Not so very long ago, marketing was primarily about glossy magazine advertisements and network television endorsements. In that era—depicted so compellingly in Mad Men—you didn’t even need an undergraduate degree to advance in the industry. You just had to be the most ambitious secretary in the office, or steal the identity of a fallen fellow soldier. Spoiler alert!
Today (and even back then, to be fair), a master’s degree is probably the more-certain road to marketing success. In part, that’s because the media landscape has broadened and changed so radically, and continues to do so. Traditional media, like books and television, are being replaced by digital apps and digital messaging. Digital developments have transformed the way we:
Digital marketing requires creativity and the ability to think analytically. It also requires receptivity to new developments and the training to anticipate and understand them quickly. New developments and services emerge constantly, and many businesses, companies, and traditional media outlets need digital marketing and media experts to help them navigate, interpret, and optimize marketing strategy, and to make the most of developments. Many of those experts hold master’s degrees.
A Master of Science (MS) in Digital Marketing and Media is a graduate degree that teaches how to operate in this dynamic media, communications, and marketing field as an expert. In this article, we’ll discuss how a master’s in digital marketing and media can advance your career by covering:
E-commerce revenue has increased consistently throughout the 2010s. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an average or higher-than-average growth rate for jobs in digital marketing and media. There should be plenty of jobs for qualified job seekers in the next few years.
Graduates of an MS in Digital Marketing and Media program are qualified to work in:
These jobs are available in a broad range of industries, including:
So many businesses and organizations need individuals who understand the digital marketing and media field, digital communications and marketing strategies, and integrated marketing communications. Whatever your personal, professional, or academic interests, you are likely to be able to work in that general area.
The pay scale for graduates of an MS in Digital Marketing in Media is generally high, but incomes can vary greatly depending on the specific job and level of experience required, as well as what your degree program prepared you for. On the lower end of the scale, the median annual income of a public relations specialist was $60,000 in 2018. At the higher end, the median annual income of an advertising, promotions, and marketing manager was $132,620. Other jobs like market research analysts and copywriters fall somewhere between these extremes, skewing toward the lower end.
Employees with a master’s degree in marketing typically earn almost 20 percent more than their colleagues with just a bachelor’s degree. Although this figure isn’t specific to an MS in Digital Marketing and Media, it does demonstrate that a master’s degree pays off, quite literally, in the world of marketing. Working toward an MS in Digital Marketing and Media may make good financial sense in the long run, whether you can pay for your studies now or require financial aid.
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Some master’s programs accept applicants with any bachelor’s degree major so long as they earned a reasonable GPA. Such programs often require applicants to have completed specific prerequisite undergraduate courses in marketing, business studies, or media and communications.
Along with the academic prerequisites, some MS marketing programs may ask you to demonstrate real-world, hands-on experience in the field for entry into the degree program, such as a paid job or an internship. Relevant experience to highlight when applying for an MS in Digital Marketing and Media includes (but is not limited to):
Because of the multidisciplinary nature of this degree, a wide variety of jobs and internships could be considered relevant experience in helping you develop your digital marketing skills. If you learned something about digital marketing from a professional or volunteer experience, make sure to mention it in your application.
The exact name of the degree varies from school to school, with common variants including:
The MS in Digital Marketing and Media degree should include knowledge and experience in:
Top universities offering an online master’s in marketing with a focus on digital media include:
When deciding where to study, consider whether an MS or an MBA is the best option for you. A Master of Art (MA) is an option, too. An MS stresses the data and analytics side of the field, while the MA focuses more on creativity and communications. An MBA program will likely emphasize the ways digital marketing and media integrate with other business objectives.
Whether you go for the MS, the MA, or the MBA will depend on your interests and career goals as well as on your educational and work experience. You should also consider whether an online program would suit your lifestyle better. As a rule of thumb, it is easier to continue working and meeting other extracurricular obligations (e.g., family) as an online student.
Depending on where you decide to pursue your Master of Science in Digital Marketing and Media, the cost can run anywhere from “that’s surprisingly affordable” to “OMG OMG OMG.” Only you can decide where on that continuum to set the limit.
Programs at state universities are typically less costly than those at private institutions, although not all state schools offer discounted rates, or in-state discounts, at the graduate level. We’ve listed a few programs with the cost of attending in 2019-20 to give you an idea of the range of possibilities:
Given the expanding future of digital marketing, the likelihood of seeing good returns on your educational investment in this field are high.
An MS in Digital Marketing and Media can vary in length from one to two years, depending on the school and the program, and whether you undertake a full-time or part-time program. Most programs of this type can be completed in nine months to one year of full-time study. The degree is available through full-time and part-time programs, on-campus or online, or in a hybrid format.
You don’t need to pass any specific exams or certifications to work as a digital marketer or in other digital media jobs after the completion of an MS. There are, however, a number of valuable job- and industry-specific certifications and licenses available in this field. These can strengthen your job prospects and lead to greater pay, promotion, or professional development opportunities. They include:
Digital marketing and media involve both science and creativity. The field covers a lot of ground, much of it complicated and data-driven. In short, it’s a field in which expert training and intensive study can reap dividends. You’ll get both in a master’s program. If you hope to excel in this challenging, competitive field, a Master of Science in Digital Marketing and Media should provide an edge in both your job search and your job performance.
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