Pursuing an online PhD in marketing can help cement yourself as a creative, enterprising marketer with the agile administrative acumen to lead. Marketing doctorates are the field’s highest, most prestigious degrees focused on consumer research to generate lucrative corporate sales. Entering rigorous doctoral study sets marketing managers ahead of the pack for executive, teaching, and scholarly jobs. According to the National Science Foundation, U.S. colleges only conferred 54,070 doctorates total in 2014. Completing a marketing Ph.D. online lets you join an elite list of doctoral-trained business gurus like Rob Walton, Eric Schmidt, and Miuccia Prada. Whether you work for a startup or Fortune 100 company, choose your PhD marketing online carefully to avoid profit-breaking loan debt.
We’ve used the handy College Navigator database from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) to highlight the most affordable online marketing doctorates. Our advanced search turned up seven results for DBA and PhD marketing degrees available via distance learning with few or no residencies on-campus. The GSH staff ensured quality education by double checking each online school’s regional accreditation status. Preference was given for approval from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (ACBSP). Next, we narrowed down to the five cheapest marketing online programs with average in-state graduate tuition costs under $17,000 and ordered them highest to lowest below.
Ranking Low-Cost Online Marketing PhD Programs
5. Northcentral University
San Diego, CA
Online PhD in Business Administration, Specialized in Marketing
Average Graduate Tuition: $16,821 per year
Hosting a Delta Mu Delta Chapter, Northcentral University is a for-profit, online open-admission institution with a one-to-one mentoring model initially envisioned by President James A. Garfield in the late-19th century. Celebrating its 20th year, the HLC-accredited, doctoral research university in San Diego has “Military Friendly” education with Federal Title-IV eligibility for nearly 11,000 Roadrunners. Although unranked by the U.S. News & World Report, Northcentral University was positioned seventh by Guide to Online Schools. GetEducated.com ranked NU the 28th best business value and College Factual crowned Northcentral the 72nd most focused management school.
Featuring the three-day Dissertation Boot Camp in Scottsdale or San Antonio, Northcentral’s PhD in Business Administration Specialized in Marketing is awarded primarily online by the ACSBP-accredited School of Business. The 20-course PhD marketing online program takes approximately 45 months full-time for mastering contemporary business research theories. Master’s students with 3.0 GPAs or better receive Direct Entry into seminars like brand management, customer relationships, and sales marketing. The Ghost Program helps NU post-grads connect to Rockbridge Growth Equity executives for virtual internships. Each Ph.D. candidate also contributes new knowledge by presenting original, scholarly dissertations.
4. Walden University
Online DBA in Marketing
Average Graduate Tuition: $12,844 per year
Known for its International Journal of Applied Management and Technology, Walden University reports 91 percent alumni satisfaction as a public benefit, for-profit distance institution owned by Douglas L. Becker at Laureate Education, Inc. On MobileLearn, Walden enrolls 47,800 online students, including PhD marketing online majors, from 150+ nations to expand beyond Minnesota’s Twin Cities. Given an A+ from the Better Business Bureau, Walden University is ranked the 19th most adult-friendly by Washington Monthly. College Factual placed Walden 171st for business administration while Super Scholar named Walden the 13th smartest choice.
Walden’s College of Management and Technology grants the Online Doctor of Business Administration in 15 concentrations, including Marketing. Accredited by the ACBSP since 2012, the 60-credit, post-master’s program takes at least two years for qualified graduates to accumulate managerial strategies that open consumer communication channels. Two four-day, face-to-face residencies in Minneapolis are included for networking and faculty mentoring. Online Walden courses take a scholar-practitioner approach to studying fiscal responsibility, B2B marketing, quantitative analysis, and more. Instead of a dissertation, Online DBA in Marketing candidates complete an independent study project and writing assessment.
3. Grand Canyon University
Online Doctor of Business Administration with an Emphasis in Marketing
Average Graduate Tuition: $9,783 per year
Licensed by the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education, Grand Canyon University is a for-profit, Southern Baptist liberal arts institution founded in 1949 and sold to Significant Education, LLC in 2004. Classified for “moderate research activity” by Carnegie, GCU generates an economic impact of $1 billion while teaching 19,500 on-campus and 60,700 online Antelopes from its Phoenix location. The U.S. News & World Report honored Grand Canyon among the top 300 national universities. GCU was ranked America’s second best e-school in Fortune magazine and the West’s 166th best value in Washington Monthly too.
Grand Canyon University’s ACSBP-accredited Colangelo College of Business offers the Doctor of Business Administration with an Emphasis in Marketing. Centered on “Servant Leadership, Ethics, and Entrepreneurism,” the 60-credit, 39-month online program inspires executives to use data-driven market research for targeting suitable consumers. Eight-week online courses in the LoudCloud Classroom dissect topics like e-commerce, global advertising, and social media. A 16-credit Bridge Program is available for non-business master’s grads. Online DBA students attend just two long-weekend residencies in Phoenix to begin dissertation development.
2. Liberty University
Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Marketing Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $8,051 per year
Labeled a “Gold School of Distinction” by BestColleges.com, Liberty University is a nonprofit, conservative Christian SACS-accredited school formed by Thomas Road Baptist Church pastor Jerry Falwell in 1971. Beyond its 7,000-acre campus surrounding Freedom Tower in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Liberty enrolls 92,500 online students on Blackboard in condensed eight-week terms. Graded B+ by Niche, Liberty University is applauded for America’s 92nd best business graduate degrees online by the U.S. News & World Report. Liberty was also ranked third for enrollment on Huffington Post and sixth for campus beauty in Town & Country magazine.
Reaffirmed by the ACBSP in June 2014, Liberty’s School of Business offers the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Marketing 100 percent online from a Biblical worldview. The 60-credit, full- or part-time program teaches the best corporate practices for promoting goods and services. Accepting up to 15 transfer credits, the four-year degree has optional intensives to join Flames Nation in Lynchburg. Liberty post-grads could find internships on LUNetwork, join the Association of Marketing Professionals, and pledge Delta Mu Delta. Cheap online courses like strategic finance allocation culminate with dissertation research grounded in empirical-based literature.
1. Trident University International
Online PhD in Business Administration: Marketing Concentration
Average Graduate Tuition: $6,120 per year
Linked to 13,145 LinkedIn alumni like Stephen Templin and Tony Tinderholt, Trident University International is a private, for-profit virtual college established by the Touro system in 1998. Conferring five doctorates, including the cheapest marketing Ph.D. online for $6,120 annually, Trident is a WASC-accredited educator based in Cypress with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Owned by Summit Partners, Trident University International is ranked America’s 82nd most focused business school by College Factual. Trident also placed 22nd on OnlineDegreeReviews.org, 10th for adults in Forbes, and 19th for veterans in Military Times magazine.
The Glenn R. Jones College of Business applies the signature, case-based Trident Learning Model to award the Online PhD in Business Administration: Marketing Concentration. The 56-credit, all-online program prepares MBA grads for transformative leadership in advertising campaigns. Taking 72 months on average, the marketing PhD online integrates virtual courses like buyer decision making, strategic planning, and business creativity with LivePerson assistance. The Doctoral Positioning System (DPS) helps steps track progress with ePortfolios. For capstone, Trident post-grads must pass a comprehensive exam, defend a dissertation, and get published in top-tier journals like Marketing Science.
Other Online Ph.D. in Marketing Degree Offerings
Argosy University – Online Business Administration DBA, Marketing Specialization; $17,353 per year
Keiser University – Online Doctoral Degree in Business Administration, Concentration in Marketing; $21,964 per year
Why Earn a Marketing Doctorate Online?
Pursuing a PhD marketing online is a challenging, fulfilling intellectual journey that’s made more convenient thanks to Internet-based learning technologies. Online universities minimize your distractions and extra costs by making course content available 24/7 while keeping a day job. Picking the right online marketing doctorate is crucial since the Chronicle of Higher Education reports that 50 percent of candidates never finish. The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is a research-intensive degree where marketing majors generally strive to pioneer new marketing theories in academia. The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is an applied, practice-oriented terminal program where students mostly fine-tune their strategies for private sector employment.
Marketing professionals considering DBA or PhD online programs often wonder if the degree will be respected. A survey conducted by Zogby International and published by CNN found that 83 percent of executives said online degrees are as credible. Face-to-face instruction is sparse, but the flexibility of online marketing PhDs lets you continue working to build the experience recruiters crave. Your online doctorate should be recognized if it’s from a reputable teaching institution. Judge the school’s worthiness by looking for accreditation that vouches against “diploma mills.” Ask admission staff important questions about faculty credentials and placement rates. Review the doctoral curriculum to test the rigor of courses and dissertation requirements too.
Doctoral marketing degrees online can introduce post-grads to several marketing disciplines for wide-ranging career possibilities. For example, content marketing is a brand management niche where marketers create consumable articles, blog posts, and tutorials to engage consumers. Search engine marketing (SEM) is a hot specialization concerned with getting organizations’ websites to appear strategically in Google results. Direct marketing is another subfield where managers increase public brand awareness by sending promos right to potential customers. Here are some of the titles where your PhD marketing online could be useful:
• Market Research Director- Corporations rely on market research directors to head complex studies on consumer behavior for maximizing sales trends. Their duties include setting research policies, supervising data collection, developing department budgets, reviewing statistical findings, presenting reports to executives, and advising on marketing strategy tweaks.
• Professor of Marketing- Top business schools like Wharton, Stanford, and Kellogg would require a marketing PhD to prepare students for communicating corporate goals to consumers. For each class, marketing professors must draft syllabi, write lectures, create assignments, grade papers and exams, and research new industry developments.
• Creative Director- Learning the ins and outs of advertising from a PhD marketing online would qualify you for leading cohesive teams cranking out genius campaigns. Creative directors manage projects from concept to completion, including setting brand standards, overseeing client pitches, establishing timelines, hiring artists like photographers, and editing final products.
• Demand Generation Executive- Spawning quality leads that turn into company profits is a scrupulous process led by demand generation executives. Their day-to-day work involves developing content policies, finding outreach connections, setting digital roadmaps, maintaining lead databases, and collaborating with sales directors.
• Marketing Consultant- Finishing a cheap marketing PhD online could inspire the confidence, network, and competence to become self-employed. Marketing consultants are third-party freelancers companies hire to fix conversions, analyze customer data, draft fresh strategies, fill resource gaps, formulate business growth plans, and train in-house marketers.
• Chief Marketing Officer- PhD marketing online grads often aspire to join Adobe’s Ann Lewnes, McDonald’s Deborah Wahl, and Netflix’s Kelly Bennett at the top of the corporate ladder. Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) are the innovative minds who shape, execute, and change organizational promotion strategies. The C-suite job includes everything from distribution channel management to pricing and customer service.
Affordable doctorates in marketing online can reap high return on investment by pushing you into these lucrative upper-level jobs. According to SmartAsset, post-doc graduates report average income of $84,396, or $1,623 weekly, across fields. Marketing management ratchets this statistic upward with a mean annual salary of $144,140. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the 205,900 U.S. marketing managers make between $67,490 and $215,540. The top-paying states are New York, Delaware, and New Jersey with average wages of $188,640, $173,850, and $167,860 per year. Academia jobs pay considerably less with a $96,770 average for business professors. The highest mean salary of $194,350 goes to top executives, including CMOs, in the corporate world.
Job outlooks look extremely favorable for marketing PhD online grads. The BLS shows that the unemployment rate for doctoral degree holders is only 1.7 percent. That’s considerably less than the 5.9 percent rate for marketing bachelor’s graduates reported on Wall Street Prep. Marketing management is projected to expand by 10 percent by 2026 for a 21,800 hiring jump. Consulting will be a fast-growing niche where PhD marketing online students can expect 12 percent growth. College enrollment has peaked above 21 million, so the demand for B-school professors will skyrocket by 15 percent. Competition is the toughest for top executive jobs where growth of 8 percent is expected, so a doctorate could help your chances.
Ready to apply for marketing PhD online programs? Be sure to review the admission requirements that vary by graduate school. Most online colleges will require holding an M.S. in Marketing, Master of Business Administration, or related degree. Others might accept an accredited bachelor’s with a résumé filled with hard work in marketing. Some PhD or DBA programs online may have curriculum prerequisites, such as statistics and economics. Marketing doctorates usually require solid academic records with minimum GPAs from 3.0 to 3.5. Even if not required, scores for the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) can give you a competitive edge. Contact some of these cheap online marketing PhD and DBA programs to learn more.