West Virginia University (WVU) offers two online programs through its Reed College of Media: a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications and a Master of Science in Data Marketing Communications. Both programs are designed to be completed entirely online, without any visits to campus. WVU uses the eCampus course management system to deliver online coursework and facilitate interaction between students and instructors. The Reed College of Media also hosts an optional in-person conference called Integrate, which gives marketing communications professionals and graduate students the opportunity to network, learn, and share what is happening in the industry. The conference has been held in cities such as Chicago, Washington, D.C., New York, and Houston.

Online Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications

The Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) program at WVU teaches students how to reach consumers with effective, well-timed messages in appropriate media channels and platforms. Along with an introduction to IMC, the curriculum provides students with hands-on learning experiences in strategic practice areas, including social media, digital marketing, advertising, creative strategy, and public relations.

The program is designed to be flexible, allowing students to choose how many courses they take each semester. Students attending full time can complete the program in 18 to 24 months, while students taking a part-time course load can finish in two to three years. However, it is possible to complete the program in just one year, and students have up to eight years to finish their degree, if necessary. Students can also take semesters off, as long as they do not go more than two years without taking a course.

The degree requires 33 credits, with a total of 11 courses (three credits each) divided between an introductory course, core courses, specialty courses, electives, and a capstone. Students can also choose to complete an optional area of emphasis in the following areas:

  • Creative Strategy
  • Data Marketing Communications
  • Digital and Social Media
  • Healthcare
  • Higher Education
  • Management
  • Public Relations Leadership

Each area of emphasis requires the completion of four elective courses and students may apply three of these electives to their degree requirements.

The program begins with an Introduction to IMC course, which examines the foundational concepts of integrated marketing communications and serves as an orientation to the graduate program at WVU. The remaining core classes may be taken in any order and are offered each term. These courses serve as the fundamental building blocks to professional development in IMC, and include Marketing Research and Analysis, Audience Insights, Brand Equity Management, and Emerging Media and the Market.

Students also must complete two specialty courses, with the program suggesting they select areas of study they are least familiar with instead of taking classes in their area of professional interest. Specialty classes are offered each term and include Creative Strategy Execution, Direct Marketing, and PR Concepts and Strategy. In addition to specialty courses, students must also take three electives. There are more than 25 elective options, covering broad areas within IMC, such as Digital Storytelling, Content Marketing, Healthcare Marketing, Mobile Marketing, Higher Education Marketing, Disruptive Innovation, and Visual Information Design.

The program ends with a capstone course that includes two options: a “Provided-Client” option and a “Selected-Client” option. In the Provided-Client capstone, a national client is selected at the start of the course, and students then research the client’s marketing communications and industry and develop an IMC campaign proposal. The best campaigns are chosen by the instructor and students have an opportunity to pitch their campaign ideas to the client.

In the “Selected-Client” capstone, students choose their own clients for the course. These clients are usually the student’s current or former employer, and must be approved by the instructor. Like the Provided-Client option, students then conduct industry research and create a professional IMC campaign proposal for their client, incorporating concepts and best practices they learned throughout their studies.

Online Master of Science in Data Marketing Communications

WVU’s Master of Science in Data Marketing Communications (DMC) program teaches students how to leverage and interpret data for strategic decision-making. Coursework incorporates hands-on, applied learning experiences, giving students the opportunity to work with data analysis tools to complete advanced work in data-driven analysis and campaigns. The program uses a cohort model, which means students start and complete the program together as a group, taking courses in a sequential order. As a result, the program’s curriculum may not be as flexible as the online IMC program.

The degree requires 33 credits, with a total of 11 courses (three credits each) split between an introductory course, eight classes in thematic blocks (core classes), an elective, and a culminating capstone course. The program begins with an Introduction to Data Marketing Communications course, which provides an overview of the DMC program, curriculum, campaign management, fundamentals of marketing measurement, and data visualization. It also includes a “quantitative boot camp” to ensure students are prepared for the remainder of the DMC coursework. After the introductory course, students progress into their core courses – the thematic blocks.

Thematic block classes are taken sequentially, which allows students to understand how quantitative data impacts decisions arising from that data. They are each paired around a single subject, including the following:

  • Audience Block: Audience Segmentation and Message Customization
  • Data Block: Brand Data Collection and Visualization and Social Media Optimization
  • Platforms Block: User Experience Platforms and Campaign Planning and Programmatic Media Buying
  • Assessment Block: Campaign Metrics and Assessment and Messaging for Customer Relationship Management

The program also requires one three-credit elective course in data marketing. Students can select from 12 different options, such as Creativity and Data, Applied Public Relations, B2B Direct Marketing, Web Metrics and SEO, Media Analysis, Data Communication and Visualization for the Client, and Digital Marketing Communication Channels.

The curriculum culminates in a capstone course entitled Data Marketing Communications Campaigns. This course requires students to synthesize what they have learned during the program into a data-driven communications campaign for a real-world client.

West Virginia University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).


Online Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications

Overview
Department: Reed College of Media
Websites: Department and Program

Program Format
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Program uses asynchronous instruction
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Full-time: program can be completed in 12 months, although most students take 18 to 24 months; Part-time: most students take 2 to 3 years, although students have up to 8 years to graduate

Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Capstone course (professional IMC campaign)
Credits Required: 30 credits (10 courses)
Example Courses: Intro to IMC; Marketing Research & Analysis; Brand Equity Management; PR Concepts & Strategy; Global Brand Communication; Crisis Communication; Internal Brand Communication

Application Requirements
Degree Required: Bachelor's degree
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 2.75 (below 2.75 may be eligible for provisional admission)
Testing Requirements: GRE not required
Work Experience: Relevant and professional experience preferred, but not required for strong applicants
Start Dates: Fall, Spring and Summer admission

Tuition Costs
Estimated Tuition: ~$29,040 + fees
Cost per Credit Hour: $880 per credit hour

State Authorizations: Program accepts students from all 50 states



Online Master of Science in Data Marketing Communications

Overview
Department: Reed College of Media
Websites: Department and Program

Program Format
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Program uses a cohort model with asynchronous instruction
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Program can be completed in 16 months

Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Capstone course (cohesive marketing communications campaign)
Credits Required: 30 credits (10 courses)
Example Courses: Introduction to Data Marketing Communications; Audience Segmentation; Brand Data Collection and Visualization; Social Media Optimization; Message Customization; Messaging for Customer Relationship Management

Application Requirements
Degree Required: Bachelor's degree
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 2.75 (below 2.75 may be eligible for provisional admission)
Testing Requirements: GRE not required
Work Experience: Relevant and professional experience preferred, but not required for strong applicants
Start Dates: Fall and Spring admission

Tuition Costs
Estimated Tuition: ~$29,040 + fees
Cost per Credit Hour: $880 per credit hour

State Authorizations: Program accepts students from all 50 states