Image of a student reviewing research in the Center for Social Media

MA in Marketing Communication

Where Strategy Meets Messaging


Menu Display


To complete the MA Marketing Communication program students take six core courses and four electives. The core course include:

Select a Concentration *

Complete four elective courses through one of three concentrations.

* Elective course options are subject to change.

Course Descriptions - Core Classes

Brands are among the most valuable assets of a company. Effective brand management is critical to maintain the long-term reputation and profitability of products and services. Thus, high-performance companies actively manage their brand equity. This course will address the importance of brands and what they represent to customers, and what should be done by organizations to manage their brands properly. In this course, students will learn how to build, measure, and manage a firm’s brand equity and strategies to leverage brand equity. Students will gain an understanding of brand marketing theories, models, and frameworks. They will learn how to manage brands over time and geographic boundaries and market segments. They will also develop skills to construct marketing plans that contain strong and cohesive brand strategies.

The course builds student knowledge of research approaches and techniques to study consumers, equipping them to keep consumer interests and needs at the center of integrated campaigns. We will explore the scientific research in marketing, psychology, and behavioral sciences on judgment and decision making. We will also discuss the influence of culture. These insights are particularly useful for marketing strategy, brand positioning, and marketing communication decisions. Topics include how to locate and mine existing databases and resources; best practices for designing and executing in-depth interviews, focus groups, and observational studies; and how to incorporate digital tools and emerging technologies as part of an overall research plan. Focus will be placed on how to develop meaningful insights from research to guide audience segmentation and targeting, message strategies, creative development, and channel selection. The course combines textbook learning with real-world examples and applications so that students can experience research in practice.

Students will gain a deep understanding of communications planning and how to develop an effective communications strategy for an integrated marketing communications campaign. Specifically, they will learn how to create a researched-based buyer persona and customer journey. They will also learn how to use the journey to craft impactful messages and a paid, earned, and owned media strategy that will move consumers from awareness and interest to discovery and engagement and finally to purchase. Students will also explore the advantages and disadvantages of traditional and digital media as well as how various media are purchased and measured.

Students will examine the fundamental concepts and techniques used in marketing communication research as decision-making tools. The course will cover how to identify and formulate problems in marketing research, research design, primary data collection, measurement scales, and evaluation and utilization of secondary data will be discussed. Topics to be discussed in this course include survey design, sampling, measurement scales, structured and unstructured interviews, focus groups, exploratory research, causal research, qualitative versus quantitative data analyses, and interpretation.

Students develop an understanding of public relations (PR) in terms of strategic management. Students will gain real-life experience through the exploration of various communication theories, trends, and issues. Students will develop a comprehensive PR plan, with an emphasis on the role of PR in the IMC process that meets specific business and communication needs. The course is designed to give marketing graduate students a thorough understanding of PR as a strategic function of marketing and brand management.

This course examines the various processes and theoretical frameworks involved in the management of advertising within an Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC, the practice of unifying all marketing communication efforts to send a consistent brand message to target audiences) context from a strategic perspective. Besides being on of the most persuasive forms of communication, advertising can be considered one of the most powerful IMC tools due to its component of paid media. Students will also explore other IMC tools. Based on marketing objectives, students will come up with appropriate communication objectives and plan a brilliant IMC campaign - that effectively accomplish a company's (or an organization's) communication objectives - with a focus on advertising. They will acquire the essential skillsets through vivid class discussions, a case study, and a team project.

This course combines all the skills learned in the previous graduate classes, particularly the strategic and tactical application of marketing communication skills and concepts. The capstone course project will incorporate skills and research required to inform succcessful marketing communication initiatives, as well as the development of strategies that involve effective and measurable messages and touch-point integration. The focus is on thinking about the strategic framework and how to apply this framework to guide strategic decisions. The purpose of the course is to solve real-world problems and students will have the opportunity to present their marketing communication strategies to a real client at the end of the course.

Digital Marketing Communications Concentration (Choose 4 Courses)

Students learn how to select social media platforms to best engage an audience. Students will gain real-life experience applying social media strategies and tactics to assist in marketing, sales, public relations, advertising, and customer support efforts. Students will develop an understanding of how to manage a successful social media presence for an organization and how to effectively measure the results.

This course provides a comprehensive understanding of the impact and opportunities presented by the rapid expansion of social media in both consumer and business domains. It examines how social media serves as a significant platform for knowledge creation and opinion sharing among consumers. It explores how businesses leverage social media for real-time consumer engagement and for gaining insights from the extensive data available, which can be instrumental in transforming business and marketing strategies.

Key areas of study include engagement analytics, sentiment analysis, social network analysis, identification of influencers, and evaluation of social media strategies. Through this course, students will develop the ability to apply these tools in analyzing social media data and translating these analyses into meaningful business insights.

This course explores the definition of brand storytelling and its practical application. Students will learn the principles and tactics of storytelling from leading storytellers around the world. By participating in a hands-on group project and class discussions, students will cultivate essential skills for crafting a creative narrative for an integrated marketing communication plan. As a result, they will be well equipped to strengthen connection between brands and thier customers.

This course will cover the practical skill sets needed to develop and execute a comprehensive omnichannel digital marketing strategy with a focus on the fashion industry. Course content will include the vast array of digital marketing impacting today's fashion brands such as social media, email, SMS, influencers and content creators, search engine optimization (SEO), digital advertising, and paid and organic search. The impact of target market segments on campaign strategies and the comprehensive assessment of marketing outcomes through data analysis will be explored.

Influencers have become an integral part of any company's social media and digital marketing campaign. Collaborating and partnering with the right influencers can increase a brand's awareness, target market reach, and overall revenues and profits. This course will explore the types and roles of influencers, the selection of appropriate influencers, strategies to develop effective influencer partnerships including content creation, and best practices in analyzing influencer key performance indicators (KPI) and a brand's return on investemnt on influencer marketing.

This course delves into the theoretical frameworks, principles, and concepts - contributed by scholars and practitioners - that are pertinent to digital advertising. This new, powerful, and important integrated marketing communications tool shares similar obstacles of other types of advertising - ad clutter and ad avoidance - as well as complicatedly unique problems of its own, such as privacy. Through class discussions and an individual task of planning a digital advertising campaign, students will acquire skills for planning an effective digital advertising campaign that aligns with the creative strategy and other IMC tools in the same campaign.

Health Communications Concentration (Choose 4 Courses)

The U.S. Health Care Policies and Systems course is an introduction to American health care delivery systems and policy with a focus on issues and challenges faced by managers in the health care sector. Health care employees are highly educated and create a diverse workforce which increasingly encounters problems with regulation, reimbursement, and profitability.

The U.S. Health Care Policies and Systems course will explore the issues and controversies met in hospitals, nursing homes, and ambulatory care facilities, as well as take a closer look at the policy decisions shaping how health care will be made accessible to the public. 

Students will focus on creating strategies to help effectively implement and manage policy associated with the obstacles created by modern-day changes to the health care sector of public administration.

The Ethical and Legal Issues in Health Care graduate course relates current legal practices to health care institutions in order to show students how moral and ethical choices are prominent factors in the health care industry.

Students will expand on their understanding of administrative theory in relation to best practices in the legal arena of public administration. Real-world topics examine ethical situations and decisions that are debated in health care administration and common to the health care industry.

Students will study current legal concerns in health care to expand on their moral decision-making skills in order to combat the issues faced by health care institutions in today's society both internally and externally.

The Critical Issues in Health Care course combines historical information on practices formerly used by health care professionals and policy makers with current issues discussed in the media. The topics covered in the course are contemporary and controversial in nature to gain the best understanding of health care decision-making.

The Critical Issues in Health Care course will explore the specific implementation of health care policy and the challenges of balancing margin v. mission to ensure the long-term sustainability of an organization.

Students will be provided with tools to engage in contemporary health care debates in order to develop tactics and strategies that will help influence health care decisions on a personal and organizational level.

Students develop an understanding of health communication from its theories to its application. Special attention will be given to the promotional strategies used in the healthcare sector. Additionally, students will develop a comprehensive health communication campaign that meets specific business and communications needs. The course is designed to give graduate students a thorough understanding of health communication as a strategic industry for marketing and brand management professionals.

* Constitutes an additional nine-credit health management certificate, supported by the online Masters in Public Administration program

Strategic Leadership Concentration (Choose 4 Courses)

The Leadership, Power, and Influence course examines the theory and practice of leadership in organizations. The course will provide students with the cognitive skills need to understand power and influence dynamics as well as how to learn to use them as effective tools to analyzing surroundings and achieve goals.

Traditional and modern theories of leadership will be explored, as well as the practical application of these theories in the work place. In addition to covering the traditional concepts of leadership in organizations, this course will take an in-depth look at the power and influence a leader has over the organization and its members.

Students will explore how leaders effectively use power and influence to achieve organizational commitment and goals. The course provides students with the opportunity to observe effective and ineffective uses of power in different organizational contexts and career stages. It will also introduce difficult ethical questions associated with the use of power and influence.

The Negotiations and Conflict Management course is an introduction to the theory and practice of interpersonal bargaining. Conflict management and negotiation solutions are not confined to just the professional world, students will be able to apply the skills learned through this course to not only professional situations, but personal as well. 

The Negotiations and Conflict Management course provides thorough conceptual framework to help students structure their negotiation efforts and develop effective overall strategies in negotiating and conflict management. Students will also learn the key skills and practical steps to successful negotiation in real world situations.

The course will examine various types of bargaining strategies including, planning for negotiations, how to handle negotiation breakdowns, communications, power, persuasion, and ethics in negotiations, as well as international dimensions of bargaining. The pedagogical approach will largely be through experiential learning exercises based on weekly readings. Evaluations of student efforts will be based upon self-reflections, self-assessment, and personal portfolio construction, as well as in-class performance in negotiation sessions and debriefing discussions.

The Ethical Management of Organizations course is an introduction to the basic concepts of ethics. Today, professionals in the public sector are constantly challenged to retain leadership integrity while pursuing business goals. This course will provide students with tools that will help them recognize and address these challenging decisions.

The Ethical Management of Organizations course will look at frameworks related to business, the environment, the consumer, and the individual of an organization. Students will practice applying these frameworks to real-world case studies in order to gain a better understanding of the outcomes of moral decision-making.

Graduate students will examine effective techniques to develop concrete skills as ethical leaders who are equipped to create innovative strategies and prepared to solve ethical dilemmas presented in organizational culture.

There are approximately 1.8 million non-profit organizations in the United States. Globally, there are more than 10 million. As such it is critical to understand how a non-profit organization functions, the ways in which its operations vary from a for-profit institution, as well as how an employee can practice advocacy communication. In this course, students will learn about non-profit business structure and effective strategic communication practices.

Students enrolled in crisis management and leadership learn what constitutes and causes organizational crises, the crisis life cycle, and the ongoing crisis management process, including:

  • Pre-Crisis Phase: Proacice steps taken to mitigate crises through issues- and risk-management; crisis management planning and preparation - developing and maintaining crisis management plans, building and training crisis management teams, conducting media training for crisis spokespersons.
  • Crisis Response Phase: Putting a crisis management plan into action; activating crisis management teams; and stakeholder engagement - effective internal and external communication during a crisis; corrective actions; recovery and reputation repair strategies for rebuilding public trust.
  • Post-Crisis Phase: Implementing post-crisis plans - follow-up communication with stakeholders; systematically assessing lessons learned from a crisi; revising issues-management strategies and crisis management plans.

Crisis management and leadership students will develop an understanding of effective crisis leadership and the costs of mismanaging a crisis, as well as demonstrate proficiency in developing a crisis management plan and conducting a crisis press conference and spokesperson media training.

* Constitutes an additional nine-credit ethical leadership certificate, supported by the online Masters in Public Administration program

Loading contact form...