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What will I learn?

A graduate degree in Public Relations from USC Annenberg tells employers that you are a strategic thinker, a strong communicator, an accomplished writer and a professional with high potential.

USC’s degree program in Strategic Public Relations is ranked among the best in the world, preparing graduates not only for rewarding jobs in a variety of industries, but empowering them with the leadership skills and adaptability to navigate a profession that is constantly changing. Upon graduation, USC PR students are hired for their ability to hit the ground running with expert writing, multimedia and digital production, social media and strategic planning skills, and they are promoted quickly in their careers for their ability to analyze campaign outcomes, conduct original industry research and use theory to inform future thinking.

The M.A. in Strategic Public Relations is a 16 to 20-month program designed to educate the next generation of innovators and leaders in public relations and strategic communication. Graduates are sought by Fortune 500 companies, fast moving start-ups, public relations and digital agencies, communication consultancies as well as government organizations and the non-profit sector.

The program takes a highly applied approach that emphasizes strategic thinking, problem solving and specific skills to qualify graduates for a successful career in the exciting, rewarding and fast-growing public relations and other communication professions.

Public relations – also known as strategic communication – are among the fastest growing professions in the United States and abroad. At USC Annenberg, we think of public relations as advocacy communication, meaning the use of communication skills and tools to advocate on behalf of any brand, organization, social cause, entertainment property, celebrity, or candidate. Successful public relations professionals are creative, skilled strategists, counselors, managers and communicators. They know how to analyze problems, weigh options, develop solutions, advise senior management and implement programs that achieve organizational goals. The M.A. in Strategic Public Relations equips graduates with the conceptual and practical tools needed to be a leader in this dynamic field.

During the first year M.A. students build a solid foundation in strategic thinking, writing, ethics, content development and highly applied research and analysis. In their second year, students customize the program by selecting from among a wide variety of specialized courses focusing on such specific areas of practice as entertainment, crisis management, politics, sports, content creation, social media, etc. In this way the program helps students identify -- and then pursue -- the specific industry or specialization about which they are the most passionate.

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of the Strategic Public Relations program graduates will be able to:

  • think strategically, critically, creatively and independently;
  • demonstrate competency in the role of communications in organizational environments of all types;
  • apply professional and ethical principles in pursuit of truth, accuracy, fairness and diversity;
  • take into consideration the communication needs of a wide variety of diverse communities including gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation;
  • critically evaluate their own work and that of others for accuracy and fairness, clarity, appropriate style and grammatical correctness;

Which department am I in?

Anneberg School for Communication and Journalism

Study options

Full Time (40 units)

Tuition fees
US$57,256.00 per year
Start date

Expected January, August 2023


University of Southern California

University Park Campus,



90089, United States

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Applicants must have a Bachelor degree earned at an institution recognized by the Ministry of Education.

For international students

Applicants must have earned the equivalent of a 4-year U.S. bachelor’s degree with a competitive GPA.

Applicants to master's programs who have attained an Internet Based TOEFL (iBT) score of 90, with no less than 20 on each sub-score; or an IELTS score of 6.5, with no less than 6 on each band score.

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


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