10 Best Online PhD in Marketing Degree Programs [2020 Guide]

Explore the 10 best online PhD in marketing degrees for 2020. Compare online doctoral programs in marketing, career paths, salaries, and degree options.

PhD in Marketing Degree

If you’re ready to take your education to the next level, an online PhD in marketing can teach you many real-world skills in business, finance, administration and research methods. It can also prepare you for high-level careers in management positions.

Best of all, since it’s delivered online, you can earn your degree from home without any need to step on a college campus.

Best Online PhD in Marketing Degrees

The first thing to know about marketing degrees is that there are multiple kinds. On the doctorate level, students usually choose between two tracks:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Marketing
  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) with an emphasis in Marketing

These degree programs are quite similar, and they hold the same weight with employers. It’s just a matter of choosing the one that best suits your interests. If you’re still considering careers outside of marketing, for example, you might want a broad-spectrum DBA that can be applied to many different business jobs.

Once you’ve picked a degree track, it’s time to decide whether or not to specialize. Do you want to study marketing on a general level, or would you prefer to focus on something specific? Depending on your university, you could have quite a few options:

  • Market Research and Analysis
  • Digital/Internet Marketing
  • International or Cross-Cultural Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Brand Management

Many of these concentrations have overlapping subjects. For example, social media marketing can play a big role in Internet marketing, so their lectures and seminars might cover some of the same ground. However, many schools will still consider them separate disciplines.

PhD in Marketing Curriculum & Courses

marketing manager studying online

As a graduate student in marketing, you’re expected to know the basics already. You won’t see any “Principles of Marketing” courses in a PhD program.

Instead, you’ll take an in-depth look at things like consumer behavior and data analytics. You’ll integrate business, finance, psychology, technology and economics into advertising lessons. In many programs, you’ll also learn leadership skills that will prepare you for managerial jobs.

Here are a few names that you might see in a course catalogue for a marketing PhD:

  • Multinational Marketing: Technology is erasing barriers left and right, and these courses in “international marketing” or “cross-culture marketing” will teach you how to confront advertising challenges a global scale.
  • Digital Marketing: Even if you aren’t specializing in the subject, web-based marketing is such a driving force in today’s businesses that you’ll be expected to know its key concepts and strategies.
  • Statistics: Some data-based marketing programs will ask for math and economics classes. Statistics is a common requirement, and you might have options for things like econometrics and statistical modeling as well.
  • Quantitative Research Methods: You’ve probably studied research methods before, but doctorate-level classes will dive even further into mining, organizing and analyzing data.
  • Communications: Communication is one of the building blocks of advertising, so prepare to take high-level courses in media, language, communication theory, social interaction and more.
  • Organizational Behavior: This is a common class for future business leaders, so if you’re considering a DBA with an emphasis in marketing, it might check off certain credit requirements for graduation.
  • Traditional Marketing: Though it’s less common now, traditional marketing is still taught alongside its tech-based cousin.
  • Pricing Strategy and Analysis: If you’re studying operations or supply chain management as part of your marketing degree, these classes can be crucial.
  • Advanced Studies in Consumer Behavior: Once you’ve taken the basic, entry-level courses in consumer behavior, you’ll be ready for advanced research into how and why people shop.
  • Special Topics in Marketing: These are special courses for contemporary marketing subjects. They might cover everything from current trends and technological breakthroughs to cultural conversations and shifting consumer expectations.

Depending on your degree program, you might also take courses in things like finance, technology, psychology or business administration.

Marketing Careers & Salaries

Marketing Careers & Salaries

According to PayScale, a bachelor’s degree in marketing will net you an average of $62,000 per year, and a master’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in marketing can earn you an average of $91,000 per year.

While these degrees aren’t the same as an online doctorate in marketing, they can provide a scale for the kind of salary increase that you can expect as you earn higher and higher credentials.

As for the jobs themselves, you’ll have options in just about any industry that you care to name. Everyone needs marketing experts, so whether you’re interested in business, education, healthcare, fashion, technology or retail, you can find marketing jobs in those markets.

Take a look at a few potential career paths with a marketing degree:

Careers Annual Average Salary
Chief Marketing Officer $194,000
Director of Strategy $165,000
Marketing Director $112,000
Senior Marketing Manager $108,000
Brand Manager $101,000
Regional Sales Manager $97,000
Analytics Manager $95,000
Market Research Manager $86,000
Project Manager $80,000
Marketing Analyst $67,000

As you can see, there are six-figure possibilities after you obtain a PhD in marketing online. They aren’t a guarantee, of course, but the first step to climbing the corporate ladder is to have the right credentials under your belt.

Admissions Requirements

phd in marketing student studying online

Every university has their own admissions process. For example, some will require a “pre-candidacy” phase for their PhD students while others will accept PhD candidates into degree programs right away. Some will have a standard formula that adds together test scores and GPAs; others will review applicants on an individual basis.

There’s no way to guess what kind of process that your chosen university will have, so you’ll need to look for specifics on their website.

As for submitting your application, here are a few of the most common requirements:

  • Transcripts and test scores: You’ll need a bachelor’s and master’s degree from an accredited university. You might also need GRE or GMAT scores.
  • Letters of recommendation: Most colleges will want 2 – 3 letters of recommendation from people in positions of authority.
  • Resume or CV: If you’ve already entered the workforce, submit a resume. If you’ve spent your time in academia, submit a CV.
  • Statement of purpose: This is basically a college essay for graduate students. It can be used to detail your interests, career goals, educational achievements, work experiences and more.

If you enter a pre-candidacy program, you might be asked to complete a certain amount of coursework before you’re able to submit an application to the marketing department.

Accreditation

PhD in Marketing Accreditation

Accreditation is a process that proves the educational value of a university or university program. It’s so strict that there are oversight agencies for the accrediting boards themselves. You might be familiar with the most famous: The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

There are three types of accreditation:

  • Regional accreditation is offered by several accrediting boards in the United States. They divide the country into regions, which is why they’re named things like “New England Commission of Higher Education” and “Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.”
  • National accreditation is for trade and technical schools. It’s also standard for religious colleges because of the separation of church and state.
  • Programmatic accreditation is for specific departments and degree programs. Rather than being given to an entire college, it’s awarded by industry-specific organizations for their areas of expertise.

If you want to know if your university is accredited, there are several online databases where you can simply plug in your school’s name and bring up a list of its credentials.

Marketing Professional Organizations

marketing professionals meeting each other at a seminar

A professional organization is a group that offers resources to students, teachers, executives, advisors and vendors within a specific field. They can be a great way to network with others, especially if you’re a graduate student earning a marketing doctorate online.

You might like to supplement your digital learning experience with real-world contacts and events.

  • American Marketing Association: As one of the largest organizations of its kind, the AMA is a great starting point for marketing students. It even offers discounted rates for members who are still in school.
  • Association of National Advertisers: The ANA is for marketers and advertisers of all types. They have events, awards, committees, workshops, webinars, certification programs and more.
  • Interactive Advertising Bureau: The IAB is devoted to digital marketing. If you’re specializing in web-based promotional tactics, their organization can be a great place for education and advocacy.

These are just a few organizations that welcome marketing students. There are many more, so don’t feel limited by the suggestions on this list. Keep looking until you find an organization that aligns with your unique goals and interests.

Marketing Licensing and Certification

marketing manager working on her laptop

In a competitive job market, a PhD isn’t always enough. You might want further qualifications to really stand out from the crowd. Here are a few options that will complement a marketing doctorate online.

For further certification options, reach out to professional marketing associations. Many of them offer training programs and learning certificates that can be added to your CV.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

financial aid for PhD in marketing students

You’ve probably heard of fully-funded PhD programs. They’re the holy grail of financial aid: They completely waive your graduate school tuition in exchange for working on campus as a researcher, gopher, assistant or student teacher. Some of these programs even offer a stipend to cover your living expenses.

These programs are real, but they’re extremely selective, so it isn’t a good idea to count on them. You might not even be eligible for a fully-funded program as an online student. It depends on your school.

Here are a few other financial aid options that you can explore:

  • FAFSA. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid will automatically determine your eligibility for grants, loans and work-study programs. There’s even a Direct PLUS Loan meant specifically for grad students.
  • Scholarships. You could be eligible for a variety of merit- and need-based scholarships. Some are meant just for marketing students, including the Marketing EDGE Scholarship Award.
  • Apprenticeships. You’ll need to live near your campus for this one, but it’s quite common for PhD students to take on apprenticeships to offset some of their program costs.
  • Private aid. There are many loans, grants, internships, fellowships and tuition reimbursement programs that are offered by private organizations.

Reach out to your college’s financial aid office to learn more about your options.

What is a PhD in Marketing?

brand manager working on his laptop

Marketing degrees are available at every level from associate to doctorate. When you pursue a PhD, however, you’re committing yourself to an advanced level of study with in-depth research into marketing tactics and strategies.

It will take a lot of hard work, and it can’t be completed in just a semester or two. This is why PhD titles are so prestigious. They represent years of effort.

How Long Does it Take to Get a PhD in Marketing

PhD programs can take anywhere from 3 – 8 years to complete. Since the coursework is so intensive, many grad schools have a limit to the number of credits that you can take per semester, so you can’t rush through them.

Even full-time students usually require three years or more. Part-time students will require longer.

What Can I Do With a Marketing Doctorate Degree?

Market research manager planning with her team

Marketing degrees can be quite versatile. Depending on your interests, a PhD might qualify you for any number of careers:

  • Brand manager
  • Media planner
  • Marketing director
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) specialist
  • Market research manager
  • Data analyst

Demand is on the rise, too. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, advertising and marketing managers are expected to see an eight percent growth rate in the next decade. That translates to thousands of new jobs in just one sector of the marketing industry.

How Much Does a Doctorate in Marketing Cost?

marketing manager working on his laptop

The cost of your doctorate degree will depend on your school. Not only do they have different tuition rates, but on the graduate level, they have different ways of charging students.

For example, while some PhD programs charge by the credit, others charge by full- or part-time status or by the student’s current year of study. Discounted rates might be available for students who have been studying longer.

Another thing to consider is whether you’re getting your doctorate online. In some cases, distance learners can save money since they don’t have to pay for things like parking and housing. In other cases, distance learners will pay more since they can’t offset their costs with things like apprenticeships.

Universities Offering Marketing Online PhD Degree Programs

Each of the universities included below are regionally accredited and offer Marketing PhD Degree online.

#1  California Baptist University

California Baptist University campus

Founded in 1950, California Baptist University is a private university located in Riverside, California. Cal Baptist offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in liberal arts and sciences across dozens of disciplines. The school is the alma mater of evangelist Rick Warren. Student enrollment is just over 11,000.

  • DBA in Marketing

California Baptist University is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

#2  Felician University

Felician University campus

Felician University is a private Roman Catholic university that was founded by the Felician Sisters in 1942. The New Jersey university holds the distinction of being one of the few Franciscan universities in the country. Students can explore five schools that offer a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral options. Enrollment is just under 2,000.

  • DBA in Marketing

Felician University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#3  George Fox University

George Fox University campus

George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon, was founded in 1891. The school’s roots are traced back to the Quaker movement. A total enrollment of 4,000 is spread across a variety of bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral programs. The university boasts a 14-to-one student-to-faculty ratio.

  • DBA in Marketing

George Fox University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

#4  Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University campus

With an enrollment of nearly 20,000, Phoenix’s Grand Canyon University is among the largest Christian universities in the world. The Arizona-based university was founded in 1949. It offers more than 200 options for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees spanning a total of nine colleges.

  • DBA in Marketing

Grand Canyon University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#5  Keiser University

Keiser University campus

Keiser University is a private university with a main campus in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Established in 1977, the school offers a variety of degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate levels. Keiser boasts an enrollment of nearly 20,000 students.

It has won numerous awards over the years for its commitment to promoting social mobility, research, and public service.

  • DBA in Marketing

Keiser University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#6  Liberty University

Liberty University campus

Liberty University is a private university located in Lynchburg, Virginia. Its enrollment of more than 100,000 students makes it one of the largest evangelical Christian universities in the world. Students can select degree programs at bachelor’s master’s, and doctoral levels in a wide range of options covering the arts and sciences.

  • DBA in Marketing

Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#7  Northcentral University

Northcentral University campus

Based in San Diego, Northcentral University is a private online university that was established in 1996. More than 10,000 enrolled students study within the school’s bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate programs.

Northcentral University is unique because of the way it offers a one-to-one learning model that relies on a faculty that fully consists of doctoral-level instructors.

  • PhD in Marketing

Northcentral is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

#8  Trident University

Trident University campus

Founded in 1998, Trident University offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs covering a range of fields. This fully online university is based in Cypress, California. A large portion of the school’s student body of 6,861 is comprised of veterans and active service members.

It’s typical for military enrollments to account for roughly 75 percent of total enrollment in any given year.

  • PhD in Business Administration – Marketing

Trident University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#9  Walden University

Walden University campus

Walden University is a fully online university based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The school offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs across five schools for its 49,680 enrolled students. More than 88 percent of the instructors in Walden’s teaching faculty hold doctorate degrees. The school was established in 1970.

  • DBA in Marketing

Walden is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

#10  Washington State University

Washington State University campus

Washington State University is a public research university in Pullman, Washington. Founded in 1890, is stands today as one of the oldest land-grant universities in the nation. WSU boasts a student enrollment of more than 30,000 today. Students can choose to pursue bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in more than 200 fields.

  • PhD in Business Administration – Marketing

Washington State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Getting Your PhD in Marketing Online

marketing manager studying online at home

An online doctorate in marketing can be a very smart decision for the future. Between the growing demands of the industry and the six-figure salaries that you can achieve, there’s a lot of opportunity in the marketing world, and a PhD might be just what you need to succeed.

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Tony Stewart
Tony Stewart
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