'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?
ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.
When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.
ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.
As marketplace competition increases and consumer access improves, organizations need to find new and effective ways to reach their buyers. A marketing master's teaches modern technologies and strategies to better understand consumers and markets.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 10% growth in marketing manager positions between 2020 and 2030. In addition to these promising roles, marketing master's graduates can pursue market research, public relations, and management jobs.
Here, we rank the best online marketing master's degrees and discuss what you can expect from the programs.
Florida International University
Avg. annual net price: $7,296
Application fee: $30
Virginia Beach, VA
Avg. annual net price: $15,267
Application fee: $50
Avg. annual net price: $26,387
Application fee: Free
Avg. annual net price: $33,375
Application fee: $35
Avg. annual net price: $25,483
Application fee: Free
The rankings below include publicly available information from reputable and up-to-date sources. ZDNet's ranking methodology uses curated state and national data to compare variables including student financial aid, admission and graduation rates, and more.
Unless otherwise indicated, data is drawn from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Scorecard.
About the program: FIU's 30-credit online marketing master's program features training in global marketing, e-marketing, and marketing analytics. The program offers concentrations in brand development, digital marketing, and marketing analytics.
About the program: Regent's 33-credit faith-based online political campaign marketing master's program provides training in campaign management, marketing communications, and digital media and marketing. The program features concentrations in data analytics, leadership, and policy studies.
About the program: DBU's 36-credit online MBA features a marketing concentration as one of 19 options. The marketing concentration focuses on consumer and buyer behavior, international marketing, and marketing analysis.
About the program: SJU's 30-credit online marketing master's program provides training in marketing and consumer trends, research, and analytics.
About the program: Regis' 30-credit online marketing master's program offers training in marketing automation, digital marketing, and global branding.
About the program: CUW's 36-credit online MBA features a strategic marketing concentration. This specialization includes courses in publicity and public relations, strategic package design, and social marketing strategies.
About the program: Walsh's faith-based 36-credit online MBA in marketing features training in sustainable ethical leadership and organizational research and analysis.
About the program: SNHU's 36-credit online MBA in marketing features concentrations in digital marketing, new media and communications, marketing research and analytics, and social media marketing.
About the program: Union's 30-credit online marketing master's program features courses in brand management, e-commerce, and strategic decisions.
About the program: Lasell's 36-credit online marketing master's program provides training in new product development, data analytics, and market research, along with integrated marketing communications.
About the program: TU's online MBA in marketing features 32-36 credits in courses like strategic brand management and marketing field analysis.
About the program: BU's online strategic marketing master's program offers courses in marketing analytics, marketing finance, and advertising and promotions management.
About the program: Brenau's 45-credit hour online MBA in marketing trains students in the fields of advertising promotions, new product development, and international marketing.
About the program: Franklin's 36-credit online marketing master's program features courses in creative concepts, marketing communication management, and metrics and analytics.
About the program: Florida Tech's 36-credit online MBA in marketing emphasizes hands-on learning and collaboration. Courses include managerial economics, organizational behavior, strategic marketing, and more.
Adam Goulston, MBA, MS, MISD, is a U.S.-born, Japan-based business owner. His Japan-registered company Scize helps globally sighted businesses and organizations, primarily in Asia and Europe, communicate their value and expand their brands.
For more than two decades, Adam has worked with startups, corporations, NGOs, governmental think tanks, and academia in the U.S. and Asia-Pacific. Adam worked with early internet startups in the 1990s and then took his skills to Asia, where he worked with nonprofits in Southeast Asia and Japan, all the while training as he learned.
Adam is a board-certified editor in the life sciences. He now applies scientific language expertise with business, marketing, and psychology-based approaches to help clients take a globally appropriate and profitable approach.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
ZDNet: In what cases is a marketing master's program worth it to pursue? In what cases might it not be worthwhile?
Adam Goulston: Unless you can afford it, have the time (years) for it, and are personally interested, you should have a specific idea of why you need it. Otherwise, you can learn a great deal of the degree contents through free sources. If you're really into marketing as a career, and you have the room in your life and won't take on debt, then go for it.
The actual pursuit and paying for a degree is a strong deterrent against giving up on it, as is the support of faculty and classmates.
Few marketers actually have a master's in marketing, or an MBA, or even a bachelor's in marketing or business. I've worked with many marketing people and I don't know a single one who had a master's in marketing. An MBA, maybe. Most common among them is a bachelor's in an unrelated subject.
ZDNet: How did you make the most of your marketing degree program so that it prepared you for post-grad jobs?
AG: I didn't need to do an MBA with a marketing emphasis as much as I wanted to do it out of interest and personal ambition. I had two other master's degrees and I was looking at doing a Ph.D., but I really wanted to advance my business career and perhaps have my own company.
I'd always been a practitioner, but I hoped to gain both business admin skills and marketing know-how so I could manage others and see the bigger picture, and so I could be tactical and not just follow my intuition. The studies did that, and the scholar-practitioner approach let me apply what I was learning on a daily basis.
I was still finishing up my MBA when I accepted a new job as a copywriter and content manager, shifting from scientific editing to a marketing-related role. Then after I finished the MBA, I was able to get more involved with the marketing team at a higher level. I also shifted from sole entrepreneurship to the owner of a formal company.
ZDNet: What were the biggest takeaway(s) you got from your master's in marketing program, that you may not have gotten otherwise?
AG: I learned theory, which really does matter, to me at least. I learned the history of the principles of marketing. I learned how to apply the theory, the difference between marketing and sales, and how much marketing can entail.
I also learned skills like accounting and finance, which I otherwise may not have picked up. Doing case studies taught me about things like ethics and global marketing strategy.
And of course, having the degree can be an advantage with employers who value and respect formal education. Spending a lot of time on something, and having to pay for it, makes you learn it well.
A marketer who can crunch numbers, pick apart weaknesses in the competition, and make prudent business decisions on something other than gut feeling is a very valuable marketer. Yes, you can learn a lot of that stuff for free, but it's hard to find the right material for you, and it's harder to stick with it and not get distracted by another topic, or by life in general.
The typical online marketing master's program prepares students for advertising, promotions, and leadership positions.
The training provides learners with analytical, communications, and technical skills. Graduate marketing programs blend theoretical and practical training with a practicum.
Most online marketing master's programs feature the same course requirements as on-campus programs, but they demand more independence and self-motivation from students. In addition to completing independent problem-solving and creative assignments, learners usually participate in group projects and teams.
Many programs also offer concentration options so students can specialize in a subdiscipline such as digital marketing or data analytics.
Every online marketing master's program is unique, but these courses are common among them. They may appear as core requirements or electives.
Digital marketing strategy
Digital technologies can help marketing professionals better understand and reach consumers. This course explores digital marketing plan design and implementation, along with digital marketing analytical tools.
In this course, students learn how to identify the pillars of an organization's brand and incorporate that into their marketing plans. They also learn how to communicate brand messaging to consumers.
Students learn how to communicate in a business setting. The training may cover oral and written methods, along with presentation and interview communication strategies.
In this course, learners look at how analytics can be used to understand markets, identify pricing strategies, and evaluate campaign effectiveness. Students learn to gather and use data.
At each subsequent degree level, marketing programs' studies are more focused and in-depth. While associate and bachelor's degrees offer broad training and widely applicable entry-level skills, graduate programs deliver advanced training, research, and specialization opportunities.
Length: Two years
Post-grad careers: Advertising sales agent, customer service representative, public relations specialists
An associate degree in marketing provides students with business principles and foundations. Learners explore the marketing discipline and develop the fundamental problem-solving and creative skills required for entry-level careers in the field.
Additionally, associate degrees prepare students for further training. Curricula usually combine general education and broad business and marketing courses so graduates can qualify for transfer credits if they choose to continue their studies.
Length: Four years
Cost: $28,123/year in 2018-19
Post-grad careers: Advertising manager, promotions manager, sales manager
A bachelor's in marketing provides comprehensive business and marketing training. Students progress through beginner, intermediate, and advanced courses in several business disciplines. This ensures they understand how marketing influences and coordinates with the various sectors.
They also learn to develop and implement marketing campaigns for consumer groups. Most programs combine theory and practical training, culminating in practicums and extensive hands-on projects.
A marketing degree at this level qualifies graduates for many marketing and business-related careers.
Length: One to two years
Cost: $19,792/year in 2019-20
Post-grad careers: Market research analyst, public relations manager, marketing manager
A marketing master's program builds on undergraduate training, exploring advanced and specialized topics. Through research and training, students develop expertise in communications, consumer markets, and marketing campaign building. They also acquire in-depth business knowledge to better understand operations and organizational goals.
Students can often focus their studies in a subdiscipline, such as digital marketing, brand management, or analytics. These degrees prepare graduates for management and leadership positions in marketing and business.
Length: Three to six years
Cost: $19,792/year in 2019-20
Post-grad careers: Postsecondary teacher, top executive, marketing director
A doctorate in marketing is this field's terminal degree. Aspiring postsecondary teachers often pursue these programs. Graduates may also acquire leadership or research and development positions.
Students may choose between a practical or research doctorate. While both degrees feature extensive research, the former provides more rigid course-based training, while the latter allows for flexible independent studies.
The marketing field continues to expand and evolve. Marketing master's graduates are in a good position to benefit.
The training provided in these top-ranked programs prepares students to use digital landscapes and technologies, improving communication lines between businesses and consumers.