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Areas of Emphasis

West Virginia University's Integrated Marketing Communications graduate program allows students to specialize with an Area of Emphasis (AOE). These seven specializations broaden your knowledge base, making you more competitive in the job market. Included on your transcript once you graduate, the AOE you choose demonstrates your expertise in that specific area of specialization.

Creative Strategy

Smiling Student

The Creative Strategy specialization prepares students for careers that focus on the creative aspects of integrated marketing communications planning and execution. Whether you love content creation, visual art or both, the Creative Strategy specialization helps you develop the skills needed to deliver great content to a variety of consumers.

You should select Creative Strategy if you're interested in:

  • Creating visual marketing strategies
  • Developing compelling marketing content
  • Outlining visual and verbal branding guidelines
  • Storytelling in a digital format
  • Designing strategically from a UX perspective

View Creative Strategy AOE Curriculum

Data Marketing Communications

Data Marketing Comm

The Data Marketing Communications specialization is perfect for students who want to use available data as part of a greater integrated marketing communications strategy. You will use a data-driven approach to bridge the gap between communicators and data scientists and you'll be equipped to implement and refine strategic marketing communications activities.

You should select Data Marketing Communications if you're interested in:

  • Marketing from a data-driven perspective
  • Learning the basic principles of media and digital analytics
  • Understanding customer analysis, profiling and targeting
  • Segmenting audience strategies
  • Evaluating media consumption trends

View Data AOE Curriculum

Digital and Social Media

Girl taking photo with mobile phone

The Digital and Social Media specialization gives IMC students the tools they need for future careers using digital and social media as part of a greater integrated marketing communications strategy. From social media best practices to search engine optimization, from web metrics to developing a broader digital ad strategy, this AOE equips students with the skills needed to thrive as digital and social media specialists.

You should select Digital and Social Media if you're interested in:

  • Developing digital and social media strategies
  • Evaluating ROI for digital and social media marketing plans
  • Understanding the digital consumer
  • Grasping the deep connection between storytelling and marketing
  • Optimizing content for SEO and utilizing web analytics

View Digital & Social AOE Curriculum

Healthcare

Doctor and Communications Professional Talking

The Healthcare specialization prepares IMC students for data-minded careers within the healthcare industry. An ever-changing and competitive industry, the healthcare field needs effective communicators to develop healthcare communication campaigns using integrated marketing strategies.

You should select Healthcare if you're interested in:

  • Understanding the legal and ethical issues in healthcare communications
  • Exploring the role of content in the modern healthcare industry
  • Developing a cause marketing campaign strategy
  • Website and social media marketing for the healthcare industry
  • Emerging technologies in healthcare such as virtual reality

View Healthcare AOE Curriculum

Higher Education

Woman on Campus

The Higher Education specialization prepares IMC students to pursue careers utilizing integrated marketing communications strategies for student recruitment and institutional branding initiatives. This specialization equips students with the skills and knowledge needed to develop strong integrated marketing communications campaigns that are rooted in data and analysis.

You should select Higher Education if you're interested in:

  • Marketing content and strategies for higher education
  • Enrollment management and marketing
  • Student recruitment and engagement tactics
  • Branding and social media for higher education
  • Ethical marketing in a multicultural society
  • Cross-cultural marketing communications strategies

View Higher Ed AOE Curriculum

Management

Management

The Management specialization equips IMC students with the leadership and management skills needed to thrive in traditional business administration settings. An alternative to the traditional MBA, students who pursue the AOE in Management are prepared to motivate and support an organization's workforce with data-driven management strategies.

You should select Management if you're interested in:

  • Developing leadership and management skills
  • Ethics and legal issues relevant to marketing managers
  • Negotiation and position bargaining
  • Information and technology management
  • Human resource management concepts

View Management AOE Curriculum

Public Relations Leadership

PR Leadership

The Public Relations Leadership specialization teaches the skills that IMC graduate students need in order to lead a company's public relations department or to run their own PR firm. Students are exposed to coursework that provides practical knowledge, data-minded analysis and hands-on experience in both client- and agency-related public relations.

You should select PR Leadership if you're interested in:

  • Brand awareness and management
  • Digital and social messaging for PR
  • Leadership skills for the PR field
  • Managing conflict resolution
  • Market research and data analysis
  • Speechwriting

View PR Leadership AOE Curriculum