Best Online Marketing Degree Programs

Today, I’ll be covering five crucial factors to consider before enrolling in a marketing degree program online. I know how stressful it can be trying to decide among all the various online universities out there especially considering how important your education is and the significance it can have on the rest of your life.

Luckily for you, I’m going to cut out all the fluff and really dig into the core decision factors that actually matter so you can figure out which online degree program is the right fit for you for your particular situation. So if you are ready let’s get to it.

How to Choose the Best Online Marketing Degree Programs

The first thing you should really do is sit down and think about what you want to do with your online degree in marketing. What is your end goal? Is it to become a market research analyst, an advertising executive, a social media manager, a digital marketing director, a public relations specialist, or a product sales manager?

There’s a ton of different options; the point is that you first need to nail down what exactly you want to do or specialize in this will help you figure out which marketing degree program best aligns with your personal objectives. That way, as you conduct your research you can start identifying what I call x-factors among all these different universities and their degree programs.

By x-factors, I’m talking about the specific attributes offerings and curriculum that align with your personal goals; so think different concentration options. Does the university offer a specific concentration in the area or niche in which you’re most interested, how many elective credits are there as part of the degree track?

Maybe your ultimate goal is to earn a master’s degree or MBA after completing your bachelor’s. In that case, you’ll likely want to seek out online universities that offer accelerated bachelor’s to master’s pathways. Purdue University Global which is a popular national online university is a perfect example of this.

Essentially, if you meet the grade requirements in certain bachelor’s degree courses, you can gain entry into a shortened version of Purdue Global’s MBA program so you can complete both degrees in less time and at a lower cost than completing both separately.

So the big takeaway here is that by spending time up front thinking about your end goals and objectives it will help you identify which programs might be a good fit for you personally.

Admission Requirements

After you have a good idea of what your ideal degree program looks like, it’s time to think about admission requirements in the application process. Online universities generally fall into one of two buckets either open enrollment or selective enrollment.

Selective Enrollment

Selective enrollment schools are the more traditional types of universities that likely come to mind when you think of the word college; think Stanford, Yale, University of Florida, etc. These types of universities tend to have stringent admission requirements. You’ll likely need to have a minimum GPA and you may have to write an essay as part of the application process.

In some cases, you may need to take and score well on the SAT or ACT. So if you have a strong academic background and you don’t mind going the extra mile in order to get accepted into a top-rated marketing program then you may want to focus your research on selective enrollment schools. Just keep in mind though the acceptance rates at selective enrollment schools can be low.

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Open Enrollment

There’s no guarantee that you’ll get into a selective enrollment school so you may also want to consider an open enrollment university. These types of schools are great for students who may not have the strongest academic background or for people who may have been in the workforce for a while and are now looking to go back to school.

This is since the only admission requirement depending on the program at open enrollment schools typically is that students just have to have a high school diploma or GED so if this type of admissions process is more aligned with your background I would recommend checking out Purdue University Global. I’ll be using them for example purposes throughout this article since they are a well-known national online university.


The third and quite possibly most important factor to consider is affordability. What is an online bachelor’s degree in marketing going to cost and as you might imagine there are a few items to evaluate here.

Tuition per Credit

The first thing I would do is look at the university’s tuition per credit and the number of credits required for graduation. This will give you a good understanding of the total cost to earn your online marketing degree. In most cases, national online universities typically require either 120 or 180 credits to graduate.

In terms of pricing, it typically varies between $250 per credit on the low end all the way up to $550 per credit on the high end. It just depends on what universities you are considering, whether you are in state versus out of state, and whether you are an international student or part of the military, etc.

On top of the standard tuition costs, online universities usually charge other fees as well that you’ll definitely want to watch out for such as technology fees, transcript fees, learning assessments, graduation fees, etc. Sometimes these secondary expenses can really add up so it’s worth looking into prior to enrolling.

Allowable Transfer Credits

While we are on the topic of affordability, there are two more factors to keep in mind: one is allowable transfer credits. You’ll definitely want to research this if you have credits left over from a previous institution. This is a great way to reduce the overall cost of your degree program.

For example, Purdue University Global allows students to transfer up to 75 of the total credits required for graduation and the average bachelor’s graduate earns their degree in about two years. Of course each online university has their own transfer policies and rules so you should definitely do your own diligence but at least I wanted to make sure you are aware of this.

Trial Periods

The other thing to look for here are trial periods. In some cases, online universities allow you to test the waters before you go ahead and spend thousands of dollars in tuition. For example once again, Purdue Global offers a no financial obligation three-week trial period. So essentially you can enroll, take classes for three weeks, see if you like it and then decide whether to continue or opt out with no tuition costs. I think this is a pretty cool option for students that are maybe on the fence.

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Financial Aid

The next factor to consider is financial aid and I’m not talking about student loans because at the end of the day pretty much any student can go out and source a federal or private student loan for themselves. Instead, what’s more important and interesting to look at is the average amount of institutional aid that universities provide.

In other words, what percentage of new beginning full-time students receive grants or scholarships from the actual university not third-party sources and what is the average amount of that aid. This will give you a good understanding of what your chances of securing funds from the university are to help you reduce the overall cost of earning your degree.

If you’re wondering whether that type of information is even available, the answer is yes. You can actually get this data directly from the US Department of Education believe it or not. So you can check what the stats are for the specific university you are interested in.

Before we move on from the topic of financial aid, I should mention that some national online universities also offer different incentives and promotions to keep students motivated beyond the point of when they first enrolled. In most cases, these incentives are called progress scholarships, welcome grants, or something to that effect.

Essentially, how they work is that if you stay continuously enrolled at the university and meet the other basic eligibility requirements, universities will often reduce your tuition rate in order to keep you motivated and on track to earn your degree.

Tuition Locks

The other item you should inquire about is tuition locks. Some online universities lock in the tuition rate for the duration of your degree program when you first enrolled. This means there won’t be any tuition hikes come your sophomore junior or senior years. So definitely make sure to ask if one of these options is available during the application process.

Program Format

The final factor on my list today that you should consider prior to enrolling in an online marketing degree is program format or in other words how the courses and terms are structured or scheduled. In my experience, most online degree programs fall into one of three buckets.

Short Accelerated Terms

The first being short accelerated terms. What I mean by this is that you’ll notice a few online universities work off five to six week terms in which students take one course at a time or sometimes two, max. So yes the courses are a bit swift but the nice thing here is that you only have to focus on one class at a time.

You don’t have to juggle three or four classes at once. So if you are the type of student who maybe has triple multitasking or staying organized and on top of your schedule, then this type of program format is likely a good fit for you.

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Traditional Terms

The second type of format is the more classic college experience that you’re probably used to in which you take two to five classes per term and the terms usually last anywhere from eight to twelve weeks. I would say the lion’s share of online universities fall into this bucket. So if you’re used to the typical quarter or semester system and you just want a traditional education experience I would advise you focus your research on these types of program formats.

Purdue Global which I have mentioned several times already follows this format. They offer 10-week terms in which each course requires a weekly commitment of around 15 to 18 hours on average. They have some helpful information on their website regarding how their courses and terms are structured so you can get a better feel for this type of program format.

Self-Paced Learning Formats

The last factor I want to cover is the self-paced learning formats that seem to be picking up steam in recent years. Essentially, with these types of degree programs you can take courses at your own speed and move on to the next course whenever you’re ready.

So if you want to tackle multiple courses at a time and fly through the degree program as quickly as possible, you can in as little as 15 to 18 months in some cases. If you have other obligations like a full-time job or little kids running around and you can only spare a few hours per week, you can slow it down and study at your own pace.

So the bottom line is if you are super busy or have a hectic/chaotic schedule that is constantly changing, this type of self-paced program might be a great fit. Sometimes, there are schools that offer both types of degree formats, Purdue University Global being one of them. You can earn your marketing degree online following the traditional path that I covered earlier where there are 10 week terms.

For select students, Purdue Global offers what they call their excel track which is a perfect example of the self-paced degree format where you’re in the driver’s seat.

Final Thoughts on the Best Online Communications Degree Programs

I know making a decision about something as important as your education is extremely difficult so I hope I was able to provide some guidance and clarity around online universities so you can find an online marketing degree program that best fits your specific goals, budget, and learning preferences.

If you’re interested in another online degree area outside of marketing, be sure to check out the rest of our online bachelor’s degree programs. We have a ton of helpful articles related to online education.

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