Marketing Masters Programs
Masters in Marketing and Advertising programs provide students with the opportunity to study the increasingly multi-media landscape in order to captivate buyers’ attention and connect them to a brand, product or service. Students who work towards a masters degree in marketing and advertising may graduate with real-world skills in strategic media planning, ad campaign management, digital marketing and more.
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Masters in Advertising and Marketing Programs: Overview
Masters in Advertising and Marketing programs often build on basic concepts about consumer behavior to ready students with modern skills for both digital and traditional promotions.
With today’s globally connected digitally-driven business environment, students who work towards a masters degree in marketing and advertising could hone their ability to navigate data analytics, communications and strategic thinking.
Some marketing and advertising masters programs meld market research and business intelligence courses with marketing theory to help shape students’ ability to make managerial decisions in creative design, account management and much more.
Other programs, such as those at MBA in advertising and marketing colleges, may focus primarily on leadership, strategy and operations tactics for the contemporary marketing manager.
However, like most graduate programs, students may mold their education through a concentration in specific areas of study related to either advertising, public relations or marketing. Check out some examples below, then conduct a thorough search for the perfect niche for you.
- Creative Strategy and Branding
- Digital Marketing
- Product Management
- Brand Management
- Marketing Analytics
- Enterprise Marketing
- Global/Multicultural Marketing
Types of Masters Degrees in Marketing and Advertising
Students who want to pursue a masters degree in marking and advertising might select from a variety of academic tracks, including Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS) and Master of Business Administration (MBA). Examine some general concepts from these different options then read through course lists from several schools to help with your decision.
Below is a list of example classes students may encounter while enrolled in a Master’s in Advertising or Master’s in Marketing degree program.
Marketing Analytics: A foundational look at analytics, where students might explore the basic principles, data gathering and analysis techniques, marketing segmentation, testing, and analytics software
DID YOU KNOW? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as Internet-based advertising becoming more important, advertising managers who can navigate the digital world should have the best employment prospects.
Consumer Behavior: Could discuss the core theories of behavioral science. It might introduce students to consumer behavior theory and practical knowledge of studying consumer buying patterns and preferences.
Marketing and Business Intelligence: Essentially, a study of how to transform data into actionable insights. Students could learn how to use industry specific statistical software to collect, analyze and interpret data from multiple sources.
Product Management: Might examine the product lifecycle journey, from inception to development, production, and promotion. Students might learn about the functions of the product manager in each stage of product management.
Introduction to Marketing: An overview of the key concepts and theory of marketing, which means students could study things like consumer behavior, product development, product pricing, and product distribution.
Multicultural Marketing: For those interested in global marketing and advertising, this type of course could take a deeper look at multicultural marketing theories and behaviors.
Masters in Advertising
A Masters in Advertising is an academic program which could ready students with core principles of advertising in tandem with analytical thinking and targeted creative skills. Students could learn through lectures and case studies topics such as communication theory, advanced art direction and advertising management.
Core courses often discuss writing methods for diverse mediums and the methods used to conduct communication research. Electives could help students carve out a professional identity. Courses might take the path of creative development and visualization or media strategy and promotions. Students might also work to develop their own portfolio.
Some Advertising Masters programs pair theory with hands-on practice and students might get to work on ad campaigns for real clients as part of their degree requirements. Participants might work in teams to develop advertising plans, create campaigns, and explore problems of account management, creativity, production, and ethics.
MBA in Marketing (MBA)
A Master of Business Administration in Marketing is a professional graduate program with a core curricula formed around areas like finance, accounting, personnel and business operations and management decision processes. These courses are not typically required in a Masters in Marketing program, as these programs focus more on marketing strategies and their relationship to an organization’s overall business plan.
MBA in Marketing programs could thus help students refine their grasp of the role that marketing plays in overall business strategy. They might explore the ideology and managerial skills that motivate team members, assess market research and buyer behavior as well as execute tactics to help drive a company bottom line.
Students could explore how to lead promotional campaigns, drive product development and tap into analytics to meet customer needs. MBA in Marketing and Advertising students could also learn to think critically and work to solve complex management challenges in advertising today.
There are a variety of MBA in Marketing programs in areas such as marketing management, and internet marketing so make sure to compare course plans from different schools.
Schools with Marketing Masters Programs & Degrees
MS in Marketing
A Master of Science in Marketing (MS) is an academic graduate degree. Although core curriculum typically overlaps with MA programs, a Master of Science generally has a greater focus on research and business analytics coursework (although this is not always the case).
Commonly, MS Marketing programs divvy up the course load into sections: core classwork, electives and concentration coursework, and thesis/internships. Core classwork, (roughly 15 credit hours) usually familiarizes students with basic concepts in marketing. This may include topics such as advertising research, marketing management, consumer behavior, and data analysis.
Through this coursework, students may gain knowledge and skills in key marketing principles used to build customer data sets, understand brand assets and conduct competitor analysis. A spotlight on evidence could ready participants with suitable quantitative and qualitative research methods with which to forecast and analyze consumer patterns and psychology.
MS in Digital Marketing
A Master of Science in Digital Marketing (MSDM) is an academic graduate program which could ready graduates to develop and assess marketing plans that harness the power of digital media. Participants might take courses in big data marketing and could learn the basics of web design as it relates to sound marketing strategy.
Digital marketing masters programs could also provide a robust set of core analytics courses to help students learn how consumers make decisions and how to manage their online experience. Other topics may highlight social media marketing and digital advertising.
MS in Integrated Marketing Communications
A Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications (MSIMC) is an academic program that could which merge creativity with analytics and strategy. As such, a MSIMC and a Masters in Advertising and Marketing could cover the same types of course material.
MSIMC students could be exposed to a holistic set of marketing courses which may ready them to build strong brand voices. Foundational course work could cover technical areas such as managerial statistics, marketing management and organizational behavior. Other core courses might help students get into the minds of consumers to develop consumer analysis and marketing strategies for a firm or nonprofit organization.
A course in integrated marketing communications could enable students to understand how advertising, sales promotion, public relations, sales and, in some cases, packaging decisions form a coordinated marketing communications plan. Marketing metrics, brand equity and client care are some potential electives.
Admission Requirements for Marketing and Advertising Master's Programs
Applicants to marketing and advertising masters programs need a minimum of a bachelors degree, earned at an accredited college or university. Some programs may stipulate a specific undergraduate background, coursework and GPA so these are definitely details to verify in advance.
Apart from a completed form with fee and transcripts, applicants usually need to submit a professional resume, letters of recommendation and a personal essay. GRE or GMAT scores may be required though at the same time, many schools waive them for applicants who have work experience.
How is Marketing Different from Advertising?
In the broadest sense, marketing and advertising master's programs could help students understand the finer points of modern brand building, public relations, sales, global markets, visual identity and integrated marketing communications. On one level, both advertising and marketing aim to connect a consumer with some type of product.
However the main difference between marketing and advertising (in a nutshell) is that marketing is an umbrella for many subsets. Advertising, public relations, media planning, product pricing and distribution, sales strategy, customer support, market research and community involvement are all parts of holistic marketing efforts.
Consequently, students could look for Masters in Advertising, Masters in Marketing and Masters in Public Relations programs to pair professional career goals with specific course content applicable to their field.
- Masters in Marketing programs typically highlight areas such as design, creation, research and data mining. The idea is to align an idea, product or service with a target audience. As such, students could take courses in analytics, market research, pricing and distribution. Look for Digital Marketing Masters programs, MA, MS and MBA in Marketing degrees and Integrated Marketing Masters programs
- Masters in Advertising and Public Relations programs could discuss the entire process involved in the presentation of an idea, product or service to any audience – ‘getting the message out there’. Coursework could focus on ad campaigns, brand communication, strategy and consumer groups. Look for MBA in advertising, MS and MA Advertising and Marketing Communications programs and others
The Importance of a Master’s Degree in Marketing and Advertising
Wondering if earning a Master’s degree in Marketing and Advertising could be key to pursuing your career goals? Here are some reasons why enhancing your education could be an important next step.
Building a strong foundation in marketing principles
Pursuing a Master's degree in Marketing and Advertising could help students build a strong foundation in key marketing principles, including market research, consumer behavior, branding, and communication strategies. Through their coursework, students may explore concepts such as building a brand from the ground up, identifying their target audience, developing advertising campaigns, and tracking results. Graduates could be ready to pursue various marketing and advertising roles that involve launching or growing brands, spreading awareness of new products, and much more.
Developing advanced marketing strategies
Master's programs in Marketing and Advertising could offer opportunities to build on your past experience and update your knowledge of the latest marketing strategies. After all, this field is continuously evolving as new technologies and media platforms enter the scene. In a master’s program, students could learn skills and strategies related to digital marketing, data-driven marketing, content marketing, and more. Learning these advanced strategies could be a great way to refresh your skillset and discover new concepts and innovations to could apply in your next marketing role.
Enhancing career opportunities and salary potential
A Master's degree in Marketing and Advertising can significantly enhance career opportunities and salary potential. Graduates with a Master's degree are often considered for leadership roles and may command higher salaries compared to their counterparts with a Bachelor's degree.
Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for advertising and promotions managers was $127,830 in May 2022. Overall, the BLS also projects a 6% growth in employment of advertising, promotions, and marketing managers from 2022 to 2032.
|State||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
|Metro Area||Annual Mean Salary||Employment|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||$182,490||5,630|
|New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA||$176,520||23,200|
|Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA||$165,350||540|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA||$161,770||9,370|
Key Components of a Quality Master’s Program in Marketing and Advertising
Wondering how to choose a Master’s in Marketing and Advertising that meets your needs and goals? Consider the following key components:
In-depth curriculum covering diverse marketing disciplines
Marketing is a multidisciplinary field that may touch on subjects ranging from economics to psychology. A quality Master’s program in Marketing and Advertising typically features an in-depth curriculum that reflects this complexity and covers diverse marketing disciplines—such as digital marketing, consumer behavior, marketing analytics, and more. A comprehensive curriculum could help students gain a wide range of knowledge and prepare to tackle real-world challenges.
Experienced faculty with industry expertise
Faculty are another essential component of a quality Master’s program, so take the time to learn more about your prospective instructors. For instance, do the professors have relevant work experience in the marketing and advertising industry? They might be able to share valuable insights and the latest industry knowledge to enrich your learning experience.
Networking opportunities and alumni connections
A quality Master's program may offer networking opportunities and help to foster strong alumni connections. Networking events, guest speakers, and mentorship programs are all potential ways that students could make professional connections. Relationships formed in your master’s program could lead to internships, job referrals, and other possible opportunities.
Online vs. On-Campus Master's Programs in Marketing and Advertising
You may have the option of pursuing your Master’s in Marketing and Advertising online or on campus. Trying to decide which format could be perfect for you? Let’s explore some of the benefits of each.
Benefits of online learning
Online Master’s programs may offer several benefits, including convenience and more flexibility to help you balance work and personal commitments. Students might be able to study at their own pace, access course materials 24/7, and save time by not commuting to class. This could make it easier to pursue your Marketing and Advertising degree if you’re working full-time.
Advantages of on-campus programs
On-campus Master’s programs typically provide a more traditional and immersive learning experience. You could enjoy in-person interactions with professors and classmates and enjoy campus resources ranging from the library to the gym. For some students, it also could be easier to network in an on-campus program, since there may be more social opportunities and ways to get involved.
Factors to consider when choosing a program format
When choosing between online and on-campus Master's programs, consider factors such as your personal learning preferences and time management skills. Some students may find that on-campus learning provides more structure than online learning, helping them stay on track. On the other hand, factors such as schedule flexibility and the availability of asynchronous learning may be more important to you. For students juggling work and other responsibilities, online learning could be the more convenient format.
Financing Your Master's Degree in Marketing and Advertising
Wondering how to pay for your Master’s in Marketing and Advertising? You may have several options to help you finance your degree.
Scholarships and grants for marketing students
Scholarships and grants may be available to help students finance their Master's degree in Marketing and Advertising. Scholarships and grants are gifts offered by universities, professional associations, employers, and other types of organizations. This money does not need to be repaid. So, students should research and apply for as many opportunities as possible to help minimize their financial burden.
Student loans and financial aid options
Federal and private student loans, as well as financial aid options offered by your school, could be another way for eligible students to finance their Master’s degree in Marketing and Advertising. Certain federal loan options, such as Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Direct PLUS Loans, may be options for graduate students. In addition, you could consider borrowing private loans. Be sure to research interest rates and repayment plans to find a loan that makes sense for your needs.
Employer tuition reimbursement programs
Some employers may offer tuition reimbursement programs to help employees further their education. Students should discuss this option with their employer to determine if they could receive financial assistance for their Master’s degree.
The Future of Marketing and Advertising: Emerging Trends and Technologies
One potential reason to pursue a Master’s degree in Marketing and Advertising is to stay on top of the latest advances in the field. By furthering your education, you could bring new skills and strategies to your current or future career. Some emerging trends and technologies in the marketing and advertising world include:
The role of data analytics in marketing decision-making
Data analytics is more important than ever in marketing decision-making. For instance, by analyzing customer data, marketers can better understand consumer behavior and make informed decisions about how to reach their target audience. They can also use campaign analytics to evaluate their digital marketing initiatives and gain insights such as which platforms generated the most customer engagement. A Master's degree in Marketing and Advertising could help students learn to use data analytics effectively, preparing them to pursue roles where these skills may be in demand.
Social media and influencer marketing strategies
Social media and influencer marketing have become essential marketing strategies. By partnering with influencers and leveraging social media platforms, businesses can connect with their target audience in more engaging and personal ways. Master's programs could teach students what goes into developing and implementing effective social media and influencer marketing strategies, helping them stay relevant in the ever-changing digital marketing world.
The growing importance of sustainability and ethical marketing practices
As consumers become more environmentally and socially conscious, they may prefer to do business with companies that share their concerns. Sustainable marketing seeks to promote values today’s consumers care about, such as environmental health, fair trade, and social equity. This practice could help companies spread the word about their positive impact on society, improving their brand reputation, customer loyalty, and revenue. A Master’s program in Marketing and Advertising could prepare students to understand and deliver on consumer expectations, such as an emphasis on sustainability, that are driving today’s marketing practices.
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GradSchools.com offers 194 Master’s in Marketing & Advertising Degree Programs
Based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Accessed 6/29/2023.
This is an offer for educational opportunities that may lead to employment and not an offer for nor a guarantee of employment. Students should consult with a representative from the school they select to learn more about career opportunities in that field. Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific program curriculum.
Western Governors University
Grand Canyon University
Full Sail University
Texas A&M University
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
American Graduate School in Paris