MBA Alternatives: MS in Digital Marketing

The world economy runs on business, and business runs on customers. Being able to attract, acquire, and retain customers is the most critical objective for startups, small companies, and big corporations.

A masters in business administration (MBA) has been a popular option for decades for those wishing to be successful in running a business. This graduate degree has been considered one of the best and broadest choices for boosting careers and increasing earning potential. In today’s competitive workforce, an MBA might not provide all the skills necessary for standing out among other qualified candidates. An MBA can help develop managerial skills, open networking doors, and provide the tools needed for starting a business; however, a master’s degree in digital marketing can provide graduates with a more niche, specialized role.

Consumer habits have rapidly changed over the last ten years, and so has the world of marketing. Instead of shopping at brick and mortar stores, watching television, and making decisions based on what is merely available, consumers are using the power of the internet to make informed decisions about everything that they buy, from gym memberships to kitchen appliances. To keep up, businesses need to know how to stand out as industry experts with the best products by connecting with customers more deeply and genuinely.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), openings for advertising, promotion, and marketing managers in the country are expected to increase 10 percent in the decade preceding 2026, which is faster than most other occupations. In May 2017, the average salary for marketing managers was $132,230. As more small and large businesses need to hire digital marketing experts to keep up with consumer habits, there is a projected demand for those with a specialization in this field.

Digital marketing is constantly evolving to include new mediums of communication, strategies for attracting and retaining customers, and tools for managing campaigns. Programs for degrees in digital marketing usually include curriculum on search engine optimization (SEO), email campaigns, social media, analytics, copywriting, inbound marketing strategy, user experience (UX), and lead generation.

Pursuing a degree in digital marketing can lead to several exciting and rewarding careers across all industries. For someone with an undergraduate degree who is interested in, or already employed in, the digital marketing field, completing a master of science (M.S.) in digital marketing can lay the foundation for a career as an SEO manager, UX strategist, marketing analyst, social media manager, or online advertising director.

Many higher education institutions empower aspiring digital marketing professionals to earn a master’s degree all from the comfort of their laptop. Learn about what goes into earning an MS in digital marketing, the kinds of universities that offer such programs online, and accomplished professors who teach in said programs.


Professors to Know in Online Digital Marketing Master’s Programs

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    Lisa Hope – University of Florida

    Lisa Hope is the director of marketing and engagement for the online master’s programs at the University of Florida. She is also the creator and lead instructor of the master of arts in digital strategy program. Ms. Hope’s expertise includes lead generation, branding, social media, copywriting, and gamification. In 2017, Ms. Hope received the TMT Businesswoman of the Year Award for her work in academic marketing. Her previous experience includes managing marketing campaigns for EA Sports, Paramount Pictures, and several liquor brands. Outside of her academic work, she currently works as the head of social for Verma Media. Ms. Hope got her bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of mass communications in social media from the University of Florida.

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    Jessica Rogers, PhD – Southern New Hampshire University

    Dr. Jessica Rogers is the marketing faculty lead at SNHU and was responsible for developing the online digital marketing master’s program. Before her decade in academia, Dr. Rogers worked in marketing, sales, operations, and management for 16 years. She is a member of the American Marketing Association and Academy of Marketing Science, serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Education for Business. She is also a reviewer for the Journal of Business Research and the Journal of Social Media in Society. Southern New Hampshire University has honored her with the Excellence in Teaching Award. Dr. Rogers focuses her research on brand loyalty, Generation X females, and organic social media marketing. She has a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing and master’s degree in marketing from Texas A&M University–Commerce, as well as a doctorate in business administration with an emphasis in marketing from Northcentral University. She has also completed several certificates from Northwestern University, Harvard University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Featured Online Master’s Degrees Digital Marketing

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University’s 30-credit master of science in marketing offers students the possibility to specialize in digital marketing. The curriculum is accessible online 24/7 and includes courses on marketing strategy, social media, digital storytelling and branding, analytics, and more. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and no GMAT or GRE scores are required. Students can enroll in two classes per ten-week term and complete the program in 15 months. Graduates are prepared for the American Marketing Association’s Digital Marketing Certification exam, as well as gain skills for careers in competitive markets.

  • Location: Manchester, NH
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
  • Tuition: $627 per credit
  • Program length: 15 months

Northern Illinois University

Northern Illinois University offers a 30-credit, fully online master’s of science in digital marketing for those who want to gain skills in this ever-growing field. The curriculum includes 12 required courses on digital marketing foundations, marketing strategy foundations, and a capstone project, as well as any remedial courses to build on skills not developed during a student’s undergraduate career. Although the GMAT is not required, applicants may submit scores if undergraduate records do not show strong academic ability. Application deadlines are three times a year for the spring, summer, and fall semesters.

  • Location: DeKalb, IL
  • Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • Tuition: $896 per credit
  • Program length: Five or eight weeks per course (typically two years total)

Fairleigh Dickinson University

This New Jersey-based university offers a master of science in digital marketing that students can complete online within two years. The curriculum includes eight- or 15-week courses on consumer behavior, social media, web design, analytics, SEO, email marketing, database management, and mobile marketing. Students must complete 30 to 34 credit hours to earn their degrees and can transfer up to six credits from an accredited school. GMAT and GRE scores from within the past five years are required for admission unless certain criteria are met.

  • Location: Teaneck, NJ
  • Accreditation: AACSB International
  • Tuition: $925 per credit
  • Program length: Two years

Temple University

Temple University’s Fox School of Business offers a 100 percent online, part-time program for students to earn a master of science in digital innovation in marketing. Aspiring digital marketing experts can earn a degree in 16 months by completing 30 credit hours in courses on information technology, analytics, mobile marketing, brand management, user experience, social media, and a capstone. The application deadline for the fall semester is June 30 each year. Although the GMAT is preferred for applicants, GRE scores are also accepted and can be waived for Temple alumni with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $1,114 per credit
  • Program length: 16 months

University of Florida (Related Program)

The University of Florida designed its master of arts in mass communication with a concentration in digital strategy to be completed in 16 months. The curriculum consists of 36 credit-hours in courses on copywriting, lead generation, user experience, inbound marketing, social media advertising, and strategic communication. Deadlines to enroll are in July, November, and April for the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree, an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0, passing GRE scores, statement of purpose, résumé, and letters of recommendation.

  • Location: Gainesville, FL
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $17,441 for the full program
  • Program length: 16 months
Farheen Gani
Farheen Gani

Farheen Gani is an expert in online MBA programs, having covered MBA programs in computer science, economics, healthcare management, and fraud and forensics, among others, since 2018. She writes about healthcare, technology, education, and marketing. Her work has appeared on websites such as Tech in Asia and Foundr, as well as top SaaS blogs such as Zapier and InVision. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter (@FarheenGani).

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