Rankings

Top 30 Online Master's in Marketing Degrees for 2018

A versatile credential that leads to opportunities in nearly every sector of the industry, marketing degrees tend to be offered either as concentrations in MBA programs or independently through a university's business or management school. Students pursuing a master's in marketing online typically take classes that cover management, strategic planning, branding, forecasting, and business modeling. The curriculum may also allow learners to emphasize a particular area, such as technology, digital marketing, or internet marketing.

Due to the demand for such skills in the workplace, most online master's in marketing also feature projects designed to build communication, analytical, and interpersonal abilities. Earning a master's in marketing online is ideal for adult students with families or for learners who have a full-time job. In addition to convenient online coursework, most of these programs provide internships and professional experience opportunities near a student's place of residence .

What Are the Best Online Master's in Marketing Programs?

1

University of Florida Gainesville, FL

The University of Florida, based in Gainesville, FL, offers an MS in sports management that prepares graduates for positions in collegiate, amateur, and professional athletics. This school’s online program provides a “behind-the-scenes” introduction to sports management, which develops administrative duties that maintain a successful organization and keep players on the field. Courses are offered completely online with no on-campus requirements.

Sports management is a broad field; therefore, the University of Florida offers a diverse set of classes so students can tailor their education to their interests, including finance for sport organization, risk management and legal issues in sports and athlete training/development. Students can also specialize their degree with certificates in athlete development, high performance coaching, or sport law. This 36 credit program culminates with either a professional internship or practicum to apply hands-on learning. Graduate-level courses from other accredited institutions may be eligible for transfer.

2

Gonzaga University Spokane, WA

Gonzaga University’s MA in sport and athletic administration curriculum emphasizes marketing and communications, team building, community outreach, Title IX compliance, and more. Students tailor this degree to their interests, and find careers in athletic direction, sports facilities management, media management, among others. This master’s in sports management online degree also requires an internship experience through real-world immersion programs with the Seattle Mariners, Baltimore Orioles, Spokane Chiefs, and many other organizations.

Classes are accessible to students both online and on campus, and cannot be completed through a hybridized format. Students complete this online master’s program in sports management in an average of two years. Gonzaga also offers many scholarship and loan programs to qualifying students.

3

Drexel University Philadelphia, PA

Drexel University’s MS in sports management is a fully online program that develops the next generation of leading sporting management professionals. Drexel’s master’s in sports management prepares students for collegiate athletics, professional sports, and health and fitness industries. While core coursework is completed online, students attend a week-long residency program in Philadelphia. These residency programs occur once a year during the summer, and students work in teams to ground their online learning.

The program is divided into four 10-week quarters per year, which allows students to take more classes per term than a traditional two-semester system. This online master’s in sports management requires applicants to have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 from an accredited institution.

4

Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL

Nova Southeastern University offers an MA in management and administration of educational programs with a specialization in athletic administration. This degree trains sports managers and athletic directors for careers in educational institutions. The 37 credit program is fully online, and requires 25 credits in the specialization. Classes are interactive and include community outreach internships to promote integrated learning. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required in all coursework.

The Abraham S. Fischler College of Education offers comprehensive and fully accredited coursework. NSU boasts an alumni network of more than 60,000 students from campuses all over the United States and internationally.

5

Concordia University Irvine, CA

Concordia University-Irvine’s (CUI) master’s in coaching and athletics administration is a nationally accredited program designed for the working professional. By integrating faith and service-learning with sports management, students develop their teaching, coaching, and administrative abilities from a distinctly religious perspective.

Students may select either a master of arts or a master of science degree in coaching and athletics administration. Both degree options consist of 20 credits of core classes, with an additional 16 credits of electives. Coursework is taken entirely online, on campus, or as a hybrid online and on-campus program. Students can begin coursework during summer, fall, or winter. This sports management master’s degree online also offers seasonal intensives to further customize the learning experience.

6

Liberty University Lynchburg, CA

Liberty University offers a master of science in sports management accredited by the Commission on Sport Management Education (COSME). The 36 credit program is offered fully online and provides a comprehensive overview of the sports management industry. Core classes cover marketing, public relations, financial management, and more. Students may also transfer up 18 credits earned at other accredited institutions.

In addition to earning an MS degree, students specialize with concentrations in outdoor adventure sports, sports administration, or tourism. Liberty also offers concurrent and related master’s programs in teaching, education, and exercise science, which further enhances one’s marketability in the field.

7

Canisius College Buffalo, NY

Canisius College’s master’s in sports administration is offered its School of Education and Human Services. A master’s in sporting administration prepares students for careers in intercollegiate athletics, sports marketing, and event/facility management. Canisius pairs traditional coursework with hands-on internship programs, while offering students study abroad opportunities and access to industry events. The program’s emphasis on real-world experience provides hands-on business experience essential to the sports management industry.

Most students earn their online master's in sports administration in one year. Coursework is completed either fully online, on campus, or as a hybrid of the two. Students also pursue their own research with the goal of eventually publishing their work.

8

Grace College and Theological Seminary Winona Lake, IN

Grace College has partnered with the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) and the Canadian Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (CIAAA) to offer an MS in athletic administration program. Prospective students must be a member of the NIAAA or CIAAA, be involved in an interscholastic athletic program, and possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.

Classes are offered fully online, and begin at multiple times throughout the year to accommodate busy schedules. Students work at their own pace, and complete practically-oriented projects to apply their classroom learning. No entrance exam is required for admission, nor is there a minimum GPA requirement for admittance.

9

Texas A&M University College Station, TX

Texas A&M’s MS in sports management prepares graduates to enter the world of professional sports, media and communications operations, health and country clubs, and more. Coursework is offered fully online, on campus, or as a hybrid, and students choose a thesis or non-thesis degree program.

This 36 credit online master’s in sports management features core coursework in sports marketing, revenue generation, and sports law; Students also complete up to eight electives in topics like health and kinesiology, among others. Admissions is only in the fall and is traditionally very competitive; most students possess a 3.0 undergraduate GPA and over four years of professional work in the industry.

10

Ohio University Athens, OH

Ohio University’s master’s in athletic administration program leans on over five decades of experience in the field, and boasts the prestigious Commission of Sport Management accreditation. First offered in 1966, the university has an extensive history of preparing the next generation of professionals leading athletic departments and student athletes.

This online master’s in sports management features coursework in human resource management, facility management and programming, ethics in sports, and sports marketing. Classes are taught by experienced faculty with top notch education and professional backgrounds. This degree program prepares students for careers in college athletic administration and the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) certification. Students can complete their degree in less than two years, and no GRE is required for admissions.

11

Belhaven University Jackson, MS

Bellhaven University’s master’s of sports administration is rooted in a Christ-centered education. Blending sports management skills with Christian values, the degree can be completed fully online, on campus, or as part of a hybrid online/on-campus format.

Coursework includes leadership and sports ethics, advanced organizational leadership, venue and event management, and a capstone seminar in sports administration. Graduates of this master’s in sports administration find careers as athletic directors, associate directors of marketing, media relations directors, sports writers, and more. Students complete the degree in approximately two years, and terms are divided into eight week segments. Group-work is an essential component of the program, as students will complete multiple group projects. Prospective students must have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher.

12

California University of Pennsylvania California, PA

California University of Pennsylvania’s master of science in sports management studies prepares students for this highly competitive field through coursework in sports law, critical thinking, and research. Courses are delivered in a modular format via Powerpoint presentations and online forums, while discussion groups and other peer-to-peer connections foster interaction among the cohort. This 36 credit program requires 24 credits in core courses, with the remaining 12 credits completed in one of three available concentrations: sports management, intercollegiate athletics administration, or strategic sports analysis. Cal U also has a certification in sports counseling program.

Classes begin each year during winter and summer sessions, and full-time students can earn their degree in as little as thirteen months. All classes are delivered fully online, and part-time options are available.

13

Adelphi University McCaysville, GA

With a main campus in Garden City, NJ and several satellite campuses, Adelphi University enrolls roughly 8,000 students from 43 states and 45 foreign countries. Students in their MS in sports management program work with almost every professional team in the greater New York metropolitan area. This MS degree lets students tailor their degree with concentrations in sports marketing or collegiate athletic administration. Since AU’s online master’s in sports management is entirely online, distance learners from different states or countries provide a chance to interact and share ideas with students of many backgrounds. AU also has a large alumni network that assists recent graduates with networking within the industry.

This 36 credit master’s program can be completed in as little 24 months. GRE or GMAT scores are not required for admission, nor is there a minimum GPA requirements.

14

Georgia Southern University Statesboro, GA

Georgia Southern University offers a fully online MS in sports management that prepares graduates for careers in professional or collegiate athletic departments, sports marketing and promotion, and sports information/media/communications. This 36 credit online master’s in sports management can be completed in two years, and there are no on campus or residency requirements.

Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, and GRE or GMAT scores less than five years old. International students must have their prior transcripts evaluated by the NACES accreditation evaluation service. Classes begin only once a year in the Fall, and all application materials must be submitted by March.

15

Southern New Hampshire University Hooksett, NH

SNHU has offered an MS in sports management for 25 years, and is one of the oldest sports management master’s programs in the country. Students develop excellent written and verbal skills, develop critical thinking, and gain hands-on experience through an available internship. Degree-seekers may also gain further certification in the form of a sports management athletic administration graduate certificate. Courses are offered fully online and are accessible 24/7. You can complete your graduate degree in 15 months as a full-time student.

Alumni from this master’s program can be found working for teams such as the Boston Celtics, the Boston Bruins, The US Olympic Committee and more. Instructors blend real-world experience with classroom instruction, and the school offers a broad network of alumni in which students may network.

16

Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA

Virginia Commonwealth offers its MS in sports management as a concentration of a master’s in education. This sports leadership program is available 100% online, though courses are only available on a part-time schedule; you may only undergo three classes at a time via the school’s online portal. VCU believes that this part time basis allows you to gain a deeper understanding of class subjects by giving you less to focus on at one time. You must complete a minimum of 36 credits to earn your master’s in sports management online.

To apply to VCU, you must have earned your bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. You must also have a relevant GRE/GMAT score (scores from within the last five years). This school does not have any residency requirements; applicants are admitted from across the country and internationally.

17

Coker College Hartsville, SC

Coker offers an MS in College Athletic Administration; unlike other schools with a more generalized master’s degree in sports management, CC’s program is tailored to students interested in embarking on a career based in college athletic programs.

This master’s program consists of a minimum of 30 credit hours for completion. These credits can be earned entirely online with no residency or on-campus requirements. Throughout your time at CC, you must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 grading scale. Internship/work experience may also be applied toward your total credit hours after receiving approval from the appropriate committee. In fact, you will be encouraged to take on an internship; Coker believes that hands-on work is beneficial for helping you to apply your knowledge as you learn it. The total cost of earning your MS in College Athletic Administration at Coker is approximately $18,000.

18

Lasell College Auburndale, MA

Lasell College offers a flexible and highly customizable MS in sports management degree program. Delivered fully online with no on-campus requirements, full-time students earn their degree in 12-24 months. Lasell keeps class sizes small to ensure each student receives individual attention from instructors. Classes are provided through online learning platforms, which provide lecture videos, reading material, homework assignments, and student-led discussion boards.

Students in this MS in sports management degree select one of four specialized concentrations: sports leadership, sport tourism and hospitality management, parks and recreation, and athletics administration. Lasell College does not require any GRE or GMAT scores for admissions, however the process is competitive.

19

University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg, MS

The MS in sports management at University of Southern Mississippi (USM) prepares graduates for careers in industries as varied as business management to sports event security management. USM has no residency requirements, and the program is completed entirely online. Full-time students are enrolled in at least nine credits per semester, and complete the degree program in roughly two years.

This 24 credit master’s in sports management features a blend of core coursework with an additional nine credit hours in elective courses. These elective courses let students tailor their degree toward the field in which they are most interested. Terms begin three times per year -- fall, spring or summer. While GRE/GMAT scores are required for admissions, there is no limit on how old an applicant’s scores may be.

20

Fresno Pacific University Fresno, CA

Fresno Pacific University’s (FPU) master’s in sports management degree prepares graduates for the front lines of athletic office management. Students find careers at all levels, from elementary school athletic directors to professional/private sector athlete managers. This degree is offered completely online and includes courses in business, marketing, management, finance, and more. Admissions requirements include an earned undergraduate degree with a minimum GPA of 2.5 and no GRE or GMAT test scores.

FPU has no on-campus orientations or residency requirements, and students pay the same tuition regardless of their home state. Classes have multiple start dates throughout the year: two start-dates in spring, one in summer, one in fall and winter. This online master’s in sports management consists of 30 credits, and full-time students graduate in five semesters.

21

Franklin Pierce University Rindge, NH

The online MBA in sports management at Franklin Pierce University (FPU) is business-focused degree that prepares graduates for leadership, PR, marketing, finance, and other related positions in the field of sports management. This program is designed to accommodate the schedules of busy working professionals; classes are available fully online, 24 hours per day. For full-time students, the program can be completed within four terms.

Admission requires an earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and an average GPA of 2.8 or higher. The application process also requires completion of a specified “admissions portfolio” to determine your level of relevant knowledge prior to admission. Note that some credit may be granted for relevant part-time or full-time work.

22

Midwestern State University Wichita Falls, TX

The master’s of education in sports administration degree program at Midwestern State University (MSU) is grounded in the theories and applications of education. Graduates of this program advance to athletic management in grade schools and colleges, and even PhD work.

The 36 credit online master’s in sports management at MSU requires core classes in organizational leadership, management, and culture, while electives let students tailor their education to their area of interest. Most students earn their degree in less than two years. Admission requires an earned undergraduate degree from an accredited institution, and GRE/GMAT test scores from within the last five years. MSU does not have residency requirements for its online students.

23

Arkansas State University Jonesboro, AR

The online MS in sports administration at Arkansas State University (ASU) prepares graduates for careers in health and fitness clubs, collegiate athletic departments, country clubs, and professional sport organizations. In addition to classroom coursework in sports and marketing, ethics, and sport law, distance learners are required to complete relevant internships. The program is entirely online, and offers the flexibility demanded of busy working professionals.

This 36 credit degree program can be completed in as little as 12 months if taken full-time. Applicants must have earned an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution, and there are no residency or on campus requirements for distance learners. Additionally, ASU does not require graduate GRE or GMAT test scores.

24

Mississippi College Clinton, MS

A master’s in athletic administration from Mississippi College prepares graduates for careers as athletic administrators, especially in a secondary school or college settings. Students blend sports, finance, and human resources during their coursework. An interscholastic concentration is also available, which enhances a student’s skills in leadership and personnel management. The intercollegiate management concentration develops a student’s knowledge of finance, law, and higher education athletic administration.

This 37 credit program can be completed in two years or less if taken full-time. This fully online program is available during the evenings and during regular class hours, and students finish coursework with an internship. Students spend a minimum of 60 hours at an approved, on-site location. On-campus meetups allow students to meet one-on-one with professors and each other.

25

Troy University Troy, AL

Troy University offers a master’s degree in sport and fitness management that prepares you to work in recreational, elementary, and high school sports management careers, as well as professional sports. Alumni from this program have been placed in the NBA, the NFL, and in minor league sports. Students select from numerous concentrations and specializations, including coaching, exercise science, and sports management. Thesis and non-thesis tracks are available.

Troy’s online school is ranked as one of the most affordable in the country. The class’s online portal is accessible 24/7. The portal includes lecture videos, reading material, and classmate discussion boards. Most students complete this program in 16-weeks if enrolled full-time.

Beginning a Marketing Career

Experienced graduates with an online master's in marketing can pursue careers in the field of marketing management. Marketing managers earn impressive salaries, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects these positions to experience 10% growth between 2016 and 2026. These professionals earned an average wage of $129,380 in 2017.

Other closely related occupations that share many of the same responsibilities as marketing managers include advertising and promotions managers; these positions also receive six-figure incomes and have the same projected job growth. While market research analysts earn less (an average salary of $62,560), this sector of marketing is one of the fastest-growing occupations in the nation; the BLS projects these jobs to increase by 23% between 2016 and 2026.

Although the majority of entry-level marketing jobs only require a bachelor's degree, employers looking to fill top positions often prefer candidates with additional experience and an advanced degree, such as a master of science or MBA with a concentration in marketing. MS degrees typically emphasize marketing management concepts, while MBA programs with a marketing concentration tend to provide a broader foundation in business before incorporating marketing-oriented coursework.

Students who earn their master's in marketing online can pursue work as marketing managers, sales representatives, and marketing specialists. They may also explore careers in expanding areas of marketing, such as digital media and internet advertising. While work experience in marketing is always preferred, some employers may also favor candidates who hold certain certificates, such as the professional researcher certification for market analysts provided by the Marketing Research Association.

What Can You Do With an Online Marketing Master's Degree?

Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Manager
Professionals who work as advertising, promotions, and marketing managers help create strategies to sell a company's products or services. They put together marketing plans for clients, which may involve developing competitive prices and creating advertising campaigns. These workers also identify the best possible markets and audiences for their client's products or services.
  • Median Annual Salary: $129,380
  • Projected Growth Rate: 10%
Market Research Analyst
Market research analysts look at potential consumer audiences and economic conditions to try and sell a certain product. This may involve forecasting sales trends. Although employers expect market research analysts to have at least a bachelor's degree, some employers prefer job candidates with a master's degree in marketing, statistics, or business administration.
  • Median Annual Salary: $63,230
  • Projected Growth Rate: 23%
Sales Manager
Unlike sales associates who spend the majority of their time actually selling products and services, sales managers also work behind the scenes to create sales strategies. These professionals set sales goals, train/manage sales associates, and analyze past sales numbers to plan determine new sales goals.
  • Median Annual Salary: $121,060
  • Projected Growth Rate: 7%
Public Relations and Fundraising Manager
Public relations and fundraising managers both work to create desirable images for organizations. Public relations managers typically attempt to make their companies come across in a favorable light by meeting with the media, writing press releases, and identifying and reaching out to potential clients. Alternatively, fundraising managers create strategies to convince donors to contribute funds. Many employers prefer to fill these positions with individuals who hold a master's degree.
  • Median Annual Salary: 111,280
  • Projected Growth Rate: 10%
Advertising Sales Agent
These workers typically work for advertising firms where they scout out potential clients and create plans to convince individuals or businesses to use their firm's advertising services. They put together sales pitches, explaining how their firm can help sell a product or service in a particular marketplace.
  • Median Annual Salary: $49,680
  • Projected Growth Rate: -4%

Salary Outlook for Marketing Program Graduates

The salary outlook for online master's marketing graduates varies greatly, from under $50,000 to well over $100,000 a year. Fortunately, many of the jobs available to marketing graduates lie on the higher end of this spectrum. Students who earn an online master's in marketing should feel optimistic about their job prospects after graduation. While the BLS projects that the number of advertising managers, marketing managers, and public relations managers positions will grow by 10% from 2016 to 2026 -- which is on par with the average job growth in the U.S. -- the projected growth rate for market research analysts is an incredible 23%.

What Else Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Marketing Program?

Students enrolled in online master's programs in marketing study a variety of topics, including how to interpret customer behavior, analyze consumer data, understand markets, and create marketing plans. The curricula for different programs vary, but students can count on learning the basics of marketing strategies and consumer behavior no matter where they go to school.

Curriculum for an Online Master's in Marketing

  • Marketing Strategy: Marketing strategy courses teach students about the role marketing plays in an organization, as well as how to identify and select market opportunities and approach problems in the field with an ethical outlook. The class also trains students to analyze a competitive marketplace and create a plan to attract customers within that marketplace.
  • International Marketing: Students who enroll in international marketing courses learn about the field from a global point of view. They study topics such as international trade, global distribution and pricing, marketing strategies in foreign countries, and how to navigate the cultural, geographic, and historic conditions in different countries.
  • Marketing Analytics: Marketing analytics courses focus on data, and instructors teach students how to analyze consumer information within the theoretical framework of marketing to create successful marketing strategies. Participants also go over the ethics of using consumer data; this is especially important in a world where information can be collected from consumers without their knowledge or permission.
  • Consumer Behavior Insights: Consumer behavior/insight courses represent a key component of marketing curricula. Students learn about consumer habits, including how individuals make decisions, how situational circumstances can impact those decisions, and what motivates consumers. By understanding how consumers think, marketing professionals better understand how to create an effective plan to sell products and services.
  • Digital Marketing: Students enrolled in digital marketing or online marketing courses investigate how to use digital media to understand consumer behavior and develop digital marketing plans. These courses cover concepts that include search engine optimization, working with social media influencers, and website analytics.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master's in Marketing?

Students interested in earning an online marketing master's degree can expect to spend about two years pursuing their diploma. However, this time commitment varies depending on several factors, such as whether students enroll on a full- or part-time basis and whether they have any transfer credits. Some programs allow students to finish their online master's degrees in marketing in less than 15 months, while others permit part-time students to take up to five years to graduate.

The number of credits required to graduate also depends on the specific program. Graduate schools typically require students to complete anywhere from 30-42 credits, although this number may be higher. Curriculum plans often include 9-15 credits of core courses, followed by advanced courses and electives. Students who have transfer credits or a bachelor's degree in marketing may be allowed to skip certain course requirements.

Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Marketing Prepares For

  • Professional Marketer Certification: The American Marketing Association offers a professional certified marketer program that features three different tracks: a digital marketing track, a content marketing track, and a marketing management track. Although this certification is not mandatory for marketing professionals, earning these credentials can help professionals advance in their careers.
  • Professional Researcher Certification: Offered by the Insights Association, the professional researcher certification indicates that professionals hold competencies related to marketing research and analytics. To take this certification exam, which emphasizes research integrity and ethics, students should register with the Insights Association and take a few preparatory courses from the organization.
  • Professional Sales and Marketing Certification: Sales and Marketing Executives International is a professional association that offers marketing and sales certifications. To attain this marketing certification, students must have an education background in the field. SMEI publishes a textbook that test takers can study to help them prepare for the test.

Marketing: Different Than PR and Advertising?

Although marketing, advertising, and public relations possess many similarities, the specifics of these fields can vary significantly. Marketing and advertising tend to describe two different stages used to create value for a product or service in the marketplace. Marketing is used to prepare a product or service for entry into the market and involves everything from establishing a customer base to defining a brand and attracting market shares. Alternatively, advertising is carried out once a product or service has already been released, reminding consumers that a product or service exists. In contrast, public relations tends to involve broader and more diverse audiences with the goal of maintaining or creating a positive view of an organization or product.

Financing Your Online Master's in Marketing

Keeping in mind the costs related to tuition, books, and other expenses, pursuing an online master's degree in marketing can be rather expensive. Fortunately, students can find scholarships dedicated specifically to individuals enrolled in marketing programs. Learners can also enter company-sponsored contests where they submit essays or create marketing plans to compete for financial awards. Most importantly, students should remember to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to determine what types of federal support for which they qualify.

Scholarships for Master's in Marketing Students

To help offset the rising costs of pursuing an online master's degree in marketing, students can apply for financial aid. Many organizations offer scholarships to graduate students who meet certain academic criteria. Some of those scholarships -- a few of which can be found in the list below -- target marketing students specifically.


To determine the best online master's in marketing programs, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the 30 best online master's in marketing degree programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.

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