Technology has forever altered the marketing landscape, changing how consumers interact with businesses, how companies market and sell their products, and how brands drive customer awareness. In this growingly complex global marketplace, the ability to develop and execute strategic marketing plans is critical.

Effective marketing requires a diverse skill set, calling for expertise in market research and strategy, data analysis, digital advertising/social media, and more. With these technical proficiencies, and a solid understanding of how marketing functions within different business sectors, professionals can position themselves for career success in a wide range of industries. A bachelor’s in marketing provides students with a working knowledge of today’s technologically driven, web-based marketplace, as well as how to apply creative and strategic solutions to accomplish a variety of business objectives.

Classification of Bachelor’s in Marketing and Digital Marketing Programs

Undergraduate programs in marketing are broad in nature, with multiple academic tracks for students to consider, depending on their future professional goals and current academic needs. Marketing majors are traditionally found within a university’s business school or department, but can also be located in related departments (such as communication). More often than not, marketing is offered as a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree, as opposed to a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) program. Depending on the school, students may choose to pursue a broad B.S. in Marketing or a degree in a specific area of the field, such as a B.S. in Digital Marketing. Some schools may also offer B.S. in Marketing programs that allows students to pursue a specialization in Digital Marketing.

The curriculum in a marketing bachelor’s program typically blends business knowledge with hands-on skill development in areas such as advertising, market research, product design, and consumer relations. These programs tend to emphasize application-based instruction in order to prepare students for the rigors of working in real-world business environments. For a better idea of what to expect, here are a few examples of B.S. in Marketing programs:

Curriculum Details for Bachelor’s in Marketing/Digital Marketing Programs

Most universities in the U.S. require students to complete approximately 120 total credits in order to earn their bachelor’s degree. Curriculum in these programs is usually divided between specific course areas, such as:

  • Core curriculum (i.e., general education): 24 – 30 credits
  • Business core courses: 32 – 39 credits
  • Marketing major courses: 21 – 30 credits
  • Elective classes: 24 – 36 credits
  • Specialization courses (optional): 12 – 15 credits

To satisfy degree requirements and graduate in four years, students generally need to enroll in and complete at least 15 credits each semester (for schools that use the semester system). Undergraduate programs typically require students to complete their core curriculum requirements (e.g., English, physics, natural sciences) and take introductory courses in their major (e.g., business communications, financial accounting) during the first two years of study. The final two years of study emphasize the major and elective courses, including specialization classes that allow students to gain experience in their chosen area of emphasis.

Many undergraduate marketing programs allow students to customize their program of study by adding a specialization. Although not required, specializations can help students tailor their educational experience to meet their professional development needs. Examples of specialized tracks of study in marketing include:

  • Data management and analysis
  • Digital marketing
  • Finance
  • Information technology
  • Organizational leadership
  • Project management
  • Strategic communications

Below is a list of example courses students might take while completing an undergraduate program in marketing with a concentration in digital marketing. Note: These courses should be used for example purposes only, as each school has its own unique curriculum.

  • Marketing Behavior: A review of the decision process consumers use when considering purchases, exploring how marketing strategies can be used to influence decision making.
  • Marketing Research: Introduces the theories behind market research, including the planning, operation, and analysis of market studies, while teaching students how to use primary research to identify market trends and patterns.
  • Digital Marketing Analytics: Provides students with a working knowledge of web analytics platforms, including the central concepts and techniques employed to collect, analyze, and utilize the data that drives customer experience and improves website performance.
  • Social Media Marketing: An exploration of the methods behind integrated social media marketing, teaching students how to incorporate social media strategies into marketing campaigns and brand awareness through the use of video sharing, podcasts, online media, and more.
  • Advertising and Promotion: An overview of the fundamental principles of advertising, and how those principles guide the development of creative strategies and help inform the decision-making process for marketing campaigns.
  • Global Marketing: The study of marketing theory in relation to global markets, including a review of historical and current cultural, social, legal, and political issues that have impacted or continue to impact the global marketplace.

The table below includes an example course of study for major courses in a bachelor’s in digital marketing program. (Keep in mind, students will also need to complete core courses and other credit requirements in order to earn their degree.)

 
Fall Term
Spring Term
Year 1
  • Digital Foundations
  • Marketing and Digital Media
Year 2
  • Marketing Analytics
  • Introduction to New and Social Media
  • Project Management
    Technical Documentation and Procedures
Year 3
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Big Data and Web Analytics
  • Target Marketing and Social Optimization
Year 4
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Viral Marketing

Online Bachelor’s in Marketing Programs

For students with family, work, or other personal commitments that affect their ability to complete an on-campus program, pursuing a bachelor’s in marketing online may be a good option. These programs are also a great alternative for students who do not live within commuting distance to a college or university that offers a B.S. in Marketing, and cannot relocate for their studies. Undergraduate programs in marketing, including concentrations such as digital marketing, are widely available online and many of the programs are offered by public, non-profit colleges or universities.

Online bachelor’s programs typically follow the same format as their on-campus counterparts. Students may begin their program as a first-year student after graduating high school, transfer from another four-year institution, or move into a bachelor’s completion program after finishing an associate degree at a community/junior college. Many online programs also offer alternative academic calendars with four-, five-, or eight-week terms, which allow students to start a program at five or six times different points each year, depending on the school. Most campus programs offer more limited start dates, typically in the fall and spring semesters.

Admission requirements for an online bachelor’s in marketing usually mirror those of on-campus, four-year programs. For first-year applicants, most universities require students to submit their official high school transcripts, official test scores (e.g., SAT/ACT), a personal statement or essay, and meet certain minimum GPA requirements. Transfer students typically have to meet minimum college credit and GPA requirements to qualify for admission, as well.

In an online bachelor’s program, students complete their classes, lectures, and assignments through web-based learning management systems, such as Moodle or Canvas. Students log into their accounts to access course materials, watch lectures, communicate with instructors and peers, post on online discussion boards, and participate in all other class requirements. In fact, many online bachelor’s in marketing programs can be completed entirely online with no campus visit requirements.

Career Paths for Graduates with a Bachelor’s in Marketing and/or Digital Marketing

Marketing is a broad and expansive field, with applications in everything from business to education. Undergraduate programs in marketing help students develop a foundation in central business and marketing competencies that can be applied in a variety of professional areas, including project management, digital marketing, public relations, web production, market research, and more.

Through their coursework, students learn how to evaluate market patterns, identify consumer behavior and needs, create promotional campaigns, and develop project management strategies. With a specialization in a field such as digital marketing, students also typically gain an understanding of email marketing, digital content, web analytics, online automated tools, and related concepts.

With these skills, graduates can find work in nearly any industry, from media and public relations to tech, business, education, and more. An undergraduate degree in marketing can prepare students for numerous employment paths, in roles such as:

  • Social Media Strategist: Manages the day-to-day brand presence on social media channels (e.g., Twitter, Facebook) under the direction of a digital or social media manager, implementing marketing campaigns, responding to consumers, and analyzing social media data.
  • Email Marketing Specialist: Handles a variety of tasks for a company’s email marketing platform, including running email marketing campaigns, managing email subscriber lists, handling customer complaints, and analyzing email platform data (e.g., email open rates, customer engagement trends).
  • SEM/SEO Manager: Establishes effective paid online media strategies (e.g., pay-per-click, display advertising), managing content and search engine optimization initiatives, conducting keyword research, performing link building tasks, and applying on-page optimization techniques for a company’s website.
  • Marketing Associate: Assists with the development, implementation, and monitoring of marketing and sales activities intended to acquire consumers, improve customer retention, and drive brand awareness.
  • Digital Marketing Strategist: Uses web analytics to measure business performance against the company’s key performance indicators (KPIs), develops reports for business leadership, and recommends online and digital marketing strategies.