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M.S. Areas of Emphasis

West Virginia University's Integrated Marketing Communications graduate degree 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

Download the Creative Strategy AOE Guide    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

Download the DMC AOE Guide    View DMC 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

Download the Digital & Social AOE Guide    View Digital & Social AOE Curriculum

Healthcare Communication

Doctor and Communications Professional Talking

The Healthcare Communication 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 Communication 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

Download the Healthcare AOE Guide    View Healthcare AOE Curriculum

Higher Education Marketing

Woman on Campus

The Higher Education Marketing 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 Marketing 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

Download the Higher Ed AOE Guide    View Higher Ed AOE Curriculum

Management

Management

Two types of employees are essential for every organization and in every industry — managers and communicators. If you have the expertise and experience to both effectively manage a team and promote your company, you become invaluable. Whether you’re the project manager at a small marketing firm, a marketing professional who wants to move into a leadership role, or an entrepreneur looking to expand your business, specializing in a Management degree track introduces you to methods and skills that prepare you to take that next step.

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

Download the Management AOE Guide    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

Download the PR Leadership AOE Guide    View PR Leadership AOE Curriculum