The online version of USC Annenberg’s Master of Communication Management program launched in September 2011. Earlier this month, a group of 47 working professionals became the first students to graduate from the virtual side of the curriculum.

The newly certified communications pros include Army major Mike Nicholson, 39, who during the 20-month online learning track served as a public affairs officer at NATO strategic headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. From the USC announcement:

“The program is just as rigorous as the on-campus program,” explains USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism professor Rebecca Weintraub. “The bottom line is it’s exactly the same degree, the same program, just a different delivery system.”

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