The digital economy has disrupted nearly every industry, but none more than media and marketing. Traditional “analog” campaigns are all but irrelevant; and if you don’t have a digital strategy, you don’t have much of a strategy at all.
Employment statistics reflect this shift across the board. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for marketing, advertising, and promotions managers are projected to increase 10% over the next decade, adding nearly 24,000 jobs. Market research analysts are even better off: 23% employment growth, or about three times the national average, resulting in 139,000 new jobs.
Of course, employment expansion doesn’t guarantee a job. So what’s the best way to stand out in a highly competitive market? Experience is one prerequisite, and marketing recruiters and professionals will no doubt be looking for candidates with previous work credits and a solid portfolio. But an advanced degree, particularly a Master’s in Digital Marketing, is perhaps the ultimate distinguishing factor. Not only will you receive expert training in digital marketing strategy, you’ll also develop in-demand skills and have the opportunity to build a portfolio through capstone projects and experiences.
The Marketing Communication master’s concentration prompts you to analyze consumer behavior, conduct market research, and engage the power of brands and messages in order to develop powerful digital marketing strategies. Evaluate various tactics, measure their effectiveness, and explore the intricacies of working with or in complex, multi-functional teams to execute compelling marketing campaigns.
Top 100 university
Below we’ve ranked the best digital master’s programs available online, including MBA tracks and other unique marketing degrees. Each curriculum varies, but most concentrate on a few critical areas: social media marketing, digital story telling, marketing management, and mobile marketing, among others. Other features worth investigating are accelerated master’s programs (including some 1-year tracks), asynchronous courses, accreditation, and student support services. Keep reading to find the digital marketing master’s track that fits your needs!
1) University of Florida
The University of Florida, founded in 1853, has a total enrollment over 50,000, including students from every state and over 100 countries worldwide. US News ranks UF among the top 40 schools in the nation, with additional high marks for overall value, high school counselor rankings, and online programs. Kiplinger’s Finance and Fisk Guide to Colleges have each ranked Florida third in the country for affordability; two-third of students graduate with zero debt. With a 20:1 student-to-faculty, Florida combines the resources of a research institution with individualized instruction and opportunities for collaborative learning. Nearly half of classes have fewer than 20 students.
Florida offers a unique online Master of Mass Communication with a specialization in Digital Strategy, the first of its kind available. The 36-credit curriculum include core studies in Copywriting for Digital Messaging, Lead Generation and Management, UX Theory and Research, Inbound Strategy, Social Media Advertising, and Strategic Communication and Ethics, among others. From there, students complete a capstone project to gain hands-on experience and develop skills in lead generation and management, engagement, and conversions. Courses deliver in accelerated blocks for maximum flexibility, and full-time students can complete the degree in as little as 16 months. Upon graduation, students will be able to write effective copy; develop strategies for positive ROI; measure and effectively communicate marketing KPIs; and implement best SEO practices, among other core competencies.
Founded in 1971, Liberty University is a private Christian school in Lynchburg, Virginia with 100,000 online students. A global leader in distance education, Liberty’s online programs are built to accommodate a range of working professionals, adult learners, and non-traditional students, including affordable tuition rates and hybrid, intensive, and blended delivery options. Liberty’s generous transfer policy allows students to waive credits through previous academic course work, work/life experience, MOOC certifications, prior-learning examinations, military service, and/or portfolio work. A low student-to-faculty ratio fosters Liberty’s tight-knit community, with a third of classes having fewer than 20 students.
Liberty offers an online Master’s in Digital Marketing and Advertising that consists of 36 credits. Core requirements include Strategic Marketing Management, Marketing Promotions, Supply Chain Management, Ethical & Legal Issues in Marketing, Brand Management, and a capstone in Marketing Strategy. For the specialization, students complete coursework in Media Technologies & Communication Strategies, Effective Social Media, and Strategic Communication Campaigns for the Digital Age. There are eight different entry dates per year, and courses deliver in asynchronous, accelerated 8-week blocks to help students complete the degree as soon as possible. The master’s is accredited by the ACBSP.
Founded in 1887, Benedictine University is a private Catholic university with a total enrollment of about 6,000. U.S. News and Forbes have ranked Benedictine among the best colleges in the country, and The Chronicle of Higher Education recognizes it as one of the fastest-growing schools in the country. The 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio promotes an intimate educational atmosphere with tailored instruction, and 65% of classes have less than 20 students.
Benedictine offers an online MBA in Internet Marketing designed to help students develop skills in digital and social media. Business core courses include Ethics and Leadership in a Global Environment, Operations Management, Strategic Management, and Marketing Management. From there, students choose three of the following for the internet marketing specialization: Conversion Optimization, Web Analytics, Search Engine Optimization, and Social Media Marketing. All courses are highly flexibility to accommodate a wide range of students, and an accelerated track can be completed in as little as 16 months. Instructors include successful entrepreneurs and award-winning innovators, and the “real-time” curriculum is designed to adapt to internet and digital trends. Student support services include program managers, academic advising, tutoring, tech assistance, professional development, and library services.
Founded in 1884, Temple University is a public institution with a total enrollment of about 40,000, a quarter of which includes graduate students. Forbes, Washington Monthly, and Times Higher Education rank the university among the best in the country, and US News ranks it on best-of lists value, veteran support, and at least two online programs. For a school of its size, Temple’s 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio is excellent, combining the resources of a research institution with tailored instruction and small class sizes; nearly 40% have fewer than 20 students, and less than 10% have 50.
Temple’s online Master’s in Digital Innovation in Marketing consists of 9 courses, or 30 credits: Information Technology Management, Digital Marketing, Data Analytics, Digital Business Innovation, User Experience Design, Social Media Innovation, Mobile Marketing Strategy, Digital Brand Management, and a capstone to provide hands-on experience. All courses are built for maximum flexibility to accommodate scheduling demands for working professionals, adult learners, and non-traditional students, and an accelerated track allows students to complete the master’s in as little as 16 months. Further, the program’s advisory council includes marketing leaders and digital innovators from such high-profile organizations as Citi, LinkedIn, Johnson & Johnson, Warby Parker, and Cigna.
Messiah College, founded in 1909, is a Messiah College with a total enrollment of 3,300. Princeton Review ranks Messiah among the best colleges in the North region, and US News ranks it in the top 5 for academics, value, and veteran services. With a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio, Messiah fosters a tight-knit learning community, offering individualized instruction, collaborative education, and a curriculum that emphasizes character development. Half of classes have fewer than 20 students, and less 3% have 50.
Messiah offers an online MBA with a concentration in Digital Marketing that consists of 36 credits. Core coursework includes Managerial Accounting & Finance, Decision-Making with Data, Business Strategy & Execution, Global Business & Economic Development, Organizational Effectiveness, Marketing Strategy, and a customizable capstone project. Concentration classes are in Digital Marketing, Social Media Strategy, and Marketing Analytics. Courses deliver in accelerated 8-week blocks for maximum flexibility, and most students complete the master’s in as little as two years. Student support services include counseling, library access, career services, and more. For those interested, other master’s concentrations are offered in Social Entrepreneurship, Organizational and Strategic Communication, Strategic Leadership, Management, and Dietetics.
Founded in 1948, Ohio Christian University is a private institution with a total enrollment of about 7,900, evenly divided between undergraduate and graduate students. US News ranks OCU among the top 80 schools in the Midwest, and it holds accreditations and approvals from nearly a dozen organizations, including The Higher Learning Commission. The 11:1 student-to-faculty ensures personal attention from instructors, small class sizes, and opportunities for collaborative learning.
Ohio Christian offers a 36-credit Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Digital Marketing. Business core coursework includes Marketing and Advertising for Managers, Legal and Regulatory Environment, Ethics in Leadership, Managerial Finance and Analysis, and Quantitative and Analytic Methods, among others. From there, the concentration covers Digital Marketing, Psychology of Marketing, Digital Marketing Communication, and Product and Brand Development. The accelerated program features 6-12 week course blocks, and upon graduation students will be prepared to lead and manage organizations’ strategic digital marketing development. Other master’s concentrations are offered in Accounting, Finance, Healthcare, Human Resources, and Organizational Leadership.
Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University is a worldwide leader in online education, including 70,000 online students and 200 online programs. For its efforts, US News ranks SNHU 1st in the nation for innovation, and Fast Company, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and New Hampshire Business Review have all recognized the university’s cutting-edge education model. Thanks to a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio, Southern New Hampshire combines the resources of a large research institution with the small, intimate setting of a liberal arts school. Over sixty percent of classes contain less than 20 students.
Southern New Hampshire offers a Master’s in Digital Marketing with studies in Multinational Marketing Strategies, Consumer Behavior and Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Digital Story Telling and Branding, and Social Media Marketing, among others. Additional skill emphases include qualitative and quantitative data interpretation, data-driven decision making, and cross-functional brand management. A capstone is integrated to add a real-world component to the master’s, and accelerated delivery (including 10-week course blocks) means students have the opportunity to complete the degree in as little 15 months. The program aligns to the American Marketing Association’s Professional Certified Marketer Program standards, preparing students to take the Digital Marketing Certification exam, and incorporates approved coursework in inbound marketing from HubSpot. It is accredited by the NEASC and ACBSP.
Founded in 1864, Concordia University – Chicago is a private Christian institution with a total enrollment of 5,300, most of which are graduate students. The Chronicle of Higher Education and National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education have each recognized Concordia for academic excellence, and Concordia’s 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio offers numerous advantages, from personalized instruction to collaborative learning opportunities. Nearly 80% of classes have fewer than 20 students, and none have more than 49.
Concordia offers an online MBA in Digital Marketing that consists of 48 hours. Core requirements include Financial Accounting and Analysis, Marketing Design and Strategy, Managerial Economics, Seminar in Descriptive Statistics, Ethical Strategic Leadership, Macroeconomic Analysis, and Management of Human Resources. From there, Digital Marketing master’s students take Digital Strategy & Planning, Digital Marketing Analytics, Social Media Marketing Communications, and Mobile Marketing. For maximum flexibility, 100% online and hybrid delivery formats are available, and students can complete the degree in as little as 1-2 years. For those interested, Concordia also offers a half dozen other MBA certificates and endorsements in areas ranging from Healthcare to Sports Management.
Founded in 1867, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the state’s second oldest university, with a total enrollment of about 47,000. US News,Times Higher Education, and QS World University Rankings each recognize Illinois as one of the best schools in the country, and the university is commonly listed among the “public ivies.” The 20:1 student-to-faculty ratio — excellent for its size — supports a vibrant, collaborative learning environment, and 40% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
Illinois offers a graduate certificate in Digital Marketing designed for working professionals pursuing a career in the field. The master’s-level coursework covers Marketing in a Digital World, Digital Marketing Analytics, Digital Marketing Channels, Marketing in an Analog World, a capstone to develop practical skills and hands-on experience. Delivered through the Coursera platform, students can take advantage of an array of learning tools as well as complete studies on their own schedule through asynchronous content. In particular, students will learn how to create effective targeted promotional campaigns; develop an understanding of branding, brand positioning, and brand communication strategies; and perform data analysis and visualization techniques for decision making.
Founded in 1912, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is a private Catholic institution with a total enrollment of 5,600, including about 4,000 graduate students. In addition to a top-50 regional ranking by US News, Saint Mary’s is recognized as one of the best schools in the Midwest for overall value and veteran services. The 20:1 student-to-faculty ratio promotes a dynamic educational community with personalized instruction and collaborative learning opportunities. More than 70% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
Saint Mary’s offers an online MBA in Social Media Management & Marketing that consists of 30 credits. Core requirements include Quantitative Decision Making, Managerial Economics, International Operations Management, Corporate Finance, and a capstone in Strategic Management that allows students to gain real-world experience with a sponsoring organization. (Students interested in the international capstone can choose Barcelona, Paris, Rome, Florence or Milan.) From there, the social media concentration curriculum was created by the National Institute for Social Media (NISM) and covers Digital Storytelling, Case Studies in Brand Strategy, and Ethics in Social Marketing. Thanks to accelerated delivery, students can complete the master’s in as little as 18 months, or complete the course on a self-paced, flexible schedule.