4+1 is an accelerated Master’s track for current Emerson undergraduates that will allow selected students to complete an MA in Public Relations in just one additional year after completing their undergraduate degree. There are three specific tracks in the MA in Public Relations: Strategic Public Relations, Sports Communication and Political Communication. Students can select a track that matches their specific interest.

Why 4+1?

The 4+1 format is a fantastic opportunity for current Emerson students who are interested in pursuing a Master’s level qualification to jumpstart their careers while still obtaining a graduate degree.

  • Accelerated Study. Students who are accepted to the program will be allowed to take Master’s (600-level) classes during their senior year. These classes will be double weighted, counting toward both the Bachelor’s and the Master’s degree.By taking these classes during your senior year, students will complete up to 3 of the 9 required courses for the MA in Public Relations before the end of the Bachelor’s degree. This accelerates the pace of the Master’s degree, making it possible to complete both the BA and the MA within 5 years.
  • Cost savings.  Any 600-level credits that you take while you are still registered for your bachelor’s degree will be charged at the undergraduate tuition rate, saving you lots of money on tuition! A maximum of 16 600-level credits can be double counted and charged in this way. Assuming that you maintain your status as a full-time student, your financial aid will not be affected while you are still enrolled as an undergraduate student.
  • The Emerson Edge. The 4+1 format requires the same number of graduate credits as a normal Emerson MA Public Relations degree, so your degree with be exactly as valuable in the competitive communication industry.

Curriculum and Eligibility Requirements

Students are eligible to apply for the 4+1 program in the first semester of their junior year.

The 4+1 MA Public Relations will require students to take 9 graduate-level Public Relations courses (36 credits). Each course will be taken during their senior and 1 year post undergraduate graduation.

Students must complete all of their bachelor’s degree requirements plus 3 of the following prerequisite graduate level courses in their senior year:

  • CC 652 Emerging Communication Technology

  • CC 645 Public Opinion Research & Practice

  • CC 608 Public Affairs or CC 623 Public Policy

These graduate courses are equivalent to and will replace three undergraduate courses. The undergraduate course equivalences are as follows:

Graduate Level Course Undergraduate Equivalent
CC 652 Emerging Communication Technology

CC 304 Strategic Digital Communication


CC 308 Online Content & Strategy or CC 360 Social Media and Politics

CC 645 Public Opinion Research & Practice CC 303 Public Opinion Research or CC 305 Communication Research Methods
CC 608 Public Affairs or CC 623 Public Policy CC 361 Public Diplomacy or CC 345 Public Affairs

A maximum of four graduate courses (16 credits) may be taken in the senior year. Seniors who are eligible may choose 1 additional 4 credit Graduate level course to take during their senior year. Consult the Graduate Catalogue for descriptions of graduate public relations classes.

It is strongly advised that interested students meet with Graduate Program Director Linda Gallant and academic advising by the start of their junior year in order to determine eligibility and/or plan to meet the pre-requisite requirements.

Application Requirements

Students apply during the first semester of their junior year. Application requirements:

  • Graduate Admission Application
  • Maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Professional Resume
  • Admission Statement
  • 1 Letter of Recommendation from a faculty member  

Applicants are accepted into the program by the end of their second year as a junior so that students have enough time to take the required three courses in their remaining 2 full-time semesters as an undergraduate senior.

If you have questions about the application requirements, please feel free to contact Colleen O’Brien, the Graduate Admission representative for this program, at colleen_obrien [at] emerson.edu.

Application Deadlines

If you’re a first semester junior in Fall 2019, apply by November 1, 2019 for the Fall 2020 semester. If you’re a first semester junior by Spring 2020, apply by March 1, 2020 for Fall 2020.