PR Degree, Do Or Don’t?

by chuckgaowestminster


Last week, My course leader Michaela had talked about weather people need a PR degree to work in this industry. Honestly, I never thought about this question before,since I had choose this course just as PR is my favourite Media & Communication related subject.  Undoubtedly, for most of professions, a related degree is must-have. Can you imagine a doctor who was not graduate from medical school or a software programmer who graduate from law school? that’s crazy, isn’t it?

But the problem is, PR probably is the only exception here in this world. Public Relations has undergone criticism and questioning ever since its invented. PR has always have a PR problem — the image.

“My heart always sinks when I meet new people and the inevitable urban question pops out: ‘So what do you do for a living?’  I tend to end my explanation, shortly before the eyes of the listener start to glaze, with the same line: ‘I work in PR, but it is not the PR that you think that you know.'”

——Benjamin Webb

People always associate bad images (such as unethical, spin, lobbying)  with PR.Some people even think PR is a craft rather than a profession. one of the reason for this situation is probably the low educational background entry standard of PR industry. Actually, some of the most success PR companies  had started with just a telephone and a office table.

I just had looked at Webber Shandwick’s leadership, sadly, none of them are holding a PR degree. Actually, most of the leaders had graduated from literature major like English or History.

Like other media major, what employer actually value is your experiences, your works, and your skills instead of your education background, so is a PR degree just waste of time? my answer is NO, absolutely not.

PR industry is same as other media major in terms of it is not an exact science and operates across various sectors, from healthcare to financial, this require us to grasp a broad range of knowledges rather than merely communication and marketing knowledges to keep us think outside the box. However, PR Students have their unbeatable advantages. PR students get to know the history and theories of comms, marketing, advertising and PR and all of this makes them better prepared for the world of PR. So that PR student tend to  have more perspective for the development of PR industry and they can do better in terms of associate PR to society. Trevor Morris, visiting professor of PR at Westminster University, believes the major benefits of PR degrees appear after graduates have spent two or three years in the industry. ‘That is when the depth and breadth of their PR understanding will have kicked in.’

Secondly, Since the job market are increasingly fierce in global context, the job related practice which included in PR degree made another solid advantage for PR student.You will get countless hours of writing practice, be exposed to numerous internship and networking opportunities, and most certainly experience personal and professional growth. If you are going to make mistakes, it’s better to do it surrounded by the comfort and constructive support of your school.

All in all, a successful career can not just based on a paper of educational certification, the only way for us to success is ball hard.


Viewpoint: Does public relations have a PR problem?

Careers: The pros and cons of a degree in PR

Further Reading:

Is a degree in public relations necessary for success?

Do you need a degree to work in PR?

Success by degrees

3 Things You Can Do with a Degree in PR or Communications When You’re Done with Classes

Are PR degrees worth it?