Marketing is a core business function that is central to managing companies and organizations across the various sectors of the economy. The field of marketing encompasses business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) sales, traditional and new media advertising and promotions, customer and client relations, brand development, and management at the retail, operational, and executive levels. Studying marketing involves learning about consumer behavior, marketing research methods, advertising campaigns, and integrated marketing communications (IMC) strategies for coordinating marketing plans. Some of the more common career paths for graduates of marketing programs include jobs in sales and/or marketing management, public relations, fundraising, advertising, promotions, and market research.
A bachelor’s in marketing program is a college degree program that includes the general education coursework associated with a bachelor’s degree as well as a designated major in marketing. There are several ways in which marketing degrees are offered at the undergraduate level. It is common for marketing to be offered as part of a larger bachelor’s in business degree program, often as a specialization consisting of four or more courses in marketing theories and practices. A concentration in marketing may also be offered within a related major, such as management or organizational leadership. In such cases, students take a cluster of general courses in business, management, and/or organizational leadership as a foundation for specialized courses in marketing. There are also schools that have a stand-alone marketing major, consisting of introductory coursework in business, economics, mathematics, and statistics, as well as more advanced courses in marketing. Some marketing programs may also provide a choice of marketing specializations, such as professional sales, digital marketing, and/or IMC, at the bachelor’s level.
Students who prefer the convenience and flexibility of distance learning have the option of enrolling in an online bachelor’s in marketing degree program. These programs utilize learning management systems (LMSs) to deliver all or most of their coursework online, making lectures and other instructional materials available to students anywhere with an Internet connection. For students who cannot or would prefer not to relocate or commute in order to complete a bachelor’s in marketing degree, an online program is often a good option. Students in an online program take a full complement of general education courses in the arts, sciences, and humanities, as well as the business and marketing requirements and electives that comprise a major in marketing. They are able to participate in online discussion forums, submit graded work, and complete other assignments through an LMS, which typically also allows students to communicate with instructors, access library resources, and work on group projects.
OnlineEducation.com researches bachelor’s program in order to identify online programs that offer a major in marketing. These programs have several different designations, including:
OnlineEducation.com classifies programs with a marketing major or concentration according to several criteria. Programs on the site must be offered by regionally accredited, non-profit colleges and universities. They must also offer most or all of their coursework online. Programs that require students to attend more than two campus visits per years are currently not listed on the site.
There are typically three components of a bachelor’s in marketing curriculum: general education coursework; general business coursework; and specialized marketing coursework. A general education curriculum consists of a mix of required and elective classes in subjects like English composition and literature, world history, social and behavioral science, the natural sciences, and mathematics. Students who opt for a marketing major often complete a business core or a cluster of prerequisites that cover basic proficiencies in areas like accounting, business law, economics, operations management, and professional communication. Courses in the marketing major generally focus on understanding consumer behavior, developing promotional strategies, analyzing marketing research, and integrating sales and marketing into strategic business plans. Some programs may provide additional coursework in specialized areas of marketing, including professional selling, Internet and social media marketing, international marketing, advertising, retail management, and/or non-profit marketing.
The table below provides an overview of courses that are commonly part of a bachelor’s in marketing curriculum. The course titles and descriptions are adapted from actual online bachelor’s programs that offer a major in marketing.
|Applied Marketing Management & Leadership||Market planning, execution, and assessment with an emphasis on decision-making and communication skills related to market opportunity analyses and marketing program development.|
|Consumer Behavior||A study of consumers' needs, wants, and behavior in the marketplace as a basis for the formulation of marketing strategy.|
|Promotional Strategy||An integrated marketing communications (IMC) approach to the study of the strategies organizations use to promote products and services, with a focus on advertising, sales, promotion, personal selling, direct marketing, and public relations, as well as branding, price, and distribution.|
|International Marketing||An overview of strategic issues in marketing products and services across national borders, including cultural, legal, ethical, and economic factors.|
|Internet Marketing||An examination of Internet marketing strategies and their integration into overall marketing plans.|
|Strategic Brand Management||Strategies for building, maintaining, growing, and protecting a brand in the marketing sphere.|
|Social Media Marketing||How marketing managers determine and match social media tactics with the appropriate target market and develop strategies to engage those markets using relevant social media channels.|
|Advertising Management||Management concepts in advertising, including market segmentation and positioning, creative strategy, media management, and metrics of effectiveness.|
|Sales Management||An overview of selling processes, their application in business and consumer contexts, and management of the sales function of business operations.|
|Brand Management||The fundamentals of developing brand equity, managing brand identity and positioning, and incorporating consumer insights into branding strategies.|
Admissions policies and criteria for online bachelor’s in marketing programs vary by program and are generally in keeping with policies and criteria for other types of bachelor’s programs. The baseline eligibility requirement for admission to an online bachelor’s program is a high school diploma or the equivalent. In addition to high school transcripts, programs may ask students to provide SAT scores, letters of recommendation, and/or a written essay. Programs with more selective admissions criteria may weigh high school class rank and/or cumulative grade point average in relevant high school subjects, such as English and mathematics.
There are several variations in the structure and formatting of online bachelor’s programs that can be important considerations for prospective applicants, particularly those who anticipate working while earning their degree. One area of potential concern is the method of online instruction (synchronous vs. asynchronous instruction). Another relevant structural issue is enrollment options (part-time vs. full-time). Finally, prospective applicants should check to see if a program requires students to attend any on-campus orientation or instructional sessions.
Instructional Methods: Online courses use two primary modes of instruction: synchronous and asynchronous instruction. Synchronous instruction is analogous to classroom-based learning in that lectures and other course activities are held in real time. Students in a course that utilizes synchronous instruction must be prepared to log on to the program’s LMS at specified times in order to receive instruction. In contrast, asynchronous instruction does not incorporate a real-time component. Instead, students may access and view lectures and other course materials at their convenience, 24-7. Synchronous instruction provides more structure; asynchronous instruction offers more flexibility.
Enrollment Options: Online bachelor’s programs generally have the same or similar crediting requirements as a traditional, campus-based, four-year college degree program. Students are expected to complete the equivalent of eight full-time academic semesters of coursework, which usually equates to four or five courses per semester over four years. However, online students can shorten the time to completion by taking courses year-round, which can lead to graduating in three years. Many online programs also offer part-time enrollment options, which allow students to take fewer than four courses per semester, thereby extending the time to graduation by a year or more. There are also online bachelor’s programs that have shorter, six to ten week terms, during which full-time students can take one or two courses at a time.
Campus Visits: Campus visits are a required instructional component of some but not all online programs. Online bachelor’s programs typically do not require students to attend on-campus sessions. However, prospective applicants should check with a program administrator to determine whether or not the program holds mandatory on-campus orientation or instructional sessions. These sessions can be a valuable addition to an online degree program, but they may also represent an inconvenience for those who would prefer not to travel. OnlineEducation.com does not list programs that require more than two campus visits per year.