A Master’s degree in marketing will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of brand development, strategic marketing systems, market research analytics, consumer behavior research, product management, and global marketing issues. Because these skillsets are valuable to any industry, and because marketing is essentially a universally valuable tool for any business or corporation, students with this degree may aim to work in whichever industry most aligns with their personal interests and career goals. Few degrees provide students with such freedom of choice. Further increasing the attractiveness of this degree is the fact that there is a steadily growing demand for advanced marketing professionals, especially those who specialize in analytics. The hiring growth rate for individuals with a specialization in marketing analytics is up more than 67% over last year and up 136% over the past three years. Regardless of the chosen specialization, marketing professions of all types are experiencing growth far above the national average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. An added bonus for prospective students is that undergraduate marketing degrees are not regularly required for admission into masters of marketing programs. While it may help with admission into more competitive programs, many programs listed in this article simply require demonstrable experience or education in a field that might contribute to further education in marketing such as philosophy, psychology, business, economics, etc. In this article we explore 20 of the best online Masters of Marketing programs available using a three dimensional metric that weighs the program’s tuition per credit hour, the curriculum’s coverage of core content, and the efficiency of the program. You can find a more complete explanation of the metric below.
Affordability (1/3): the estimated tuition per credit hour for out-of-state students (where applicable).
Program Efficiency (1/3): the time required to complete the program and receive the degree.
Core Course Content (1/3): whether the program touches on the four core content areas of the curriculum: marketing management, digital marketing, marketing analytics, and product development.
1. The University of Saint Mary
Founded in 1923, The University of Saint Mary is a private liberal arts university located in Leavenworth, Kansas. The University was originally established by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth as a school for women, however, today the university is coeducational. The University remains true to its heritage though and houses the Mother House of the Sisters of Charity Order, and incorporates Catholicism into its mission: “To educate students of diverse backgrounds to realize their God-given potential and prepare them for value-centered lives and careers that contribute to the well-being of our global society.”
The University of Saint Mary offers a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Marketing and Advertising Concentration. Because the program is an MBA, students will learn the marketing curriculum through the lens of business administration and management, preparing them to take on roles of leadership in careers. For students with a mind for business and leadership looking to earn their marketing degree, this program is likely a perfect option; it is both efficient, affordable, and covers the most important content of marketing while building on the foundation of an MBA. For these four reasons, the program was an easy pick for the number 1 spot of this ranking.
No GMAT or GRE required A Top 100 University for nearly a decade
2. American InterContinental University
As a relatively new university, American InterContinental was established in 1970 in Lucerne, Switzerland by an American couple, Jack and Helen Barnette. After experiencing tremendous growth and expansion in both the US and abroad, the University came to be regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association to award associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees–all of which can be completed online. Today approximately 80% of its students complete the University’s degrees online.
American InterContinental University offers a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Specialization in Marketing. The MBA foundation means that students will be prepared to take on business-oriented roles of leadership and management. The program can be completed in just 11 months, making it the fastest program listed in this ranking. This fast-paced program is designed to accommodate the busiest of lives, and offers 24/7 access to course content, so students can choose when and where is best to learn. Students will also study under successful industry veterans, who teach courses designed to mirror the real-world demands and evolutions of the marketing industry. Such courses include: Strategic Marketing, Research Methods in Marketing, and Global Financial Management.
Originally established in 1863 as Amherst College, The University of Massachusetts took its current name in 1964. The University of Massachusetts is comprised of the five-campus public university system of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts including four universities, a medical school, and a satellite campus. The UMass System ranked 57th in the world in 2015 for Innovative Achievements according to Reuters. These achievements can likely be traced back to 2012 when the state of Massachusetts invested $607 million to advance instructional and research projects throughout the UMass System, and impressively research expenditures nearly reached $600 million that same year. Needless to say the UMass System is comprised of highly impressive resources.
The University of Massachusetts Online Division offers a Master’s of Business Administration with a Concentration in Marketing. The program can be completed entirely online and is composed of six required foundation courses, seven required MBA core courses, and then three courses in the Marketing Concentration. Students with business-oriented undergraduate educations may be able to exclude some of the required foundation courses, thereby greatly reducing the time of the program. Students will be able to choose their Marketing Concentration courses to fit their career goals from any of the following: Market Research for Entrepreneurs, International marketing, New Product Development, Sales Management, Digital Marketing, Sustainable/Green Marketing, and Current Topics in Marketing.
Program Length: 30 Credit Hours (Estimated less than 3 years)
4. Bellevue University
Bellevue University is a relatively young university, founded in just 50 years ago in 1966. Bellevue is a private, nonprofit university located in Bellevue, Nebraska and maintains a steadfast focus on providing a career-oriented education. The University’s motto, “Real Learning for Real Life” sums up this focus, which is further evidenced by the types of students they attract. Bellevue’s degree programs are designed for career-minded adults, and as of 2011, 80% of the University’s undergraduates were aged 25 and over.
Bellevue University’s master’s degrees are accredited by the The Higher Learning Commission through the U.S. Department of Education. Among these is the MBA with a Concentration in Marketing, which can be completed either on campus or through 100% online work. Inline with the University’s larger focus, the program places special emphasis on building and practicing the in-demand, real world skills of current business and marketing industries. As such the program’s curriculum was designed through the University’s consulting with an advisory board consisting of business leaders with high-level industry insights of the evolving workplace. Thus students can expect an education experience that is designed entirely to enhance their future career experiences.
Program Length: 36 Credit Hours (Estimated 3 years)
5. University of Maryland University College
The University of Maryland University College (UMUC) was established in 1947, and today is a public university located in Adelphi in Prince George’s County, Maryland. UMUC maintains international satellite campuses in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. UMUC serves over 90,000 students throughout the world and as such is one of the largest distance learning institutions in the world. UMUC is unique in that it offers a 100% acceptance rate, and is receptive to all applicants, offering many students a second-chance, who might have a hard time finding one elsewhere.
UMUC offers a fully online Masters of Science in Management: Marketing. The program is focused on preparing students to become managers who specialize in acquiring customers for products and services. The curriculum focuses on skills necessary for managers to attract customers such as: Understanding 21st century marketing trends, Developing and executing marketing strategies, Adapting to changing technologies, Building customer satisfaction and retention, and Facilitating successful communication between the organization and the customer. Students complete the program when they demonstrate the mastery of these skillsets in a final Capstone Course.
Program Length: 33 Credit Hours (Estimated under 3 years)
6. California Coast University
California Coast University (CCU) is a younger private university, established in 1973 as one of the first higher education institutions to specialize in distance learning programs. Though it is based in Santa Ana, California CCU does not offer traditional classroom attendance options. Instead CCU focuses almost exclusively on online degree programs, which are accredited by the Distance Education Accreditation Commission. The University has experienced continued growth since its inception and today enrolls around 8,000 students at a time.
California Coast University offers a Master of Business Administration with a Specialization in Business Marketing. The program is designed to give students the utmost freedom and choice during their education. It is entirely self-paced without semesters, quarters, or terms, so students can begin the program at any time of the year and complete the coursework when and where they prefer. The program’s curriculum is designed around the theories and best practices required to make graduates of the program competitive in today’s business world.
Program Length: 39 Credit Hours (Estimated over 3 years)
7. Columbia Southern University
Columbia Southern University was established in 1993, making it one of the youngest Universities on this list. While the University’s headquarters are in Orange Beach, Alabama only online degree options are offered, and most of which offer impressively low tuitions, which is inline with the University’s motto, “Flexible. Affordable. Online.” The University’s degree programs are accredited by the Distance Education Accreditation Commission (DEAC). Columbia Southern is also a member of the Higher Education Transfer Alliance (HETA), a group concerned with prioritizing the success rates of transfer credits,
Columbia Southern offers a Master of Business Administration in Marketing that can be completed entirely in the online format. Due to the MBA foundation, this marketing program concentrates on preparing students for management level marketing positions. As such the curriculum is designed to elevate students’ understanding of managerial skills and business leadership, so they can anticipate consumer needs, create successful marketing campaigns, and do so while leading and managing teams placed in their responsibility. While fewer areas of core content are covered in this program, this narrowed focus makes sense considering the programs focus on business managing and leadership.
Program Length: 36 Credit Hours (Estimated 3 years)
8. Walsh University
Walsh University was founded in 1960 by the Brothers of Christian Instruction as a liberal arts college of education named after Bishop Emmett Michael Walsh. The University became what it is today in 1993, and is now a private nonprofit, four-year, Roman Catholic University located in North Canton, Ohio. Despite its changes, Walsh remains true to its roots in the Roman Catholic Church and the Brothers of Christian Instruction, many of whom have served as the University’s president. As such it is endorsed by The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College. In the last decade, Walsh University has dedicated a great deal of resources to developing its presence in online education, and now offers a wide array of online degree options at the undergraduate and graduate level.
Among such degrees is the University’s online Master’s of Business Administration in Marketing. In the words of the program director, “The program combines the traditional area of marketing communications with e-commerce and other emerging social marketing opportunities to provide an understanding of the role and importance of the media and technology.” Students will choose from speciality courses and electives to align their coursework and interests, further concentrating their knowledge and skillsets to meet their career goals. Students will demonstrate the culmination of their learning through a Capstone Course at the end of the program.
Program Length: 34 credit hours (Estimated less than 3 years)
9. Post University
Post University was first established in 1890 as Post College, located in Waterbury, Connecticut. In May 1990 it became Teikyo Post University as a result of its affiliation with Teikyo University in Tokyo, Japan from 1990 to 2004. After that period Post University has established its independence as “student-focused, career-driven” institution as stated in its motto, and has grown to offer over 30 undergraduate and graduate programs through day, evening, and online courses. The University is accredited by the Connecticut Department of Higher Education and the New england Association of Schools and Colleges.
Post University offers a Master’s of Business Administration with a Marketing Concentration. Students in the program will complete MBA Foundation courses, which are core to the MBA education, followed by Core courses, which delve into deeper and more challenging material. Students will then begin their Marketing Concentration composed of four main courses: New Product Development, Matching Value Propositions to Buyers, Integrated Marketing for Managers, and Driving Growth through Customer Relationship Management. The program is completed after the student demonstrates mastery of this material through a Capstone Research Course and Capstone Project.
Program Length: 25 Credit Hours (Estimated more than 2 Years)
10. St. Bonaventure University
Established in 1858 in Allegany, New York by the Franciscan Brothers of the Catholic Church, St. Bonaventure University holds a rich history steeped in religious tradition and the early development of Catholic education in the United States. After experiencing financial strain in the early 90’s leadership changes led to record growth and development of the University, which now also participates in NCAA Division I sports. Though it is one of the smaller universities on this list, it has recently devoted impressive resources to developing its online and distance learning options–most notably through its School of Journalism and Mass Communication, which is well-reviewed and offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees.
St. Bonaventure’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication is one of only a few schools in the U.S. to offer a Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC). The Integrated Marketing Communications program is a new and innovative approach to teaching marketing and business communications. According to the School, “It coordinates and integrates the various marketing communication tools within a company, since IMC professionals must successfully manage such elements of the marketing mix as advertising, public relations, business communications, promotions, direct marketing, package design and e-commerce.” For students who are interested in fast-paced mastery of communication technology and strategies as they relate to marketing and business this is a uniquely attractive option.
Marist College was founded in 1929 in the Hudson River Valley town of Poughkeepsie, New York by the Marist Brothers, a Catholic Religious Institute of Brothers. The Marist Brothers originally founded the college to prepare their Brothers for their vocations as educators. Over time, the College gained more accreditations and began to offer more degrees, and today Marist College is a private liberal arts college that offers 56 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review both consistently rank Marist College as one of “America’s Best Colleges.”
Marist College offers a Master’s Degree in Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC), a cutting-edge approach to marketing education. According to the College, the degree stands out because IMC students are able to “assure companies that their business will effectively harness traditional and rich-media avenues to develop, distribute, and analyze messages to keep their brand at the forefront of society’s attention.” The program’s faculty is comprised of industry leaders with significant experience marketing national brands, teaching at major institutions, or trendsetting consulting. And due to the program’s impressive network of businesses, companies, and industry leaders, students of the program can expect a rigorous education where projects and coursework parallel professional networking, mentorship, and career development.
Founded in 1867, West Virginia University (WVU) boasts a rich history intertwined with the early development of the state of West Virginia. WVU is a public land grant university in Morgantown, West Virginia. WVU offers 191 bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and professional degree programs from 15 colleges, and as of 2014 total enrollment numbered over 29,000 students. WVU has produced 24 Rhodes Scholars, 36 Goldwater Scholars, and 22 Truman Scholars. WVU boasts it is a pioneer in education, and has quite a few justifications for this claim as it is able claim quite a few “firsts.” You can read more about how exactly WVU has pioneered the industry over the years <ahref=”http://about.wvu.edu/pioneering”>here
West Virginia University follows suit with its larger theme of “pioneering” by offering a Master’s of Science in Integrated marketing Communications (IMC). Only a handful of schools in the United States offer this new and progressive degree. The fully accredited degree offers a career-oriented curriculum, that is constantly expanding and evolving to cover the most innovative methods in the industry. The program’s faculty consists of a wide array of instructors–from communication professionals, to marketing directors, to academics, and entrepreneurs. These wildly different instructors are meant to empower students with unique perspectives from the various points of progression and evolution in the field, so upon graduation they may step into the job market with the cutting-edge skills and knowledge needed to succeed in any career path.
Program Length: 33 Credit Hours (Estimated less than 3 years)
13. Brandman University
Brandman University began as a Residence Education Center Program at Chapman University in 1958, and became Brandman University in 2009. Brandman University is a private, non-profit, regionally accredited institution that has spearheaded the movement for flexible education for working adults. The University has 25 campuses throughout California and Washington, and also maintains a robust virtual campus. In total, the University offers more than 50 degree, certificate, credential, and professional programs. In 2011 Brandman University’s online Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) program was one of fourteen named to the Honor Roll in the first edition of “Top Online Education Programs” rankings by U.S. News & World Report.
Brandman University offers a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Marketing. The program’s curriculum emphasizes market research tools, including buyer and industrial applications, and strategies for new product development. Students will also be introduced to the global marketing environment’s most important concepts: ethics, sociology, and culture as they pertain to business and marketing. Brandman’s MBA is designed for students with busy lives, looking to jumpstart their marketing careers. While admission requirements are fairly steep, students admitted into the program will surely experience a rigorous yet flexible and rewarding education.
Program Length: 36 Credit Hours (Estimated 3 years)
14. Regis University
Regis University has gone through many evolutions over the years–first founded by the Society of Jesus as Las Vegas College in 1877, then as College of the Sacred Heart in 1887, and then as Regis College in 1921. In 1991 it became Regis University, a private, nonprofit, coeducational, Roman Catholic, Jesuit university located in Denver, Colorado. It is one of 28 members of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Regis University was ranked 29th of regional universities in the West by U.S. News & World Report.
Regis University, like many on this list, offers a master’s in marketing through an MBA program. The school states that the program, “prepares students to examine the relationship between marketing and corporate strategy with the tools necessary for developing and implementing strong marketing tactics throughout their organization.” The program boasts of an award-winning faculty made up of successful professionals, who present students with the dynamics of ethical marketing in corporate, small business, and nonprofit organizations, while tying theories to real-world applications. With the MBA foundation, the program is designed to prepare students for the upper rungs of management, leadership, and administration.
Program Length: 36 Credit Hours (Estimated 3 years)
15. Ellis University
Ellis University is one of the youngest schools on this list, and was created just 16 years ago. Based out of Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois the University offers undergraduate degrees in child development, interdisciplinary studies, accounting, business administration, and computer science. Graduate degrees include: communications, business administration, and computer science. Ellis University is also one of the smallest on this list with just over 1300 students enrolled, but is steadily growing its presence in online education. The University is accredited through the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.
Ellis University offers a fully online, highly customizable MBA program. Students may choose between an MBA in General Business Studies, or an MBA with a specialization, or an MBA with two specializations (11 specializations available). The MBA in Marketing is comprised of 8 required MBA-oriented courses and then three courses in the Marketing Specialization: Principles of Internet Marketing, Implementing Marketing Strategy, and International Marketing. While the course content seems to focus more heavily on MBA-oriented coursework, students looking to supplement their Marketing degree with another specialization will find this program an invaluable option.
Program Length: 36 Credit Hours (Estimated 3 years)
16. Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University is a private, nonprofit, Roman Catholic, liberal arts university located in Saint Leo, Florida–just 35 miles north of Tampa. Originally established in 1889, the University is the oldest Catholic college in Florida, and the sixth-largest Catholic college in the U.S. Saint Leo University is closely affiliated with the Holy Name Monastery, a Benedictine convent, and Saint Leo Abbey, a Benedictine Monastery. The University, the Abbey, and the city in which they are located are named in honor of Pope Leo the Great, recognized by Catholics as a Saint and a great leader of history. The University was also one of the first American universities to provide distance learning options, beginning as far back as 1973 when the University set up programs to educate military men and women.
Today, the University’s distance learning programs have grown immensely. Among these is the MBA in Marketing Research and Social Media Analytics. The program directors are confident in the value of this degree because, “Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists Jobs are expected to grow over 40% nationally in the coming decade, and experts explain that this growth will be driven by an increasing emphasis on data-driven marketing and that many employers will require candidates with master’s level credentials in these specialties (Hanover Report, 2013).” The program aims to prepare students to meet these growing demands, while providing personalized guidance from start to finish.
Program Length: 36 Credit Hours (Estimated 3 years)
17. Concordia University Nebraska
Established in 1894, Concordia University, Nebraska is a private, nonprofit, coeducational university in Seward, Nebraska. According to Concordia, Nebraska’s website it is “highly rated by the most respected source in education.” The University is affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod as one of its ten schools in the Concordia University System. Concordia Online combines the resources of the Concordia University System to offer an array of quality degree programs.
Among these degree programs in the Master’s of Business Administration in Marketing. The MBA’s curriculum is designed to have immediate real-world application, meaning that what you learn in the program today can be applied in your job tomorrow. The Marketing Concentration teaches students how to conduct well-designed market research, develop and communicate brand concepts, design compelling marketing campaigns within a specified budget, manage public relations, and to engage existing and potential customers through a strong social media presence. Concordia also emphasizes their interactive virtual learning formats, so online students may still have the experience of interacting with peers and instructors.
Northwestern University (NU) is a private research university that was established in 1851 in Evanston, Illinois by John Evans–for whom the city of Evanston was named–and eight other lawyers, businessmen and Methodist leaders. Today Northwestern University is a prominent institution with campuses also in Chicago, Illinois and Doha, Qatar. As a large research university with comprehensive doctoral programs, NU has raked in over $550 million in sponsored research funds for several consecutive years now. It also has the eighth largest university endowment in the United States, $10.19 billion. Despite its large size NU maintains strict admission requirements. In 2016 only 10.7% of undergraduate applicants were admitted out of a pool of over 35,000. Northwestern is also well known for its participation NCAA Division I sports, known in athletics as the Northwestern Wildcats.
Northwestern University’s Medill: School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications offers a fully online Master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC). The IMC degree is viewed as cutting edge, and yet it has been a cornerstone program at Medill for over a decade. The program is taught by the same award-winning faculty who teach the full-time on-campus program. And according to the program directors, the vast majority of their online IMC students are working professionals, who have demonstrated success in their careers in marketing and/or communications-related field. While the tuition is by far the highest on this list, so too is the expected quality of the delivered education. Students with an excellent academic and professional record will likely find their investment in this program returned tenfold later in their careers and life.
Established in 1965, Colorado Technical University (CTU) is located in Colorado Spring, Colorado, however, operates independently of any affiliation with the state. CTU is reportedly very “military friendly” and was ranked as #1 “Best for Vets” in 2013 by the Military Times in the online and non-traditional universities category. The NSA and Department of Homeland Security recognize CTU as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information and Assurance Education. CTU also ranked 58th Best Online Program by U.S. News & World Report in 2015.
Colorado Technical University offers a fully online Master of Business Administration in Marketing. Coursework covers strategic management, managerial marketing, and economics and finance. There are four courses in the marketing concentration: Marketing Research Methods, Marketing in the Digital Age, International Marketing, and a Management Capstone Course. CTU’s program is lenient towards applicants and only requires that those with no prior experience take preparatory courses to compensate, however, a GMAT score of 500 or above will waive this requirement. Demonstration of professional experience in key areas of business may also waive the requirement. U.S. News & World Report found CTU’s online MBA degree programs were ranked among the Best Online Programs for 2016.
Lasell College is a private, nonsectarian, coeducational college located in the Newton, Massachusetts village of Auburndale. Originally founded in 1851 as the Auburndale Female Seminary by Edward Lasell, the college was a nationally respected ‘ladies’ academy,’ and the college evolved over the years, slowing growing and changing names. It began admitting male students in 1997, and then when it began offering master’s degree in 2002 its evolution was nearly complete. According to U.S. News & World Report Lasell College ranked 9th in “Great Schools at Great Prices” and ranked 25th in “Best Regional College” in the North. While still evolving, Lasell has secured its place as a quality institution of higher education, offering liberal arts degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Lasell’s School of Graduate and Professional Studies offers a Master of Science in Management: Marketing. Unlike many of the programs on this list with MBA foundations, the core courses of this program offer two marketing courses at the start where MBA programs usually only reached marketing courses after the core MBA courses had been completed. In this program after the core classes students may choose a Research Capstone Project or a Capstone Internship, followed by the Marketing Specialization courses: Consumer Behavior, Marketing Research, and Global Marketing. For students, who are uninterested in the learning paths of the MBA, this program may be more appealing, for its narrowed focus almost exclusively offers marketing courses, and requires only business courses that are most relevant to them.