The West Virginia University Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism has launched the first online Integrated Marketing Communications master’s degree program in the nation.

Designed specifically for working media professionals, the program allows them to earn academic credit and build innovative communication skillscompletely online.

The degree program, which began, Aug. 15, has enrolled 17 professional students from across the nation. IMC Director Assistant Professor Archie Sader estimates that as many as 150 students will be enrolled in the program within the next three years.

The program targets media professionals in advertising, public relations and media marketing who want to earn a master’s degree and learn cutting-edge IMC skills and strategieswithout leaving home or their job to do it.

“IMC is a cutting-edge discipline and managers and executives in any functional area must have the latest tools at their disposal if they are to succeed,”Sader said.

The innovative West Virginia University IMC program provides students with the professional knowledge and academic/research background necessary to thrive during this period of dynamic mass media change.

“To be truly competitive in today’s dynamic media job market, you have to understand the combined roles and skills of every communications discipline,”said School of Journalism Dean Chris Martin.”People used to say that IMC was the future. Not anymore. Now, it’s the industry standard.”

IMC courses are taught by School of Journalism faculty, outstanding faculty from across the nation and regional and national industry experts. New student cohorts will start in both the fall and spring terms.

Students must have two years of professional experience in any area of communications and meet other requirements to be accepted into the program. To learn more about IMC , please log on to http://www.wvu.edu/~imc/degree/imc.html for admissions criteria, a list of faculty and other program information.