The Master of Business Administration (or MBA for short) is the most popular graduate-level degree pathway in the United States. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), nearly 190,000 MBAs were awarded in 2013-14; this number represents more than a quarter of all master's degrees conferred during that academic year. MBA programs are designed to prepare students for executive roles in today's corporate settings. In many cases, MBA students are allowed to select a specialization, or area of academic focus for their master's degree. Marketing is one of the most popular MBA specializations nationwide; according to a survey by Poets & Quants, 14.2% of female MBA students and 6.3% of male students earned a marketing specialization in 2015-16.

What are the best marketing programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:

Rank School Location
1 The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
2 Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA
3 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
4 Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA
5 The University of Texas at Dallas Richardson, TX
6 Florida International University Miami, FL
7 North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC
8 Villanova University Villanova, PA
9 University of Maryland Global Campus College Park, MD
10 American University Washington, DC

According to the BLS, marketing managers earn a mean annual salary of $140,000 per year.

According to the American Marketing Association, the professional field of 'marketing' is defined as "the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large." Marketing professionals strive to stimulate consumer interest and create a positive public image for their clients. Students in marketing MBA programs learn best-practice methods and strategies for advertising, promoting and providing information about different types of products and services. MBA in marketing programs often culminate in a capstone course, which allows students to compose a research project that demonstrates the skills and knowledge they have gained during their graduate studies; internships are also commonly available, and in some cases will be required. Many of today's students are choosing to earn their MBA in marketing online. Online programs follow the same rigorous curriculum as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, leading to the same number of job opportunities for degree-holding graduates. Furthermore, the asynchronous (or self-paced) schedule and convenient study-from-home format of most online marketing options is ideal for students with part-time jobs, childcare duties, and other commitments that may interfere with campus-based learning.

Learn more about what you can do with an online MBA in marketing and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to with this comprehensive guide.

WHAT ARE THE JOB OPPORTUNITIES AFTER EARNING AN MBA IN MARKETING?

Students who earn an MBA in marketing are prepared to obtain positions as marketing managers, market research analysts, marketing specialists, and others. Read more here..

WHAT IS A MARKETING MANAGEMENT MBA?

An MBA prepares students for positions of leadership in business. Marketing is one of the most popular concentrations, which teaches students how to stimulate consumer interest and create a positive public image. Read more here..

DO I NEED AN MBA TO WORK IN MARKETING?

No. There are other degrees and concentrations that will prepare learners for a career in marketing. Read more here..

WHY GET AN MBA IN MARKETING?

Students who earn an MBA in marketing are prepared for leadership positions, such as sales manager and marketing manager, which have a low rate of unemployment. Read more here..

HOW MUCH DOES A MARKETING DEGREE ONLINE COST?

The cost of an MBA in marketing will vary between schools. For more accurate information, students should contact their prospective schools. Read more here..

Choosing a Program

Will an Online MBA in Marketing Program Provide Me With the Skills I Need to Advance My Career?

The best online MBA in marketing programs build on the foundational knowledge of undergraduate business programs while introducing more advanced concepts related to marketing and advertising, public relations and management. Courses will tackle subjects such as consumer science, accounting and finance, economics, market analysis, product management and business law and ethics. Students who participate in internships will also receive training from experienced marketing professionals and gain experience in real-world working environments.

Will an Online MBA in Marketing Program Work With My Schedule?

MBA in marketing online programs offer a flexible, easily accessible alternative to traditional classroom-based education. Students can download course lectures and readings, participate in virtual discussions with other students, submit written assignments, take exams and communicate with their professors from the comfort of their own computer. Current technology also enables them to study on the go using a laptop, tablet, smartphone and other Wi-Fi-compatible devices. For added convenience, online marketing MBA students can usually coordinate internship opportunities at sites that are within a reasonable distance from their current residence.

What Jobs Can I Get With My MBA in Marketing?

Most careers in marketing are attainable with a bachelor's degree, but an MBA in marketing will prepare students to take on executive-level responsibilities and manage teams of marketing professionals. Some of the most common job titles among online MBA in marketing degree recipients include marketing director, sales manager, purchasing manager and public relations specialist. While most MBA-holders find work with private companies and organizations, marketing skills are also applicable to employees in the public/government and nonprofit sectors.

What Are the Best Online MBA in Marketing Programs?

Choosing a program is an incredibly personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school's strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online MBA in marketing programs in the United States. Our ranking is based on the courses schools offer, available specializations, student outcomes, career support services, and other criteria used to determine academic excellence. If you are considering an online MBA in marketing, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific requirements and offerings.

Accredited Online MBA in Marketing Programs

Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 89%

The flagship institution of the UNC System, UNC-Chapel Hill offers several online degrees, including an MBA in marketing. This program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and typically takes two years to complete.

This online MBA in marketing program teaches advanced marketing skills, strategies, and tools. Students complete 62 credits, including core courses in business communication, leading and managing, and finance. Students also select from a variety of electives, such as pricing, global brand strategy, sales, and services marketing.

Prospective students must possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and two years of work experience. Applicants must submit a resume, GRE or GMAT scores, two letters of recommendation, and two essays. They must also complete an interview via webcam.

2

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 89%

CMU offers an online MBA in marketing through its School of Business. Students complete coursework entirely online, and some classes may feature a synchronous delivery format..

The curriculum trains students to use current marketing tools to analyze data and make strategic marketing decisions. The program takes 32 months to complete and includes coursework such as marketing with social media, segmentation, consumer behavior, and marketing research. Students must also complete a capstone project.

Applicants must submit a resume, a short essay responding to a prompt, one letter of recommendation, GMAT or GRE scores, and unofficial transcripts from previously attended institutions. Prospective students must also complete an interview prior to enrolling.

3

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 84%

U of I offers several online degree programs, including an MBA in marketing through its College of Business. Students may complete all requirements remotely.

The program focuses on digital marketing and introduces learners to current tools and techniques used to communicate with clients and develop effective promotional campaigns. The curriculum includes coursework like marketing in a digital world, digital analytics, and digital channels. Students also complete a capstone project in which they develop a digital marketing plan.

To qualify, prospective students must possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA and three years of professional experience. Applicants must submit GMAT or GRE scores, an essay, and three letters of recommendation.

4

Lehigh University

Bethlehem, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 87%

Located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Lehigh offers a variety of online programs, including a flex MBA with a marketing concentration. This MBA program uses a part-time format to accommodate working professionals looking to advance their careers. The program typically takes 3.5 years to complete, but students can progress at their own pace and may graduate sooner.

The curriculum consists of core coursework and marketing electives. For the marketing concentration, students select four guided electives, choosing from options like strategic marketing management, creating breakthrough innovations, and marketing research and analysis.

Prospective students must possess a bachelor's degree and at least two years of full-time work experience. Applicants must submit GRE or GMAT scores, a resume, an essay, official school transcripts, and professional letters of recommendations.

5

The University of Texas at Dallas

Richardson, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 72%

UT Dallas offers an online master of science in marketing through its School of Management, which is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Online learning at UT Dallas caters to working professionals and uses an asynchronous format that allows students to complete all requirements online at any time of day.

The 36-credit program includes five core courses, marketing management electives, and other electives. Students complete classes like interactive and digital marketing, advertising and promotional strategy, pricing, and predictive analytics using SAS.

Applicants must possess a bachelor's degree. Additional application materials include transcripts, a resume, GMAT or GRE scores, one letter of recommendation, and a personal objectives statement. The test score requirement may be waived for students possessing a bachelor's degree from an AACSB-accredited school.

6

Florida International University

Miami, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 58%

Based in Miami, FIU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The school offers a variety of online degree programs, including an online master of science in marketing. Faculty deliver online classes through an asynchronous format.

The curriculum focuses on essential marketing topics and includes coursework in brand management, e-marketing, marketing analytics, marketing research, and consumer behavior. Students must also complete professional development seminars or an internship. The program takes 10 months to complete.

Prospective students must possess a bachelor's degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and three years of work experience or a 500 or higher on the GMAT. Applicants must submit official transcripts, a resume, three letters of recommendation, and a video statement of purpose.

7

North Carolina State University

Raleigh, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 81%

NC State — based in Raleigh — offers an online MBA with a marketing emphasis that can be completed in 21 months by taking advantage of an accelerated format. NC State also offers a flexible format in which students can take up to six years to graduate. The program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

This 40-credit online MBA in marketing includes two three-day residency requirements at the Raleigh campus. Students complete core business classes, as well as marketing emphasis courses like product and brand management, research methods in marketing, and consumer behavior.

Prospective students must possess a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college and two years of work experience. They should also have completed at least one statistics course. Applicants must submit a personal statement, transcripts, a resume, two letters of recommendation, GRE or GMAT scores, and an essay.

8

Villanova University

Villanova, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 91%

Villanova offers a variety of degree programs, including an online MBA with a marketing specialization. This program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Online learning uses an asynchronous format that allows students to complete coursework at their convenience.

This 48-credit program typically takes two years to finish. Students complete most coursework online, although they must participate in an on-campus, weekend-long leadership challenge class. The curriculum includes classes in performance measurement and reporting, corporate finance, and strategic marketing management. To graduate, learners must complete a week-long global immersion capstone or the domestic equivalent.

Prospective students must possess a bachelor's degree. Application materials include a resume, two essays, official school transcripts, GMAT or GRE scores, and two letters of recommendation.

9

University of Maryland Global Campus

College Park, MD Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 86%

The University of Maryland offers several online degree programs through its Global Campus, including a master of science in management with a marketing specialization. Online learning uses an asynchronous format and most courses offer digital textbooks at no additional cost.

The curriculum trains learners to use current marketing strategies to create promotional campaigns. Students complete core courses and specialization courses, including brand management, digital and direct marketing, and international marketing management. The 36-credit program includes an introductory orientation to graduate studies course and a strategic management capstone.

Applicants should possess a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution and submit an application and official transcripts to the admissions office. Prospective students do not need to submit test scores. If individuals have not completed coursework in statistics they may need to take additional courses.

10

American University

Washington, DC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 80%

Based in Washington, D.C., AU offers an online MBA in marketing through its School of Business. The program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and typically takes two years to complete. Students may also select an 18-month, 15-month, or 12-month track option to finish sooner.

The 48-credit program includes two in-person immersions, which allows students to work with companies to solve business problems and gain experience. Participants complete 12 core courses and three electives. Classes include managerial economics, business law, ethics, and governance, brand strategy, integrated marketing communication, and business intelligence.

To qualify, prospective students must possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Applicants must submit official school transcripts, a resume, two letters of recommendation, and two essays.

What Else Can I Expect From an Online MBA in Marketing Program?

How Long Is an Online MBA Program? 18 months to 2 years
Program Costs $25,000 to $50,000
Concentrations Business Administration, International Business, Management, Public Relations, Graphic Design, Web Design, Media Arts, Marketing Communications, English, Human Resources, Project Management
Accreditation Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
Additional Considerations Many MBA programs require candidates to sit for the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), and some require a minimum score. However, not all MBA programs require a GMAT score for admission.

Employment Outlook for MBA in Marketing

Job Placement: MBA in Marketing

Due to the large number of available marketing jobs and consistently high demand for qualified employees, job placement in this field is quite strong. How does marketing stack up against other business fields in terms of job security? The following table looks at the unemployment rates for some of the best jobs in business and sales/marketing, as ranked by U.S. News in 2016.

Occupation Unemployment Rate (2016)
Logistician 1.6%
Financial Analyst 2.2%
Market Research Analyst 2.4%
Insurance Sales Agent 2.8%
Marketing Manager 3.5%
Sales Manager 3.5%
Business Operations Manager 3.7%
Operations Research Analyst 3.8%

Source: 'Best Business Jobs' and 'Best Sales and Marketing Jobs' by U.S. News & World Report

Of all eight occupations listed on the table, the average unemployment rate is 2.94%; by comparison, the national unemployment rate for all occupations currently sits at 4.6%.

Earning a Living

In addition to steady employment, MBA graduates with a specialization in marketing also enjoy high earning potential and strong career salary growth. However, salary expectations will vary by specific specialization fields. The table below examines the annual earnings at two key career benchmarks for five of the most common MBA in marketing specializations.

Degree/Professional Field Median Entry-Level Salary (0-5 Years) for MBA Graduates Median Mid-Career Salary (10+ Years) for MBA Graduates
Marketing and Management $52,500 $103,000
Integrated Marketing Communications $49,600 $101,000
Marketing $54,100 $101,000
Business and Marketing $58,000 $99,000
Marketing and Communications $48,600 $87,700

Source: 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report

All five specializations enjoy a wage increase of at least 70% after a decade in the workforce. Of the five specialization areas listed in the table, integrated marketing communications saw the highest wage premium: an impressive 103.6% boost in annual earnings after 10 years on the job. The marketing and management specialization placed second with a wage premium of 96.2%.

In addition to MBA specialization, an individual's specific occupation will also determine his/her annual salary expectations. The next table features PayScale career earnings projections for five of the most common job titles in professional marketing.

Occupation Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 Years) Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 Years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (>20 Years)
Marketing Manager $52,282 $64,098 $73,157 $76,225
Market Research Analyst $48,684 $60,120 $60,563 $73,070
Marketing Specialist $44,448 $51,795 $55,346 $56,425
Marketing Coordinator $39,614 $44,840 $48,562 $51,200
Social Media Manager $44,084 $57,645 $59,041 $69,901

Source: PayScale

All five occupations listed on the table reported a career salary growth rate of at least 27%. Social media managers saw the highest growth: a 58.6% increase in earnings between the entry-level and late-career stages. Market research analysts placed second with 50.1% salary growth after two decades in the workforce, followed by marketing managers with 45.8%.

Career Opportunities

Students who graduate with an MBA in marketing will be qualified for dozens of top-level positions, although individual eligibility will depend on additional factors like company size and city/state of employment. Four of the most common career pathways in professional marketing are detailed below.

Advertising, Promotions and Marketing Managers: These managers develop and oversee campaigns that promote specific goods and services and generate a buzz among consumers. These campaigns may include promotional giveaways, consumer surveys and billboards, banners and other advertisements in print, digital and web-based media. In order to create effective campaigns, these managers often collaborate with graphic artists and designers, sales representatives, finance personnel and members of other departments in their organization.

Market Research Analysts: These professionals are tasked with the research and analysis that shape marketing campaigns. They look at sales trends, competitor rates and market activity, as well as demographic-related factors such as the age, region of residence and socioeconomic background of different consumer groups. Research analysts then organize this data into comprehensive reports and present their findings using data tables, graphs and other measuring tools.

Sales Managers: Sales managers oversee teams of sales personnel at private companies, nonprofits and other large organizations. They develop sales goals and objectives for their teams, and then measure organizational performance through data analysis and evaluation. In many cases, sales managers also create training programs and other professional development opportunities for their employees.

Top Executives: 'Top executives' is a catchall term for the individuals who manage departments or branches of a given organization. In corporate marketing, executives often serve in roles such as marketing directors or creative directors. They review sales reports, manage employees and perform other tasks to ensure their department's goals are met.

Occupation Median Annual Salary Projected Industry Growth (2014-24)
Advertising, Promotions and Marketing Managers $124,850 9% (+19,700 jobs)
Market Research Analysts $62,150 19% (+92,300 jobs)
Sales Managers $113,860 5% (+19,000 jobs)
Top Executives $102,690 6% (+147,000 jobs)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different approaches to marketing is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you'll find three of the country's most prominent organizations established for marketing professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates. Resources like these often prove invaluable as you complete your degree requirements and prepare to enter the job market.

  • American Marketing Association: Founded in 1953 by business pioneer Neil Borden, the AMA is dedicated to providing advocacy and professional development for members of the marketing industry. The association's website is a compendium of information, with an extensive amount of resources on branding, engagement, consumer metrics and other areas of marketing.
  • Society for Marketing Professionals: The SMPS represents more than 6,000 marketing professionals in the U.S., and draws support from roughly 3,500 firms nationwide. Members receive invitations to networking events, a complimentary journal subscription, career leads and unlimited access to the society's online marketing center.
  • Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization: First launched in 2002, SEMPO is a nonprofit dedicated to the niche industry of SEO marketing. The organization hosts a wide range of online and brick-and-mortar events throughout the year.

Financing Your Online MBA in Marketing Program

Despite the relative affordability of online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We've curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.