Marketing and Advertising Masters Programs

A Masters in Advertising and Marketing program provides students with the opportunity to study the increasingly multi-media landscape in order to captivate buyers’ attention and connect them to a brand, product or service. Students who work towards a masters degree in marketing and advertising may graduate with real-world skills in strategic media planning, ad campaign management, digital marketing and more.

Marketing and Advertising Master Programswritten by Rana Waxman

Masters in Advertising and Marketing Programs: Overview

Masters in Advertising and Marketing programs often build on basic concepts about consumer behavior to ready students with modern skills for both digital and traditional promotions.

With today’s globally connected digitally-driven business environment, students who work towards a masters degree in marketing and advertising could hone their ability to navigate data analytics, communications and strategic thinking.

Some marketing and advertising masters programs meld market research and business intelligence courses with marketing theory to help shape students’ ability to make managerial decisions in creative design, account management and much more.

Other programs, such as those at MBA in advertising and marketing colleges, may focus primarily on leadership, strategy and operations tactics for the contemporary marketing manager.

However, like most graduate programs, students may mold their education through a concentration in specific areas of study related to either advertising, public relations or marketing. Check out some examples below, then conduct a thorough search for the perfect niche for you.

  • Creative Strategy and Branding
  • Digital Marketing
  • Product Management
  • Brand Management
  • Marketing Analytics
  • Enterprise Marketing
  • Global/Multicultural Marketing

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Masters Degree in Marketing and Advertising?

Masters in marketing and advertising programs may take between 12 and 36 months to complete and some programs offer both part- and full-time options.

The majority of masters in advertising and marketing programs require students to complete between 30 and 36 credit hours of study to earn their degree. Traditionally, these programs divide their curriculum into sections: core classwork, electives and concentration coursework, and thesis/internships.

Depending on the individual program, students may select from thesis and non-thesis degree tracks. Typically, the thesis track requires fewer credit hours to complete, while a non-thesis track may require additional coursework and a professional marketing portfolio.

Admission Requirements for Marketing and Advertising Masters Programs

Applicants to marketing and advertising masters programs need a minimum of a bachelors degree, earned at an accredited college or university. Some programs may stipulate a specific undergraduate background, coursework and GPA so these are definitely details to verify in advance.

Apart from a completed form with fee and transcripts, applicants usually need to submit a professional resume, letters of recommendation and a personal essay. GRE or GMAT scores may be required though at the same time, many schools waive them for applicants who have work experience.

How is Marketing Different from Advertising?

In the broadest sense, marketing and advertising masters programs could help students understand the finer points of modern brand building, public relations, sales, global markets, visual identity and integrated marketing communications. On one level, both advertising and marketing aim to connect a consumer with some type of product.

However the main difference between marketing and advertising (in a nutshell) is that marketing is an umbrella for many subsets. Advertising, public relations, media planning, product pricing and distribution, sales strategy, customer support, market research and community involvement are all parts of holistic marketing efforts.

Consequently, students could look for Masters in Advertising, Masters in Marketing and Masters in Public Relations programs to pair professional career goals with specific course content applicable to their field.

  • Masters in Marketing programs typically highlight areas such as design, creation, research and data mining. The idea is to align an idea, product or service with a target audience. As such, students could take courses in analytics, market research, pricing and distribution. Look for Digital Marketing Masters programs, MA, MS and MBA in Marketing degrees and Integrated Marketing Masters programs
  • Masters in Advertising and Public Relations programs could discuss the entire process involved in the presentation of an idea, product or service to any audience – ‘getting the message out there’. Coursework could focus on ad campaigns, brand communication, strategy and consumer groups. Look for MBA in advertising, MS and MA Advertising and Marketing Communications programs and others

Types of Masters Degrees in Marketing and Advertising

Students who want to pursue a masters degree in marking and advertising might select from a variety of academic tracks, including Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS) and Master of Business Administration (MBA). Examine some general concepts from these different options then read through course lists from several schools to help with your decision.

Below is a list of example classes students may encounter while enrolled in a Masters in Advertising or Masters in Marketing degree program.

Marketing Analytics: A foundational look at analytics, where students might explore the basic principles, data gathering and analysis techniques, marketing segmentation, testing, and analytics software


Per the BLS, as Internet-based advertising becoming more important, advertising managers who can navigate the digital world should have the best employment prospects.

Consumer Behavior: Could discuss the core theories of behavioral science. It might introduce students to consumer behavior theory and practical knowledge of studying consumer buying patterns and preferences

Marketing and Business Intelligence: Essentially, a study of how to transform data into actionable insights. Students could learn how to use industry-specific statistical software to collect, analyze and interpret data from multiple sources

Product Management: Might examine the product lifecycle journey, from inception to development, production, and promotion. Students might learn about the functions of the product manager in each stage of product management

Introduction to Marketing: An overview of the key concepts and theory of marketing, which means students could study things like consumer behavior, product development, product pricing, and product distribution

Multicultural Marketing: For those interested in global marketing and advertising, this type of course could take a deeper look at multicultural marketing theories and behaviors. 

Masters in Advertising

A Masters in Advertising is an academic program which could ready students with core principles of advertising in tandem with analytical thinking and targeted creative skills. Students could learn through lectures and case studies topics such as communication theory, advanced art direction and advertising management.

Core courses often discuss writing methods for diverse mediums and the methods used to conduct communication research. Electives could help students carve out a professional identity. Courses might take the path of creative development and visualization or media strategy and promotions. Students might also work to develop their own portfolio.

Some Advertising Masters programs pair theory with hands-on practice and students might get to work on ad campaigns for real clients as part of their degree requirements. Participants might work in teams to develop advertising plans, create campaigns, and explore problems of account management, creativity, production, and ethics.

MBA in Marketing

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Marketing is a professional graduate program with a core curricula formed around areas like finance, accounting, personnel and business operations and management decision processes. These courses are not typically required in a Masters in Marketing program, as these programs focus more on marketing strategies and their relationship to an organization’s overall business plan.

MBA in Marketing programs could thus help students refine their grasp of the role that marketing plays in overall business strategy. They might explore the ideology and managerial skills that motivate team members, assess market research and buyer behavior as well as execute tactics to help drive a company bottom line.

Students could explore how to lead promotional campaigns, drive product development and tap into analytics to meet customer needs. MBA in Marketing and Advertising students could also learn to think critically and work to solve complex management challenges in advertising today.

There are a variety of MBA in Marketing programs in areas such as marketing management, and internet marketing so make sure to compare course plans from different schools.

MS in Marketing

A Master of Science in Marketing (MS) is an academic graduate degree. Although core curriculum typically overlaps with MA programs, a Master of Science generally has a greater focus on research and business analytics coursework (although this is not always the case).

Commonly, MS Marketing programs divvy up the course load into sections: core classwork, electives and concentration coursework, and thesis/internships. Core classwork, (roughly 15 credit hours) usually familiarizes students with basic concepts in marketing. This may include topics such as advertising research, marketing management, consumer behavior, and data analysis.

Through this coursework, students may gain knowledge and skills in key marketing principles used to build customer data sets, understand brand assets and conduct competitor analysis. A spotlight on evidence could ready participants with suitable quantitative and qualitative research methods with which to forecast and analyze consumer patterns and psychology.

MS in Digital Marketing

A Master of Science in Digital Marketing (MSDM) is an academic graduate program which could ready graduates to develop and assess marketing plans that harness the power of digital media. Participants might take courses in big data marketing and could learn the basics of web design as it relates to sound marketing strategy.

Digital marketing masters programs could also provide a robust set of core analytics courses to help students learn how consumers make decisions and how to manage their online experience. Other topics may highlight social media marketing and digital advertising.

MS in Integrated Marketing Communications

A Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications (MSIMC) is an academic program that could which merge creativity with analytics and strategy. As such, a MSIMC and a Masters in Advertising and Marketing could cover the same types of course material.

MSIMC students could be exposed to a holistic set of marketing courses which may ready them to build strong brand voices. Foundational course work could cover technical areas such as managerial statistics, marketing management and organizational behavior. Other core courses might help students get into the minds of consumers to develop consumer analysis and marketing strategies for a firm or nonprofit organization.

A course in integrated marketing communications could enable students to understand how advertising, sales promotion, public relations, sales and, in some cases, packaging decisions form a coordinated marketing communications plan. Marketing metrics, brand equity and client care are some potential electives.

Inside a Marketing and Advertising Masters Curriculum

mphasis may be placed on strategic marketing practices that consider various cultural, religious and gender-based audiences

Could I Earn a Masters Degree in Marketing & Advertising Online?

A number of traditional and online universities offer masters degrees in marketing, advertising and public relations. Students could search for schools with either online or on campus formats and also, search for schools in a preferred location.

Campus students could learn through live lectures and get to meet their classmates, form networks and work in groups in real time. Despite the usual routines involved with on campus programs, some universities may offer classes in the evenings and weekends to appeal to busy and at-work adults.

Online students may either view pre-recorded lectures through their school’s web-based platform or take courses through synchronous live stream. Either way, program content is accessible at all times and students may not be tied to a schedule. While assignments and deadlines are kept, distance learners often log in when they are able and from wherever they have internet.

Facts and Figures: Advertising Manager Salary

Per the BLS, the average annual salary for advertising and promotions managers was $106,130 in May 2017. Overall, the BLS also projects a 10 percent growth in employment of advertising, promotions, and marketing managers from 2016 to 2026. offers 55 Marketing & Advertising Masters Degree Programs

Leverage your interests in promoting brands, creating advertising campaigns or analyzing market trends and pricing strategies. To view Masters in Advertising and Marketing programs choose from the programs below or use the filter to refine your search. Contact schools directly using the on-page form!

  • No application fee for April & June terms
  • Some of the nation's most affordable tuition rates, from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
  • Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
  • Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access
Find Schools