Ecommerce and social media graduate programs are designed to help professionals develop their knowledge and abilities to use technology to connect, transact and ultimately, conduct business online. They may impart a curricula designed to teach students the business, technical, and management components of engaging and exchanging—socially and commercially—online and through other digital means. With the proliferation of online applications and platforms, such as marketplaces, social media sites, and numerous others, having knowledge and skills in these areas may be critical to businesses’ success.
To give you a better sense of what programs in e-commerce and social media might cover and what professionals in the field might do, let’s briefly discuss what social media and e-commerce are.
Social media are tools that enable people, companies, and organizations to create, share, or exchange information in virtual communities and networks. They depend on web-based technologies to create highly interactive platforms through which people share content. Over the years, they’ve introduced substantial and pervasive changes to the ways businesses, organizations, communities, and people communicate. E-commerce, meanwhile, comprises the electronic tools and platforms that businesses, organizations, communities, and people use to facilitate trade in products or services.
Professionals with social media and e-commerce education and training help design, maintain, and evolve online business spaces. Their education and training typically centers on business (including finance, marketing, sales, and other components) and technology (including information systems, computer science, and other realms of technology) as they relate to e-commerce and social media. Professionals in this field may apply their skills to develop virtual enterprises, virtual banking, network marketing, online transactions (including payment, shopping, and advertising), and other electronic-business components and solutions.
Many people develop their knowledge and skills in e-commerce and social media by pursuing graduate-level certificates, master’s degrees, or doctorate degrees in areas of e-commerce and social media such as e-business. Through their programs, they may develop their knowledge and technical skills in areas such as programming, software engineering, and database technologies, and their business acumen in areas such as marketing, finance, and communications.
As you’re considering your social media program options or determining what e-commerce degree to pursue, it’s important to keep in mind that each subject generally exists under two broader subjects: business and technology. Therefore, you might find a degree program in social media or e-commerce specifically, or you might find a degree program in a subject such as business administration, information systems, or computer science with an emphasis on social media and e-commerce. You may also find degree programs that emphasize a particular component of social media or e-commerce such as a social media management degree, a social media marketing degree, or an e-commerce MBA. Following are descriptions of the various types of ecommerce and social media graduate programs available.
These four- to six-course graduate certificate programs typically give students a sense of the technological and managerial applications and processes involved in cultivating online business success. Students may take introductory classes in subjects such as computer programming, client-server computing, electronic commerce, e-commerce systems architecture, java, and others, or they might take classes in subjects such as social media management or e-marketing. E-commerce and social media certificate programs are generally designed to help students enhance or focus their knowledge in an area of e-commerce and social media.
Masters-level programs in social media and e-commerce generally come in two forms: the Master of Science or the Master of Business Administration (MBA). Within these two designations, the master’s degree may have any one of numerous titles. For example:
These are just some of the many titles of master’s degrees in social media and e-commerce.
Master’s degree programs generally require one to two years of intensive or fulltime study. Program lengths vary by school. They engage students in a more in-depth exploration of subjects such as business (including marketing, management, finance, customer service, and more) and technology (including computer programming, client-server computing, electronic commerce, ecommerce systems architecture, java, and more). You may read more about master’s level programs here.
The Doctorate in Social Media and the Doctorate in E-Commerce Degree
Doctorate-level programs in social media and e-commerce typically fall into two categories: the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). Each program generally involves a research intensive curriculum and helps students learn how to evolve and innovate the fields of e-commerce and social media. The DBA commonly emphasizes business (including marketing, management, finance, customer service, and more) and its relationship to social media and e-commerce applications, and the PhD commonly emphasizes technology, management, and marketing and their relationship to social media and e-commerce.
Doctorate degree programs in these areas generally require four to six years of intensive or fulltime study, although program lengths vary by school. They commonly conclude with a dissertation and comprehensive exam.
In general, students in social media and e-commerce programs may develop knowledge or skills in:
In some E-Commerce and Social Media Graduate Programs, students learn how to apply these and other knowledge and skills to their existing business acumen, or they may deepen their knowledge and skills in multiple areas of business. In master’s degree and doctorate degree programs, students may sharpen their reading, writing, and researching skills.