Answer: Master’s in IMC programs and master’s in marketing programs are very similar. The biggest difference between the two relates to the schools that offer them. In most cases, master’s in IMC programs are offered through schools of communication, while master’s in marketing programs are part of business schools. As a result, master’s in IMC programs tend to have a greater focus on communication, while master’s in marketing programs generally contain more business-related courses. In fact, many master’s degree programs in marketing are really MBA programs with a specialization in marketing. When deciding which program to enroll in, students should examine specific coursework offered by different programs to find the one that best suits their academic and professional goals.

Regardless of the type of program they choose to attend, students earning either degree can expect to learn about marketing strategies and tactics, as well as campaign measurement, a skill that allows them to tie campaigns to organizational goals like brand awareness and revenue growth. Upon graduation, students with either a master’s in IMC or a master’s in marketing can put their skills to use in roles such as campaign manager, content strategist, marketing manager, director of marketing, digital marketing specialist, market research manager, or a variety of other related positions.

Master’s in Integrated Marketing Communications

The goal of a master’s in integrated marketing communications program is to prepare graduates with the knowledge they need to create and execute marketing strategies using a variety of channels and tactics. Along with this, IMC students learn how to measure the effect that marketing campaigns have on brand awareness, company revenue, and other key metrics.

There are a wide range of positions available to professionals with a master’s in IMC. Some examples include digital marketing manager, product marketing strategist, director of market research, brand manager, or content marketing strategist. Most often, graduates find positions at for-profit organizations. However, many graduates also work in the non-profit or government sectors.

In a master’s in IMC program, students generally take courses that cover topics like brand communication, market research, public relations, crisis communication, copywriting, social media, consumer behavior, and more. This helps them become professionals with a deep knowledge of marketing strategies, tactics, and measurement. Below is a list of example courses students might find in an IMC program. Keep in mind, this list is not exhaustive, but rather a representation of the type of topics often covered.

Example Courses in a Master’s in IMC Program
Marketing Research and AnalysisApplied Public Relations
Research and AwarenessDirect Marketing
Online Research for IMCOrganizational Structure
New MediaDigital Video Production
Persuasive MessagingMobile Marketing
Creative Message StrategyGlobal Consumer Insights
Brand Management and CommunicationAdvanced Creative Concepts
Internet Advertising and Social MediaDigital Analytics
Broadcast ManagementManaging Integration
Social Media StrategiesBrand Equity
Ad ManagementPrivacy Policy Management
Financial Tools for IMCAdvertising Copywriting
Audience BehaviorOrganizational Communication
Marketing Mix AnalysisCrisis Communication
Digital StorytellingStrategic Media

Master’s in Marketing Programs

Unsurprisingly, students who decide to pursue a master’s degree in marketing can expect to learn the skills they need to become marketing leaders. These programs prepare students to manage marketing campaigns while making strategic business decisions related to marketing. In a master’s in marketing program, students learn about topics like brand management, media technologies, consumer behavior, project management, data mining, social media, and data management. When they graduate, most go on to positions with for-profit organizations, although some may earn roles in other settings.

Professionals with a master’s in marketing might pursue roles such as marketing director, marketing consultant, marketing strategist, digital marketing specialist, content marketing director, or market research manager. This list is by no means exhaustive. There are a wide variety of roles available to marketing graduates, and the position a student might move into largely depends on the skills they acquire in their program.

While earning a master’s in marketing, students can expect to study topics such as advanced statistical data management, economics and financial management, project management, web analytics for digital marketing, and more. Below is a list of sample courses illustrating the type of topics a student might encounter while pursuing their degree. It is important to note that many master’s in marketing programs are extensions of an MBA program. Thus, though the degree is promoted as a master’s in marketing, it is often an MBA with a specialization in the field. This will affect the coursework offered, and prospective students should research individual programs extensively to ensure that they choose one that fits their needs.

Example Courses in a Master’s in Marketing Program
Brand ManagementAdvertising and Social Media
Media TechnologiesGlobal Business
Effective Social MediaAdvanced Data Mining
Consumer BehaviorData Management
Project/Product ManagementeCommerce Logistics
Sports Marketing and Public RelationsFundamentals of Product Marketing
Sports Development and SalesNegotiations Theory and Practice
Business CommunicationProject Management
Data Mining for BusinessServices Marketing Management
Marketing ManagementWeb Analytics
Marketing Research MethodsFoundations of Business Statistics
Information Systems StrategyFinancial Management
EconomicsMarketing and Business Intelligence

Master’s in IMC vs. Master’s in Marketing Programs

The difference between these two programs is somewhat minimal, however, clear distinctions will emerge when students compare specific programs. While graduates of either program can take on similar positions after earning their degree, there is one main difference that students should consider when deciding which to pursue.

Typically, IMC programs live within schools of communication, while master’s in marketing programs are offered by business schools. This results in some subtle, but key differences. The biggest one being IMC programs tend to include more communication-related coursework, such as courses in creative messaging, organizational communication, public relations, and persuasion. While some master’s degree programs in marketing may have this coursework, it is less common. Instead, master’s in marketing programs tend to have a more business-focused curriculum, with coursework that may require more math or technical skills. For example, students might take courses in sales management, import and export strategy, data mining, and financial management — topics typically not found in a master’s in IMC program.

Finally, as previously mentioned, quite a few master’s in marketing programs are really MBA programs with a specialization in marketing. This results in a curriculum that includes marketing courses, but also a variety of other business-related topics like economics, managerial finance, operations management, and applied business statistics.


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