Social Media Curriculum

The Master of Arts in Mass Communication with a specialization in social media is a 38 credit hour program consisting of 12 credits of core social media courses, nine credits of core mass communication credits, nine elective credit hours, four practicum credit hours, one professional development credit hour, and a three-credit capstone featuring a real client.

View the full degree plan as a PDF.

For those not pursuing a master’s, there is an option to earn a graduate certificate. For more information on the graduate certificate, click here.

Unique Learning Experience

  • Students generally take between one and three classes per semester.
  • Each semester is 12 weeks, with three semesters per year (Spring, Summer, Fall).
  • Full-time students can complete the curriculum in 18 months.
  • 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

These core courses are designed to give students a foundational understanding of social media and mass communication, as well as the importance of social media in the areas of advertising, corporate and personal marketing.

MMC5006 Introduction to Multimedia Communications: 3 credit hours
This course is designed to provide students a new skill set in digital storytelling ideas, production, and analysis. In this course students will develop skills to produce creative online stories that will reverberate with the widest audience possible. Creating impactful stories will require a new understanding and thought process of how digital stories differ from those in print, radio and television. To do this, we will look at the changing roles of storytellers in news, promotion, and public relations and marketing while discussing and analyzing media consumption habits that encourage a seamless transition from active audience member to creator. Students will learn video storytelling techniques with Adobe Audition and Adobe Premier Pro.

MMC5636 Introduction to Social Media: 3 credit hours
This course exposes students to various social media channels and their application in current media and business. The course examines the current habits in social media, trends, and evolution in social communication to provide a better understanding of the relationship between the different social channels and how they can be used to serve to build brands, and play a role in business growth. The course will also focus on content creation and how to build content that performs well in social media, including a focus on social analytics and viral campaigns. Students are provided an opportunity to have a first-hand experience in creating content on their own social channel and testing the theories and concepts presented in lecture.

MMC6728 Branding Using Social Media: 3 credit hours
Students create an Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) plan, describe the role the social media marketing plan plays in the IMC, develop a social media plan with a focus on branding, and analyze the impact of social media on branding efforts. Using this understanding as a foundation, students will map the landscape of social media, create brand strategies for social media marketing, audit the competitive scope of social media activities for a brand, assess the effectiveness of social media engagement strategies, and use the most influential tools in social media engagement and branding.

ADV6325 Advertising and Social Media: 3 credit hours
The course teaches students to conceptualize, create, polish, and place effective advertisement executions in social media. Within the social media curriculum, this is the class that will allow students to flex their creative muscles. Students will learn how to create assets using Adobe Spark, Canva and Adobe Photoshop. Students will learn to develop strong visual ad campaigns on social media.

Practicum (4 credits)

The Practicum gives students the opportunity to create, develop and implement a social media brand around a topic of their choice to showcase their interest or talent. This unique opportunity provides students with a supervised project over the course of four semesters. This project includes building a brand community to demonstrate ability, and to create a brand from the ground up using the skills and knowledge learned in the program.

Social Media Practicum 1,2,3,4

This course is about engagement. It is about building a community of followers – most importantly, engaged, passionate followers. Success in this class will come from students’ determination to be successful and their skill at applying what they’ve learned their efforts. This course will focus on your vision for building and engaging a community and how to create a strategic plan that supports that vision. To do so, you will identify the story within the vision and determine how to bring that story to life.

Professional Development (1 credit)

The goal for this program is measured in your success before and after graduation. The more successful you are, the more we have achieved our goals as a program. Often success comes down to finding the career that best allows you to utilize your passions, skills, and knowledge. But it also takes an understanding of the need to perform professional development to market yourself as someone with the passion, skills, and knowledge to be the right fit for a company.

MMC6936 Personal Branding and Professional Development

Students in this course learn job-search skills specific to the online communications field, such as writing resumes and cover letters, interviewing, networking and negotiating a salary.

MMC6936 Freelancing for Communication Professionals

Freelance and consulting work has become a significant part of the digital economy. In this course, students will learn job-search skills specific to the online communications field such as writing resumes and cover letters, interviewing, networking and negotiating a salary. By the end of the course, you should also have a 2 fundamental understanding of using career research tools, proposing ideas to nontechnical co-workers and creating e-portfolios to showcase your work. Specifically, the course will help you feel confident marketing your skills after graduation. There will be time devoted to discussing freelance work and securing a promotion at a current place of employment.

Mass Communication Core (9 credits)

These core courses are designed to provide students with a sophisticated knowledge in the areas of mass communication research and measurement.

MMC5427 Web Research Methods: 3 credit hours
Students will be introduced to the basic foundations of research as they apply to the study of social media and strategic communications. Students will gain applied experience by conducting research to include data analysis, interpretation, and reporting results using methods common in the field of communications and the social sciences as a whole. Additionally, students will learn the importance of research to their own work and the implications of research findings.

MMC6400 Mass Communications Theory: 3 credit hours
Over the course of this term we will cover 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, we 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.

MMC6727 Social Media Metrics: 3 credit hours
Throughout the course, you will be empowered to work first-hand with native social media data using Excel. You will develop skills to assist you in assembling an analytics report in PowerPoint or Keynote that will be delivered to the class as if it were doing a real-life presentation to managers and business executives. In addition, we will practice report delivery at different points in the course so that you are able to gain confidence in speaking and answering questions about social analytics.

This course was developed to help you a.) understand the need and importance behind social media analytics and b.) to teach you how to leverage the data made natively available by Facebook and Twitter to evaluate social marketing campaigns. Three-quarters of this course will be spent working first-hand with data in Excel. After working with the data, you will learn how to identify key data points, create charts and graphs to visualize your analysis, glean insights and make actionable recommendations based on those insights. You will then learn how to put together a robust deliverable that highlights key findings from your analysis and provides sufficient detail for stakeholders to gain a thorough understanding of social performance. collection and analysis of real social media campaign data.  After completing the course, students will be able to describe the proper measurement mechanisms to employ, identify the data points that help clarify campaign effectiveness, master the proper approach for analyzing data, and determine how the outcomes from data analysis should modify overall strategy.

Capstone (3 credits)

The Capstone is the culmination of the program and students’ opportunity to work with a real-world client to develop a social media campaign and content calendar for a real-world client. Students will compete on teams to develop the most creative, strategic and well-rounded strategy for the client. The student teams will present their ideas to the client at the end of the semester.

Electives (9 credits)

These courses are designed to allow students to develop skills to specific career plans by delving into advanced topics beyond the core requirements. Multiple courses are offered to allow students to tailor their education to their needs. Not all courses are offered each semester, which allows students the opportunity to complete the core courses while expanding skills in additional areas.

MMC6726 Emerging Technology and Social Media: 3 credit hours
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.

MMC6730 Social Media Management: 3 credit hours
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 focusing 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.

MMC6936 Measuring Change: 3 credit hours
Good communication strategists make a habit of confronting important questions about the campaigns that they develop. Before a campaign begins, they want to know their audience and the best strategies for changing behavior. During the campaign, they investigate whether it is functioning as planned. After the campaign, they ask whether it had the intended impact. To answer these questions reliably, strategic communication developers work alongside evaluators who carry out research before, during, and after campaigns are developed and launched. Funders, policymakers, and the public often want to know if a campaign “worked” in the past or will work in the future. Evaluation affords us the opportunity to answer those questions with some certainty, rather than simply guessing or assuming based on anecdotal experience. This course takes a broad look at the role of research and evaluation in strategic communication campaigns and provides a foundation and tactics for working productively with evaluators. Students will become familiar with evaluation phases (formative, monitoring, and summative) and the types of research designs that evaluators use to measure campaign impact. We will consider why evaluation is ultimately important to successful campaigns and establish a set of tools for conducting and leveraging research as part of strategic communication practice.

MMC6905 Video Storytelling: 4 credits

Corporate messaging, branding, news and information, even self-published stories and opinions are more visible, shareable and potentially influential than ever before. Students will review and analyze traditions in storytelling and its evolution from traditional to modern-day structures. Students will examine narrative structures including character, arc, master plots and framing, and apply such elements to communication contexts relevant to our age of rapid communication and ubiquitous information. Students will assess and create video content that forges an emotional connection and tells a story in a memorable way without sacrificing accuracy or message.

Students will examine how organizations and brands are leveraging trans-media storytelling to reach key audiences through compelling video narratives. Students will apply storytelling techniques in authentic communication contexts relevant to today’s professional, digitized world. Building on students’ foundation in video gathering and editing, the course requires students to storyboard, develop characters and critically evaluate elements suitable for video stories. At the end of the semester, students will create a full video to showcase the skills they learned during the semester.

MMC6936 Social Media Metrics II: 3 credit hours
This course provides students with the skills necessary to organize, measure, hypothesize, question, and act on web and social media data. Sources of the data will include web and social metrics and analytics, SEO, paid search, social media optimization, social listening using actionable tools, social media ROI, and paid and earned social media. Students will be tested on the skills they learned during the middle and end of the course.

Requirement: A passing grade in Metrics I.

Professional Internship (3 credits)
Completing an internship is one of the most marketable experiences you can have on your resume and it allows you to stand out during the job search. This course will provide you with the opportunity to complete projects related to your career goals under the supervision of an experienced practitioner in the field. By the end of the internship, you will have first-hand knowledge of trends in the field, the skills necessary to be employable after graduation and the importance of networking.

For more information, see our webpage.

 

Graduate Certificate

Students in the graduate certificate track complete the first four courses listed above. Enrolling in the graduate certificate is a popular option for some students, as the application process does not require taking the GRE. Then, while taking these courses, a student can also prepare for and take the GRE. Upon successful completion, students can transfer into the master’s degree track. Learn more about the graduate certificate.


Quick Facts

38 credit hours for master's degree
12 credit hours for graduate certificate
100% online
recorded lectures & live online lectures
Fall Semester: August-November
Spring Semester: January-March
Summer Semester: May-August

Download Info Packet

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Application Deadlines

Fall Semester
July 1

Spring Semester
November 1

Summer Semester
April 1

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