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WVU to begin new strategic communications major

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West Virginia University journalism students can soon study under a new degree program.

The school's new strategic communications major, set to launch this fall, will teach students how to develop and produce persuasive messages and integrated communications campaigns that use both public relations and advertising tactics, according to information from WVU.

The new major was developed in response to the changing industry, and will provide students with strategic communications practices and prepare them to work across media platforms. In addition to learning these broader skills, students in the new major will select an area of emphasis – advertising or public relations – and be able to specialize in particular areas of interest, such as social media strategy, advertising design, event planning or publicity and promotion.

"We developed the strategic communications major to reflect changes in the communications industry and to prepare students with the professional skills and the ability to think strategically across media platforms," said School of Journalism Dean Maryanne Reed. "Students in the program will learn how to work in an integrated communications environment while specializing in their area of interest."

Throughout the new integrated program, students will build skills in writing, research, graphic design, direct marketing, media planning and campaign development and management. The program will allow students to plan and produce integrated communications campaigns for actual clients to gain the real-world experience that helps students get jobs when they graduate. The strategic communications major will provide graduates with marketable skills they can apply to a variety of careers in healthcare, sports, politics entertainment and more.

The new program will replace the former Advertising and Public Relations majors at the School of Journalism and only apply to students entering the school this fall.