Marketing Research Degrees: Bachelor's, Associate & Online Class Info

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What kind of job can you get with an undergraduate degree in marketing research? Find out program requirements, online options and info on courses and marketing research degrees.
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Studying Marketing Research: Degrees at a Glance

Marketing researchers contribute to the development of marketing strategies. These professionals study trends to understand what people want to buy and how much they're willing to pay for goods and services. Math and analytical aptitude are key skills you'll need to be successful in this field. Undergraduate programs can teach you statistical sampling techniques and how to create and analyze surveys. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a 41% growth in market research analysis jobs from 2010-2020, which was much higher than the 14% average increase for all occupations during this time frame.

Associate's and bachelor's degrees in marketing research are rare to non-existent, since this is an advanced field that is typically addressed at the master's level. You can get a solid introduction through undergraduate market research courses, marketing programs or business administration programs that offer marketing as a major. An associate's degree in marketing might help you land an entry-level sales, survey analyst or research supervisor position. A bachelor's degree could lead to a professional market research analyst position. Organizations like the Marketing Research Association (MRA) or the American Marketing Association (AMA) can provide useful education, certification and career information.

Associate's Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? Individuals who want an entry-level position in sales or market research Individuals interested in professional market research positions or management careers
Common Career Paths (with approximate median salary) - Social science research and survey assistant ($39,000)*
- Advertising sales agent ($45,000)*
- Sales representative for wholesale and manufacturing, technical and scientific products ($75,000)*
- Market research analyst ($51,000)**
- Market research manager ($95,000 - with 7 years of experience)**
- Market research director ($130,000 - with 10 years of experience)**
- Advertising and promotions managers ($88,000)*
Time to Completion About 2 years, full-time 4-5 years, full-time
Common Graduation Requirements - General education courses
- Typically 10-12 marketing courses
- Internship/field experience
- Roughly 15-20 courses in marketing topics
- General education courses
- About 5-7 business and math core courses
Prerequisites High school diploma or GED High school diploma or GED
Online Availability Yes Yes

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2011 figures), **Salary.com (2012 figures).

Associate's Degree in Marketing

Associate's degree programs in marketing are most common in community colleges, but you may find some in 4-year schools. This program provides an introduction to core business skills, which can prepare you to pursue employment in sales, customer service, advertising and promotion or other marketing functions. An associate's degree in marketing trains you to use analytical thinking for market research, how to price and promote products and how to implement marketing and advertising strategies. You'll typically participate in an internship or a business work experience as well.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • An associate's degree can lead to an entry-level position in the marketing field
  • Some schools have 2- and 4-year programs in marketing, allowing for a seamless transition to a bachelor's program if you want to continue your education
  • This program costs less than a 4-year degree and offers a quicker return on investment
  • Community college programs may be more flexible for part-time students

Cons

  • Coursework may not go past the introductory level, so you'll probably need to pursue a bachelor's degree if you're hoping to learn advanced concepts in marketing
  • An associate's degree is not a hard requirement for some of the positions you'll be qualified for (advertising sales agents may be able to find a job with a high school diploma)*
  • Bachelor's degrees in marketing research may be preferred for some jobs

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Courses and Requirements

After completing general education and business core courses that cover the principles of marketing, you'll take some focused marketing or market research courses. Programs may offer credit for internships or other business work experiences. Some of the courses you might take include:

  • Marketing research
  • Professional selling
  • Consumer behavior
  • E-marketing
  • Advertising and promotion
  • Microcomputer marketing applications
  • Marketing management

Online Course Information

Associate's degrees in marketing are available completely online, and you can usually find individual courses offered in a distance learning format as well. Online associate's programs in marketing are the often same as on-campus programs, but be aware that you might not have the opportunity to get credit for completing an internship if you're in a distance learning program.

Professional organizations, such as the MRA, may also offer continuing education courses and seminars in an online format. Courses from these organizations can provide up-to-date information on industry trends and developments in market research.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

Students may have opportunities to participate in honors programs or other academic enrichment activities. Part-time work or internships could build your resumé and make you more competitive in the job market, especially if your program does not give you real work experience. You could take as many marketing research electives as your program permits. Although student clubs may not be too common at community colleges, some 4-year schools may have a marketing or business club that you could join. Participating in a club can give you networking opportunities and a chance to get involved with a project related to your studies.

Bachelor's Degree in Marketing

Marketing research studies can be found within marketing, marketing management or business administration undergraduate programs. A marketing research subspecialty requires proficient math and quantitative analysis skills, so expect to take some number crunching-related courses before you jump into marketing research topics. The market research courses will introduce you to qualitative and quantitative research conducted online, in person, by telephone and through focus groups.

As a freshman or sophomore, you'll complete general requirements and core business courses like accounting, marketing and statistics, followed by quantitative analysis instruction in your sophomore or junior year. Some schools may not admit you to a business administration program until your junior year, when they evaluate your application and your GPA. Some programs may provide special opportunities, such as group work with assigned companies, internships or cooperative experiences.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Undergraduate training can position you for a graduate market research program or an MBA program
  • Prepares you for careers you couldn't get with an associate's degree
  • Opportunities may be available to explore in-depth marketing research topics through electives

Cons

  • Length of training and coursework may make outside employment difficult while you're in school
  • High-level positions or working for a consulting firm could require an MBA
  • Electives still may not give you an in-depth focus on marketing research like you'd get in a master's program

Courses and Requirements

A bachelor's degree in marketing may require business math, calculus and statistics. If you're interested in applying market research to a field like sports, financial services or consumer products, you might be able to take courses that focus on these areas. Some programs may offer independent study, study abroad or field project opportunities for credit, but this is not a requirement across all programs. Here are some of the electives that may be available in a marketing program:

  • Buyer behavior
  • Decision-making in marketing
  • Product management
  • Market research techniques
  • Market research planning
  • Statistical analysis

Online Course Information

Fully online bachelor's degrees in marketing or business are available. However, hybrid programs that permit some online coursework while requiring some on-campus presence are more common. You might also find online courses through extension programs that serve working adults. Courses are similar in content to those taken on campus. Flexibility to take some courses online could be helpful if you have commitments outside of school.

Professional organizations and associations, such as the AMA or MRA, may have online marketing courses for working professionals. Most of the standalone online courses are designed to give you specific knowledge and do not count for academic credit. Some online courses can help you prepare for certification exams as well.

Stand Out with This Degree

Taking advantage of every special program your school offers, assisting with faculty research, or participating in student clubs or chapters of professional organizations could make you highly visible. For example, some schools may have an AMA chapter, which gives you access to seminars, community service opportunities and internships. If you have a strong GPA, you might qualify for honors programs or business and marketing honorary fraternities like Mu Kappa Tau.

Pursuing a certification after you graduate could give you an edge in the job market. The MRA offers the Professional Researcher designation, which requires you to pass an exam and meet the education and experience requirements. This certification requires renewal every 2 years.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Business Administration - Marketing
      • BS - Business Administration - Digital Marketing
      • BS - Business Administration - Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Organizational Behavior
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Business Development
      • BS - Business Administration - General
  • Campus and Online Programs
    2. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Internet Marketing - Certificate
      • B.S. - Music Business
      • B.S. - Sports Marketing and Media
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BBA: New Media and Internet Marketing
      • BSBA in Marketing
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • BSBA - Investment
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Marketing
      • BS - Organizational Leadership
      • BS - Business Management
  • Online Programs Available
    5. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Marketing
      • Bachelor of Business Administration - Generalist
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Operations Management
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Business Management: Marketing Concentration
      • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
  • New York, NY

    Fashion Institute of Technology

  • Stanford, CA

    Stanford University

  • Cambridge, MA

    Harvard University

  • Philadelphia, PA

    University of Pennsylvania

Featured Schools

Colorado Technical University

  • BS - Business Administration - Marketing
  • BS - Business Administration - Digital Marketing
  • BS - Business Administration - Management

Are you a US citizen?

Full Sail University

  • BS - Internet Marketing - Certificate
  • B.S. - Music Business
  • B.S. - Sports Marketing and Media

What is your highest level of education?

Kaplan University

  • BBA: New Media and Internet Marketing
  • BSBA in Marketing
  • Bachelor of Business Admin

Which subject are you interested in?

Colorado State University Global

  • BS - Marketing
  • BS - Organizational Leadership
  • BS - Business Management

What is your highest level of education?

American InterContinental University

  • Bachelor of Business Admin: Marketing
  • Bachelor of Business Administration - Generalist
  • Bachelor of Business Admin: Operations Management

Are you a US citizen?

Herzing University

  • B.S. - Business Management: Marketing Concentration
  • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration

What is your highest level of education?

Fashion Institute of Technology