San Francisco PhD & Master's in Marketing: Business Graduate Programs
What is a Master’s Degree in Marketing?
A Master’s in Marketing is usually an M.S. degree that takes about two years to complete. Many programs study buyer behavior, big data analytics, advertising and promotion, social media, and more.
Other programs like the MBA cover the business side of marketing. These often touch on the tactics necessary to manage marketing campaigns and clients. They may also allow for greater emphasis in digital marketing analytics and market research.
What Can You Do with a Masters in Marketing?
It’s an exciting time to pursue a career in Marketing. There are many unique jobs available in a variety of industries.
Marketing professionals have skill sets that range from analytical to creative and everything between. Earning a master’s degree in marketing could help boost a career as a CMO (Chief Marketing Officer), Digital Marketing Specialist, Sr. Copywriter or Director of Web Analytics, just to name a few.
It’s also a great time to earn your degree in Marketing. Bls.gov predicts that marketing careers will increase 10 percent by 2026, creating an estimated 1.3 million marketing jobs in the United States.
The explosion in the marketing industry is due to the various digital media channels now available. These new channels make it easier to reach target audiences and has also created a specialized demand from the marketing workforce.
Of the 10.5 million people in the workforce, many work in market research and management.
Of these areas, the highest demand is for Market Research Analysts.
This is due to the influx of big data and use of digital platforms in advertising campaigns. Per the BLS.gov the outlook for Markets Analysts is on the rise by 23% through 2026. Prospects are strongest for those with a master’s degree in:
- Market research
- Business administration
Another area with a favorable outlook is advertising and marketing management. The BLS predicts a 10% growth in opportunity. Especially for Managers who can navigate Internet-based advertising such as pay-per-click, display network, paid social, and SEO.
written by Rana Waxman
Do You Need a Master’s in Marketing?
One reason to pursue a master’s degree in marketing is for the potential to earn more. Another is to solidify skills and knowledge to pursue executive roles. Let’s take a look.
One report compared two marketing professions. One was Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists. The other, Marketing and Sales Managers.
In both, workers with a master’s degree earned 38% more than those with a bachelors. That amounts to between $25,000 and $30,000 more per year.
About opportunity. Yes, the entry-level education for the marketing industry is a bachelor’s degree. Yet, the industry is changing.
There’s competition for jobs and more complex research methods. As such, today’s employer is often on-the-look for candidates with an MBA or master’s degree.
What Jobs can you get with a Marketing Degree?
Most companies use the principles of marketing to generate business success and revenue. Which means that most companies employ a Chief Marketing Officer, Marketing Team, Public Relations Department and Advertising and Sales team.
In addition to corporate marketing, there is also agency marketing. A creative agency is dedicated to creating, planning and executing marketing and advertising plans for its clients. Each of these marketing specializations within a corporation, small business, or creative agency have demands for marketing jobs such as:
- Digital Marketing Manager or Director
- Chief Marketing Officer
- Sales Representative
- Marketing Research Analyst
- Public Relations Manager or Director
- Advertising & Promotions Manager
A master’s degree in marketing may also be useful if your end game is management or analytics. The program you choose may help guide your choice of career.
Marketing Managers plan programs to generate interest in a product, service or idea. They’ll often meet with other department heads to brainstorm about budgets or contracts.
As negotiators, they may also be on the front lines with clients, staff and pricing. As critical thinkers, they may also get the ball rolling on market research studies. Then use the data to drive decisions about sales, marketing and advertising.
Market Research Analysts help a business to grow. With strong predictive skills, they make study sales trends, buyers, and the economy. Then may set and direct the strategy for a campaign once the numbers and data are in.
If conducting research or teaching marketing appeals to you, you’ll likely need a PhD or DBA. Over half (66%) of marketing professors hold a doctorate. Many either come up with new theory that impacts the field of marketing. Or make sense of how to apply that theory into actionable insights.
Advertising, Marketing, Promotions, Public Relations, and Sales Managers
Advertising and Promotions Managers
Marketing and Sales Managers
Top States for Employment: Marketing Managers
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|
- Computer Systems and Related Services
- Management, Scientific and Technical Consulting Services
- Credit Intermediation
- Advertising and Public Relations
Popular Marketing Degrees in San Francisco
247,520 degrees are reported by the National Center for Education Statistics under the category of Marketing / Marketing Management.
In fact, in the most recent update of the data (2009/10), across the U.S, there were 1,873 Marketing Management degrees awarded to graduate students. The majority (5.7%) of these programs were at the master’s level.
Masters in Marketing vs MBA in Marketing?
Both a Masters in Marketing and an MBA in Marketing may enhance your resume. Which one to choose? There may be some overlap in course content. Yet a key difference between an MBA and MS in Marketing is the program focus.
A Master of Science gets to the heart of marketing theory, research and methods. Core courses in fact often touch on the ‘marketing mix’ (price, product, promotion and place).
Also, you’ll often be able to choose a marketing concentration. This allows you to apply key marketing principles to a specific area or industry. Popular options include:
An MBA in Marketing is a business administration degree with emphasis in marketing. The program core exposes you to business basics. Things like operations, managerial finance and human resources.
In tandem, you’ll take concentration courses in marketing. These may cover marketing strategy, consumer behavior and marketing research.
Due to its format, an MBA may help you learn to lead marketing teams and manage projects. Plus, since marketing is a concentration, some schools offer other avenues like:
Interested in both degrees? Some schools offer a dual MS/MBA in Marketing. A dual degree may take longer but you may gain executive skills as well as marketing expertise.
Marketing Master’s Degree Guide
Master in Marketing
MBA in Marketing
Sponsored Degree Example:Master of Science in Digital Marketing
Sponsored Degree Example:Master of Business Administration – Marketing Concentration
Length of Program: 48 weeks, 37 credits
Length of Program: 10 months, 30 credits
This program takes an in-depth view of multi-channel marketing and web culture. One may also learn to create marketing plans, develop brands and protect a company’s reputation.
This program offers a well-rounded business core. One may learn to analyze market research data and apply findings to make marketing decisions.
No Specific accreditations (other than regional through the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC))
The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), Regional accreditation through Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
With competition for marketing jobs, one way you might gain an edge is to pursue a DBA in Marketing. Most programs enroll students with a Masters degree (usually MBA or business-related). Some schools, such as Walden, offer credit for work experience. This may help you save time and money on your program.
What is a DBA? A Doctor of Business Administration is a terminal degree in business. It may be a way for seasoned professionals to move into more executive or educator roles. Or, bring new insights to the table in their current role.
The format for a DBA is like the MBA. You’ll have a core of business courses that focus on issues and current research. Yet unlike the MBA, most topics center around three themes. Strategy, research/analytics and decision-making for current leaders. Here are a few sample topics to give you an idea.
- Crisis management
- Thought leadership/innovation
- B2B marketing
- Business strategy and leadership
- Psychology of Motivation
MBA or DBA? One feature of the DBA in Marketing that makes it distinct from the MBA is the research you’ll conduct. Problem-solving is a high priority in a DBA. As such, it may offer new ways to use data to bring about change in a real business setting. Plus, you may improve your ability to lead, manage and present findings in front of a group.
Not an MBA grad? There are schools such as Grand Canyon with bridge programs. You’ll still need a master’s degree, but it doesn’t have to be in business administration.
What Classes Are Needed for a Marketing Degree?
Master’s in marketing classes often study brand building. The core courses may help you think and communicate to reach as wide a market as possible. Or make sense of the issues that today’s marketing managers face. Broad concerns may include helping you to find answers to questions like:
- Who is the target market? How do we market this worldwide?
- How should we as a team use all the media channels to promote our product?
- Is this marketing plan viable given our budget? Should we hire more writers or creatives?
- What is the best pricing strategy?
Other more technical topics may touch on data analytics. You may also learn how to conduct market research using tools of the trade. Some of these classes may help you use modern methods like social media to grab customers attention.
What Classes Will I Take?
Most master’s level marketing programs need between 30 and 36 credit hours. These credits may cover core and elective classes, research and a final project.
The fuller programs often begin with overviews of basic business concepts. These often help bring those who have a bachelor’s degree in a non-business major up to speed. At the heart of your program you may take classes like these:
Marketing Research & Data Analytics
This class speaks to the ways in which data analytics and market interact. You may learn about some of the tools that gather, interpret, analyze and present data.
This class covers how and why consumers act the way they do. This may mean looking at households, industrial or other markets. In some schools, it will introduce a bit of psychology.
This class may look at the use of data to drive strategy in marketing plans. One may learn how to lead, plan and apply tactics within modern businesses.
Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC):
This class looks at the way a business interacts with the public. You ‘ll likely study public relations (PR) and the role of public opinion. Other topics may look at things like media relations and how to manage crisis. There’s also talk about how all these issues come together in a marketing plan.
Popular Master’s in Marketing Programs
A MS in Marketing Analytics may help you learn to build a business case with data analytics. You’ll likely study some of the software tools and methods used to spread the word in a marketing plan.
A Master of Science in Marketing Analytics studies the tools that collect data. Then covers how to assess the data through software and statistics. Topics may cover interviews, focus groups, market analysis surveys and public opinion polls. Others may help you develop an ability to forecast trends.
In a MS in Communication you may spend time learning how to build brands. IMC studies the ways companies create and deliver information. Some themes help you learn about target audiences and how to appeal to them. Others may touch on sales promotion and publicity. This can include direct marketing, event sponsorship and the use of social media.
An MBA in Internet Marketing covers two main areas. One is a business core. The other is a focus on internet marketing strategies. While not as in-depth a digital marketing focus as the MS, you’ll still study brand building. Topics may touch on the role of the website and SEM along with web data analysis. You may also gain perspective on targeting content based on buyer behavior.
What Should I know About Accreditation in Marketing?
In general, accreditation is a “stamp of approval.” Many accredited schools offer marketing masters programs. As marketing is a subset of business, some schools may carry professional accreditation as well.
Institution approval means several things. One is that students may pursue federal aid. Also, measures are there to make sure student services and faculty meet standards. Such schools need to keep their status by proving they still meet or exceed such standards.
Program approval (or Business School within a University) means several things too. One is that the program meets criteria and standards. These often speak to content quality, relevance and professional ethics. Also, because the “accredited” status expires, a school must commit to improve so that it will be able to renew.
There are several well-known accreditors of MBA and business graduate programs. Many of these agencies maintain databases that you can check for up-to-date info.
- AMBA – The Association of MBAs.To become accredited by the AMBA, the school must be a global leader. Review criteria is in place so that the program fixes flaws. Other guidelines speak to the school’s mission, finances and faculty.
- AACSB – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.To become accredited by the AACSB, the school must offer professional development. It must also show that its faculty make intellectual contributions.
- ACBSP – The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.To become accredited by the ACBSP, the school needs to show two main things. One is student-centered teaching and learning. The other is that the business program “will give students the skills employers want”.
How Long Does it take to earn a Master’s in Marketing?
For full time students it can take between 1 and 2 years to complete a master’s degree in Marketing. Longer programs often have more credits. These may be suitable for learners who don’t have a business/marketing background.
Full time students entering a BA to PhD in Marketing program might need 4 to 6 years to complete their degree. It may take less time if you enter with a master’s degree.
Entering a DBA in Marketing you’ll need a master’s or MBA. Full time students might complete their degree in about 3 years.
Transfer credits may help quicken the pace. These may provide credit for work experience, military training or prior education.
|University||# of Credits Required||Start Dates||Minimum Months to Complete|
How Much Does A Masters in Marketing Degree Cost?
The average cost of a of a graduate degree from a public institution is $11,617 per year. This means you will be able to find programs both more affordable and more expensive than the average.
To give specific examples, this visualization shows graduate tuition costs of 4 institutions with Marketing Graduate Programs as reported by the NCES. We have then compared those costs to the typically most affordable and most expensive college options, also as reported by NCES.
What are the Costs per Credit for Masters in Marketing?
Cost per credit of course is different at every College or University. State Universities are also likely to have in state costs vs out of state costs. Below are a few examples of the cost per credit as reported by each one of these institutions.
|University||# of Credits Required||Cost Per Credit||Tuition Cost|
# of Credits Required
Cost Per Credit
Total Tuition Cost
30 (10 courses)
$3,066 per course
Top 2 Marketing Graduate Programs in San Francisco
Grand Canyon University
Saint Leo University
Hult International Business School
Golden Gate University