Online MBA Programs in Digital Marketing, Internet Marketing, and Social Media

An online master of business administration (MBA) program with a concentration in digital marketing requires a significant time commitment and dedication. Nevertheless, the skills and knowledge gained from these programs can prepare graduates for leadership roles with higher salaries and greater opportunities.

So what is digital marketing? According to Wikipedia, “Digital marketing is the component of marketing that utilizes the internet and online-based digital technologies such as desktop computers, mobile phones, and other digital media and platforms to promote products and services.”

The principal objective is to promote brands, products, and services through various forms of digital media, including mobile phones, social media, display advertising, search engine marketing, or any other type of digital media.

Most experts agree that digital marketing requires a new approach to marketing and understanding consumer behavior. Digital marketing requires companies to analyze the value corresponding to a new set of metrics, such as the number of app downloads on mobile devices, tweets on Twitter and likes on Facebook.

Featured Digital Marketing & Social Media Programs
Wake Forest University Grad Certificate - Digital Marketing and AnalyticsVisit Site
Wake Forest University Online Master of Digital MarketingVisit Site
Southern New Hampshire University MS in Marketing - Digital MarketingVisit Site
Southern New Hampshire University MS in Marketing - New Media and CommunicationsVisit Site
Southern New Hampshire University MS in Marketing - Social Media MarketingVisit Site
Brandeis University MS - Digital Marketing and DesignVisit Site
Middle Tennessee State University Flex MBA - Strategic Marketing AnalyticsVisit Site
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It is easy to understand why one might consider an MBA in digital marketing. Demand for digital marketing skills is exploding, and employers are willing to pay a substantial salary premium. According to research from Oberlo, US digital ad spending was expected to climb to $271,200 billion in 2023—a 20.96 percent increase from 2021. Also, digital ad spending is expected to increase to $224.4 billion in 2024, and will likely surpass $300 billion by 2025, representing 75 percent of all advertising spending.

With such remarkable statistics, it is not surprising that business schools have devoted considerable resources to recruiting experienced faculty and consultants, like those discussed below, to teach new courses in digital marketing. And neither is it surprising that these universities have evolved their curricula to incorporate topics in this new discipline.

MBA courses are typically divided into two sections. The first set of courses students will take are general “core” courses, which explore key business concepts and business management fundamentals while challenging students to think strategically. These classes focus on marketing, accounting, business ethics, finance, statistics, project management, and other business administration disciplines. Only minor differences exist in these standardized core courses, especially among the more reputable schools (see the Accreditation section below).

After satisfying core requirements, students take courses that specifically focus on their specialization of choice. Some programs dub this set of classes as majors, fields of concentration, specializations, or simply electives. For the digital marketing track, students typically examine topics like marketing in a digital world, digital channels, digital analytics, and social media strategy. However, these courses can vary widely from one school to another.

Innovative MBA programs offering 100 percent online curricula, like those in the following profiles, offer tremendous flexibility advantages for students. This is because recent instructional technology advances offer an online educational experience equivalent to, and in many ways better than, instruction on campus, yet unconstrained by distance or time.

As a result, these online MBA programs offer excellent opportunities for students who cannot leave jobs to attend classes on campus or those who wish to attend better out-of-state universities without the expense and hassle of relocation. For example, the University of Illinois has about 4,500 students enrolled in its online iMBA program from more than 90 countries and 48 states nationwide. Plus, personalized online education provides an attractive alternative for students who wish to learn at their own pace; motivated and gifted students, in particular, can thrive at the accelerated pace made possible by these online MBA programs.

Online programs also save students money. Even when tuition rates are identical, online MBA programs can present more cost-effective alternatives to on-campus programs because of savings on costs like relocation, childcare, and transportation.

The following guide presents ten online digital marketing MBA programs, and profiles three outstanding faculty members from universities offering these innovative programs.

Featured Online MBA Programs in Digital Marketing and Social Media

The Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina designed an online MBA program called MBA@UNC. Despite the lack of a specialized digital marketing concentration, prospective students should consider the marketing track.

The 62-credit specialized marketing curriculum prepares students for positions in advertising, market research, online marketing, brand management, public relations, and even sales. Students will take core courses, including a course in marketing and electives in marketing analytics, global finance & emerging markets, services marketing, and information for decision-making, incentives, and strategy.

This marketing focus gives students a detailed understanding of their organizations, and how marketing interacts with other business functions. The program is ideal for students planning on pursuing leadership roles or managing teams. This concentration can also be useful for non-marketers who wish to understand marketing to succeed in their current roles.

To be eligible for this program, students must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college and have at least two years of professional experience. Application requirements include an online application, a current resume, transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, two professional recommendations, two essays, GMAT or GRE scores (for applicants with fewer than five years of professional experience), and TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores for international students.

Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)
Format: Online
Expected Time to Completion: Between 18 and 36 months
Estimated Tuition: $125,550 for the program

Maryville University offers an online MBA program with two different marketing-focused concentrations: Emerging and Digital Media, and Marketing. Both include coursework in social networking and search engine optimization, but beyond that, the two concentrations differ slightly in terms of focus. The Marketing concentration focuses more broadly on branding and consumer behavior, while the Emerging and Digital Media concentration focuses more specifically on integrated digital marketing campaign creation, best practices, analysis, and refinement.

The Maryville MBA program features fully online instruction. For admittance to the program, the school requires an undergraduate degree and a GPA of 3.0 (those with lower GPAs may be admitted conditionally). The program has no GMAT requirement, and six start dates throughout the year. Full-time students may complete the program in a little over a year, and most part-time students complete the program in two years.

The program comprises 42 credits, including core courses such as the legal environment of business; strategic marketing; global business; and business policies. The emerging and digital media concentration has courses such as integrated marketing campaigns; digital marketing metrics & analytics; social network & search engine optimization; and best practices: models and systems. The marketing concentration involves courses in consumer behavior; branding; and integrated marketing communications.

Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC); Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
Format: Online
Expected Time to Completion: 14 months
Estimated Tuition: $714 per credit

Benedictine University offers an online master of business administration program specializing in digital marketing. Digital marketing uses social media platforms to engage the audience and build a brand. This concentration of Benedictine’s online MBA program can be completed entirely online, offering students the flexibility to complete their coursework without disrupting their personal and work schedules.

The core courses for the program include managerial accounting for decision-makers; managerial economics; operations management; global strategic management; and project management, among others. The digital marketing concentration includes additional coursework in brand and marketing management; advanced search and social marketing; and advanced content marketing, automation, and google analytics.

This Catholic university’s program requires students to complete 30 credits in core courses and nine credits in the digital marketing concentration. Students with an educational background in business may be eligible to waive up to four foundation courses (16 credits).

Admission requirements include an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited university or college, a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.75, official transcripts from all universities and colleges previously attended, two letters of recommendation, a current resume, and a letter of intent. GRE or GMAT scores are not required for admission.

Location: Lisle, Illinois
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Format: Online
Expected Time to Completion: 22 months
Estimated Tuition: $800 per credit

Arkansas Tech University offers an online master of business administration program specializing in digital marketing. The program prepares students for successful business careers in leadership and management roles, helping them develop data-driven decision-making skills and information-analytical abilities needed in today’s business world.

The major admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college verified by an official transcript, a cumulative GPA of 3.5, and GRE or GMAT test scores (waivers available). International students will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency.

Consisting of 33 credits, the program includes courses such as applied predictive analytics; strategic social media marketing; consumer insights; special topics in marketing; business information analysis; managerial economics; corporate financial management; and digital marketing strategy, among others.

Location: Russellville, Arkansas
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC); Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)
Format: Online
Expected Time to Completion: To be completed within six years
Estimated Tuition: $314.50 per credit

Fort Hays offers a three-course digital marketing concentration within its online MBA program. Fort Hays State University’s MBA offers a flexible and competitive curriculum supporting the most crucial pillars and best business practices. The program helps students transform into the business leader they aspire to become.

Digital marketing course topics include strategic electronic marketing; social media marketing; and social media marketing content and analytics, but the school also offers one related course in integrated marketing communications. This affordable MBA program is designed for self-motivated and independent working professionals and consists of 33 credits.

Although the MBA program appears to have plans to apply for membership in the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), it is not currently carrying accreditation from any of the three business school accreditation boards.

Location: Hays, Kansas
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Format: Online or on-campus
Expected Time to Completion: 18 months
Estimated Tuition: $350 per credit

Lynn University offers an online master of business administration program in media management where students will take on the latest communication planning trends and technologies.

Comprising 37 credits, the program includes courses such as leadership and management of organizations; marketing management in a global economy; managerial accounting; communication & media technologies; media and culture; and professional media presentation.

To get accepted into the program, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, an undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or higher, official undergraduate transcripts, a current resume, one letter of recommendation, and TOEFL or IELTS scores for international students.

Graduates of this program will be ready to pursue managerial positions in marketing, sales, public relations, corporate communications, consulting, and advertising.

Location: Boca Raton, Florida
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Format: Online
Expected Time to Completion: 12 to 24 months
Estimated Tuition: $750 per credit

Rutgers’s online MBA program allows students to work independently, without disrupting their current schedule. Rigorous, life-changing, and innovative, this online MBA can lay the foundation for future success. The program comprises 42 credits, however, some course requirements may be waived based on prior knowledge gained at the undergraduate level. This can bring down the course load to just 36 credits. The program has three elective courses which can be part of one of the certificate options available to students who look to specialize in their degree. One such certificate option is in digital marketing.

Similar to other programs, Rutgers’ digital marketing concentration requires courses in digital marketing strategy and marketing analytics but differentiates itself by offering separate courses covering social media and marketing management. This four-course sequence prepares students to implement successful digital media marketing strategies and campaigns and integrate them with other branding strategies.

Besides an undergraduate degree, the school prefers a 3.2 GPA but considers applicants with a 2.9 or above. They also require GMAT, GRE, or LSAT scores but may award waivers based on professional and managerial experience or advanced degrees. The school may waive its four-course foundation sequence based on prior academic work.

Location: Camden, New Jersey
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE); Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)
Format: Online
Expected Time to Completion: 24 months or less
Estimated Tuition: $1,300 per credit

Saint Leo offers an MBA in social media marketing which can be completed entirely online. Students in this concentration will be provided with an opportunity to improve their skills and knowledge in this rapidly emerging field. They will learn to utilize cutting-edge web analytics techniques as well as marketing research to understand their markets and designing marketing strategies.

For admission to the program, students require a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a minimum grade point average of 3.0, a minimum of two years of professional work experience, official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions previously attended, a current resume, a personal statement, and proof of English language proficiency for international students.

Made up of 33 to 36 credits, the program includes courses such as management essentials; strategic management; marketing; web analytics; social media marketing; gamification applications in marketing; digital storytelling and crisis management; and data mining.

Graduates of the program will be able to correctly apply analytical techniques, assess the effectiveness of multichannel and social media campaigns, and learn to optimize success by leveraging experimentation.

Location: St. Leo, Florida
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (ACBSP)
Format: Online
Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
Estimated Tuition: $830 per credit

The University of Illinois sets forth three learning objectives for its brand-new Coursera-powered “iMBA” online degree in digital marketing. In this specialization, students will understand the application of marketing strategies and tools in the digital environment, employ marketing analytics for visualizing and applying data, and understand how firms apply digital channels in marketing.

The specialization requires students to complete a capstone project and take marketing, digital channels, and analytics courses. In the capstone project, students will use data visualization tools to analyze a situation from the vantage point of an actual global company and develop a digital marketing plan to promote a new product within a specific geography. The projects are peer-reviewed in a crowdsourced format with participation by one or more focal companies, to create value for potential employers while achieving students’ pedagogical and experiential objectives.

The major admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree with a grade point average of 3.0, a minimum of three years of full-time work experience, and TOEFL or IELTS scores for international students.

Location: Champaign-Urbana, Illinois
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Format: Online
Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
Estimated Tuition: $23,904 total

Clayton State University offers an online MBA in digital marketing, preparing students with the necessary knowledge and skills to respond to customer expectations in the market and develop online strategies to place organizations and companies at the forefront of their industries.

Made up of 33 credits, the program includes core courses such as accounting concepts; decision concepts; corporate finance for MBA; management change & innovation; marketing strategy; and global strategic management. Courses in the digital marketing concentration include digital marketing fundamentals; digital marketing strategy; and social media strategy.

Location: Morrow, GA
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)
Expected Time to Completion: 12 to 24 months
Estimated Tuition: In-state ($335 per credit); out-of-state ($1,335 per credit)

Admission Requirements for Online MBA Programs in Digital Marketing

There are several standard application requirements and recommendations to earn admission to one of these online digital marketing MBA programs:

Education

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • A competitive GPA from undergraduate programs
  • Key prerequisite courses for candidates without undergraduate business degrees or business experience

Tests

  • GMAT or GRE scores—often waived for students with several years of relevant work experience
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) for international students

Experience

  • One or two years of professional experience in a healthcare, business, finance, or technology organization

Application

  • A personal statement of objectives
  • Letters of recommendation

Accreditation of Online MBA Programs

Educational accreditation means a university offers a curriculum that adheres to quality assurance standards in academic disciplines. In the United States, external private, non-profit organizations evaluate educational institutions and certify that the schools comply with applicable standards by awarding accreditation status. Several organizations grant accreditation to business schools.

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), formerly the American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business, has provided quality assurance services to accredited business schools since 1916. AACSB-accredited schools generally have the highest-quality faculties, deliver relevant and challenging curricula, and provide educational and career opportunities not found at other schools. The organization emphasizes faculty research in providing students with solid knowledge foundations. The AACSB has awarded accreditations to more than 750 schools in more than 60 countries, mainly affiliated with major research universities.

The newer Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) was founded in 1988 to accredit schools, including two-year institutions like community colleges, emphasizing teaching instead of the research emphasis common to the AACSB-accredited institutions. The ACBSP focuses on tangible learning outcomes and quality improvement, especially as the workforce demands change.

A third agency, the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE), believes the academic quality and excellence in business education should be measured regarding the educational outcomes of a university business unit relative to its mission, rather than by prescriptive standards relating to academic resources.

Professors to Know from Schools with Online MBA Programs in Digital Marketing and Social Media

  • Aric Rindfleisch, PhD The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    Aric Rindfleisch is a professor of business administration at the University of Illinois College of Business. He is also the John M. Jones professor of marketing, area chair of marketing, and Vernon Zimmerman faculty fellow. Aric Rindfleisch also serves as an executive director of Illinois MakerLab. He currently teaches courses such as marketing in a new digital world; marketing in an analog world; advanced topics in marketing; advanced marketing management; and making things.

    His research focuses on 3D printing, consumer values, and new product development. His research has been published in prominent journals such as the Journal of Marketing Research, the International Journal of Research in Marketing, and the Journal of Public Policy and Marketing. He has received several awards such as the Maynard Award, ISBM Business Marketing Doctoral Dissertation Award, and AMA Outstanding Marketing Teacher Award. Aric Rindfleisch completed his PhD from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, an MBA from Cornell University, and a BS from Central Connecticut State University.

  • Mark McNeilly, MBA University of North Carolina

    Mark McNeilly is a professor of the practice of marketing at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan Flagler Business School, teaching organizational behavior and marketing in the full-time MBA and online MBA programs. He has served as a global marketing executive with years of experience with both Lenovo and IBM in the IT industry.

    Professor McNeilly received his BS in finance from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse and an MBA with honors from the University of Minnesota. His business background includes strategy, branding, marketing, management, market intelligence, manufacturing, and personnel.

  • Ozge Turut, DBA Rutgers University

    Dr. Ozge Turut came to the Rutgers Business School marketing department from Sabanci University’s School of Management. At Rutgers, she currently serves as an associate professor of marketing. She teaches or has taught courses such as advanced marketing analytics; marketing research; marketing management; and marketing models.

    Her research interests include digital marketing, behavioral economics, competitive strategy, innovation strategy, signaling, pricing and promotions, and applied game theory. Her research has been published in journals such as Management Science, Marketing Science, and the Journal of Marketing Research. She completed her DBA in marketing from Harvard University, an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University, and a BS from Bogazici University.

Douglas Mark
Douglas Mark
Writer

While a partner in a San Francisco marketing and design firm, for over 20 years Douglas Mark wrote online and print content for the world’s biggest brands, including United Airlines, Union Bank, Ziff Davis, Sebastiani, and AT&T. Since his first magazine article appeared in MacUser in 1995, he’s also written on finance and graduate business education in addition to mobile online devices, apps, and technology. Doug graduated in the top 1 percent of his class with a business administration degree from the University of Illinois and studied computer science at Stanford University.