Master of Professional Studies in Integrated Marketing Communications

Course List

Core Course Descriptions (6 credits)

MPMC-500: Conversations About Ethics (3 credits)

The process of educating the whole person starts with the study of ethics. The concept of IMC requires practitioners to look across multiple communications disciplines and consider each one’s unique challenges. At the same time, the practitioner holds the consumer’s wants and needs as the guiding force for planning. Looking at ethics through a professional lens, students are asked to explore their own values and are challenged to codify and commit to their own code of ethics in relation to a broad range of professional codes of conduct and best practices. Students will gain a solid foundation in ethics and relate what they learn to their own professional situation through class discussions, case studies, and guest lectures conducted by industry experts. This course is required for all MPS students and must be completed by the second semester in the program. Foundational concepts in ethics are woven throughout the program’s other courses and revisited throughout a student’s tenure.

MPMC-900: Capstone (3 credits)

During this final course, students will apply the comprehensive skills they have built throughout their study of the concept and practice of integrated marketing communications. After identifying and securing a company or organization of their choosing, students will respond to a marketing communications challenge by creating a well-researched, creative, integrated plan that exemplifies their development as IMC professionals. Students will be able to choose clients based on their personal interests or aimed at continuing the social impact mission of the program. Consumer research is the heart of the IMC planning process and students are required to develop their creative insights from original research. Throughout the semester, multiple forms of assessment—including quick-fire challenges, written projects, an ethical response paper, a final plan, and a strategy pitch—track and evaluate each student's level of competency in all IMC program learning goals.

 

Foundation Course Descriptions (9 credits)

MPMC-600: Consumer Research & Insights (3 credits)

This course is a foundational component of the integrated marketing communications (IMC) program. The course builds student knowledge of research approaches and techniques, equipping them to keep consumer interests and needs at the center of integrated campaigns. Students will learn how to design, interpret, and apply primary and secondary research techniques used in campaign development, execution, and evaluation. Topics include how to locate and mine existing databases and resources; best practices for designing and executing surveys, 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.

MPMC-602: IMC Campaign Planning (3 credits)

In today's ever-fragmented media world, it's never been harder, or more important, to develop a strong, integrated brand strategy to connect with people. From soft drinks to computers to the presidential election campaigns, managing a brand relationship with your audience is critical. In this class, students will learn how strategies are developed and explore how different communications disciplines can and should work together. You will learn the principles and practice of developing an integrated marketing communications plan using the Georgetown model – a building block for success in MPS IMC and in your career. There will be an emphasis on thinking creatively and strategically about business problems, as well as the importance of humanity and intuition in a data-driven world.

MPMC-603: The Brand Concept (3 credits)

What is a brand? What is the definition of a great brand? Why do some brands survive generation after generation while others fail after a short shelf life? This course will explore the core principles of branding. You will learn how brands compete in an environment full of choices for consumers, and the tactics they employ to be best in class. Using a consumer-centric approach, you will learn how to think critically and creatively about measuring, sustaining, building, and defending brands in today’s competitive environment. 

 

Elective Course Descriptions (18 credits)

Students are required to take six elective courses of their choice in order to broaden and deepen their subject matter expertise. Electives empower students to customize their educational experience to fit their personal, professional, and academic goals. Additional electives may be added upon launch of the program to reflect changing media and employer demands.

Signature Course

Senior Associate Dean Denise Keyes has laid the groundwork for the research and development of a signature course about the power of collaboration in designing integrated marketing campaigns for consumer brands. Working with Volkswagen (VW) America, she and her student researcher developed a creative brief and led a collaboration between four MPS-PRCC classes and faculty members in response. The classes came together in four creative presentations to VW leadership. As result, the winning team was invited to VW headquarters to present to their full marketing team.

The partnership continues in the form of a fellowship, in which students work closely with a consumer brand client.

MPMC-700: Collaboration Lab (3 credits)

Working from a creative brief for a major consumer brand, students will learn how to collaborate in the best interest of their client, and towards the development of a fully integrated marketing communications campaign. Students will be asked to navigate the silos between communications disciplines and to stop the “wars” among the advocates of any one particular approach. As part of the experience, students will work as a small team to build up a “silo” for one communication’s discipline. Then they will switch gears and learn how to break it down in order to create a more powerful campaign that puts the consumer’s interest ahead of self-interest. After the client selects the winning idea, students will come together as one group to further refine the approach and present to the client at the end of the semester as a unified, collaborative team. 

 

MPMC-701: The Creative Brief (3 credits)

The creative brief is the road map to a powerful IMC campaign. What does it take to marry business concerns with creative considerations? In this course, students will learn how to navigate this delicate balance and bring both sides of their brains to this important task. There are a number of different formats for creative briefs that make the job easier. Students will learn about the core components of a creative brief and gain exposure to different approaches, particularly those adopted by creative agencies. At the end of the course, students will appreciate that a strong creative brief is only as good as the consumer insights that drive it.

MPMC-702: The Management of Integrated Marketing Communications (3 credits)

This course will help students develop a deeper understanding of the business and financial dimensions of integrated marketing communications operations—from both agency and client perspectives. In addition, students will develop skills that will help them contribute to the financial objectives of an organization— whether it’s for-profit, nonprofit, or government. How do communications agencies become financially successful in an ongoing way? How do organizations effectively contract and manage marketing and communication services to achieve strategic objectives? How can a professional communicator contribute to the financial objectives of an organization or an agency, in addition to achieving the marketing and communication objectives? In this course, students will learn skills that will specifically help them to: use and understand financially related concepts and terminology; develop and manage a communications budget; articulate the value of communications-related expenditures and develop return on investment analyses; prepare a budget, write an RFP, and write a proposal; and learn how to sell, purchase, and manage communication services effectively, including project management and client service-related issues.

MPMC-703: In Search of the Big Idea (3 credits)

The search for the "Big Idea" is part of advertising legend. But how relevant is this quest in a time of data-driven decision making? And how does this play out across today’s noisy media landscape? In this course, students will learn the communication building blocks of strategy, insights, and ideas. Starting with research-based insights that lead to a strategy, students will have the opportunity to flex their creative muscles to generate "big ideas.” At the end of the class, students will gain experience in balancing creativity with strategy in ways that will move audiences.

MPMC-704: Content Strategy (3 credits)

In response to changing consumer expectations, marketing has become less about paid advertising and more about providing value-added content to attract and retain customers. It is no longer acceptable to speak at customers; rather, they expect to be engaged in conversation around topics that they are interested in. Moreover, the addition of new web-based and social channels has created demand for large amounts of new content. Students in this course will work with clients to develop content tailored to a specific target audience. They will learn how to create a cross-channel content plan and build a portfolio of content samples for web stories, social media, email newsletters, and other channels.

MPMC-705: Innovations in IMC: Thinking Ahead in a Rapidly Evolving Industry (3 credits)

Innovations in the field of marketing continually present new opportunities and challenges for IMC managers. Consumer behavior is changing, along with the technology that consumers use. Additionally, new channels for engagement are continually evolving. Students in this course will learn how to approach IMC through a strategic lens focused on the future. They will learn to foster an environment of innovation within a team setting and present new ideas.

MPMC-706: Building Your Creative Muscle (3 credits)

Ever wonder how ideas are generated? Ever been intimidated by a blank page? These insights and more may be gleaned from, “Building Your Creative Muscle." Creativity is an essential but often overlooked or misunderstood resource. Every person has his or her own creative tendencies and capacity, but many marketing and communications professionals lack the necessary confidence, experience, techniques, and habits to effectively harness their innate creativity. This course will instill an appreciation of and framework for applying creativity in your daily work by examining the topic at length and in myriad formats. We’ll identify the core concepts of creativity, examine and compare different techniques to generate it, and develop the discipline to turn down some ideas in favor of new and better ones. We will also explore how creativity is harnessed in different settings and careers.

MPMC-881: Digital Marketing (3 credits)

In this course, we will examine the fundamentals of digital marketing. This course will provide students a solid foundation in understanding the strategies and tactics employed through various digital marketing channels to enable them to create and execute a digital marketing plan to achieve a variety of marketing initiatives: brand building and awareness, site traffic growth, lead generation, new customer acquisition, customer retention, and more. Topics include: online advertising, search engine marketing, social media marketing and advertising, content marketing, website marketing, email marketing and conversion optimization.

Cross-Listed Elective Courses (MPS-PRCC)

MPPR-506/MPMC-806: Digital Analytics & Measurement (3 credits)

This course examines the processes for gathering, interpreting, and presenting compelling digital data. Students will learn to use digital public opinion polling, specialized reports, social media platforms, digital analysis tools, and news aggregators to explain market research, audience trends, and social conversations. Students will also create data visualization tools to streamline data presentation into succinct, engaging formats.

MPPR-891/MPMC-891: Personal Branding (3 credits)

Thought leadership and personal branding are two essential, yet often ambiguous ingredients in a career strategy. This course will arm students with the resources to evaluate, improve, and employ personal branding strategies for themselves and for key members of their organizational team. The course will discuss personal branding strategies in both digital and event contexts – including social media platforms, presentations, and networking opportunities.

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