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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 bombarded by messages at every turn. It’s easy for retail messaging to get lost in the fray between puppy videos and celebrity 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, advertising 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 roadmap for 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 course important? Finding customers and generating sales is key to the success of any business, and companies can no longer rely on traditional strategies that once worked. The Internet has changed how people make buying decisions. Today, everyone has a channel and the ability to research products and services that interest them. This course will teach students creative ways to grab the attention and stay relevant amongst sophisticated consumers who are much less tolerant of advertising and sales.

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 teach 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-acquisition 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 be introduced to the theories behind Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and apply them directly to User Experience Design (UXD). This is a hands-on course with bi-weekly projects that will build off of one another. Each project will be part of the UXD process and accumulate to the final project, a presentation of the student’s UXD recommendation for a website or other digital medium. The final presentation will be for a branded user experience complete with user flows, personas, information architecture, wireframes and insights from usability testing to optimize their experience. By the end of this course, students will gain the knowledge necessary to effectively communicate and evaluate user experiences.

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 the planning and execution of digital marketing campaigns, which will include measuring, reporting and presenting the results of your efforts.

Required (6 credits)

Mass Communication Theory (3)
Over the course of a semester, students will learn about mass communication theory from its inception as a field of study to major trends, followed by current applications of previous paradigms, and finally into the development of new currents of thought. While the main focus of this course is the integration of current mass communication theory with an individual and organizational online presence, the course will also focus on how digital platforms can inform the future of theoretical research and vice versa. From a practical perspective, students will be able to apply these theories to their integrative approaches in creative digital communication and design.

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 a client or organization. An emphasis is placed on strategic collaboration, tactical execution, and measurement of social media efforts. Students will learn by doing in assignments focused on social media strategy and tactics, content planning and creation, paid social, management and measurement tools, and crisis management. The course will cover blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, 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 offers an introduction to gamification, as well as the research, education, enterprise, and marketing uses of mobile games, virtual and augmented reality, social media games, and virtual environments. Students will study the successes, failures, and uses of these technologies, particularly as they relate to marketing, branding, education, and business. Additionally, students will research ethical and sociological issues associated with these technologies and analyze the uses for a variety of settings and purposes.

Each week, students will study real-world examples of major brands and organizations using these technologies in a variety of ways. Among others, course assignments will include: drafting marketing plans using these emerging technologies, reviewing current campaigns; and overcoming hypothetical obstacles and issues in these campaigns.

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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