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Digital marketing master’s degree guide

Become an expert in promoting brands and organisations online through a digital marketing masters. This guide explains what the subject is all about and what the postgraduate options are.


What is a digital marketing master’s degree?

Digital marketing is where brands promote themselves to potential customers through digital communication. It can be through websites, social media, email, search engines and other online methods.

A master's course in digital marketing will let you build on your existing knowledge and elevate your understanding of theoretical areas like:

  • Customer psychology
  • International marketing
  • Strategy
  • Branding

It can be a good step up if you’re a marketing, business or economics graduate, or if you’ve already got professional experience and want to enhance your specialist abilities.


Why do a master’s degree in digital marketing?

A master’s course will teach you how to use data for decision-making in a socially conscious and conscious way. They provide many opportunities that prepare you for the fast-paced graduate job market, such as:

  • Guest lectures and workshops with industry specialists
  • Guidance with building a portfolio of work to show future employers
  • Business, workplace and technical skills training

As well as specific digital marketing skills, you’ll develop transferable skills such as:

  • Critical thinking
  • Data analysis
  • Effective communication
  • Presentation
  • Problem solving
  • Research
  • Strategic thinking
  • Teamwork

Degrees are often approved and accredited by bodies like:

  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM)
  • Data & Marketing Association (DMA)
  • Institute of Data and Marketing (IDM)


What qualifications can you get?

Qualification options include masters, doctorates, certificates and diplomas in digital marketing. Each has a slightly different focus and style of teaching.

Taught masters in digital marketing

A digital marketing master’s degree is usually a Master of Science (MSc). This is a taught course that helps you become an effective and strategic digital marketer. You learn different techniques and theories, and apply them to real-world scenarios. You may even get to complete an industry placement as part of the course.

Alternatively, you could opt for the Master of Business Administration (MBA). This has a more business and management focus, where students usually already have lots of professional experience.

Research in digital marketing

Research and doctorate degrees are usually Master of Philosophy (MPhil) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). They let you undertake an in-depth, original research project that contributes to the field of digital marketing. This involves a lot of independent study, but you work alongside supervisors, academics and other researchers.

Certificates and diplomas in digital marketing

Postgraduate certificates (PGCert) and postgraduate diplomas (PGDip) are shorter versions of the master’s qualification, where you study the same modules but not as many. These are good for deepening your knowledge and are often useful for those already working in a related career.


What jobs can you do with a master’s degree in digital marketing?

With a degree in digital marketing, you’ll have the necessary qualities for a range of marketing roles such as those in business strategy, communication, content management, social media and analytics. Roles include:

  • Advertising account executive
  • Content strategist
  • Copywriter
  • Digital marketing manager
  • Email marketing specialist
  • Market research analyst
  • SEO manager
  • Social media marketing executive

Some digital marketing master’s students continue their studies and pursue a PhD in a related area. Those who have already completed a research degree often continue in academia.


What are the digital marketing master’s degree requirements?

To qualify for a master’s course, you’ll usually need:

  • MSc – bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) with second-class honours in a subject such as marketing, business, economics or a related area
  • MBA – second-class honours bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) and two years of relevant professional experience

Depending on the course and university, you might be admitted if you have at least two years of professional experience in marketing.

For other postgraduate courses, you’ll usually need:

  • PGCert/PGDip – same as for a masters
  • MPhil/PHD – same as for a masters, along with a high merit (+65) in a relevant master’s degree (or equivalent). You may need to submit a research proposal


What digital marketing courses are there?

Examples of postgraduate digital marketing degrees available in the UK:

  • Digital Marketing MBA
  • Digital Marketing MSc/PGDip/PGCert
  • Digital Marketing Management MSc
  • Digital Video Production and Marketing MA
  • Marketing PhD
  • Marketing with Digital Strategy MSc


What do you learn in a digital marketing master’s degree?

Potential module topics and research themes include:

  • Advertising, public relations (PR) and sponsorship
  • Econometric models of firm behaviour
  • Emerging digital communication techniques
  • Experimental tests of psychological theories
  • Impact of online and multi-channel retailing
  • Making data-driven decisions
  • Predicting firm behaviour
  • Project design and management
  • Technology underpinning digital marketing
  • Web analytics and insights into user behaviour


How will you be taught and assessed?

Master’s courses usually have structured teaching through lectures, seminars, practical workshops, tutorials, group work, discussions and problem-solving activities. You could be assessed via portfolios, presentations, project work, exams, coursework, reports, group assignments and a dissertation.

On a research degree, you’ll probably work with expert supervisors but receive less support than on a taught course. Assessment is usually through an independent research project and oral exam (viva).


How long is a master’s degree in digital marketing?

Course length depends on what you choose. Usually, courses are:

  • MSc – one to two years
  • MBA – one to two years
  • MPhil – one to two years
  • PhD – three to four years
  • PGCert – around 15 weeks or one term
  • PGDip – around 30 weeks or two terms

Part-time courses can be twice as long.


Similar subjects to digital marketing

Other subjects you could consider studying like digital marketing include:

  • Advertising
  • Business studies
  • Economics
  • Marketing
  • Media and communications
  • Psychology
  • Public relations
  • Sociology

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