No matter your experience, there is a marketing course out there that can help you develop a deep understanding of the field, learn how to create effective campaigns and launch a successful career
As new technologies emerge further study can help you to keep on top of these and any other developments in the sector. Even if you already work in the industry, further study can be fitted around your job through distance learning and flexible courses. Many companies also offer support for employees studying professional qualifications.
The British Council reports that there are over 850 higher education marketing programmes available at more than 140 UK institutions, including two of the world's leading marketing universities - Imperial College Business School and the University of Warwick.
While some marketing courses are combined with related fields such as economics, psychology, design, or fashion, there are also standalone marketing options. For example, you could choose to study BA (Hons) Marketing at the University of Liverpool, Nottingham Trent University, or Bath Spa University.
You can also further develop your knowledge by studying a postgraduate marketing course. While this is not essential for getting a job, it can improve your chances of employment in a competitive industry and expand your network of contacts, giving you an advantage over undergraduate candidates.
Postgraduate marketing courses are offered by a variety of universities. You can study a general marketing course to keep your options open, such as the:
- MSc Marketing, The University of Manchester
- MSc Marketing, The London School of Economics and Political Science
- MSc Marketing, University of Birmingham
Alternatively, if you'd like to study a particular area of marketing in more depth you could choose a more specific course such as:
- MA Fashion Marketing, University of Portsmouth
- MSc Marketing Management Practice, University of Sheffield
- MSc International Marketing, University of Surrey
Regardless of which degree you choose, it is worth checking if it is accredited by a professional body. This will ensure that the course is recognised for its quality across the industry and may also exempt you from having to study further marketing qualifications at entry level.
Study for a CIM qualification
The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) is the industry's professional body and is accredited by the European Marketing Confederation (EMC). Ofqual-regulated, the CIM offers a range of globally recognised marketing qualifications, including bite-sized flexible modules.
Its main awards are:
- Foundation Certificate in Professional Marketing/Professional Digital Marketing (Foundation, Level 3) - Ideal for entrepreneurs, non-marketing managers, new entrants, and apprentices.
- Certificate in Professional Marketing/Professional Digital Marketing (Intermediate, Level 4) - Provides the knowledge and skills to progress your marketing career if you work in marketing support as a marketing assistant or if your job involves aspects of marketing.
- Diploma in Professional Marketing/Professional Digital Marketing (Intermediate, Level 6) - Equivalent to a Bachelors degree, suitable for strategic-level marketers, such as marketing managers, marketing executives, business development managers, and account managers seeking career development.
- Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Marketing (Advanced, Level 7) - A two-stage diploma at Masters degree level for experienced marketers and those working in senior strategic roles. After the first stage, you will have achieved the CIM Professional Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing. The second stage involves a work-based assignment to be completed within nine months. Note that this course is only available to residents outside the UK.
- CIM Marketing Leadership Programme (Advanced, Level 7) - A combination of mandatory and elective modules over a minimum of 18 months, either face-to-face or blended learning including online courses. Designed for strategic and management-level marketers, small and medium business owners looking to grow their businesses, or Level 6 Diploma holders seeking the highest CIM qualification. Note that this course is only available in the UK.
In addition to tuition fees, you will also need to consider the costs of registration, assessment, and membership fees when enrolling in CIM marketing courses.
The CIM also offers individual and tailored in-company training solutions, with over 90 one- to three-day courses at different levels covering a variety of marketing techniques and topics. These range from advanced copywriting skills to managing marketing communications and planning a business's social media strategy.
To keep up to date with industry developments through its Exchange online content hub and webinars, attend events, and benefit from discounted training, you must be a CIM member.
Digital marketing courses
While traditional marketing degrees cover online and offline marketing techniques and business, digital marketing and a strong understanding of technology are essential for all marketers. There are now university courses dedicated to this growing field. Learn about your options and how to get into digital marketing.
The Institute of Data & Marketing (IDM) offers a variety of programs, including online digital marketing and direct marketing courses, as well as part-time, day release, and intensive professional diploma courses.
The IDM Professional Marketing Diploma (Level 6) is designed for marketing managers and those who want to refresh their marketing strategy and campaign planning. It is held online and costs £1,600 for non-members and £1,360 for members.
For experienced marketers, the Postgraduate Marketing Diploma (Level 7) covers strategy, brand building, financial analysis, and customer insights. It costs £1,850 for non-members and £1,575 for members.
In addition to these qualifications, the IDM offers two intensive online courses:
- Advanced Professional Certificate in Digital Copywriting (Level 5) which costs £1,270 for members and £1,495 for non-members.
- Professional Certificate in Social Media (Level 5) which costs £845 for members and £995 for non-members.
Finally, the IDM offers six intermediate (Level 4) awards for those with some work experience who want to develop their skills in a specific discipline, such as digital copywriting.
Online marketing courses
The Digital Marketing Institute is a certification-awarding body for the digital industry that allows students the flexibility of studying for their marketing diploma online.
By choosing the Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing, whether you're a complete beginner or a business owner you'll learn about key specialisms, including SEO, PPC, mobile marketing and social media marketing. This 30-hour course, plus a three-hour exam costs £1,033.
The practitioner-led advanced Postgraduate Diploma in Digital Marketing, for traditional and digital marketers wishing to validate their digital skills, is delivered across 44 weeks and costs £4,350.
In addition, its range of short online marketing courses includes specialist diplomas in:
- digital and social selling
- social media marketing
- digital strategy and planning
- search marketing.
If you're interested in marketing communications, you'll find qualifications in advertising and PR to suit your specialisation, whether it's corporate, employee, consumer, or investor relations.
The Communications Advertising and Marketing (CAM) Foundation offers a selection of CIM awards designed for those in a range of advertising and PR roles, from assistants and executives to senior managers and directors.
The foundation's Diploma in Marketing Communications covers marketing and consumer behaviour, digital marketing essentials, and digital marketing planning. Tuition fees vary depending on the mode of study (either face-to-face or via distance/online learning). Assessment fees and a CIM membership fee are also charged.
The three most popular qualifications from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) are:
- IPA Foundation Certificate: An internationally recognised, 30-hour program for advertising industry newcomers. This overview costs £275 for members and £550 (plus VAT) for non-members, with exams held in various cities (London, Manchester, Birmingham).
- IPA Advanced Certificate in Communications Planning: Designed by senior agency practitioners, this 45-hour course in communications and channel planning is for those with four to nine years of industry experience. It costs £1,000 (plus VAT) for members and £2,000 (plus VAT) for non-members.
- IPA Excellence Diploma in Brands: Over a 12-month period (150 hours), delegates can delve into the nature of brands and have their ideas challenged. Members are charged £3,750 (plus VAT) for this pinnacle award, with non-members paying £7,500 (plus VAT).
The PR industry's professional bodies, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA), provide qualifications for PR practitioners at all levels and in all sectors.
The CIPR offers two professional qualifications:
- CIPR Professional PR Certificate is a foundation degree-standard qualification that provides a detailed introduction to PR for those embarking on a PR career.
- CIPR Professional PR Diploma is designed for experienced PR professionals and those with one year's experience and a Bachelors degree. It covers PR strategy at a senior management level.
In addition, the CIPR offers short specialist courses in internal communications, crisis communications, and public affairs.
The PRCA represents the UK's PR agencies, in-house communications teams, and freelancers. It provides a range of flexible and practical training courses that can be studied online or at a designated location.
The PRCA's professional qualifications are designed for:
- those in an agency or in-house PR role
- those who already have a good grounding in PR and are now looking to progress
- management personnel seeking to improve their own performance and that of their team.
The cost of the PRCA's professional qualifications vary for members and non-members:
- PRCA Foundation Certificate (FCert PRCA) - a fast-track, entry-level programme that can be studied within one year.
- PRCA Advanced Certificate (AdCert PRCA) - a management-level qualification for those with a minimum of three years' PR experience. The training needs to be completed within two years.
- PRCA Online Certificate (OCert PRCA) - at intermediate-level, you'll need to complete 18 webinars online and in your own time, with no assessment.
See PRCA - Our Qualifications for more information.
In addition to training for those working in journalism and the media, the Press Association (PA) also offers one- and two-day PR and communications courses in London, as well as bespoke training. These courses can help you get a taster for PR, learn how to plan and develop a PR strategy, and benefit from the latest developments in the rapidly changing media industry. Find out more at PA - Training.
Other marketing training
The Institute of Promotional Marketing (IPM) offers industry-recognised certificates and diplomas in promotional marketing. The IPM Foundation Certificate can be completed online within four months, with three complementary lectures. The IPM Diploma and IPM Incentive & Motivation Diploma can also be studied online within six and five months, respectively.
The Market Research Society (MRS), a leading global research association, offers professional development qualifications for market researchers: the MRS Certificate in Market & Social Research, MRS Advanced Certificate in Market and Social Research Practice, and MRS Diploma in Market and Social Research Practice.
Market researchers are not neglected either when it comes to professional development as, a leading global research association for commercial and public policy research, offers a number of qualifications - an MRS Certificate in Market & Social Research, MRS Advanced Certificate in Market and Social Research Practice, and the MRS Diploma in Market and Social Research Practice. View the range of courses on offer at MRS - Learning CPD.
This is in addition to the accreditation of some Masters courses. These are:
- MSc Strategic Marketing Management - Aston Business School
- MSc Strategic Marketing - Cardiff University and Cardiff Metropolitan University
- MSc Strategic Marketing - Cranfield University
- MSc International Marketing - Newcastle University Business School.
If copywriting or content marketing is an area that interests you, CIM's Principles of Great Copywriting and IDM's various short courses are designed to help hone the writing skills of marketing communications practitioners for various mediums and audiences. Find out more about becoming an advertising or digital copywriter.
Find out more
- Take a look what's on offer in the marketing, advertising and PR sector.