MBA Vs. MS in Marketing

Students and professionals with expertise in marketing can pursue further education by obtaining as master's degree. For the marketing discipline there are two options that may be appealing to these individuals, a Master of Science in Marketing (MS) or a Master in Business Administration in Marketing (MBA). Schools offering Marketing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Marketing Masters Degrees Compared

The MS and the MBA degrees both offer students opportunities to learn. Understanding which degree course makes the most sense for individual student is important to choosing the route one will take. Here is a comparison of these degrees:

Master of Science in Marketing

An MS in Marketing focuses on the marketing discipline in a more in-depth manner. Students are immersed in marketing concepts throughout course of learning and this program can consist of courses such as Applied Marketing Research, Marketing in the Era of Digital Technology, Marketing Models and New Product Development which explore key marketing concepts in detail and programs can cover marketing concepts for specific industries, for instance; healthcare, consumer packaged goods, non-profits and food and beverage. Common entrance requirements for this master's degree can include preference for internship or professional experience, essays, recommendations, Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) score or Graduate Record Exam (GRE) score and undergraduate transcripts. This degree can take from 10-months to two years to complete depending on if the student chooses part-time or full-time options and some career possibilities include Account Executive, Digital Marketing Manager, Marketing Analyst, Marketing Director or Marketing Coordinator.

Master in Business Administration in Marketing

An MBA in Marketing offers a broad learning program that integrates some marketing specific courses into the curriculum and usually covers key high-level business concepts. Students can expect to deepen some of their marketing knowledge while also adding knowledge about some important, fundamental business courses. Common requirements for entrance include an application, professional experience, letters of recommendation, an essay, resume, transcripts and GMAT or GRE scores and some schools also require an in-person or Skype interview and application fee. Completion of the MBA in Marketing typically takes about 12-24 months depending on the program and some common courses include Strategic management and Business Policy, Business Ethics, International Business, Strategic Marketing and New Product Marketing. Career prospects can include Advertising Manager, Market Researcher, Marketing Data Analyst, Marketing Director and PR Manager.

Similarities and Differences - MS

There are a number of similarities and differences between an MS and an MBA in Marketing. In general, an MS focuses on more in-depth expertise about the marketing discipline and both students or professionals can pursue this degree to obtain much more detailed expertise in marketing. The coursework gives students a good primer on what can be expected in a specialized marketing role so that students who have no experience in marketing can use this type of degree as a stepping stone into a marketing career. Typically, these programs take place in a more traditional setting and the length of time can vary based on student needs and desires.

Similarities and Differences - MBA

An MBA focuses broadly on both marketing and business concepts and can cover a more wide-ranging array of business concepts that can be applied in the business management environment. Students pursuing this degree typically have much more business and professional experience and schools usually may mandate some level of management experience as an entrance requirement. MBA programs offer a number of specializations such as marketing, but also give learners a strong background in business fundamentals.

Both traditional and professional students pursue the MBA degrees and the length of time to complete the degree is similar to the MS and some of the course work related to marketing is similar as well. Both degrees are also offered in-person, online and in hybrid formats.

Comparison at a Glance

Degree Program NameTypical Program RequirementsRelated CareersCommon Course OfferingsAverage Tuition costs
MS in MarketingPreference for internship or professional experience, essays, recommendations, Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) score or Graduate Record Exam (GRE) score and undergraduate transcripts Digital Marketing Manager, Marketing AnalystApplied Marketing Research, Marketing in the Era of Digital Technology, Marketing Models$10,000-47,000 per academic year depending on the program*
MBA in MarketingAdmission application, professional experience, letters of recommendation, an essay, resume, transcripts and GMAT or GRE scores, interview and application feeMarketing Director and PR ManagerInternational Business, Strategic Marketing $3,600-10,000 per academic year depending on the institution*

*Source: NCES - National Center for Education Statistics

There are similarities and differences between the MS and MBA in Marketing degree programs. Understanding one's options for acquiring additional expertise in marketing is important to choosing which degree program is appropriate to pursue.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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  • Southern New Hampshire University

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  • University of Alabama at Birmingham

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    • Alabama: Birmingham
  • Rider University

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    • New Jersey: Lawrenceville
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  • Liberty University

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  • Vanderbilt University

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    • Tennessee: Nashville
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