Marketing Degree Guide: Requirements, Cost, Jobs

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A marketing degree helps students develop versatile skills and expertise, which can lead to high-paying careers as marketing managers, market research analysts, and survey researchers, to name a few.

General business programs include aspects of marketing but focus on general business principles. These principles may include management, accounting, sales, and economics. Marketing degrees include business courses but focus on specialized topics like promotion and branding, consumer behavior, and strategy.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that marketing managers earned a median annual salary of $141,490 as of 2020. Other potential marketing degree jobs include market research analyst, sales manager, public relations specialist, and survey researcher.

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Why Marketing? | Degrees | Jobs | FAQs

What Is the Field of Marketing?

Marketing is the promotion of products and services to customers. The field attracts creative and inquisitive professionals who like collaborating and engaging with others.

Potential marketing degree jobs include product marketing specialist, marketing director, market research analyst, and email marketing manager. Other careers in marketing include digital marketing strategist, marketing writer, and search engine marketing manager.

Potential marketing degree jobs include product marketing specialist, marketing director, market research analyst, and email marketing manager.

As organizations increasingly recognize the importance of using social media to promote their brands and build relationships with consumers, social media marketing has emerged as a popular, lucrative subfield. Marketing professionals work for advertising and public relations, management, professional and technical services, and finance and insurance firms.

Why Pursue a Marketing Major?

  • Good Job Prospects: Earning a marketing degree can help graduates qualify for in-demand careers. The BLS projects market research analyst jobs will grow by 22% from 2020-2030.
  • Competitive Salaries: Marketing majors can earn lucrative salaries. PayScale reports that graduates with a bachelor’s degree in marketing earn an average annual salary of $64,000 as of September 2021.
  • Broad Skill Set: Marketing programs help students develop communication, critical thinking, and analytical skills, relevant to many occupations across industries.
  • Varied Career Opportunities: Marketing majors can pursue a variety of jobs, including marketing manager, public relations specialist, and survey researcher. Other options include content coordinator, marketing strategist, and retail manager.

Comparing Marketing and General Business Degrees

A few key differences separate business and marketing degrees. A business degree provides an overview of many subfields of business, including marketing, management, and accounting. Marketing, on the other hand, is a specialized subdiscipline of business, with a narrower focus on issues like promoting brands and services, market research analysis, and marketing plans.

Students who want to learn about the business field more broadly should consider a general business degree. A marketing major is ideal for learners who want to work in marketing.

Marketing Degree Business Degree
Goal To develop specialized knowledge of consumer behavior and motivation, branding and promoting products, and market research To provide a broad foundation in general business principles, including management, accounting, finance, economics, and marketing
Skills Research, public relations, critical thinking, social media management, sales Organizational leadership, communication, math, analytical and critical thinking
Types of Classes Introduction to digital marketing, consumer behavior, methods of marketing research, sales management and leadership Principles of accounting, introduction to marketing, business finance, and operations management and data analytics
Potential Careers Marketing director, market research analyst, sales manager, public relations specialist Financial advisor, top executive, accountant, management analyst

Types of Marketing Degrees

Schools offer different levels and types of marketing degrees. Students can earn an in-person, hybrid, or online marketing degree. Marketing majors can earn a bachelor’s, master’s, or master of business administration (MBA) in marketing.

Graduates with a bachelor’s degree can qualify for most entry-level marketing jobs. An MBA in marketing prepares students for a broader variety of business jobs, including management positions, while a master’s in marketing can qualify learners for specialized, high-level marketing positions.

Below, we explain what to expect from a bachelor’s in marketing, master’s in marketing, and MBA in marketing program.

Bachelor’s

Colleges offer bachelor’s in marketing degrees in person, online, and in hybrid formats. Tuition costs vary by school type (public or private), student’s residency status (in-state or out-of-state), program length, and institution prestige. In-state public universities are often the most affordable.

Marketing majors take courses like methods of marketing research, supply chain management, search engine marketing, and data science for marketers.

A typical bachelor’s in marketing degree takes four years of full-time study and requires around 120 credits. Online marketing degrees may offer accelerated options that let students graduate more quickly. Admission requirements usually include a high school diploma or its equivalent, a minimum GPA, and SAT or ACT scores.

Marketing majors take courses like methods of marketing research, supply chain management, search engine marketing, and data science for marketers.

Earning a marketing bachelor’s degree can qualify graduates for positions like marketing manager, market research analyst, brand manager, and sales manager. Other potential careers include content strategist, digital marketer, social media marketing manager, and search engine optimization specialist.

Explore our lists of top marketing bachelor’s degrees:

Best Marketing Bachelor's Degrees Best Online Marketing Bachelor's Degrees Most Affordable Online Marketing Bachelor's Degrees

Master’s

Master’s in marketing programs may offer an MA or MS. The two types of degrees usually focus on the same specialized marketing issues, but an MS may include more math-based coursework. A typical marketing master’s degree takes about two years of full-time study to complete and requires around 30 credits. Popular courses include marketing management, marketing strategy, marketing analytics, and digital marketing.

Schools offer in-person, hybrid, and online marketing degrees. Applicants need a bachelor’s degree to apply. Most schools do not require a previous background in marketing, though some programs may require students with degrees in other fields to complete prerequisite business courses. Other admission requirements typically include a minimum GPA, GMAT or GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and a resume.

Earning a master’s in marketing degree can qualify graduates for positions like survey researcher, marketing director, and market research analyst. Other potential careers include survey researcher, art director, and senior brand manager.

Explore our lists of top marketing master’s degrees:

Best Online Marketing Master's Degrees Most Affordable Online Marketing Master's Degrees

MBA

An MBA in marketing includes a general business curriculum combined with a focus on marketing. Students who want a traditional graduate business school experience and to qualify for a greater variety of business-related positions after graduation prefer an MBA in marketing over a master’s in marketing.

Applicants must typically hold a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA. Prospective students with a degree in a non-business field may need to complete introductory business courses. Required admission materials may include official transcripts, letters of recommendation, GMAT or GRE scores, and a resume. Some programs require relevant professional experience.

Schools offer MBA in marketing programs in on-campus, online, and hybrid formats. A typical marketing MBA takes 1-2 years of full-time study to complete, entailing 30-60 credits. Courses can include leadership and organizations, managerial finance, and marketing management.

Most Affordable Online Digital MBAs in Marketing

Marketing Degree Jobs

Below, we explore several occupations marketing graduates qualify for. This list explains what to expect from these jobs, including frequent duties, employing industries, and career and salary outlook.

  • Marketing Managers: Industries that hire marketing managers include advertising and public relations, professional and technical services, management, and finance and insurance. Typical job duties include creating marketing plans, evaluating campaigns, setting budgets, and offering marketing advice to clients. Marketing managers need good communication, analytical, decision-making, and interpersonal skills.
    • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree | Job Outlook (2020-30): +10% | Median Annual Salary: $141,490
  • Market Research Analysts: Market research analysts do research that helps organizations market their services and products. The BLS projects much-faster-than-average job growth for market research analysts between 2020 and 2030. Job duties include keeping track of sales trends, collecting and analyzing data, designing research questions, and writing reports.
    • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree | Job Outlook (2020-30): +18% | Median Annual Salary: $65,810
  • Survey Researchers: Survey researchers typically need at least a master’s degree and experience in research methods. They design surveys, collect data, and analyze results. Common job duties include planning and creating surveys, using statistical software to analyze data, and evaluating surveys. Employing industries include professional and technical services, scientific research and development, and educational services.
    • Required Education: Master’s degree | Job Outlook (2020-30): +4% | Median Annual Salary: $59,870
  • Sales Managers: Sales managers oversee sales teams. They create budgets, assess sales statistics, keep track of customer desires, and project sales numbers. They also hire and manage sales staff. They work in wholesale trade, retail trade, manufacturing, and professional and scientific services.
    • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree | Job Outlook (2020-30): +7% | Median Annual Salary: $132,290
  • Public Relations Specialists: Public relations specialists help their organizations present a positive public image. Important qualities include interpersonal, organizational, and problem-solving skills. They can find work in educational services, advertising, and government positions.
    • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree | Job Outlook (2020-30): +11% | Median Annual Salary: $62,810

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long are marketing degree programs?

    Marketing degree length varies by education level, enrollment status (part-time or full-time), and program format (online, in-person, or hybrid). Full-time students typically spend four years on a bachelor’s degree and 1-2 years on a master’s.

  • Are there online marketing degrees?

    Yes. Many universities offer fully or partly online marketing degrees. Undergraduate and graduate students can find distance education marketing programs.

  • Is a marketing degree worth it?

    Yes. Though a marketing degree is a significant time and financial investment, graduates can qualify for in-demand, lucrative jobs. For example, marketing managers earn a median annual salary of $141,490 as of 2020.

  • What can I do with a marketing degree?

    A marketing degree can lead to a variety of occupations, including marketing manager, market research analyst, and survey researcher. Other marketing degree jobs include sales manager and public relations specialist.

  • How much can I make with a degree in marketing?

    Your salary with a marketing degree varies by level of education, experience, industry, and occupation. PayScale reports that marketing majors earned $64,000 annually on average as of September 2021.


Featured Image: Morsa Images / DigitalVision / Getty Images

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