By Iris Stone
Marketing brings together the creative and analytical sides of business, requiring problem solving skills and the ability to think outside the box. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, market research analysts have a projected job growth of 23% from 2016-2026, significantly outpacing the average growth rate.
If marketing is your interest, then our list of the 20 best small colleges for marketing majors on a budget would be perfect for you. We've held the small colleges on this list to strict criteria:
- One full program for students seeking a degree in marketing (not a business administration degree with a concentration in marketing)
- Overall undergraduate graduation rate of at least 50%
- Estimated annual cost, as reported by College Navigator, of less than $25,000 a year
You won't believe which college is in the #1 spot!
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20. Eastern University
Saint Davids, PA
At Eastern University, students of faith can pursue a marketing degree that is not only promising for their future career, but also aligns with their Christian values. Eastern's affordable small college marketing program features a strong emphasis on spirituality at every level, from faculty faith-leaders to a largely ethics-based business curriculum. Like other programs within the business department, Eastern's marketing program introduces undergrads to broad topics like economics and accounting while also addressing questions of sustainability and fair trade. Eastern's Business Department Internship Program also helps them gain real-world experience through its connections to local and regional businesses in the Philadelphia area.
Net Price: $24,583/yr
19. La Sierra University
A Seventh-day Adventist school, La Sierra University is committed to joining the word of God with the practice of advanced scholarship. This is particularly evident in the school's marketing program, which offers an abundant selection of service learning courses that allow undergraduates and faculty alike to give back to the community. But this is not the only extracurricular educational opportunity available to marketing majors at La Sierra: from a highly active Students in Free Enterprise team to business club, there is no shortage of hands-on experiences for undergraduates at this top college for a marketing degree.
Net Price: $23,819/yr
18. Elmhurst College
Unlike most of the affordable undergraduate marketing schools on this list, Elmhurst College allows students to choose from two sub-specializations within its marketing program: Marketing Research and Marketing Management. The former degree program follows the track of a more conventional social psychology curriculum, with coursework in topics such as consumer behavior and marketing problems. The latter program is more general and diversified; classes like Introduction to Supply Chain Management, Sales, Retail Management, and even a Proseminar on the Management of Innovation prepare marketing majors for a wide range of careers as numerous as they are lucrative.
Net Price: $23,688/yr
17. North Central College
With an exceptionally rich undergraduate marketing curriculum, North Central College has established itself as one of the top colleges for marketing majors in the Midwest. North Central's "foundation" courses alone cover most if not all of the topics offered at comparable schools, from Organizational Management to Corporate Finance. But North Central really shines when it comes to electives. After completing the marketing core classes, students can choose from high-level courses like International Marketing and Market Research and even pursue so-called "real-world" projects in conjunction with North Central's American Marketing Association or Enactus teams.
Net Price: $23,565/yr
16. Andrews University
Berrien Springs, MI
Andrews University is one of the most unique and attractive affordable undergraduate marketing schools for students of faith. Students can expect classwork to reflect Christian values; for example, Andrews' Scriptural Foundations of Business series integrates business ethics with the word of God at a granular and practical level. But it's safe to say that a Christ-centric worldview characterizes all aspects of Andrews' marketing curriculum, from introductory courses like Principles of Marketing to more advanced classes in Marketing Ethics. Andrews also maintains an extensive alumni network to connect young graduates with business and marketing executives who share their faith and values.
Net Price: $23,491/yr
15. Berry College
Mount Berry, GA
One of five majors available through the Campbell School of Business, Berry College's comprehensive small college marketing program prepares students for meaningful careers in innumerable industries. Whether they want to work in public advocacy or private industry, marketing graduates from Berry will have the qualifications they need to conduct market research, identify target audiences, and develop promotional campaigns to help drive their organization's success. Outside the classroom, Berry undergraduates can access a diverse range of professional experiences, from summer internships to on-campus research assistantships. They can also attend industry conferences or participate in study abroad programs across the globe.
Net Price: $23,404/yr
14. Illinois Institute of Technology
Offered within its renowned Psychology Department, IIT's Bachelor of Science in Consumer Research, Analytics, and Communication takes an unconventional approach to the study of marketing. Courses like "Anthropology of Technology" and "Correlation and Regression Analysis" shape a curriculum that highlights the abstract and technical aspects of this field, rather than business principles. For professional practice opportunities, undergrads at this top college for marketing majors can participate in several unique activities outside the classroom. IIT's Interprofessional Projects Program, for example, is a collaborative initiative that groups students from various majors together to devise practical solutions to economic and social problems in the community.
Net Price: $23,371/yr
13. Anderson University
For a course of study that sticks to traditional marketing topics, students should look to the affordable small college marketing program at Anderson University. With coursework that spans conventional business topics like Strategic Management, Principles of Accounting, and Business Law, Anderson provides undergraduates with all the tools they need to penetrate and persevere at the executive level. But Anderson isn't merely a school for generalists; in fact, its marketing degree features a wide range of specializations to help majors define their professional interests: For example, undergrads can specialize in a wide range of topics, including Event Planning, Music Business, Social Media, and Sport Marketing.
Net Price: $21,945/yr
12. Hillsdale College
With a net price of just over $20,000 a year, Hillsdale College is among the most affordable colleges for a marketing degree in the country. But significant cost savings are not all that Hillsdale has to offer aspiring businessmen and women. The school demonstrates an exceptional commitment to student achievement; for example, the Executive Speakers Program provides marketing majors with first-hand exposure to pioneers, entrepreneurs, and thought-leaders in the industry, while the on-campus Dow Leadership Center is a magnet for business leadership seminars, meetings, and more. Hillsdale is also home to a highly active chapter of Alpha Mu Alpha, the nationwide marketing honorary society.
Net Price: $21,201/yr
11. Millikin University
Millikin University's Tabor School of Business distinguishes itself from other affordable small college marketing programs by offering a major in Digital Media Marketing. As opposed to more traditional courses of study, which emphasize a host of general business practices, this program helps undergraduates develop their facility with social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc.), search engine optimization, and web analytics to build a skill set that's tailored to the needs of businesses in the 21st century. Digital Media Marketing majors at Millikin also develop general business communications skills by writing blogs, press releases, and other promotional material for the web.
Net Price: $21,093/yr
10. Chatham University
Chatham University's inclusion in Kaplan's Unofficial, Unbiased Guide to the 328 Most Interesting Colleges and Universities should be a strong indication that it's not your typical affordable college for a marketing degree. Combining statistical research methods with creative communications solutions, Chatham's marketing major provides a unique blend of art and science. And like many of the most progressive and prestigious institutions on this list, Chatham also places a strong emphasis on ethical business practices (including environmental sustainability) to create industry leaders who will have a long-lasting positive impact on the economy and society at large.
Net Price: $21,066/yr
9. Hardin-Simmons University
At this small Baptist college in central Texas, undergraduates can explore the many facets of marketing as a practice, from the abstract and general to the exceedingly specialized and specific. Hardin-Simmons University offers an impressively comprehensive curriculum for its enrollment size (around 2,500), with courses that cover many industries, including real estate, sports, e-commerce, and more. Whether students are interested in joining an existing organization's marketing and/or promotions team or launching their own entrepreneurial venture, Hardin-Simmons is among the best undergraduate marketing schools to help them achieve their goals.
Net Price: $20,528/yr
8. Gardner-Webb University
Boiling Springs, NC
Gardner-Webb University's Broyhill School of Management is home to a number of exceptional undergraduate business programs, not least of which is its marketing major. Grounded in Christian ethics and values, GWU's marketing curriculum is a thorough introduction not only to best practices in communications, advertising, and market research, but also to how graduates can use business techniques for the greater good. And although GWU's top small marketing colleges ranking is thanks in large part to its affordability, its inclusion on this list is also a nod to the program's rigor.
Net Price: $20,417/yr
7. Marian University
Every businessperson worth his or her necktie knows that results matter most at the end of the day—and Marian University's top undergraduate marketing program takes the same approach. Where most schools emphasize their curriculum and enrichment opportunities, Marian advertises student success on a statistical—as opposed to an anecdotal—basis. The result of this analysis? According to Capsim business simulation trials, nearly all of Marian's business/marketing majors performed above the national average in terms of their "integrated knowledge of business." Combined with recent undergraduate internships at the likes of Best Buy and Quicken Loans, it's easy to see why so many aspiring executives choose Marian.
Net Price: $19,992/yr
6. Greenville College
According to Greenville College, marketing is about "identifying people's unmet needs"—and that says as much about the course of study as the school itself. One dramatic way that this affordable small college for a marketing degree caters to students' needs is by offering 3- and 4-year degree plans, providing a virtually unparalleled degree of flexibility and personalization. But regardless of their chosen degree timeline, all undergraduates at Greenville learn to uncover the hidden needs of consumers through coursework in product design, consumer behavior, marketing research, sales, business communications, and advertising.
Net Price: $19,788/yr
5. Concordia University-Chicago
River Forest, IL
Concordia University at Chicago offers two degree tracks for aspiring marketing majors: a BA in Marketing and a BS in Business Administration with a marketing emphasis. The differences between these options are subtle but significant: the former prioritizes a broad liberal arts foundation with marketing coursework laid on top, while the latter features a comprehensive business curriculum with a slew of marketing electives. But both programs provide key insights into real-world business practices and access to the many internship opportunities this top undergraduate marketing school has to offer, thanks in part to its close proximity to Chicago.
Net Price: $18,557/yr
4. University of St. Francis
With a net price of less than $18,000 a year, the University of St. Francis offers an exceptional education for an exceptionally low price. St. Francis manages to keep student costs down by providing what it calls "gift assistance packages" to more than 80% of admitted freshman, in addition to a variety of academic scholarships averaging nearly $2,000 a year. When it comes to business programs, this affordable small college for a marketing degree is equally accommodating, even offering undergraduates the opportunity to pursue a five-year combined BBA/MBA degree if their grades allow.
Net Price: $17,616/yr
3. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
Saint Mary of the Woods, IN
As the oldest Catholic college in Indiana, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods has nearly 200 years of experience providing a top-quality, faith-based education. Marketing may not be SMWC's bread and butter, but it holds up thanks to a strong liberal arts core and a comprehensive business curriculum. From accounting and finance to law, management, and communications, all marketing majors at SMWC are exposed to an array of business practices that prepare them for diverse careers. As a result, graduates of this top college for marketing majors find work in sales, advertising, logistics, retailing, and many other fields.
Net Price: $17,298/yr
2. Bryan College-Dayton
Of all the Christian schools on this small marketing colleges ranking, Bryan College stands out as one of the best. It garners this attention by offering a program that is intentionally small and highly focused, giving students a unique opportunity to earn a second major in a complementary field. Popular degree combinations with the Marketing B.S. include Politics and Government, Communication Studies, Psychology, and even Theatre. And yet, the marketing curriculum doesn't rely solely on these interdisciplinary connections for strength; within the degree, classes like "Applied Marketing Innovation" and "Buyer Behavior" impart a bevy of actionable skills that can help students launch their career in this competitive industry.
Net Price: $16,153/yr
1. North Greenville University
North Greenville University sets up marketing majors for success with a three-pronged approach to experiential learning. While most of the conceptual exploration occurs in the classroom, the school also offers numerous extracurricular opportunities through its Student Marketing Association: Networking, field trips, and career exploration are just a few available options. This top undergraduate marketing school also requires all marketing majors to fulfill at least 120 hours of internship experience for credit, and they must complete an independent e-commerce project in their senior years — giving them invaluable real-world experience as they begin their careers.
Net Price: $15,422/yr
Want to find out exactly how much it will cost for you to attend one of these affordable small college marketing programs? Check out the U.S. Department of Education's Net Price Calculator Center.
For information about our methodology, click here.
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