Studying Integrated Marketing Communications: Degrees at a Glance
Integrated marketing communications is the application of a uniform marketing message through every way that you touch your client or consumer - including public relations, corporate communications, selling and advertising. Master's degree programs in this subject are degree designed for professionals seeking to advance to management positions or enhance their knowledge. With a master's degree in integrated marketing communication, you can pursue a career as an advertising account executive, art director, copywriter, media buyer or planner, account planner, public relations executive, event planner and media relations specialist. Many master's degrees are terminal degrees, and therefore PhD programs in integrated marketing communications are scarce. However, students pursuing a doctorate in communications can tailor their research toward integrated marketing communications.
|Who is this degree for?|| -Individuals seeking management positions in marketing communications|
-Individuals seeking to enhance their experience with a rounded approach to marketing
| -People who want to work in academia or research |
-Individuals interested in a career in market research
|Common Career Paths (with approximate median annual salary)|| -Advertising account executive ($88,000)**|
-Art director ($81,000)**
-Marketing manager ($116,000)**
-Public relations executive ($53,000)**
| -Research analyst ($60,000)*|
-University business professor ($75,000)*
|Time to Completion||1-2 years full-time||3-5 years after the master's|
|Prerequisites||Bachelor's degree in business or related field||Master's degree in business or related field|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures), **O*NET Online (May 2011 figures)
Master's in Integrated Marketing Communications
The curriculum of integrated marketing communications programs provides instruction about combining corporate communications, public relations and marketing into one comprehensive plan. This degree is designed for individuals with an undergraduate degree in a related field, such as marketing or public relations, interested in advancing their knowledge. With this degree, you can pursue careers in marketing, public relations or advertising.
Pros and Cons
- Degree allows you to pursue careers in a variety of work environments in business, government and with nonprofit organizations
- According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of public relations specialists is expected to increase 23% from 2010-2020
- According to BLS data, most new art designer jobs are expected to arise in the fields of advertising, public relations, and marketing
- Students interested in copywriting may face stiff competition for jobs; the BLS expects job opportunities in the field to grow slower than the national average during 2010-2020
- A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement for a career in advertising; therefore, you may compete against individuals with graduate degrees for jobs
- According to the BLS, nearly one-third of public relations managers and specialists work more than 40 hours per week; therefore, a career in this field could mean that you work long or unpredictable hours
Courses and Requirements
Courses in these programs cover a broad range of business operations an consumer behavior topics. some programs allow you to concentrate in areas such as brand management, digital marketing or marketing analytics. You may also write a thesis and complete an internship or capstone project during your studies. Core courses in these programs include:
- Research methods
- Marketing management
- Consumer behavior
Online Degree Options
Online integrated marketing communications programs are available. These programs include coursework that is similar to, if not identical, to coursework available on-campus. Some programs require that students attending online complete a capstone course or cumulative project designed to demonstrate learned skills.
Getting Ahead with This Degree
According to the BLS, the use of social media and digital marketing in businesses will grow. Therefore, even in areas of marketing and communications in which employment is expected to stagnate, there may be available job opportunities in positions that utilize electronic media. To capitalize on these positions, consider completing courses and practicing using electronic media in marketing and communications campaigns.
Other Degrees to Consider
The BLS expects employment of public relations managers and specialists to increase 21% from 2010-2020. Therefore, if you are interested in working in marketing and communications, but do not feel that a degree in integrated marketing communications is for you, you might consider earning a degree in public relations (PR). In these programs, you complete courses in public relations writing, social media and ethics. You may also have the opportunity to take courses in niche areas such as nonprofit or sports PR.
PhD in Integrated Marketing Communications
PhD programs in integrated marketing communications of rare. Communications programs with a concentration in integrated marketing communications are more readily available. With this degree, you can pursue a career in post-secondary education or in research.
Pros and cons
- The amount of control you have over your studies allows you to concentrate upon and analyze integrated marketing techniques such as social media and digital marketing
- Can lead to a career in a growing field; according to the BLS, employment of market researchers will grow more than 40% from 2010-2020
- According to BLS data, the number of students enrolling in higher education will increase from 2010-2020; therefore, post-secondary teachers will be needed to meet that need, making your degree more marketable
- Requires several years of study to complete, and after graduation you may compete with master's degree holders for jobs
- May lead to a solitary career; often, market research analysts work alone at a computer
- Obtaining tenure at a university is highly difficult; meaning that you may not have job stability for some years after graduation
Courses and Requirements
Typically, you complete coursework during the first two years of these programs. The bulk of the coursework in these programs covers research-related topics, such as statistics, research methods and ethics. However, you may also take courses in communication theory or, in a communications program, courses related to marketing communication. During your remaining years you research and write a dissertation.
Online Degree Options
Currently, PhD programs in integrated marketing communications are unavailable online. However, online PhD programs in communications are available. Beware, however, that these online programs may not offer a concentration in integrated marketing communications. Coursework in online programs is generally the same, but, in online doctoral communications program, you may have to attend campus to complete some requirements.
Getting Ahead With Your Degree
To stand out with your degree, you might consider becoming certified. The Marketing Research Association certifies individuals in the area of market research. You must meet education and experience requirements and pass an exam to become certified.