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Curriculum

Digital Strategy Curriculum

The online Master of Arts in Mass Communication with a specialization in Digital Strategy includes 36 credit hours: 33 hours of coursework plus three final credits in the capstone course. Program curriculum is guided by an Advisory Council of top industry experts, with courses taught by industry professionals and University of Florida faculty.

Unique Learning Experience

  • Students generally take 1-3 classes per semester.
  • Each semester is 12 weeks, with three semesters per year (Spring, Summer, Fall).
  • Full-time students can complete the curriculum in under two years.
  • All classes are online with recorded lectures, allowing students to view classes at their pace during the week.
  • Each week, students must meet weekly objectives and complete assignments.

Core Courses (21 credits)

Copywriting for Digital Messaging (3)
Consumers are surrounded by thousands of screens everyday. It’s easy for retail messaging to get lost in the fray between puppy videos and celeb gossip. In this course, you’ll learn how to stand out. You’ll learn what makes an audience connect with a company beyond a “like” and how to turn a website into a brand story. You’ll learn that there’s more to an email subject line than you thought and just how important character count really is (hint: very). By the end of this course, you’ll develop a social content calendar and messaging doc for your very own brand, learn the value of design/copy partnership and what it means to write not just for a brand but also as a brand.

Social Media Advertising (3)
This course teaches students the skills and best practices of professional paid social media advertisers. They will learn where, how and why businesses are using paid social media for lead generation. This course will cover strategy, creative direction, ad products per platform and reporting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Snapchat. This course will teach students how to map out an integrated ad plan that outlines generating upper and lower funnel conversions on the most popular social media platforms.

The course will dive deeper into the most advanced ad targeting platform – Facebook – to develop the road map in overcoming the algorithm, forecasting benchmarks, budgeting, the difference between Ads Manager and Power Editor and optimizing. Students will learn how to master reporting to provide future clients with best-in-class data, insights and recommendations for future lead generation ads.

Lead Generation and Management (3)
This course teaches students the skills and best practices of professional digital marketers. Students will learn marketing strategies and initiatives that drive leads and deliver a positive ROI for their business, nonprofit, or organization.

Why is this class important? With the rapid evolution of new technologies and an increasingly sophisticated consumer population, it is vital for businesses to reach customers in new and targeted ways in order to gain the competitive edge.

Search & Display Advertising (3)
This Performance Marketing course’s goal is to educate and instill core values around methodologies and strategies to launch and maintain performance campaigns within Google’s AdWords platform including search, display and video strategies.

This course is designed to learn the importance, techniques and strategies of AdWords by understanding the various products from search, display to video within the interface and what KPIs they can fulfill for a company’s marketing goals.

Students will learn when to use which methods, how to structure campaigns, optimize for optimal performance and drive ROI for companies to drive low cost-per-acquisitions and high volumes of conversions.

This course requires that students have a fundamental understanding of what performance marketing is within the marketing landscape, however, a deeper overview and analysis of the marketplace as well as specific topics tied to the AdWords platform will be taught throughout the semester.

User Experience (3)
In this course, students will learn the fundamentals of user experience design and gain the skills necessary to evaluate and communicate an effective user experience.

Students will begin the course by gaining a basic understanding of user experience principles before diving in for a hands-on semester project: create a strategic user experience. Students will create their own brand and service/product offering and build a general omni-channel marketing plan that ladders up to an online experience. Students will go through the user experience discovery period which includes website audits of potential competitors to find points of differentiation and identifying ways to create more value in their user experience. From those insights, students will conduct user research and create a rapid prototype to validate their user flows and assumptions.

The final project will be an accumulation of the assignments created throughout the semester in the form of a final pitch deck. The pitch will be for a branded user experience complete with user flows, personas, information architecture, wireframes and insights from usability testing to optimize their experience.

Inbound Strategy (3)
By successfully completing this coursework, you will earn your Inbound Marketing Certification as well as your HubSpot Certification – both recognized professional accreditations that can give you a competitive advantage as you begin your career. We will immerse ourselves in persona research, creative development, blogging and offer creation, social media management, and email marketing and other online tools. You’ll gain hands on experience that will help you as you progress in the professional world of marketing.

Capstone (3)
By working in teams to complete marketing challenges, you will gain experience in planning and executing digital marketing campaigns which will include measuring, reporting and presenting the results of your efforts.

Required (6 credits)

Mass Communication Theory (3)
This course demonstrates the value of broad theories of mass communication.  Students review mass communication theory from its inception as a field of study, to past trends, current applications, and new currents of thought. Throughout the class, students will apply their understanding of abstract theory to contemporary practice.

Strategic Communication and Ethics (3)
This course introduces the discipline of strategic communication and the ethical issues that can arise from its practice. Students are given a background in important concepts in strategic communication, including branding, target audiences, technologies of strategic communication, the history and evolution of strategic communication, and other topics. Armed with this knowledge, students are introduced to the schools of ethical thought, and via projects and assignments apply these to real-world strategic communications and concepts.

Electives (9 credits)

Social Media Management (3)
This course teaches students to use social media strategically to create value for their business, non-profit, or organization. An emphasis is placed on strategic collaboration, tactical execution and measurement of social media efforts. The course will cover blog writing, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and an array of niche social media platforms.

Brand Management (3)
This course is organized around the brand management decisions that must be made to build, measure, and manage brand equity. The course will begin with an overview of the content and context of brand management decisions to provide the “big picture” for the course. Next, students will discuss the strategies and tactics for building and measuring brand equity. Specifically, students will address direct and indirect measures of brand equity, brand positioning and its marketing value, as well as approaches in choosing brand elements and developing supporting marketing programs. The last phase will focus on the management of brand equity, including the introduction of new products, corporate perspectives, and brand management over time and geographical boundaries. A variety of journal articles will be presented throughout the semester to broaden students’ understanding of the fundamental theories and important issues in brand management.

Social Media and Emerging Technology (3)
This course studies the multiple uses for gamification, virtual reality, and virtual worlds. Cases related to successes, failures, and uses of these tools are analyzed with a special focus on cases pertaining to engagement, branding, and business.  Students will research ethical and sociological issues associated with gamification, explore virtual worlds and mobile apps, and analyze the uses of gamification in a variety of contexts. Throughout the course, students will apply what they are learning so they may confidently leverage gamification in their professional lives.

Digital Layout and Design (3)
This course introduces students to the skills and concepts that will help create documents for both print and interactivity. Using Adobe InDesign, students will apply their understanding of color, type, layout, and design to create a portfolio project. While InDesign permits several possible workflows, this course will focus on those that most readily translate into digital design.


Quick Facts

36 credit hours
100% online
recorded lectures & live office hours
Fall Semester: August-November
Spring Semester: January-March
Summer Semester: May-August
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University-of-Florida-Merit

Application Deadlines

Fall Semester
July 1

Spring Semester
November 1

Summer Semester
April 1

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