By “Charlotte Leung, Contributor” on April 25, 2023
Discover the Top 10 Public Relations schools in Ontario, Canada, renowned for their exceptional programs, faculty, and resources, to help you launch a successful PR career. Explore our comprehensive guide today!
1. Humber College
The Ontario Graduate Certificate in Public Relations is a comprehensive program offered by Humber, starting in January and September, and lasts for 3 semesters. It is known as a top training ground for PR professionals in Canada. The program focuses on developing skills in planning, executing PR strategies, writing, research, media literacy, and more, taught by experienced professors. It is focused on preparing students to launch the degree on the first day of their work placement. Students will learn how to plan, develop and execute effective public relations strategies and build critical skills in all aspects of PR.
Courses include Event Planning, Public Affairs, Media Relations, and more. Practical public relations courses will provide students with a valuable and useful introduction to the field. After two academic semesters, students complete a mandatory work placement to gain practical experience and expand their network.
Career opportunities for graduates include media relations, corporate communications, event planning, and more in various sectors, with work being fast-paced and varied. Humber Pathways include opportunities to build on your college education and complete your diploma or degree at Humber with the Degree and graduate study opportunities at other institutions in Ontario, Canada and abroad.
Many students choose Humber College because of its outstanding work placement program. After completing two academic semesters, students will complete a mandatory work placement to gain valuable job skills and industry knowledge while building their network. Historically, students find work placements in PR agencies, corporations, entertainment organizations and not-for-profits including arts organizations, hospitals, associations and government.
2. Seneca College
The Innovators of PR Education
Seneca College’s cutting-edge public relations program is known for its innovative approach to teaching, hands-on experiences, and strong connections with top PR firms. A degree from Seneca will position you for success in the ever-evolving world of PR.
The eight-month graduate certificate program in Public Relations and Corporate Communications teaches students PR theory and practice, including writing news releases, media relations and digital communications. Students collaborate with peers from around the world and access a top-notch library. Key skills include writing press releases, pitching to the media, public speaking, and event planning. An optional work term offers practical experience. Graduates can explore careers in communications, account or social media coordination, crisis communications, speech writing and event planning.
The program is recognized by the CPRS, IABC, PRSA, and IPRA, with the curriculum based on international PR standards and recommendations. Students will be mentored by highly experienced teachers and learn how to effectively pursue a career in the public relations and communications industry. Students meeting all academic requirements may have the opportunity to complete an optional work term(s) in a formal work environment that may be paid or unpaid.
The curriculum has been developed based on recommendations and standards of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the International Public Relations Association (IPRA). IPRA, a group of senior public relations practitioners from 100 countries is based in London, England. It actively engages in research and conducts an international congress every three years, intending to advance public relations practice and education on a global level. The training of students for the public relations profession implies curricula and internships that equip them for the kind of future environment in which they will be working, not just that which exists today.
3. Centennial College
The PR Career Accelerator
Centennial College’s public relations program offers students a unique blend of theoretical knowledge and practical experience, preparing them for a successful career in PR. Their co-op placements and industry partnerships provide valuable networking opportunities.
The Public Relations – Corporate Communications program is a highly-regarded, one-year graduate certificate program in Toronto, starting in Fall and Winter. Based at the Story Arts Centre campus, the program covers various aspects of PR through courses taught by industry experts.
Students work with real clients, create strategic communications plans and organize events for local charities. Notable features include a history of winning awards from Student of the Year (IABC, CPRS) to Educator of the Year (CPRS) to Student Communications Plans of the Year. Courses include Communications Management 1, Public Relations Writing, Project and Event Management, Visual Communication, Storyworks, and Field Placement.
The Storyworks Course allows students to work with real clients, on real projects, getting real results and valuable industry experience. The Project and Event Management course allow students to create fundraising events for local charities on zero budget, learning very quickly how to line up sponsors, work with clients, and promote and organize an event. Scan choose from a list of some of the leading PR employers and professionals in the GTHA to choose for their field placement.
The industry experts who teach the courses will ensure students learn to research, write, plan, design and implement strategic communications plans for real clients, analyze paid influencers, organize real events for local charities, produce videos and newsletters, and write media releases and employee intranet articles in CP style.
Students can gain an understanding of how communications strategies influence employee attitudes, shift stakeholders’ opinions and tell an organization’s story to the media. Through connecting with the PR industry, students can work with real clients on campaigns designed and executed by students including Alpine Canada, Invictus Games, CivicAction, and GenWell.
4. Sheridan College
The Creative PR Education Hub
With a focus on creativity and storytelling, Sheridan College’s public relations program is a top choice for students looking to hone their communications skills. Graduates are well-prepared to excel in the dynamic and competitive PR landscape.
The Public Relations – Corporate Communications program at Sheridan’s Trafalgar Road Campus is a 1-year, hands-on program that focuses on real-world assignments and client work. Students learn to create persuasive content, express themselves in public forums and develop online communications.
The program concludes with a five-week onsite job placement. Students develop skills in strategic communication, internal corporate communications, social media and crisis response. Sheridan students have won awards for excellence in Public Relations and have taken top honours in the Canadian Public Relations Society’s (Hamilton Chapter) Pinnacle Awards for excellence in Public Relations.
Students can gain hands-on, project-based assignments by writing persuasive and informative copy for internal and external publications, news releases, conference presentations, speeches and public service announcements. Not only can students express themselves in a variety of public forums such as media interviews and news conferences, but they can also create websites, blogs, podcasts, video content, email blasts and other online communications. Some work includes weaving social media and diversity communications into all aspects of tactical delivery to earn an audience’s attention, influence attitudes and motivate behaviour.
The program is a fast track to employment with a portfolio built, real-world experience and a master’s in both practical and theoretical aspects of business communications. In the last five weeks of the program in onsite job placement, working with professionals creates career opportunities spanning various industries such as Communications Adviser and Communications Specialist.
5. Fanshawe College
The PR Strategists
Fanshawe College’s public relations program emphasizes strategic thinking, equipping students with the knowledge and skills to create effective PR campaigns. Their strong industry connections offer valuable networking opportunities for students and graduates alike.
Fanshawe’s Public Relations – Corporate Communications program is a one-year Ontario College Graduate Certificate program that equips students with employable skills in strategic communications and public relations. The program covers public relations strategies and technical skills such as graphic and press release distribution. Students gain real-world experience through a 224-hour field placement with industry partners.
The program focuses on developing superior writing skills, teamwork, graphic design skills, and technological savvy. Learning outcomes include writing clear communication materials, applying public relations theories and practices and coordinating visually effective communications. Coordinate the production of, and produce visually effective print, graphic, and electronic communications. Develop ongoing strategies and plans to enhance personal and professional development and promote the development of the public relations profession. Students will learn how to plan, develop and execute effective public relations strategies and even ethical issues organizations face every day with technical skills to graduate career-ready.
A second-term field placement allows students to put these new skills to work. Students will make business contacts through professional associations and complete coursework with a community focus. The program focuses on developing skills in writing clear and targeted communication materials and promoting personal and professional development within the PR profession.
Graduates can work in various sectors, including healthcare and non-profits. Job roles may include Communications Specialist, Communications/Public Relations Officer, and Events and Communications Coordinator.
6. Mohawk College
The PR Storytellers
Mohawk College’s public relations program is centered around the art of storytelling, equipping students with the tools to craft compelling narratives. Their experienced faculty and hands-on approach prepare graduates for diverse PR roles.
The Mohawk College Public Relations – Corporate Communications graduate certificate program has established itself as a leader in innovative training employers look for from our skilled grads. Highly sought-after grads find employment across a broad spectrum of industries.
It trains students in effective communication management across various industries. Students gain hands-on experience in social media, digital communications, media relations, crisis communication, ethics and event planning. The program offers a flexible 140-hour field placement, real-world projects through the in-house communications agency and opportunities to network with industry professionals.
They will also work on real-world projects with actual clients through the in-house communications agency and develop a professional portfolio. Students will learn PR strategies, social and digital media usage, media relations, PR analysis and event planning while developing a professional portfolio. The program also encourages involvement with industry associations such as CPRS and IABC.
Students can build their own public relations and corporate communications network through various activities. They can also become student members of the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) and the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), two of the largest industry associations in Canada. Students will learn to create PR strategies, use social and digital media, and explore media relations, crisis communications, and advertising.
Future career options include roles in public relations, corporate communications, social media, media relations, community relations, public affairs, and event management. Potential workplaces encompass corporations, professional organizations, government entities, not-for-profits, PR and advertising agencies, as well as industries like sports, entertainment, fashion, lifestyle, and event management.
7. Durham College
The PR Collaborators
Durham College’s public relations program focuses on collaboration and teamwork, fostering an environment where students can develop their skills and build lasting connections. Graduates are well-prepared for a range of PR roles across various industries.
The Ontario College Advanced Diploma in Public Relations is a five-semester program that prepares students for in-demand PR roles through a hands-on curriculum and two unique field placements.
This fast-track, three-year diploma program in public relations focuses on effective communication strategies and offers a wide range of career opportunities.
Some of the courses include Communication Foundations, Electronic Publishing I, Digital Photography
Digital Imaging for Public Relations and Corporate Management.
Students will develop writing and editing skills, gain hands-on experience through field placements and produce an award-winning alumni magazine. Students will also plan and execute media conferences, participate in an international field trip and complete a corporate PR placement. Program learning outcomes include coordinating public relations activities, implementing strategies, writing and editing targeted copy, applying design principles and building professional relationships.
Graduates can work in various fields as social media coordinators, event planners, publicists, media relations coordinators, PR coordinators, digital content specialists, account coordinators, communications coordinators or freelance PR consultants.
A creative PR professional is an essential part of any successful business or non-profit organization. In this growing industry Durham graduates are highly sought after and enjoy a wide range of career opportunities. The hands-on curriculum includes two unique field placements. Durham College is the only compressed program in Ontario, which allows graduates to enter the workforce in just two calendar years.
8. George Brown College
The PR Global Connectors
George Brown College’s public relations program offers a global perspective, emphasizing intercultural communication and international PR strategies. Students are prepared to excel in today’s diverse and interconnected PR landscape.
9. York University
A Launchpad for Your PR Career
At York University’s PR School, students benefit from a well-rounded curriculum that covers essential public relations topics, such as strategic communications, media relations, and digital marketing. The program’s focus on both theory and practice ensures graduates are ready to excel in diverse PR roles.
The Post-Graduate Certificate in Public Relations is an 8 months program with an optional Work Placement. By studying the program, students can gain public relations expertise to broadcast brand messages to the right audience, at the right time, using traditional and digital media. With the part-time Post-Graduate Certificate in Public Relations, students can sharpen their understanding of public relations fundamentals and strategy, marketing principles, digital storytelling and many more vital areas to effectively connect with their audience.
Students will learn how to plan, initiate and complete a communications plan by developing strategic thinking and a digitally-focused approach to succeed in today’s marketplace. Ethics and industry codes of professional standards to public relations will also be introduced with skills to create content across different channels and handle and respond to incidents, issues and crises.
Some courses include Content Creation, Strategic Messaging and Storytelling, Stakeholder Relations and Community Engagement, Strategic Planning, Research & Measurement and Reputation Management and Crisis Communication.
The highlighted program benefits include a curriculum developed in collaboration with and taught by public relations leaders to develop your skills through experiential assignments and projects and graduating with a portfolio of work.
10. The Chang School of Continuing Education - Toronto Metropolitan University
Flexible PR Program for Working Professionals
The Chang School of Continuing Education’s PR School offers a flexible public relations program designed to accommodate the schedules of working professionals. With part-time, online, and hybrid course options, students can easily balance their education with work and personal commitments.
This Public Relations certificate program is a fully online course offered by Toronto Metropolitan University for students to take at students own pace and continue to work while they learn. With the flexibility, the program is open for newly graduated diploma and degree individuals with a full or part-time job, recent graduates who need to kick start their career in public relations or even individuals working in the PR/communications industry looking to solidify their place in a PR/communications role or are looking for a promotion or to reposition themselves in a PR/communications role.
There are also synchronous options available so students can connect one-on-one with an instructor and fellow learners. It is developed with the inspiration of revolutionized digital revolution and social media in the public relations (PR) industry. To reflect this change and fulfill employers’ needs, the certificate curriculum has been fully redeveloped with the most up-to-date content, including influencer relations, SEO, and analytics.
Some of the required courses include Public Relations Foundations, Media Relations and Social Media in Public Relations. Students will learn directly from practicing senior PR practitioners and benefit from their professional experience in PR strategy, working with and influencing executives, effective writing and speaking techniques, and much more. Opportunities will be provided to connect with industry professionals and network in an online world, then this certificate can help you get your foot in the door. In graduating from the course, students can build skills that to move into job roles related to community relations, content creation, crisis management, financial communications, media relations, reputation management, social media and spokesperson.
The fully online Certificate in Public Relations will help students hone their practical, analytical and theoretical skills to prepare them for a career in public relations. The Certificate in Public Relations helps students prepare to write the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) and International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) accreditation examinations (eligible after five years of professional experience).
Experience includes applying strategic PR management concepts and principles in several organizational settings, establishing and building relationships with senior management and other program sponsors, critically analyzing PR issues, writing for a wide range of internal and external audiences and more.