Marketing has been a big part of business operations for decades, and it may be more important now than ever. With the rise of Big Data and social media as elements of business strategy, marketing personnel with the right set of tools to take advantage of today's high-tech environment can add value to a wide range of commercial and non-profit organizations.

Programs that lead to a master's degree in marketing include education in a range of academic disciplines, from business and the social sciences to digital media and mass communication. Different degree plans in marketing may train you in different aspects of the field: programs designed for marketing managers and specialists focus on consumer behavior and group psychology, and those that cover market research and analysis provide more education in business technology and statistics.

Jobs for marketers are on the rise, as well. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a nationwide 8 percent increase in the employment of marketing managers, representing slightly faster than average growth, while market research analysts are poised to see a whopping 20 percent increase in available positions over the next several years.

Read on to learn about online marketing master's programs, including the popular MBA in marketing, and find out how those degrees can help you land a range of careers after graduation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Marketers typically work in teams, collaborating to create strategies to attract customers and raise awareness about their products. Good teams need good managers, and that's where master's degrees in marketing management come in. It takes a set of skills that goes beyond standard marketing education to effectively allocate resources and keep a tight focus on the mission of a project, and those who study to become marketing managers learn about applied management principles, conflict resolution and other important elements of administrative and supervisory positions.

In much the same way as the marketing industry itself thrives in the digital environment, marketing education has found a home in the virtual classroom. Some of the best marketing master's programs on the market today can be completed entirely online, offering the type of flexibility in your day-to-day school schedule that can allow you to stay in your current job while you earn your advanced degree. Some programs may also offer a hybrid schedule, which combines online study with in-person instruction.

Education and experience are the twin pillars of career advancement, and earning a master's degree in marketing online can rank you among the most highly educated members of your field. The advanced techniques and enhanced perspectives that you learn in marketing graduate programs may give you an advantage over other candidates for high-demand positions, and the connections you can make while earning a marketing MBA or other master's degree may inspire you to take your career in directions you hadn't previously considered.

It's important to make sure that the college or university where you earn your master's degree in marketing is accredited. Accreditation shows that the instruction and student services provided by an institution have been analyzed by an independent group and meet or exceed a national standard of quality. Colleges and universities as a whole earn accreditation from a regional body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), while individual marketing programs may be accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).


Master's in Marketing Program Overview

Marketing degrees at the graduate level are typically offered in one of three forms: a Master of Science (M.S.), Master of Arts (M.A.) or Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. Each one of these three common formats tends to take its own unique academic approach to the field.

M.S. plans typically concentrate on the numbers, teaching students about data-driven strategies and methodologies for effective statistical analysis. M.A. programs often focus more on communication, image and other qualitative aspects of marketing, providing insight into the relationships and other human elements that drive the connection between brands and consumers.

MBA programs feature business administration courses alongside their marketing core — there's more detail on these degrees further down the page. If you're not sure of the specific direction you want to take your marketing education, it can be a good idea to sit down with an advisor and discuss your options.

Earning an Online Master's Degree in Marketing

How long does an online master's in marketing program take?

Each individual institution that offers a master's degree in marketing sets its own curriculum and program schedule, and the length of time you're expected to spend in school between enrollment and graduation can fluctuate from one institution to another. Many programs that lead to a master's degree in marketing take roughly 36 credit hours to complete, which typically works out to two or three years of full-time study.

Some schools also offer accelerated options for students hoping to get to the end of their program as quickly as possible. By packing your summer and winter breaks with credit courses, it may be possible to earn your marketing master's degree in a year or less.

What are the requirements to start an online master's degree in marketing?

Students planning to earn a graduate degree in marketing should first complete a bachelor's degree program in a related subject. Marketing master's programs don't typically require that your undergraduate education be in marketing, business, or another similar field of knowledge, but your chosen school may ask you to backfill any business prerequisites before beginning the marketing core of the plan.

Most programs also look for a satisfactory GPA in your undergraduate transcripts — over 3.0 is usually good — and require submission of your official scores on the GRE or GMAT exam. Letters of recommendation are also a common request.

Why earn a master's in marketing online?

Attending school full time while trying to balance career and family responsibilities can be an intense task. Online marketing programs allow you to move toward your degree at your own pace, attending lecture sessions, seminars and workshops from the comfort of your home or office and completing assignments and other work as the time becomes available.

Some master's in marketing programs use synchronous online delivery, meaning that you may have to attend courses at set times during the week, while others allow you to follow an entirely self-designed schedule. Chat with a distance education advisor at your school to learn more.

Degree Timeline

Early study

Your first semester or two in a master's in marketing program usually consists of advanced foundational learning, introducing you to the more complex concepts studied at the master's level and familiarizing you with the paradigms of graduate study.

Choose a specialization and take elective courses

If your program features specializations, you may be able to choose one after spending some time studying as a generalist. You can likely need to declare a specialization before the halfway point of your studies.

Thesis/capstone project

Marketing graduate students generally must complete a substantial final project before they can be awarded their degree. This project can be a well-researched thesis or a capstone project that applies the knowledge and skills you've learned.


Some programs may offer an internship section, either in place of or in addition to your thesis or capstone project. Internships allow you to gain real-world experience that provides valuable context for your studies.

Master's in Marketing Concentrations

Marketing degrees are themselves sometimes offered as concentrations within business or management programs, but you may also be able to concentrate your marketing education in a specific area of the field. Here are a few concentration subjects you may be able to choose:

  • Market research. Market research study has more in common with mathematics or statistics than with mass communications or advertising. Students in these programs learn to analyze data and produce actionable results.
  • Product marketing. It could be argued that, at one time, all marketing was product marketing. With the expansion of the field since the telecommunications revolution, the classical techniques of bringing products to market successfully mostly fall under this concentration.
  • Content marketing. The creation of content as a marketing tool has skyrocketed in popularity over the last decade or so, and a content marketing specialty can help you navigate the challenges of this emerging field.
  • Social media marketing. Social media has proven itself an indispensable tool for creating brand-customer engagement and driving traffic to a company's online presence. Studying social media marketing at the graduate level can help you stay ahead of the curve.

MBA in Marketing

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is often held up as the gold standard for students who are serious about working to succeed in business after graduation. Most MBA programs consist of a core set of business courses, typically including subjects like leadership, decision making and business ethics, as well as a deep dive into a chosen specialty.

Earning an MBA in marketing online can teach you advanced marketing concepts as well as valuable business and management skills that can help you move into managerial or supervisory positions. Not every MBA program offers a marketing specialty, so make sure the specialty is offered before you enroll.

Career Outlook

What Can You Do with a Master's in Marketing?

Here's a short list of careers that you can qualify for with a master's degree in marketing:

Market research analyst. Research analysts in the marketing field study market conditions, trends in consumer behavior and the movements of their competitors to develop conclusions that can be useful to the promotional efforts of a brand or company. They use statistical software to make their calculations and prepare reports and presentations on their results.

Media coordinator. With so many different available channels of information for businesses to get their message out, a well-coordinated media strategy can mean the difference between a successful campaign and one that falls flat. Media coordinators use their knowledge of mass communications in its many forms to ensure a consistent approach across platforms.

Marketing manager. Particularly when a big project comes down the pipeline, a skilled marketing manager is an essential part of keeping the team on target and running smoothly. Marketing managers typically have project management skills, negotiation skills, high-level organization and planning abilities and the design sense necessary to effectively evaluate their team's work.

Sales manager. Marketing and sales go hand in hand, and a sales manager with marketing experience can be a game changer. The additional education in human psychology, sociology and consumer behavior that can be gained in marketing graduate programs can give aspiring sales managers more tools to work with when education salespeople and acquiring customers.

Public relations specialist. Public relations and marketing have a lot in common, in that they both rely heavily on data and make calculated attempts to sway public opinion. The main difference between the two is that marketers typically use their energies to sell products, while public relations specialists work to sell a positive image for a company, brand or individual.

Marketing Salaries by State

State NameAverage SalaryAnnual Job OpeningsProjected Job Growth Potential
New York$186,3501,75013.2%
New Jersey$178,3001,1509.7%
District of Columbia$166,28013010.1%
Rhode Island$164,5206010.4%
South Dakota$162,8901012.7%
Source: 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics,

Financial Aid for a Master's in Marketing

If the cost of marketing graduate programs seems like a little more than your finances can handle, there's still hope. Take a look at these financial aid programs available for students in traditional or online marketing master's programs:

Source: Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of CollegeXpress, a division of Carnegie Dartlet. Copyright © 2020 by CollegeXpress.

Master's in Marketing Certifications

Pragmatic Certified Product Marketer

Offered by the Pragmatic Institute, this certification can help you develop a confident plan for marketing, pricing, launching and promoting a range of different products that might come into your portfolio.

Requirements: Candidates must complete the Market course offered by Pragmatic Institute, which covers multiple topics in product marketing.

Exam Format: Progress assessments may be conducted as part of the course, but no official capstone exam is mentioned.

How long does the certification last?: Pragmatic Institute lists no formal date of expiration for this credential.

HubSpot Inbound Certification

Inbound marketing aims to attract customers by creating content and experiences that speak to them on a personal level, building valuable rapport between the brand and the consumer.

Requirements: The certification process lists no formal education or experience requirements.

Exam Format: Four quizzes are given during the HubSpot Inbound Certification course, which lasts roughly two hours.

How long does the certification last?: No official expiration date is listed for this certification.

Certified Trade Show Marketer (CTSM)

Reaching out to potential customers at trade shows, industry conferences and corporate events is a tried-and-true method of growing your marketing network, and the CTSM certification teaches you how to make the best of it.

Requirements: No formal requirements are listed for enrollment, but candidates with five or more years of experience in marketing may be able to replace certain core segments with approved electives.

Exam Format: The certification process is structured like a college course, featuring 23 required sections and five electives. Quizzes must be passed at the end of each section to receive credit.

How long does the certification last?: CTSM certification does not expire.

Emotional Intelligence Certificate

Offered by the American Marketing Association (AMA), this credential that focuses on soft skills can help you learn to work more fluidly with teammates and better understand the motivations behind consumer decisions.

Requirements: No formal requirements are listed; anyone who pays the course fee may attend.

Exam Format: Occasional assessments may be performed throughout the certificate courses, but no high-stakes exam is required.

How long does the certification last?: AMA certificates don't officially expire, but continued learning can keep you at the top of your game.

Professional Associations for Master's in Marketing

If you're hoping to grow your professional network and get access to career development tools and other valuable resources, you might want to think about joining a professional association of marketers. Here are a few such associations to look into:

Members of this longstanding marketing association gain access to local chapters and special interest communities, as well as micro-internship programs and reduced cost on the AMA's proprietary certification.

Three levels of membership are available from this worldwide organization, which extends a vast library of templates and training courses to its premium members.

Members of this national association can receive a subscription to Advertising Age magazine, access to an online job bank and discounts on professional marketing tools.

Marketers focused on social can get free admission to SMA's quarterly meetups, access to private groups on social media sites and early access to job postings if they join.