Best Online Master’s Programs In Digital Marketing

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Careers & Salaries with a Graduate Degree in Digital Marketing

Communications professional can raise their yearly median salary from $54,000 to $67,000 by earning a master’s in communications and mass media, which includes programs in digital marketing online. Graduates can become marketing executives, marketing managers, or public relations managers. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects growth in each of these careers. Furthermore, these professions each earn a median of over $100,000 each year.

These professionals have high earnings in growing sectors and work with exciting new technology. Digital marketers use emerging media platforms to promote brands. An online master’s in digital marketing is a great field for any student interested in technology.

What Can I Learn in an Online Master’s in Digital Marketing Program?

Students learn about existing and emerging technologies in digital marketing master’s programs. Programs cover how brands use platforms to engage consumers. As traditional marketing takes a back seat to its digital counterpart, professionals need to stay up-to-date on emerging strategies. Many of these programs focus on business operations. Classes include creative topics like design, as well as budgeting and organizational structures.

Programs can take between one and three years to complete. Students who have educational or professional backgrounds in marketing or digital communications can complete these programs in less time. Since subject matter is digital, online classes are a great option. Students can benefit from flexibility and the low cost of a distance education.

What common courses are offered in a master’s in digital marketing program?

Schools offer different courses and concentrations; however, there are fundamental subjects in any master’s in digital marketing online. While classes may be listed under different names, the following courses are common in digital marketing programs.

Communication, Media, and Society
In this foundational course, students learn how media influences culture. Learners examine how forms of communication impact society. Professors may require degree candidates to assess their own relationship with media.

Social Media Marketing
Social media campaigns have a huge impact on brands. This class teaches students to design and implement strategies in this medium. Students may also learn to use social media marketing measurement tools to create effective campaigns.

Search Marketing
When consumers use search engines, companies want to be the first search result. This course teach students to devise search engine optimization strategies and use search engine advertising to promote their brand.

Laws and Ethics
This class covers the legal limitations of marketing, court cases that set these standards, and ethical considerations. Law is particularly important in the age of growing technology; this course helps professionals navigate the changing landscape.

Mobile Marketing
Now that smartphones and tablets are ubiquitous, most website traffic comes from mobile devices. Therefore, it is essential for marketers to fit promotions to these devices. In this class, students learn the technical and strategic skills needed to scale marketing to mobile devices.

What exams or projects should I expect?

Online master’s in digital marketing programs require final projects. Creative programs often want students to compile and present portfolios, which are created throughout coursework. Other programs may require degree candidates to present a thesis paper. Students can spend several semesters working on a thesis. Some professors require thesis projects to include independent research. In MBA programs with concentrations in digital marketing, students may need to create business plans in place of thesis projects and some programs may require learners to complete internships.

What elective courses are available in a master’s in digital marketing program?

Digital marketing is often a specialization within another program; however, students can design a degree to fit their career goals. With elective courses, learners can explore subjects that will make them experts in niche areas of marketing. Below are some of the electives offered.

Mobile Applications
As tablets and smartphones grow in popularity, mobile marketing is an essential part of any business plan. This course teaches students to use mobile applications to promote brands. Students learn about designing brand-specific applications and advertising on existing apps.

User-Centered Design
Mobile applications and websites allow consumers to interact with brands. This class teaches learners to design easy-to-use applications and websites that keep consumers interested in brands.

Internet Consumer Behavior Analysis
Marketers have access to more data than ever before, which allows marketers to conduct thorough data analysis. This course teaches students to track consumer behavior online and use analysis information to promote brands. This course combines analytics, mathematics, and theory.

What Can I Do with a Master’s in Digital Marketing Degree?

With a master’s in digital marketing online, a graduate can choose from several career paths. A master’s degree gives job candidate’s a competitive edge. Graduates with leadership skills can become marketing managers, public relations managers, and chief marketing officers. Those with analytical skills and attention to detail can become market research analysts. Graduates who enjoy public relations can become specialists.

Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers
These professionals manage in-house marketing teams or work for agencies with several clients. They oversee every creative aspect of marketing campaigns, including graphic design, social media, and copywriting. They also promote brands and engage potential customers. Managers make budgets, set deadlines, and negotiate contracts.

Public Relations and Fundraising Managers
Although public relations and marketing have nuanced differences, marketing graduates can become public relations managers. These professionals oversee public relations activities, including press releases, media interviews, and damage control. In today’s technological world, it is essential that public relations managers are digital media savvy.

Public Relations Specialists
Whereas public relations managers look over all of the public relations operations, these professionals concentrate on specific areas. They often work under managers and draft press releases, speak to media personnel, write speeches, analyze campaign effectiveness, or devise strategies. Some specialists work in particular industries or help brands in crisis.

Top Executives
Graduates with master’s degrees in digital communications can work as chief marketing officers. These top-level officers make the final decisions on marketing budgets, strategies, and new hires. They meet with other chief officers and board members. Master’s degrees give marketing specialists the skills they need to advance in their careers.

Market Research Analysts
When companies want to sell new products or services or expand into new markets, they call on market research analysts for idea feedback. These professionals conduct studies to determine which demographics will buy a product or service. Then, they decide which forms of marketing will elicit the best response. Analysts reports drive marketing and advertising strategies.

Professional organizations offer students and workers the chance to grow their careers. Networking opportunities like annual conferences, online forums, and local chapter meetings can open doors for new graduates. Organizations offer continuing education and certification opportunities; mentorship programs; access to exclusive research journals and job boards; and resume reviews.

The American Marketing Association
This national association provides the latest marketing news. Members gain access to resources like the marketer’s toolkit, webinars, in-person training, newsletters, and certification programs.

The Internet Marketing Association
The IMA invites digital marketers to become members and gain access to certain free resources. The premium membership includes additional perks, such as a public profile and the chance to chair a local organization.

The Branded Content Marketing Association
This global association welcomes marketing professionals to advance their branded content skills. Members get access to the latest research, discounts on marketing measurement tools, and invites to networking events.

The Association of National Advertisers
When the Data and Marketing Association joined forces with the ANA, the organization became the largest of its kind. Marketing and advertising professionals can benefit from membership and enjoy complimentary training, unlimited webinars, and the association’s publication.

The Mobile Marketing Association
As website traffic becomes mobile, savvy marketers adapt new strategies. This organization helps members explore new marketing methods through an annual conference, the latest research, and online education.

How Much Can I Make with a Career in Digital Marketing?

Graduates with digital marketing credentials can become marketing managers, public relations managers, public relations specialists, chief marketing officers, or market research analysts. Many of these occupations pay average salaries above $100,000. Factors influence whether a professional is on the low or high end of the scale. For example, professionals in major metropolitan areas often earn higher salaries than their rural or suburban counterparts.

Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing ManagersLess than $48,150$129,380More than $208,000+10%
Public Relations and Fundraising ManagersLess than $61,130$111,280More than $112,260+10%
Public Relations SpecialistsLess than $27,240$51,500More than $93,780+4%
Top ExecutivesLess than $44,510$104,700More than $208,000+8%
Market Research AnalystsLess than $34,510$63,230More than $122,770+23%
Source: BLS 2018

BLS projects all of the careers above to grow as fast as the national average. In many cases, BLS projects growth rates well above average for careers in digital marketing. For example, analytical graduates can take advantage of the 23% growth rate of market research analysts; a percentage three times the national average. In more competitive areas, like public relations and top executive positions, graduate degrees can set candidates apart.

Education is one of the biggest factors that impacts salary for marketing and communication professionals. The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce found that professionals with undergraduate degrees earn $54,000 per year; however, those with master’s degrees make $67,000 annually. With a $13,000 increase per year, a master’s in digital marketing can pay for itself.

Online Master’s in Digital Marketing Program Accreditation

Candidates should consider accredited universities with credentialed business programs. There are two types of accreditation, the first is institutional which includes regional and national accreditation. Credits from regionally accredited universities are easier to transfer. Learners who earn degrees from institutions without accreditation may have difficulty obtaining professional certifications. Some employers require applicants to hold accredited degrees.

The second type of accreditation is programmatic. Agencies award these credentials to programs within a university, such as graduate digital marketing programs. Since marketing programs are often within business schools, students should look for accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. This organization ensures academic rigor and the highest educational standards and help students gain professional certifications.

How to Pay for a Master’s in Digital Marketing Degree

Students who want to earn a master’s degree can access several types of financial aid. Master’s students can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which gives students federal assistance and access to private scholarships.

  • Federal Financial Aid
    Learners can complete the FAFSA online to assess their financial needs and apply for financial assistance. While graduates do not need to repay grants, they must refund loans. Many scholarships and other need-based aid programs require completed FAFSA forms as well.
  • School Scholarships
    Most schools provide scholarships to admitted students based on financial need or merit. For example, Full Sail University focuses on creative fields, like marketing, and awards seven different types of scholarships. One award goes to an alumni of the university who wants to pursue additional educational opportunities, such as a master’s degree.
  • Private Scholarships
    Professional organizations, nonprofits, and corporations award scholarships to deserving students. Digital marketing students can find these opportunities through media-focused associations. For example, Hire Influence is a digital marketing agency that awards scholarships for $500, which can cover the cost of books or other financial needs.

Best Online Master’s in Digital Marketing Programs 2021

See Our Rankings Methodology

  1. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    Champaign, IL

    The Gies College of Business at Illinois offers an MBA with six specialization areas, including digital marketing. Students can complete the program entirely online. The degree comprises 72 credits.

    Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 from an accredited college or university. The program does not require GRE or GMAT scores. Although, applicants may submit scores if they want to.

    The curriculum includes coursework that enhances a student's business mastery in key areas. Courses also prepare students for leadership positions. Enrollees enroll in four core classes. They include managerial economics and analysis, and value chain management. Strategic leadership and management and financial management comprise the final two core courses. Degree candidates complete a capstone project in their specialization area before graduation.

    Students can apply for a limited number of need-based scholarships. The scholarships can cover up to 70% of tuition.

  2. Fort Hays State University

    Hays, KS

    Students seeking a master's in digital marketing can explore FHSU's 34-credit online MBA. Enrollees can pursue a general program or choose from 14 specialization areas, including one in digital marketing. Applicants must submit their most recent GMAT or GRE scores. The program also requires undergraduate and graduate transcripts. Based on an applicant's academic history, they may need to complete more foundation courses.

    The master's in digital marketing degree follows a rolling admissions process. It also offers many starting dates annually. Courses follow eight-week delivery schedules.

    The program features 24 core credits and nine specialization credits. Core classes cover information systems for management, and business research and quantitative methods. Learners also study advanced corporate finance. The digital marketing specialization includes a class in strategic electronic marketing. Other coursework teaches content and analytics for social media marketing.

  3. Webster University

    Saint Louis, MO

    Webster University offers an online MBA through the George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology. The program features 10 areas of emphasis, including a digital marketing management emphasis. Students who specialize in digital marketing management must complete 42-45 credits. They must also enroll in four classes, including marketing analytics and management of social media. Enrollees also take digital marketing strategy and management of digital marketing.

    Students advance to candidacy after completing at least 12 credits with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Enrollees who needed to complete prerequisite courses before starting the program cannot count them toward the 12-credit requirement for advancement. MBA enrollees can also take advantage of dual degree options. These options include finance, environmental management, and information technology management.

    The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs accredits Webster's MBA program.

  4. Liberty University

    Lynchburg, VA

    Liberty University offers an online MBA that students can finish without any campus visits. The program features over 20 areas of specialization, including one in strategic media and digital content. This specialization may suit practitioners looking for a digital marketing degree.

    The MBA program comprises 45 credits, and most enrollees graduate within two years. Classes follow eight-week delivery schedules. Students can transfer up to 50% of the degree's credit requirements from another accredited university. The program does not require applicants to submit GMAT or GRE scores.

    Enrollees must complete 33 core and 12 specialization credits. Core coursework includes topics such as legal issues in business and global economic environment. Students who specialize in strategic media and digital content enroll in classes such as strategic media analysis. Other course topics include media technologies and communication strategies. Students also learn emerging trends in strategic communication.

    The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs accredits Liberty's MBA program.

  5. Messiah University

    Mechanicsburg, PA

    Messiah University's MBA program may interest students who wish to earn a master's in digital marketing. The 36-credit online program offers five concentration areas, including one in digital marketing. Messiah's MBA program features a career-focused curriculum. The degree prepares graduates for professional advancement and leadership opportunities in the workplace.

    Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA from an accredited college or university. The program does not require GMAT or GRE scores.

    Students enroll in 27 credits of core classes and nine concentration credits. The core curriculum teaches topics like innovation and entrepreneurship and global business and economic development. Learners also take managerial accounting and finance. The digital marketing concentration covers topics like marketing analytics and social media strategy. Another class is interactive digital strategies. Courses follow six- and eight-week delivery schedules. Degree candidates complete a capstone project to graduate.

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