Is Marketing a Good Major?

Written by Coursera • Updated on Nov 11, 2021

If you enjoy being creative and strategic, majoring in marketing may be a good choice for you.

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Marketing is a versatile major designed to introduce you to key concepts in business, communications, advertising, and sales—all of which can be applied to a career in marketing or another related field. A marketing major can also help you strengthen transferable skills, like communication and problem solving, which may help you stay competitive in a changing job market. 

A marketing major may be a good fit for you if you’re looking for a course of study that blends creativity and strategy, and prepares you to join an in-demand industry with a number of pathways. Unlike careers that come and go, marketing isn’t limited in scope. Companies around the world need savvy marketers who can help develop strategies, campaigns, and messaging to help customers see the value of their brand and products. 

Learn more about this popular major and the many opportunities it can lead to. 

What can I do with a marketing major?

One of the reasons marketing is such a versatile career is because it’s not limited to any specific industry. Many different kinds of companies need marketers to help drum up interest in their branding, products, and services. Beyond that, marketers work in multiple sectors: brand marketing, content marketing, product marketing, market research, and digital marketing, to name a few. Those two factors—industry and marketing sector—may mean more job openings and opportunities for advancement. 

Some common entry-level careers for marketing majors include: 

  • Marketing assistant

  • Communications assistant 

  • Digital marketing strategist 

  • Social media marketer 

  • Junior business analyst 

  • Sales representative  

  • Field marketing coordinator

Read more: What Can You Do With a Marketing Degree? 11 Career Paths

Marketing major salaries 

Graduates with a bachelor’s degree in marketing earned a median annual salary of $54,500 USD in 2020 [1]. Marketing is a high-growth career, with opportunity for advancement. Mid-level careers in marketing in the US pay a median of $73,304, while those who advance to the executive-level make a median salary of  $111,098, according to Glassdoor. 

Marketing majors: 3 tracks 

Each college or university handles marketing majors differently. Some house the major in their business school, journalism school, or communications department, while others offer a marketing-specific option. The one you decide to pursue ultimately depends on your interests and career goals.  

1. Bachelor’s in marketing

A Bachelor of Science in Marketing touches on a little bit of everything related to marketing: business, finance, advertising, sales, and communications.

This marketing major could be a good fit if you’re interested in gaining a foundational understanding of all subjects related to marketing, as well as learning marketing specific topics to help you advance in newer areas, such as digital marketing and social media marketing. 

Common courses:

  • Markets and financial management

  • Marketing strategy

  • Marketing management

  • Business writing

  • Sales management

2. Bachelor’s in business with a marketing concentration

Given the close relationship between marketing and business, some institutions offer marketing as a concentration, folding it into the larger course of study for a Bachelor of Science in Business. 

This marketing major could be a good fit if you’re interested in developing a foundational knowledge of business strategy, while rounding that out with marketing courses focused on customer behavior, markets, advertising, and more.  

Common courses:  

  • Consumer behavior

  • Global marketing

  • Market research 

  • Digital communication

  • Business to business (B2B) marketing 

3. Bachelor’s in advertising and public relations

Another popular marketing major is advertising and public relations, which delves into introductory marketing subjects while emphasizing communications, public relations, and media strategy. 

This marketing major could be a good fit if you’re interested in learning about key marketing strategies and applying them to a company's communications, public relations, and media (both traditional and social) needs.  

Common courses:

  • Public relations writing

  • Digital advertising

  • Creative strategy

  • Media planning

  • Crisis communications 

Which marketing major is right for me?

You’ll notice a lot of overlap in curriculum among marketing majors. No matter which track you choose, you can build a foundational skill set to pursue various marketing careers. Before you choose a program, consider what it is you want to learn and what types of work you might want to do after graduating. From there, look at each program's curriculum requirements and see if you'll take classes in the subjects that best fit your needs.

If you have a specific career path in mind, it’s a good idea to look at job postings to see if they specify a subject or field, though many entry-level jobs typically require a bachelor’s degree as well as one to three years of marketing-related experience (business, advertising, communications), rather than a specific major.  

Ultimately, the best marketing major for you will be the one that feeds into your interests while challenging you to grow in new ways. 

Marketing major skills 

Besides the marketing-specific subject matter you’ll learn as a marketing major, you can also develop several transferable skills to use over the course of your career. 

Among the many transferable skills that many marketing majors learn are: 

  • Communication

  • Analytical thinking

  • Planning 

  • Problem-solving

  • Leadership (depending on the courses taken)

Whether you pursue a career in marketing or another field, transferable skills are worth highlighting on your resume. More than simply listing what you know, try to show ways you’ve put them into action—and the results you’ve achieved. Quantifying any successes you’ve had—either in a course, an internship, as a volunteer, or part-time employee—can help recruiters and hiring managers understand the impact you’d potentially make at their company. 

Besides tangible skills, marketing majors also learn how to generate interest and enthusiasm for a company—knowledge they can apply to themselves when searching for a new role.

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Make the most of your marketing major

No matter which track you choose, there are ways to make the most of your marketing major that go beyond coursework and skills development.  

Internships

Many colleges and universities offer college credit in exchange for an internship. If you apply and are accepted to a marketing internship, you can learn more about real-time strategies, network, and gain practical skills that may help when it comes to finding an entry-level role. 

Student clubs

Check whether your department offers a marketing or marketing-related club. It may be a way to stay on top of marketing trends that courses just can't cover. Plus, holding a leadership role, such as marketing chair, can be useful experience to add to your resume.

Can’t find a marketing club at your college or university? Consider starting your own. The leadership skills you form as a result can positively impact your undergraduate studies and beyond.

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Read more: How to Be Successful in College

Explore further

If you’re interested in earning your bachelor’s degree in marketing, the University of London’s Bsc in Marketing online degree is a good place to start. Or experience for yourself whether a career in marketing could be a good fit with the Facebook Social Media Marketing or Marketing Analytics Professional Certificates. Build the skills you’ll need for an entry-level role and earn a credential for your resume.

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Article sources

1. National Association of Colleges and Employers. "NACE Salary Survey, https://www.wpi.edu/sites/default/files/inline-image/Offices/Career-Development-Center/2020-nace-salary-survey-winter.pdf." Accessed November 5, 2021.

Written by Coursera • Updated on Nov 11, 2021

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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