Graduate programs

Masters of Science in Mass Communication - Strategic Public Relations

Note from the Director of Graduate Studies: This program does not currently accept applications as it will not be running during the 2019-2020 academic year. The Robertson School is in the process of updating the program curriculum. Please check back for updates.

Graduates of the fast-track master’s degree in strategic public relations are a new generation of communications professionals who are able to function at the highest levels of management and apply sophisticated strategic thinking to accomplish organizational objectives.

The selective professional program is 30 credit hours, including 6 hours of approved elective courses in areas such as nonprofit management, business management and marketing. Courses are taught by full-time faculty and experienced public relations professionals. Students take weekend classes (Friday evening and all day Saturday) as a cohort through four semesters. Continued full-time public relations employment is encouraged during the program.

Admission requirements include an academic background in public relations (university or professional accreditation program) and appropriate public relations experience. Applicants also need to take the Graduate Records Examinations (GRE) General Test. Learn more about the GRE and see a list of GRE testing centers.


The Master of Science in Mass Communications (Strategic Public Relations) is a leading-edge professional education program that prepares students at various stages in their public relations careers to function at the highest levels of management and apply sophisticated strategic thinking and problem solving to accomplish organizational objectives. It prepares students for increased leadership responsibilities in developing, implementing and evaluating effective communication campaigns in an environment of dynamic change and globalization.

Student Learning Objectives

Students graduating from this program will...

  • demonstrate higher level skills of the public relations management function, including strategy development and critical thinking;
  • communicate clearly and effectively in written and spoken forms appropriate to strategic public relations practices and audiences;
  • demonstrate the ability to conduct research and evaluation to support strategic public relations decision-making; and
  • effectively apply tools and technologies appropriate to managing the process for strategic public relations.

See the program description and degree requirements for the Strategic Public Relations graduate program in the VCU Bulletin.

The Judy VanSlyke Turk Scholarship

The Judy VanSlyke Turk Scholarship was established in the Robertson School to honor Dr. Turk’s leadership as director of the School from 2002-2010. It was awarded for the first time in 2012.

Applications for this approximately $1000 scholarship will be posted by spring and are due by summer. Students who apply must have completed the application process and have been admitted to the strategic public relations graduate program.