15 Colleges That Offer Digital Marketing Classes | SEJ – Search Engine Journal

Traditional institutions that have solid reputations are finally beginning to add courses involving digital marketing.
Can you believe there was a time when a business believed that having digital media/marketing knowledge and skills was nice, but not necessary? How the times have quickly changed.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the amount of market research analysts and marketing specialists is expected to increase 32% from 2012-2022 – which is faster than the national average of 11% for all occupations. While that sound promising for anyone pursuing a career in digital marketing, the education required for these skills seems to be lacking.
This isn’t exactly a new development. Marketers have been discussing this topic for several years now. Take, for example, John Rampton, who shared on Inc.com that “79 percent of business leaders polled say there are ‘noticeable skill gaps’ on their teams–primarily in data, customer insight, and digital marketing techniques,” according to Circle Marketing’s 2013 B2B Leaders report. Stuart Draper, CEO and founder of Stukent, informed John that “Out of the 200 business schools we contacted in 2013, a surprisingly high 64 still weren’t offering a dedicated class on digital marketing.”
According to Draper, there are several reasons why colleges are not teaching digital marketing courses. These include: “Most traditional marketing professors have no formal education in internet marketing” professors fearing that students know more about the internet than they do, marketing textbooks being outdated, some believe this is a fad, and adding or changing courses requires a sign-off from the school administration.
That doesn’t mean all institutions waiting to see what happens. For example, there are online institutions, such as the Digital Marketing Institute, Full Sail University, and University of Phoenix, who offer accredited courses, certificates, or degrees focused on digital marketing. Some colleges are even requiring marketing courses, such as Indiana University Bloomington – who has a required digital marketing course, Analysis of Marketing Data.
Many other traditional institutions with solid reputations are finally beginning to add courses involving digital marketing.
While these courses – which include everything from graduate programs to certificate programs – may not be full-fledged digital marketing courses, they do include courses that discuss social media, analytics, content creation, SEO and PPC. They may not be the answer just yet, but it’s a promising start.
For example, here are 15 colleges in the United States (in no particular order) who are offering digital marketing classes, in some form.
Established in 1956, and eventually built on land that was donated by the Ford Motor Co., the University of Michigan-Dearborn has earned a reputation as one of the most effective marketing schools in the country – it was 35 ranked in the 2015 edition of Best Colleges is Regional Universities (Midwest) by U.S. News.
U of M’s Digital Marketing program isn’t just top-notch, it’s also one of the first in the country where students can study social network marketing, SEO, open source innovation, viral marketing, web analytics, reputation management, and experimenting with market research.
This department first offered an Interactive Advertising course in the Fall of 1995, which has been built upon over the last two decades. Gene Kincaid, Senior Lecturer in the TexasMedia program commented, “Our department’s interactive focus is almost 20 years old! We have built a strong alumni network and they continue to support and become involved in our efforts.” In fact, this program has named the top institution to offer degrees in digital advertising by the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
Students enrolled in the TexasMedia will focus on “insights, investments and interactive aspects of media content,” as well as become “proficient in digital metrics, analytics, and digital media sales.” They also have the opportunity to manage the TexasAd Grad network on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Being located in New York City is a major perk for anyone involved in media. However, NYU Stern realized the importance of implementing a digital media program that is interactive, collaborative, and a blend of Marketing and Information Systems. Because of this, it’s not surprising that this school was listed directly behind the University of Texas as a top institution to offer degrees in digital advertising by IAB.
Another bonus of attending NYU Stern for Digital Marketing is that it has a strong international reputation to go along with it’s top ranked marketing program.
Founded in 1934, Syracuse’s School of Journalism focused only print media. Today, the Newhouse School is considered one of the nation’s top schools of communication was ranked fifth by advertising executives during an Advertising/Mass Communication programs survey. Students earning a BS in Advertising can expect to participate in projects that include real candidates, have access to the Newhouse Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship, and take the elective Internet Advertising.
The school also deserves to recognized for teaming up with HootSuite for the Advanced Social Media Strategy (ASMS) Certificate. This online certificate program helps professionals learn strategic planning, content strategy, information management, data and analytics, and ROI.
Did you know that Department of Advertising at the University of Illinois was the first advertising department in country? It all happened in 1946 when the “father of advertising education” Charles H. Sandage established this school. Since then the department “has been consistently ranked in the top 5 departments in the country in the past 20 years.”
During their time at the Department of Advertising, students embark on a journey that covers the basics of advertising to the latest methods and techniques. From there, students select a specialization, such as PR, research methods or technology, and apply those skills to the The Sandage Project – which are groups of students helping a non-profit organization or small business solve a communication problem.
Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, it only seems fair that Stanford University would be on top of current marketing trends by having a marketing curriculum that will “demonstrate to students the implications of these insights for different areas of marketing practice, including branding, pricing, new product development, advertising and marketing communication, channels of distribution, and marketing research.” In fact, Stanford’s Business School was ranked the top business school in the country by US News, as well the top institution for Entrepreneurship and third in Marketing.
Students also can attend events to expand their knowledge, such as the webinar “Creating Demand With Content Marketing.”
Even more interesting, however, is the Strategic Management Program. This “week-and-a-half comprehensive marketing program combines strategic frameworks and fundamentals, site visits, group collaboration, and guest speakers to give you a real-world, hands-on learning experience. It’s a convergence of traditional and digital, theory and practice, B2B and B2C.” Cost of the program is $18,000.
For students looking for a career in advertising and other media/marketing professions, Boston University offers a three-semester, 52-credit Master’s Program in advertising, designed for those who’ve earned undergraduate degrees in fields other than communication.
A unique part of the course includes two semesters in AdLab, the student-run advertising agency that’s part of the College of Communication, where students get creative on advertising campaigns for nonprofit organizations. There’s also a master’s student option to take their final semester early in London, where they have the opportunity to take elective credits in International Media and Comparative Political Systems.
Students who enroll in Boston U’s course must be prepared for doctoral-level studies, and may pursue a thesis track in fields of research and education.
According to US News & World Report and Bloomberg Business Week, the #1 public business program in New England can be found at the University of Connecticut. If you’re interested in learning about digital marketing and analytics, they’ve been teaching the course since 2000!
Some of the topics covered by UConn’s digital marketing course include marketing digital products and services, understanding dynamic pricing, digital distribution, and newer concepts involving social media. Above all you’ll learn how to apply these tactics and understand how to utilize analytics to help make better business decisions (an invaluable skill in marketing today).
Recently, associate professors of marketing Nicholas Lurie and Joseph Pancras were invited to the Thought Leadership Conference on “Mobile Marketing and its Implications for Retailing” held at the Mays Business School, Texas A&M University.
If you’re looking to study some of the more creative aspects of the industry, you might want to look into the advertising undergraduate program at the Art Center of College and Design in Pasadena, California.
As you begin the program, you’ll get your hands dirty in many forms of traditional media, including photography, video, and graphic design. As your skill set evolves, you’ll learn to take these creative skills and combine them with cognitive abilities to create advertising campaigns in an agency-like classroom experience,
Believe it or not, the Art Center College of Design has the oldest advertising program in the country, started in 1930, the same year the school was founded! Alumni Sean Ohlenkamp says of the school: “What Art Center taught me was how to think; [you] learn a lot of technical skills while there, but more than anything, I learned how to think differently.”
Virginia Commonwealth University has an excellent 2-year graduate program that allows creative marketing students a chance to gain a Master of Science in Business and gain priceless experience in a real-world setting along the way.
The program has been accredited as a top graduate program in advertising and digital media by industry heavy-hitters like Creativity Magazine, the 4A’s, AdAge, and Businessweek. The VCU “Brandcenter” program consists of five tracks: art direction, copywriting, creative brand management, experience design, and strategy.
VCU helps students on their path to employment as part of their program, exposing students work to agency and client-side recruiters along the way. It also holds a two-day recruiter session weeks before graduation where students can network with over 200 agencies from around the country.
Founded in 1993, The Miami Ad School has locations worldwide focused on giving students portfolio (as well as degree) programs to get them ready for the ever-changing needs of ad agencies around the world. Studies focus on art direction, copywriting, digital design, photography, and video.
Tham Khai Meng, Worldwide Chief Creative Officer of Ogilvy & Mather notes “Miami Ad School prepares the next generation of creatives to challenge assumptions, take risks, and push the edge. Steeped in innovations, it offers a most inspiring curriculum globally through which creative leaders of tomorrow are forged.”
What makes the school stand out from others is its international reach – students can pick the city they would like to live and then study there for a year, with different schools offering different majors and languages (you’d better learn before you go!).
Daneal College of Business at the University of Denver offers a 6-track Business Master of Science in Marketing. The school prides itself with offering more hands-on team projects and smaller class sizes than traditional programs to allow students a more focused method of study.
Some of the hallmarks of the program include the various events and roundtables the school hosts, including the Digital Marketing Summit and the Supply Chain Roundtable.
These events allow the students to engage with industry-leading marketing experts from all over the world to open the door to high-profile internship opportunities.
The SMU Meadows School of the Arts, located in Dallas, is a prominent art education institution focused on the study and appreciation of the art, dance, and film. This concentration on the creative lends itself to be a powerful asset for those venturing into marketing and advertising, and the school combines the two with a B.A. in Public Relations and Strategic Communication.
Skills developed through the course include writing, production, and promotion, and the ability use these skills across multiple communication channels. The program is designed to teach students the strategic skills needed to practice the “art” of public relations.
The Meadows School presents over 400 events every year in the Dallas, Texas, region including art exhibitions, music, dance, theatre performances, and opera productions. The school is also famed for its Meadows Museum, which features the largest collections of Spanish art in the world.
Described as a Seattle-based graduate program for professionals, the Communication Leadership Program at the University of Washington’s Graduate School is meant to be “a career booster for professionals who live in this “communication first” world of digital content, online engagement and mobile technology.” The Master of Communications in Digital Media was another selection in IAB’s Top 8 Digital U.S. Universities.
The University of Washington also offers a Certificate in Advanced Online Marketing through its Professional and Continuing Education. The program provides a hands-on opportunity to develop an online marketing plan, and allows students to learn “marketing methods for generating online traffic and customer engagement, including SEO, mobile and email marketing, pay-per-click and social media.”
When you think of Georgetown, you probably think of its prestigious law school, or it’s 1984  NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament championship. However, the university is also known for embracing courses related to technology. For example, Georgetown offers a respectable Social Media Management course.
More recently, however, Georgetown’s Center For Continuing & Professional Education has a Certificate in Digital Marketing. This program helps students grasp the world of multi-channel marketing, apply advanced technical skills to develop relationships, and use analytic and reporting tools to synthesize data. This program is designed for entrepreneurs, consultants, or anyone involved with advertising, marketing, and public relations.
While these colleges and universities are making advances in resolving the disconnect between the needs of the market with available educational resources, there remains much work to be done. As Travis Wright puts it so perfectly on Marketing Land,
“It’s time for a marketing degree course load makeover for the digital era, so who’s going to lead the evolution?”
Are there other colleges you know of that offers a class in digital marketing?
Featured Image: Pixabay
Albert Costill is a co-founder of evolvor.com and a freelance writer who has written for brands like ForRent.com and Search …
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