Frequently Asked Questions
- What characteristics distinguish the IMC online graduate program at WVU from others in the same field?
The IMC program at West Virginia University is the first online program in the country through which students can earn a master’s degree in IMC. The curriculum is focused on providing students with practical, cutting-edge skills they can use in their professional lives, and members of the IMC faculty are accomplished educators and leading professionals in the industry. The IMC program attracts competitive students and faculty from all over the world.
- How long will it take to earn my master's degree in IMC?
Students will be able to earn their master’s degree in under 18 months. By completing the maximum credit hours permitted per term (with one course in your first term and one course in your final term), you may complete your degree in as few as seven terms, or just about a year and a half (about 17 months). By taking one course per term, you will complete your degree in 11 terms, or just over two calendar years (about 27 months).
- Is the IMC program accredited by a national organization?
Yes. The IMC Program is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools The Higher Learning Commission which is one of six regional institutional accreditors in the U.S. by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and is also recognized with the U.S. Department of Education (USDE). The Higher Learning Commission accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the North Central region. The IMC Program is listed along with the other accredited programs at West Virginia University. The IMC program’s CIP code is 09.0999. Because multiple disciplines are “bucketed” under general listings, our program is listed under “Master of Science in Advertising, PR, Applied Communication, Other (NEW).”
- Are there particular class times when I must be online for the courses or may I work on my own schedule?
You may work online at your convenience and are not required to be online at any specific time. It makes no difference if you participate first thing in the morning or late at night or in which time zone you reside (although weekly deadlines are always stated in Eastern Standard Time).
- How is IMC coursework conducted?
All IMC coursework is conducted online using an educational software system called WVU eCampus. The primary components of each course include a discussion board for collaboration between students, reading assignments from assigned textbooks and articles, and written assignments.
- How much time should I expect to spend on coursework?
The workload in the IMC program is comparable to graduate-level courses offered in traditional classroom-based programs. However, it is much more intensive since IMC course sessions run only nine weeks. Most students spend approximately 12-15 hours per week on each course.
- Can I take time off from my coursework once I enter the program?
The program is flexible and you can take some time off for personal reasons if necessary. However, the IMC program doesn’t encourage long breaks, and it is University Policy that students must complete all graduate degree requirements within eight years of beginning the initial coursework of the program.
- Will I have time to work a full-time job and take the normal amount of classes?
Most IMC students work full time while enrolled in the program. Students should plan to devote approximately 12-15 hours per week for each course.
- Are there resources for open communication with my classmates and teachers?
Students communicate among themselves and with their instructors in a number of different ways. The course discussion board within eCampus provides the forum for not only class-related topics, but also for social and career networking. Students are also encouraged to connect with the WVU IMC program on our many social media channels including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
- How will a degree in IMC benefit my career?
In our post-graduate surveys, IMC graduates consistently say that earning their IMC graduate degree was the best decision they have made. Graduates (and even current students) enjoy being able to take what they’ve learned and use it the next day at the office. They also feel more competitive with regard to promotions and pay increases because their masters degree sets them apart from the competition.
- Are there any unique qualities about the faculty of this program as compared to other IMC graduate programs?
WVU IMC faculty members aren’t just academicians. Members of the IMC faculty are experienced industry professionals with a passion for sharing their expertise with others. And because the IMC program is completely online, geography does not limit the talented faculty the IMC program can attract. IMC faculty represent nearly all of the top 10 competitive markets in the U.S. and many have worked for Fortune 500 companies.
- Can I complete all IMC coursework from my home, or is time required on campus?
All coursework in the IMC program is completed online. There is no residency requirement. However, students are invited to come to campus to participate in graduation or attend a special events like the annual IMC INTEGRATE conference.
- If I begin in the certificate track but decide I want to complete my master’s degree, will I lose the credits for the courses I completed?
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.)
- I have never taken an online course. What can I expect in terms of research and writing with the IMC program?
There is significant research involved in completing the written project assignments. However, most work completed relates to the practical projects on which the IMC program focuses. During the course of the program, students complete numerous written projects and develop IMC campaigns.
- Is financial aid available?
Financial assistance is available to master’s degree students who can document financial need. For more information, visit the WVU Financial Aid Office website or call toll free at 1-800-344-WVU1. Also, review the Financial Aid for Graduate and Professional Degree Students brochure by the U.S. Department of Education.
- Are there any specific computer programs I must have knowledge of to be successful as a student?
You must have at least a 56K modem. All work must be submitted in Microsoft Word. You also will need Microsoft Excel and the free versions of Adobe Reader and WinZip. Some courses may have specific software requirements, such as Adobe Photoshop or SPSS.
- What are some specific careers/job titles that the IMC program will prepare me for?
Graduates have gone on to work in a variety of marketing communication positions including corporate communications, internal communications, direct marketing, brand management, sales promotions and event planning. Many hold positions in advertising or public relations firms, and some hold positions in the marketing communications department of major U.S. companies.
- My employer offers a tuition reimbursement program – does the IMC program qualify?
Many students participate in their employers’ tuition reimbursement programs and are often encouraged to attend the program by their employer because coursework can be completed on the student’s schedule and doesn’t require classroom attendance that might conflict with demanding work hours.