Online doctoral degrees in business are a fairly recent phenomenon, growing out of an increasingly competitive professional and executive job market where every credential counts. But a PhD in Marketing online program? That's real new – so new, there are only a few out there to begin with. But getting an online marketing doctorate also opens up the possibility of making a PhD in Marketing salary – giving graduates access to all of the higher-authority, higher pay-grade positions that make the big bucks.
You're not necessarily looking for a PhD in Marketing online – much more commonly, business schools offer a specialized Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree, which is an applied doctoral degree focused on real-life application. A PhD in Marketing online program supplies working professionals with the theory, research skills, and knowledge to solve real-world problems, lead teams of experts, and direct high-level marketing campaigns. And a specialized PhD in Marketing online gives students the marketing-specific knowledge that they won't get, for instance, from a doctorate in project management, or a general management PhD.
Ranking the Top PhD in Marketing Online
Demand for online doctoral programs is increasing and, as technology makes it easier, universities, both public and private, are responding by providing access to various online doctoral degrees. This list ranks the best universities for PhD in Marketing degrees based on a reputation that we hope will help guide decisions in picking a top tier school. The Online PhD ranking of the Top 10 Online Doctoral Programs in Marketing takes into account accreditation, general reputation, and cost. Schools are ranked according to three data sources:
- Cost (Current IPEDS data)
- Reputation (Current Niche grade)
- ROI (Current College Scorecard alumni salary data)
All schools on the list are accredited at the time of this list's posting; most are regionally accredited, while some have national distance education accrediting. Several universities also have special program accreditation.
1. Liberty University – Lynchburg, VA
Liberty University is the largest evangelical Christian university in the world, as well as one of the largest online educators. Founded in 1972, Liberty grew from a small Christian college to a doctoral research university with an enrollment of nearly 120,000 students because of one wise bit of foresight – focusing on online education when other Christian colleges weren't giving online education the time of day. Only 15,000 of Liberty's students are traditional on-campus learners; the rest are online. With an endowment of over $1 billion, and substantial resources for students, Liberty is especially known for its business programs; in fact, more than 14% of Liberty students are in business or related majors, making Liberty one of the nation's top business schools, and one of the best online colleges in Virginia.
The Liberty University online DBA in Marketing degree program equips corporate leaders to be experts in management principles and market research. Further, students will become familiar with principles in advertising, promotions, and best practices in regards to consumer behavior. Students gain knowledge of how to work within both domestic as well as international markets. To be admitted to the 60-credit, fully-online, ACBSP-accredited DBA in Marketing, students must already have an MBA or related business master's degree. Besides a one-week intensive orientation on campus, all coursework is fully online, with a cohort format providing stability and support for online students.
Degree: DBA in Marketing
2. Grand Canyon University – Phoenix, AZ
Grand Canyon University is a Phoenix, Arizona-based institution that was founded in 1949. The university began as a Southern Baptist college, but after financial troubles at the turn of the 21st century, Grand Canyon became the first for-profit Christian university. While it is no longer controlled by the Baptist church, Grand Canyon's curriculum still approachs education through a spiritual lens. In recent year, Grand Canyon University has become especially well-known for its online degree programs, which are largely focused on the needs of working professionals in areas like nursing, education, and business. In 2018, the regionally-accredited Grand Canyon was approved to return to nonprofit status by the Higher Learning Commission.
Grand Canyon's online DBA in Marketing degree program is designed to train leaders and executives in theoretical and practical application of marketing. The ACBSP-accredited marketing doctoral degree trains the student to analyze consumer behavior, markets and the ability to analyze them and to propose perceptive strategies for success in business. During the course of the program, students begin work on their dissertations from day one, learning how to do extended research, finding a topic of interest, and learning from mentor faculty along the way. Students take part in two four-day residencies with onsite faculty, also giving students an opportunity to meet fellow colleagues in the program, but all other coursework is online. Grand Canyon also offers optional dissertation writing retreats in order to help students work on their prospectus, dissertation proposal, or final dissertations.
Degree: DBA in Marketing
3. George Fox University – Newberg, OR
George Fox University dates back to 1885, when Quaker pioneers decided their new settlement needed a higher education option for their families. Today, nearly a century and a half later, GFU is Oregon's top Christian university, and one of the most diverse universities in the state of Oregon – a third of GFU students belong to a minority. GFU is a comprehensive institution, providing the close personal attention and support of a small liberal arts college along with the resources and professional preparation of a major doctoral university. That spectacular combination has made George Fox University a regular fixture on rankings of the best regional universities in the West.
The GFU online DBA in Marketing degree program prepares students for high-level leadership positions or academic positions related to marketing, from George Fox's uniquely Christian worldview. The online DBA is designed for working professionals – either working businesspeople who want to transition into research and academia, or to enter executive positions – and its convenient hybrid format combines fully online coursework with brief, twice-yearly on-campus meetings. GFU brings Christian ethics and faith alongside the most current business and marketing skills to train business leaders for service and success.
Degree: DBA in Marketing
4. Argosy University – Los Angeles, CA
Argosy University began with the merger of three for-profit institutions – a psychology school, a medical school, and a business school, the oldest of which was founded in 1961 – which were combined and acquired in 2001 to form Argosy. Today, Argosy is regionally accredited, offering a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs for working adults and experienced professionals. Argosy is particularly known for its many online and hybrid degree programs in health sciences and business. In 2017, Argosy ended years of financial difficulties when it was bought out by the Dream Center Foundation, a Christian education system (Assemblies of God) that intends to make Argosy a nonprofit university.
Argosy's online DBA in Marketing degree program is intended for experienced, working professionals in business and marketing careers; in fact, applicants must have at least 3-5 years of work experience, as well as a master's degree in business or a related field (which may include law or engineering management), to apply. The online DBA is intended to build on the skills learned in a master's program and active work experience, giving students the advanced research application skills they need to take on higher-level leadership positions.
Degree: DBA in Marketing
5. Keiser University – Fort Lauderdale, FL
Keiser University is a private, non-profit institution with 15 campuses across the nation, with the headquarters being located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The school offers both onsite instruction as well as online courses. Founded in 1977 as a small tech school, Keiser's original mission was providing higher degrees in health and business for working adults. In just three decades, Keiser had grown into a full, comprehensive university, adding a multitude of professional programs in highly in-demand areas. While Keiser was a for-profit institution for most of its history, in 2011 the college became a nonprofit, keeping its regional accreditation and making a clear statement about its focus on students' success.
Keiser University' online DBA in Marketing degree program prepares students to work within a national and global marketplace with awareness of business ethics and organization at the center of each specialization. The program prepares students to become university researchers and teachers, or to occupy senior positions in business or government, working within a national and global marketplace with awareness of business ethics and organization at the center of each specialization. Courses are 8 weeks, and students can take two courses simultaneously as opposed to the usual one at a time. The program is 60 graduate credits long with 54 of those credits needing to be completed at Keiser University. Admissions into the program requires the student have obtained an accredited master's degree in business administration, and to have two years of full-time management experience.
Degree: DBA in Marketing
6. Walden University – Minneapolis, MN
When New York teachers and education reformers Bernie and Rita Turner first imagined Walden University, it was as an experimental way for teachers to complete their education doctorates. Students would meet with dissertation advisors and return home to work on their own time. That was in 1970, long before anyone imagined the internet being widely available, but by 1995, Walden was regionally accredited and launching the first fully-online education graduate degree programs in the nation. Today, Walden is one of the primary names in online education, from business to health sciences, frequently ranked among the top online degrees in the world.
Walden's online DBA in Marketing degree program focuses on the real-world work of marketing, helping experienced business professionals reach the highest levels of theory, knowledge, and expertise. With an emphasis on top-notch research, writing, and communication, Walden's DBA prepares students for executive positions, developing strong analytical and leadership skills to guide marketing campaigns of all kinds. Students learn about consumer behavior, product development, market segmentation, and other concepts that make them competitive on a global level. All coursework is online, though students will attend two 4-day residencies during their program; 49 credits and a dissertation are required to graduate.
Degree: DBA in Marketing
7. Pace University – New York NY
Pace University dates back to 1906, when brother Charles and Homer Pace opened their private business school in Manhattan – what was then the New York Tribune Building, and now is the site of 1 Pace Plaza. Clearly, the Pace brother did well for themselves, bringing accessible business, accounting, and law classes to the world's financial center, growing into one of the city's most recognizable names in business education (not to mention business incubators and a public secondary school). Today, Pace is also known as one of the foremost names in online education, offering a full slate of online degree programs.
The Pace University Doctor of Professional Studies (DPS) degree program is a unique approach to business higher education. Unlike a PhD or DBA, the DPS is an applied degree, not a research or academic degree, focused on real-life application; as such, the DPS is particularly well-suited to high-ranking and accomplished working professionals who want to enhance their current careers, as opposed to those looking for advancement or a career change. The DPS in Marketing combines fully-online coursework with a monthly on-campus meeting to develop knowledge and networking connections between students. The Pace name assures students of a return on their investment.
Degree: Doctor of Professional Studies
8. Trident University – Cypress, CA
Trident University began in 1998 with a mission to provide accessible, applicable education opportunities for military personnel and veterans. Once part of the Touro College and University System, Trident became independent in 2007, and has earned a reputation as a top-ranked, regionally-accredited online educator. With a curriculum designed for working adults, more than three-quarters of Trident's student body are related to the military, whether as active-duty, reserves, veterans, or some other connection. Trident uses an outcomes-based distance learning model called EdActive, once an experimental education model called Robust Learning, and Trident is still committed to useful degrees that change lives.
Trident's online DBA in Marketing degree program is intended for working professionals who already have a master's degree, and who are looking for a terminal degree to give them an edge in advancing to the highest levels of authority. Trident's emphasis on applied research gives students the foundation for making decisions and leading organizations with a strong, data-driven expertise. Coursework is fully online, requiring no residencies, but students can develop mentoring relationships with their faculty advisors and professors that can help guide them in their education and their career paths.
9. Northcentral University – San Diego, CA
Northcentral University was founded in 1996 as one of the earliest all-online universities, and by 2003 the university had grown in esteem and reputation enough to earn regional accreditation by the WASC. Today, Northcentral is a for-profit, completely virtual university and is classified as a research institution by the Carnegie Classification. Northcentral is especially known for its business programs, and in addition to regional accreditation, claims program accreditation from the ACBSP, a national standard for business higher education. With a long history offering opportunity to working adults, Northcentral is stronger and more respected than ever.
Northcentral University's online PhD in Business Administration emphasizes the biggest challenges in the global economy and research involving tracking the issues in the global arena. Students in the PhD-BA program can choose a specialization focusing on marketing management and research to help them move beyond the basics and equip marketing specialists who can manage all of the elements in the product life cycle both for international and national contexts. The program looks to prepare specialists to work in non-profits, corporations, government agencies, higher education, and in the role of entrepreneur.
Degree: PhD in Business Administration, Marketing
10. California Miramar University – San Diego, CA
California Miramar University was founded in 2005, buying out the former Pacific Western University-California to establish a new university; that gave CMU automatic recognition by the state of California, while national accreditations by the ACICS and the Distance Education and Training Council gave the new university a further layer of reputability. This young university is growing and earning a national and international reputation for its business programs, including fields like business administration and computer information systems. Fully online degree programs have made CMU a choice for students all over the nation, as well as international students, providing working adults a convenient way to increase their credentials.
California Miramar's online DBA degree program is designed to turn working professionals into scholars of business, providing the most current research and theory and helping students develop their research, writing, and communication skills. With the CMU DBA, student become qualified to make real contributions to learning and knowledge in business marketing, from contributing to scholarly journals to taking on academic roles. Students may also use their DBA to enhance their current managerial or executive positions. All coursework is fully online, but students must attend final exams on-campus, or arrange for an official proctor in their home area.