Marketing

Written by James Mielke
Published on November 15, 2022 · Updated on November 29, 2022

Marketing

Written by James Mielke
Published on November 15, 2022 · Updated on November 29, 2022

What is Marketing?

Marketing is a field within the business world focusing on promoting and selling goods and services. The marketing field can include elements like advertising and market research but has evolved rapidly to include sub-disciplines like social media marketing, digital marketing, and analytics. 

But what is a marketing degree? A marketing degree—undergraduate or graduate—combines traditional business topics with a scientific approach to understanding why consumers make choices. As a result, marketing is interdisciplinary and relies on the social sciences as much as traditional business topics like accounting and economics.

Throughout the following page, we'll explore various marketing careers, how much marketing professionals earn, and how you can jumpstart a marketing career. We spotlight schools with standout marketing programs while digging into what undergraduate and graduate marketing degrees can offer.

Marketing Careers

Graduates with a marketing or marketing-adjacent degree can expect to enter a growing field with relatively generous pay. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for market research analysts could grow by as much as 19% over the next decade. Additionally, BLS projects jobs for marketing managers to grow at a faster-than-average rate of 10% by 2031

While earning potential is impacted by various factors, including experience, degree level, specialization, and geographic location, the 2021 median pay for marketing managers exceeds $135,000 annually. Similarly, the top 10% of market research analysts earn more than $128,320 per year.

Continue reading as we discuss what you can do with a marketing degree. Additionally, we'll take a look at everything from associate degrees to doctoral programs, and spotlight some standout marketing programs.

What Can I Do With A Marketing Degree?

Students pursuing a marketing career can anticipate that their skills are needed in countless industries. In addition to business marketing skills, graduates often excel in various modes of communication while boasting strong interpersonal, problem-solving, and analytical skills. Additionally, students can tailor their marketing degree to specific industries through coursework and internship opportunities.

Keep reading as we spotlight some top-paying careers and entry-level roles for students graduating with a marketing degree.

Marketing Manager
  • Median Salary: $133,380 
  • Career Outlook: +10% (2020-2030)
  • Required Education: Bachelor's Degree
Market Research Analyst
  • Median Salary: $63,920 
  • Career Outlook: +19% (2020-2030)
  • Required Education: Bachelor's Degree
Art Director
  • Median Salary: $100,890 
  • Career Outlook: +4% (2020-2030)
  • Required Education: Bachelor's Degree
Digital Marketing Manager
  • Median Salary: $69,940 
  • Required Education: Bachelor's Degree
Social Media Marketing Manager
  • Median Salary: $64,465 
  • Required Education: Bachelor's Degree
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Specialist
  • Median Salary: $49,114 
  • Required Education: Bachelor's Degree

Marketing Degree Types

Marketing degrees come in various shapes and sizes. From associate degrees to doctoral programs, marketing students study this complex area of business. In the following section, we examine the various levels of marketing degrees, what you can expect, and what they can offer you.

Typically taking about two years to complete, an Associate Degree in Marketing arms graduates with the skills necessary to secure entry-level jobs in business marketing. Throughout these two-year programs, students complete around 60 credits and tackle classes like:

  • Introduction to business
  • Principles of marketing
  • Financial accounting
  • Introduction to public speaking

Along with offering some practical skills useful in the workforce, an Associate Degree in Marketing allows students to complete a significant number of general education classes that transfer neatly to a four-year school.

Full-time undergrads can complete their Bachelor's in Marketing in about four years, though most students take a bit longer. A marketing bachelor's offers students essential business and marketing training, preparing them with marketable skills upon graduation. Whether online or on-campus, a bachelor's in marketing degree can open up various growing, high-paying careers.

Throughout a four-year undergraduate marketing program, students tackle a blend of general education and major coursework, typically completing about 120 credits before graduating. 

Common courses may include:

  • Organizational behavior
  • Advertising
  • Marketing research
  • Digital marketing

In addition to core classes, marketing students often tackle academic concentrations in areas like social media marketing, business analytics, consumer behavior, and global marketing.

If you already hold a bachelor's degree—in marketing or otherwise—a master's degree is a popular academic path for those looking to maximize their earning potential and competitiveness in the job market. Additionally, a Master's in Marketing or Business Administration can offer the skills you need to lead effectively in a business setting. 

In addition to traditional on-campus options, there's an extensive roster of online master's programs ideal for working professionals. Throughout these graduate programs, students complete 30-45 credits and graduate in 1-2 years. Program specifics can vary dramatically, but an MBA with a concentration in marketing is a solid choice for those interested in management positions.

If securing the highest marketing degree available sounds good to you, a Doctoral Degree in Marketing offers both expert-level training while also providing the credentials you'll need to secure teaching roles in higher education. Typically taking 4-6 years to complete, you can find doctoral marketing degrees available both online and on-campus.

During a doctoral program, students complete graduate-level coursework while spending considerable time researching and crafting a dissertation. Some common research areas for marketing doctoral degrees include marketing strategy, digital marketing, and international marketing. Applicants typically must hold a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA and submit GRE or GMAT scores.

 Online Marketing Degree

An online marketing degree—whether undergrad or graduate-level—offers a flexible (and often affordable) academic pathway. Regardless of level, these programs lean on the theoretical and practical topics that inform your career in marketing. 

Online programs, often ideal for nontraditional students and working professionals, supply students with a flexible virtual delivery allowing them to complete coursework while keeping up with the responsibilities of work and home. Additionally, online programs that utilize asynchronous coursework offer the most flexibility, with online learners completing course requirements at their own pace.

That said, online programs are not for everyone. Online work typically requires self-discipline while juggling self-guided classes, and as a result, those who tend to perform best in a more structured in-person environment may not be suited for online programs. 

Best Colleges for Marketing

  1. University of Pennsylvania

Based in Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania is an elite private institution that offers standout business degrees. Penn's Wharton School of Business is recognized worldwide and offers marketing programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Wharton's marketing programs cover topics like consumer behavior, marketing strategy, and decision-making theory.

  1. University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa's University of Alabama is home to the Culverhouse College of Business, which oversees the school's marketing department. Undergrads have access to numerous marketing courses, while advanced degree-seekers can complete a Master's or Doctorate in Marketing. Alabama has a deep roster of professors and instructors with ample real-world marketing and business experience.

  1. Texas A&M University

One of the most prestigious schools in Texas, Texas A&M offers undergraduate and graduate marketing degrees through their Mays School of Business. Taking a forward-looking approach, students encounter cutting-edge theories, techniques, and tools that inform modern marketing. Aggie students have access to a Bachelor's of Business Administration in marketing, a Master of Science in Marketing, and a Ph.D. in Business Administration with a Marketing Concentration.

  1. Saint Joseph's University

Philadelphia's Saint Joseph's University is home to both undergraduate and graduate marketing programs designed to introduce students to the evolving world of digital marketing. Alongside a traditional bachelor's program, Saint Joseph's offers a 4+1 accelerated bachelor's/master's track. In addition to core classes, students familiarize themselves with topics spanning from advertising strategies to technology and consumer behavior trends. 

  1. University of Cincinnati

The University of Cincinnati's Linder College of Business offers marketing programming at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition to a BBA in Marketing, master's students can tackle an MBA with a marketing concentration. Graduate students also have access to a PhD in marketing. Linder's department of marketing focuses on a broad range of issues, including advertising strategy, brand development, and competitive intelligence.

Outstanding Online Marketing Degree Programs

See below for three outstanding marketing degree programs you can complete online. 

  1. University of Arkansas at Little Rock

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is home to a 100% online Bachelor's in Marketing program. This fully online program covers popular topics such as social media marketing, analytics, and advertising. This program offers the same affordable tuition rate to resident and non-resident students.

  1. Florida Atlantic University

Based in Boca Raton, Florida Atlantic University offers an Online Bachelor's in Business with a specialization in Marketing. Through a mix of scheduled and self-paced classes, students encounter vital topics, including advertising, social media marketing, and promotional management. In-state degree-seekers pay dramatically reduced tuition rates compared to non-resident students.

  1. Franklin University

Columbus, Ohio's Franklin University provides a Bachelor's in Marketing that's entirely online. Throughout this 124-credit, self-paced degree, online learners tackle core topics like market research, digital advertising, and social media marketing. An ideal program for students with some prior college experience, online learners can transfer up to 76% of their credits. Before graduation, students complete an internship at a convenient, approved business.

Marketing College Financial Aid

Higher education requires a significant investment of both time and money. And, for some, the cost of school is a big hurdle that sometimes gets in the way of your academic and career goals. Thankfully, a long list of financial aid options can help shoulder the financial burden. Alongside federal loans, grants, and work-study programs, students have access to an equally sizeable list of private scholarships. 

In the section below, we'll spotlight three scholarships. Feel free to use our Scholarship Search Tool to browse through potential scholarships.

Austin Alliance for Women in Media Scholarship

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: 3/1/23

AWN Austin offers an annual $5,000 scholarship for college sophomores and juniors in a media or media-related field studying in the greater Austin, Texas area. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and be enrolled as full-time students.

Oracle Corporate Scholars Program

  • Amount: Varies
  • Deadline: March annually

Oracle's corporate scholars program offers an internship program for students studying business fields like marketing and human resources. Applicants must be full-time students and submit academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, personal essays, and a professional resume.

Richard J. Seif Technical Sales and Marketing Scholarship

  • Amount: $3,000+
  • Deadline: March annually

The American Welding Society offers an annual scholarship for undergrads studying business marketing. Earmarked for juniors and seniors, applicants must have a minimum 2.5 GPA and verify financial need.

How To Earn A Marketing Degree - Next Steps

First thing first—you've got to find a program that meets your needs. When choosing programs, consider cost, program format, accreditation, location, and the student support services that a school provides.
When applying, admission requirements often vary between schools. Common requirements include a completed application, academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, a resume, and a personal essay outlining your goals.
After gaining admission, you'll need to enroll before you start taking classes. Reach out to your school's admissions department if you have any questions.
Between schools and between graduate and undergraduate programs, the classes you'll complete will vary. College is often challenging in many ways, including academically, emotionally, and financially. Be sure to take advantage of student services that can span from counseling to tutoring.
Alongside the typical coursework, many programs will require or strongly encourage that you complete a marketing internship. In addition to giving you some hands-on experience in a professional setting, you'll also make vital connections for your network.
Once you get to your last semester as a marketing student, you'll inevitably start thinking about that first post-degree job. Cast a wide net, look for employers that mirror your values and goals, and lean on your network for job leads.

 

FAQ

  • Is an online marketing degree worth it?
    • A marketing degree, whether online or on-campus, is definitely worth it. Not only will you hone essential marketing skills, but you'll gain foundational business knowledge that applies to countless fields in the public and private sectors.
  • What can I do with a marketing degree?
    • A marketing degree can prepare you for a long list of jobs in the business world in marketing, advertising, and beyond. Additionally, throughout your degree, you'll get the chance to gain specialized skills in areas like analytics and social media marketing. Those with a graduate degree in marketing are typically ready for leadership roles.
  • How much can I make with a marketing degree?
    • Your earning potential can vary depending on experience, location, and the specialized skills you bring to the table. You can expect more modest pay in entry-level roles, while experienced professionals in leadership roles can earn well into the six figures.
  • Is marketing hard?
    • That depends on your skill set. Analytical individuals and critical-thinking problem-solvers tend to fare well. And because many marketing programs lean on foundational business courses, students with a knack for math and other STEM areas will feel right at home.