- Master of Science
Rooted in the tradition of academic excellence of WVU, the Reed College of Media's Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) graduate program has developed a national reputation for hands-on, industry relevant education.
The program is offered exclusively online with no on-campus classroom attendance required. The award-winning IMC curriculum currently has more than thirty online courses and is always evolving based on industry innovations and best practices. At the center of the curriculum are four core courses, which provide all students with a solid marketing communications foundation. The core is enhanced by a wide variety of specialty courses and more than twenty elective options that allow students to focus on individual areas of interest.
The WVU Reed College of Media online faculty are recognized leaders in their fields. These scholar-practitioners provide a carefully balanced blend of academic theory and practical skills. They teach our “learn-it-today, use-it-tomorrow” curriculum, which provides you with valuable, practical knowledge that can be immediately applied to your current career.
The IMC program is recognized nationally for its quality of instruction, flexible model and relevance to the industries it serves and was awarded the Online Learning Consortium's Program of the Year distinction in 2015. Most IMC students work full-time while earning their degree. All IMC courses are asynchronous, allowing students to participate at any time, from anywhere in the world. While no on-campus residency is required to complete the degree, the program hosts its annual INTEGRATE conference to provide students and faculty an opportunity to network and explore the latest innovations in the ever-changing IMC landscape. Information on the conference can be found on the IMC program's INTEGRATE webpage.
Students in the IMC program who secure a graduate assistant position at any academic or non-academic unit on campus will be eligible to receive a waiver of University tuition for IMC courses, as well as any stipend/compensation offered by the unit hosting the position. For complete information on graduate assistant options at WVU, please visit the Graduate Education Assistantships webpage.
The program’s academic year consists of five accelerated terms: Early Fall (August–October), Late Fall (October–December), Early Spring (January–March), Late Spring (March–May) and Summer (May–July).
Due to the rigor of IMC program courses, students should register for no more than two courses in any IMC term. Most students who work full-time indicated that one to two course(s) per term is manageable. Students are encouraged to work with their advisor to select a course schedule that fits their life. Most students complete the master's degree in approximately two years. However, University policy allows students up to eight years to complete a master's degree, and the IMC program model supports students in taking terms off as needed to balance their graduate studies with personal and professional obligations.
Those who wish to complete IMC coursework but either already have a master's degree or are not planning to pursue a full master's degree are invited to apply to the five-course IMC certificate program.
Admission to the IMC online graduate program at West Virginia University is highly competitive and the total number of available seats for each entry term is limited. Admission to the program is based on a holistic, case-by-case analysis of the applicant’s WVU Graduate Application for Admission, academic record (undergraduate transcript), GRE or GMAT scores, years of relevant professional experience (resume), writing ability and intent (personal statement), as well as academic and professional references (letters of recommendation).
Students may be admitted to the IMC program three times per year, in the Early Fall (August), Early Spring (January), and Summer (May) admission terms. Admission many also be available in Late Fall (October) and Late Spring (March). Please contact the program for more information on upcoming admission terms. The IMC program operates on a rolling admissions basis and qualified applicants will be reviewed and admitted as their applications are received.
Visit the IMC website for comprehensive information about the online graduate program, including faculty biographies, curriculum and course information, details on the application and admissions process, and to register for a free online information session.
|Minimum GPA of 2.75 required.|
|Minimum grade of C- required in all courses.|
|IMC 610||Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communications *||3|
|IMC 611||Marketing Research and Analysis||3|
|IMC 612||Audience Insight||3|
|IMC 613||Brand Equity Management||3|
|IMC 619||Emerging Media and the Market||3|
|Complete a minimum of two of the following **||6|
|Creative Strategy and Execution|
|Public Relations Concepts and Strategy|
|IMC Elective Courses|
|Select at least three IMC courses 600-level and above.||9|
|IMC 636||Integrated Marketing Communication Campaigns ***||3|
Students complete the IMC 610 course in their first term in the program. Following successful completion of IMC 610, students are able to take courses in virtually any order, ensuring a fully customized path of study.
IMC students are often admitted to the program with substantial work experience and are able to opt out of the core course that is most reflective of their professional experience. Specifically, PR practitioners are encouraged to opt out of IMC 618, direct marketers are encouraged to opt out of IMC 616, and creative/graphic designers are encouraged to opt out of IMC 615. All students must complete at least two of these three courses.
IMC students are able to take more than 33 credit hours if their personal and/or professional interests require (including additional elective courses or opting to complete all the core courses to ensure a comprehensive graduate experience). However, all additional courses taken must be completed before the student registers for the capstone course (IMC 636).
Upon successful completion of IMC 636 in the student's final term, the student will graduate from the program.
|Select one of the following:||3|
|Select one of the following:||3|
|Select two 600-level or higher IMC courses||6|
|Select one 600-level or higher IMC course||3|
|Total credit hours: 33|
Management Area of Emphasis Requirements
The Area of Emphasis in Management is intended to prepare IMC students to apply their skills in a traditional business administrative setting. Students will be exposed to course work in leadership, ethic, negotiations and management information systems.
Course Requirements. In order to satisfy the requirements of the Area of Emphasis, a student must complete the required courses below. Note, that a cumulative GPA of 2.75 is required for graduation from the IMC program. The courses and grades from the Area of Emphasis will be counted towards a student's cumulative GPA (a C- or better is required in courses, with an overall cumulative GPA of 2.75) in the IMC program.
|Minimum grade of C- is required.|
|BADM 611||Management Information Systems||3|
|BADM 644||Legal Environment and Ethics||3|
|ILR 543||Negotiation Strategy||3|
Major Learning Outcomes
Integrated marketing communications
In the WVU IMC program, communications professionals learn to re-align their marketing activities to ensure a constant flow of information to consumers from a variety of media. Upon successful completion of the IMC curriculum, students will be able to:
- Illustrate critical thinking, creativity and innovation in collaboration with colleagues and in the completion of written assignments.
- Demonstrate a global and multicultural awareness in the development and implementation of marketing communications strategies.
- Compare and contrast the benefits and limitations of various qualitative and quantitative research methods relevant to marketing communications.
- Recognize the roles and implications of law and ethics in marketing communications.
- Design and organize marketing communications materials in a professional manner consistent with contemporary industry-specific standards.
Graduate Certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC)
The 15-credit IMC graduate certificate provides students with a broad overview of IMC, focusing on several integral aspects of the discipline.
The program’s academic year consists of five eight-week terms:
- Early Fall (Aug. – Oct.)
- Late Fall (Oct. – Dec.)
- Early Spring (Jan. – March)
- Late Spring (March – May)
- Summer (May – July)
Students working toward their IMC certificate take one course per term for one calendar year (five sessions). Certificate-seeking students can begin coursework in either the Early Fall, Early Spring or summer sessions.
|Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communications|
Select two from the following:
|Marketing Research and Analysis|
|Brand Equity Management|
|Creative Strategy and Execution|
|Public Relations Concepts and Strategy|
|Emerging Media and the Market|
Select two from the following:
|Integrated Marketing Communication Media Analysis|
|Consumer Sales Promotion|
|Current Topics in Integrated Marketing Communication|
|Global Brand Communication|
|Advanced Creative Concepts|
|Business-to-Business Direct Marketing|
|Applied Public Relations|
|Entrepreneurship in Integrated Marketing Communication|
|Visual Information Design|
|Internal Brand Communication|
|Social Media and Marketing|
|Web Metrics and Search Engine Optimization|
|Digital Video Production|
Elective options are based on availability; other electives may be substituted based on current course offerings.
Admission requirements to the IMC certificate track are the same as for the master’s degree track. For certificate students who may be interested in applying courses to the full master’s degree: University Policy states that a maximum of 6 credits obtained by a non-degree student can be applied toward any degree. The IMC and DMC graduate certificate programs are 5 classes/15 credits and our master’s degree in IMC is 11 classes/33 credits. If you complete the IMC or DMC graduate certificate, only 6 of the 15 credits would apply toward our IMC master’s degree. If you start in either of the certificate programs and complete 6 hours or less before changing over to the full master’s degree, this policy will not affect you. (Note: currently there is an eight year maximum time frame for graduate work completion.)
IMC 510. Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communications. 3 Hours.
Introduces students to the fundamentals of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC). Students learn and apply the IMC planning process and examine the role of integration to ensure consistency of creative strategy and complementary use of traditional and digital media. Students who go on to the WVU IMC graduate program will not earn credit for both IMC 510 and 610.
IMC 595. Independent Study. 1-6 Hours.
Faculty-supervised study of topics not available through regular course offerings.
IMC 610. Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communications. 3 Hours.
PR: Admission to the program. Introduces students to the fundamentals of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC). Students learn and apply the IMC planning process and examine the role of integration to ensure consistency of creative strategy and complementary use of traditional and digital media. This course also provides a comprehensive orientation to the WVU IMC graduate program.
IMC 611. Marketing Research and Analysis. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610. Examines the role of marketing research within an IMC campaign. Students learn to identify research problems and select appropriate quantitative and qualitative designs to address them. They will examine sampling, questionnaire design, data processing and how to communicate research needs and results.
IMC 612. Audience Insight. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610. Provides an in-depth look at consumer behavior and its role in IMC. Examines consumer behavior in terms of internal influences, external influences, the consumer decision-making process, and consumers and culture. Students also learn ethnographic research.
IMC 613. Brand Equity Management. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610. Explores strategic and creative decisions to manage, build, and measure brands. Brand management issues investigated include consumer perceptions, competitive analysis, new product development, crafting communication messages, crisis management, and development of marketing programs.
IMC 614. Integrated Marketing Communication Media Analysis. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610. Addresses the role of media analysis and planning in IMC. Covers basic media terminology and media math, the distinctions between media objectives, strategies and tactics, and the different ways of allocating resources in media.
IMC 615. Creative Strategy and Execution. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610. Takes a comprehensive look at creative strategy and its role in IMC. Students master the fundamentals of conceiving and executing an eye-catching, effective and integrated campaign that uses traditional and digital media.
IMC 616. Direct Marketing. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610. Covers direct and interactive marketing from an IMC perspective. Includes database marketing, direct marketing message strategies across multiple media, direct and interactive marketing metrics, and the role of direct and interactive marketing in IMC campaigns.
IMC 617. Consumer Sales Promotion. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610. Overview of the role that sales promotion plays in IMC. Examines the functions of sales promotion in the marketing process as well as the legal regulations on sales promotion. The course focuses only on consumer promotion.
IMC 618. Public Relations Concepts and Strategy. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610. Examines the various functions of public relations in IMC, its impact on key publics, and its role in society. Covers the field's evolution, the responsibilities of PR practitioners, law and ethics, and emerging trends.
IMC 619. Emerging Media and the Market. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610. Examines how modern industry uses emerging media, such as blogs and virtual worlds to enhance the IMC process. Addresses the creative and ethical issues unique to digital media.
IMC 620. Research Methods. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610. Focuses on data analysis in marketing research. Emphasizes core statistical techniques, the application of statistical software, and the interpretation of statistical outputs. Ethical issues in marketing research are also discussed. SPSS software is required.
IMC 621. Current Topics in Integrated Marketing Communication. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610. A seminar that highlights significant issues and trends in Integrated Marketing Communication. Topics vary by term.
IMC 622. Multicultural Marketing. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610. Teaches cultural sensitivity and prepares students to promote products and services to a diverse marketplace within the U.S. The course focuses on racial/ethnic groups in the U.S., and it also covers mature and gay/lesbian markets.
IMC 623. Global Brand Communication. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610. This course examines key issues needed to develop strong global brands by considering past successes and failures in strategy, addressing the importance of knowing local culture in communication and positioning, and discussing emerging issues in brand globalization.
IMC 624. Cause Marketing. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610. Examines the marketing techniques used by businesses to make a difference in the world, focusing on partnerships between businesses and non-profit organizations. Through case studies, the history and uses of cause marketing are examined as well as predictions for the future of the marketing practice.
IMC 625. Advanced Creative Concepts. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610. Emphasizes the creative aspects of executing an IMC strategy including visual branding, verbal branding, creative direction, and art direction. Focuses on conceiving, developing, expressing, and executing a coherent visual identity using a comprehensive IMC strategy.
IMC 626. Business-to-Business Direct Marketing. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610. Course builds upon the basics of Direct Marketing developed in IMC 616. Students will learn to apply those concepts and techniques in the world of Business-to-Business IMC Direct Marketing. Some assignments allow the students to apply the strategies and tactics to their present employment.
IMC 627. Healthcare Marketing. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610. Explores various levels of the healthcare campaign and marketing process. Students learn the basic types of health campaigns, theories of health behavior change, issues in design and evaluating healthcare marketing, and the effects health outcomes.
IMC 628. Applied Public Relations. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610. Provides practical knowledge and hands-on experience in public relations from both the client and agency perspective. Students develop and produce PR tools and tactics including press releases, public service announcements, crisis communication plans, speeches, newsletters, and special events for a chosen client.
IMC 629. Mobile Marketing. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610. Examines exciting new business developments in mobility, explores fundamental forces that shape the wireless industry, discusses keys to establishing a competitive advantage, and examines emerging trends that may include where the industry is heading.
IMC 630. Sports Marketing. 3 Hours.
PR: Must be a student in the IMC program. Explores the history and present-day state of the sports marketing industry. Analyzes the field's major components, use of theory and research, consumers (aka fans), endorsements, sponsorships, branding, products, and particularly, its sport stars.
IMC 631. Crisis Communication. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610. Applying theory and case study analysis, students gain the expertise required to maneuver through myriad potential crisis situations that today's organizations and individuals encounter.
IMC 632. Political Marketing. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610. Covers political marketing from its roots to its current state and provides the necessary knowledge for strategizing and applying a political marketing plan within the context of today's elections and political climate.
IMC 633. Entrepreneurship in Integrated Marketing Communication. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610. Identifies what it takes to be a successful IMC entrepreneur by showing students how to assess risk, raise capital, position a new entity, organize, and keep and maintain sales.
IMC 634. Digital Storytelling. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610. Students will design a brand for a product or service and express that brand as a video for the Web. This course will provide guidelines for how to create a movie that reaches the desired audience and can be shared via social media.
IMC 635. Visual Information Design. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610. Students explore the power of imagery and how visual perception drives our memory. Students examine how to look at images, deconstruct layouts and apply color, design and typography to create effective verbo-visual messages for print and online and will gain valuable creative insight and skills that will serve them now and into the future.
IMC 636. Integrated Marketing Communication Campaigns. 3 Hours.
A rigorous and comprehensive capstone course that requires students to develop a thoughtful and professional quality IMC campaign for a real- world client. This course must be completed in a student's final academic session.
IMC 637. Internal Brand Communication. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610. Addresses the important roles that internal communications and branding play in a company's successful operation by examining internal communication strategies and implementation, the use of consistent messaging, and company -to-employee crisis communication.
IMC 638. Public Affairs. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610. This course explores ways to leverage public policy relationships and strategic partners to enhance an organization's brand and marketing strategy. Incorporates theory and real-world experience through examination of case studies.
IMC 639. Content Marketing. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610. An exploration of how the role of content is evolving in the modern marketing landscape and how to apply different types of content generation to new and traditional marketing channels. Additional topics cover the pros and cons of content marketing vs. traditional marketing as well as processes and tactics to create and implement content marketing strategies.
IMC 640. Introduction to Digital Media Communication. 3 Hours.
Provides an overview of digital media and the latest methods for collecting, creating and disseminating persuasive messages. Focuses on the evolution of digital media and the ways they are used in entertainment, information-gathering and community-building.
IMC 641. Social Media and Marketing. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610 or IMC 640. Examines the latest strategies for monitoring and engaging consumers in social media from a marketing perspective. Explores popular platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook that are used to connect with and analyze target audiences.
IMC 642. Web Metrics and Search Engine Optimization. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610 or IMC 640. Examines how marketers strategically gather online information to measure traffic, engagement, and potential impact on ROI. Explores search engine optimization (SEO) and social media optimization (SMO) strategies used to build a presence for clients.
IMC 643. Digital Video Production. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610 or IMC 640. Introduces the technical and conceptual skills needed to create and add videos into integrated marketing campaigns. Covers the basics of selecting the best hardware and software for video projects. Students gain hands-on experience in shooting and producing engaging videos.
IMC 644. Digital Media Communication Campaigns. 3 Hours.
PR: IMC 610 or IMC 640. Apply the knowledge and skills acquired in previous DMC courses to develop a creative, innovative, and complete digital campaign for a selected organization in this capstone course.
IMC 693A-Z. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.
A study of contemporary topics selected from recent developments in the field.
IMC 695. Independent Study. 1-6 Hours.
Faculty supervised study of topics not available through regular course offerings.