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Combining creativity with data-driven insights, online marketing programs provide an ideal training ground for students with a dual aptitude for generating exciting ideas and analyzing current trends. The convergence of these qualities isn’t coincidental; it’s strategic. As brands continue to clamor for consumer attention in traditional and digital arenas, the ability to craft compelling narratives and simultaneously understand consumer behavior patterns is invaluable.

That’s where online marketing degree programs come in. compiled this list of the best online marketing programs at the graduate and undergraduate levels to make finding a high-quality, reputable program more accessible. The research team evaluated dozens of programs based on cost, faculty, rankings, and retention and graduation rates.

To provide expert advice, Michelle Pickett, the director of Northern Illinois University’s Academic Advising Center, has lent her perspective on the value of a marketing degree and what students should consider when applying to and attending online marketing programs.

Online Marketing Degree Program Overview

What can you do with an online marketing degree?

With an online marketing degree, you can explore various career opportunities in both traditional and digital capacities. Whether holding a bachelor’s or master’s degree, you’ll find excellent job prospects across industries. “Earning a degree in marketing is very beneficial,” says expert Michelle Pickett. “This degree teaches individuals how to be effective leaders in various business, marketing and sales.”

Graduates can become marketing coordinators, digital marketing specialists, brand managers, market research analysts, or marketing managers leading strategies and teams. From crafting compelling campaigns to analyzing consumer trends, your skills will drive business growth and customer engagement, assisting companies in taking their products and services to the next level.

How long does it take to earn an online marketing degree?

Bachelor’s in Marketing

Undergraduate students can typically complete a bachelor’s in marketing within four years of full-time study, covering foundational business and marketing courses. However, many online programs cater to part-time students, as part-time enrollment allows individuals to balance education with work or other responsibilities. Studying part-time can extend the completion timeline but is generally better for working professionals who need flexibility.

Prerequisites may include:

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Standardized test scores from the SAT or ACT
  • Minimum GPA, either from high school coursework or any transferable undergraduate coursework

Master’s in Marketing

At the graduate level, a master’s in marketing often takes one to two years for full-time students. Many programs offer accelerated options, enabling students to complete their degree sooner if they have more time to devote to their studies.

Students seeking a part-time option should look for schools that provide a flexible format that allows coursework to be completed independently. Part-time institutions often allow graduate students more time to complete their degree – usually three to five years.

Prerequisites often include:

  • A bachelor’s degree in marketing or a relevant field
  • Applicable work experience
  • Standardized test scores from the GMAT or GRE
  • Minimum GPA from undergraduate coursework

Aynschronous vs. Synchronous Learning

Online programs usually offer both asynchronous and synchronous learning. Asynchronous learning provides flexibility, allowing students to access materials and complete assignments at their own pace. Synchronous learning involves real-time interaction, ideal for those seeking structured engagement and collaboration.

How much does an online marketing degree cost?

At the undergraduate level, pursuing a bachelor’s in marketing full-time averaged $19,374 at public universities for the 2020-2021 academic year. Attending a private school can cause tuition to be more expensive. It averaged $45,920 the same year.

For graduate-level studies, tuition for a master’s in marketing averaged $19,749 for private and public institutions with full-time enrollment. Opting for part-time enrollment usually extends the duration of the degree, which may cause tuition to be less expensive per semester but may ultimately cost more over time.

Residency Status

Regarding tuition and residency status, students generally fall into two categories: in-state and out-of-state residents. In-state students typically benefit from lower tuition rates as they contribute to the state’s funding through taxes. Conversely, out-of-state students often face higher tuition fees simply because they pay taxes in a different state. These rates may be considerably higher as institutions rely more heavily on tuition to cover costs for non-residents.

What are the admission requirements of marketing degree programs?

Whether you’re earning your online marketing degree at the graduate or undergraduate level, you will want to ensure that you meet each institution’s specific admission requirements. These can vary by institution, but most schools share the following standard requirements.

Bachelor’s in Marketing

For undergraduate programs, applicants will need a high school diploma or equivalent. Some institutions might request standardized test scores like the SAT or ACT. However, an increasing number of schools are adopting test-optional policies to attract a more diverse group of applicants.

Additional requirements may include:

  • Letters of Recommendation: Some programs may request letters of recommendation from teachers, mentors, or professionals who can vouch for the applicant’s academic abilities and potential in marketing.
  • Personal Statement or Essay: Applicants are often asked to write an essay or personal statement that illustrates their motivation for pursuing a marketing degree, their career goals, and how the program aligns with those goals.
  • Resume or CV: A resume highlighting academic achievements, extracurricular activities, internships, part-time jobs, and relevant experiences can offer insight into an applicant’s background.

Master’s in Marketing

For graduate-level online marketing programs, candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree, preferably in marketing or a related field. These programs can be competitive, so demonstrating academic excellence through a competitive GPA is crucial. Some programs may require test scores from the GRE or GMAT, and exceptional scores can be another opportunity to bolster your candidacy.

Additional requirements may include:

  • Work Experience: Some graduate programs may prefer or require applicants to have relevant work experience in marketing or a related field.
  • Academic Transcripts: Official transcripts from all colleges and universities previously attended are usually required to demonstrate academic qualifications and prerequisites.
  • Statement of Purpose: A detailed statement outlining the applicant’s academic and professional background, reasons for pursuing the program, and how it aligns with their career goals can provide insight into their motivation and aspirations.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Graduate programs may ask for letters of recommendation from professors, supervisors, or professionals who can speak to the applicant’s abilities, potential, and readiness for graduate-level coursework.

The Top 50 Online Marketing Degree Programs

Best Online Marketing Degree Programs

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Franklin University

Brenau University

McKendree University

New Mexico State University

Minot State University

Florida Atlantic University

University of West Alabama

Bellevue University

LSU Shreveport

Florida International University

Maryville University

Oregon State University

Colorado State University Global

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Liberty University

University of Louisiana Monroe

University of Minnesota

University of the Southwest

Kennesaw State University

Fort Hays State University

Northwood University

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How We Rank Schools

Our list includes bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Depending on the school, you can earn a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Business Administration, Master of Arts, or Master of Science in marketing. These degrees will prepare you for marketing jobs with a different focus and approach.

Several different accreditations exist for marketing programs, including the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), and the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). Accreditations ensure that programs meet high-quality standards and that employers will recognize your degree. Our list includes both accredited and non-accredited programs.

We evaluated each program’s reputation in the field, course strength, flexibility, and cost. Using this information, we calculated the Intelligent Score of each degree on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out our ranking methodology.

Marketing Degree Concentrations

Is a specialized marketing degree better than a general marketing degree?

Whether a specialized marketing degree is better than a general marketing degree depends on your unique professional goals and interests. A specialized degree may be a better fit for students who have a particular career objective they would like to fulfill, like pursuing roles in digital marketing, brand management, or market research. This focus can make you highly competitive for positions directly aligned with your specialization and can be beneficial if you’re sure about your intended career path.

Alternatively, a general marketing degree provides a broader foundation covering various aspects of marketing. This versatility can be advantageous for roles that require a comprehensive understanding of marketing strategies and tactics across different domains. It also allows you to explore diverse career avenues within marketing, which can be excellent for students who know they want to pursue a vocation in the field but need more time to decide on a specific career path.

What are some common marketing degree concentrations?

Digital Marketing

Students with a strong affinity for technology, social media, and data analysis will excel in digital marketing. This concentration focuses on the strategies, techniques, and tools used to promote products or services online. Graduates are prepared for careers in social media management, content creation, search engine optimization (SEO), and online advertising.

Brand Management

Creative individuals with an eye for design may enjoy a concentration in brand management. This field emphasizes creating, developing, and maintaining a brand’s identity and image. Brand management specialists often work in brand strategy, advertising, public relations, and marketing communications roles.

Market Research and Analytics

Those keen on data analysis, statistics, and consumer behavior will be well-suited for a Market Research and Analytics concentration. Students in this concentration focus on gathering, analyzing, and interpreting data to make informed marketing decisions. Graduates can pursue careers in market research, data analysis, consumer insights, and marketing strategy development.

International Marketing

Open-minded and adaptable students interested in different cultures and global business practices will thrive in International Marketing. This concentration centers on understanding global markets and cultural differences and adapting marketing strategies for various countries and regions. Students should want to know how cultural nuances impact consumer preferences and buying behaviors in different parts of the world.

Retail and Sales Management

Outgoing individuals who enjoy working with people, have strong interpersonal skills, and thrive in competitive environments will be an excellent fit for Retail and Sales Management. Students in this field focus on the intricacies of managing sales teams, customer relationships, and optimizing retail operations. Graduates often pursue sales management, retail management, and business development careers.

Career Opportunities for Marketing Degree Graduates

Career trajectories

  • Marketing Managers: Marketing managers analyze market trends, consumer behavior, and competitor activities to make strategic decisions. They develop comprehensive marketing plans, set goals, allocate budgets, and lead teams to execute campaigns effectively. Median annual salary: $135,030
  • Digital Marketing Specialists: Digital marketing specialists focus on online strategies to promote products or services. They manage social media accounts, create and optimize digital advertisements, conduct search engine optimization (SEO) to improve website visibility, and analyze digital analytics to refine campaigns. Median annual salary: $68,230
  • Market Research Analysts: Market research analysts gather and analyze data about consumer preferences, market trends, and competitors. They design surveys, conduct interviews, and use statistical techniques to interpret data. Their insights help businesses make informed decisions about their products, services, and marketing strategies. Median annual salary: $63,920
  • Brand Manager: Brand managers oversee the development and maintenance of a brand’s image and identity. They create branding strategies, collaborate with creative teams on design and messaging, and monitor how consumers perceive the brand. Brand managers ensure consistency across all touchpoints and work to strengthen the brand’s position in the market. Median annual salary: $127,150
  • Public Relations Specialist: Public relations specialists manage a company’s image and communication with the public and media. They write press releases, coordinate media interviews, and handle crisis communication. Graduates in this field work to build positive relationships with the public and the media to enhance the organization’s reputation. Median annual salary: $62,800

Is a marketing degree worth it?

Pursuing a marketing degree holds considerable value as the business landscape prioritizes advertising, promotion, and digital marketing. “A marketing degree is a great option for someone interested in learning more about the business of selling or advertising products, goods, and services,” Pickett says. “Marketing is a versatile degree that can be used in various professional industries including media, nonprofits, education, and government.”

One such profession includes the in-demand occupation Market Research Analyst. This career is expected to grow by an impressive 19% by 2031, leading to over 150,000 job openings. This growth is attributed to the increasing reliance on data and market insights for informed decision-making. Additionally, fundraising positions are projected to increase by 11% by 2031, offering a rewarding avenue for those with a marketing background.

From a financial perspective, a marketing degree’s return on investment (ROI) is mainly positive. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree consistently command salaries around $65,000, significantly surpassing the median income across all occupations, which stands at $45,760. Moreover, those with advanced degrees often earn six-figure salaries, making $100,000 or more yearly.

Considering these factors, an online marketing degree is a wise investment. It aligns with the dynamic job market’s needs and provides a strong ROI in terms of both fulfilling career prospects and financial stability.

How to Choose an Online Marketing Degree Program

Selecting the right online marketing degree program, whether at the undergraduate or graduate level, is a crucial decision to shape your future career. As Pickett suggests, students should seek programs that offer “…opportunities to specialize in specific areas within marketing,” acknowledging the field’s diverse niches. It’s essential to align your studies with your interests, as it can lead to future success.

When starting on this journey, consider several key factors. First, ensure that the program is accredited, guaranteeing the quality and recognition of your degree. Next, evaluate the program’s reputation by analyzing retention and graduation rates, giving insights into student satisfaction and program effectiveness.

For online learners, robust student support services are a crucial consideration. Look for programs that offer comprehensive online support, ensuring you have access to resources, advisors, and a supportive community. This personalized assistance will play a pivotal role in your academic success.

5 Steps to Earning an Online Marketing Degree

1. Make sure it’s the right choice

If you aim for an undergraduate or graduate degree in marketing, you can ensure it’s the right fit by considering your passions, career aspirations, and strengths. “I encourage students to consider the costs, their reasons for pursuing a marketing degree, and how completing the degree would benefit them with their professional goals,” says Pickett.

It’s also important to consider how you learn best, as online learning in a virtual classroom may better fit some students than others. Pickett recommends asking yourself, “‘ Can I learn best in an online classroom environment?’ If so, what modifications do I need to make in my daily life to ensure I set aside enough time to be successful in this program?” By reflecting on these questions, you can gauge whether online learning suits your preferences and visualize how a marketing degree aligns with your future ambitions.

2. Research schools and programs

Reviewing accredited programs is essential when researching schools and programs for your marketing degree. “Accreditation is important when looking at the academic requirements, standards, and quality of a program’s academic curriculum,” says Pickett. “It also factors into a student’s eligibility for federal financial aid funding.” Some reputable accrediting bodies for business schools include:

Pickett also recommends reviewing each program’s reputation. “How reputable a program is can be based on how long it has been in existence. The longevity of a program also speaks to the quality of the program.” Carefully read student reviews and testimonials to explore this further, as these can lend valuable firsthand perspectives that can significantly impact your research.

Other factors to consider include each program’s cost, financial aid offerings, curriculum, available specializations, and networking opportunities.

3. Prepare for tests and applications

The key to effective undergraduate and graduate applications is starting early. Gather all required documents, such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, and statements of purpose, well ahead of any deadlines to ensure you’re adequately prepared when the time comes.

If you’re applying to schools requiring standardized test scores for admission, planning ample time for test preparation is essential. Utilize practice tests, study guides, and online resources to enhance your performance. Some students take their preparation a step further by enrolling in a test prep course, which can help them learn test-taking strategies and familiarize themselves with the test format.

4. Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

To finance your marketing education, evaluate program tuition costs to ensure a favorable return on investment. “Compare costs of different programs to determine the best return on your investment,” Pickett says. “Look at the cost of tuition, technology or distance learning fees, book costs, and any required software for the program.” Having a better idea of the overall cost will help you determine which programs will give you the best value for your investment.

Next, evaluate your financial aid options. Many schools and private organizations offer scholarships and grants to well-qualified students. These are particularly beneficial as they are forms of financial aid that don’t need to be repaid. Completing the FAFSA is essential, as it determines your federal loan eligibility, which offers lower interest rates and flexible repayment terms than private loans.

5. Select your program

Once you have received your acceptance letters, it’s time to decide which program you will attend. It’s an excellent time to revisit each program’s offerings to ensure it aligns with your interests and goals. Look closely at course descriptions, faculty profiles, and resources like online tutoring or library access. By thoroughly evaluating your options, you can confidently choose a program that resonates with your professional goals and ensure a fulfilling educational experience.

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