Written by our PR intern and university student Bridie Buckingham…
Most of us understand the pressure of choosing the right degree. It can be stressful figuring out what career path you want to take, and when you add all the possible degree options there are available nowadays – it can become very overwhelming. We all want to pick the right degree for us; one that will give us a head start in our chosen field for sure, but one we know that we will enjoy. However, with multiple routes into the world of PR it can be confusing to know which degree to choose.
PR is a complex industry and there are many aspects to it. So, as you can probably imagine, there are a broad range of degrees for you to choose from that will give you a helping hand when it comes to getting the job you want. I hope that from my experience I can shed some light onto the best options for you if you are thinking about a career in PR and take away some of that stress.
More Arts, Less STEM
You don’t have to have studied PR or marketing, to enter the PR industry. In fact, many people working in PR don’t even have degrees. Having said that, the transition out of education and into the workplace is likely to be easier and less bumpy for those who took subjects focused on communicating. Traditionally, subjects like Politics, History, English, Philosophy and even Foreign Languages tend to produce graduates better suited for PR than those with STEM degrees, for example. Although, given our growing reliance on technology, these degrees still absolutely play an important role in the evolving nature of communications too. If you have a passion for storytelling and communicating, then there’s likely a role in PR for you – no matter your educational background.
Which Degree Is Best For PR?
PR (Public Relations)
With PR degrees, the risk is that – in this fast-evolving industry – the course content can become out-of-date quite quickly. Another risk is that students may enter the workplace only to find that the working reality is VERY different from the theory. This is why I believe that PR work experience or a year in industry is essential for any PR degree. If you’re looking to go down this route, do make sure you look at courses with a placement year. Equally, try and line up lots of work experience either in-agency or in-house whilst studying; most universities will encourage and even assist you with getting relevant experience. If you’d like to learn more about how to gain PR work experience, you can read my blog on this by clicking here.
Arts & Business
Courses like Creative Writing or Art can help students develop their creative and compelling storytelling skills; something that is highly valued in PR. A creative brain produces innovative ideas and can become a highly valuable asset to a team when brainstorming strategies and avoiding repetition. Additionally, anyone who studies a business degree will understand the importance of marketing as a whole. As well as this, they will be masters at forward-thinking and possess great strategic knowledge that provides creatives with the commercial vision they need to improve performance.
Journalism courses tend to teach students how to write all styles of articles, edit using multiple programs and curate content for multiple media outlets. They provide a kind of flexibility that other courses struggle to when it comes to specialising. Courses like this also aid in building communicative skills. Experience is also key here, and even PR experience is considered valid for a journalism degree. Many of those who have studied or worked in journalism move over to the PR industry, and their skills are invaluable to our practice.
English Language & Literature
As PR is all about understanding audiences’ behaviour and harnessing creativity, courses like English, Psychology and Journalism may give graduates a head start. English can also be paired with a variety of subjects with many relevant links, so do look into joint-honours degrees. With a BA in English, you will develop excellent written and oral communication skills, making you perfect for PR. Crucially, you’ll also learn to write well. This not only includes proper grammar, sentence structure, and punctuation, it means learning to write in a manner that is engaging and effective. Many courses may focus on writing but none to the extent of an English degree that allows you to hone your skills as a writer and communicator. You’ll also learn to read analytically. Being able to take in information and understand it before reframing this information so it can be understood by others, is a skill that is necessary for a successful career in PR.
At Source PR, our staff hold a mixed bag of degrees, including English Literature, Business & PR and Geography. PR is as about personality, imagination, creation, people skills and application. As long as you have these skills you are sure to succeed, regardless of your choice of university degree. Don’t stress and make sure to explore all your options. Happy hunting!