors to a public relations agency or becoming a corporate media strategist, as well as facilitate opportunities to work in government or nonprofits.

The career flexibility such a degree grants is a big advantage for professionals in a fast-paced job market and makes them attractive candidates for various public relations job titles.

  1. High-level knowledge of the industry

Designing winning public relations strategies and tactics entails more than just having the skills to deploy those initiatives. And indeed, while students gain those skills in an online SPR master’s program, they also get the industry perspective needed to apply those skills in the professional world. Public relations and media can be a complex industry, and what makes sense in theory could manifest much differently in real life. Closing this gap depends on appreciating the context of communications, something students can pick up through earning an SPR master’s.

The 24-hour news cycle seems to be running more quickly each day, so staying ahead of the curve and on top of the latest developments isn’t easy. This is a challenge that master’s-prepared public relations specialists can solve with tools and knowledge they gained through an online SPR program. Successful initiatives and campaigns depend on expert management. Experiential learning opportunities — like the capstone project of GW’s SPR program, which puts students in charge of an independent research project — go a long way toward preparing professionals to make the most of the political, cultural and social climate.

  1. An extensive network of peers and instructors to tap

Sometimes media and public relations is all about who you know, and after earning an SPR master’s degree, students may gain  useful contacts who can enhance their network. Indeed, connections play a massive role in communications, and a graduate program offers students a great way to build up those networks. Every contact can act as a potential outlet to a wider network, including peers, faculty and staff. Cultivating an expanded network is important because one never knows when the services or knowledge of a contact will be needed. Having those skilled and experienced names on deck can help students navigate the professional world.

  1. Learn on your own time

A specific advantage to learning online is that seasoned public relations professionals can go back to school and continue with their careers at the same time. Instead of choosing one or the other, online SPR master’s programs enable professionals to build their skill sets and even use them in their job the next day. Many in the field consider going back to school but might be hesitant because leaving the industry for even a short time could put them several steps back. However, that roadblock is essentially removed with online learning opportunities. When students can complete coursework on their own time, they can truly benefit from the rich and varied material they encounter in a graduate program.

Two men brainstorming on a board.

Contact GW for more information

Earning a Master’s in Strategic Public Relations can confer a number of advantages for graduates. Besides all the new skills and competencies students can gain, there are various benefits  to such a degree that can be leveraged across the duration of a career, and even in personal interactions. Whether it’s the expertise a deep professional network can offer or job flexibility, an online SPR master’s degree can add much to any learning experience.

Contact an enrollment advisor at GW today for more information about our program.

Recommended Readings:
A look at the modern PR landscape
Classes you can take in the GW Online Master’s in Strategic Public Relations program

George Washington University