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Marketing programs teach people how to promote and sell goods and services.

Marketing, merchandising, and sales programs prepare people to develop consumer audiences and move products to consumers. Students learn about buyer behavior, pricing theory, importing, and exporting. They learn to market many types of goods and services such as clothing, banking services, and cars.

Marketing programs include topics such as:

In this program, students study profiles of both consumers and the goods and services they buy. They learn to use this information to more effectively develop promotional and advertising concepts.


In marketing programs, students may be able to specialize in:


Marketing programs are available at several levels. Many community colleges offer associate degrees in marketing. An associate degree prepares students for work as a sales representative or a retail sales manager and usually takes two years to complete.

Many colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees in marketing. A bachelor degree prepares people for work as a management trainee or in a marketing research department. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

Many universities also offer graduate degrees in marketing. One option is to focus on marketing while earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. A master’s degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor’s degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master’s degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Careers Directly Related to this Program of Study

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree, good grades, and good test scores. Your undergraduate major should be business-related. Otherwise, some courses or work experience in business is very helpful. Course work in psychology is also good preparation.

Additional requirements at some schools include:

If you are interested in a leadership position in this field, you may consider getting a master's in business administration (MBA). A large number of schools let you specialize in marketing during the two years typically required for this degree. Some people pursue the MBA after getting a bachelor's in a non-business field. It helps to have some business course work or business work experience.

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

A bachelor's program in this field typically includes courses in the following subjects:

Electives may include sports marketing, recreation marketing, and travel and tourism, among others.

An associate degree program typically requires a smaller selection of these courses.

Graduate Program Courses

The MBA commonly also has these requirements:

Things to Know

People who work in this field need a good understanding of the broader culture in which consumers make buying decisions. For that reason, you should take a wide selection of courses in non-business subjects. Good skills in writing, speaking, and critical thinking are needed for advancement in the business world.

Business courses in high school can be useful preparation for a career in marketing. You should take only a few, especially if you intend to earn an MBA, so that your high school transcript shows that you are preparing for a demanding college-level program.


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