Master of Arts (MA) in Business with a Specialization in Marketing

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Gentry, James W

James W Gentry

Graduate Chair and Maurice J. and Alice Hollman College Professor


CBA 322

P.O. Box 880492

Lincoln, NE 68588-0492


Fax: +1-402-472-9777

The Master of Arts (M.A.) in business (marketing concentration) has three options. All M.A. options in marketing are intended ONLY for students wishing to get a Ph.D. in marketing, but do not yet have a masters degree (which many marketing Ph.D. programs including UNL's requires for applicants.)

Option I

Option I is for those who intend to go forward for a Ph.D. in marketing. It requires completion of 20-24 semester hours of graduate course credit (normally, seven to eight courses), and a thesis equivalent to six to 10 semester hours of credit, for a total of at least 30 hours. At least 15 of the total hours must be in business, primarily marketing. Students may take an entirely marketing curriculum, or may take courses outside the department. A minor area outside Business of at least nine hours is possible. At least eight semester hours out of the 30 must be in more advanced graduate courses not open to undergraduates. The thesis should demonstrate the student's ability to carry out independent research, and is done under the advice and supervision of a committee of marketing faculty and other faculty who help the student develop his or her research skills.

Option II

Option II is recommended for those who have extensive experience in marketing and desire more specialized training later elect to continue towards a Ph.D. in marketing. This option consists of 36 hours of graduate course work (normally 12 courses), with no thesis. The student must complete at least 18 hours in Business, (primarily marketing), and at least one minor area outside of business, consisting of at least nine hours. If the student elects to have two minor areas, then the total hours in business must be at least 15 hours, with at least nine hours in each minor.

Option III

Option III, like Option I, is for those who wish to pursue a Ph.D. in marketing. It consists of 36 semester hours of course work, at least 18 of which must be in business (primarily marketing). Instead of the thesis required in Option I, the student substitutes a greater fraction of the more advanced graduate-level courses; at least 18 of the 36 hours must be in courses open exclusively to graduate students.

Admission Requirements

To qualify for admission, students must normally have graduated from an accredited institution with a degree in business administration. Students applying to the program who are not graduate of an American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business accredited college or school of business administration will be required to complete the Common Body of Knowledge (CBK) courses.

The CBK consists of Legal Environment, Principles of Accounting, Principles of Economics, Statistics, Finance, Marketing, Human Resource Management and Operations Management. In addition, students are expected to have completed a course in calculus and show computer proficiency and oral and written communication skills.

As one can see from this discussion, the M.A. program is a flexible way to concentrate in the marketing discipline for either academic or business career goals. It should be clear, though, that an M.A. is not normally thought of by employers or graduate schools as a general business degree. It is designed for people who wish to specialize in a business area such as the marketing discipline for the bulk of their business or academic careers. Students who take the M.A. concentrating in Marketing normally have worked for several years in commercial marketing (advertising, direct marketing, marketing research, etc.), and have a strong feeling, based in real-world experience, that marketing is their chosen career.

Comparing the Marketing Degree Programs

Program MBA Marketing Specialization MA – Marketing
Likely Career Path Begin in a marketing area and move to general management Specialize in a chosen marketing area, intended only for student pursuing a Ph.D. in marketing
Required Semester Hours 48 30-36
Hours of Required Courses 30 0
Hours of Electives required from certain areas 9 21-27
Hours of Unconstrained Electives 9 9-15
Prerequisites statistics and calculus Common Body of Knowledge
Knowledge of General Business excellent good
Knowledge of Marketing Specialty adequate excellent

Marketing Courses

We offer a number of Marketing courses at the Masters level:

  • Marketing Management which is required in the M.B.A. program but also available in the M.A. program, and emphasizes the development of marketing plans and controlling the marketing mix for the firm. (GRBA 813)
  • Applied Marketing Research covers the use of exploratory research, surveys, and experiments in marketing management decisions. (MRKT 821)
  • Survey of Buyer Behavior which examines the economic, psychological and sociocultural bases of buying behavior as the basis for marketing strategy and public policy. (MRKT 822)
  • Advanced Quantitative Analysis in Marketing covers state-of-the-art methodological issues in multivariate analysis of marketing research data. (MRKT 824)
  • Services Marketing and the services marketing process. Enabling communication with other professional marketers and analysis of services marketing situations and recommendations for managerial action. (MRKT 826*)
  • Sports Marketing covers concepts and theories unique to sports marketing, review of the basic principles of marketing in the context of sports. (MRKT 828*)
  • Strategic Issues in Marketing Communication covers the analysis and application of current concepts in the formulation and evaluation of promotional strategy in both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. (MRKT 830)
  • Marketing Channels and Distribution emphasizes the marketing management issues relating to the selection of intermediaries, channel control, marketing institutions, channel power, and pricing. (MRKT 835)
  • Marketing and Electronic Commerce covers strategies to deal with opportunities and challenges of evolving technology and marketing in digital networks of customers, suppliers, and employees. (MRKT 841*)
  • Strategic Database Marketing covers concepts of customer relationship management, integration with electronic commerce systems, analytical techniques, ethics and practices of customer data privacy. (MRKT 850*)
  • Marketing and Globalization puts emphasis on access to new consumers, new supplies, and the effect on consumer choices. Marketing strategies developed for Nebraska firms and organizations such as value-added food marketers. (MRKT 855)
    *(400-level counterpart)

Beyond the marketing courses they choose to take, Masters students are encouraged to take courses in other departments which fit their needs and goals. For example, a student interested in database marketing might take Database Organization from the Management Department, and an applied statistics course or two from the Sociology or Educational Psychology departments. A student interested in advertising might take a course or two in Mass Media from the Journalism and Mass Communications Department. A student interested in Marketing Research might take courses in statistics or research methodology from any one of several social science departments. Each student's program is tailored to him or her as an individual. We take a strong personal interest in each student, and do not put anyone in a preconceived mold.

Application Requirements

Office of Graduate Studies Requirements

** Please note: All application materials (except transcripts and finance resource certification) must be submitted electronically. Do not send paper recommendation forms or resume.


As part of the admission process, you are required to submit an unofficial transcript from each post-secondary institution you have attended which lists courses completed, grades earned, as well as degrees conferred.

To submit your transcript you will upload an electronic or scanned copy of them to MyRed.

MyRed Upload Instructions

Please do not send paper transcripts to any university office as it may delay the timely processing of your application.

Once admitted, you will be required to submit an official transcript that is sent directly from each institution you have attended either electronically or on paper to the Office of Graduate Studies.

University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Graduate Admissions
1100 Seaton Hall
Lincoln, NE 68588-0619
Tel: (402) 472-2875

For more information, please visit the Office of Graduate Studies website.

Recommendation for Graduate Admission

Three letters of reference are required and should be submitted through GAMES.


Your resume should be submitted through GAMES.

Statement of Purpose

A brief statement of purpose discussing your area of interest in marketing, why you plan to do a MA leading to a Ph.D. and what you hope to accomplish with it. Statement of Purpose should also be submitted through GAMES.

Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT)

You should register to take the GMAT and have the results forwarded to UNL. You should also submit your scores through GAMES.

International Students should also include:

  • TOEFL score (minimum score of 550 written, 213 computer based or 80 iBT)

The Office of International Affairs provides orientation, counseling and advising to international students, and serves as the official liaison between your sponsoring agency and the United States government. Staff members are also available to help you make contacts on campus and in the Lincoln community.

Guidelines for international students can be found at

Application Deadlines

Your completed application materials must be received by:

  • March 15 - for admission to Fall semester
  • October 15 - for admission to Spring semester
  • October 15 - for admission to Summer term